The Other Side of ‘Poor Robin Williams’

Robin Williams

Some part of this is probably gonna make you uncomfortable, but I'm gonna just toss it out here anyway:Robin Williams died today, of an apparent suicide. It’s strange how much it affects me. Years back when I was on vacation and Stephen Jay Gould died, I called home crying. That guy MATTERED to me. He was one of my people, a smart man and a scientist. The world was a colder, dumber, less interesting place when he died.And now Robin Williams is gone.On Facebook, a lot of people are p … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Book of Good Living … Again

good stuff

If you're a long-time reader here, you may remember a couple of Beta-Culture-related posts from 2012 about The Book of Good Living. If not, it's like this:You know all that wisdom the Bible supposedly contains? The Talmud? The Koran? What if you could get wisdom about life without all the goddy freight mixed in? Without all the "GOD SAYS DO THIS, DO THAT, OR BURN IN HELL FOREVER!" Might not be a bad thing, huh?The general model for where you get all the good advice is your parents, aunts … [Read more...]

Earth Day 2014: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves

earth_day_2012

[This is a repost of a piece I did several years ago, slightly edited for 2014. 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...]

Beta Culture: A Citizen of Earth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 right. The Cat … [Read more...]

Atheist Christmas Present from William Lane Craig

Fox Snooze

Eye roll. Fox Snooze gives us William Lane Craig writing A Christmas gift for atheists – five reasons why God exists. He starts out, annoyingly enough, with this: For atheists, Christmas is a religious sham. For if God does not exist, then obviously Jesus’ birth cannot represent the incarnation of God in human history, which Christians celebrate at this time of year.However, most atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief. Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat th … [Read more...]

Pain As a Monument to Life

_Dan Bright Sun 2

The question always comes up: What do you say to someone who's lost a loved one to death? How do you comfort them? Maybe the only useful answer is that there is no real comfort, and that that's a good thing.A few days ago I found a microcassette tape of my Cowboy Dad talking to me. The tape is nothing special, it’s just him sitting there in his living room talking. Teaching me something ... and that was so HIM.I wish I had more such tapes. I wish I had video. Jeez, I want HIM back. But I … [Read more...]


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