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Justice for JustUs

What’s one thing we can all agree on? Something that people on the left and right support? Something that men, women, non-binary, young, and old all want? Something that crosses racial and economic lines? That would be justice, the thing everyone calls for in the wake of a horrifying incident. We must bring them to justice! We want justice! But the rallying cry that seemingly unites us all hides a dark secret. Justice is not just one thing. And your version of justice might be very different from mine. One of the many cognitive biases we are all subject to

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Confidence Games

A few years ago at a criminology conference, there was an old grizzled police sergeant presenting about one thing or another. While I have long forgotten the content of his presentation, one thing he said stuck with me: “Confidence come from competence.” He was talking about policing, of course, but I felt that this statement was true regardless of what you were doing. We feel confident about our actions when we have reached a level of competency at performing them. Anyone who has started a brand-new job understands this. We start off unsure, unconfident. We ask a lot of questions.

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Willing to Fail, Just Like Me

Yesterday, Astra’s LV0006 took off from its Kodiak, Alaska launch pad with what can only be described as some serious lateral movement. Unbeknownst to those watching the launch, one of the five engines exploded right as the rocket took off, reducing its thrust-to-weight ratio to 1:1. The result was that it didn’t have the power to go up, so it went sideways for a bit until it burned off enough fuel to increase the thrust-to-weight ratio above 1. The end result, however, was a foregone conclusion. At about T+2:30, flight controllers shut down the remaining engines and the rocket crashed

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The Space Between

Since Sir Richard Branson rocketed into space last week and Jeff Bezos is set to do the same this week, there have been a lot of conversations about the so-called “New Space Race.” These discussions cover where space actually starts, concerns over a perceived wasteful use of money by billionaires, and tons of misinformation about what is actually going on. As someone who has had an interest in space my whole life and has spent years following these companies, I think it’s time to throw my two cents into the pond. Virgin Galactic doesn’t reach space because it doesn’t get

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A Message for the Future

The Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit that aims to “preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge,” recently solicited stories for their Billion Year Archive. The “story” is a four-question survey that anyone can add to. The collected stories will be archived and sent across the solar system for future civilizations to find. I found the questions to be thought provoking and insightful, and decided to reproduce my story here. I hope everyone shares their story. A story starts with a name. What is your name? Matthew D. Kenyon 2. What do you wish to say to the future? We’ve never

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Killer Instincts

You’ve probably heard someone say that they know “just enough to be dangerous.” While the source of this aphorism is lost to time, the meaning behind it is as salient as ever. With the popularization of the internet, anyone can get just enough knowledge to be dangerous with only a few keystrokes. But what does this saying really mean, and how can we learn enough to be safe? The basic idea behind the saying is that someone has some knowledge on a topic, but so little that it would be easy to apply it in a way that creates a

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Finding the Sweet Spot

We constantly try to find the sweet spot. Work-life balance. Dieting with cheat days. Just two drinks. Finding that happy medium allows us to enjoy something to the fullest. If we only ever had days off, they would become meaningless and indistinguishable. Balancing work with pleasure, diet with snacks, and drinking with being sober each have a sweet spot that works right for us. But how do you find the sweet spot in your creativity? Creative works, such as movies, book, and music all fall on a spectrum. On one end is plagiarism. This is where you copy scene for

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Where to next?

Since November 2, 2000, the human race has been split between two worlds. While the vast majority of us have continued to live on the surface of the earth, there has always been a human living off the earth. As of this writing, 244 people have called the International Space Station (ISS) home at some point over the past 20 years. With China starting construction on a new space station and plans already underway to replace the ISS, it seems likely that never again will we all inhabit the same planet. So, where do we go from here? Exoterra colonies,

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The Story of Kitty Genovese

On March 13, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was attacked outside her New York apartment building after returning home from work. She was stabbed 82 times over a 30-minute period and ultimately succumbed to her wounds. Her murderer was captured, confessed, and convicted. The death of Kitty Genovese was one of 636 murders in New York City that year. Since 1964, there have been well over 55,000 murders in New York City, but perhaps none has been more analyzed or written about. Looking at the elements of the crime, there was nothing particularly remarkable. Genovese was not famous, her killer nothing

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The Best Short Story

To me, the short story is the pinnacle of writing. It represents the distilled essence of storytelling where every plot, character, and theme has a central purpose. There are no minor characters or side stories. There is no fluff or filler. Short stories are concise, concentrated, and powerful. My love of short stories really comes from more than just this, however. It comes from the focus not on characters, but on ideas. In your typical novel, the plot moves along through the characters. We get to know and love (or hate) them, we root for them, we feel their pain.

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