About this site

About the banner
The banner began with a portion of an image I took of the great Orion Nebula where stars are being born. Remembering a comment astronomer John Dobson made about such nebulae – give them a few billion years and they’ll be chewing gum and throwing spitballs – I though the image of my grandson, Jeremy, was appropriate to lay over this. Obama is there because he relly does represent hope – and political leadership and world affairs. Eliza and Higgins in their cars seats – our two cockapoos – represent just plain joy for me – and over to the left – well, that’s two old folks getting plugged into “new” technology – radio, in this case – as represented by Bren’s favorite illustrator, Norman Rockwell. As for the “mind soup” – hey, I hope it will be a rich stew, one of my favorite foods 😉

About the posts

Just about everything is fair game for discussion here – and you are encouraged to comment on anything and everything. Yeah, this is the whole nine yards – politics, religion – the taboo stuff I usually don’t mix with my thoughts on nature and astronomy and such because I don’t want to offend – or distract – folks who might enjoy the emotionally neutral posts, but disagree with my other opinions. But that’s not real – or at least it’s not whole. It lacks a certain integrity I feel is necessary. So if something here offends you, get over it. They’re just my opinions – the expression of one of 6 billion-plus struggling, “intelligent.” bipeds who are all wrestling with the same basic problems and coming up with six billion answers, many of which are equally valid. So this blog is holistic, though I’ll try to glue it together in much the same way I try to hold my life together, by returning to certain central themes. My posts will tend to swirl around some central ideas I hold dear, such as:

  • I am amazed there is something rather than nothing.
  • We know damned little about what anything “is.” We know an awful lot about what things do and how they interact. Science is the greatest achievement of the human mind – but we are still only scraping the surface. Naming and classifying things is useful, but it doesn’t mean we know them. Gravity, for example, remains as mysterious as the “Force” in Star Trek. And hearing voices come in over a crystal radio blows my mind because we simply do know what the electro-magnetic spectrum is. Radio waves/light waves remain a mystery. Awesome!
  • There is one world, Everything is, by definition, part of the natural world. Much of what we define now as “spiritual” may exist, but if it does, it is not as a separate reality. It is part of this reality and obeys the natural laws of this reality – we simply haven’t discovered all those laws yet. All phenomena are natural, and these include, in William Kames’ fin e phrase, “The Varieties of Religious Experience.”
  • Reality consist of matter/energy and information and while we can describe interactions of these and predict results, we still should stand in awe of what we don’t know about them.
  • Man/woman is a part of the natural world. (We tend too often to speak of the world as if we were outsiders looking in. We are insiders and everything we see, do, and feel is governed by us being part of – not apart from – the real world.
  • Our creations are no more artificial than is a bird’s nest.
  • Technology can obscure central mysteries unless we fully understand the technology – which we seldom do. We adapt to new toys extremely quickly with very little deep appreciation of the incredible things they are doing.
  • The internet is not simply creating a “global village,” it is creating a global mind.
  • We are the universe becoming aware of itself and that makes us incredibly important and fascinating – but not separate.
  • Progress, as Ray Kurzweil maintains, is indeed exponential and this is largely unappreciated, in part because most of us do not have a good sense of time. You can see this if you look at the evolution of life over the past 4 billion years and you can see the technological subset of this if you look at the growth of technology over the past 200 years. And the subset of that would involve looking at computing over the past 20 years or so.

I’m sure i’ll add to this list. I honestly don’t have a clue if anyone else will find this interesting, or want to join in the conversation. For my part, I tend to draw from as many sources as I can and report on those experiences. Simply forcing myself to write helps me to think and putting it here gives me the opportunity to hear form others and if nothing else, have a structured journal for my own use that is searchable and intwined with the multimedia and multitude of sources provided by the Web.

About me

Bren and I live in a wonderful home on a small plot of land located on the hard surface of the planet Earth at 41:33:16 North and 71:04:15 West – currently defined on maps as Westport, MA, USA. I’m a professional writer and amateur astronomer, ham radio operator, model builder, plant grower, animal lover, reader, photographer, meditator, sometimes painter/drawer/carver, sailor, sort-of-Quaker, walker, birdwatcher, sports fan, etc. Bren – Dr. Stone – has enough degrees for the two of us which is good because the only degree I ever earned was from high school, though through a twist of fate I did do a little teaching from time to time at UMass dartmouth where I was employed in various capacities for several years. That was back when I worked for a living. Bren is my best friend. We’ve been buddies since she moved in next door in 1949. She’s a psychologist – also retired – and I help her with this neat pet-assisted education program she’s developed where we go with Eliza and Higgins into kindergartens and pre-schools. I got interested in the Web in the early days before Al Gore “invented ” it. In 1995 I led an effort at UMass Dartmouth to use it to teach college courses on line and taught one myself for several years on Web design. (We were one of the first in the world to use it this way, but other schools have done much more with the idea than we did.) I had my first blog on Blogger back – I don’t know – maybe 2002? Or was it 2003? I really get these dates mixed up. I think my Mac is three years old when it’s really pushing six – that sort of thing. I’m approaching ancient, having been born a few months before the US became seriously enmeshed in WWII. Most of my life I’ve talked about what I’d do when I grew up. That was until I realized growing up wasn’t much of a goal.

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One Response

  1. The Story of Stone Soup

    Although, most will think of this fable as one of the Brothers’ Grimm tales. It is not. This is where fantasy mimics life’s realities. It turns out to be a wonderful story of cooperation, reinvention, and a joy of discovery, at a place plagued by scarcity of many things, especially of a certain sense of civility.

    When Greg came to North-Dartmouth and the New Bedford area, he carried nothing more than a very large black empty kettle and an open mind. The villagers and campus dwellers were very unwilling to share nearly anything. Nothing was given up with ease, unless an eye or a tooth had to be left behind.

    Greg could not be perturbed. He sat himself up on campus, quietly dropped a large stone into the cavernous pot, filled it up with water, and slyly placed it over a roaring fire.

    Sooner or later one of the more curious villagers, or come to think, it most likely was a campus dweller, couldn’t hold back and asked: “What are you cooking, Greg?” “I’m making delicious “Stone Soup”, he says, “but I am looking around for some good spices, some herbs, and other seasonings to make it taste even better. It needs spicing up, and I’m plumb out of everything.” The campus dweller didn’t mind parting with just a little bit to help Greg out. Then another didn’t want to be seen a flint, and more and more villagers walked up, each adding another ingredient to what turned out to be a delicious gourmet meal, enjoyed by many.

    The feast included publishing ventures and publication programs, student newspapers, memoirs for retiring administrators, one of the earliest campuses lured away from the power of mainframes and totally dedicated to mini-computers, and distance learning, nationally ahead of nearly any other institution. (In his private life, there were kids, grandkids, dogs, music, Brenda, hawks, model airplanes that dove into the tallest chimney and were declared lost, boats of all kinds – designed, built, and stored – and then there were the stars.

    What a great Stone Soup!

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