By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 11, 2023

One way to learn about people is to find out what they are most proud of. If it’s not their own achievements, it will sometimes be those of their children or grandchildren. And just what counts as an “achievement?” For better or worse, it is often a matter of excelling over others, in which case, […]

Ups and Downs
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 28, 2023

In our universe, things that are up are generally positive, and the reverse is true of the downs. Heaven is somewhere above, together with everything that’s at the top of the charts (except your temperature and blood pressure). But I’m sorry to say that “our universe” reaches no farther than our little planet and its […]


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More from Montecito

Some Local Problems Are Global?
By Robert Bernstein   |   March 28, 2023

Communities all over California are struggling to meet a mandate to build more housing. This dates back to a 1969 “Housing Element” law, now in its sixth round. The current mandate is for 3.5 million new units by the year 2025. The state is far short of meeting that goal and local governments face penalties […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 21, 2023

Judging from the number of words in our language containing “press” in some form (at least 545), it appears that we’re all, very often, experiencing some form of pressure, from the air pressure in our tires to the blood being pressed through our circulatory systems. To start at the bottom, there’s “Depression,” which nearly always […]

Miracle Cars?
By Robert Bernstein   |   March 21, 2023

Soon after I was first elected to the Sierra Club board, a fourth-grade teacher invited me to speak to her class. I came prepared with a list of questions, rather than a speech. I asked the class to imagine a car that runs on an unlimited source of energy that never runs out. And to […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 14, 2023

Some people are said to be born leaders. But we don’t hear so much about born followers. However, born or not, the followers are the vast majority of any population, and they need good leaders – although, in a time of crisis, a leader may emerge who will lead everybody in the wrong direction. The […]

Give It to Me Straight
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 7, 2023

As most of us learned in school, the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. And a point is something which has a location but has no dimensions. Many of us also learned that light travels in straight lines. Amazing as it seems (to me, anyway) light has a certain speed, which […]

  • Is the Universe Linear or Cyclic?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   March 7, 2023

    “There is nothing new under the sun” comes from Ecclesiastes 1. It is a warning that all worldly efforts are futile. That all seeming progress is erased in history. For most of human history, progress really was not a visible thing. People used the same stone tools for thousands of years. Life was a subsistence […]

    Concerning Learning
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 21, 2023

    Most of us are familiar with the proverbs telling us that we live and learn, and that we’re never too old to learn. Nevertheless, that particular activity is primarily associated with the young, and indeed it begins with the very young, perhaps going back to the moment of birth, if not before. In those early […]


    The Love-Addicted Divorce: Letting Go of Your Ex, Honestly
    By Dr. Cortney S. Warren   |   February 21, 2023

    by Dr. Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D., ABPP “Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept something that your mind already knows.” – Paulo Coelho  Getting divorced is a downright awful experience. As if slogging through legal documents that remind you of contentious fights about money, kids, or pets with your now-ex isn’t unpleasant enough, you’re […]

    Getting Into History
    By Ernie Witham   |   February 21, 2023

    There are several things I dread hearing when I’m on a docent-led excursion. “If anyone here is acrophobic, you may want to reconsider today’s steep hike up Mountain Goat Trail.” Or… “If anyone here is aquaphobic, you may want to skip the kayak experience down ‘Devil’s Muse Rapids.’” But I wasn’t worried today. We were […]

    All Hands
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 14, 2023

    Most of us have two of them. We once had four, but Evolution specified that we would do better with just two and relegated the others to transportation, making a big distinction between hands and feet. These upper extremities are fringed with independently movable digits called fingers, but one, called a “thumb” on each hand […]

    Good Vibrations?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   February 14, 2023

    Over a year ago, I wrote an article “Wrong but Interesting?” wherein I noted that an idea can be wrong but still valuable for generating new ideas. In that article, I noted an example of an idea that I found wrong, and also not interesting: That “everything is vibrations.” I love the Beach Boys song […]

    How To Be a Pedestrian
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 7, 2023

    Until recently, the only way for most people to get to most places was on foot. Horses were too expensive, and trains, planes, and cars didn’t yet exist. “Shanks’ Pony” was a jocular way of referring to walking. But with the development of modern street-traffic, among the automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and regular bicycles, there […]