books, ethics, government, science

Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller

A Story of Loss, Love and the Hidden Order of Life

Great book.

One thread is the astonishing story of David Starr Jordan, Stanford University’s first president, a leading scientist of his day.

Did he murder Jane Stanford, wife of the University founder?

More interesting to me was the life story of the author, intertwined with her research into this obscure topic. Lulu Miller is hilarious.

One awful thread is the fact that the USA was the first nation to legislate eugenics. Forced sterilization was the law in 32 U.S. states, and actually inspired Hitler.

AND there’s the fact new to me that … Fish Don’t Exist.

Read the National Book Review.

about Rick, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, science

I’m a Humanist

Author Yuval Noah Harari would say my religion is Humanism.

My bible the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The first Humanist Manifesto was issued by a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1933.

Signatories included the philosopher John Dewey, but the majority were ministers (chiefly Unitarian) and theologians.

They identified humanism as an ideology that espouses reasonethics, and social and economic justice, and they called for science to replace dogma and the supernatural as the basis of morality and decision-making.

So far, so good.

In 1941, the American Humanist Association was organised. Noted members of The AHA included Isaac Asimov, who was the president from 1985 until his death in 1992, and writer Kurt Vonnegut, who followed as honorary president until his death in 2007.

They advocate in Washington, D.C., for separation of church and state.

There is a sub-set called secular humanism that consciously rejects supernatural and religiosity.

I wouldn’t go that far, myself.

But I do believe strongly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



ethics, government, science

EVERYONE should support planting more TREES

No matter what your opinion on CO2 levels higher than they  been for at least the past three million years, you can support planting more trees.

Trees are good in many ways.

Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson, some guy who got popular on YouTube, started a campaign that raised enough money for more than 20 million trees to be planted across the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and the United Kingdom.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Secondly, we should STOP subsidizing fossil fuel industries. One study calculated $5 trillion / year in subsidy worldwide.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of students to become environmental activists for climate change.

I love to see how some previously unknown teenager scares so many of the rich and powerful worldwide.

She’s the youngest individual Time Person of the Year.

Thunberg was also nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

science, travel

where to find the Mylodon

Mylodon is an extinct genus of ground sloths that lived in South America; Patagonia (Chile and Argentina) until roughly 5,000 years ago  …

Mylodon weighed about 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lb) and was about 3 m (9.8 ft) long from snout to tail tip. It had very thick hide and had osteodermswithin its skin for added armor. Because of this armor and its long and sharp claws, it is unlikely that the Mylodon had any natural enemies other than humans …

That’s a model at the Cueva del Milodón Natural Monument where fossils were found in 1896. I didn’t make the trip out there from Puerto Natales as I’d head it was pretty cheesy.

Instead I took these photos in town!

books, ethics, science

our earliest ancestors – San people

I was reading The Wayfinders (2009) by Wade Davis … and was captivated by his story of an African DNA study which concluded the San are likely to be the oldest population of humans on Earth.

The San, also known as bushmen, are directly descended from the original population of early human ancestors who gave rise to all other groups of Africans and, eventually, to the people who left the continent to populate other parts of the world.


The Gods Must Be Crazy films are based on one branch of the San people.

This Wade Davis book argues that ancient wisdom still matters in the modern world. And that humanity will be lesser if we lose cultures like the San.

For some reason(s) a small group of San migrated north about 350 generations ago. Most people in the world are likely descended from that intrepid group. Some of the San still live much like they did 350 generations ago.

Racists won’t like this, of course.

Fact is, humans are 99.99% the same.

more San photos