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Fractals of Change

nothing great has ever been accomplished without irrational exuberance

Last Build Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:21:20 PDT


The Failure of the Center

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:21:20 PDT

In The Ship of State is Taking on Water, I warned that increased rocking means we’re in danger of floundering from water coming over both rails as we lunge from side to side. Reader comments have shown both that my metaphor suffers from assuming there’s a strict left-right dichotomy and that failures of the center have much to do with...

The Fantasy Tweet

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:10:48 PDT

Trump’s Great Chance. As of tonight, Republicans in the House of Representatives can’t agree on a healthcare bill that enough of them will vote for given unanimous Democrat opposition to any Republican bill. The President, who really doesn’t belong to either party, could just call a halt to the partisan charade. The tweet would look like this: The truth is...

The Ship of State Hanging by a Thread

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:00:00 PDT

We Gotta Talk to Each Other. Wednesday I blogged The Ship of State is Taking on Water. This morning was kind enough to run the post. The mainly civil thread of comments it attracted makes me very hopeful that we can steady the ship by talking to rather than past or at each other. Here's the best example: commenter...

The Ship of State is Taking on Water

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:33:02 PDT

A million years ago when I was in college, my friends and I drove to Cornell for a party. Friends there had arranged blind dates and even a boat for an evening on Cayuga Lake. The boat was basically a raft with floatation provided by barrels underneath (I don’t think Styrofoam had been invented yet). There was a cabin on...

Free Speech Isn’t Granted by the First Amendment

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 20:13:44 PDT

It’s an “unalienable” right. Nevertheless it’s a right which is endangered by the intolerance of both the right and the left. Lately and near home some have thought to excuse the disgraceful assault on free speech and free debate, not to mention the physical assault on a professor, at Middlebury College on the grounds that, since the college isn’t the...

Fair Warning in the Desert

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 02:11:11 PDT

A racket overloaded my hearing aids. It sounded mechanical at first but I was in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve reslinging my pack after a snack and getting ready for the last long uphill of the day; nothing mechanical there. Then atavism overcame analysis and instinct recognized the sound. The rattlesnake sunning on the rock next to the one I sat...

Statement of Principles by Middlebury Faculty

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 06:02:19 PST

So far Bill McKibben has not signed on. Following the disgraceful events at Middlebury, which included shutting down an invited speaker and assaulting an escorting professor so she had to go to the ER, an impressively large group of Middlebury faculty have written a statement of principles defending free speech and asserting the importance of contrary views. They posted it...

Rules for Detecting BS

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 08:44:22 PST

Borrowed from Astronomer Carl Sagan. He called them rules for avoiding baloney but he wrote at a politer time. Given the flood of alleged science on the Internet and the impossibility of fact-checking it all, these rules are even more essential than when he wrote them. The list is from his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in...

The Differences between Camel’s Hump, VT and Camelback, AZ

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 15:48:26 PST

The most important difference between these two very different mountains is what happens when you stumble and reach out to grab the vertical object you see in your peripheral vision. On Camel’s Hump, the object may be a birch and you may crush a slug in your hand. Disgusting. On Camelback you will grab a cactus and you will wish...

Time to Face the Health Care Facts

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:00:26 PST

Fix or “repeal and replace” is a political issue. “So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the...