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These are random thoughts, that don’t fit anywhere else. Perhaps some day I may develop some of them into full blown essays. I hope they work both as Deep ThoughtTM humour and sometimes to prang your brain into thinking afresh.
Regional Accents Nostalgia Sustainability Going Downhill Location, Location, Location
Mothers’ Robots Fairness We’re All Going To Die The Cause of Alcoholism Search and Replace
Cosmic Dandelions Industriousness The Last Lap Decisions Decisions Costs of War
Despairate Thinking Idea Contagion Dealing With Bullies Ending Hunger Relative Sinning
Now Is The End Small Minded Cruelty The Man-Eating Clam The Stock Market Electronic Etiquette
Looking Back Ambiguity Remembered Sex Not To Worry Conan’s Pleasure
White Hat/Black Hat Intuition Zen Rainforests Thanks For The Memories
Woo Woo Impotence Restaurant Theatre Definition of Extinction SPAM and Locks
Mandatory Freakishness Admiring Bodies It’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium Definition of Love The Best Things In Life
Atheist Spirituals Enjoyment A New Colour Being Alone Loans
Midsomer Murders Wealth Olives Channeling Housekeeping 101
I am Humbled UFOs War Grace Being Dumped Defragging
Dream Sharers Last Days Turning Women On The Secret of The Universe Celebration
Japanese Wasps Cash Back Big Picture Math Environmental Tax Subsidy Telephone Etiquette
M*A*S*H Leadership The Purpose of Life Heaven On Ambiguity
Life After Death Games Bushmen Perceptivity of Genius Suicide Prevention
Being Dumped III 9/10 Empty Screensavers Orca FM Too Obvious To Mention
Cut Flowers Hell Dandelion Faith Something For Laurie Forbidden Fruit
Routine Whipped Life Re-Publicans God Bless America
Continuity of Consciousness Maya Angelou On Kudzu Definition of Cosmic Consciousness Compassion
Mammalists Planetary Despair A Riddle Definition of God Signs of Devilry
Ray Kurzweil Good Deeds Wishful Thinking Dolphin’s Eye View Signs of Angelry
The Fermi Paradox Revisited Learning Tools Animal Cruelty School for Celebrity Was It Heaven or Hell?
Sentimental Males Freedom Past Lives Rubbing It In Magic
Male Happiness Conformity If I Had To Live My Life Over The Curare Mistake Tips For Debaters
Stress The Great Error Hanging On The Last Day of My Biology Career Sins
The Nose Ring Predictions Natural Punishment Capital Punishment For Animals Verbs
Give Up Economics of Fashion Parents Never Sleep Humans Have Trouble With Estimates God’s Problem
Hand Guns Humanity’s Rites of Passage Cuban Missile Crisis The Definition of Truth Religious Report Card
And Never the Twains Shall Meet Punish The Crime Baumhertzig The Delphinic Word for Human Definitions of Interest Loans
Hush Gullibility Courage The Purpose of Evolution Definition of Sacrifice
Children Insurance Relationships Inoculation What Women Want
Aging Chiropractors Denial Geological Point of View Learning Carpentry
We Are not Alone Housework The Fermi Paradox Losing Weight The Good Intentions of Bullies
What a Different A Word Makes Silicon Sociopaths Nobody Knows You Are a Dog Why Men Are More Romantic Than Women Worship
Wealth Imagination Blind Obedience Where Are You? Top Secret The Plants’ Complaints
Why Americans Hate the Government Pornography Cosmic Assumption Red Light At 3 AM The Dolphins’ Complaints
The Approval Drug The Biggest Mistake Religious Tolerance Tell The Truth Love Thy Enemies
Salmon Run Toilet Seats The Wisdom of Old Age Animal Propaganda Hints To Suitors
Teaching Sadism I Am An Idea The Human Family Definition of The Universe The Truth Hurts
Lasting Relationships Fruit Baskets Measuring Success Animal Rights Fighting Objectives
Humiliation Rituals Lotteries Democracy Tips To Authors Definitions of Planet Earth
Forgetfulness of Money Kindness Prayer Portions The Power of A Clear Question Weaponry
Mosquitos The Goal of War The Fundamental Sadness Tips To Dieters Complementarity
Desecrating Graves Grim Optimism Suicide Saving the World Measuring Consciousness
If you are Dumped Abstinence Education Persistence The Nature of Reality Blinded By Science
Sci Fi Anomalies Crop Circles Appropriate Programming Bumper Stickers Definition of Money
Deja Vu Turbojam scam Mirrors Taking Credit On Pontificating
Relative Cosmetology Free Will The Matrix A Business Model Tips To the Paranoid
The Cosmic Etch-A-Sketch Death Extra Terrestrials Internet Etiquette Future Baldness
The Devolution of Competition Sensory Reality Starting Over Green Eyed Monsters Rubbermaid Dish Pans
Atrocities House Fear of Dying On Abortion Shangri-La
War as a Game Tanking The Future On The Second Amendment Age of Consent
Respect Me In A Nutshell Mother Theresa and The Billionaire Psychotic break Links
Naming Red Light Sheep Being Gifted Car Names

Regional Accents

If the Buddhists are right about reincarnation, I would like to spend one studying regional accents. Accents seem such puzzling things e.g.

Mothers’ Robots

Mothers give their children a basic life goal. It might be stay out of trouble, enjoy yourself, make lots of money, become famous, accumulate power, be loved, become the president/prime minister obey authority etc. Because it is given so early in life and repeated so often, children become like mothers’ robots, programmed to blindly live out this command. It is almost impossible for a child to disregard this prime directive or to choose another life goal. They don’t question it. Perhaps they do not even notice it. It just seems the way things naturally are. My mother gave me a rather grandiose prime directive — do something more profound, beneficial and wonderful than any human has ever done before. Happily, she did not insist that others acknowledge my marvelous contribution. I have better than average gifts: a genius level IQ (Intelligence Quotient), an ability to think outside the box, strong curiosity, a weak herd instinct, imposing height, a pleasing voice… yet these seem hardly up to such a task. I am 70 years old. HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) drugs sap my energy. My life contributions will not even rate a footnote in an encyclopedia. The shame of this failure is extremely painful. Others can’t believe I could be serious, but they were not programmed with my prime directive.

Cosmic Dandelions

Presumably Darwinian evolution happens all over the galaxy and the universe. Given all that space and time, you’d think by now the galactic dandelion would have evolved — some sort of life form that can travel between planets and colonise them, probably virus or bacterium. I don’t think anyone has found it. Why not? Is it simply that we are so far away from other life-infected planets that such dandelions would not often arrive? Is it that we don’t recognise them as alien since they are so similar to terrestrial life forms?

Depairate Thinking

Humans are prone to errors of this sort: I have six answers to this defeatist thinking:
  1. If it truly does not matter, that it just as much an excuse for doing something as not doing it. You might as well do thing that feels right. You might as well do the thing that has some tiny hope of creating the change you want rather than something that has no hope.
  2. Kant suggested you should base your actions on how wise they would be if everyone did them. For example, if everyone voted, it would be a good thing. It no one voted, it would be a bad thing, so vote! You are inching the world toward the good.
    Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.
    ~ Immanuel Kant (1724-04-22 1804-02-12 age:79)
  3. Individual acts may not count for much, but they build lifetime habit patterns. Over a lifetime, habitual actions add up to significance.
  4. Imagine a school bus stuck in the snow. Each despairing man who walks by says, Nothing I acting alone could do could free that bus. I might as well do nothing. and drives on. Happily, some less egotistical men and women come by too and say, I could contribute 3% of the effort of freeing the bus. Until more people show up to help, I wonder what I could do that will be useful? Just your presence helps attract more helpers.
  5. When I was faced with the extreme prejudice against gays in 1969 (where murder of gays was condoned and all other gays I knew of were in the closet), making any sort of dent in this bigotry was clearly impossible. I decided to tackle it anyway, just because it felt better to tackle it than to despair. I calculated it would take centuries to affect the change needed with the lectures, radio and TV appearances I was doing. Yet to my utter astonishment within 4 years we had the first human rights legislation protecting gays here in BC. You never know if you could succeed until you try. That gays can now marry would have sounded absolutely silly back then.
  6. Most people don’t ever break new ground. However, they love jumping on bandwagons. When you tackle the impossible, you create the bandwagons of the future. You inspire others. Consider Gandhi.
    Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
    ~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-10-02 1948-01-30 age:78)

Now Is The End

Not many people fret over the predicted end of the universe. Perhaps a few more people are concerned about the sun expanding and frying the earth to a crisp, scheduled in a few billion years. I personally fret considerably about my species and life on earth going extinct or near extinct. Many people dread their own personal death. Fruit flies don’t seem to look ahead much. They happily set up shop on an apple that will be gone in a few days. Philosophically you might say they value life, even if only a few days long. The trick is to combine the fearlessness and optimism of the fruit flies with vigorous action to preserve that which you cherish.

Looking Back

When I look back over my life, there are two things I would have done differently.
  1. I would have taken my time at university more seriously. I got only that one chance in my life to spend years doing nothing but learning in the best possible environment. I would focus more on taking advantage of a chance to learn the material for a lifetime, not just doing well on an exam.
  2. I would have not been so shy about asking for sex when the other party seemed to be interested.

White Hat/Black Hat

We have all been raised on stories, TV and movies where there is a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. Sometimes, a movie like Bonnie and Clyde will show the story from the bad guys’ point of view, where they see themselves as the protagonists. Very few movies such as Beckett show issues from more than one point of view. This dichotomous world view is poor training for understanding politics, where there are no good guys and bad guys, just many different groups each pursuing their own self interest, each utterly convinced they are the good guys, ignoring their own faults and magnifying those of their opponents. I cringe at the way even professional politicians vilify Arabs as insane having no reasons at all for their opposition to America. You can’t be an effective strategist until you can get inside the heads of all your opponents/enemies, where everyone sees themselves as the hero. If you are afraid to even understand an opponent, much less sympathise with him, you won’t be able to come up with win-win solutions. Any other sort of solution is temporary or at least unstable.

Woo Woo

I think it all but certain there is other life in the galaxy. It seems to me, you should assume other parts of the universe are the same as here until proven otherwise. We know elsewhere has the same physics and chemistry, so it seems logical it should have something similar to our biology.

I also think it all but certain there is other intelligent life in the universe, though it may only arise in brief sparks so that even one-way remote contact between separate species may be exceedingly rare. Intelligence arose very quickly on earth once mammals arose and in several species and, on a geological timescale, looks headed for almost immediate extinction.

I think there is some sort of extra sensory perception that allows remote communication between people and communication from the people in the future. I personally had a prophetic dream about 2001-09-11 as did many other people. I suspect somehow millions of people focusing over and over on those same images of the planes flying into the towers broadcast them so powerfully they could even be sensed backward in time. I don’t mean something supernatural, just some weakly evolved ability we don’t understand yet.

Finally, I suspect we each live in our own private universe, loosely connected to everyone else’s. This might just be that minds hallucinate their own version of reality, or it may be deeper, that we actually live in different quantum worlds where the events truly are different from other people’s versions, but resonant with those of others, so they roughly match, though not in the details. I explore this further in my Reality is a Hallucination essay.

We have all seen the amazing power of stage hypnotists to fool people into seeing things that are not there, but we tend to trust too easily reports of people who were subject to hypnosis in other contexts, most commonly in religious revival services, seances and political rallies. Even the healthy human mind has incredible power to generate dramatic life-like hallucinations. It is much more difficult to sort out what is real and what is imagined than we presume.

Mandatory Freakishness

Back in the 1960s, Dr. Pat Greenwood, my advanced probability and statistics prof was covering Markov Processes (a mathematical process with limited ability to remember the history of what state it was in. Computers are a sort of Markov process.). She explained the 0-1 law that made my hair stand on end with excitement. Roughly speaking it is this: if an event has any probability of happening at all, if you wait long enough it will happen with complete assurance. Further, if you wait long enough it will repeat infinitely often, no matter how freakishly weird the event. (Mind you, mathematicians are prepared to wait much longer than the projected lifespan of the universe.)

In a less rarefied sphere, contrary to everyday intuition, uncommon events are far from impossible. They are all but mandatory. Consider this experiment. Every time you sit next to someone, ask the person if today is their birthday. The odds in any given instance of asking and getting a yes (presuming people tell the truth) are only 1 in 365.25 (some people are born on 02-29). If you do this 1000 times, your odds of never sitting beside someone on their birthday are 1 in 1 / Math.pow( 1 - 1/365.5, 1000 ) = 1 in 15.48. In other words, uncommon events are expected to happen every once in a while. Something would be amiss if they did not happen.

Lay people don’t understand this. When an uncommon event (a coincidence) happens, they imagine some sky god must have arranged it, or fate, or magic or luck. They don’t accept that the coincidence is part of the day-to-day workings of the universe, nothing special at all. This leads to pigeon superstition.

Atheist Spirituals

On 2008-12-14 I had a dream. A black gospel choir sang an atheist spiritual called Show Me The Way, To Lay My Burdens Down. There were no Lord Lords and no Jesuss. It was about seeking acceptance of death. It presented this task as an interesting challenge. Perhaps, someday, I could transcribe the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) for the melody which might well be from a piece I heard before.

Midsomer Murders

Two of Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby’s partners in Midsomer Murders, prior to Ben Jones, namely Gavin Troy and Dan Scott disappeared without a trace, without comment, never mentioned again. I smell a coverup.

I also suspect Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote of being a serial murderer. The odds of somebody being murdered every time she comes to visit happening purely by coincidence are astronomical. Anyone in their right mind should immediately hang up the phone when they get a call announcing her arrival. She is like the grim reaper.

While I am at it, there is something extremely fishy Ben Matlock and Perry Mason, expensive attorneys, who only manage to attract innocent clients who have been ingeniously framed.

I am Humbled

I have to laugh when an actress wins an award, or a politician wins an election and says I am humbled…. What nonsense is this! Winning is an ego trip; losing is humbling. Getting too old to be horny — that is humbling. Losing control of your bowels in public — that is humbling. Perhaps what they mean to say is, I am enjoying humbling the competitors that I beat. Perhaps what they mean is, I thought someone else would win..

Dream Sharers

A premise for a sci if movie. Dream sharers are psychic vigilante force who go after those too powerful to be brought to justice otherwise, such as George W. Bush. They cause criminals to have nightmares about being the victims of their own crimes. The criminals share the nightmares of their victims reliving the crimes.

Japanese Wasps

I saw a documentary about 5 cm (1.97 in) Japanese wasps. About 32 of them will attack a colony of about 30,000 honeybees and kill them all in about an hour. I often have nightmares about them. I have also seen documentaries about ant slavery. A Polyergus queen for example, use pheromone trickery to take over a hive and exploit them to raise young for the Polyergus queen. If find this sort of immoral activity disturbing, to see it built into life itself at so deep a level. I find myself wishing for a way to wipe out or at least discourage such species. I wonder if intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy would look out my own species in the same light.


In the many years M*A*S*H was on TV, never once did any character notice that the wounded Korean war soldiers the doctors were patching up were killers themselves, mindlessly killing for no reason. Never once did any character notice that he was aiding and abetting that killing by patching up soldiers so they could go back to killing people who had done nothing to the USA. They portrayed the soldiers only as innocent victims, never once as people who chose to play the war game who got hurt as a logical consequence of their own malice.

Life After Death

I don’t think modern day Christians truly believe in life after death. I think they entertain it as an unlikely possibility. If they were serious, they would behave much more like the devout in the middle ages.

I speculate sometimes that maybe after you die you are forced to reincarnate as the being/species you despise most. I give a little shiver. Why do I do it? Probably for the same reason some people like to go to horror movies.

What is behind this Christian fairy tale of after-death judgement?

Being Dumped III

All animals, male and female, including human, look for mates with the highest status/fitness. It is the Darwinian imperative to ensure survival of the offspring. So when you are dumped, unless your bad behaviour is obvious, it is not as though you were left, but rather that your mate found someone more attractive whom they believed they had a chance of landing. There is no great shame in this. It is utterly unrealistic to expect that you would be the highest status person on the planet whom your mate figures he or she would have a chance with. Some people imagine they would even have a chance with Brad Pitt or Sandra Bullock.

Cut Flowers

Whenever I see a beautiful young person, or either sex, I feel a terrible sadness, similar to the feeling I have beholding a vase of cut flowers, knowing the freshness will last but days. I know how brutally quickly that beauty will fade. The young person is completely unaware that old age will descend with the suddenness of a car accident.


Most people resent routine repetitive tasks like house cleaning. Computer scientists have a different way of looking at it. Computers are masters of routine — repeating the same steps billions of times a second. The more something is repeated, the more it pays off to figure out how to do it perfectly. You can think of a routine activity as a second and third and … chance to correct your mistakes. Consider making a game of some routine tasks such as: See if you can get it down so that your movements flow like a cat without a wasted movement.

Continuity of Consciousness

When people tackle the thorny problem of consciousness I think they make four errors.
  1. They presume it must be something else, something less mysterious, perhaps a kind of energy, electric field etc. I think it would be more productive to presume, for now, that consciousness is its own thing, as different from an electric field as time is, and start studying its properties.
  2. They presume it either exists all or nothing. I think it exists to different degrees, within different people, within different species, or even within the same person at different times. This difference admits the possibility of measuring degrees of consciousness or at least measuring something highly correlated with it. We might discover how to measure consciousness by looking for things that correlate to a subjective measure of wakefulness. Only once you can measure something can you do much serious theorising about it. Then boldly apply those correlates to other species to estimate their degrees of consciousness. I think we will discover consciousness exists in some form almost everywhere in the tree of life. We have been blinded to it primarily by religiously induced species chauvinism.
  3. They are overly influenced by the ancient religious soul theory of consciousness, where a sort of vapourous homunculus parasite resides behind the eyes and moves from body to body transcending death. The illusion of continuity of consciousness comes from the continuity of neural patterns and the all-is-familiar signals the brain gives to consciousness. As far as I can tell, when I come out of anaesthesia, I am newly minted. Granted I have memories of life before going under, but I just seemed to pop into existence out of nothing. Similarly my consciousness seems to gradually fade out of existence when I go under anaesthesia. You might think of consciousness as like incarnations of an operating system between boots on the same hardware. There is similarity between incarnations but no continuity. The operating system RAM (Random Access Memory) image does not go anywhere between boots, There is nothing analogous of the soul hovering around awaiting a suitable newly booting machine to infest. The OS (Operating System) image disappears and is newly created on each boot.
  4. Because consciousness has proved so slippery to study, people like to just ignore it and pretend it is not important.
    Consciousness in the most important ontological question. After all, if we truly imagine a world in where there is no subjective experience (a world in which these is swirling stuff but no conscious entity to experience it,) that world may as well not exist. In some philosophical traditions, both Eastern (certain schools of Buddhist thought, for example) and Western (specifically, observer-based interpretations of quantum mechanics), that is exactly how such a world in regarded.
    ~ Ray Kurzweil (1948-02-12 age:70)   The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology page 380


You have probably noticed that people care far more about horrible things happening to those in their own country than they do when they happen to people on the other side of the world. People have a similar bias toward mammals. Consider the reaction to a man putting sharp hooks in balls of cat food, feeding them to kittens and jerking them into the air for amusement, or farmers pouring scalding water on horses to kill them, or teens running over puppies in their cars to see how many they can squish. We think absolutely nothing of these same acts of deliberate cruelty when the victims are fish, chickens or frogs. My eyes tell me the amount of pain is no different. I studied zoology is high school and dissected many animals. All these animals have advanced nervous systems. I see no reason to believe they are experiencing any less pain than they appear to be.

Ray Kurzweil

In his book  The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology futurist Ray Kurzweil suggests the purpose of humanity is to spread its culture, faster than the speed of light if possible, to fully occupy the entire universe. To me this smacks of the desire of a young tom cat to mark its territory by peeing on it.

The Fermi Paradox Revisited

The famous physicist Fermi noted that if there were even the slimmest chance of a technological civilisation evolving, their presence should be visible throughout the universe. Instead there is nothing but a great silence. What are we to make of that? Here are some possible explanations:

Sentimental Males

Women scorn shabbily dressed males, or men who drive old cars. They fail to understand that men are sentimental about clothes and cars. These objects record the memories of good times past. They fail to understand that men who are so sentimental that they won’t discard a shirt, just because it is worn, likely won’t cast aside a partner just because her looks fade.

Male Happiness

One advantage of being a human male is that the requirements for happiness are greatly simplified. 90% of what s needed is to get your penis in your favoured type of hole a sort of organic golf.


Some people’s lives are so boring they feel the need to stimulate themselves by artificially creating frustration and stress through game playing. What would happen if instead of diverting themselves with pointless trivia, they upped the difficulty of real-world problems they tackled?

The Nose Ring

There are not many things to be said in favour of old age, but one of them is an acute awareness of how you have been dragged around all your life by a ring in your nose — your hormones. It is amazing that you can getting anything done at all in youth with that powerful distraction. We have thrown only the thinnest veil of hypocrisy over our ruttings. Viewed from the relative tranquility of old age, that thralldom appears somewhat disgusting, primitive, irritating, juvenile, yet also the pulse of life that provides the motivation for everything. The nostalgia for it can be unbearable.

Give Up

Give up! Don’t waste another millisecond trying to get love or parenting from someone who doesn’t love you or want to parent you. It doesn’t matter if they logically should want to or should feel morally obligated to or have done so in the past. Immediately look elsewhere for a new source of your psychological needs. Most people can barely scrape by making their own lives work. They have little energy left over for the needs of others. If you put your life on hold until you have rehabilitated basket-case parents sufficiently they will be capable of running their own lives successfully and parenting you, you are making the task of making your own life work unnecessarily difficult.

Hand Guns

On 2008-06-26 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Americans had a constitutional right to leave unlocked, loaded handguns in their homes for self defense (even though the constitution talked only of their use in a state militia). The defining feature of an American is his intense desire to keep a gun at hand to kill people in his home. Few other cultures, save the Nazis, were that attached to their guns. Americans are well aware that handguns kill far more children than burglars. What is the source of the intense attachment? I can think of two reasons:
  1. The materialist ethic is so strong that protecting property trumps protecting the life of children.
  2. American men fantasise about murdering their wives and children. When they finally do kill then, they want the ready excuse that they thought they were burglars.

And Never the Twains Shall Meet

Metaphorically speaking, God played a cosmic joke on straight people. Men and women have completely different tastes in decor, activities, food, music, entertainment, vacations, tidiness, movies, hygiene, ways of spending money… Yet they are still passionately attracted to each other. Even while they are madly in love, they bitterly complain about the fundamental incompatibility. Tribal and Muslim societies acknowledge the problem by largely segregating the sexes, even after marriage. Again metaphorically speaking, God also played a cosmic joke on gay people. The old are fatally attracted to the young who treat them with contempt.


Animals are often highly territorial and aggressive to smaller creatures. It seems prudent to presume other life in the galaxy is similar and other intelligent life could also be hostile like man. Yet we broadcast our existence and our vulnerabilities to the galaxy with radio and TV signals and with the explosive emission of greenhouse gases. Even termites are smart enough to stay hidden.


One of the most delightful things about children is none of them have ever voted Republican.


One of the most distressing events of getting old is waking up one morning and noticing, that in the night, aliens have replaced your hands with some elderly persons’.

We Are not Alone

Given the trillions of planets in the universe, and how life appeared almost the instant the earth cooled and how, man, a brand new species, reached the moon in a twinkling of evolutionary time, I find it the Christian notion that we are alone in the universe almost inconceivable. Why then don’t we see visitors?

What a Different A Word Makes

If a wolf kills a young caribou and a crow comes by and feasts on the corpse, we say the crow dines on carrion. This is especially true if the wolf has left and the corpse has rotted a bit. Yet when a butcher kills a castrated bull and allows the meat to age (tenderise by bacterial breakdown) for a month or two, before someone else eats it, we would not likely term that eating carrion

Similarly not many of us would dream of drinking the liquid secretions of the sweat glands of domesticated antelopes, but don’t blink an eye when we call it milk and serve it in a non-recyclable plastic jug.

Most of us find the thought of chowing down on the arthropods (spiders, scorpions, insects) quite revolting, yet most of us feast happily on crabs, lobsters and shrimp which are simply the marine members of the phylum. It is as illogical as eating salmon but refusing to eat trout on the grounds they are too disgusting.

Wealth Imagination

There are a few people, who on gaining great wealth, show some corresponding imagination in spending it. I include: Most spend it on conspicuous consumption with no more intelligence than a high school drop out:

Why Americans Hate the Government

When we Canadians hear Americans fulminating against the evil of the govmint, we imagine they are a bit crazy. However, the American government is not the same sort of animal as the Canadian government. There are good reasons for people to hate and fear it.

The Approval Drug

One of the fastest routes to misery is seeking public approval. No matter what you do, somebody out there will consider you an utter bounder for it and phone in a death threat. You have to give yourself approval. In former times, people called this doing the will of God as opposed to succumbing to worldly temptations. But even then, there were 60,000 jealous gods commanding dreadful acts of cruelty, so even then you could not win. Today we might call it doing the right thing. The alternative is to become a slave to those who hand out the approval, or to cower like a mouse, afraid to do anything of note, trying desperately to camouflage yourself out of existence.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
~ George Bernard Shaw (1856-07-26 1950-11-02 age:94)

Salmon Run

Consider the gauntlet that salmon endure to spawn. They have to make it past seals, orcas and commercial fisherman in the ocean. There are the sports fishermen, bears, eagles, native spear fishers, nets… There is the pollution, torrents, waterfalls and mud. Only an elite few make it few, battered to spawn the entire next generation. The whole process reminds be of third worlders seeking to immigrate to the rich countries. They have to accumulate sufficient money for the journey working in a country where daily wages are measured in pennies. They must survive police, guards, dogs, deserts, snakeheads, gangs, robbers… They have to somehow make it to the promised land, find under-the-table work, acquire id, camouflage themselves as legitimate immigrants and never get caught. Only the very strongest and smartest make it.

Teaching Sadism

Think of the ways we try to stomp the natural compassion out of children, how we teach them to enjoy the suffering of others. Violence as entertainment is so pervasive in our society, we don’t even notice what we are teaching our kids.
The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it.
~ Louis Simpson (1923-03-27 2012-09-18 age:89)

Lasting Relationships

Here is my advice on how to have a lasting relationship. I have said this in similar words before, but it bares repeating:

Humiliation Rituals

Have you noticed how humiliation has become the national sport of America? Some examples include:

Forgetfulness of Money

What did people do before the invention of money? They tracked who had done whom a favour. They made allowance for disability and unusual capability to contribute. In general, people helped each other, unless they couldn’t. Everyone knew how much each was contributing and how much each was consuming and used social pressure to keep this in reasonable balance. People did not move far from where they were born, so everyone knew everyone else quite well. There was no way to pull a dirty trick or to do an unusually good turn without everyone knowing about it. Reputation was thus more important then than today.

The immense convenience of the invention of money allowed even total strangers to safely do business. When a man walks into a country club and asks to join, money erases the history how he came by it. He may be a faith healer, swindler, gambler, speculator, monopolist, advertising executive, embezzler, Ken Lay, Dick Cheney, Conrad Black, drug dealer, arms dealer, thief, bribe taker, blackmailer etc. someone who came by the money without providing a service to others. Or he made have toiled producing food, goods, services, inventing, entertaining, managing in any one of millions of ways of serving his fellow beings or his planet. What is most peculiar is even when we know how a person came by his money, we tend to treat all equally, honouring the wealthy crooks with just as much respect as the wealthy Nobel prize winners. Before the invention of money, we would have ostracised the crooks, not idolised them.


From the point of view of a mosquito, the universe is a banquet laid out by God for their exclusive use. The sole purpose of humans is to supply blood to mosquitos. They are much like Nazis or Americans who imagine planet earth’s resources are for their exclusive use and they have the right to take them by force or treachery from anyone.

Desecrating Graves

On 2008-04-26, somebody wrote the letters FLQ (Front de Libération du Québec) the name of a defunct separatist group, on the mausoleum of Pierre Trudeau, a former Prime Minister of Canada. The country is up in arms. I find this a gross overreaction, ironically giving the vandal just what he wanted. Had the vandal written this on Mr. Trudeau’s door while Trudeau were still alive, it would not even have made the local papers. There is weird superstition that insulting the dead is somehow more hurtful than insulting the living. Nobody felt the least compulsion to refrain from insulting or criticising Mr. Trudeau while he was alive. In a similar way, Americans were far more upset that the Iraqi resistance dragged the corpses of American soldiers behind a truck than had the Iraqis done so while the soldiers were still alive. A number of people threatened to kill me when I criticised the actions of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Yet they are only mildly disgruntled when I criticise the actions of living ones. It does not seem to matter that the dead soldiers never even heard my condemnation of their deeds. Dead people are no more saintly than living ones. It is a goofy Kristian superstition that the dead feel pain both physical and emotional and require special protection we don’t extend to the living.

If you are Dumped

Especially if you have issues with the abandonment lifetrap, likely the most painful thing that will ever happen to you in your life is you will be dumped suddenly. Oddly, in your entire education, your teachers never spent so much as an hour on how to deal with this blow. Here is a crash course:

Sci Fi Anomalies

Science fiction so often jars me with its logical inconsistency. For example:

Deja Vu

I am astounded how rapidly technology advanced once the notion of it got started. Even ancient societies seemed to rapidly develop such technologies as astronomy and masonry. It looks as if our technological civilisation will self-destruct within another hundred years. Technology seems like a century plant that lies dormant and then every once in many, many decades blooms for a night. This led me to wonder if a technological civilisation like ours, with an understanding of quantum mechanics and electronics, has ever evolved then quickly self-destructed, so thoroughly that it erased its tracks. I have seen some tantalising hints in global mythology. I asked a paleontologist friend what paleontologists far in the future might find remaining of our civilisation to mark its passing. She replied bricks.

Relative Cosmetology

Other than the Geishas of early Japan, there is a group that engages in tooth darkening cosmetology. They treat their teeth with a scalding hot dark brown dye up to ten times a day. Some resort to burning the brown leaves of a toxic plant and inhaling the sticky tars to stain their teeth. This tribe are commonly known as Americans.

The Cosmic Etch-A-Sketch

The history of life on earth is like a cosmic Etch-A-Sketch. Life doodles theme and variations in abundance, then something comes to shake the earth to all but erase the profusion, be it an asteroid hitting, or a species too intelligent for its own good. Then, after a brief recovery period of 10 million years or so, it starts doodling in earnest again, but with slightly less exuberance than before. We arrogant humans imagine the that extinction of man is synonymous with the extinction of life.

The Devolution of Competition

Ecosystems that have not been disturbed for long periods of time (whether by humans or natural disasters) tend to read a state of dynamic equilibrium which ecologists call a climax phase, meaning that organisms have adapted themselves to one another in such a way as to avoid direct competition, to keep energy flow-through to a minimum and to recycle energy flow and nutrients as completely as possible. They have formed, to use an anthropomorphic term, a community.
~ Richard Heinberg (1950-10-21 age:67)
book cover recommend book⇒Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societiesto book home
by Richard Heinberg 978-0-86571-529-5 paperback
birth 1950-10-21 age:67 978-0-613-92089-6 hardcover
publisher New Society Publishers 978-1-55092-334-6 eBook
published 2005-06-01 B004FPZ3DK kindle
Oil is peaking. The supply is getting smaller each year. Just what are the implications? Heinberg sees the only viable option as a global program of resource conservation and sharing. Predicting chaos unless the U.S. — the world’s foremost oil consumer — is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a managed collapse, that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future. website. The opening chapters of the book give a lucid, simple, but not simplistic recap of the basic physics, biology, history and ecology you need to know as background to understand the energy crunch. When I was reading this section, it dawned on me that most Americans are completely ignorant of this basic science. That is why they approach the energy and global warming problem is such a superstitious and irrational way.
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In other words, animals over time learn to avoid direct competition because competing wastes too much energy. Animals evolve to avoid competition by specialising to stay out of each others’s way. In a similar way, bloody battles for mates eventually evolve into dancing competitions. Even human executives do this. Competition between corporations gradually tends over time to devolve into informal co-operation and price fixing and only ritual competitiveness. Competition in a capitalist system must be fostered. It does not maintain itself naturally.
book cover recommend book⇒The Evolution of Cooperationto book home
by Robert M. Axelrod 978-0-14-012495-8 paperback
birth 1939 age:78 978-0-465-02122-2 hardcover
publisher Penguin B00AHFJ5VS kindle
published 1990-04-26
The science of cooperation. How cooperation develops among the selfish and even between warring parties. The key is long term association with the same group. Not all cooperation is good. Oligopolies form by the same mechanism. It explains why strict tit for tat is a sound strategy. It is about the mathematics/strategies that generate revenge spirals and spirals of co-operation. Somebody must have read this book when Britain decided to stop taking two eyes for every eye in Northern Ireland, which eventually lead to bringing terrorism under control. Using computer modeling Axelrod discovers the power of a simple tit for tat strategy in dealing with others. He also discovers the mathematical conditions under which people co-operate, collude, compete, aid each other or refuse to offer reasonable assistance. He also explains the mathematics of why corporations tend toward price-fixing and other co-operative behaviour with their competitors.
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The atrocities of the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan are nothing new. They are a direct consequence of imbalance of power. Americans overwhelm their victims in technology and wealth. That power necessarily corrupts. Humans, not just Americans, are hard wired to abuse excessive power over others. It took 500 years for the atrocities of the Spanish Conquistadors to become widely known. Spaniards, Nazis, Russians, Americans… like all humans, are deeply in denial of their own atrocities. They work hard to keep them hidden and to attack those who expose them.
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
~ George Orwell (1903-06-25 1950-01-21 age:46)

War as a Game

When animals fight, it is over territory. They also have ritual battles to determine whose genes will sire the next generation, but rarely are the combatants seriously injured. When human leaders fight, it is over territory, natural resources and national prestige. When ordinary humans fight it is much like a football game. They fight to the death simply because their side is fighting. They root for the home team, no matter how badly the home team has behaved. Even Nazi mothers were proud of their sons. Even the mothers of serial killers (both civilian and military) insist that their sons are innocent of any wrongdoing. In humans, team loyalty nearly always trumps justice.

Unscrupulous leaders like John McCain, Dick Cheney and George Bush exploit this naïveté and urge their fellows on to greater illegal mayhem, simply for national pride and the supposed shame of losing/withdrawing/calling off the attack. They trick their fellows into expensive wars, with no prizes to be gained from pursuing them. McCain, Cheney, Bush and their backers reap hundreds of billions in war profits. Their dupes reap a lifetime of sorrow and guilt.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
~ George Orwell (1903-06-25 1950-01-21 age:46)


It quite enough to expect that we tolerate each other and our various customs. It is wrong to demand we pretend to respect each other’s delusions, which includes all religions and cults.


How could you name children in a gender-equal way? In Canada where I live, a child receives the surname of his or her father. In Iceland, a child receives the surname of his or her mother. In old Norse, a child received the surname of his father’s given name, e.g. Lief Eric’s-son. Politically correct couples try to solve the problem by concatenating the mother and father’s surnames, e.g. Blumé-Temoin This solution won’t work for successive generations since the length of surnames would double with each generation. So here is my proposed solution modeled on the Spanish convention. When a person marries, they acquire a second surname. So, for example, when Mary Smith marries John Jones, she becomes Mary Smith de Jones and he become John Jones de Smith. A female child takes the surname of her mother, e.g. Smith. A male child the surname of his father, e.g. Jones. If the father is unknown, a male child takes the surname of his mother. The naming system parallels the way it is possible to trace the purely matrilineal line, mother of mother of mother, or the pure patrilineal line using DNA, but it much harder to trace the mixed ancestors.


Scientists tell us they are on the brink of extending life to 200+ years. I don’t think I could bear it. The nostalgia would be far too intense. Actuaries tell us that even with medical technology allowing an infinite lifespan, the average age of death would be only 200 — from death by misadventure. As a result, we would become too fanatically concerned with safety to enjoy our lives, putting on helmets to climb the stairs.


Life is fundamentally unfair. Some people are better looking, healthier and wealthier even when they put no more effort into it than anyone else. Others have to bear poverty, ill health, deformity, disease or minority status through no fault of their own. You can make yourself unnecessarily miserable or even crazy if you deny this fundamental fact of life. Christians are wont to denial on the grounds of wishful thinking or logical consistency — how could a loving God possibly have created such an unfair universe? Hindus rationalise it with their notion of reincarnation. Christians imagine misfortune is caused by God punishing secret sins. Acknowledging the unfairness is not to say you accept it or approve of it. You can’t do anything about a problem until you stop pretending it does not exist.


Before the industrial revolution, man depended on manual labour for agriculture. Everyone had to work hard from dawn till dark, or people would literally starve to death. Industrious was prized at the most important virtue. Sloth and idleness were serious sins. Today we still highly value industriousness. Conservatives still advocate leaving to die those who are not sufficiently productive. We reward with billion dollar salaries the CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) whose companies most industriously produce goods, mine minerals, consume energy, promote consumption, gobble resources, pollute the air, soil and water, erode the soil, log and pave the forests, pump greenhouse gases into the air and that holiest of all activities — stimulate the economy (i.e. increase optional consumption). We most admire the rich and famous who excel at flamboyant, novel and conspicuous waste. The planet is reeling from the onslaught of these type A individuals.

Oops, maybe industriousness is not such a virtue any more.

A Tibetan and an Amazon river basin tribesman were each asked what they thought of western civilisation. Oddly, they gave identical answers. They replied, What is the matter with your women? They are supposed to stop the men. Everyone knows when you let men cut down trees, they don’t know when to stop.

We need new values.

We need to start throwing virtual tomatoes at the dinosaurs who are still frantically working hard to destroy the planet.

Idea Contagion

I have often wondered how a truly nutty idea like Naziism, Christianity or fanatical Islam can take hold of a population. Notice that such ideas get little traction in areas where there are only a few adherents. Yet when the idea reaches critical mass, it takes over the entire population, even including people who ought to know better. Man has sheep genes. He does not like to be at odds with his fellows in his beliefs.

Small Minded Cruelty

There is something so petty, small-minded and cruel about a society that forbids sex only to those in the stage of life who want it most badly.


English is so ambiguous, e.g. I don’t want a car. can have at least five meanings:
  1. no current need

    I don’t want a taxi just now. I am not going anywhere.
  2. no need

    I live on a tiny island. What on earth would I do with a car?
  3. no lack

    I don’t want for a car. I am fully satisfied in the car department. I have 3 vehicles already.
  4. would prefer something else

    Dear sugar daddy, I want diamonds, not a Rolls.
  5. active rejection

    I detest cars. They pollute and the repair people are all crooks. I wouldn’t take one if you gave it to me.
Since I think in English, this muddied ambiguity infects my thinking too. It is not necessarily clear even to myself when I say I don’t want a car..


Anyone not shocked by quantum mechanics has not yet understood it.
~ Niels Bohr (1885-10-07 1962-11-18 age:77)
Many people seem to think our scientific theories of the very small and very large cannot be true because our intuition rejects them as absurd. Ask the question the other way around. Why does our intuition work so well on the mid size? We evolved in a 3D, mid-sized world, dominated by a tiny frequency band of sunlight and nasty predators. We needed a brain with computational shortcuts for dealing with it. We never had the need to evolve the intuition modules to deal instantly with a broader world, the quantum small, the cosmic large or 4D. We can deal with them, but only with the ponderous tools of mathematics. Conceivably within a century, you might be able to get such intuition modules installed. This could lead to a period of rapid breakthrough since the behaviour of the mico and macroscropic universe would become obvious.


I think most people give up too easily to work for world peace, end world hunger or save the environment because they have preposterously high expectations. They imagine if they work for a few days then the world should noticeably change, as if they were some sort of deity. You are one of 6 billion people. If you manage to have any more than 1/6,000,000,000 of the total human effect on how the planet runs, you are doing better than average. Pat yourself on the back, even if you can’t see the effect.
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-10-02 1948-01-30 age:78)
The oceans were created one raindrop at a time. The pyramids were built one stone at a time. Be glad there are so many millions of others working on your project too so that the end result will be far more magnificent than anything you could possibly have accomplished alone.
It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-10-02 1948-01-30 age:78)

Admiring Bodies

Admiring bodies is like admiring butterflies or flowers. You must do it purely for the moment.


Here are three tricks to enjoying your life:
  1. Learn to get off on little things, like the pleasant feeling of a brush on your scalp, or warm water on your back in the bath.
  2. Do what you like doing. So many people slave away at pointless jobs they detest.
  3. When trivial stuff upsets you, ask yourself, if we were about to be nuked in 10 minutes, would this matter? Where does this fit in the hierarchy of cosmic significance?


I am continually baffled why people who hog 500 times the normal size of slice of the world resource pie are considered admirable. Surely they should be ostracised as gluttons, thieves or con men. There is no way anyone deserves a 500 times bigger slice of the pie than others. There is no conceivable amount of labour they could perform to justify that. When someone accumulates that kind of money, they had to cheat. They either got away with some criminal act such as theft, gouging, confidence games or monopoly or they found some legal loophole in the monetary system to trick others into giving without compensating return.

Even worse, when these people commit conspicuous consumption or conspicuous waste, they are committing an environmental crime; they are deliberately despoiling the environment. When they overconsume, others have to go without. What is admirable about that? Even at the height of the famine in 1985, Ethiopian farmers were growing strawberries for the breakfast tables of the world’s wealthy.

UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) s

I find it strange when people tell me they don’t believe in UFO s. What do they believe? That every flying object has been identified? That every flying object not identified was a hallucination? That there are no new types of flying objects to be discovered? Surely not.

Last Days

Unless you die suddenly of a heart attack, you will probably end your days in bed unable to do anything much but read or watch TV. Yet many people paddle furiously all their lives to amass a fortune they won’t ever need. You won’t have any need at all for a big house, a big car, lavish meals, a private jet or jewelry. Perhaps it would make more sense to enjoy life with all its varied activities while you still have your health, especially exploratory travel.

Cash Back

I avoid any company that offers me cash back. They are trying to pull a fast one and this is just the first of many ways they will attempt to screw me. A cash back scheme has six disadvantages:


Society overvalues leadership. A society of egotists each dead set on dragging everyone along their way won’t get anywhere. On the other paw, a society of sheep is vulnerable to an evil or incompetent leader, like Hitler or Bush, whom they blindly follow simply because he is the designated leader. What you need are people who will fully co-operate so long as the leader is going in roughly the right direction, but who will dig in their heels when they believe he is taking them in a foolish direction. There is a superfluity of would-be leaders motivated mainly by desire for limelight. The true power is in the seconder, who selects the best approach and champions it.


When baby animals play, it is obvious to us they are rehearsing adult activity. It has a serious purpose. Likewise, when we arrange activities for young humans, we are teaching them to rehearse adult activities, for example: I am surprised parents are so careless about the lessons they give their children.

9/10 Empty

Have you ever opened a package to discover it was 9/10 empty. Why did the manufacturer do that? Manufacturers continue these unethical and wasteful practices because they are more competitive. They won’t stop to consider the ethical or environmental effects until there are honest and frugal packaging laws. Such laws won’t harm manufacturers, so long as there is a level playing field. Such laws will actually make them more profitable since they won’t need to waste so much money on excess packaging.


I have no experience with other life in other parts of the universe to compare. Statistically, earth is probably just average. However, I can’t help but feel in my gut that earth is one of the more hellish planets. What on earth possesses us humans to do such things as: Perhaps it is for the best that we humans are destroying the ecosystem that sustains us. Perhaps sacrificing even a whole planet is a worthwhile sacrifice to prevent us humans from spreading like a cancer throughout the galaxy. Earth will recover from the blow we inflicted in another 10 million years, an eye blink in geological time. You could think of man as failing a difficult test, one a species must pass before proving himself worthy to colonise space. He must get into space without destroying his home world first.


As a gay man, I feel sorry for straight men. They are so pathetically needy for sex and the approval of women they will twist themselves into all manner of unnatural shapes hoping women will approve. Unfortunately, most women don’t like men the way they come out the box. They can’t stand men unless they pretend to be tame, domestic and completely monogamous, quite unlike the way men are naturally. They guilt trip them into thinking there is something wrong with being male. Eventually a man who contorts himself this way rebels and ends up hating his female partner for tricking him into wasting his years as a mere shadow of his authentic self. She is baffled. She had no idea of her transforming power over him.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has one of the great voices of the planet. It feels like warm water poured over my back in the bath. Somehow just listening to her say ordinary things with her beautiful precision restores my faith in humanity. A religious person might explain it as like being in the presence of a saint. Some of the other delightful voices include Barbara Jefford, Peter O’Toole, Michael Yorke, James Earl Jones, Christopher Plummer, Sean Connery, Kelly LeBrock, Leonard Cohen, Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, Felicity Kendal, Michael Caine and Sebastian Spence.

Planetary Despair

Especially after viewing a documentary like What A Way To Go: life at the end of empire it is hard not to despair at how our fellow humans are so dead set on destroying the planet and with it all or nearly all of human kind. Here are some ways to cushion the emotional blow:

Good Deeds

The cleanest, easiest high is doing something nice for someone else. Given how little effort is required, how intensely pleasant the high is, and how there is no hangover, just a nice glow that can last for years, it is amazing how rarely people use this method purely to make themselves feel good.

Learning Tools

Since children are sponges absorbing new behaviours from whatever they see, you can consider anything you expose them to as a learning tool. There is no such thing as simple entertainment. What are you intending to teach them when you give them a video game like Microsoft Halo or Grand Theft Auto or taking them to see a preacher milking the crowd by threatening hellfire or taking them to a movie like Death Wish?


The word freedom means the right to conduct your own private affairs without outside meddling and concomitantly allowing others to do things, that don’t concern you, that you don’t like, without interference.

Americans use the word quite differently. They imagine people are free only when the think like Americans, believe in Jesus and work primarily for American interests.


People happily rebel in ways that don’t matter. For example they will wear a ring in their tongue, get a tattoo, shave their head, design an eccentric beard, or wear some highly uncomfortable clothing. They will refuse to standardize on computer function keys or MIME types. They will refuse to conform to naming conventions with programming computers. Yet when it comes to rebelling in a way that matters e.g. expressing unpopular religious or political beliefs, people turn into perfect sheep. They are too afraid to say what is in their hearts, even when what they have to say is blindingly obvious, e.g. that war is bad for children and other living things or that the rich are screwing the poor.

The Great Error

Nothing causes more suffering than this great error. A great love of your life rejects you or dumps you. You are seduced by some of their positive qualities into thinking they are the one and now life cannot continue without them. However, there were not your true love. Your true love would never treat you that way. The dumper was an imposter.


Like predictions in the bible, these predictions are undated. You can thus never prove them wrong. At worst, you can have a false alarm.

Economics of Fashion

Consider how economics drives fashion. The general principle is whatever is fashionable requires affluence. Fashion is primarily an affluence display. For example, in cave man times being fat was in because food was hard to come by. Consider the Rubenesque Venus statues of the period. Today, the poor balloon up on Kraft Dinner and wealthy require personal trainers and expensive diets of fresh organic foods to stay slim. In India today, rich women still roll their enormous bellies voluptuously, rubbing it into the undernourished general populace. In medieval times, a pasty complexion was in. Serfs were tanned from field labour while wealthy women could stay inside and avoid such coarse labour. Today the poor toil in sunless offices while the wealthy tan on Caribbean beaches. In days when it took hours of servant labour to starch and iron your clothes, wrinkles in clothes were a disgrace. Today they are in, since they require more expensive natural fibres. In days when people wore their clothes until they wore out, tattered clothes were shameful. Today they are in because it takes so much labour to create the tattered look and new mass manufactured clothes are so cheap. Diamonds and gold are preferred as personal decoration to African beads, not because they are more colourful or beautiful, but simply because they are rarer and hence more expensive. The results of plastic surgery are bizarre: bloated pitted lips, wind swept faces, bug eyes…, yet because the procedures are expensive and hence inaccessible to the average citizen, the results are considered fashionable. Similarly expensive makeup and nauseating perfumes prevail over pleasant inexpensive alternatives. Males traditionally participated even more in fashion that women, though today women seem to drive fashion. You saw men adopting digital watches when they first came out and were very expensive. Now they are going back to less accurate, more expensive analog watches, simply because everyone can now afford an accurate digital watch. They will buy a pair of socks for five times the going rate simply because of a bold designer logo that shouts This guy is so rich he can waste money on overpriced socks.

Humanity’s Rites of Passage

Like a young man sent on a dangerous vision quest to prove his mettle to be considered a man in the tribe, humanity is beset with four increasingly difficult rites of passage.
  1. We have developed weapons terrible enough to destroy all of humanity if not all higher life forms. We must individually develop the wisdom not to use them.
  2. We are drastically altering the planet with our economic activities. We must co-operate with everyone else on the planet to refrain from damaging the eco-systems and causing massive including rapid climate change.
  3. The earth reverses magnetic polarity about every 200,000 years on average. The last time was 780,000 years ago. We are in the process of a flip right now. Though it is a somewhat random event, most likely in about 300 more years, the earth’s magnetic field will temporarily disappear, to be restored in about another 1000 years. So what you say? Who will even notice but a few boy scouts? The earth’s magnetic field is protects us like a force field from cosmic radiation. We will unprotected from particle bombardment from space and from the sun, causing additional cancers and disruptions of satellite communications. To deal with this lesser threat we will have the even more difficult task of co-operating actively to deal with the problem.
  4. The resources of earth are finite. We must learn to share them fairly and to avoid bearing more children than the planet can currently sustain. This requires overcoming our deepest biological urge — to survive and populate at the expense of others.
So we must pass from individual restraint, to passive collective co-operation, to active collective co-operation, to overcoming our genetic nature — quite a challenge.
You do not have to change: survival is not mandatory.
~ Dr. W. (William) Edwards Deming (1900-10-14 1993-12-20 age:93) On Overcoming Resistance to Change

Punish The Crime

I often see a judge throwing the book at someone who has had an accident while driving drunk. Similarly I see a judge harsh with someone who has an accident because they did not properly maintain their vehicle. But the crime is not having an accident. It is driving drunk or failing to maintain a vehicle. Whether there is an accident is irrelevant. The punishment should be the same for driving drunk whether or not there is an accident. Judges are too harsh with those who have an accident and not harsh enough with those who don’t.


When people go to a David Copperfield magic show they will see the impossible. Yet no one presumes a miracle was involved even if for the life of them they can’t figure out any possible way Mr. Copperfield could have pulled the illusion off. Yet when most people hear of some rather minor children’s magic, like changing the colour of a liquid, third or fourth hand, even via anonymous reporters, even when there are no details, even when the alleged magic happened hundreds or thousands of years ago, they are absolutely certain a true miracle occurred. Such is the immense power of wishful thinking.


Insurance is deceptively advertised as if it magically protected you from harm. It does no such thing. It merely gives you legal right to wrestle with the insurance company for some money long after the unpleasant event. It would make more sense to spend some money on prevention, e.g. air bags in your car, or a high crash test safety rating vehicle, or having your house wiring and heating updated. You might move away from an area prone to tsunamis, floods, wars, earthquakes or industrial accidents. That will actually protect you from harm.


I have often wondered why chiropractors, the people to correct bone alignment, have a reputation for quackery. Here in BC where all manner of medicine is covered by universal health insurance, chiropractors are excluded. No other type of medicine can instantly relieve pain. Perhaps professional envy is the root.


Most people treat housework as drudgery. They postpone it and suffer the consequences of living in dirt and less than ideal sanitation, getting a reputation as a slob not to mention the Herculean task of getting the house ready for guests. When they do it, all they can think about it what a waste of time it is and how they would rather be doing something else.

Instead, treat it as a game, where the goal is maximum efficiency — to keep your place as clean as possible with the least effort. You constantly work at finding ever more efficient ways to do things. This keeps your interest up. I discovered that for example, by treating the kitchen floor as if it were a work surface and giving it a quick wipe with Lysol all purpose spray cleaner each day, it never needs to be washed, and it is always sparkling clean, though I do rinse it with water from time to time. This also keeps any dropped food from being ground into the floor. I found that letting the dishes soak in a pan outside the sink keeps the sink free for other uses. I found that oven cleaner will instantly clean anything with baked on grease, not just ovens, especially white ovenware. Experiment with different cleaning tools and chemicals to find the ones optimal for each job. If you live with someone else, you will find they automatically are less likely to leave messes than before.

Silicon Sociopaths

A sociopath is someone who carefully monitors his victim and does and says whatever it takes to please them as a preliminary to manipulating them. He is not constrained by morality, social convention or inhibition. This sounds much like what we could expect from an artificially intelligent silicon companion.

Blind Obedience

The greatest of all sins is blind obedience. Without it, the power of an evil man to cause harm is limited to killing perhaps 100 people. With even a million blind followers, he can kill and torture by the tens of millions. Blind obedience allows not particularly malicious men to commit the most hideous atrocities and feel profoundly virtuous about them.


The elderly like to tsk tsk at the young over pornography because, even in fantasy, they find it too absurd to imagine coupling with the perfect specimens it portrays.

The Biggest Mistake of My Life

I am telling you his story in the hopes it will help you avoid making the same mistake. It cast a pall over my whole life, even bigger than contracting HIV. In the early 70s I lived with my lover whom I was head over heels in love with. I remember thinking to myself with a mild tinge of regret that I had reached the pinnacle of happiness. It could not get any better than this. Then one day, out of the blue, he told me that he hated me, had always hated me, had only pretended to love me the last few years and that I was so horrible that I should never get involved with anyone else again. I made two errors:
  1. I assumed that since he knew me better than anyone, his assessment must be accurate.
  2. I was well aware of my faults, but I was baffled that he could go instantly from 100% positive to 100% negative. I figured it required some extraordinary explanation such as drugs, devil-worshiping cult or some sort of hypnotic possession.
His personality change was so drastic I told myself that I should put my life on hold until he returned to normal. I should dedicate my life to his recovery. I should patiently wait for him to come back or later resume the same sort of friendly relations I had with other ex’s. Unfortunately, with a couple of exceptions, he refused all communication. I had to get all information on how he was doing third hand.

I soon learned he had found someone else, but I still could not see why that would explain his sudden change in attitude to me. In retrospect, I had seen him dump friends suddenly for unknown reasons. I also discovered there was a drug component.

My vigil went on for about a dozen years, then gradually dwindled in intensity for the next twenty. However, I never again let myself trust anyone. I always held back. It was like a constant note of sadness in my life. Later partners were irritated knowing I was still pining for him. I had put so much pain into this vigil, it was hard to give it up.

Oddly, watching the Jerry Springer Show was the most healing. I watched women surprising their boyfriends or husbands with the news they were dumping them for other men, then proceeded to humiliate and insult their old boyfriends on national TV. It had never dawned on me this was anywhere near normal behaviour for the human species.

I think the mechanism goes like this. The dumper feels guilty at leaving, so decides to vilify the dumpee in her/his mind in order to justify it. It may also be that the dumper has accumulated a pile of unexpressed resentments. They finally get the courage to state them only after deciding to leave.

The important thing is, don’t pine! If your lover doesn’t want you any more, you are not a good match. They won’t be happy even if you do get back together. Move on!

Toilet Seats

Why is it women get upset if you leave the toilet seat up, but don’t mind a bit if you leave the lid down?

I Am An Idea

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.
~ George Orwell (1903-06-25 1950-01-21 age:46)
We now know that you do not directly experience reality. In a manner something like a computer’s, you process the little electrical signals coming up your nerves into your brain. Your brain creates a dream/hallucination loosely based on this digitally encoded information. Everything you subjectively experience is an idea/dream/hallucination. So even when you think about yourself, it is still just an idea. Thus, what you subjectively experience as yourself is just an idea. It flits in and out of your consciousness just like any other idea. I expound on this in my essay Experience is a Hallucination.

Fruit Baskets

Why do we humans bring fruit baskets and flowers to people in hospital? A primitive human has genetic programming that says When I am deathly ill and food is scarce, it is best that I die and thus save food for my kin who will carry on my genes. If I drag on, we will all end up dying. To turn off this programming, you must convince the subconscious of the ill person that it is summer and food is abundant, so there is no need for his sacrifice, hence the fruit basket and the flowers, which will work even if he does not eat the fruit. The gifts also say We would rather you lived; we feel in no danger from you consuming food if you continue your life.


Let us say you buy a $1 lottery ticket each month for a prize of $10 million. To offer that prize, there must be about 20 million tickets sold each month. You will win on average once every 1,666,667 years.

The age life on the earth is about 3.5 billion years. If you had been playing since the first microorganisms formed, you would have won about 2100 times.

The age of the earth is about 4.5 billion years. If you had been playing since the formation of the earth, you would have won about 2700 times.

The universe is 13.7 billion years old. If you had been playing since the dawn of time, you would have won about 8220 times.


The periods of peak happiness in my life occur under three conditions:
  1. I perform an act of kindness.
  2. Someone performs an act of kindness for me.
  3. I witness someone performing an act of kindness for another.
Scientists have discovered that serotonin levels increase in all three situations, and also that immune systems strengthen. I makes me wonder why people don’t seek out kindness with the same assiduousness they seek out money, status, sex and excitement. It works much better and is some much easier to achieve.

Get Goal of War

The end goal of war is to force the other guy do something he does not want to do, e.g. The means goal of war is to create as much suffering as you can for the other guy, per dollar you spend, while avoiding creating even more misery for yourself.

Commerce has a different ethic. Nobody signs a deal unless both parties believe they are better off for it, even when one party is benefitting much more than the other.

Grim Optimism

I spent a lot of time thinking about global problems, such as global warming, overpopulation, pollution, soil erosion, racism, sexism, species extinction, nuclear war, biowar, globalisation, runaway corporate power, poverty, George Bush, torture and atrocities in America, Afghanistan and Iraq… It looks as if humanity is determined to go extinct. We humans have the motivations of a chimpanzee wired to the genius to destroy of an Einstein. It is a combination that is causing our species to prepare for suicide by dozens of means.

I work as hard as I can, given my limited energy, on all fronts simultaneously. It is hard to notice any beneficial effect at all. What is so frustrating is there are so many well-funded people working diligently against me to promote global warming, war, pollution, cruelty, greed, exploitation, overpopulation etc. As you might expect, I become deeply depressed over this situation.

This is how I pull myself out of it. I go down to the beach and look out over the water toward Port Angeles. Then I imagine what this scene will look like when man manages to wipe himself out and possibly much of life on earth along with him. The lights of Port Angeles will be gone, but the stars will be there, exactly as before. The clouds will still there. The wind will be there, perhaps whipping a lot harder. There will still be some rain and the ocean. Once in earth’s history, the land was completely barren and bit by bit plant life colonised it. No matter how scorched, poisoned or denuded the continents, plants will eventually work their patient miracle again. Life on earth has already survived 30 mass extinctions that wiped out more than half the life on earth. There many not be another technological species for a long while, but that is not such a terrible thing. We humans sadistically tormented the earth and all its creatures. We are one of the very few creatures who leave the environment less inviting to our offspring than we found it.

However, I can’t help but notice that I too am a human with a chimp’s motivations. I wish I could kill those who oppose me. I am deeply ashamed of being a human, a member of a failed and insanely self-centered species.

I see only one plausible rescue, coming from artificial intelligence, smarter than man, capable of saving us from our own stupidity. That’s why I have put so much effort into the Java glossary.

It is not nearly the Hail Mary you might imagine. I wrote a FØRTRAN program myself in the 1970s for BC Hydro to design high voltage transmission lines called Optow, that was more intelligent than humans. One day it was laughably stupid. The next, with just a tiny bit more tinkering, it was 10% smarter than a person and instantly put 50 engineers with masters degrees and PhDs out of work. Humans are not good an estimating intelligence progress. They underestimate it when it is far from human and overestimate it when it is near.

book cover recommend book⇒The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligenceto book home
by Ray Kurzweil 978-0-14-028202-3 paperback
birth 1948-02-12 age:70 978-0-670-88217-5 hardcover
publisher Penguin 978-1-101-07788-7 eBook
published 2000-01-01 978-0-14-086888-3 audio
  B002CIY8JW kindle
A fascinating book giving the evidence why computers exceeding human intelligence are imminent.
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If computers don’t rescue us, you can console yourself with this thought. Humans are something like goats. They leave the environment in ruins. The sooner humans go extinct, the better for planet earth. The fewer species will be lost and the faster earth can recover.

Abstinence Education

If you watch the Maury Show, you will see harpies screeching at men they have slept with and men shouting back obscenities and insults. The women demand money to support their children. The men contest that they are indeed the fathers.

I would imagine any impressionable boy viewing this spectacle would never want to touch a girl, much less screw her, knowing in nine months she could turn into such a fiend from hell and he could be tied financially to this venom-spitting hellcat for 20 years. If I had any choice in the matter I would stick to gay sex or sex with very low risk for pregnancy.

Yet even the best abstinence education does not work. It actually increases risk of HIV transmission. You have to teach people safe sex. You can’t contain hormones, just direct them.

Crop Circles

I enjoyed a magical experience. I watched a documentary called Star Dreams click to watch about crop circles . Much of it was just irritating, flakes spouting pseudoscientific guff about vibrations, frequencies and matrices, but the photographs taken from airplanes of the crop circles themselves were utterly spellbinding. These are works of art with more appeal for me than anything I have ever seen painted on canvas. Each one was so original and so perfect without a needless stroke. The recent British crop circles are intricate jewels, some 700 feet across. Some might almost be described as iridescent the way they changed as you viewed them from different angles.

Just who is/are the artist(s)? Circa 1990, a couple of men claimed to have created over 1000 of them in three months, but never demonstrated producing even one. For many, this closed the mystery. My partner figures the artist is a team of talented young people working for the British military testing out secret technology. Others believe the designers are not human. The circles are well above the quality of graffiti or pranks. Whoever is doing them is an artist of the highest order. Just looking at them induces a mild euphoria. According to that documentary, the crop circles appear suddenly in the middle of the night, apparently in as little as five minutes, yet even though there have been over ten thousand of them, no one has managed to photograph one being formed. One other odd feature is the stalks are not broken, but bent and the wheat or other grain continues to grow unharmed. There is a new religion growing around them believing them to be messages from a benign alien species.

I don’t know who made them. I am not about to make up my mind from only one video made by true believers. However, as artistic works, they impressed the heck out of me. There are not your grandfather’s crop circles. This is something you want to see on a big screen.

Turbojam Scam

Turbojam advertises on TV for an exercise video. The announcer proclaims if you don’t lose up to 25.40 cm (10 in) you can request a refund. That, of course, is no guarantee at all. The only people who qualify are those that lose more than  and more than 25.40 cm (10 in). If by some fluke that happened, the customer would have no reason to request a refund. Even if the product caused you to gain , the guarantee would still not apply since losing  still counts as losing up to  . So there is no guarantee at all. Yet the ad stresses the no-risk guarantee over and over and over as if it were real. Whenever you hear the phrase up to in an advertisement, guaranteed they are trying to deceive you.

FOX sued in the supreme court for the right to make up the news. They argued and won that it is entertainment and need not have any connection to reality. Yet people, out of old habits, still watch FOX news imagining they are hearing some approximation to the truth.

There was a time when scamming was the province of door to door salesmen and con artists. Today it is standard business practice. Royal Roads business college teaches students how to be unethical in business. There is no longer even a pretence of honesty.

This is not all that new. I had my first taste of corporate scamming when I was five and saved up $0.50 (four weeks allowance) for a submarine that dives and plunges The picture on the back of the Kellogg’s cornflakes box showed it to be at least a foot long producing a prodigious wake with two astonished children in the background for scale. When it finally arrived it was about four inches long and did not plunge at all. It would tilt on its side and emit a bubble like a tiny fart. Undaunted, some years later I sent a dollar to Kellogg’s for a pumped water rocket that would go 100 feet in the air. This time they kept my dollar and said Sorry, we don’t deliver to Canada. even though I got the offer off a box of Canadian Kellogg’s corn flakes. I still have not forgiven them. I always buy some other brand.

Free Will

If you watch a movie, do the characters have free will? Of course, not; every frame is fixed in celluloid. Yet this does not become obvious until you watch the movie a second time. When you first watch a movie, the characters appear free to choose their actions and fates. Yet the freedom was all an illusion. Yet this illusion of freedom is completely comfortable, without any feeling of restraint, at least the first time you watch the movie. So why are we humans so distressed by the notion that choice may be merely calculation with a little randomness thrown in? We humans are so puffed with vanity we demand that choice be something unfathomable and mystical, something only humans can do.

Whenever I look back on my life, it seems to me my choices were inevitable given what I knew at the time and what my hormones were doing.

I have a sense of confinement if somebody or something stops me from doing what I believe would work out best. My freedom is not in the least impinged if the correct course of action is blindingly obvious, when it is something I definitely want to do, no matter how inevitable my choice. The word free has too many meanings and has too many emotional connotations. It befuddles people. When you have a free choice it really means the right to take the option you want, not whether there was some doubt about the choice.

My Mom used to say if only are the two saddest words in the English language. The words represent a vain wishful thinking that you knew back then what you know now. You didn’t. You couldn’t. If you went back in time limited by the same knowledge you had back then, you would do the exact same stupid things all over again. The purpose of regret is to remind you avoid repeating mistakes, not to torture you endlessly for ones you already made.

What if you and a friend watched a rerun of a game show on TV. You have seen the rerun; your friend has not. The contestant has to make a random choice, box A gets him a car, box B gets him a cabbage. You watch him constrained to pick box B. Your friend sees him making a free choice. So free will is in the eye of the beholder. It depends on how much knowledge of the future you have.


Microbes attempt to consume you all your life long, then finally at death you surrender to them. Perhaps an analogy to dying would be the demolition of a house. It simply is no longer there, other than in memory. Many of my friends and relatives have died. There is not the tiniest sign any of them attempted to communicate with the living or performed any deeds after they died. They are simply gone, as gone as my old house that was demolished to make way for an even bigger dwelling.

I am told people often die smiling, as though the moment of death is a pleasant release from the pains and indignities of sickness or old age.

To me, life is like a roller coaster ride. The hypothesis that it might be never-ending is a nightmare. I find it odd that other people like to make up the most elaborate and fanciful stories about death where they are rewarded for every good deed and their enemies ferociously punished for every transgression. What is even odder is they treat these conjectures as literal truth with nothing at all to base them on. The impenetrable wall that death creates allows wishful speculation to have a free reign and create iron-clad certainty.

Sensory Reality

I live in a sensory universe. I don’t experience reality directly; I experience only my sensory hallucinations of it. When I smell tobacco smoke, for example, what actually happens is I experience my cellular level negative opinion of tobacco. I live in a world of looks, feels and smells, emotions, likes and dislikes, not of objects and atoms. My experience bears the same sort of relationship to reality as does a painting. How I experience reality is my artistic creation.


House is my favourite TV show. It is about an arrogant, sarcastic, overly candid doctor who is brilliant at diagnosing obscure diseases. You might have ignored it, since it in on FOX. The dialog is brilliant, the characters complex, the plots surprising. Even though the show mocks its own theatrical conventions, I find myself caring about the characters as if they were real people. It is the event each week I most look forward to. You might call it TV for adults.


In the 1980s I became interested in isolation tanks after having talked with Dr. John Cunningham Lilly, the dolphin researcher. I floated in warm water, laden with Epsom salts, in the dark. I floated so high in the water, I could even fall asleep safely. There is no light or sound or any other distraction. I became aware of my thoughts, which seemed like some crazed AM radio blaring away with the volume turned up to nine. I became aware of how inane and mindless most of my thoughts were, just jabbering. I tried desperately to shut off the racket. The only thing that I found that worked was listening. I would try to hear faint sounds coming through the muffled walls. The internal voices would shut up for a few seconds to let me hear. You don’t need an isolation tank to do this. Just go somewhere quiet and listen intently to the quietest sounds.

Me In a Nutshell

My purpose is to convince people to stop doing things that interfere with other people’s long term happiness.

Red Light Sheep

In Chicago, when drivers stop at a red light, they lean on their horns until the light turns green. A friend asked a cab driver why he was doing this. He replied, Because it is a red light. I wonder how the custom got started. Perhaps a driver’s horn got stuck once and lo the light turned green. He discovered that by honking his horn long enough, he could make the light turn green. He was reenacting the ancient ritual of pigeon superstition, discovering for example that dancing would eventually make it rain, or that praying hard enough would eventually make the seeds sprout.

Even pigeons do it in lab experiments. They peck for pellets and one time one happens to be standing on one leg when its get some food. Thereafter it stands on one leg to peck for pellets, like a superstitious gambler.


Scientists have told us what we need to do to ensure the survival of the human race to deal with the big problems like global warming, nuclear war, destruction of the environment, overpopulation, the end of oil, soil erosion… What stops us from taking action?
  1. Corporate thinking: the next quarter profit is more important than long term survival.
  2. Religious wishful thinking: imagining that if man plays helpless, God will eventually take pity and make it all better.
  3. Selfishness: people are unwilling to make any sacrifices of immediate pleasure for their children’s or even their own survival. All that matters is immediate gratification.
  4. Secular wishful thinking: ignoring the best science and believing any crank or corporate shill who will tell you there is nothing to worry about.
Man imagines he is the most intelligent of species, but he is the only one I know of that is trapped in such fatal delusions.

We’re All Going To Die

I worry quite a bit about global problems: global warming, nuclear war, destruction of the environment, overpopulation, religious insanity, the end of oil, soil erosion… It seems unlikely we will manage to deal with all this in anything like a satisfactory way. However, we are all going to die anyway. Nobody gets out of life on earth alive. So the premature deaths of billions of humans is not quite as tragic as it first seems. The happy part is, if nearly everyone is killed by global stupidity, most of my enemies will die too — the rude snot on the Internet, George Bush, the truck drivers who ran me off the road, the people who have stolen or vandalised my bicycles, the soldiers who tortured kids, the snotty bureaucrats, the people who leave trash at mountain lakes… Earth will recover in a few thousand millennia, having shrugged off humanity like an infestation of pubic lice.

The Last Lap

There is a period near the end of your life I call the last lap where you recognise it is all downhill from here on and that you won’t be starting any major new projects and you will become increasingly dependent on others. When my Dad went through this, he expressed regret he had accomplished so little in his life, even through by the usual standards he was very successful. My Mom, after a lifetime as a tyrant, suddenly wanted love and affection from her family. I am like my Dad, feeling great shame I did not do something worthy of Nobel prize. Everyone tells you, your life is over so quickly, it seems like the blink of an eye. It is as if you are a teenager and one day you wake up the next day and there is an old man staring back at you from the mirror. If you plan to do something grand or even adventurous, you had better get on with it early in life and dedicate the necessary amounts of time and effort. Life is like a deadline. It seems you have all the time in the world, then suddenly the deadline is upon you.

Dealing With Bullies

Bullies at school can make your life hell. They have no pity. They usually operate in gangs. They will pursue you relentlessly for years in their sadism. I have found only one way to deal with them. Philosophically I don’t like this, but I found nothing else works. You must plot a surprise attack on the ring leader. The attack must be extremely painful and barely within the law in terms of the violence. To cover yourself from legal reprisals, the attack must be planned to coincide with an attack on you first. Don’t hold back. Use every ounce of your strength to cause maximal pain and injury. Holding something like a roll of quarters in your hand will let you break his jaw even with a roundhouse swing. Study the various techniques even tiny women can use to disable a rapist. Bullies usually surround you and strike from behind. It is fair to use subterfuge, possibly feigning weakness, to lure your target within range. Half measures will just make things worse. I wonder if this is also the best way to deal with international bullies who steal natural resources instead of lunch money.

The Man-Eating Clam

I have a fantasy, to find the empty shell of one of those enormous man-eating clams and have it lined with Tempurpedic foam and upholstered in velvet. Then when the world gets too much, I climb inside, assume the fetal position and pull the shell almost closed.

Remembered Sex

The sexual adventures I remember most clearly are the ones that didn’t quite make it, but that looked as if they almost could have been. Perhaps they leave the most room for fantasy as to how wonderfully they could have turned out.


Have you noticed how Madison Avenue has embraced Zen. They use the word so sell everything from bath salts to office furniture. Have you noticed how when advertisers want to show a spiritually enlightened person, they pick a Buddhist monk. Buddhism symbolise rationality, calm and beneficence. Isn’t it odd that a culture has abandoned the symbols of virtue of its own religion.

Buddha Groove logo

Restaurant Theatre

Our daily interactions run in ruts. Consider breaking the pattern. Let’s say you go for breakfast and the waitress says How would you like your eggs cooked? Instead of the usual pat answer consider the following:

It’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium

A common question a nurse asks to determine if a patient is disoriented is What day of the week is it? But how does the patient know? 108 years ago, the weekly rhythm was punctuated with mandatory Sunday church attendance. Today, it is punctuated by the Tuesday night House TV show. Whenever FOX changes its schedule, or throws in an extra Monday night showing, thousands of patients are misdiagnosed.

A New Colour

I have always wondered if technology some day will figure out a way to let me experience a totally new colour, one I have never seen before. I don’t mean just a slightly different shade of green, but some new colour as different from all the colours of the rainbow as yellow is from red and green.

Imagine someone growing up in an environment where everyone protected him from ever seeing the colour red. Then in some special ceremony, it would be presented for the first time.

Emperors of old tried to impress their subjects that way. British royalty forbade anyone but themselves from wearing purple. Chinese emperors forbade anyone but themselves from wearing yellow.


Are pitted olives olives with pits or olives with pits removed? The can states that the olives may contain pits, so even the manufacturer is unsure.

War Grace

War is a special state of grace where all manner of crimes are excused automatically, including murder, torture, rape, genocide, wasteful spending, squashing civil rights and destruction of the environment. The main difference between war and peace is our tolerance for criminal action on the part of both ourselves and others. So when someone excuses murder because there is a war on, he is merely expressing a tautology, not really telling you anything.

Turning Women On

If you really want to turn a woman on, as opposed to turning yourself on, try washing windows or cleaning behind the fridge, or whatever that chore is she nags you about. And don’t forget the power of frequent hugs, foot massages and backrubs.

Big Picture Math

The big question is why is there anything at all? matter, space, time, life. Then you start wondering why is the universe the way it is. It seems conceivable that the universe could have worked many other ways, but oddly, in all of them, mathematics would be the same. The universe could work by different mathematical rules, but the constraints on what is mathematically true would be the same. Pythagoras’s theorem would be true in all possible universes. So mathematics is even more fundamental than existence.

The Purpose of Life

I once asked the cosmos What is the purpose of life? To my surprise, I got an answer back, complete with impressive special effects. The answer was There is no purpose. You have to create one. The universe suddenly struck me as a forlorn place. The cosmos continued It has to be that way when you consider how much variety there is in the universe. No one purpose could possibly suit everyone. Just because you get to choose it does not mean it is not a perfectly valid purpose worth pursuing. At first this feels frightening and empty, but if you think a little longer, it gives you freedom. You can put your heart into a purpose you choose much more than someone else’s purpose handed to you. It was extremely ‘kind’ of the universe to trust you this way. Rejoice in your cosmic freedom.


Let’s say you were a Bushman living in the Kalahari desert in a tribe of 20 people. If you figured out a way to scarf a hundred times as many mogongo nuts as anyone else and at the same time contribute no labour to collecting them, would you do it? If you did, your fellows would likely chide you for your greed and sloth until you relented. But in North America, people aspire to do this very sort of thing as the purpose of their lives. What is even stranger is that North Americans who succeed in this con have the highest social status.


Do screensavers run when you turn off the monitor?

Dandelion Faith

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-10-02 1948-01-30 age:78)
Consider a dandelion. It creates seeds and the winds blow them away. Then nothing happens. But come spring, some of the seeds sprout. This is very much the way social change works. You do your lectures, essays, demonstrations, letters to the editor, websites, blogs, newsgroup posts, TV shows, radio shows etc. You don’t fret over the effect of any individual action. This is how I worked on gay lib starting back in 1969. When I started, everyone was opposed to me, even the gays at first. I knew it was utterly hopeless, but it felt right to work for gay civil rights just the same. Magically, within three years, we had the first gay rights legislation.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-10-02 1948-01-30 age:78)


Life is like a cafeteria, where sometimes the best thing on the menu is Lo Pi Rat.

On Kudzu

Man is the kudzu vine of the animal kingdom. We pretend not to notice out of team loyalty.

A Riddle

You once held a Guinness Book of World Records type distinction. What was it? Everyone on earth had their time in the sun at being the titleholder for a short while.

Wishful Thinking

As you get older, one by one you have to accept the fact you will never climb another mountain, have mad passionate sex with a 20 year old, or even run up a flight of stairs. The temptation is immense to imagine some magic will let you relive the experiences of your youth. You find yourself pondering the silliest religious notions of heaven that have no evidence at all for them.

Similarly, it is hard not to lie to reassure a child crying over the loss of loved relative, friend or pet.

These are not innocent lies. They rob the young of realising how precious those short years of youth are.

Animal Cruelty

I think; therefore I am.
~ René Descartes (1596 1650 age:54)

Descartes became the father of animal cruelty. The flip side of what he said is that if you don’t think, in the rational mathematical sense, then you don’t really exist. This provides the excuse for animal cruelty. The Christian view was that animals (and slaves for that matter) do not reason and do have souls, so they are not truly conscious and thus they only appear to suffer. Man will believe the silliest bullshit to salve his conscience. Descartes was fully aware that humans and animals had almost identical nervous systems. However, he ignored that and instead swallowed the Catholic doctrine of the soul.

What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes…
~ Jeremy Bentham (1748-02-05 1832-06-06 age:84) Principles of Morals and Legislation

Of course, neither of these authors were aware that crows, parrots and dolphins could do mathematical reasoning.

animal rights

Past Lives

If nearly everyone could remember events from a past life it would never occur to us to wonder how that was possible, or whether these memories were just imagination. Instead, we would wonder why some people did not have them.

If I Had To Live My Life Over

My life had periods of relative hell punctuated by periods of bliss.

So what would I do differently?

Hanging On

Probably more than any person I know, I tend to hang on to past loves, even when doing that is extremely painful. Perhaps I don’t let go because to give up the pain would be to give up the vestiges of the connection.

Natural Punishment

Most religions presume some sort of after death judgement and punishment. There is also a natural punishment the universe hands out while you are still alive. It requires no supernatural power for its administration.

Consider, for example, what happens to soldiers who enlist to kill people:

Consider what happens to people to accumulate excessive wealth: Natural punishment seems just to care about what you do, not your rationalisations for doing it. It does not care if you joined the army to defend your country against a nuclear attack or you joined because you figured it would give you the opportunity to rape children without interference.

Parents Never Sleep

My Dad took the family camping to Kalamalka Lake in the Okanagan of BC Canada. It was a hot day and my Dad lay down on a cot in the sun and fell asleep. We five kids gathered round to watch. We had never seen my Dad asleep before during the day. I noted that he looked like a dying butterfly. Soon my three sisters and my little brother were in tears at Dad’s pending death. The noise woke him up and he asked what was the matter. When we told him, he was quite angry that we would not even once is his life let him relax. My sister told him about the dying butterfly. I don’t think he ever forgave me.

Cuban Missile Crisis

In 1962, Kennedy and Khrushchev were threatening nuclear war. I was 14 at the time. I was so sure this was the end, I did not do my homework, something I had never done before. The next morning the newly installed nuclear attack sirens went off. We went to the radio to get details. It was dead. We kids all started crying We are all going to die! Dad was angry with us for making such a fuss. I figured this was it, so I made by bed, and went out to sit on a giant granite rock in our front yard at 845 Pyrford Road in West Vancouver, BC Canada. There was a sweeping view of Vancouver harbour. It was a clear sunny day. I would have a great seat for the end of the world. I waited and waited and nothing happened.

Circa 1967, I thought to myself, what if this happens for real? Do I want to be tormenting myself with thoughts of why I did not do anything to at least try to prevent the nuclear war. I decided to do something that would be sufficiently drastic that I would be able to content myself with the thought I had all that could reasonably be expected. So I gave  $100.00 CAD to the fledgling Greenpeace for their anti-nuclear protests. This was a large sum for a kid putting himself through university in the days when room and board were  $40.00 CAD a month. I got a letter back telling me it was the largest donation they had ever received. I has occurred to me since that my donation might have been the horseshoe nail that made the difference between Greenpeace fading away or becoming what it is today.

For want of a nail a shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe a horse was lost,
for want of a horse a rider was lost,
for want of a rider an army was lost,
for want of an army a battle was lost,
for want of a battle the war was lost,
for want of the war the kingdom was lost,
and all for the want of a little horseshoe nail.
~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-01-17 1790-04-17 age:84)


There was a German Christian who lived in the 1900s in Stadtsteinach in Germany named Gottfried Johannes Müller. Some called him a saint. He arranged homes for orphans around the world. He suggested the key to transforming earth from hell to heaven lay in tiny acts of compassion, for the lowest of the low, e.g. even earthworms, done in secret.
You must behave as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does.
~ Gottfried Johannes Müller (1914-04-10 2009-09-26 age:95)


If I knew what I know now and I had my life to live over again, I would not have the courage.


I think I am getting better at relationships as I get older. Here are my rules:


Many years ago I worked with Andy, a mild mannered little guy who told me that his great dream was someday to write software to control nuclear submarines. I was shocked that he would have fantasies of destroying the planet. But to him, they were just giant toys he would be able to make plunge and dive. I watched a Nova program about the contest between Boeing and Lockheed to get the  $200,000,000,000.00 USD F35 jet fighter contract. Not once did anyone acknowledge what these aircraft were for. The engineers called them transport vehicles. All they were interested in were the propulsion and control systems. They never once mentioned their ability carry weapons. They carefully blocked their purpose out of their minds. They never questioned the need for a titanium bulkhead that took 6 months to machine. Just whom did they imagine these fighters would be used against, aliens?

The Fermi Paradox

The famous physicist Fermi noted that if there were even the slimmest chance of a technological civilisation evolving, their presence should be visible throughout the universe. Instead there is nothing but a great silence. What are we to make of that?

It may be very unusual for technological civilisations to evolve. Whales, dolphins and elephants have brains larger than ours. Squids have brains 20 times larger. They evolved superior intelligence to ours, but lacked the hands necessary to let them evolve technology.

I think the answer is simple. Mankind evolved too much power too fast. We will soon destroy ourselves in one of a thousand ways with that power. See my essay on mankind’s extinction. Technology develops too easily and brings on changes too quickly. Any species going down that route soon destroys itself and takes most of a planet with it.

Nobody Knows You Are a Dog

Internet dog

In 1993, Peter Steiner did a famous cartoon for the New Yorker of a dog sitting at a computer terminal, saying to his friend On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. It’s true. Unless you tell them, people don’t know how old you are, how good looking you are, how sexy your voice is, where you are from or even your gender. I discovered something disturbing. In person, people usually treat me with exaggerated respect. On the Internet, they treat me with contempt. It dawned on me that respect the may be largely because of my great height, which is not visible on the net.

Where Are You?

Kick back on the couch and wiggle your toes. Just where is that sensation of your toes rubbing together? For me it is about 6 feet away. The sensation is located in 3D space at my toes. It is not just that I know the sensation is coming from my toes; the experience of the sensation also is located there. I normally think of myself as being like a little homunculus hiding behind my eyes. Yet that cannot be. In my ability to experience sensation, I am way out there down by my toes too. If my brain can create that illusion, (it is an illusion since, presumably, the actual subjective experience occurs inside my skull) why not a sensation subjectively located outside my body? This is what happens to people with phantom limb pain.

Cosmic Assumption

Scientists make a cosmic assumption, the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe as they are here. They make this assumption without having done any visiting, just studying the light coming from other parts of the universe. Yet, oddly, humanity makes the assumption that this is not true of biology, a branch of carbon chemistry. Man assumes, until proven otherwise, that life exists only on earth. Why the asymmetry? It is caused by religious pride. Man wants to believe He is the apple of God’s eye and that the entire universe was God’s gift to Him alone, despite all the evidence we are nothing out of the ordinary. If this idea intrigues you, read more.

Religious Tolerance

We usually think of religious tolerance as a virtue, but it is not always. The virtue is leaving others alone to choose their rituals to connect with the mysteries of the universe. The vice is offering no resistance to people behaving abominably in the name of religion, spreading superstition, hatred of minority groups, violence, condoning theft of land, touting the divine superiority of their religious group. It is cowardice to accept bribes from the demented Reverend Sun Myung Moon to crown him the Messiah in the capitol building, not religious tolerance. The Pat Robertson’s and Jerry Falwell’s of the world use religious lies to meddle in politics. It is thus fair game to fight back as their supposedly holy authority. Creationists meddle is science spreading disinformation. They must be tolerated no more than any other flavour of liar.

The Wisdom of Old Age

As I get older, I wonder what all the fuss was about in my younger years. Part of the change in attitude is experience, but mostly it is just lower hormones. Most of the things I used to torment myself over now seem relatively unimportant. The notion there is one and only true love for you is the stupidest, cruelest idea ever perpetuated. If that person has already had a relationship with you and decided to leave, no matter what the circumstances, what more proof do you need they are not a suitable partner? Get on with finding a more compatible one! There is no need to complain about either of you just because you did not mesh well over time. I stayed stubbornly stuck for decades because I could not believe my exceedingly loving partner could dump me with such sudden violence. There had to be some explanation and once explained, all could be put right and I could enjoy the same friendly relationship I had with my other ex’s. Gradually, I learned his behaviour did not need an explanation; it is an ordinary part of human nature and relationship transitions. Now I feel silly, embarrassed and regretful to have wasted so much time hanging onto the past.

The Human Family

Scientists who study mitochondrial DNA tell us the human species is only 7000 generations old, a baby as species go. 150,000 years ago, we all sprang from a common grandmother who looked something like this. This means everyone on planet earth is literally a long lost relative. It also means we all have black ancestors, which will drive the racists crazy.

Measuring Success

Tommy Douglas lead the New Democratic Party for many years. They never once came to power in Canada federally. Mr. Douglas himself twice lost his seat in parliament. The Liberal party stole all his best ideas. The newspapers reviled him as a Communist.

Yet now it is clear to everyone, he shaped Canada more than any other politician. Without him Canada would not have universal medical care, old age pensions or children’s allowance. Canadian identity is based around these social programs that see everyone is cared for.


The biggest problem with democracy is the people who claw their way to top are in it primarily for power over others. These are the people you can least trust to make wise decisions for the common good.

Prayer Portions

  1. Some Christians pray with fingers tightly intertwined. This says I beg of you. I beseech you. Do things my way. I really do know better than you what is best for all concerned.
  2. Some Christians pray with palms together. This says I am holier than my fellows, therefore you God, owe it to me to do things my way.
  3. Some new agers pray with palms up. This says I am entitled to your bounty God. Give me my due.
  4. Muslims grovel to pray. This says Please don’t beat me. I claim you are merciful with my tongue, but in my heart I believe you are cruel.
  5. In my dreams, white-frocked nuns pray with hands up and palms forward. This says I surrender. Let me be not so clueless and do it your way.

The Fundamental Sadness

There is small south American catfish who sits on my desk in an aquarium. One of three things must all but inevitably happen:


Most people don’t particularly enjoy their lives. It just one damn thing after another, yet they don’t kill themselves. This is not great surprise given Darwinian selection. However, what is odd, is that when you look at the trials people have to endure, it bears little on whether they kill themselves. The lives of our ancestors were extremely nasty compared with ours, as are those of people in the third world, yet they are less likely than we to suicide. What is going on? Has the fear of punishment subsided? Are tools of painless suicide just more readily available. Have expectations on life risen to ridiculous levels from a constant onslaught of movies and TV? Are people now just more isolated than they were before, now that people don’t need to look out for each other’s physical well being as much? People no longer feel part of their societies.

Only intelligent species whales, dolphins and humans suicide. There need to be three factors for a human suicide:

  1. Desperation or acute intolerable mental pain sufficient to overcome fear. It takes an act of courage comparable to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. This is why antidepressants can trigger suicide. They give people the energy to carry through. Death is a great unknown and cultural myths promise terrible supernatural torments. Those fears must be overcome to suicide.
  2. A belief that conditions could not possibly change sufficiently to make life tolerable.
  3. A belief that others would be better off, or would not particularly object if the suicide were accomplished.


When I read biographies, two things stand out.
  1. The lives of great people are filled with even more emotional distress than mine.
  2. Every famous person was at some point ridiculed by those in authority. Yet they persisted anyway. They did not have the good sense to give up.
I suppose then, for people like me who desperately yearn to leave some magnificent legacy to our species, tragedy and ridicule should be encouraging signs.

Appropriate Programming

Whenever I see a handsome young gay man I think to myself, I wish I too could be young and cute. It would be so great to have everyone chase after me. Yet I notice that young gay men don’t enjoy having everyone chase after them. They find it a nuisance. So likely, so would I if I were magically transformed. As an older gay man, I am left in peace. Perhaps I could learn to appreciate my state, through the eyes of someone young, cute or famous.


Even since I was a little boy I have puzzled over why mirrors reverse left and right but not top and bottom. Obviously mirrors have no directional preference. It must be something in our language that makes up/down different from left/right.

The top of the image is aligned with the top of your body. The left side of the image is aligned with to the left side of your body. So, the mirror is not reversing left and right. Yet it is reversing the writing on your T-shirt, left and right, but not top and bottom.

You can think of mirrors as letting you see the writing from inside the tee shirt. Yet, why should that reverse left and right, but not top and bottom?

Imagine a T-shirt with writing in various orientations. The writing always reverses. So it is not a left-right thing after all, but the handedness of the entire image that flips.

The Matrix

In the movie the Matrix, Morpheus offers Neo a choice. He can take the red pill and see the truth for himself, or he can take the blue pill and return, comfortably unaware, to the illusion of the Matrix. There he can live out his life oblivious to and undisturbed by the truth.

The Internet is the red pill. TV is the blue bill.

Extra Terrestrials

We humans are utterly convinced, without leaving planet earth, that physics and chemistry are identical throughout the universe. We humans are also utterly convinced, without leaving planet earth, that biology is unique to earth. If anyone suggests that somewhere in those trillions of planets there could be other life or intelligent species, we call for a white coat or a tin foil hat. We persist in this belief even though we know primitive life appeared on earth almost the instant it cooled. What’s so special about earth?
The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.
~ Dr. Stephen Jay Gould (1941-09-10 2002-05-20 age:60)

Starting Over

Our Sun has enough fuel to burn about 9 billion years. We humans appeared about half way through the life span. If we humans somehow destroy life to the point it has to start over from scratch, there may not be time for another intelligent species to evolve before the Sun goes nova. However, if we simply wipe ourselves out and leave some other mammals, there will be no problem at all.

Fear of Dying

It is not death, it is dying that alarms me.
~ Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533 1592 age:59)
Having lived so long getting used to the threat of imminent death from HIV, I think I am less afraid of death and dying than most people. The fear is all rather silly. Most people never even get to experience dying. They go to sleep or go unconscious first. People have no trouble accepting that when plants and animals die, that’s the end of them as individuals. Their bodies are cycled. It is vanity or wishful thinking to imagine something grander must necessarily be the fate of human animals.
Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?
~ Epicurus (341 BC 270 BC age:71)

The Future

In the future, I will put a layer of nanobots on my bare feet and glide around like a jet-propelled ice skater, without clothes, over the shopping malls.

In the future, I will be able to wake up a totally different person if I choose.

In the future, I will wonder how all the people back in 2002 managed to endure the primitive technology, especially medicine.

In the future, I will be so intimately connected to everyone else, the boundaries between me, us and them will blur.

In the future, I will wonder why it took so long to abolish war, hunger, pollution, poverty, disease, overpopulation, superstition, torture, cruelty to other species and slavery, when it was so abundantly clear how undesirable these things were to nearly everyone.

Mother Theresa and The Billionaire

A billionaire paid a secret visit to Mother Theresa. He asked Mother, how much should I give?. She replied, Give until it hurts.. He replied, But that would be too painful! Mother T. said, Bill, Pay attention. I said until.

Being Gifted

If you are gifted, you will have a more difficult time giving up ego. Because you have so much evidence that you would do a better job that anyone else (including God) of managing your affairs, God sometimes conspires a catastrophic collapse where you simply cannot cope on your own and you learn, despite your many special gifts, that you are just like everyone else. What a relief!

Going Downhill

Will things ever stop getting worse? Any time you choose, start looking for evidence they are turning around, not perfect, just turning around.

The Cause of Alcoholism

Alcoholics imagine that the only time God will talk to them is when they are roaring drunk.

Decisions Decisions

When a decision seems impossibly hard to make it is because you will do both — perhaps sequentially, perhaps simultaneously.

Ending Hunger

For every 34.2 years that you do nothing to help, you are 100% responsible for allowing one man, woman or child in the third world to die. For every year you do nothing, you are only 2.9% responsible.

Ending hunger, protecting the environment and eliminating war are big problems. Logically you should need to shoulder only 1/6,500,000,000th of the problem. However, because so many people are so discouraged, they are doing nothing at all, you will have to shoulder 20/6,500,000,000th of the problem. Do you think you can handle it?

The Stock Market

Not To Worry

The freedom to compose the life story of planet earth is only granted to those who have demonstrated responsible behaviour. There is no need to worry about this power being given to maniacs (like your sometimes self). You may still participate, just not control.


Even if you don’t like the insects or the smell of a rainforest, it is very reassuring to know it is there.

Definition of Extinction

Extinction is planetary genocide.

Definition of Love

Love is giving someone the power to break your heart and trusting they will not use it.
Joyce Cousins

Being Alone

Why am I so alone?
This is the wrong question.
Ask instead where is the other lonely person I’m supposed to pair up with?


When you are manic, ideas press so hard and fast on your consciousness it feels as if they are coming from the outside. Channeling a message from God is a bit like playing charades. You feel a pressure of meaning that can only be relieved by composing. You translate the meaning pressure into English. You feel gradually diminishing pressure as your translation gradually more accurately expresses the precise meaning. Eventually you stop, even though you still have not got it perfectly, simply because you can currently think of no better way in English to express the idea. Sometimes the message comes through literally word by word, like taking dictation over a noisy phone line. That feels more frightening. You don’t channel; something channels through you. You are like an intelligent secretary. The works are not yours, yet they sometimes look as if they were.

Being Dumped

Your lover did not leave you; someone else even more magnetic than you, perhaps inadvertently, attracted them away.

The Secret of The Universe

Whatever you put your attention on, you get more of. You can put it on sex, lack of sex, stability, chaos, violence, peace…

Environmental Tax Subsidy

What would happen if we doubled the prices of all things that harmed the environment and halved those of things that don’t?


In Heaven, McDonald’s serves no food; they just manage the public washrooms.

In Heaven, there are more trees than people.

Perceptivity of Genius

When you see what others do not see, this is called perceptivity. When you know what others do not know, this is called genius. The perceptivity of genius is what makes victory a foregone conclusion. Those for whom victory is a forgone conclusion, they defend what cannot be attacked and attack what cannot be defended.
Randolf Richardson paraphrasing a Chinese sage.

Orca FM

Orca FM was a radio station that broadcasted orca (killer whale) sounds live from British Columbia, Canada. It is likely the radio station of most interest to extra terrestrial civilisations monitoring earth’s radio emissions. It is very difficult for large-brained marine mammals to develop radio transmission technology and even harder to develop reception.

Something For Laurie

Some people… cut lawns… in the dark… Imagine that, spoken by, Laurie Anderson.


Jesus really had it in for the publicans. I have found nothing definitive on his opinion of Re-publicans.

Definition of Cosmic Consciousness

Cosmic Consciousness is the ultimate multiple personality disorder.

Definition of God

God: the thing you are most afraid of that won’t actually hurt you.

Dolphin’s Eye View

Scientists tell us to reduce our consumption of tuna to a few grams a week to reduce mercury, but what are you supposed to do if you are a dolphin?

School for Celebrity

There aught to be a finishing school for people catapulted into celebrity.

Rubbing It In

The BC Government labels each bottle of free HIV drugs with the wholesale price. Some people look at the price and say I cannot reciprocate; I must die. Others look at the price and say, My! how the citizens of BC must love me to spend so much money keeping me alive.

The Curare Mistake

The conservative assumption is to presume something is conscious until proven otherwise. Otherwise we may make the curare mistake. Curare is a paralysing poison used by South American jungle dwellers to tip arrows. Doctors decided to use it as an anaesthetic for infants. It was completely successful. It had low mortality and few side effects. It went into widespread use. One day a doctor decided to test curare on himself for an operation since it was so successful with infants. He felt every twitch of the surgeon’s knife exquisitely, but could not move or shout out his pain. He could not so much as blink his eyes. Curare was not an anaesthetic after all, just a muscle paralyser. Only then was the use of curare as an anaesthetic for infants dropped.

The Last Day of My Biology Career

When I was high school, the biology teacher, Mr. Jackson cut the bottom shell off a live turtle and attached its heart to a lever that charted the twitchings on a graph. I told everyone he was a sadist. Mr. Mackenzie, the principal, called me down to his office and gently chastised me for slandering a teacher. Mr. Jackson reassured me The turtle feels no pain I countered How you know? He replied It’s spinal nerves are cut. I said Well, it sure looks as if it is in pain. It is struggling frantically to right itself. He responded That is just a reflex. He offered Using the turtle will save many lives. This turtle will last all day. Had I used frogs, I would have had to kill one for each class. I accused Your experiment has no point. Everyone already knows that hearts beat. He said You are planning a career in biology. You will have to get used to this. I said If that’s what it means to be a biologist I want no part of it. Since I am writing this years later, I can compose a better retort: If you are so sure this will not hurt, how about I poke a scalpel into the back of your neck and cut your spinal nerves. Then you can reassure me, based on evidence, that the procedure is painless. From my personal experience, nerves hurt like the blazes when you cut them. Turtle nerves and human nerves are almost identical.

That was the last day of my biology career and my first day of animal rights advocacy.

I am telling this story from memory, so don’t take those quotations absolutely literally. The recollections of the other two present may differ.

Capital Punishment For Animals

What do humans consider a sufficiently humane way to kill a human? What means do humans use to humanely kill animals not human? It disturbs me that the two lists are different. Humans are so impatient when it comes to killing animals, yet they take decades to kill one of their own by capital punishment.

Humans Have Trouble With Estimates

Humans overestimate the importance of short term fluctuations and underestimate the importance of long-term trends.

Humans overestimate what they can do in the short term and underestimate what they can accomplish in the long run.

Humans accurately estimate the intelligence of fellow humans and underestimate the wisdom of everything else.

The Definition of Truth

The Truth is true. If it contains any bullshit, it ain’t the Truth.

The Delphinic Word for Human

The formal word for human in delphinese roughly translated means dry-mammal-giving-strange-tastes-in-water-like-Christmas-tie-for-us, or more literally giving-(object-indicator)-tastes-strange-(untranslatable)-fish-bony-flat-(receiver-indicator)-us-amen-(agent-indicator)-mammal-dry. The informal term is roughly translated stinky-pie The phrase refers to all the gifts of odd chemicals humans dump into the oceans. Humans have a bad sense of what makes an appropriate gift, but it is still a nice sentiment.

The Purpose of Evolution

It must have felt so good to finally evolve fingers, so you could finally scratch the inside of your nose.


I wonder if you could inoculate kids against drugs by giving them tiny doses of them.

Geological Point of View

When mother Earth gets age wrinkles, we call them mountains.

Losing Weight

It is loving when a man notices his wife has just lost five pounds and it is even more loving if he doesn’t.

Why Men Are More Romantic Than Women

Women think they are more romantic than men, yet they blind to the I-love-you of unplugging the toilet.

Men refuse to abandon tattered old clothes because of all the loving associations they have.

Top Secret

Top secret usually means I don’t want the citizens knowing about this because if they did, they would be furious.

Red Light At 3 AM

I feel silly waiting at a red light late at night with no cars in sight. The purpose of the light is to manage contention for the intersection, yet there is no contention.

Tell The Truth

Some future technology may unmask every lie you say or post. You might as well fess up now and avoid future embarrassment.

Animal Propaganda

As children, we learned that animals breathe out carbon dioxide for the plants and plants breathe out oxygen for the animals. This is misleading. Plants breathe out carbon dioxide at night (just like animals) and breathe it back in again during the day. Animals have very little to do with the overall CO₂ /oxygen exchange. Man’s machines and furnaces do, however, produce enough CO₂ to throw it out of balance.

Definition of The Universe

The universe is a nested set of puzzles for baby intelligences to play in.

The universe is everything, including whoever or whatever created it.

Animal Rights

Taliban human rights violations are popcorn fights compared with whale sacrifice.

Tips To Authors

  1. Imagine in your audience is the being you most respect. Don’t waste time. Get to the point immediately.
  2. If it does not make even you laugh or cry out loud, it won’t have any impact on the audience.
  3. Reserve very for special occasions.
  4. Avoid my. Rephrase avoiding it. To a lesser extent, avoid I; consider i. Then avoid me or any other possessive.
  5. You is not interested in I, but may be concerned about me.
  6. W E is more important than you.
  7. Don’t ask questions.
  8. Read your work aloud.
  9. Imagine your work will be read by every being on earth.

The Power of A Clear Question

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead (1901-12-16 1978-11-15 age:76)
When I was about 11, I went to an all-candidates meeting in West Vancouver for the federal election. I asked If you are elected, will you permit nuclear weapons in Canada, yes or no? The politician waffled. Then the crowd started chantingYes or No! Yes or No! The politician waffled, squirmed and eventually sat down humiliated. Ever since, I have had great faith in the democratic process.

Tips To Dieters

  1. Think how much better it will taste if you wait until you are good and hungry.
  2. Graph your weight accurate to a tenth of a kilogram. Also graph your 15-day moving average weight to see the big picture. Just watch the graph. Note what you did when it goes up. Note what you did when it goes down. Note what you did when it stays level. Don’t try to make it move. After a few weeks you will have learned weight control. The hard part is over. Now, take your weight down and level off. When you are gaining weight, weigh daily. When you are losing weight, weigh less often.
  3. The time to resist temptation is while shopping, not while staring down a key lime pie in your fridge. Don’t shop hungry.
  4. Get a juicer that takes a long time to clean, like the Braun MP-80.
  5. To learn self control, carry a bag of unopened Frito Lay potato chips with you to give to a homeless person.
  6. Don’t be a tyrant. Coast (not gorge) to celebrate after each success.
  7. Stare at yourself and notice even tiny improvements.
  8. Think about the well-tested eating patterns of your great, great, great, great… ancestors. Move in that direction. When you are hungry, eat. When you are not, don’t. When you are thirsty, drink. Don’t confuse hunger and thirst. When you are tired, rest. When you are sleepy, sleep. If a food makes you feel good, eat it again. If makes you feel bad, don’t.
  9. Sleep with fewer blankets and the furnace/air conditioner off.
  10. If you eat every last scrap on your plate, there will be less for the starving microbes in your garbage can.
  11. Contemplate that everything has to eat something else to stay alive.
  12. Ask God to tell you when and what to eat.
  13. It is ok to save some for later.
  14. Take exercise breaks. Even walking will do.
  15. It is important to establish the habit of regularly going to the gym. What you do there, at first, is unimportant.
  16. Imagine you are going to be on Oprah soon for some reason that is not quite clear at the moment. You just have to look your best.
  17. Candy is not food. Don’t treat it as if it were. Savor it very slowly.
  18. Protein powders also taste sweet.
  19. Only when all else fails, try the aversion diet. Give a substantial sum of money to a politician/evangelist you detest in the unlikely event you should fail to meet your weight goal.
  20. Be gentle with yourself.
  21. Eat food you don’t particularly like.
  22. Think of food as fuel, not as pleasure.
(I painlessly lost 30 pounds so far using these tips.)

Saving the World

Everyone thinks we have to change the minds of the corporate mavens to save the world. These old dinosaurs are irrelevant. The kids, Oprah’s viewers and computer programmers in the third world are the real movers and shakers.

The Nature of Reality

Reality recapitulates fantasy.

Bumper Stickers

Planet Earth, Love It Or Leave It.
Remember the à la mode.

Taking Credit

Taking credit for the economy is a little like a rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

A Business Model

Every company survives solely from voluntary donations from its customers. The company does, however, reserve the right to refuse to deal with excessively stingy customers.

The purpose of a company is both:

  1. To make money.
  2. To render service.
In some cultures, companies exist satisfying only one of those two purposes. Rendering service is the more fundamental.

Internet Etiquette

  1. Don’t steal time with perfunctory thank-yous.
  2. Don’t imply that response is obligatory.

Green Eyed Monsters

  1. If my lover is the sexiest person in the world, it is selfish to keep them all to myself.
  2. If I want my lover to have maximal fun, I must let them boink a supercutie from time to time.

On Abortion

Both abortion and banning abortion have major attendant evils. There is no hope for compromise. One way out is better contraception. Having a baby should require some deliberate act (other than having sex). Every baby deserves at least two adult caregivers who can and want to care for him or her.

On The Second Amendment

Pooing on your lawn is probably protected by the constitution, but that does not necessarily mean you should do it.

Psychotic break

psychotic break is what humans call moulting.

Car Names

Automobiles, machines and products are often named after deities : Thunderbird, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune, Trinity, Shiva, Lemmon, Sun, ME, Quantum, Nike, Venus, Mars, Baba, Ram, Athena, Alpha, Omega, Universe, Pan, Balder, Thor, Vulcan, Prometheus, Chi, Karma, Corpus Christi, Apollo, OM, Planet, Calypso, Pélé …

Location, Location, Location

A sign : You are here confidently confirms your existence.

Consider the possibility that heaven truly is right beside you.

Search and Replace

Search & Replace does not seem to understand electronic Bible is implicitly read-only.

Costs of War

Relative Sinning

Order these in increasing order of severity:

Electronic Etiquette

An annoying machine is one that:
  1. wantonly wastes time.
  2. cares little for your convenience.
  3. insists you understand it deeply.

Conan’s Pleasure

I am disturbed. It seems ordinary people enjoy seeing others in pain, or at least worse off than they are. Examples include wrestling, violent movies, disasters and heavy dramas. This may be some innate cruelty, sharing unavoidable pain, disaster planning, compassion or something else.

Thanks For The Memories

If you had perfect memory, you could proofread a book while walking in the park.

SPAM and Locks

Think how much extra work everyone goes through each day simply because a few people refuse to behave ethically.

The Best Things In Life

Bill Gates could not go to work in his underwear.


Only the first and last day of a loan are all that much fun.

Housekeeping 101

  1. If you don’t use it frequently, it does not belong in your most frequent drawer.
  2. Counters, desktops, bookshelves and eye-level cupboards are une espèce de (a species of) most frequent drawer.
  3. If it is temporarily most frequent, it is ok to put it in your most frequent drawer, temporarily.
  4. File recently-read books at the left end of your most frequent bookshelf. If they won’t fit, remove books from the right end.
  5. While you are waiting, do something else.
  6. If you see something out of place and you are going to its proper place anyway, take it with you.
  7. Cleaning your home is a gift to your future self.
  8. Interior design is where you can have it your way without annoying the neighbours.
  9. Leave the work uncompleted.
    P.S. You can’t do otherwise.
  10. Tackle the most annoying mess you can first.
  11. Decide on a proper place for each item.
  12. It’s ok to have a junk drawer, so long as you only keep junk in it.
  13. Do a little bit each day.
  14. The easiest time to deal with a mess is before and just after you make it.
  15. Label the proper places for things.


To write an efficient disk defragger, model how you tidy your apartment, better still, how Martha Stewart tidies her house.


Telephone Etiquette

How can the invention of the telephone be considered complete when it behaves like a drunk barging into your dining room loudly banging on a bell demanding your immediate attention?

On Ambiguity

In English because words have more than one meaning, lying is all but inevitable.

Suicide Prevention

Agree to say Good bye cruel world with a lungful of helium as part of your final farewell.

Too Obvious To Mention

It is crueler than you realise, to punish someone, when they did not do anything wrong.
If you want a luxury that is injurious to the environment, you must pay for it first.

Forbidden Fruit

No one seems interested in discovering whether prohibition actually increases or decreases the use of alcohol, marijuana or cocaine.

God Bless America

Remember to say please, even when addressing deities.


Compassion is not weeping, hand-wringing or tearing your clothes. It is getting of your tail and doing something useful to help.

Signs of Devilry

Signs of Angelry

Was It Heaven or Hell?

How long did it take you to decide?

Consider the possibility that you are already dead.


Magic is the art of making the audience selectively forget.

Tips For Debaters

  1. Your opponent can’t argue with the facts, a question, an unstated premise or a quotation.
  2. The goals are to discover truth and to get your opponent to shift his position, not to humiliate your opponent.
  3. No ad hominems.
  4. Agree with thine adversary quickly.
  5. Lay traps for your adversary so that whether he agrees with you or not, he still has to shift his position.
  6. The more neutral you appear, the more persuasive you are.


Being proud of being gay is like being proud of being left footed.
Being proud of being straight is like being proud of being right handed.
Pride is a sin. That includes being proud of your country, your sexuality, your looks, your intelligence, your wealth or anything else you had little to do with creating.
Both pride and shame deny that you are inextricably /connected to/linked to/part of/are a hologram of/blended with/merged with/of/ the universe. Don’t confuse shame with guilt.

The only envy is self envy.

Gluttony is taking more than your fair share of anything. Anorexia is refusing to take your fair share. Both gluttony and anorexia deny that you are inextricably part of the universe.

Lust is treating a person as an object, as is revulsion. Sex need not be involved. Both lust and revulsion deny that you are inextricably part of the universe.

Thieves are sleepwalkers who steal from their own pockets.

Sloth is wealth without work.

Screaming the name of a deity whenever you hit your finger is like dialling 911 and hanging up.

Honour your father and mother, even posthumously, with the greatest gift.


I wish I spoke a language where the agent was optional and the action was paramount.

God’s Problem

When God wants to get someone’s attention, he has to proceed carefully to avoid scaring the living daylights out of them.

Religious Report Card

Religion Virtues Sins Errors
Hinduism tolerance laziness thinking that souls are separate
Buddhism peacefulness apathy confusing addiction and attraction
Judaism reason guilt, resentment living in the past
Greek complexity lust thinking gods do not have to behave responsibly
Roman order cruelty, gluttony, lust thinking Jupiter does not behave responsibly
Christianity compassion guilt, fear, prudery, judgementalness failure to fully accept the material plane as real
Islam equality fanaticism, fear, anger thinking that Allah needs to resort to violence
Atheism truthfulness arrogance, selfishness blind to the unknown
Alcoholics Anonymous accessibility sloth, lack of ambition thinking that God is local
Transcendental Meditation simplicity rigidity, greed promising more than can is delivers
EST (Erhard Seminar Training) impeccability fanaticism, fear, anger thinking that you need to resort to intimidation
Course In Miracles equanimity wishful thinking failure to accept the material plane as real
Living Love accessibility selfishness, callousness thinking that a religion can be based purely on logic
Aquarian Practitioners of Light smoothness self-indulgence, gullibility thinking that an individual can send another to hell
Quantum Miracles energy Sorcerer’s apprentice delusions of grandeur thinking you can leave the flock.
CCism simplicity impatience, lack of respect for individuals thinking that souls are not also separate.
* Souls are like countries. When you look from space you can’t see the boundaries. That should help resolve the paradox.

Most religions err in thinking only humans have souls.

Definitions of Interest Loans

  1. Usury.
  2. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
  3. Stealing from your future self.

Definition of Sacrifice

  1. Gandhian: Doing an onerous task, such as studying, that will reap long term rewards.
  2. Judeo-Christian: Wringing a dove’s neck and wasting the meat in the vain hope it will make you feel better.
Inflicting pain on yourself or any other creature is more usually termed cruelty.

What Women Want

  1. In some languages there are no separate words for dance and fuck.
  2. What turns women on most looks very boring to a guy. Trust her when she tells you what it is.
  3. Expensive chocolate, extra thickness.
  4. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
  5. A massage

Learning Carpentry

You are punished for your sins in the same sense you are punished when you hit you thumb with a hammer. God tries his hardest to teach you carpentry.

The master carpenter grips your hands to show you how to control the saw. Don’t worry; this won’t always be necessary.

The Good Intentions of Bullies

To attract God’s attention, a guru once recommended developing a juicy ripe ego, ready to burst. His theory was that God would then come along to transform it into something wonderful.


To an earthling, Sun worship comes naturally.

The problem with all the world’s great religions is that they were, despite appearances, largely designed by men for men. No other species had much input.

The Plants’ Complaints

  1. Please, be careful with any form of bridge, e.g. aircraft. Species were not meant to fly that fast.
  2. For millennia the insects have designed us. Your designs, in comparison, are, er, one-dimensional.

The Dolphins’ Complaints

Love Thy Enemies

God loves the atheists because they:

Hints To Suitors

Imagine you were the quarry. In a sense, you are.

The Truth Hurts

Gautama Buddha was called honey tongued because he had the skill to tell people unpleasant truths without insulting them.

Fighting Objectives

debating: discover truth.

hitting: pain.

screaming: damage hearing.

shouting: change mind.

killing: stop all actions.

vaporizing: annihilating the soul.

Definitions of Planet Earth

  1. a spherical park floating in space
  2. Mandelbrot’s blue green period
  3. fur feather fin phloem forming field



As you perfect the universe, the universe perfects you.
As you perceive the universe, the universe perceives you.
As you destroy the universe, the universe destroys you.
You cannot change the universe unless you are willing to let it change you.
If you want the universe to show you her secrets, you must first show her yours.
Do unto the universe as you would have the universe do unto you.
If you want the universe to be more gentle with you, be more gentle with the universe.
If you want the universe to stop trying to change you, stop trying to change the universe.
If you want the universe to stop changing you, stop changing the universe.
If you want the universe to change you, change the universe.
When you co-operate with the universe, the universe co-operates with you; it is not necessarily consciously rewarding you; you are just moving in harmony with it.

Measuring Consciousness

Given we still have no way of measuring consciousness, it is anybody’s guess what is and what is not conscious. The fail-safe assumption is that everything, everylife or everyone is conscious, yet most use peer pressure to decide.

Blinded By Science

Science is confined to a small domain by fear of ridicule.

Definition of Money

Money is man’s way of keeping track of who owes whom a favour. Because of interest/usury, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, even when the rich do no work and the poor work 12 hours a day. What then is this favour the poor owe the rich just for having more money than they need? Is this just a loophole in the system or an essential feature of the design?

On Pontificating

Be the planetary citizen you want everyone else to be.

Tips To the Paranoid

Future Baldness

It is somewhat disconcerting that the concept to represent the future universally used in advertising is a bald mechanised soldier on steroids.

Rubbermaid Disk Pans

Rubbermain dishpan

It can’t be literally true, but is seems the thing I do most, other than sit at my computer, is wash dishes. I wash them in a Rubbermaid™ tub (aka dishpan) that fits in the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, the bottom of the tub fits flush against the bottom of the sink keeping the sink from draining. I got the brilliant idea of buying four square rubbery feet each about 1 cm (0.39 in) tall and about 2 cm (0.79 in) across and gluing them with epoxy to the four corners of the underside of the tub. This raised the tub off the bottom of the sink and allowed the sink to drain even with the tub in place. It worked splendidly.

I then emailed Rubbermaid™ suggesting they build feet into the tubs they sell, either by gluing on feet as I did, or by moulding feet as part of the tub itself. I also suggested they offer a wider range of colours, particularly ones that did not show stains as much. They wrote back saying they did not understand what I was talking about. I despaired for the future of humanity.


Through a series of coincidences, I got to spend a night at the Shangri-La luxury hotel in Vancouver. It was a bit like visit to the future. Access was via a touchless card I waved over the doorknob, not a key. First, the prices were what you might expect for the year 2213, water $8, toast $8 (jam extra). The light switches were little white squares all over the room. If you pressed them, nothing happened, at least for a few seconds, then all the lights in the room would gradually lighten and/or dim to some new pattern, like the dimmers at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. For example, hitting the reading button turned on the light above the bed and dimmed everything else. Beside my bed were perhaps 6 such buttons, but they were all identical except for the engraving, so it took some experimenting to get the desired effect. The room was quite small given its expense but it had a large bath and shower, with an electric mirror. The mirror came with a remote to control it. Visions of Snow White’s evil stepmother sprang to mind. What could an electric mirror do useful? It turned out it caused a panel in the mirror to morph into a TV. There was a little camera case lined with foam with six holes that held what looked like squat bullets in various metallic colours. They seems to be filled with compressed air. They had a springy feel like a bicycle tire. I figured out these contained coffee and were designed to be placed in a machine that would pierce them with a large lever. I dared not try them out least I be charged $10 a cup for the experience. The plumbing in the bathtub was very elegant looking. However, it squirted the water into the tub at a 45° angle. This caused the water spray into the air. I spent 5 minutes trying to get the elegant bath spray to work. It was inscrutable. I gather, in future, appliances, just as today, will not work sensibly, but will look great.

I was awakened several times in the night by the sound of grinding gears like a ’52 Hillman. I tried to track down the source of the noise and finally decided it was probably the steam heating. This suggest that technology has has not changed in the last century, probably won’t be radically improved in the next decade. To be fair, the hotel is brand new and is going through the normal teething.

I would like it if we stopped using the term child abuse because it is too vague. It could mean:

  1. Cruel words designed to destroy esteem.
  2. Spanking through clothing.
  3. Spanking on the bare buttocks.
  4. Hitting on the upper body, but not the head.
  5. Fondling.
  6. Oral sex.
  7. Anal sex.
  8. Whipping.
  9. Threats of eternal hellfire to ensure sexual compliance.
  10. Threats to kill parents to ensure sexual compliance or silence.
  11. Rape.

It is unfair because a principal is accused of child abuse meaning, cruel words, but people hearing it think rape.

I get annoyed when Miss Grundy accuses Jimmy of having sex with a young child. This young child is 20 years old! We should not used the word child to describe people older than 12. People 13 to 19 should be called teenagers.

All the time in the news elderly men are put on trial for sexual improprieties they allegedly did in the 1970s. This is unfair. No witness can be accurate after all this time. Further, juries of today are far more Puritanical than those of the 70s. You should judge a crime in the proper context.

I have talked to dozens of people at workshops who were having trouble getting over the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. I ask, Did you cry at the time? They usually say No. I note, Then than can’t be the time when you received the trauma. This original trauma must have been less than falling off a bike and skinning your knee if you did not even cry. The real trauma must have happened later. Some well-meaning person convinced you that some unspeakably terrible thing had happened to you and it was so awful you were damaged for life. They may have convinced you the person who abused you was the biggest criminal in the history of the earth and by extension, any tiny part you had in allowing this crime to happen condemns you to eternal damnation. We have to be much more careful with child abuse victims so that they can roll with event and get on with life. This does not mean letting molesters go unprosecuted, just that you must mainly focus on preventing further trauma to the child.

In one case there were no adults involved, just two boys. The mother of one of the boys totally freaked and blamed his older brother for not preventing the sex play. She guilt tripped him so badly he spend the rest of his life in mental institutions.

The notion of age of consent was conceived back when the average age of female puberty was 18. Due to hormones in meat and milk and better nutrition generally, many girls now are reaching puberty at 8 years old. We will have to stop this premature puberty if we want our age of consent laws to be honoured.

When I was 15, I was madly in love my biology teacher. Had I managed to seduce him, he would have been in great trouble since he was in authority over me. The law treats me as like some sexless infant, tricked by an adult into sex. It would have been the very opposite. I was hornier at 15 than any time since. Our notions of age of consent are based on some very out-of-date Victorian notions of young people and sex.

I have heard that RRT will help people very rapidly get over childhood sex trauma.

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