An example of the "big picture" perspective is this piece I did for Thomas Kuhn's PBS series "Closer to Truth." Are we living in a simulation?
If any of you know teachers or librarians who happen to love science fiction and also live near Northern California or Nevada, clue them in that this year’s World Science Fiction Convention - in Reno this August - will feature a college credit course on the teaching of science fiction!
== A final word on the "rapture" event ==
I just saw that Mr. Camping was "disappointed" after expecting 200 million to be raptured! Wow, what a liberal. When I first heard of this rapture thing, the number was 144,000 exactly, and unbaptized children need not apply! (see below) BTW that's not the number going to heaven, it's the number who are so wonderful they don't have to suffer Tribulation first.
Funny how memes mutate, under criticism. By the time the “Left Behind” series took this up, they realized that sending a billion kids into years of torment might not be the best way to pitch their story! So pre-puberty children got taken up, even from Hindu or Muslim homes! Huge change. Some flexibility! (To get a clear picture of the story they are talking about - derived from a portion of the Christian Bible that Martin Luther personally despised, and that Jesus would have reviled, see Apocamon.) So the circle of inclusion has gradually expanded - though it still encourages followers to gleefully relish their inherent superiority and the prospect of their neighbors' coming torment.
(One person writes in to explain the original 144,000 figure: "They were to be the first "fruit" and once they were "sealed" they could go forth and bring the rest of the world in, therefore allowing for many more people. But the first 144,000 were crucial, coming from the 12 tribes of Israel. "Revelation 7:3-8 - saying: "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads." And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel" (12 tribes, and 12,000 from each). Jehovah's Witnesses are said to believe in this firmly, and the rest of their member will be left behind to teach."
(Ah... so what part of not harming the Earth is so hard to understand? And why have they stopped mentioning this 144,000 thing? And wasn't the Temple supposed to be rebuilt (God forbid) before all this happens, so the newly Christianized twelve Jewish tribes (including the ten missing ones) can be sealed? In which case, all we need to do, in order to prevent this psychopathic Patmos scenario from ever happening is simply NOT build a building? Okay then.)
The crucial point. This is all so self-centered and solipsistic - so totally focused on the individual's greedy urge to leave everybody else behind - that Jesus would certainly have nothing to do with the whole thing. People who pray for such an event to happen are inherently UNWORTHY of rapture because they are praying for their neighbors to suffer. That’s it. Summarized accurately. Top, middle and bottom.
-- which is what a number of leading presidential candidates openly avow to do! They avow to follow preachers who openly call more than half of all living Americans "damned souls." Pastors and congregations who pray for the coming of events that will send more than half of their countrymen into agony and eternal hell. Events that will end democracy, abolish rule "by the people" and terminate the United States of America. Events that will rain "fire from the sky."
And these folks want us "damned souls" to vote them keys to our nuclear arsenal.
This isn't just amusing, people. (Though I had hoped there'd be more stunts with empty suits of clothes left on sidewalks!) This matter is one that's relevant to politics and the rise of a new Know-Nothing movement that hates modernity, that hates science. And that hates us.
== Some Science and Cool Tidbits.==
This wondrous solar powered plane isn't a gimmick anymore! It looks so retro nostalgic... like something from the 1920s... yet it works. It stayed aloft 26 hours on just sunlight & batteries... and looks so cool. Also, it probably doesn't have much of a heat signature....
Pixar as an early propaganda wing of the Uplift Institute? Pushing the notion of non human intelligence?
The world's leading climate change research organization issued a report yesterday that has renewable energy boosters cheering, as it foresees substantial growth in alternative energy sources over the next 40 years.
The military is taking climate change seriously. A recent report for Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said: "We must recognise that security means more than defense” -- urging a strategy of sustainability as climate change is "already shaping a 'new normal' in our strategic environment." The military intends to adapt, as must shipping, insurance, and even oil companies…
No one has ever floated a boat on another world, but NASA is now considering doing just that, on Saturn's icy moon Titan.
Red wine turns metal compound into superconductor. Sake, beer and whiskey also work?
Red colobus monkeys in Uganda's Kibale National Park are being hunted to extinction—by chimpanzees. According to a study published May 9 in the , this is the first documented case of a nonhuman primate significantly overhunting another primate species.
Wow. Stunning video: NASA captures giant comet hitting the sun. My doctorate was for analyzing the composition and behavior of comets BTW. Put a lot of it into Heart of the Comet. And at Caltech I was a solar astronomer! Combo-interests! Amazing.
== As for generations... ==
At last! Someone takes on generational nostalgia! Bill Clinton points out that if the Boomers are worse people than the WWII "greatest generation" then those “greatest” must not have been such great parents, hm? Mind you! I do believe that generation accomplished their historical missions pretty well. Moreover, we boomers have our problems. Our inherent generational trait is self-righteous indignation, a drug high we cannot kick and that is poisoning America with "culture war." America in particular will be better when our calmer kids take over! But that, too is the point.
Looking at our kids, I have to say -- we appear to have been terrific parents.
Mignon McLaughlin put it, “Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.”