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People I want to be when I grow up: Scott Alexander
Yvain rescues the lion. Medieval illumination (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Scott Alexander" is the nom-de-blogger of the author of my favorite blog Slate Star Codex. "Scott" is one of the people I want to be when I grow up. Except it's way, way too late for me. I'm more than twice his age and he's already way smarter than me. Sucks!
"Scott Alexander" is not his real name. As he says on his about page:
I am going by Scott S Alexander, which is almost but not quite my real name. If you know my real name, please don’t use it on here.
I know his real name. And I'm not going to use it. But if you care, you can find more about him here, where he explains the problems he's had using his real name:
After years of trying the opposite policy, I’m switching to acting all clever and not having every detail of my life accessible to anyone who tries to search for me on the Internet. Somebody who doesn't like me - I am not sure who, but I work in mental health and guess this is sort of a professional hazard - has been trying to systematically discredit me by posting racist and profanity-laden things under my name. Some of the comments make some effort to convince, like linking back to my website.
I'm not sure when I first came across "Scott". It might have been on LessWrong where he blogs under the handle Yvain. Or on http://raikoth.net, where he's posted some long essays, my favorite of which is The Non-Libertarian FAQ (aka Why I Hate Your Freedom) a 30,000 word, well-reasoned critique of libertarianism that I really, really, really wish I had written. Or even thought of.
Almost everything he writes is painstakingly researched and engagingly written. If you'd like to sample the best of his writing he's got a page on Slate Star Codex called "Top Posts." Makes me want to go and reread the ones that I remember, and read the ones that I don't know to see what I've missed.
Which I just did for about half an hour.