Last Week Tonight (season 4)

Posted on November 14th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

{5/5} “For now let’s move on to President Trump, the silver lining for anyone who died in 2015.” Last Week Tonight season 4, aired in 2017 John Oliver continues to bring us stories we need to hear, in a funny-yet-serious way: Tibetan sovereignty and human rights gerrymandering net neutrality vaccines local news nuclear waste presidential […]

The war against expertise

Posted on November 14th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

David Brin, on his blog “Contrary Brin,” describes what he calls the war against expertise and portrays it convincingly as the most important problem in the US right now. He points out that all fact-centred professions are under assault. How could “tens of millions of Americans — who benefited spectacularly from the rise of science […]

The Theory of Everything

Posted on November 13th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

{5/5} “Your glasses are always dirty.” The Theory of Everything, released in 2014 Stephen Hawking is a physics student and Jane Wilde is an arts student at Cambridge in 1963. Just as they start to pursue a romance, Stephen finds out that he has motor neuron disease. The doctor gives him only 2 years to […]

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Posted on November 12th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

{4/5} “I’m sorry, you’re a great driver. You’re the best driver in the entire universe.” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, released in 2017 Valerian and Laureline are special operatives who undertake dangerous missions in the far reaches of the galaxy. They return to Alpha, a huge space colony, after another successful mission. […]

DaCapo Choir’s “The Colour of Freedom”

Posted on November 11th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

I went to DaCapo Chamber Choir’s concert titled “The Colour of Freedom.” This concert is the start of DaCapo’s “three-year series inspired by the global refugee situation. The series is organized around general themes of Displacement (this season), Resettlement (18/19), and Renewal (19/20). Motivating the plan is the conviction that art is necessary and possibly […]

Science fiction is good for you

Posted on November 11th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

Here are a couple of different perspectives on this topic. First, Rebecca J. Rosen on The Atlantic reports on research that suggests that reading SF can give inventors new ideas — and also anticipate the consequences of new technologies. A quotation from Dan Novy: “Fiction allows you to live more lives in the space-time of […]

Taxes: it shouldn’t be a dirty word

Posted on November 11th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

Here’s an article from Heather Mallick from The Star. She points out the incongruity that taxes give us things that we treasure, yet no politician can ever say they’re raising taxes. In short, taxes are “the price we pay for civilization.” Why I love taxes — and so should you: Mallick We should be willing […]

Cutting through confirmation bias

Posted on November 9th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  1 Comment »

Here’s a short but informative video about how people don’t necessarily respond to facts. But if you take into account where they’re coming from, you might be able to persuade them. Tali Sharot, neuroscientist, on Big Think uses the examples of climate change and vaccines: Facts Don’t Win Fights: Here’s How to Cut Through Confirmation […]

New species of orangutan discovered

Posted on November 9th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

A population of orangutans has been studied and determined to be a distinct species, Tapanuli orangutans. They live on the island of Sumatra, which is part of Indonesia. Unfortunately there are less than 800 of them, which makes them endangered. Here’s the story from CTV News: Scientists discover new orangutan species in Sumatra Hopefully the […]

Nonsmokers get 6 extra vacation days

Posted on November 9th, 2017 by Dave Switzer  |  No Comments »

A company in Japan has decided to fight smoking and reward nonsmokers in a unique way. Someone complained that smokers take more time off, with their frequent smoke breaks. So the company is giving nonsmokers 6 extra vacation days. Since the new policy was put in place, 4 of the company’s 42 smokers have quit. […]