The Last Straw
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 27, 2023

We have all been informed that it was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. But that image troubles me. As a proverb and metaphor, of course, it is very powerful. Another one, “The Tipping Point,” conveys almost the same idea, but less negatively. The image now is of a balance, by which everything […]

Something I Ate
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 13, 2023

You are a stranger on the road, passing within sight of a dwelling. The people who live there invite you to come and share their meal. It doesn’t sound that remarkable. It might almost be Biblical. And in a way, it was – because this happened in the Land of the Bible. But it was […]


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Running Wild
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 6, 2023

To most of us, Civilization is where it’s at and – as a general rule – any alternative is less preferable. The alternatives can be categorized either favorably under the heading of “Nature,” or unfavorable ones beneath the label of “Wilderness” – or “Desert.” From childhood I have known that the ancient Hebrews, after escaping […]

Biden Picking the Right Winners?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 6, 2023

“Government shouldn’t pick winners” is the constant refrain from the “free market” crowd. Except when they want government to pick their chosen winners. “President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to ‘prepare immediate steps’ to stop the closing of unprofitable coal and nuclear plants around the country” was the lede of a June 1, […]

My Business Career
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 30, 2023

Two women greatly affected my life in the world of business: my mother and my wife. From age five to seven, I lived in my mother’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. There, her father and several other of my relatives were in what was called the “second-hand” business. Their merchandise was mostly used goods. They had […]

Hands Free Phone Driving = Drunk Driving?
By Robert Bernstein   |   May 30, 2023

“Don’t Drink and Drive: You might hit a bump and spill your beer.” This bumper sticker is a perfect microcosm of our ape brain absurdity. The same absurdity of using phones while driving. When a friend first told me about a new law banning texting while driving, I thought it was a joke. “Are they […]

Big Moves
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 23, 2023

Crossing oceans has been a feature of my family background. My mother’s parents, a poor English couple, started the trend by moving from London to Toronto, where my mother was born (one of five) and grew up as Amelia Adler (quite a good-looking girl, if the photos are any indication). Ocean travel was then still […]

  • Unfree Speech
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 16, 2023

    Freedom of Speech – and of the Press – are in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But of course, they are not defined in detail. That has been a task for the following two centuries – and the debating goes on. A major complication has been the development of new media, which are […]

    Good to be Unreasonable?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   May 9, 2023

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” This quote by George Bernard Shaw provided the title of a wonderful film about the heroic life of Ralph Nader, An Unreasonable Man. How do you respond when you […]


    Been There Done That
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 2, 2023

    One of the many wise old sayings which my father was fond of quoting was itself about age and wisdom, and indeed reeks of both of them. It says:  Experience keeps a dear school – but fools will learn in no other. And what exactly does keeping a dear school mean? Here, “dear” means the […]

    AI Alignment Problem?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   May 2, 2023

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the greatest innovation since the invention of fire or the wheel, according to recent talk. It may also be our last invention. I first became aware of the amazing potential of Artificial Intelligence as a teen, ironically, when I read a book by Berkeley philosophy professor Hubert Dreyfus called What […]

    Size and Sighs
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 25, 2023

    How big is it? Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it matters a lot more than it should. I’m sorry to say that in most cases, bigger means better. That’s why bigger houses, cars, and diamonds generally cost more. But there has lately been a trend in the opposite direction. Now that so many devices are […]

    Alien Minds
    By Robert Bernstein   |   April 25, 2023

    “Everyone is basically the same” is how many of us were raised. The intention was to see our commonality, rather than our differences. But, what if we truly see the world in very different ways? It’s as if we are alien species, trying to live together. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has tried to help us […]

    Body Talk
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 18, 2023

    One piece of medical advice we’re often given is to “listen to your body.” It is also one of the most confusing and misleading. My body does not know who I am or where I live. It was designed by a proverbial “blind watchmaker” named Evolution over the course of untold eons. My body has […]