The unhoused and their trash

Keywords: homeless, stress, mental health, housing first A recent letter to the editor of the Eugene Register-Guard asked what I assume is a common question about the unhoused. Why, when they establish camps. do they allow trash to accumulate around them; why do they seem to “choose” to live in their trash? If you liveContinue reading “The unhoused and their trash”

Metrology Part II – How do I measure thee? Let me count the ways.

Keywords: measure, measurement, ISO, SI, units, derived units, metrology I’ve had various discussions about science where people have made statements like, “That can’t be measured” and “Science can’t tell us anything about that.” Since I have yet to be presented with a well-defined concept that science is not capable of analyzing (vs. necessarily already havingContinue reading “Metrology Part II – How do I measure thee? Let me count the ways.”

Metrology is not about the weather. Part I – How to weigh a potato

Keywords: philosophy of science, measurement, ISO, NIST, standards, accuracy, precision, philosophical foundations When someone buys a pound of potatoes, how do they know it weighs one pound? A likely answer is that the produce scale said it was. But that assumes the scale is accurate. Is it? And how do we know? The answer toContinue reading “Metrology is not about the weather. Part I – How to weigh a potato”

White supremacists on display in the capital

Keywords: racism, violence, white nationalism, insurrection, white identity I am generally going to avoid politics in this blog, but this is only tangentially about politics. The storming of the Capital of the United States was not just by a mob, it was by a mob of white supremacists. FiveThirtyEight does an excellent job of discussingContinue reading “White supremacists on display in the capital”

Is there anything supernatural?

Keywords: philosophy of science, physical reality, philosophical foundations, nonphysical, god, ghosts, ch’i, chakras, soul, spirits, magic There are lots of things that are said to be supernatural; things like ghosts, gods, and magic, to name a few. Can these things truly be supernatural? I’m not the first to come up with or present the typesContinue reading “Is there anything supernatural?”

Liberation of doubt

Keywords: origin of morality, religious privilege, hate, good without god I had another letter to the editor published in the Eugene, OR Register-Guard on Dec 17. It was in response to Michael Gerson (who writes for The Washington Post.) His column, Hope doesn’t depend on us, was published in the Register-Guard on Dec 9. MyContinue reading “Liberation of doubt”

Innovations for Poverty Action

Keywords: fighting poverty, charities, helping people, economic divide Innovations for Poverty Action is an organization that I support because it applies science to the reduction of poverty – and that is absolutely awesome! Here is the email I just got from them illustrating that, not only are they researching how to reduce poverty, they’re gettingContinue reading “Innovations for Poverty Action”

The Scientist’s Skepticism

Keywords: philosophy of science, foundations of doubt This is a note on the article The Scientist’s Skepticism by Mario Bunge. It was reprinted upon his death this year in Skeptical Inquirer Nov/Dec 2020. Bunge writes that the scientist’s skepticism “is constructive, not just critical.” This is very consistent with my theme of starting from doubt;Continue reading “The Scientist’s Skepticism”

How do we manage a mountain of knowledge?

Keywords: tools of doubt, experts, peer review, amount of knowledge Try to imagine, if you can, how much knowledge there is in the world. Here’s an image I was given to try to illustrate how awesomely large the amount of knowledge is. Imagine collecting a set of textbooks that would give a reasonable overview ofContinue reading “How do we manage a mountain of knowledge?”

Am I a figment of your imagination?

Keywords: reality, solipsism, modelism, arrogance, rudeness, philosophical foundations I have been somewhat distressed by how many people I’ve talked to that claim, “We create reality.” This is a very dangerous idea as well as being, quite frankly, rude. I wish I could recall what science fiction story I read (so that I could give credit)Continue reading “Am I a figment of your imagination?”