I found myself scurrying around this week trying to keep ahead of technology. Keeping ahead of technology, actually, was impossible. The fact is I was doing technology’s bidding in order to keep my life in order, a situation in which I, and most of us, find ourselves regularly.
Through dense, leafy underbrush, Jens and his troop quietly make their way to a clearing where a break in the tree canopy allows streams of light to fill the area; ferns and moss thrive among slabs of stone warmed by the midday sun. Forming a circle, the group sits atop the warm stones, and they… Read the rest
While growing up I was instructed to refer to adults as Mr., Mrs. and Miss; to do otherwise was a sure path to being chastised. This rule of etiquette applied universally as a sign of proper respect. The basic premise was that using an adult’s first name without permission was a no-no, and this rule applied… Read the rest
At forth-five years of age, Pierre Gittleman’s laboratory is now also his bedroom; a cot lines one wall, along with a bedside table, reading lamp, writing desk and comfortable sitting chair. Not exactly a hermit, Pierre largely keeps his own company, his work too ambitious and potentially… Read the rest
America has always had reactionaries, people highly resistant to cultural change and determined to undermine the forces underlying such change. Such reactionaries currently appear under a variety of names: social conservative, pro-family, traditional values voter, new right, and now, anti-woke.… Read the rest
Jens looks at his legs, still outstretched and beginning to glisten in the early daylight. It has been a cool night, and his body needs a few minutes to warm up enough to get up and walk. Taking a deep breath, he smells the dew evaporating from the ground, and as long shadows slowly shorten, … Read the rest
I loved science fiction movies and books as a kid; I still do, although I don’t read much sci-fi these days. In 1958, at camp Androscoggin in Maine, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was shown one movie night, and visions of a disabled saucer crashing into the Washington Monument stayed with me for years. The… Read the rest
“Homo botanicus sounds good,” thought the 35-year-old Pierre Gittleman, his mind wandering away from Thomas Dougherty’s story about the benefits of fasting. Pierre’s mind has been moving a mile-a-minute lately, fueled by his certainty – you could almost call it an epiphany –… Read the rest
We live in an affirmative universe, the Universe of Yes. The presence of matter is itself evidence, as are all the other forces and fields we’ve discovered. The universe only says “yes,” even to our ability to say “no.” It doesn’t get more affirmative than that.
It is 2135, smack in the middle of the 6th Great Extinction. Humanity has been reduced to small pockets of civilization, some operating at a subsistence level through foraging and small scale farming, others, by remaining technologically advanced and with sufficient energy sources pursuing… Read the rest
From the smallest animal to the largest, hunger, the first and strongest drive to assert itself, underlies the substance of animal behavior. Sensory functions – smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste – all support the search for food, and their humble origins may well lie in that pursuit.… Read the rest
Truth can be elusive, so much so that the entirety of the scientific method may be seen as a systematic attempt to find it. Our scientific age, roughly 300 years old, was preceded by uncountable eons of magical thinking and mythology, variously employed to explain both natural phenomena and the course… Read the rest
Neither of my parents were observant Jews. Yes, we belonged to a reform temple and would attend services there for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, but other than that, we were mostly Jews in name only. We ate bagels, cream cheese, and lox, but also bacon; that about says it all.
Walking seems such a simple thing. I used to think nothing of jumping up and heading out of the house when I was a boy; following the impulse to move felt seamless, an act so natural as to be thoughtless.
My father Norman was a big walker, and on weekends while I was growing up, he’d invite me to join him in what… Read the rest
The world is turned upside down; global warming, international relations, pandemic disease, and regional politics have all gone nuts. Appreciation of norms, the behavioral and social customs that preserve comity and decorum, is not in decline; it’s collapsed. Trump and his minions are not the cause… Read the rest
Homo sapiens are pattern-finders and base their behavior on anticipating patterns or pattern variance. Making prognostications on the future, using reason and thought to replace simple instinct, largely distinguishes humanity from other animals. A change of seasons, for example, triggers instinctual… Read the rest
At 75-million strong, Baby Boomers have had an outsized effect on our nation’s economy, culture of entertainment, technology, fashion industry, environment, real estate, and virtually everything else about contemporary life. In our passage from children to codgers, we’ve been like the bulge … Read the rest
We may be living in the digital age, but many of us grew up when the world was analog, which means we possess many generations of family photographs. I’m talking about photographic prints, many of them black and white, filling envelopes and storage boxes in closets and cabinets. When you get to my advanced… Read the rest
Anyone who’s raised children knows that of three basic freedoms – to say “no,”, to relocate, to choose friends – the freedom to say “no” is the earliest to manifest. As an element of basic freedom, animal life has said “no” from its very beginnings.