A parent’s worst nightmare

I don’t believe I’ve written about it here, for a variety of reasons, but my son has a rare neurological disorder. He’s better now and we’ll only know the full extent of it as he gets older but the diagnosis period was one of the scariest and most heartbreaking experiences my wife and I could imagine. We still cry every now and then. So this Jimmy Kimmel monologue hit close to home for me. You won’t regret taking the time to watch it, and please watch it to the end.

If “all lives matter” or you’re really pro life, you cannot claim those things and oppose medical care for the less fortunate. Medical care shouldn’t be a partisan issue, or profit motivated any more than firefighters, police, or EMTs.

A reasonable look at the press

I tend to think the greatest problem with the news is actually the audience, but I may just be in a cynical mood this morning.

Heinlein was wrong

In the early 1970s, the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein issued a dictum, often quoted since, that “specialization is for insects.” Truly capable human beings, he wrote, should be able to do almost anything from changing a diaper to commanding a warship. It is a noble sentiment that celebrates human adaptability and resilience, but it’ wrong. While there was once a time when every homesteader lumbered his own trees and built his own house, this not only was inefficient, but produced only rudimentary housing.

There’s a reason we don’t do things that way anymore. When we build skyscrapers, we do not expect the metallurgist who knows what god into a girder, the architect who designs the building, and the glazier who installs the windows to be the same person. That’s why we can enjoy the view from a hundred floors above a city: each expert, although possessing some overlapping knowledge, respects the professional abilities of many others and concentrates on doing what he or she knows best. Their trust and cooperation lead to a final product greater than anything they could have produced alone.

The fact of the matter is that we cannot function without admitting the limits of our knowledge and trusting in the expertise of others.”

-Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 14-15.

Kala U-Bass – Stand By Me

I really should start writing more again, but it’s a beautiful Sunday morning in January. Enjoy a warm drink and listen to this. It’s better than anything I could write at the moment.

This seems appropriate these days

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georgebernardshaw

Are continents dumb?

A fun video follow up to my last post about maps. Enjoy!

How Elmo ruined Sesame Street

I’ll be going on vacation soon and likely won’t write much for the rest of the month, so my plan is write a lot today and schedule it for release over the next few weeks. Before I do, though, I want to post something today and this essay is better than anything I can knock out for a morning release.

How Elmo ruined Sesame Street

It’s not just a curmudgeonly rant against an overly cutesy, obnoxious puppet. There’s definitely criticism of that aspect, but he also gives a solid look at the dumbing down of the educational content of the show. If you have small kids or grandkids and think about their development, it’s an essay worth reading.

Personally, my son watches Curious George.