The Relationship Between Science and Science Fiction

An Ideal Partnership That Nourishes Both Partners

 

For as long as I can remember, I have loved science. Not to say I always understand it. A good case in point: a couple of years ago I watched a program about string theory. It looked fascinating. I understood almost 5% of it. Five more repeats of the program and I understood enough to grasp the essentials. By the next day, much of that was gone. But I loved it anyway!

One of the things I really like about science is scientists. As a group,

“I Don’t Watch TV.” Too Bad – You are Missing Out

This is Not Your Parents TV.

Surprise! This Might be a Golden Age for TV.

I have friends who proudly proclaim they watch no TV. Some even make a point of saying they do not own one. On the one hand, I can understand that. There is a lot of junk on TV. There always has been. But there are also amazing feats of programing going on today. My biggest problem is not avoiding the junk. The problem is catching, or even knowing about, all the good stuff that is out there.

If we are going to talk about this,

Mel Brooks and the Ten Commandments

 

What if 10 was Not the Right Number of Commandments?

 

It’s Friday; let’s relax a little today and have some fun. If anyone reading this may have thought I am a sophisticated person, allow me to put that to rest now. Mel Brooks is one of my favorite funny guys. I love his stuff.

One of my all time  favorite Mel Brooks scenes is from his film History of the World, Part I. Check out the film clip for a reminder of the Brooks genre. 

Can We Put a Dagger in the Heart of Muzak?

A Plea for the Blessings of Silence

For readers of a certain age, know that I am about to unleash my inner Andy Rooney. Whose bright idea was it that we needed, much less wanted, background music everywhere we go? What seemed like a simple and benign idea has spread noxiously.

Background music has been with us forever. Remember those paintings of medieval courts? Many showed musicians playing in the background while everyone feasted. But with what we generically refer to as Muzak (or canned music), the sound is now everywhere.

Muzak,

Medicine and Society: It’s A Complicated Relationship

Reflections on Modern Medicine, Social Norms, and Unintended Consequences

There May Be a Wonderful New Medicine Out There That Could Save Your Life. You Likely Would Not See it in Time.

The opioid crisis in this country is major. We are overrun by this. It makes most other drug epidemics seem like child’s play. I read last week that a Wake Forest University research team may have developed an opioid substitute. It could be as much as 100 times (!) more effective than opioids and has zero addiction risk. This is big news.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner!

Let’s Imagine You Have a Dinner Date — with History

For our weekend rumination, we are going to draw upon two what-if games that I have enjoyed over the years.

The first of these was a TV show created by the great Steve Allen (a true genius and talent). The show was Meeting of the Minds. The scenario was that Allen had the ability to reach back in time. He could invite any historical figure he chose to sit with other notables Allen had invited. Attendees would share their vision and goals,

The Robots are Coming! Good News or Bad News?

A Whole New World of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence is Coming. Interesting Times are Ahead – Soon.

I, like many of you, have long been fascinated by the increasingly sophisticated development of robots and the parallel acceleration of artificial intelligence, or AI. We are now at a time wherein these two technologies are merging in some fascinating ways. As usual with technological advances, we should expect good news and bad news.

Just in the last month, three fascinating articles have been published in the general media about this phenomenon. Articles in Wired and in the Washington Post discussed new studies.

What do Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham – and YOU – have in Common?

You have at least one important thing in common.

Relax, I am not about to compare you to Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham, or their fellow travelers. If you like those folks, you likely are not a reader of this blog. But if you do happen to find them agreeable, you are still welcome to stick around and see what we have to say today.

The last few days have been banner days for showing the ugly side of our species, and some hopeful signs as well.

  • Alex Jones finally is purged from most social media.

Can We Save Recycling — By Recycling the Idea?

A good idea has gotten lost in the execution details. Let’s simplify and do better

I like recycling. I bet you do, too. What’s not to like? It is good for the environment. It allows us to participate in a good thing as citizens. It can create jobs and new technology. It’s the right thing to do. And yet…

The hodge-podge of recycling protocols has made it difficult to figure out if we are “doing it right.” Every community, every business has their own definitions and criteria. On an average day, I can expect to have half a dozen opportunities to recycle at different locations.

A Serious (sort of) Discussion About the Funnies

I suspect what we like about the funnies, the comics in daily newspapers, says something about each of us.

This is a conversation that may be obsolete in short order. The topic at hand is the comics in most daily newspapers. These little funnies are available online as well. But this conversation is about comics in a newspaper. Many people reading this may not be able to recall reading an actual newspaper. Still fewer subscribe to one. That is a sad and problematic thing, but that would also be the topic of another blog post. Today,