18 Chains
18 Chains
Thence S 18.62 chains, thence S 77 deg 36 min E

Philosophy, social theory, and data analysis are my intellectual passions.

Navigation is a useful metaphor for philosophy. We navigate thoughts, imaginations, and languages. We navigate relationships with fellow humans, animals, and other living things. We navigate social, cultural, economic and electronic networks. We navigate among objects and along the surface of our planet.

To me philosophy is the attempt to understand how these ways are possible and what other ways may be possible. From reason, logic, and the sciences to philosophy, theology, and the arts, we find ways to navigate.

I keep several kinds of things on this website: data visualizations, photo portfolios, and personal notebooks about the books and articles I read.  I post some images, poems and maps I create. I also link to interesting things other people create. My notebooks here are just collections of notes I take as I read. Over time I add to the notebooks, and they serve as inspiration for future thinking projects.

I am a lifetime student of philosophy and social theory. In December of 2013 I completed my second and third BAs, in philosophy and sociology. My first BA was in biblical studies (1998), and I have an AS in digital photography (2007).

After my first degree I worked nine years for the military as a terrorism and culture research analyst, and a little as a photojournalist. Those experiences profoundly changed my life. They are the reasons I returned to school full time in 2011 to study philosophy and social theory. In 2016 I taught myself the R programming language and returned to the analysis of terrorism, war, conflict, and culture, but this time bringing programming and data viz skills to the table.

I am insatiably curious and willing to travel unknown routes to see what I turn up, where I end up, who I meet and how I change. I hope to see you along the way.

Why 18 chains?


"Thence S 18.62 chains, thence S 77 deg 36 min E 18.38 chains"

This text and map snippet are from an early twentieth-century property survey and map of my dad's property in northern Louisiana. Back then surveyors used a fixed-length chain and a compass to measure and demarcate property boundaries. Start at a corner, plant a stake. Walk on an azimuth toward the second corner. Record how many chain lengths to get there. Get an azimuth to the third corner and go. Record how many chain lengths to get there. Repeat until you get to the last corner. From there, get the azimuth back to the first corner stake and go. Record how many chain lengths to get there. Now you are back at the beginning - similar to doing philosophy.