The recent death of David Bowie struck me rather hard. It’s not that I was the biggest fan. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his music. I’ve cherished The Ziggy Stardust album, for example, for decades. But I never saw him in concert. Sadly, a week before he died I signed up for updates on … Continue reading On The Death of David Bowie, or: The Gods of Our Youth
Raymond Chandler was one of the greatest classic noir writers. He wrote The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake, and The Long Goodbye, amongst others. Even if you’ve never read any of his work, you likely recognize at least some of those titles, since each one of them has been made … Continue reading The World of Raymond Chandler: in His Own Words, edited by Barry Day: A Review
In my humble opinion, one of the wackiest things about contemporary physics is the notion of indeterminacy, or the idea that (as a recent essay put it): “Reality Doesn’t Exist Until You Look at It.” This title is doubly silly, since it equates reality with what goes on at the subatomic level, and not with trees, dolphins, … Continue reading The Mind Projection Fallacy, or: Do You Exist Before I Look at You?
A recent New York Times opinion piece, "A Crisis at the End of Science," raises the somewhat-unexpected question of whether "physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories." This is unexpected because empirical confirmation has been the foundation of the natural sciences since the beginnings of modern science. If someone's theories and claims can't be empirically … Continue reading Physics, Empirical Evidence, and David Hume
There's a heartfelt essay in today's New York Times entitled "Why I Can't Forgive Dylann Roof" by Roxane Gay. This follows from the very emotional scenes when the family members of the murdered South Carolina church-goers confronted the monster who killed their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and by-and-large forgave him for his unforgivable deeds. Gay … Continue reading On South Carolina, Forgiveness, and Dostoevsky
Anyone who gets updates on my blog knows that I haven’t posted anything in a while, and I’m here to say that I’m not going to post anything for a while longer (except for this, of course). There are three reasons for this, two practical, and one ideological. The first, more mundane reason is that … Continue reading I Tweet, Therefore I Am
In the spirit of the season (sort of), I’ve been posting tweets about Santa to reveal what a badass he is. Below you’ll find a selection of them. Some of these are more gangsterish than others. Anyway, I hope you find them funny. Enjoy! Santa's Bona Fides Santa carries a .38 strapped to his ankle … Continue reading Santa is a Gangster
I chose “writing as life” as the title for this series because if you’re truly a writer, the work becomes your life. It’s clichéd but true: You write because you have to. It’s a compulsion, a need deep down inside. If you do it—that is, put words together, tell stories, work with language, try to … Continue reading Committed: Writing as Life, Part I: History
I recently wrote a post, “Has A.I. Really Arrived?” in which I disputed claims that computers can or will think (click here to read the original post). In that essay I wasn’t articulating anything original. I was repeating the arguments of the philosopher John Searle. Searle calls the idea that programs are to computers as … Continue reading How We Got Duped into Believing Computers Can Think
In a recent article in Wired magazine, “The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI on the World,” the author, Kevin Kelly, claims that artificial intelligence (AI) is here and here to stay. He understands AI, apparently, as machine (specifically, computer) intelligence that will become more and more a part of our lives. He claims … Continue reading Has A.I. Really Arrived?