Recollections from a Former Life

Yesterday, May 3, marked 25 years since I left my former employment as an editor at Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Publishers. It was a warm, sunny, humid day, one of those days that puts the last nail in the coffin of spring. I remember standing in the parking lot for the last time, looking back at the dark green glass […]

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In Memoriam

Solemn anniversary today. Is there anyone who doesn’t remember where they were and what they were doing that day, seventeen short years ago, when death descended without warning from a clear blue sky? The day began much like any other. Three hundred million Americans went about their morning routines, oblivious to the drama about to unfold. I was reading the […]

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The Power of Conditioning

It was a silly, negligible article on what has lately become a silly, negligible website. A wiser person would have let it slide. But it poked me in a tender place, and I am not the kind of person who can just let such a thing go. So instead of shrugging it off with a sigh I took the bait. […]

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A Grandiose Conceit

A few weeks ago, on March 24, we were treated to the spectacle of the First Annual Earth Hour, in which everyone on the planet turned off the lights for exactly sixty minutes, beginning 8:30 p.m. local time, as a gesture of solidarity with this beleaguered planet we call home. OK, so not exactly everyone. Well, truthfully hardly anyone. You […]

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The Path of Greater Resistance

Or: A Skeptic’s Journey We all have our favorite topics, and those of you who regularly read this blog undoubtedly know that one of mine is Climate Change, AKA Global Warming, AKA Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, AKA Climate Alarmism. In this subject I have a minority viewpoint, but one that is, I think it fair to say, well-reasoned and strongly […]

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Hang a Left at the Goat

Since childhood I have had the pleasure of living in The Republic of South Austin. South Austin is to Austin proper as Billy Carter was to Jimmy. It is the slightly seedy, sometimes embarrassing poor relation that’s always been a little off. Land of pawn shops and pink plastic flamingos, yard art, couches on the front porch, chain-link fences, and […]

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Critique Me, Critique You

A few weeks ago, I published an essay in this space critiquing the recent March for Science, which coincided with Earth Day 2017. The March had been represented as a non-political demonstration of grass-roots support for continued funding of basic scientific research. Fair enough. But in reality it was, of course, a highly political, highly public rejoinder to the Trump […]

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Good News is No News

Two separate, unrelated items in the scientific press have recently come to my attention. Both are, it would not be a stretch to say, pleasantly surprising, at least to those of pessimistic bent. And with their emergence is raised the faint but tantalizing possibility that perhaps the end is not at hand after all. The first item, which relates recent […]

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Agents of Change

A few months back, a neighbor at my business park had a garage sale. Their space had been the warehouse for a well-known local retailer, but the business was about to change hands, so some housekeeping was in order. I dropped by an hour or so before the sale was to begin. You could see right away that it was […]

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