Showing posts from September, 2012

Letter to a friend

It took me a while. But, I finally came around to writing this letter to an acquaintance with significant economic power. Insignificant compared to the US President; but significant compared to mine.

The thoughts in this letter are very general. The questions could be addressed to any person of his class. So, I see no harm in publishing it. I'm interested in what people of power think of these questions.

[Dear powerful/influential friend:]

I'm wondering about your thoughts on life extension, artificial intelligence, human-machine integration, and the future of the human species (assuming there's going to be any).

I don't generally have this kind of conversation with people of your generation, largely because they seem to not be interested in this topic. Most people appear to assume that the way things have been for ourselves, our fathers and grandfathers are how things are going to continue, even in the face of compelling evidence that this is unlikely to be the case.

There must always be... a Lich King

After having contemplated religion for a couple decades, I've come to a tentative conclusion about religion and the state. This conclusion may sound surprising.

I'll put it like this:
I'm atheist.I think the overall effects of faith are harmful.Separation of church and state makes the problem worse.This is not to say I want religion to run countries. Not at all. Quite the opposite.

In order to control irrational and fundamentalist tendencies, countries have to run their religions.

Consider the following graphic:

Out of 11 countries in this graphic where support for evolution is over 75%, the following have, or have until recently had, a state religion:

CountryChurchOfficial UntilIcelandLutheran Evangelical ChurchcontinuingDenmarkChurch of Denmark (Lutheran)continuingSwedenChurch of Sweden (Lutheran)2000EnglandChurch of England (Anglican)continuingNorwayChurch of Norway (Lutheran)2012
One could possibly also count the following as relatively recent departures:

ItalyRoman Catho…

7.6 earthquake in Costa Rica

Damn this earthquake! My shower gel fell off the windowsill. Fortunately, my shampoo was unaffected.

Seriously, though - our building shook a lot. It was pretty scary. We're grateful to the scientists, engineers and construction crews whose work allowed us to survive this with (so far) no visible damage. If we lived in Haiti, we would not have been so fortunate.

Thank you.