Category Archives: politics

A Tale of Two Fallacies: the Insanity of Progressive Stacking

As I write this (on a plane en route from Cuba to Toronto), I’m thinking in an undisciplined manner about some recent developments in public intelligentsia.  I’m not quite sure how best to describe what I’m calling something of an “academic rift”, as its nature is only dimly formed in my frontal lobe. But it has something to do with the value of evidence and the extent to which we are willing and able to allow evidence (or what passes for evidence) to dictate our view of social and physical reality. Even as I write those words, I am aware that there will be disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”, and a full appreciation that almost nothing exists in an objective vacuum, immune from the infection of personal bias and value. Continue reading A Tale of Two Fallacies: the Insanity of Progressive Stacking

On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies

March 14 every year is a special day for me. In North America, it’s “pi day” (3.13…. 3/14… get it?) I was going to celebrate with some actual pie, but my fasting blood sugar levels suggested that that’s not the wisest move, so I reneged.

Today, it’s also a sad day, due to the passing of Dr Stephen Hawking.  When I was a young physics student, Hawking fascinated me (as he did everyone else) for so many reasons. His debilitating disease gave him an air of specialness that, thankfully, was well correlated with his intellectual heft. Continue reading On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies

In Defence of Space

(This post has since been adapted into an article for The Huffington Post titled “No, Humanity Isn’t Worse Off Because Elon Musk Launched SpaceX”)

Nine years ago, I wrote this screed in response to Ashton Kutcher’s ill-informed comments about the price and benefits of the US space program. I returned to the topic two years later in this post.

It seems I must address this topic yet again, as angry activists have once more taken financial aim at expensive innovation, this time targeting space entrepreneur Elon Musk’s recent triumphant launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which, for the purposes of PR, included a Tesla sports car thrown to Mars and beyond. Continue reading In Defence of Space