Paradigmatic Profane Past Participle
April 17, 2019 · 1 


CSICon 2019 is happening. I don’t mean right this minute, I mean in October, at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Q will be there. And the string theory guy. And she who is Goop-bane. Even the guy who made the PalmPilot. I feel like I’m not selling this very well. Just…just trust me, it’s great. …

Misconduct and Inattention
April 16, 2019 ·


The Notre-Dame cathedral is still standing, mostly, after a huge fire churned through its insides. The cause of the fire seems to be essentially accidental, related to ongoing renovations of the cathedral. President Macron has vowed that what has been destroyed will be rebuilt. Tonya Guerrero, writing for the Philippines’ ABS-CBN, tells of the social …

Reconsider Your Priorities in Life
April 15, 2019 ·


Sorry for the two-day absence last week, folks. I was devoting my energies to the production of Chicago I directed. You know, that show about about a time and place notable for new forms of expression as well as an obsession with celebrity and artifice that swamps civic institutions? I know, not relevant at all …

‘Malling While Muslim’: Man Falsely Accused of Child Abduction
April 11, 2019 · 1 


Social and news media have unfortunately seen a rise in two distinct toxic phenomena over the past year or so. The first is a steady stream of white women calling police on minorities minding their own business in public spaces, in dozens of cases including a Starbucks, a public park, swimming pools, streetcorners, and the …

This is Not a Serious Conversation
April 10, 2019 ·


This morning, astronomers revealed the first-ever image of an honest-to-goodness black hole, 55 million light-years away at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy. NYT’s Dennis Overbye writes: The image…resembled the Eye of Sauron, a reminder yet again of the power and malevolence of nature. It is a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to …

Very Expensive, Deeply Researched, Top-Secret ­Baloney
April 9, 2019 · 1 


There is a lot of weird today. The number of U.S. measles cases has now reached 465, with 78 new cases in the first week of April alone. Can you guess why? Via the Post: “More bad news,” Peter Hotez, an infectious-disease expert at the Baylor College of Medicine, said in a Twitter post about …

Screeching to the Choir
April 8, 2019 ·


F. Brinley Bruton at NBC News profiles atheists in Iraq, living in constant fear as the conflict between Sunni and Shiite extremists continues: “Have you ever heard of a militia that is formed by atheists?” engineering student Darwin [a pseudonym], 21, says. “No, only those who have religion form militias and death squads. They are …

With an Effort of Thought
April 5, 2019 ·


The uncontested top story of the day—nay, the decade—is that the Russian military now has super-soldiers with psychic powers. Oh, yes. The Russian Ministry of Defense’s journal, Army Collection, published a scientific(покашлять, покашлять) paper detailing this horrible new reality in which we all live under the thrall of our Russian Psychic Super-Soldier Overlords. Popular Mechanics …

All Sorts of Atrocities
April 4, 2019 ·


Whoa, have you seen the new website for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry? No longer confusingly found at the URL for CSICOP, it now resides, wisely, at skepticalinquirer.org. NICE. A brand new Point of Inquiry episode has Kavin Senapathy talking to Susan Gerbic about her big celebrity-psychic sting operation that was covered prominently by the …

Plane Abducted by UFO?
April 2, 2019 ·


I recently came across an old (March 1979) issue of Fate magazine, which promised “The World’s Mysteries Explored.” One featured story was headlined: “Did UFO Abduct Aircraft?” As I suspected, that case was one destined to become a classic of UFOlogy, one that I would eventually have a hand in solving—at the request of a …