Has the Presidency Become Too Powerful?

February 2019 The question in the title would be timely even if the "T" word had never become such a fixture in our public life.  The past two years have simply forced an issue that's been brewing for a good while.  It's astonishing, really, that nobody has tackled it earlier since it sticks out like a sore thumb.  What we see playing out before our eyes in real-time is the contest between a traditional conception [...]

2019-02-13T10:20:29+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Has the Presidency Become Too Powerful?

Thought Journal for February, 2019

Short pieces from the month collected into one post. A lot of politics this month so be forewarned . :-) News Cycles and Information Overload We retired Boomers remember the old days when following the news meant a half hour around dinnertime and a look at the papers.   That notion will strike digital natives as hopelessly anachronistic.   I agree that it was perhaps too little of a good thing -- Walter Cronkite of an evening [...]

2019-02-14T07:33:51+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Thought Journal for February, 2019

Democratic Socialists: the New Kids on the Block

January 2019 We've long been in need of some new blood in the U.S. political landscape and it looks like we've got it now: the Democratic Socialists have arrived.  Let's say hi and see what they're up to. First of all, let's deal with the "S" word: socialist.  If you happen to live in Western Europe it's a word you're familiar with because it's been around for donkey's years.  When I lived in Germany in the [...]

2019-01-26T01:17:45+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Democratic Socialists: the New Kids on the Block

Coupling Instrumental and Ambient Reason

January 2019 The standard division of reason into two aspects -- instrumental and value -- has seen us humans beat around quite a few philosophical bushes over the centuries.  I've recently done some research to get a handle on current strains of thought on the subject.  As I worked through the material I realized that my thinking has moved toward a different division of the aspects of reason, one that found no reflection in the [...]

2019-01-19T13:17:43+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

The Sixth Mass Extinction: Kissing it Goodbye

September 2018 Yesterday I got the Kindle version of a book I read a few years ago, The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.  It made a very strong impression on me when I first read it and many bits of information I gathered from it stayed with me over the years since the first read.  Recent research I've done on the Sixth Mass Extinction (hereafter SME for short) brought me back into contact [...]

2019-01-17T23:48:28+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on The Sixth Mass Extinction: Kissing it Goodbye

Thought Journal for January 2019

Short entries on different topics gathered together in a single post. The Digital Bunker Is The Place For Me I was around when all this digital stuff started.  That makes me a dinosaur, true, but it also makes me a person who remembers what life was like before digital reality swamped us. Here I sit now in the middle of the Digital Revolution just like everybody else and -- however odd it may seem -- I [...]

2019-01-21T02:51:18+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Year-End Review of Politics for 2018

December 2018 (see the Links page here for additional resources on this post) Well, it's been quite a year.  In this post I'm going to pretend to be a political commentator from my position as a voting member of the Great Unwashed with a vested interest in whether things work or not.  Particularly in the second half of the year I found myself being drawn out into ever wider realms of research on things like income [...]

2019-01-17T23:03:19+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Climate Change as a Personal Agenda

December 2018 At the beginning of this year the amount of substantive material in the mainstream media about climate change was scant.  That changed in the second half of the year with headlines about it popping up all over the place.  Even now you have to squeeze past the controversy to get to the information itself.  Going straight to the Science Guys doesn't guarantee success, either, because -- no big surprise -- we're crap at [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:38+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Shifting Perspective 3: Humans and the Microcosm

December 2018 When you learn the facts of the situation, it's really quite humbling.  Microorganisms make up about 60% of the biomass on the Planet's surface.  They thrive in an astonishing variety of environments.  They've been around for nearly 4 billion years of the Planet's 4.5 billion year history.  Their biochemical processes are worthy of a PhD and their metabolic repertoires encompass substances across an enormous spectrum, including some that would kill us humans in [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:38+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Shifting Perspective 2: Humans and the Cosmos

December 2018 My interest in astronomy goes back donkey's years.  During a respite from the work world between 2007 and 2010 I had time to dig into the subject in greater depth than ever before and went hog wild learning all I could, devouring popular science books on the subject with great voracity.  I also read widely in quantum theory and cosmology.  It's all absolutely riveting no matter what scale of reality you choose to [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:38+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Shifting Perspective 1: Humans and the Planet

December 2018 Over the past few months I've been doing a lot of reading in one of my favorite areas: paleontology.  No, I'm not dying to get geared up for a field assignment, I let other people walk the talk -- e.g. Richard Fortey pelted by chill downpours in Scotland as he examines Precambrian schists.  I feel enormously grateful that their discomfort yields interesting copy I can read sprawled on the bed in my jammies.  [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:39+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

The Cloud of Unknowing: Our Native State

November 2018 I've pilfered the title of a work of medieval mysticism for this post because it captures exactly what I want to talk about: what we don't know and how much of our native state is formed by that absence of knowing, of understanding, of certainty.  Curiously enough, awareness of that state requires mental excavation because we overlay it with the certainties we use to make ourselves competent creatures in our daily lives.  It would [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:39+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Capitalism: Excedrin Headache No. 99

October 2018 If you're an American like me, you hear very little dinner table talk about capitalism because in the USA it's conflated with Creation.  Now there's a spot of ideological hegemony you'd be hard pressed to outdo.  In the States capitalism is just there, ostensibly God-given and unassailable, like weather.  It's a different story in Europe, of course, because of its longer history and experiential acquaintance with other economic systems.  There's a socialist stream of political [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:08+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Career End as a Good Thing

September 2018 Since hitting the retirement zone in 2015 I've had plenty of time to think about my deceased career.  Throughout my working life I thought the workplace was largely bollocks, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  Death By Cubicle I called it, because that's exactly what it seemed much of the time.  Asphyxiation by administration.  Perishing by protocol.  Turn it any way you like, it had little to recommend itself [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:09+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Stuck Between Country Bumpkin and City Slicker

August 2018 It escapes my understanding why human beings constantly create dichotomies in life, but there it is, the evidence stands plain before us.  What's a girl to do?  Going through some old photos I hadn't looked at in a long time brought forcefully to mind an issue I usually slap down every time it pops up like a jack-in-the-box from its relegation to the dank recesses of my mental real estate.  I'll go to [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:10+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments