The Last Day Of Captain Lincoln

Book review: The Last Day Of Captain Lincoln
(Amazon)

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The opening might lead you to believe this will be a regular action sci-fi story. It isn't. It ends up being a meditation on the meaning of life and death, and a commentary on how we do (or more often don't) openly talk about death. At least as an American I can say while I know I and everyone I know will die, I don't think we spend enough time framing that knowledge with an examination of life. As Socrates said - the unexamined life is not worth living - and Captain Lincoln spends the book doing just that. We may not actually know the exact date of our deaths, but that's no reason not to spend time considering how we've lived and the impact we've had on others. This is definitely something I would consider important to anyone who wants to engage in long term thinking.
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Recommended Reading

Finally, a new blog. Here's a few links to some articles I think are worth your time.

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An infographic on H.G. Wells. It's amazing how much of the fiction in his writing actually came (more or less) true. Let it be a lesson that it's not only ok, but valuable, to speculate wildly and dream big.

Some insight as to why people seem to want new, fresh ideas, but then reject them. In general I read this as an artist or musician, but I think it applies to anyone reaching for something new. Just avoid reaching for woo crank science that isn't real. It can be hard to walk that line.

A great read from Dr. Steven Novella on the nature of truth. These days it seems a hard thing to define, and it's hard to get people to trust that science is the best way forward. I think Dr. Novella hits it on the head. We've gathered the low hanging fruit. Science is getting harder, and we haven't developed the patience for the long haul in many areas of research. We want the answers now.
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Why Our Brains Suck #1

Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

"As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metalworking before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.

Where it gets us into trouble, according to Sloman and Fernbach, is in the political domain. It’s one thing for me to flush a toilet without knowing how it operates, and another for me to favor (or oppose) an immigration ban without knowing what I’m talking about."


This article is a fairly long read, but well worth your time. We humans are not nearly as good at reasoning as we think we are. It's up to each of us to constantly ask ourselves "why do I think what I think, why do I think I know what is true". It's not easy, but it's a skill that is perhaps more essential to learn than any other as we move further into the 21st century.
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Words of peace from The Dude

This was an interesting read: Jeff Bridges searches for peace in Trump's America, come 'Hell or High Water'

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Give it a look, Mr. Bridges makes interesting points and a compelling case. I think it's essential for our progress and survival to heed the call for level-headedness. As I occasionally give in to reading comments on posts or what people who share news items say about what they share, I am struck by the raw and violent hate I see coming from all sides of an argument. Every disagreement seems to immediately escalate into all out war. If that can't be stopped, we may as well take up arms now and get our next civil war over with.

I do have one point of disagreement with Bridges. From his closing: "We don't know what's right and wrong, you know, completely, it's our opinion." In matters of personal judgment I agree, but where science and scientific consensus can more completely inform our judgments, I think there is much less room for opinion. And that perhaps is one area that is now causing so much of the hate. I think many people are not comfortable being confronted with the idea that science can invalidate their opinions. As a theme this year, the need to communicate scientific consensus better than we do is ongoing. I'm still not sure what the answer is, but someone once told me sometimes all you can do is live as a good example, and don't sink into the mud with the arguing and hate. I think The Dude would abide.
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2000

panfutureshow

Thank you! That's what I have to say. That screenshot above shows I've broken 2000 downloads in 29 episodes and since only the end of May when I started. That number doesn't include the just over 300 plays on youtube as of this writing. I know, it's a tiny drop in the podcast bucket. Some of the casts I listen to have tens of thousands of downloads a week. Still, I'm doing this show for several reasons, one being to share progressive scientific views on the world with others, and I appreciate all who've tuned in.
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