When Morals Collide

Monday night is chore night at the Biesel household, and that usually means a rush hour trip to the grocery store to pick up the week’s supply of ingredients. It often happens, as I’m waiting in line at the checkout, that the person behind me is purchasing a smaller load of groceries than I am. … More When Morals Collide

Tug of Cooperation

I used to imagine that when two people are trying to act in their own self-interest, the result is a kind of tug-of-war: In other words, there’s a loser and there’s a winner, and the winner is the one who pulls harder to get their own way. These days, however, I find it helpful to … More Tug of Cooperation

We have a piano!

This is not the blog post I planned to write this week, but for a happy reason: our piano came today! This piano is the one I played on when I was taking lessons in high school, and it’s been living with my parents ever since I moved out. Until now! Finally choosing to bring … More We have a piano!

Substitute Desires

Sometimes, to get something you want, it’s helpful to want something else. For example: If you want to be fit, it’s better to find a kind of exercise you enjoy (e.g. swimming, aerial acrobatics, ultimate frisbee—it’s up to you!) than to fight yourself over doing something you hate every time. In other words, find a way to … More Substitute Desires

My 2017 goals

I don’t put a lot of stock into making New Year’s resolutions; in fact, I usually try to start a habit on an otherwise ordinary day so that when I fall off the wagon it’s easier to get back on. But I like the idea of having a time of year when you think about the … More My 2017 goals

The 60 books of 2016

This year I just barely managed to meet my Goodreads challenge of 60 books in 52 weeks. I thought I’d give out my own awards to the books I’ve read in various categories, so here they are. For books that have them, I’ve also linked to my reviews (which are often very short). What are some of your favorite … More The 60 books of 2016

Optimization Metrics

Clara and I have to take a written exam in order to transfer our driver’s licenses to Minnesota, so we’re studying the Minnesota driver’s manual. In the section on crosswalks I found this instruction: The problem is that you can’t leave an intersection both as quickly as possible AND as safely as possible. To leave … More Optimization Metrics