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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Links and Comments: Science, Religion, and Biases

Neil deGrasse Tyson, creationists, religion and the intelligentsia, risk assessment. And tarantulas.

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Links and Comments 12 April 21

Anti-vaxxers and Stop the Steal; Historical animus against Italians, and Irish; Racial replacement theory; Conservatives against democracy.

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Passages: How the World Works

My favorite news magazine, The Week, is celebrating 20 years of publication with its current April 16th issue, which has retrospectives of cover images, editorial essays, and so on. Here’s one of the latter, by editor-in-chief William Falk.

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Links and Comments: Muon news

It’s pronounced mew-on, not moo-on, I learned today.

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Links and Comments, 6 April 2021: Sciencey Things

When life began in the universe; how or whether civilizations die; why people like closed-captioning

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Links and Comments: The Decline of US Church Membership

When I posted my notes about Michael Shermer’s book How We Believe, I noted that one of his principle observations was how, writing in 2000 or 1999, levels of religious belief hadn’t changed much since the 1960s, the era in which Time Magazine controversially asked “Is God Dead?” And I mentioned how levels of belief *have* declined since Shermer’s book, with the rise of the “nones.”

This past week came a major survey confirming that rise of the “nones,” or more specifically, the decline over the past two decades in church membership.

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Links and Comments: Owning Libs and Tyrannical Government Plots

Republican values and principles; enduring human nature.

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Link and Comments: Ted Chiang interview

Ted Chiang is a science fiction writer who since 1990 has published a couple dozen works of short fiction (and no novel), gathered in just two books: Stories of Your Life and Others (2002), and Exhalation (2019). I’m certain he holds the record for highest ratio of awards won to stories published (see Ted Chiang Titles at sfadb.com.) The novella “Story of Your Life,” included in the first book, was the basis for the film Arrival.

A couple days ago on the New York Times site appeared a long interview of Chiang by Ezra Klein, formerly of Vox (and author of Why We’re Polarized, reviewed here a couple months ago).
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Links and Comments: About Gun Violence

I’m narrowing in on a Provisional Conclusion that most people live their daily lives without any perspective or context about what happens in the outer world. (And, for many issues, that’s just fine. But not for all issues.)

Thus, Americans take the repeated events of mass killings more or less for granted, not to be addressed through any kind of political action, without realizing that the US is by far the outlier among nations about gun violence and mass killings.
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Links and Comments: Religious Matters, 27Mar21:

Jerry Coyne on David Brooks; Nicholas Kristof on progressive Christians; Evangelicals’ false doctrine.

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