It is likely a bit late for most, but I do have a suggestion for removing one of the stresses of Christmastime: Declare a gift giving truce.
The placebo effect, the ability of an inert substance to deliver a cure, is an oft-remarked part of hypothesis testing. Such results are dismissed with a cursory “that is just the placebo effect.”
Rarely mentioned is just how amazing such a thing is.
Because I know everyone is waiting to hear what I think of the Republican presidential contenders, I present my rundown of the candidates.
Warren Buffet along with various other wealthy individuals called for higher taxes on the wealthy. His claim was that he was under taxed, suffering a rate lower than his secretary and other employees (who must be well paid, as he claims they are suffering a 33 percent burden). Perhaps there is a way we can give Buffet and friends what they want.
One of the philosophical quandaries of my youth was the question of whether eternal life (on this earth) was actually desirable. A cult movie from the mid 1980s (Highlander) considered this question (well sort of).
While few of us have death wishes, the thought of living forever can cause some queasiness. I suspect this is due to how they consider the question.
Many dissatisfied with the current social order consider dropping out or withholding their best effort, going Galt in the evocative phrase of the moment. Others, even if not completely happy, wish to enjoy the fruits of full participation in society. For them, going Galt may not be the preferred option. If you cannot (or do not want to) go Galt, you can always follow the line of another fictional character: Rhett Butler.
Republicans in congress love to describe how they will hold the line on spending and fight any tax increase. Indeed, they seem reluctant to even consider tax code changes that might eliminate narrowly focused concessions (co-called “loopholes”).
It is popular to talk of the debate (or even “battle”) between science and religion. I am not sure they are really that much at odds. In some ways they are both looking for truth, or at least some description of our reality. Is the belief in a “creator” really much worse than the belief (by some) of superstrings and dark matter (or any other currently unprovable theory)?
Rather than attempt to fight an unwinnable battle, I want to consider the ways in which what science knows is similar to what religion preaches.
On a previous post, commenter Rebekah asked me what I thought of the Herman Cain sexual harassment charges. At that time I hesitated to offer an opinion because, after all, we are just in a he said, she said situation.
While I will remain agnostic on the truth of the charges, I do have some thoughts