Photo by Sam Beasley on Unsplash

The people were the source of the Han’s revenue, but could also be a source of danger. Thus, keeping them happy worked for everybody. Now that the State has chosen other sources of revenue, such as its salt and iron monopolies, they no longer depend on or fear the people…

The author’s Boston fern

My cat was losing interest in her toys, so I thought, hey, I’ll get one of those robot vacuums for her. I googled, “Best vacuums for cats to ride on,” but all the results were about sucking up cat hair, not about being a mode of transport. But then it…

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith explains why the poor can be imprisoned for the slightest infraction, while the rich are lauded for the biggest, and why corporations can destroy lives at the altar of their profits:

“The great mob of mankind are the admirers and worshippers of…

The Shang Dynasty’s monopoly on divination, which they attained through adding procedural complexity, first made me think of the Roman Catholic Church’s hold on power through keeping the bible and services in Latin, so that non-Latin speakers would have to use them as their translator in godly communications.

But, then…

Oracle bone with Old Chinese inscription, attributed to the Lì (歷) diviner group 2 in oracle bone period II (kings Zu Geng and Zu Jia). 12th century BCEIn this online class I’m taking, China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius, we’re learning about how the first dynasties legitimised their rule and what they viewed as the purpose of government. Because government was a new concept, they had to sell people on it.

In an online class I’m taking, China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius, we’re learning about how the first dynasties legitimised their rule and what they viewed as the purpose of government. Because government was a new concept, they had to sell people on it.

Our naievete…

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Every country has its foundation myths, which illustrate for children what it is to be a citizen of that country. George Washington’s not lying about chopping down a cherry tree stuck with me, especially, and made me think honesty under duress an especially American attribute.

The Boston Tea Party was…

Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

I’m staying at my brother’s in West LA, and had an interview yesterday in Long Beach, and I took public transportation there. When I finally got back home that evening, my brother greeted me, “Welcome back, Ulysses.” And I did feel I had been to the land of Lotus eaters…

Photo by Josh Rangel on Unsplash

I don’t believe in personality tests,” said Matt, as we sloshed back white wine in a pub near Regents Park. “They just try to typecast people.”

“Oh, but the Myers-Briggs test is really accurate.”

“Perhaps.” He savoured another sip of Chardonnay. “But then, I’m a Gemini, so I can’t help…

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