August 2006


wine-bottles.jpg

Here are five blogs to celebrate this year’s International Blog Day:

On a Mercy Ship: Notes by Scott Harrison from onboard a floating hospital ship in West Africa and abroad.

Torn and Frayed in Manila: News and views of an expatriate Englishman Scotsman in Manila.

Think Again!: Seductive math problems for the modern mind.

How to Save the World: Dave Pollard’s environmental philosophy, creative works, business papers and essays. In search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.

Forex Blog: Currency Trading News by Forex Guru Adam Kritzer.

Technorati tag: BlogDay2006
Global Voices Online

monkey-bis.jpg “You know, Mog, I don’t think the Americans will ever change the way they think about themselves and what they perceive the world to be. They are arrogant and self-righteous. They are condescending, looking down on the rest of the world — a world they are so ignorant of. And in their ignorance, they have made mistakes, many of which will be impossible to rectify.

“But America will not regret having the wrong people in government. The majority of the electorate voted them into office because they were considered representative of what America stands for.”

“I agree with you, Yaw. Take for example the GOP Senator George Allen and his macaca remark. An obvious bigot, he is a possible candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

“And did you read about what his sister wrote about him in her book, The Scrimmage of a Football Coach’s Daughter? He is a bully, a trait so characteristic of America.”

“No, America will never change, Mog. Einstein once said, that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. Americans will continue to vote for the wrong people in government. Americans will continue to make serious foreign policy mistakes. America will continue to impose their unreasonable way of thinking on the world because they will never see things differently.”

dsc_0012_2-bis.jpg Arlene was having trouble with her homework in philosophy class. “We’re studying Descartes,” she said. “He starts out with cogito, ergo sum — I think, therefore I am — and ends up proving the existence of God.”

“Impossible!” I said, without stopping to think that I was doubting the great Descartes. It was a reaction I learnt from my father: Have no respect whatsoever for authority. Instead, look at what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, “Is it reasonable?”

I said, “How can you deduce one from the other?”

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Well, let’s look it over,” I said. “What’s the argument?” So we look it over, and we see that Descartes’ statement, cogito, ergo sum, is supposed to mean that there is one thing that cannot be doubted — doubt itself. “Why doesn’t he just say it straight?” I complained. “He just means that he has one fact that he knows.”

Then he goes on and says things like, “I can only imagine imperfect thoughts, but imperfect can only be understood as referent to the perfect. Hence the perfect must exist somewhere.” He’s working his way towards God now.

“Not at all!” I say. “In science you can talk about relative degrees of approximation without having a perfect theory.”

“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” by Richard P. Feynman, Bantam Books © 1988

starrynight.jpg Making a Difference: Walking down a deserted beach at sunset, I noticed a man in the distance picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Coming closer, I noticed that he was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach. I was puzzled. Approaching him I said, “Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you were doing.”

“I’m throwing these starfish back into the sea. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have washed up on the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the water, they’ll die.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get all of them. There are simply too many. And do you realise that this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast? You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The man smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

Charity: Water