Intro

This is the blog and homepage of Mark R. Kelly, the founder of Locus Online in 1997 (for which I won a Hugo Award in 2002 — see the icon at right) and of an index to science fiction awards in 2000 that became sfadb.com in 2012. I’m retired from my day job of 30 years, from 1982 to 2012, as an aerospace software engineer, supporting the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

Posts here are mostly about my reading, of science fiction and of books about science, history, philosophy, and religion; and comments to articles in newspapers that I link to. Movie reviews and pics from travels are posted on Facebook.

More on my About page, including a photo of the Hugo Winners the year I was among them, and links to an index of my columns and other writings, and to my earliest homepage with links to some of my work.

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L&Cs: Learning from Others; A Universal Education

Americans mostly resist considering what other countries in the world are doing that objectively makes their economies better, or their health and prosperity higher, than the US’s, because Americans are “exceptional,” and, like, the greatest country ever. I suspect most Americans simply *assume* the US is the greatest ever, and the greatest in the world right now.

Despite the data that show along most criteria (excepting perhaps only gun ownership and size of military), this is not true. (One example: life expectancy.) (Another: quality of life.)

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SF L&Cs: About SF and Politics; with an Endpiece

Here’s the second SF link of the three I mentioned several days ago. I don’t have an opinion about this piece yet, since I haven’t read it; I noted it as the fairly uncommon item in the general media that discusses various science fiction works, in this case H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and others, albeit with a political spin.

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L&Cs: The Ethics of Transplants

Today six and a half of us took five hours to buy two Christmas trees.

The piece here was in the New York Times today, posted online four days ago. It’s relevant not just because I went through the transplant selection process some 6 months ago, but because we had a conversation about this very topic at yesterday’s party, with one of the cousins who’s a general and endocrine surgeon in Denver, and so familiar with hospital and transplant procedures.

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SF L&Cs: The Danger of Books

Today the Bay Area cousins had a mid-afternoon “pie party” at one of their places in Foster City along the canal. An occasion to bring left-over pies from Thanksgiving? No; everyone brought fresh, even home-made pies, and other food as well, like dim sum. And there are currently about six infants and toddlers, from age 1 to 6, running about at such events.

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Today’s link is new since I mentioned three SF-related links yesterday; I just saw it this morning. It’s about book suppression, and it recalls for me works by Ray Bradbury and Orson Scott Card.

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SF Ls&Cs: Mary Shelley and Science Fiction

I should be more conscientious about posting about science fiction on this blog, which the subtitle at the top at least *implies* is a central theme. So I have three SF topics lined up, posting one today.

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Ls&Cs: A Few Recent Headlines

Investing; astrology and narcissism; fear as self-defense; insurgency in America.

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L&Cs: Blacklisted in Texas

Andrew Solomon.

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L&Cs: Wars on Education

Controversies like the current one over the teaching of “critical race theory” have, of course, happened before.

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Links & Comments: How the Media Should Cover Indecent Politicians; The Streisand Effect

It’s the beginning the holiday season, which means I’ll get less done. I’m a little like Isaac Asimov, in the way that he famously preferred to stay at home (in his Manhattan highrise, with the curtains closed) to read and write books, and travel only by necessity. I like the curtains open! But I’ll still try to get things done, perhaps setting up some blog posts here, which I strive to do daily, in advance, to cover this coming weekend.

Here are a couple social paradoxes for today.

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Ls&Cs: The Middle Ground Between Conspiracy Theorists and Rationalist Control

Anti-Conspiracy Theorists aren’t always right either; headlines from The Guardian about White reasoning and how facts don’t change minds.

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