Monthly Archives: February 2013

Let’s be rational about climate change

There is much fear and hype going around about climate change, on both sides. So let’s see if we can cut through some of this, establish some rational facts, and discuss what this means.
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Filed under Climate Change, Fear, Riding the Curve, Solutions

Fear is the mind killer

Fear is an exceptionally potent motivator. And there is a reason for this: fear bypasses rational thought, acting directly on the “fight or flight” reflex that has keep our species alive for literally millions of years. By tapping into deeply subconscious feelings, fear can be used to compel us to do things we ordinarily would not consider doing; sometimes for our own good; many times not; and, a lot of times, into doing frivolous things for which the outcome is irrelevant to us — except for the fact that it draws our attention away from that which we should be focusing on.
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Filed under Fear, Technology

Robots are not real

My dog is much more than something that barks and performs tricks. When she greets me at the door, she teaches me the value of companionship. When she’s hungry or wants to go out, she reinforces the responsibility that comes with caring for another living being. When she snuggles up to me on the couch, she is rewarding me for the trust I have earned from her. When she sleeps between me and my wife on the bed, and we are both holding her, she acts as a conduit between us that enhances my feelings of coexistence and connectedness. And when she ultimately moves on to doggie heaven – as all dogs do at some point in time – she will teach me an important lesson about grief and the cycle of life. As all my dogs have.

This, however, will teach me nothing: Robotic ‘Zoomer’ Performs Same Tricks as a Real Dog
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Filed under Robots, Snake Oil, Technology

Those who don’t know history are doomed to live in bliss

Edmund Burke: those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.

Samuel Clemens: history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

William Gibson: If you’re fifteen or so, today, I suspect that you inhabit a sort of endless digital Now, a state of atemporality enabled by our increased communal prosthetic memory…
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Riding the curve down: a strategy for survival

If you take a tour of the Internet on any given day, it’s hard to come away without a sense that things are going awry.  Whether people are talking about climate change, breakdown of society, peak whatever — there is a feeling out there that maybe the best years of our civilization are behind us, and we should all maybe just hunker down in our bunkers and ride out the storm, whatever it might be.
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Filed under Riding the Curve, Solutions

The Slendertone as a parable

My wife recently brought to my attention the fact that ongoing excesses in eating habits and a lack of exercise have predictably caused a corresponding increase in my waist size. So, as this seems to be more or less a yearly event, and because I have had success with this in the past, I dutifully logged onto the Internet, looked at the newest shiny waist-reduction tech out there, weeded out the obvious snake oil, researched the rest, and chose a device that many people seemed to have had good results with. And, voila! The device came in the mail a couple of weeks ago; I’ve been using it regularly; and it feels like it’s working. Problem solved, right?
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Filed under Parables, Snake Oil, Technology

First Post and Mission Statement

Saint Thomas Aquinas is on record saying, “the name of being wise is reserved to him alone whose consideration is about the end of the universe, which end is also the beginning of the universe.” 
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