Archives for April 2013

4th Grade Quiz: Four Ways Not to be Fooled

"What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino?"  goes the old joke. The answer: Elephino (hell if I know)!To the question of whether the attached image is the real thing, that's the best I can figure out. (Click to see it full-size.)I saw it this morning on the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason Facebook page, a link shared by J.O., commenter from Gothenburg, Sweden. The original image appears to be from Imgur.The Imgur side-caption says the picture was … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: A Community Nexus

One of the problems I have with writing about Beta Culture is that I want it to make sense to people, but that it’s in my head as a growing gestalt – a huge, block consisting of many, many pieces (and hundreds of pages of notes) –  becoming progressively more complex and exciting the longer I consider it.I want to write about it in a way that carefully explains it – it’s a new idea to most people, after all, and things like that are always difficult to wrap your head around – and that means I … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Patheos Intro, Part 4

[ See Beta Culture Intro Part 1, Part 2, Part 3] Futures Big and Small Say there’s this future out there. And it’s ... some way.I mean, some real things are in it, and some real things are happening in it, and there are preceding real things – objects and events and people – that cause those things to be there, doing what they’ll do.There are two futures we’re talking about. Or, really, one future viewed at two very different scales.There’s the sort of private-life future that we ou … [Read more...]

The Freedom of Vanished Ripples

I Carried the Stone the first time when I was 3 years old.I don’t remember it, of course, but my father was so proud he filmed it and I watched it years later. There I was, all 35 pounds of me, carrying a 10-pound Stone. I managed to carry it almost all the way across our living room before I fell with it and chipped one of my baby teeth. In the movie, my mother picked me up and inspected the broken tooth, glancing angrily at my father, but of course she stayed silent. A chipped tooth is n … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Patheos Intro, Part 3

[ See Beta Culture Intro Part 1, Part 2 ]So if we're talking about culture, let's talk about culture. From Wikipedia: “In the 20th century, ‘culture’ emerged as a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of human phenomena that cannot be attributed to genetic inheritance. Specifically, the term ‘culture’ in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Patheos Intro, Part 2

[ Start with Beta Culture: Patheos Intro, Part 1 ]Pretty much every civilization and culture on Earth so far has had religion somewhere near its heart, and even those today not overtly religious are colored with it in some deep and not-always-noticeable ways. In every previous age, we would call the span of recorded time encompassing all those religious nations, city-states, cultures and tribes simply “history.” But in THIS moment, for the first time, it’s possible to imagine something diffe … [Read more...]