I came across this photograph recently, which got me to thinking. The photo is a reminder of the bad old days of telephony. There is one wire between each house and the central switchboard, and for a town of any sizes, that means a metric buttload of wires. The interesting thing is, it’s very clear […]

This cartoon was in the New Yorker recently, and it skewers food faddism in a delightfully succinct way. Because of the suffering of a few people who actually have celiac disease, gluten has shot up there with trans fats and high fructose corn syrup as a Very Bad Thing in the minds of many. Marketers, […]

One of my professors in a writing workshop once complained that I had started a story with “an explosion of comma splices.” While I appreciated the clever new collective noun, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do about it. He advocated switching to a period (aka full stop), but I initially rebelled. I was trying to […]

You don’t have to be a lawyer to realize that the Supreme Court’s decision today in the Hobby Lobby (HL) case was a bad one.  Here are five reasons, I’m sure there are more. 5) Hobby Lobby’s claims were scientifically invalid. HL objected to providing insurance coverage for certain contraceptives (IUDs and “morning after” pills) on […]

I just threw (figuratively anyway) a script across the room. I’d been reading a newly published play, and was happily pulled in to the story, until in the final pages, a twist was revealed that changed everything that had gone before. I wanted to scream at the author, “Why? Why did you destroy the lovely […]

Let us, for a moment, assume that the anti-tax rhetoric from some parts of the populace reflects real concern rather than mere Libertarian wankery. Now of course, everyone wants to hang on to as much of their earnings as possible, but why is this message so strong right now? Well, for one thing, median wages (measured in […]

Thirty-six years ago, Nature magazine featured an article by J. H. Mercer. It said that if we continued to use fossil fuels and pump CO2 into the air, there was a strong risk that humanity would be responsible for melting the of Antarctic ice sheet. This week, NASA confirmed that we have gone so far […]


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