Success

I say, "If you do what you love with elan and determination, and don't worry about 'making a living at it', eventually you will 'succeed'." "Easy for you to say," says the spokesperson for all those in despair over their careers.  "You are the child of privilege, plus you got lucky." "This is true," I […]

Costs and Benefits

Warning: coarse language!  I just finished struggling with a triply-sealed container for the umpteenth time.  This time I was wise enough to get out my needle-nosed pliers before I broke a fingernail.  It made me wonder how many person-years of frustrating effort are wasted on this nonsense every minute.  (See below for my estimate.) "Wasted?  […]

Shells

Once upon a time there was a clam that grew a beautiful shell. The two halves of the shell were perfectly matched to each other and were very, very happy together. Most people don't realize that the clam's shell is the smart part. The clam itself is just a dumb mollusc. But to realize its […]

GOD & GUT

It all started like this: GOD (which stands for Good Ol' Deity, obviously an experimentalist) decided to do an experiment. "Bang!" He said, and there was a bang. A big one! However, since He had neglected to make a place for the big bang to go, it was hard to tell it had happened. That's […]

Transported

Pain! Searing, visceral, unendurable pain.  Terrifying pain, and then an end to endurance... I die.  And yet I am still here. What is "here"? Think.  What came before the pain?  I was testing the new Transporter... Oh my god, the Transporter must have malfunctioned!  But none of the birds and dogs showed the slightest discomfort […]

Identity

Your identity is your most valuable possession, in every sense of the word "valuable". At the crudest level, anyone who steals it (i.e. can successfully convince financial and/or governmental institutions that they are you) can empty your bank accounts, put you into unrecoverable debt, commit crimes for which you may be held responsible and trash […]

Will Freed

William Harris Freed was born in 2034 on the eve of the long awaited Singularity. By then the world was effectively dichotomized into various sects: those who swore allegiance to Nature's People versus those who put all their faith in the superior intelligence of CE's (Cybernetic Entities -- a term that embraced both pure machines […]

No One Else's Problem

In Chapter 3 of "Life, The Universe and Everything", Douglas Adams immortalized the idea of the "Somebody Else's Problem" field, which makes things invisible. We all tend to look at the world of politics and war through an S.E.P. field.  This has to stop. Consider the problem of Islamic terrorism: most non-Muslims feel that it […]

Communication

Academics pretend to believe that their writings are meant to transfer information intact from one mind to another. This is particularly ironic since they are so adept at preventing any such transfer, using ingenious obfuscatory language. But the model itself is deeply flawed. Words are intrinsically ambiguous, largely by design. When we read or hear […]

The Lover

"I tell you guys, that was the strangest case I ever had."  Mac Adams shook his head slowly and stared into his glass as if it held some secret wonder. Fred thought he was just mugging for effect.  "Come on, Mac, don't tease us. Strange how?"  They had all been buying pitchers and emptying them long enough to […]