The Death of Illusions

People are very invested in their stories of how things ought to be. Sometimes they become so wedded to those stories that they would rather see people suffer, than take an action that contradicts their personal worldview. I remember years ago, when I lived in New York, there was a pilot program in which welfare recipients were […]

Menstrual Man

This man is my hero. He’s like a mad-scientist crossed with MacGyver. I love this story. A choice excerpt: He created a “uterus” from a football bladder by punching a couple of holes in it, and filling it with goat’s blood. A former classmate, a butcher, would ring his bicycle bell outside the house whenever […]

Clear Trauma

Ever had something really traumatic happen? Ever lived through the death of a close relative? Your thoughts become jumbled and disoriented. Large swaths of your mental computer become unavailable for you to use, often for a very long time. For some people who have been through years of crisis and neglect, every day is full […]

The Austin Women’s Clothing Swap

This case study is a great example of one of our basic rules of problem solving, Appeal to Self-Interest. The idea is that you “sell” a self-help idea to a community by immediately creating a short-term incentive. By getting a large group of people enthusiastic and on-board, you are able to create cascading positive changes […]