I grieve for my beloved Hong Kong

It has bad air. I was still a smoker when I worked there, and I joked it was protective. It’s impossibly expensive, though plenty of people live there cheaply. It’s a culture clash, crash, and fusion — Chinese and Anglo, old and new, rich and …

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Sticking to my knitting (opinions)

As Facebook gently reminded me — my professional media have been stale. It was less a writer’s block than a blind alley. Perhaps others will find my thinking instructive. Like everybody, I have opinions about the world, and in these contentious times, it’s very tempting to …

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A Republican Hamlet

Blame the English teachers at those fine expensive schools, trying desperately to engage their bored charges with a play about reckless youth. If only the chattering classes had been taught how to read Hamlet properly, they might have better understood this year’s presidential primaries. Let’s …

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The power of story (2016 Iowa Caucus)

I have wagered with my wife that the 2016 US major-party presidential nominees will be Trump and Clinton. I don’t regret my choices after the Iowa Caucus. I understand the power of story. On the Democratic side, one story seems better — a dark horse, vastly …

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Robots vs. androids in fiction (go robots!)

Among the characters in my new novel is a collective of former package-delivery drones that, after a war, evolved themselves into a taxi service for their damaged city. From the earliest drafts, I saw them as small flying saucers, with only a central trunk/harness to carry …

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The STEM and the Flower (Education)

Thanks to Fareed Zakaria for his recent column calling out the recent obsession with STEM education — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I urge its wide readership. The issue is not STEM, of course, but obsession — and it’s not really obsession, in the end, but …

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Revolutionary atheists vs Stockholm syndrome (John Gray)

Esteemed cosmologist, and my old friend, Andrew Jaffe just posted a quick retort on his blog to a long essay by philosopher John Gray. Gray has an objection to the strident challenging tone of modern atheist thought-leaders like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I am not …

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Optimism and Zombies

Almost fifty years ago, Stewart Brand wrote in the Whole Earth Catalog that we were as gods and that we might as well get good at it. At roughly the same time, George Romero made Night of the Living Dead. Guess which one inspires our culture …

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The pre-apocalypse

My writing group noted that my new story, though a different setting, is also a post-apolcyalypse tale, or at least post-disaster. One colleague included my novel in that theme, even though in my novel things are good, but about to get worse. It’s pre-apocalyptic, she …

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