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  1. Copernicus

    Holodomor and the rise of Hitler

    I am currently reading an interesting book by Yale historian, Timothy Snyder, called Bloodlands. This book is about the mass murders that occurred in the Soviet and German empires between WWI and WWII. He defines the bloodlands as encompassing primarily Poland, the Baltic republics, Belarus...
  2. Copernicus

    Copernicus on Vacation Oct 20-Nov 5

    The air quality in Seattle now ranks 5th as the worst in the world. Wildfires in the Cascades have flooded our neighborhood with smoke, and I can't really breath outdoors. Our garage is pretty smoky, too, but the air in the house seems not too bad. People over 65 are advised not to go out...
  3. Copernicus

    Cruise Travel and COVID

    The CDC recently removed most health safety restrictions on cruise ships, and the cruise industry rushed to take advantage of that. No more masks for passengers, and even vaccination requirements are being dropped where port destinations do not require them. Although my wife and I have never...
  4. Copernicus

    Common Misunderstandings about Artificial Intelligence

    Popular media and the press often spread misleading and false information about the state of the art in the field of Artificial Intelligence. To most people, AI is taken as some kind of magical technology that will ultimately scale up to true intelligence in very short order. This has been...
  5. Copernicus

    Replacement Theory

    We have seen how incensed Republicans have become over Critical Race Theory, which is seen as a left wing conspiracy that is even taught in our schools. Recently, we have seen the rise of Replacement Theory (aka 'Great Replacement'), which apparently was part of the inspiration for the Buffalo...
  6. Copernicus

    Brexit meets Northern Ireland Response

    Sinn Féin is now the majority party in Northern Ireland. Although it won't happen anytime soon, the question of Northern Ireland doing a reverse Brexit is now becoming serious. Irish nationalist Sinn Fein earns historic Northern Ireland election win
  7. Copernicus

    Strunk and White's Bad Advice on Grammar

    The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is one of the most sacred texts in the canon of prescriptive grammar. For those interested in a flaming review of it, linguist Geoffrey Pullum will be giving a lecture at George Washington University in Washington DC on May 10: Pullum is a great...
  8. Copernicus

    Nuts and Bolts of Nuclear War (split from Ukraine Reaction thread)

    Population centers contain the infrastructure that manufactures military hardware and allow a country to conduct warfare. Hence, they are military targets. Nuclear warheads make city-sized holes in the earth cause damage that leads to equal or larger numbers of deaths among those that survive...
  9. Copernicus

    God pressured to take a side in the Ukraine War

    Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has shaken his staff at Ukrainian Nazis and endorsed Russia's righteous invasion, which will strike a blow against the liberal countries of the West who have been pressuring Ukrainians to allow "gay parades" in Ukraine. He had been staying silent on the subject...
  10. Copernicus

    What's with the dopey Russian coaches?

    I'm not a big fan of sports or the Olympics, but I recognize the importance that people around the world place on Olympic medals. The games can be seen as helpful in establishing a global human community, but I personally find it difficult to imagine why it matters that one country or another...
  11. Copernicus

    Why "Kyiv" and not "Kiev"?

    In my self-appointed capacity as IIDB's linguistic policy advisor, I feel duty-bound to explain the mangled attempts of US journalists to pronounce the new politically correct spelling and pronunciation for Ukraine's capital city. The old spelling "Kiev" and pronunciation--"kee-yev"--was based...
  12. Copernicus

    The Curse of Eliminative Materialism

    What is Eliminative Materialism? Most of us infidels are materialists and physicalists. That is, we believe that mental states are a property of physical brain activity and that there is no separate spiritual plane of existence. IOW, immaterial spirits such as gods and ghosts don't really...
  13. Copernicus

    US government strikes back at Russian cyberterrorists

    The US government and allies have finally managed to hit back at cyberterrorists gangs operating out of Russia (with the apparent blessing of the Russian government). In this case, they focused on REvil, which had attacked a software management company in the summer. Not only did they obtain a...
  14. Copernicus

    Republican Secretary of State in Washington has resigned

    I voted against electing this Republican, Kim Wyman, for Secretary of State, because I did not want a Republican to run the election machinery in our state. To be fair, she has been a fair election official, and she even defended our all-mail voting system against Trump's lies in 2020. To be...
  15. Copernicus

    Justice Department sues Georgia for voting laws that target black voters

    See In Suing Georgia, Justice Department Says State's New Voting Law Targets Black Voters. Assuming that this case reaches the Supreme Court, do you believe that the conservative majority will side with the DoJ or Georgia? My opinion is that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court will...
  16. Copernicus

    Nagel's Batty Explanation of the Mind-Body Problem

    In 1974, Philosopher Thomas Nagel published his classic 17-page explanation of why it is so difficult to understand the physical basis of consciousness: What is it Like to Be a Bat? In internet discussion forums, people love to argue over the nature of consciousness. Most people seem to...
  17. Copernicus

    The Rise of the "Nones"

    Although the Nones are now a well-established category of religiously unaffiliated people, it groups together people who still consider themselves religious with those who do not. It has been steadily growing in the US, as more and more people abandon organized religions. For the first time...
  18. Copernicus

    Biden expels Russian diplomats and imposes sanctions

    Vladimir Putin no longer has a friend in the White House. He got away with four years of cyberattacks and meddling in our domestic politics, but now the chickens have come back to roost. There will also be actions taken that are not announced, but the public actions are fairly mild and...
  19. Copernicus

    Putin's invasion force on Ukrainian border

    Putin is now amassing an invasion force on the border of Ukraine, although nobody seems to know what his intentions are. He could just be looking for a distraction from sagging popularity ratings, or maybe he wants to rattle sabers as a way of building leverage against impending sanctions in...
  20. Copernicus

    Vaccine Resistance and the COVID Passport Effect

    In the US and particularly among conservatives, there is strong resistance to measures that prevent the spread of the disease or even acknowledge its existence. Medical experts believe that mass vaccinations are a necessary step in bringing the pandemic under control, but too many people are...
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