Blog Archives

The Future of this Blog

I suppose I should start by saying that this blog does have a future.

That may be surprising to some of you. Over the last few years I’ve written less and less here, to the point where any thought about blogging tends to be followed immediately by wondering how long ago I last posted something.  Read the rest of this entry

the psychology of power

Hello, readers. I’ve been digging through my drafts folder, deleting everything that doesn’t look like I can still get a post out of it, and I found this apparently complete post just sitting in there. I originally wrote it on February 17th, 2013, and I have no idea why I didn’t post it. I probably felt that I had more to say or something. Anyway, since I haven’t posted anything in a while, I figured I’d toss this up for you.

Interestingly, I don’t think I ever wrote a review of this book. Which is a shame, since it’s my favorite by this author so far. Maybe I’ll read it again and write about it soon, who knows.

Everything that follows the asterisks is from February 2013.

*** Read the rest of this entry

A day out

Yesterday I took the day off. I bought some sandwiches, snacks and drinks, packed them into my big messenger bag, and got on bus 22 towards the Marina. I spent most of the day in the Presidio, or walking.

I did an awful lot of walking, now that I think of it.

So here are some photos and thoughts from my day off. I make no promises of anything interesting turning up in this post.  Read the rest of this entry

Why Churches?

A conversation on facebook got me thinking about this. Why do people go to churches? I mean, in theory what purpose do churches serve? From my outsider’s point of view churches don’t seem to do anything but bore people, ask for money, and protect child abusers, but clearly people must be getting something out of it.

I only ever attended one church service, when I was about eight years old. I went along with the neighbors after their kids invited me. I don’t remember much, mostly being very bored and very uncomfortable, there was something profoundly creepy to me about all these grownups talking so seriously about stuff that seemed obviously make-believe. I never went back, and I’ve never felt that I was missing anything by it.

But many people go every week, sometimes more than once. Why? This is something I hadn’t really thought of before, it was always just something lots of people did, but the more I think about it the weirder it seems.

If you’re a church-goer I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment and tell me what you get out of it. From your point of view, what do they actually do?

The end is nigh?

I’d read the blog post, and was skimming the comments when I saw a link to this Wikipedia page. That is a really long list of end of the world predictions. If you worry about the Mayan calendar or Nibiru or some other scenario happening soon, perhaps you can take some comfort in seeing that the vast majority of those predictions are already in the past.

The next one on that list, which is also the next I’ve heard of, is Ronald Weinland’s prediction of May 27 of this year. I’m not especially concerned about this, not because of my lack of piety, but because at this point there have been so many predictions that I can’t believe Jesus would take the trouble to issue a warning. I mean, why bother when pretty much everyone is going to ignore it for very sensible reasons?

The sad truth is that an actual end of the world event would probably be beyond our ability to do anything about. But there are cataclysmic events worth thinking about and planning for. Earthquakes, cyclones, volcanoes and tsunamis are all very real, and it’s certainly worthwhile to plan for them.

And then there’s something in between. Read the rest of this entry

A day offline

So during the SOPA strike I thought it would be interesting to not only black out my site and not post, but to not use the internet at all. The result is a fascinating lesson in how entwined into my daily life the thing has become.

I had already installed the operating system updates when I realized that counted as “using the internet”. But then I went and installed them on the laptop anyways, because there was security stuff in there.

I settled down to read Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, a book I picked up at a library sale for very cheap and never got around to opening. I had only read a few pages before an interesting math puzzle presented itself to me: How close to Hawaii did ancient explorers have to get before they could see it? Read the rest of this entry

The Freedom to Define Freedom

This one’s actually from yesterday, but since I posted about rain then I figured I’d save it for today. As a bonus, if I write about them a day behind I have a spare day in case I hate the topic and don’t have any ideas on my own.

Topic #269:

What is freedom? When do you feel most free in your job? In your day? Least free? When is it better to not be free?

Ah, freedom. A complicated concept, made especially murky since it’s become a buzzword. (Some part of me feels sad that my spellcheck recognizes “buzzword” but not “spellcheck”) Freedom is one of those words that implies more than it says. It can be difficult to define clearly even when used in fairly specific terms. For example “you have freedom to travel” could mean as little as “it’s legally possible for you to travel”, while it implies more, in this example generally that such travel would be relatively easy and without interference or molestation. (Make your own joke here) Read the rest of this entry

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