And the winner is…

Image credit: Spectrum News

Juvenal (Book I): difficile est saturam non scribere.

Oh, gee, I mean, sure, I was hoping and all but this is really, no, honestly, I mean it, a total honor. I was proud to win in 2020 and here I am winning again in 2021. I want to thank everyone who made it possible but, of course, most of all the media. If it hadn’t been for all my supporters in the mass media I truly wouldn’t be standing here today, clutching this amazing award.

How do I feel? Honestly? I feel awesome! Wouldn’t you? I mean, when was the…

How the AV revolution will be engineered

Image credit: The Parliament Magazine

When the first adumbrations of a new technology appear, thoughtful people try to discern the likely future implications. Today, a lot of thoughtful people are worrying about the impact of autonomous vehicles (AVs). Jobs will be lost. People will feel robbed of agency. What are the ethical implications of software making life-or-death decisions?

While such weighty questions do deserve some thought, they are in fact completely irrelevant to the adoption of AVs.

We humans are evolved to seek the path of least resistance because for 98% of our evolutionary history that was the strategy that would most likely aid survival…

Why religious people always misunderstand atheism

Image credit: Quote Master

One cannot help but feel a little sorry for Richard Dawkins. He has spent much of his life attempting to elucidate some of the principles of rational atheism, and this has led him to spend many fruitless hours conversing with religious people — always with the same outcome. There is something intrinsic in such conversations that leads perpetually to incomprehension on the part of the religious person. As this same phenomenon repeats itself wherever and whenever a thoughtful rational person attempts to converse with a religious person, it is worth exploring why the impasse exists and is hardly ever circumvented.

Why Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the other blockchain-enabled cryptocurrencies will be completely irrelevant by 2030

Image credit: The Mandarin

Today naïve individuals, excitable investors, and anxious fund managers are continuing to stock up on Bitcoin and its competitors in the belief that (a) everything with the word blockchain is magic, and (b) that independent cryptocurrencies are the way of the future despite their appalling inefficiency and profligate energy consumption that amplifies the problem of climate change.

Although regrettably the cryptocurrency bubble will likely burst before someone with a keen sense of humor floats TulipCoin on the market, it is nevertheless equally likely that digital currencies are indeed the way of the future.

Only not in the way nearly everyone…

Why surprisingly few US citizens have died of SARS-COV-2

Image credit: Financial Times

The other day I was talking to an English woman, inevitably about the “lovely” weather we’ve been having so far in May (think of a day in early January in northern California) and as soon as she learned that I’d lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty-seven years she began to opine on the “terrible” death toll in the USA. “They have it so much worse than over here,” she exclaimed. “Our National Health Service is wonderful! We’ve been spared, but in the USA they must be piling dead bodies up on the streets.”

As an ordinary person…

Why I am now certain the future will be blockchain everywhere

Image credit: Inter-American Development Bank

Because I’ve spent much of the last thirty years deep in the world of hi-tech and I actually understand how blockchain works, I’ve spent the last few years shaking my head sadly at all the enthusiastic folk who can’t help but chant the blockchain song, wave pretty little blockchain flags, and worship the great god blockchain high up on its throne.

But now I have seen the light.

No longer do I regard blockchain as a solution to no real problem whatsoever. No longer do I consider the absurd energy usage of cryptocurrencies to be a fundamental reason why no…

How our inbuilt tendency to assume everything is normal enables abnormal things to grow

Image credit: CamperMate

We’re born small, helpless, and without prior knowledge. Children learn about their immediate environment as they grow and they assume that whatever environment they happen to be in is normal. This means that children growing up in cults or within zealously religionist families take their circumstances axiomatically as normal even as wider society considers such norms as aberrant.

We don’t change much as adults. Despite the enormous body of empirical knowledge assembled over the last five hundred years, religionists tend to remain trapped within their belief systems and remain almost entirely ignorant of real-world facts. People growing up in the…

How I thought about the job of being a parent

Image credit: Adam Le Sommer on Unsplash

It will likely be years yet before you consider becoming a father, but you’re already a man. The last twenty-five years have been the most wondrous of my life, and I write these words in the hope that if one day you also become a father you will likewise embrace the change and discover the astonishing journey for yourself.

For embracing parenthood is the prerequisite. I’ve seen too many people who look to maintain their pre-parenting existence, as if children could be relegated into the same sort of category as hobbies and household chores. I’ve heard too many people complaining…

How the Jim Crow laws can be updated to meet the needs of the 21st century

Image credit: Flagpole Magazine

God-loving Republican politicians across the USA are still reeling from the discovery that despite all previous gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright intimidation, it’s still possible for a traitorous liberal baby-eating god-hating Democrat to garner sufficient votes that even the USA’s gloriously dysfunctional Electoral College system can’t prevent disaster befalling our great nation.

Obviously something must be done. And that something is to bring back much-needed Jim Crow laws. Across our land, more than 258 separate pieces of legislation are being promoted by patriotic Republican politicians to ensure that never again can such a calamity befall the greatest nation on Earth…

What you believe depends on where you grew up

Image credit: unknown from Flickr

We humans are evolved to believe whatever we’re told by purported authority figures. Hardly anyone, even today when information is no more than a click away, can be bothered to do any research. Consequently we all tend to believe whatever it was we were told when we were growing up.

Raised in Texas? Evolution is a myth invented by Satanists. Raised in Arabia? Allah is the only true god. Raised in France? Humanist values emanate from the most cultured nation on the planet. Raised in Scotland? John Logie Baird invented the television.

Alas for our beliefs, they are rarely accurate.

Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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