Beware the modern-day Gnostics

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Irenaeus

Most people know what an agnostic is, but fewer know much about the people at the root of that word, the Gnostics (without the ‘a’). Gnostics caused one of the first great doctrinal splits in early Christianity, but their intellectual descendants remain today, not just in churches, but also throughout the business and political worlds. And they want to sell… Read more »

Worth a read: A Series of Fortunate Events by Sean B. Carroll

A Series of Fortunate Events

Good science is hard; good science communication may be even harder. During my publishing career I was the editor or managing editor on quite a few university-level texts, and I usually found the “Introduction to …” textbook authors to be better communicators and classroom teachers than the authors of “upper division” specialized texts. Ironically, the best-selling intro text authors may… Read more »

Coronavirus mutations and the evolutionary race for time

Ark under construction

The greatest irony of the coronavirus pandemic, in my view, has been that of anti-science political forces who have resisted the most basic mitigation measures facing off against one of the best examples ever of Darwinian evolution and its related math of fecundity being played out in real (and scary-fast) time. And it ain’t over yet, with the exponential spread… Read more »

Computing your TCO – Total Cost of Ownership

Total Cost of Ownership

In the previous post I introduced the concept of the total cost of home ownership (TCO) as an important number to know if you are in advancing years facing the prospect of taking on a reverse mortgage to cover medical or long-term care bills. This post fleshes out that calculation, and a second scenario goes to the other end of… Read more »

Keeping Tom Selleck away from your door

Storm

Last autumn I published a series of posts about “the economic vacuum cleaner,” the American way of financing “eldercare” that sucks up the estates of middle class Americans at an alarming rate. I will admit to a rather contrarian view of home ownership for those of us in our “golden years.” For far too many people, the conventional wisdom on… Read more »

Stopping the speeding train to autocracy

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I-Voted

As I noted in an earlier post, the first-priority Republican legislative effort nationwide right now is to restrict voting rights before the next national elections come. The Brennan Center has cataloged at least 253 bills in 43 states working their way through legislatures aimed at cutting back on the right of people, especially minorities and young people, to vote. My… Read more »

January 6 and the fallacy of ‘No True Scotsman’

Scotland

A recent Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll found that 58% of self-identified Trump supporters believe that the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.” Aside from being just plain factually false, this belief is an example of a classic “brain fart,” a well-documented logical fallacy that can affect… Read more »

Giving up Rush Limbaugh for Lent

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Odious

A coincidence, surely, that Rush Limbaugh and I share a birth year, or that he died of lung cancer on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian 40-day “penance” tradition of Lent. When I would visit my then-88-year-old Norwegian grandmother while attending university near her Upper Peninsula Michigan home, she would open the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette in the… Read more »

Affective risk aversion and Covid vaccine denial

Rollercoaster

After several unsuccessful attempts in the confused and governor-hobbled Florida vaccine roll-out, my spouse and I were recently able to get the first of two Moderna jabs. Despite the tragic (and up to 40% unnecessary) loss of life and the trashing that our economy has suffered because of the coronavirus over the last year, the number of people who are… Read more »

A tax plan for Biden #3 – taxing corporations *updated*

The first two parts of this series of posts updated first some quick hits and then larger principles that I recommended to the Biden campaign last summer when Joe emerged as the front-runner candidate. The Trump administration really screwed up the U.S. Tax Code even worse that it had been, especially in business taxes. We need desperately to restore both tax… Read more »