Category: Thoughts

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A Chinese Man with a Latin Name and Many Dangerous Ideas

His Chinese title was Mang-tze: Mang the Master. Just as European scholars changed his philosophical predecessor K’ung-fu-tze into “Confucius,” Latin-trained historians of the West called him “Mencius.” He spent most of his adult life (378-289 B.C.) counseling princes and kings, teaching them to rule like philosophers instead of barbarians. In his final years, he composed — or...

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Ancient Questions, Modern Answers

When we consider regions of the world less “developed” than ours, let’s keep in mind Europe (and its imperialist offspring around the globe, like the United States) were also once Medieval. We, too, were once benighted, ignorant, backwards. Long ago, our civilization preferred the mystical powers of alchemy to the rational comforts of science, the...

The Driveway Mural

It began as a New Year’s folly, an impulsive lark. Some children and I splashed a few square panels of our concrete driveway with old house-paint from the cellar, shrouding the dull stone with color and shapes. We thought it looked pretty good, so the next day I did another panel, and then another the...

A Modest Proposal for Optimal Use of Artificial Intelligence

If you’re still in the camp that believes a near future dominated by artificially intelligent machines is nothing but a dystopian daydream, consider this: Not long ago, an artificially intelligent computer program called AlphaZero, hooked up to industrial-strength, Google-supplied processors, was given the rules of chess. That’s it. By playing countless games against itself, billions(?),...

Announcement: Why You’ll Be Hearing Less from Me

Today I’m delighted to announce my semi-retirement from writing. It’s been more than 30 years I’ve been doing this professionally, 20 years since my first book. Now it’s time to do something else. For the people who care about my work, don’t worry. Writing will continue. These essay Thoughts will continue (probably) to be published...

Corruption in Los Angeles: An Update from City Hall

The persistent showers pelting southern California this past week served as poetic foreshadowing for the hard rain that’s about to fall on some of the well-dressed crooks who control Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s absurd delusion that he’s somehow “presidential” is about to end. Charlatans posing as “community leaders” soon will be exposed. Once powerful...

A Modest Proposal for Medicating Our Children

Kids who can’t (or won’t) sit still and be quiet aren’t normal. They have a disorder. They have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a serious disease that requires serious treatment. And if you don’t believe us, ask any pediatrician with a prescription pad. Since they’re desperately unwell, these ill children require medicine. Two of the best...