Posts published by: M. Taylor Saotome-Westlake

The Blockhead

Writing? Why, there's hardly anything to it. Writing is just a matter of thinking honestly while Emacs happens to be open: the process of refining one's own thoughts is sufficiently tightly linked to the faculty of language, that the further step of presenting the product of those thoughts to others …

Laser 1

I've decided to pull the trigger on laser beard removal. (It's less thorough than electrolysis, but cheaper and less painful, and my light skin and dark hair is supposed to be a good match for it.) My earlier fear of maybe needing beard shadow to avoid accidentally passing (and thereby …

Select

(Trigger warning: school.)

Economists distinguish a spectrum between rival and nonrival goods. If you want to know more math than your school expects of you, all you need is a book, dedication, and time. If you want an Honorable Mention on the Putnam exam (and don't care about merely getting …

Interlude IX

"Mark, I can't quite place it, but you look ... different somehow."

"Oh yes, thanks for noticing. I'm experimenting with a nonstandard hormone balance. It's kind of like being transgender, except without the part where you delusionally claim to be a woman."

"Excuse me?"

"I said, 'It's kind of like being …

"Neither as Plea nor as Despair"

Basically the question is, do you want to be Dagny Taggart in the school play at an all-boys school, or do you want to be Eddie Willers in the school play at your actual high school

Both schools deserve to exist (I mean, your actual high school doesn't deserve to …

The Nadir of Reading Comprehension

"Against Discrimination", Nature (hat tip /u/PellegoIllud2 and /u/TheCid):

[Difference between groups is] also a blunt instrument of pseudoscience, and one used to justify actions and policies that condense claimed group differences into tools of prejudice and discrimination against individuals—witness last weekend’s violence by white supremacists in …

Interlude VIII

"I'm going to need to start watching more television, or pretty soon I'm going to run out of cosplay ideas."

"You could play male characters from your existing favorite shows."

(A withering silence serves to underscore the point willfully being missed.)


Interlude VII

"The gender ratio at the conference was like, maybe twenty-to-one?" he said. "And I can't help but think, if I were braver—like you—I could help make the male-to-female ratio better—but only at the expense of making the trans-women-to-cis-women ratio worse."

"You mean, making the trans-women-to-cis-women ratio higher …

Interlude VI

Laura is cuddling on the couch with her boyfriend Doyle at the latter's apartment, trading silly banter.

"Some of them might secretly be cats!" Doyle says.

"I might secretly be a cat," Laura says.

"Why would you say this? What about you is particularly cat-like?"

"Well, it's more of an …

Interlude V

"I've been getting this mild headachey sensation a lot the past few days, especially when, for example, standing up suddenly. What could—" (gasping excitedly) "Could it be the hormones actually doing something? Is this a girl headache?"

"Hm. The connection to activity sounds like a circulatory problem ... say, aren't blood …

Interlude IV

"How goes?"

"I've been feeling a little bit of pectoral tenderness the past few days, which might mean that the anti-androgen is doing something!"

"Good ..."

"Notice how I said anti-androgen instead of spiro: that's because my model of your vocabulary predicted that you know what anti-androgen means, because I predict …