Sankofa Futurism

One of my favorite futurist quotes comes from a 1956 Ford commercial called Design for Dreaming. In it, the main character sings (yes, it’s a musical) the line: “Everyone says the future is strange, but I have a feeling some things won’t change.” I love this quote for a lot of reasons, and I use […]

See No Evil

This is a bit unusual, but I’ll start by asking you to watch this video. It’s not long, but I should warn you that it might upset you. It did me, which is why I am writing about it. It’s from a traffic cam trained on an intersection in Shandong Province, Eastern China. Here’s what it shows, […]

The Placebo President

As I have occasionally mentioned on this blog, I am currently working on a book on the many ways that our own brains can deceive ourselves. Placebos, hucksters, healers, hypnotists, and con men – it’s all in there. It’s a fascinating subject and one that constantly reminds me to be careful about what I think I […]

No, Mr. Penn, That Is Not Why We Hate You

Like every foreign journalist living in Mexico, I’ve been watching the Sean-Penn-interviews-notorious-drug-lord with a mix of humor and mild disgust. It’s like some kind of adolescent game of Mad Libs. El Chapo meets Sean Penn in the mountains to talk about farts and penises. I tried to read the article but could only force myself […]

Redux: Science Plus/Versus Religion

I don’t think much about the climate debates; the problem seems so multivariate, and each part of it so difficult, I don’t see a solution.  Accordingly, I really appreciate the people who do think about and cover it because goddam, it really needs covering. Anyway, when I read about the Paris agreement, I was most struck […]

Halfway

  We had been driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco when I noticed the flags. They were everywhere, on top of the silvery tall buildings, on top of the squat red-brown ones, even on some places that seemed too precarious to fly a flag. They all unfurled themselves halfway down the flagpole, making the […]

Let Us Celebrate The Lack Of Total Failure

This past Friday evening, when I heard that the 195 nations represented at the COP21 climate meeting in Paris had reached a draft agreement, I was pleasantly surprised. On Saturday morning, when I saw the stronger-than-forecast draft text, I was shocked. And on Saturday afternoon, when the final agreement was signed—signed!—I was thrilled. The Paris agreement won’t singlehandedly head off the worst […]