Staying Awake to Anti-Islamic Bigotry

I’m a big fan of Bill Maher and rarely miss his show. I agree with a lot of what he says, but certainly not everything. I’m also very attentive to Sam Harris. He’s become one of the leading proponents of the notions that consciousness and free will are illusions (ideas I oppose), and he’s been exceptionally disciplined and precise in making his arguments. So I was very attentive to the famous debate with Ben Affleck about liberal attitudes toward Islamic illiberalism, and I posted my response in a couple of places online, including Juan Cole’s Informed Comment and … 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 →

Now for some real science

Reading about the retirement of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, I learned that he gained a great deal of inspiration and insight from a physicist named Carver Mead. I’m sorry to say I had never heard of Mead before now, or at least I don’t recall reading about him. In any case, Mead is a major figure in modern technology, especially VLSI design. Entrepreneurs and VCs appreciate him for the observation, “Listen to the technology; find out what it’s telling you.” Here’s a truly intriguing interview with Mead (originally published by American Specatator) about how the Einstein-Bohr … Continue reading →

God Controls the Climate

Indulging my curiosity about the question “Why didn’t the democrats pass a budget in 2010,” I came across this wide-ranging Bill O’Reilly interview of Charles Rangel at Mediaite. O’Reilly further secures his scientific bona fides with the line “God controls the climate!” My view on the budget issue, by the way, is that the Dems dropped the ball. If there’s one job a Congress is obliged to do, that’s it. … Continue reading →