Monthly Archives: April 2015

Oh Baltimore

I guess this needs repeating:

To those of you who cannot understand why a certain group of people could be enraged to the point where they would loot and otherwise destroy their neighborhood, close your eyes for a minute and consider what you would do if:

You belonged to a group of people who, statistically, were 25 times more likely to be shot by your local “peace” officers than anyone else, and…

If the police were 25 times more likely to KILL you, then consider how much more likely they would be to stop you, harass you, beat you, and otherwise rub your powerlessness in your face, and… Continue reading

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Judge, jury, and executioner?

“I never broke the law. I am the law!”
–Judge Dredd

In the United States and, indeed, most other countries that claim the mantle of being “civilized,” there is a deliberate chain of events that is designed to unfold between the presumption of quilt and the actions stemming from that presumption. That chain of events is lengthy, and it is lengthy by design. It is lengthy by design so that every opportunity can be made by the accused to refute the presumption of guilt before the state can accord a punishment that will have irrevocable consequences. This applies to everything from petty larceny to the death penalty. Especially the death penalty. Continue reading

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The Problem With Hillary Clinton: A Liberal’s Perspective

The problem with Hillary is not her ties to Wall Street, although they are certainly troubling. The problem with Hillary is not the sources of funding for the Clinton Foundation, although they are troubling, too. The problem is not Benghazi or “email-gate,” as these are merely cases of Republican hate-mongering, although the email issue does seem to point to a troubling lack of common sense. The problem is not all the other troubling issues, factual and otherwise, that will undoubtedly be uncovered and perhaps unfairly spotlighted during her campaign.  The problem is not even the troubling issue of political dynasties. No, the problem is much more basic than any of these. Continue reading

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On Consciousness, part 1: An evolutionary basis

What is consciousness? That is a question that has stymied humanity for probably as long as we have been conscious, whatever that is. And with theories ranging from the purely mechanistic to the deeply spiritual and everywhere in between, it doesn’t seem that we will be converging on a definitive answer any time soon. For my own interests, however, the question is not so much the how, but the why. I am not so much interested in how we are conscious, but why we became conscious and, building on that, where consciousness will be taking us in the future.

In discussing why we became conscious, a good starting point is to examine the evolutionary basis for consciousness. There is still a quite robust debate as to whether consciousness is, in itself, a selectable trait or merely a consequence of something else, but let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that there is an evolutionary advantage for consciousness; that being conscious gives us a competitive edge. If so, then why might that be? Continue reading

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The science is settled: global warming is caused by cosmic rays

Actually, it’s not. The evidence is irrefutable at this point that global warming is being caused primarily by human manipulation of the environment. But does it matter? Despite increasingly dire predictions by scientists and international organizations—and recent evidence that events are progressing even faster than predicted—our world leaders have shown little to no zeal for scaling back the burning of fossil fuels that is pushing global warming towards a civilization-destroying catastrophe. Indeed, it may as well be caused by cosmic rays for all they seem to care. Continue reading

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