Thursday, November 27, 2014


I rise this morning to celebrate THINKSgiving.

I offer my thoughts (my “thinks”) to the agricultural scientists and transportation engineers who have made food so abundant and available that, as a percentage, fewer people now go hungry than at any time in history.

I offer my thinks to the medical researchers, medical technologists, and chemical engineers who create new medicines and techniques to make our lives longer, our pain less, and our babies less likely to die in infancy.

I give thinks to the construction engineers, textile engineers, and manufacturing engineers who make it possible for us to be housed and clothed in a fashion that would make kings of only a hundred years ago weep with envy.

I offer my thinks to the computer scientists and telecommunications engineers enable us to keep in touch with friends and family around the globe.

I encourage all of you today to take a moment and give your thinks to the rational thinkers who have used their thinks to make your lives richer, longer, more comfortable.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

"I grew up in the future"

I just recently finished listening to the audiobook of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. (I highly recommend both the novel series and the audiobook series, BTW). And I have just started listening to the audiobook of The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

In the latter, the main character is relating his autobiography, and the book invokes the image of The Chronicler setting out a blank piece of paper to begin capturing the narration. This image sent my mind off on a tangent of how I would choose to start narrating my biography (if there were ever reason to bother capturing it at all).

In the former, a society of rather sociopathic mages have a "grey name" (or an image or sigil) that they can and do use commonly because it gives other mages no power over them, and they have a "red name" which is kept secret. One of the mages is called Seamstress (with an accompanying mental sigil of a painfully pricking needle). What, I wondered, would my grey name be?

These two questions make a nice confluence with one another. When I think about my self, the mental image I had of myself from my earliest remembering, I was always yearning to travel in space and visit other planets. From my youngest years in the Gemini and Apollo eras, through the 70s when I was captivated by Gerard K. O'Niell's visions of orbiting space colonies and waited eagerly for the launching of the Space Shuttle, I imagined myself going "out there", beyond Earth. Even in my mature adult years, when it was clear I would probably never escape Earth's gravity, my inner mental image abjured that defeat and clung tenaciously to being clad in a pressure suit and floating in the black. So I imagine my grey name would be something evoking that space-travelling adventurer. Nothing so ostentatious as Peter Quill's "Star Lord" in Guardians of the Galaxy. Just something simple, like "Spaceman".

And my autobiography would begin with, "I grew up in the future."