Herd Immunity: The Internet vs. Education

Rather than amplifying intelligence, I think the Internet and TV are taking the place of intelligence. Because information is available in instants, you don't have to actually learn things, to commit them to memory and have them become a part of your own thinking processes. A great deal of the time, for too many of us, we don't even have to THINK. We become less practiced at it. We become lazy data-tourists rather than farmers of knowledge.Of course we don't ALL become less practiced at … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: Tools 2

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Tools are under-appreciated by most of us officey types. Whether it’s a circular saw, a drill, a planer, an arc welder, or just a simple car jack, too many of us aren’t ready to get our hands dirty.It’s not the dirt, of course. It’s just that certain tools can be outside our bubble of competence, and it’s human nature to shy away from getting involved in something we probably, in the beginning, won’t be much good at.But here’s the really great thing about tools: If you have the right tool … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: Tools

Advice to moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins, anybody with young people in your lives:There are few material things you can give kids that will make such a difference in their lives as good tools. Carpentry tools, woodworking tools, mechanic's tools, plumbing tools, metalworking tools, electrician's tools, -- kitchen tools! blacksmith's tools! -- tools for servicing appliances, computers, mechanical devices.The card should say "Dear One: Build things. Make things. Fix … [Read more...]

A Dark Tide in Human Affairs

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I was thinking today about large-scale social motion in a negative direction. Not as some sort of accident, but as the result of some deeper human sociological/psychological tides.I think of bikers and biker culture. The skull motif so penetrates biker culture that it makes its way onto everything -- bikes, t-shirts, leather jackets, bandanas, helmets, face masks, even tattoos. It's interesting to me that this nihilistic image is of such unquestionable importance, and has no … [Read more...]

Earth Day 2015: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves

[This is a repost of a piece I did several years ago, slightly edited for 2015. This essay is also part of the conceptual force driving my thoughts on the need for Beta Culture.]Leaf OneCon games and sleight-of-hand magic work because, one, we humans only have so much attention to spare at any one moment, and two, they direct that attention deliberately in one direction. If you look at where the finger points, you miss … well, everything else.Like the movie teen backing through a d … [Read more...]

A Little Ditty About Recent Events

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I became an atheist, and joined in with others, because I wanted to belong to a Community of Reason. This current (and lengthy past!) shit I see going on with the flaming, mob targeting, jargon-slinging, code-wording, character assassination, labeling and pigeonholing -- I hate being even on the edges of it, because the people doing it are as stupid and evil in their own way as the righty-religious community I escaped from. Waaaaay too many of the people I once thought were members of my … [Read more...]


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