Wednesday, November 04, 2015


My posts have been non-existent for the last few months because I've suddenly got things to do.  My job involves some combination of sitting around thinking about what the future looks like and relating that to senior management in pithy and catchy ways, and driving the execution of that vision by persuading engineers to do things and sometimes just telling people what to do.  For the first half of this year I spent a lot of time thinking about the future.  For the last half its been execution.

But I wanted to talk, for a minute or two, about the future.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Out here in the sticks

I've been reading a lot of ecology lately, because its hunting season again and after six months of spiteful sulking over my lack of success last year my hunter's heart has lifted with optimism.  Surely last year you learned something useful, it whispers to me, and you won't be left wondering whether you're blind or maybe all the prey animals have just gone on vacation.

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Unbearable Lightness of Seeing

A moment, if you will, for a philosophical reflection.

Once a month or so I do a talk for a local amateur astronomy club about what's available up in the night sky in the coming month.  I offered to do the talk a few months ago, just a few months after I joined the club, which was just a month or so after I bought a telescope and for the first time in maybe 25 years looked up at the sky with more than drunken longing.  (Astronomy is honestly my first love; I got into Philosophy and math because of the larger considerations explained below, but in all fairness I just married Philosophy of Math, intellectually.  Astronomy is the one I'll always love.)  The talk is designed to be useful and interesting for kids and adults alike, so we use simple flashy pictures and don't go too much into the science; the point of the talk is more slideshow empiricism than it is deep astronomical science.  I want the kids and the adults just starting to go outside into their backyards on a new-moon Wednesday night and take a look around with some binoculars.  That will provoke questions, but it helps to have some names on things.  In much the same way that people are able to understand the health of their neighborhoods if they can name the trees and shrubs and vegetables growing there as well as the middle schools and coffee chains and the name of the people with the purple fence down the street, people will feel more comfortable looking up if they have some sense of what they're looking at.  So to encourage that, we need to show them around a little, so they get a sense of the texture of the night sky and what's visible, and what's just out of visibility.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Frankenstein, version 1078.78, build 22

Medium has an excellent piece up ostensibly on the cozy relationship between the national security state and Google.  Its really much more about the foundation of American innovation since roughly the end of the first Bush administration, when the old cold warriors looked around at the wreckage of the world and, despite their eventual determination to burn their prophets, decided they needed to get the Internet into everything so they could control the world they'd won.

Friday, January 02, 2015


I've been trying to understand my feelings for the Cosby revelations, the accusations from many women of various ages (is it now more than 20?) that Bill Cosby assaulted them, sometimes repeatedly, sometimes after drugging them, over the course of decades.  Cosby has had a shady reputation as a philanderer for years - but then what famous male entertainer hasn't? - and when the initial charges from Andrea Constand surfaced in 2002 everyone remembered a weird extortion attempt against him in 1997 that seemed at the time to be unhinged.  The very same emotional resistance to the notion of Cosby the philanderer helped push Autumn Jackson into Crazytown; the thoroughly tragic death of Cosby's son in 2001 in a botched robbery, and his cranky-old-man lecture tour where he somehow found the nerve to tell black kids that they needed to be better than white kids, all that made it just much easier for those of us who were male and of a certain age to hope for the best so we could continue to fondly remember the man who taught a generation of young men comic timing and the art of the anecdote.