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Joel Gottsegen
Joel Gottsegen '15 is an opinions columnist for the Stanford Daily. He studies computer science, with a focus on artificial intelligence. He writes short stories sometimes but doesn't show them to anyone. He writes songs sometimes and incessantly shows them to everyone. Joel thinks that despite his country's increasing polarization, it is still possible to have reasonable political discussion. You can reach him at joeligy@stanford.edu.

Free speech should make us squirm

Why is freedom of speech so important, anyway? If almost everyone agrees that a certain opinion is disgusting, or even just annoying, why should a minority of the population be allowed to hold and express that view? The truth is that the right to express an unpopular opinion is vital to a progressive society, in that it allows society to progress. Many ideas that are taken for granted now--that the Earth revolves around the sun, that women should have the right to vote--were once widely-ridiculed minority views.

Not another Clinton, not another Bush

What would it mean if Hillary or Jeb were to win the White House? In the case of a two-term presidency, it would mean 44 years of nearly uninterrupted Bush-Clinton political hegemony. George H. W. Bush became Vice President in 1981. Since then, a Bush or a Clinton was President or Vice President until 2008.

Alternative medicine is not medicine

If Deepak Chopra were to discover a new form of medical treatment that helped sick people, it should be possible to test that the treatment is actually working. By denying the validity of the scientific method, alternative healers free themselves from any kind of accountability.

In defense of paranoia

The existence of absurd programs in the past does not mean that any of the other conspiracy theories are true. Nor does it mean that the American government is fundamentally malicious, or out to harm its citizens. However, given the extensive list of too-crazy-to-be-true events that have actually occurred, a healthy skepticism is more than warranted.

Video games, entertainment and the point of art

In the realm of video games, there has historically been little distinction between medium and content–a “video game” is a type of content expressed through the medium of “video game”. I propose to make this distinction more explicit. Let “interactive media” refer to the medium as a whole. This accurately reflects the primary characteristic that distinguishes video games from everything else: they require the active participation of at least one person.

Fool Me Once…

Last month, seven college students were murdered in Santa Barbara. When I first learned about the massacre, I found myself horrified and disgusted — but not surprised. Perhaps I was surprised seven years ago, when I turned on the television to discover that a Virginia Tech student had killed 32 of his peers and teachers.…
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