Author Archives: Mark R. Kelly

Nonfiction Notes: Michael Shermer: WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS

Michael Shermer: Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. (W.H. Freeman, 1997) Here’s one of the earliest books that address human irrationality in terms of both the evidence against various pseudoscientific beliefs, and the … Continue reading

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Nonfiction Notes: Neil F. Comins, HEAVENLY ERRORS: Misconceptions about the real nature of the universe (2001)

This is a book I’ve had for nearly 20 years, since its publication in 2001, and finally I sat down last year, 2020, and read it. I had thought it would be a book about common misconceptions of the universe … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Changing Minds; GOP Economics; Liars; Taxonomy of Trump Supporters

Items from NYT (Adam Grant); NYT (David Leonhardt); Slate (William Saletan); The Week, NYT, and Salon about Trump and the GOP; and NYT (Michelle Goldberg).

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Notes and Quotes: Frank Wilczek’s FUNDAMENTALS: TEN KEYS TO REALITY

Frank Wilczek is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, whose earlier book A BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: Finding Nature’s Deep Design (2015) I have but have not yet read. (It looks fascinating – the kind big picture book, that tries to understand history or … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Space Lasers. Being Played. Bizarro.

Nicholas Kristof’s letter to his conservative friends; Paul Krugman on the party of bizarro; CNN on the post-Trump era; The Week’s Ryan Cooper on GOP extremity; Slate’s Jeremy Stahl asks House Republicans if they believe in Jewish Space Lasers.

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Links and Comments: Law and Order except for T***p; Capitalism except for the rich

Republican motivated reasoning about the legality of the impeachment trial; Thomas L. Friedman (NYT) on “Socialism for the Rich. Capitalism for the Rest.”

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Links and Comments: Liars, Fear, Motivated Reasoning, Science Denial, Conservatives

Slate’s William Saletan on Republicans vs. liars; NPR on vaccine resistance; Salon on reactions of QAnon to Biden’s inaurguration; a long NYT piece about what goes on inside QAnon chatrooms; how science denial is a form of conspiracy theory; why … Continue reading

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Notes and Quotes: Arthur C. Clarke’s THE DEEP RANGE (1957)

Here’s a relatively quick take on a 1950s novel I reread this past week — not as long or as polished as my Black Gate reviews have been. (I’ll be resuming those in February.) THE DEEP RANGE was the 8th … Continue reading

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Memoirs and Site Updates

I’ve updated my Memoirs page with a number of essay posts from the past year, and promoted the whole page to the top level menu. I’ve cleaned up with consistent headers this page and the Family History page. I began … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: True Believers Scorned

The QAnon cult is reeling from the evaporation of the promises Q and a certain former president made about what would happen on inauguration day. It’s like those many examples over past centuries of apocalyptic cults, anticipating the end of … Continue reading

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