Politics is a sport

It has regular contests in which score is kept. It has seasons ending in scheduled championship contests. It has teams, complete with managers (and even owners). It has plays and strategies, many of which fail. It has scandals and career-ending injuries. It has a daily highlight reel. It has major and minor leagues and recruitment between the two. It has a large media establishment that … Continue reading Politics is a sport

On the proper way to eat sushi

Most of Japanese TV is about food, which is odd considering that Japan consumes fewer calories per person than any of the major industrialized nations, by far. Not that there are many cooking shows. There aren’t. Unlike in America, where people learn to cook from books and TV personalities, Japanese people learn to cook from their mothers. TV here is filled with “magazine shows” which … Continue reading On the proper way to eat sushi

AI and the future of humanity

The question posed to me was whether there’s cause to be optimistic about AI. My answer is that that’s an oversimplification almost to the point of farce. To be clear, I’m not anti-AI. It really does have the potential to make life better for everybody. And anyway, as with genetic modification (of both food and humans), you couldn’t stop it even if you wanted to. The issue, … Continue reading AI and the future of humanity

The Problem with “The Three-Body Problem”

From a recent review of Cixin Liu’s Nebula Award-nominated and Hugo Award-winning “The Three-Body Problem” on Big Think: “Why We Should Really Stop Trying to Contact Aliens” by Robby Berman Cixin’s writing is beyond smart — it’s brilliant — and it’s science fiction of the best kind, with mind-boggling ideas and perceptions, and characters you care about. His concept of the dark forest, though presented … Continue reading The Problem with “The Three-Body Problem”

The link between digital art and hegemony

This is “Splash goat” by Zhelong Xu. It’s not pottery. It’s computer generated. It was made by a Chinese artist and it beautifully illustrates how easy it will be to fake just about everything. I expect forgery will make a comeback, only rather than forging “lost” works of art, talented artists will be paid by nation-states, media outlets, and criminal syndicates to forge reality itself … Continue reading The link between digital art and hegemony

A Case Study in Post-Factualism

In case you haven’t heard, The History Channel recently aired a documentary suggesting that Amelia Earhart survived her trek across the Pacific. The evidence was based mostly on a photograph, recently discovered in the National Archives (where it had apparently been misfiled), showing a woman with an appearance similar to Earhart’s sitting on a dock watching a boat haul a plane that also looked a … Continue reading A Case Study in Post-Factualism

More on the Limitations of Writing Really Good Villainesses

One of the reasons Darth Vader is a timeless villain is because he’s Luke’s father. Luke, as the hero, represents us — either indirectly in that he fights for us, or directly as a stand-in, a power-projection of the self. Vader, then, in perverting his role as father, inverts it and becomes the antithesis of protector, and his betrayal of Luke becomes the betrayal of … Continue reading More on the Limitations of Writing Really Good Villainesses

I resist violent resistance

There’s an idea going round now, inside all the rest of it, that anything short of violent resistance is, at best, appeasement, and at worst, tacit collaboration. It’s the language of extremes that admits of only two distinctions (what is formally called a false dilemma): those who are with us — where you’re only truly with us if you’re with us in full — and … Continue reading I resist violent resistance

In which I blame teachers for things

In light of recent news, and after a brief exchange I had when I shared this picture yesterday, I’ve been thinking a lot about science and science education. I blame teachers for this mess. I used to teach science. I even taught Science, which is different than science, after one of my freshman biology students, a Christian and a creationist, asked to learn more about … Continue reading In which I blame teachers for things