This is a what?!

I took this picture yesterday. Nearly every day I take pictures in the woods and wetlands behind my house in the Pacific Northwest. I’m no John James Audubon or Bindi the Jungle Girl, but I am slowing learning to identify flora and fauna that I see on a regular basis. Of great help to meContinue reading “This is a what?!”

The labor of liberty

Like many Americans, I’ll spend this holiday relaxing, getting some sunshine, eating a veggie burger, and enjoying fireworks. The 57th annual Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular at Fort Vancouver is canceled this year. Still, this town loves fireworks, and I’ve heard them the last several nights. Because I live in The Thinkery, I also plan to spendContinue reading “The labor of liberty”

The white bird and the spies — I mean, birdwatchers

“You were right. It was an egret.” Mercedes greeted me this way when we met on the abandoned railroad track. Lest you think we are spies — exchanging passphrases as we rendezvous to hand over the microfilm — I’ll quickly let you know that those days are far behind me. But, seriously … Mercedes andContinue reading “The white bird and the spies — I mean, birdwatchers”

3 rewards in social media debates

How often do social media debates change someone’s mind? It’s nearly as rare as lightning striking a purple carrot during a solar eclipse. If we aim to convince someone else of our point of view, we don’t get very far, very often. That’s not necessarily an assessment of our argument skills; it’s just the wayContinue reading “3 rewards in social media debates”

What my YouTube recommendations tell me

I just went to YouTube, and it is recommending these videos to me: Snowstorm & Crackling Fireplace Sounds Milan, Italy, Walking Tour Dueling Professors — John Lennox & Peter Atkins Right up my alley! Of course, YouTube knows this because I watch this sort of thing all the time. During the lockdown, a cozy cabinContinue reading “What my YouTube recommendations tell me”

Don’t lose focus on the *real* issue

“Blueberries keep falling out of the wheelbarrow.” Jack was frustrated. He pulled his wool scarf up over his ears, which was odd considering it was August. Jill glanced skyward and shook her head. “Birds keep eating the blueberries.” She didn’t add “you simpleton”, but it was implied. “That’s not the point, Jill. It’s like you’reContinue reading “Don’t lose focus on the *real* issue”

Protesters are …

Protesters are … Black people are … White people are … Police officers are … Politicians are … Reporters are … Christians are … Muslims are … Jews are … Celebrities are … Men are … Women are … Americans are … If you’re about to end any of these sentences with something other thanContinue reading “Protesters are …”

Astronauts are so smart. (How smart are they?!)

Did you watch the SpaceX launch? I was mesmerized. It was the first time in nine years that American astronauts went to space from American soil. It’s the first time ever that astronauts were blasted into space in a vehicle made by a private company rather than a national government. It was amazing to seeContinue reading “Astronauts are so smart. (How smart are they?!)”

Is faith rational? It depends.

“How well do CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy] and religion mix? CBT is all about rationality, and religion is often about faith. The two seem kind of opposite. … CBT is … grounded in western empiracism and rationality, and faith is something that is very much different.” (Jason M. Satterfield • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques forContinue reading “Is faith rational? It depends.”

Winsome or lose some

If you want to push people away, shut them down, and make them dig their heels in … criticize them, not just their viewpoint or behavior get angry or impatient use sarcasm don’t play fair use deception If you want to draw people in, open them up, and maybe even persuade them of your wayContinue reading “Winsome or lose some”