Learning from Other Countries?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 28, 2022

“We live in the greatest country on Earth!” So said a caller on Bill Maher’s Real Time on the eve of the unprovoked U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Maher asked the caller how he knew this. “Because I have lived in the U.S. my entire life.” Maher tried to explain the illogic of this, […]

Shadows
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 7, 2022

Alexander the Great cast a giant shadow over History, conquering most of the known world in his short lifetime (356-323 B.C.). On his way eastward, he visited the city of Sinope (on the north coast of modern Turkey), and there encountered its most notorious inhabitant, a crusty old philosopher named Diogenes. Knowing this man’s reputed […]

 

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Has it Got Legs?
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 31, 2022

Here is a riddle for you: What goes ninety-nine CLOP, ninety-nine CLOP, ninety-nine CLOP…? Answer: A centipede with a wooden leg. I don’t want to go into all the biological reasons concerning the numerous varieties of centipedes, showing that, even apart from the wooden leg, this story can’t be true. What I do want to […]

Is There an Opportunity for a Compromise on Abortion?
By Bob Hazard   |   May 31, 2022

An illegally leaked draft opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggests that a court majority could invalidate Roe v. Wade. Impassioned women (and men) have hit the streets with protest signs that read: My Body, My Choice; Keep Abortion Safe and Legal, Abortion on Demand Without Apology; Banning Abortions is Racist; Protect Women, […]

Ages and Ages
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 24, 2022

How old? The answer to that question is usually expected to be in terms of years – that is, of Earth journeys around the sun. We owe that idea to a Polish monk named Copernicus (1473-1543 AD). But even before Copernicus, in those good old days when the sun still went around the earth, the […]

Life Purpose?
By Robert Bernstein   |   May 24, 2022

Normalizing Atheism is an active Facebook page I recently joined. It is a surprisingly respectful forum for atheists to “come out” and for religious people to ask questions of atheists. On April 13, someone named Brian C. made this post: “I’ve been pondering something lately: Is it possible to live without meaning or purpose? If […]

Planetary Analogs: Or Where on Earth is Mars?
By Tom Farr   |   May 24, 2022

Now that it’s spring and we’re starting to travel again, our local deserts have become popular nearby attractions. Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and the Mojave Desert are at their best this time of year and you might even catch some wildflowers if they got enough rain. At NASA, in addition to enjoying seasonal wildflowers, we […]

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  • Pat and Ernie’s Wild Ride
    By Ernie Witham   |   May 17, 2022

    …proceed to the route… proceed to the route… proceed to the route. I took out my gun and I shot Siri. “Actually, it’s against the rental car company’s policy to shoot holes in the dashboard,” my wife informed me. “According to page 15 of the rental form, they charge extra for that.” I looked at […]

    How to Stop the Killing in Ukraine?
    By Bob Hazard   |   May 10, 2022

    The Russian military strategy for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has been to unleash a campaign of genocide, defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation (or ethnic group) with the aim of destroying that nation (or group).” A deliberate attempt to maximize civilian casualties using targeted cruise […]

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    That’s Entertainment
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 3, 2022

    Believe it or not, the original meaning of “to entertain” was “to hold together.” But, when you come to think of it, that isn’t so far from what it still means today. People are held together by watching the same show, enjoying the same songs or jokes, admiring the same performers, feeling the same emotions […]

    Are People Basically Good or Evil? Pt. 1
    By Robert Bernstein   |   May 3, 2022

    Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is the latest situation that might lead us to think that people under the surface are evil and only a thin veneer of civilization protects us. My college lady friend recently introduced me to the book Humankind that takes this on. Many issues are raised, and this will be the first […]

    Loss
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 26, 2022

    We have it on good Biblical authority that Humanity’s whole story started with having Paradise, and then losing it. Of course, nobody ever died in Paradise – but since then, everybody has. One of my favorite poets is A.E. Housman. And I particularly like this four-line epitaph he wrote, honoring some of the British volunteers […]

    Something’s Got to Give
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 19, 2022

    Although it has now become a somewhat ritualized procedure, particularly associated with Christmas and birthdays, the practice of gift-giving has a long and colorful history in our culture. According to a leading authority (St. Paul, quoting Jesus), “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Far be it from me to question anybody’s holy […]

    Can We Trust Eyewitness Testimony?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   April 12, 2022

    “Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?” Variations of this quote date back to Chico Marx in Duck Soup and earlier. Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has testified in criminal trials that eyewitness testimony is not as trustworthy as it seems. Loftus has shown that it is easy to implant false memories of […]

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