Year in Review: Top Posts of 2015

Congolese children play on a destroyed military tank in Kibumba, DRC. Prime Collective.

Congolese children play on a destroyed military tank in Kibumba, DRC. Source: Prime Collective.

These were the most viewed posts of the year. It wasn’t the biggest year for this blog in terms of number of visitors, but there were a few highlights. Themes included war, human frailty, sex and love. I ranked them below, with #1 being the most read.


13) …And They Shall Beat Their Tanks into Playgrounds (Mar 24th, 70 words) 

   A simple collection of photos that I thought would inspire hope. “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares.”


12) Thoughts on PTS and “Moral Injuries”  (Jun 24th, 898 words)

    “If there is any good news, perhaps it’s that individuals who suffer a moral injury must, almost by definition, have some deep reservations about certain acts of violence. After all, one’s sense of morality cannot be injured if it didn’t exist in the first place. Secondly, the concept of ‘injury’ implies that healing is possible.”


11) Did the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Affect Child Growth? (Jun 1st, 705 words)

   Yes. A look at some old data.


10) Courage and the Past (Apr 20th, 710 words)

   “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  ― James Baldwin


9) Confronting Human Frailty (Mar 4th, 557 words)

   Seeking lessons from the Tragic and Utopian perspectives of human nature.


8) “The Fundamental Connection That We All Share” (Jul 28th, 222 words)

   Very short post on President Barack Obama’s observing famous fossils in human evolution. All people have evolved from our common origins. We’re all connected.  


7) “To Tame the Savageness of Man” (Aug 4th, 981 words)

   Another attempt at finding hope.Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” –Robert F. Kennedy, on the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination (1968)

 6) 40 Years After the Second Indochina War (Apr 27th, 1119 words)

   Three ways the war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia has had biological effects that have lasted for four decades: unexploded ordnance, Agent Orange, and long-term effects on child growth and development.


5) Compromise and the Eternal Struggle (Feb 3rd, 1205 words)

   Some thoughts on one of my favorite essays, “A Message to the 21st Century” by Isaiah Berlin. It’s an argument against arrogant absolutism, and in favor of compromise and humility. I think of his words often. His essay is brilliant.


4) Some Thoughts on Syrian Casualty Figures (Jan 2nd, 287 words)

   I was surprised by some released statistics on the war in Syria, and that ‘only’ 23% of victims were civilians. In most other wars the proportion is much higher.


3) Genocidal Altruists: Are We ‘Naturally’ Violent? Altruistic? Both? (Feb 21st, 2210 words)

   A friend asked me to write something for the Evolution Institute website. It’s a look through the anthropological record related to human propensity for violence. In short: it’s complicated. I’m kind of proud of this one, except for a stupid typo.


2) Sapiosexuality & Our Behavioral Complexity (Jan 14th, 1281 words)

   Surprise! The top two posts have the word ‘sex’ in them. This one was about why humans are so behaviorally flexible and how this affects what we look for in a mate, including intelligence.


1) Sex Really Is Dangerous (and Other Adjectives) (May 6th, 5463 words)

   Surprisingly, this was the wordiest post of the year, but people weren’t put off by that, I guess. This was far and away the most read thing on this site, with four times as many views as the runner up. Every society recognizes a continuum of sexuality, poised between two extremes – on the one hand it can lead to happiness. On the other, disaster. No society gets it perfectly right when it comes to sex, not because we’ve lost our way from some forgotten utopia. Instead, the tensions are perennial because human emotions are messy.   

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