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The Mystery of the Salt Water Daughter

Why did the man sitting in front of me on the airplane ask his wife to determine whether their daughter had been drinking water with salt in it? […]

Startling Shampoo

I expected lavender, but was surprised to discover that the shampoo smells like nothing so much as Play-Doh. What irregular adventures in my present journey could this omen fortell? […]

Why Is Unity08 Not Filing IRS Forms Electronically?

Unity08 is a corporation that claims it will nominate its own candidates for president and vice president through the first ever online nominating process — one in which delegates will vote without ever being publicly identified. Unity08 has filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent itself from being classified as a PAC — which […]

I Am Not Afraid of Canadians

I’m not going along with the herd that declares we have to be afraid of Canadians. I don’t want to shut Canadians out of our country. I want to talk with them. […]

Black Crosses Exist in Reality of War

No surge in the number of American soldiers can overcome the news of outrageous acts that have not been seen but are nonetheless believed. In 2008, we need to choose a new President who understands that beliefs are stronger than bullets, and will seek to persuade rather than invade. […]

What is John McCain Doing With That Red Dress?

Senator John McCain attended the Mattel Life-Sized Doll Conference today, and inspected the doll for a female bullfighter. […]

Is This What Aging Is?

As I’ve been getting slightly oldish, I find that I wake up some mornings, sit up, and think to myself, “Whoah! What kind of wild night did I have? Did I have too much to drink?” It’s that old feeling from college parties the morning after. But too much to drink has become two beers. […]

What If There Are No Extraterrestrial Civilizations?

to communicate, they reasoned, so with some analysis of signals already being gathered by radio telescopes, it shouldn’t take long to hear from ET. It’s been almost eight years now, and SETI@Home has listened to the entire sky visible from the Arecebo telescope it gets to piggy back space on. Still there has been no signal heard from outer space. There hasn’t even been a hopeful candidate for further examination in over two years. So, it seems that the time has come for us to ask the question: What if there are no extraterrestrial civilizations? What if no one else in the measurable universe is communicating using radio waves of the sort we’re searching through? There’s a lot of space out there, and a lot of planets on which alien civilizations could take route. If getting life to the point where communicates using electromagnetic devices like ours is something common, surely we ought to have detected a signal by now. The idea posited by Star Trek of a universe teeming with advanced civilizations seems less likely than it did back in 1999. Intelligence as we know it on other planets seems more likely to be extremely rare, or not to exist at all. Perhaps the creatures on these planets are intelligent but not technological. Perhaps they aren’t intelligent at all. Perhaps even multicellular life is an oddity. Perhaps, in spite of the presumption by scientists like Carl Sagan that we ought not to be, we on Earth really are quite special in the universe. With every day that SETI@Home searches and finds nothing, it becomes more reasonable to assume that we may never know if other civilizations exist in the universe. We can now see planets around other stars, but they are silent planets. Whether that’s by choice or by dearth of anyone to talk is not something any telescope has the resolution to determine. The distances to other solar systems are far too vast for us to travel without sucking a great deal of energy out of the Earth, so it makes sense to keep on listening. It does not make sense anymore, however, for our popular mythology to rest upon the presumption of aliens in spaceships with galactic empires coming by our planet to say hello. […]

What’s Going Wrong With CafePress?

I don’t know if there is, in fact, a connection between Islamic fundamentalists getting outraged over cartoons of Mohammed and the problems CafePress is experiencing. […]

Unity08 Drops Commitment to Regular Financial Transparency

Unity08 (aka Unity 08) is a registered corporation with the goal of arranging the nomination of one Republican and one Democrat to become the next president and vice president of the United States of America. It declares that next year it will successfully run the first-ever national secure online presidential nomination.

Today, Unity08 finally posted […]

Memo to Unity08: Updates on (Lack) of Answers to Questions

The following is a memo I have posted at Unity08 regarding their non-answers to questions regarding financial disclosure:

In this thread I have posted 12 questions, 11 in the main post and one more in a further comment.

It has been 13 days since I asked these questions (and nearly three months since Unity08’s last […]