Category Archives: Human Progress

SF as Luddite Literature?

Today’s counter-intuitive notion is from novelist and long-time Locus columnist Cory Doctorow. This essay is in the January 2022 issue, and posted (for free) online, here: Locus, Cory Doctorow, posted 3 Jan 2022: Science Fiction is a Luddite Literature

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Lc&Cs: The Sad State of Education in America

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe.” —H.G. Wells

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Links and Comments: Sides of History; Myths and Lies; Voting Inequities

Washington Post: Trump brought data from the Fox News universe to a debate centered in reality How Trump, and Fox News (in particular Laura Ingraham), lie with statistics, as the article explains in great detail. It’s all spin, aimed at … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Trump, Evangelicals, Persecution, Fear, Withdrawal

The front page of today’s New York Times has an aerial photo of a house in Sioux Center, Iowa, with the words “In God We Trust” on the roof. The article, a long one, is ‘Christianity Will Have Power’ with … Continue reading

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Yuval Noah Harari, HOMO DEUS: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017; 2015 in Israel)

This is, in effect, a sequel to SAPIENS. Top level summary: It opens with a long prologue: now that humanity has largely overcome famine, plague, and war, what next? Three possibilities: immortality, happiness, divinity. However these are predictions; this book … Continue reading

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Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015)

Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) This is a history of the human species in the context of “Big History” – the first page sketches the history of the entire universe as a backdrop – and … Continue reading

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Arthur C. Clarke, PROFILES OF THE FUTURE (1962..1999)

This is a book first published in 1962, a nonfiction book speculating on potential technological developments and human achievements. The subtitle is “An Inquiry in the Limits of the Possible.” Clarke revised it three times, the last in 1999 (he … Continue reading

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Link and Comment: Krugman on Terrorism

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman regularly criticizes President Trump and the entire Republican party for engaging in fantasy economics– the kind of economics, which actually has never worked, that says cutting taxes on the wealthy will spur business and … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sapiens; Leaving Religion; Conspiracy Theories; Weather Forecasting

1. From yesterday’s NYT Book Review. Chuck Klosterman likes Harari: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/books/review/chuck-klosterman-likes-writers-who-arent-self-absorbed-sociopaths.html What’s the last great book you read? I picked up “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari. I thought: “This will probably be O.K. I’ll probably … Continue reading

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Oliver Sacks on Forster and Rees

There’s a short essay by the late Oliver Sacks in current issue of The New Yorker: The Machine Stops. He muses about people walking down the street staring at their phones. Much of this, remarkably, was envisaged by E. M. Forster … Continue reading

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