Big History Project Contest

I submitted a video to the “What Does it Mean to Human” contest sponsored by the Big History Project. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut for the top 25. That suprised me, because I thought had done a pretty good job of resonating with Big History’s themes about thresholds of complexity. In any case, there’s no doubt in my mind that they picked the right winner… Abby Lammers. She made the the same fundamental point that John Green made in the video I pointed out last time, and she did it in a very succinct and engaging way. … Continue reading →

Secular Progress on YouTube

I had a surge of motivation sparked by a lot of serious reading over the last few months. I presented a talk on “Big Data in the Context of Big History” this past October at the General Semantics Conference in New York, and I’ve got a good chunk of an ambitious paper in progress. It incorporates a fast synopsis of the story I’m seeking to tell in The Purpose Driven Web, and compares Big Data to the Semantic Web, arguing that both technologies radically enable the call of well-sourced, graphable objects. And I might have something interesting to … Continue reading →

O’Reilly Vents Unbounded Hatred of Secular Progress

Bill O’Reilly’s rhetoric is reaching incendiary levels in the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection. “Traditionalism” might have won, O’Reilly argues, if Romney had organized his campaign in opposition to Secular Progress, defined for his critically astute viewers as a movement of pot smoking moocher libertines and baby killers who are dooming the country to a culture of dependency and poverty. Fortunately, the Republicans were defeated this time around, which means a major setback for their party’s recently-adopted traditions of science-denying supernaturalism, increasingly profound inequality, and outright war mongering. I’m not so sure the outcome of the election could … Continue reading →

We the People

The aspiration embodied in the statement “We the people” cast a long shadow in American and human history. William O. Douglas was very savvy in using the term “penumbras” to describe the extension of rights delineated in the Bill of Rights. That same extensive power fortifies the American and now global tradition of demanding the power and legitimacy of self-government. “We” is an expressly inclusive word, and a potent tool for those who are seeking to excise vestigial legacies of exclusion. In response to a thread on Facebook. … Continue reading →

Occupying Wall Street vs Protesting Washington

“All of these people should be after Obama and Holder!” Beneath the bluster, on this one O’Reilly is asking a fair question, and certainly an important one. The gist of the question, sobered up, is this: Given that the Occupiers are protesting criminality on Wall Street, why aren’t they going to Washington instead, in order to: 1) demand legal action against those who wrecked the financial system; 2) denounce the politicians who empowered the wreckers, and; 3) demand reforms that would prevent such crimes from happening again? Geraldo Rivera didn’t have the answer, and most liberals won’t. It’s … Continue reading →

America is in decline because of lies like this.

I simply don’t have the time to keep up with all the twisted truths and outright lies that O’Reilly’s been spewing over the last few weeks. Tonight I had to react. While watching I simultaneously felt horror at his blatant mischaracterizations of American history, and sadness that people may actually be relying on what he says to get their knowledge of history. If one lie tops them all (leaving aside his complete disregard of the legacy of slavery and segregation, and his reviling of the “have nots” for sucking up America’s wealth), it’s this, toward the end, President … Continue reading →