Beta Culture: Fresh Crops in Failing Fields

mall 2

Thinking out loud here ... I've written about converting at least one closed church into a Beta Culture Nexus in every large city in America. But I have this slightly different idea for ... well, think about this: Look at this article about abandoned malls across the U.S.: Completely Surreal Photos of America's Abandoned Malls. Say you acquired an abandoned mall at a fire-sale price. You turn most of the shops inside into dwelling units, nice condos, plus maybe a small hotel. You … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Social Sharing, Social Shaping


Early on, I asked myself why anyone would want to join an artificially-created culture, which would, obviously, entail some sort of adherence or obedience to cultural norms. If you're going to be a member of the Water Buffaloes, you have to wear the Big Funny Hat, right? But what if you don't want to wear the Big Funny Hat? The answer is that people would join if they knew the culture would empower and protect them. If it made them BETTER people, healthier, smarter, more effective in the … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Forgotten Gods 2


Following up on my thesis that "remnant religion" still occupies us in ways simultaneously invisible and rampant, I've been thinking about movies, and science. Maybe a dozen times in my life, I've tossed out the general question: If you could live to be 200/500/forever (the question has varied with each asking), would you? I've been amazed each time, not so much at the quantity of negative answers (a huge majority), but at the INSTANTANEOUS negative answers. No thought required, people … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Long Shadow of Forgotten Gods


So you’re an atheist, and you’re totally free of religion, right? Oh ... maybe. And maybe not. Say one of your ancestors learned this thing in church a thousand years or so ago: The Book of Bob 9:17 — Verily, God saith that all men shall roll down the tops of their socks, or they shall never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but shall instead be bound screaming in a pit of flaming scorpions, which shall rend them even unto the ends of time. It’s safe to say that still today, … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: A Citizen of Earth


I don't think I ever really got around to explaining the title of this blog. So why “A Citizen of Earth”? When I was still in elementary school (grades 1-6, here in the U.S.), my oldest brother graduated to high school (grades 9-12). I’d been hearing him cheer for his junior high school (grades 7-8) football team — the Catamounts — for two years, but here he was suddenly backing his new high school team, the Eagles. Something about being a Catamount supporter felt natural and … [Read more...]

An Epiphany on Road Rage … Online

road rage

I had to do a silly damned "defensive driving course" at work. It was this SIX HOUR LONG online thingie, where you have to read a short screen of text, and then wait out a timer before you can click to the next short screen of text, and read that. Argh. If you were ever a student and had a writing assignment that included a necessary word or page count, and you used up your facts or thoughts halfway through that assigned length and had to pad things out with extra words, you can imagine what … [Read more...]

The Dark Side of the Sun


I belong to a couple of Facebook groups on Transhumanism and the Singularity, and I avidly read the articles and posts. But I don't buy into every one of them. Yes, I want fantastic things to happen. Hell, I fully EXPECT fantastic things to happen. But ... a lot of the articles are more about possibilities than realities.  For instance, I think we've been predicting safe, abundant fusion energy -- any time now -- for the past 50 years. I've kinda begun to wonder "What if it just isn't … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Footprint of the Past

War Dead

One of my many interests is the residual social / societal effects of historical events and social movements. For instance, the fact that we still say “God bless you” when people sneeze, 14 centuries after the supposed origin of the practice ... One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of … [Read more...]

Killing People, With Kindness


Watch this video of a 94-year-old man in an epic 65-meter footrace last year. Would it sadden you to know the winner, European masters athletics champion Emiel Pauwels, is now dead? And that he deliberately ended his own life a week or so ago? 95-year-old ‘Belgian Bolt’ holds big party before ending life by euthanasia In his hometown of Bruges he held a big party with friends and family two days before his death – and even downed two glasses of champagne for the … [Read more...]

Population Pessimism and Diminished Personal Freedom

No Limits 1

Face it, if your Superbowl party includes a sofa that comfortably seats four people, and you have game snacks for four people, but two more people show up ... Everybody has less room. Less popcorn. Less beer. Those two extra people COST something to the others. Further, if you lived on an island with sharply limited resources, in a situation where growing population had finally bumped up against those limits, you’d be forced by the situation to demand less for yourself, to work more … [Read more...]