The Trump-Kim Summit


So today Trump cancelled the summit with Kim Jong Un. This is amusing for several reasons.

To begin, numerous Trump supporters have been talking about Trump deserving the Nobel Peace Prize for tweeting intemperately about North Korea. The crowds at Trump’s campaign rallies (yes, he still/already is doing campaign rallies — it’s one of the only parts of the whole presidency thing he really likes) have been chanting “Nobel! Nobel!” and more than one right-wing “thinker” has opined that Trump is definitely deserving.

Now I’ll readily admit that Obama’s Peace Prize for not being Bush was hardly deserved, and I also wouldn’t want to rule out the possibility of Trump’s making progress on the North Korea problem. Continue reading


More Political Posts Coming

blues-bros-mallI thought I should issue a warning, given the nominal topic of this blog, that I intend to post more on U.S. politics in the near future.

Recent developments in the U.S. — the most obvious symptom of which is our current president — have got me thinking a lot more about politics and rationality.

And since this is a place I can write irresponsibly . . . well, you’ve been warned.

Can we call it “magic”?

This is a FaceBook conversation that I’m moving here because it’s too long-winded for a comment box.

A friend refers me to a post by someone known as the Archdruid, who likes to use the term “magic” to refer to an actual practice in our physical world:

The Golden Dawn definition is, “Magic is the art and science of bringing about a change of perception in accordance with will.”

I’m not as opposed as one might expect – given that I’m a hard-nosed reductive physicalist. It brought to mind the movement in psychiatry known as “cognitive behavioral therapy.” There too the idea is to reflectively change your way of thinking about a situation – so as to change your behavior and your emotional reaction.

I guess my main worry Continue reading

Wait, a buck fifty for a half gallon?

Vingt-cinq sous la demie
Cinquante sous le quart
Une piastre et demie
Paie le demi galon

I’ve been puzzled by those lyrics ever since I first heard them.

After all, there are four quarts in a gallon. So if I can get a quart of moonshine for fifty cents, why on Earth would I pay a buck and half for a half gallon? Does it come with a nice jug or something?

I figured it must just be those crazy Cajuns.

But then I happened to be in Dunkin’ Donuts the other day, and I saw that Cajuns aren’t the only ones.


There it is in black and white. Two bucks for 10 munchkins, and six bucks for 25. I’ll take two-and-a-half ten-counts, thanks.

Ça coûte rien du tout.

Flat-Earth Theory Lives!

I’ve traveled in a time machine!

back-to-the-future-deloreanIn the last post I talked about time travel to the past.  What about time travel to the future?

There’s a boring sense in which we’re all moving into the future at the rate of one second per second. But that’s not what we mean. What about farther into the future than it takes from our point of view? What about Marty McFly traveling from 1985 to today (October 21, 2015) while remaining young. Is that possible?

Yes, it is.

In fact, I’ve been in a time machine that takes its passengers into the future. It cost me several hundred dollars, and it wasn’t very far into the future, but still — I did it.

And in all likelihood, so have you. This marvelous time traveling device is — … — (wait for it) — Continue reading

Is time travel possible?

MV5BNjE5ODg4NzY1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI3MzYwMg@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Short answer: time travel to the past is possible (but not actual), and time travel to the future has actually happened already.

Today is Back to the Future Day, the day that Marty arrives in the future according to the 1989 movie. So it’s a fine day to discuss time travel.

Is time travel possible?

Well, to answer this, we first need to clarify what variety of time travel we’re considering.

What we usually have in mind is time travel to the past. But here there are distinct pictures that we have in mind. Continue reading