Author’s Notes from This is True® — Thought-Provoking
Entertainment Online Since the Internet’s Dark Ages.
Note: Randy’s blog — more than 600 entries — goes back to 1994, the start of This is True itself. If you’d like to read through all of them, it’ll take you awhile — but you’ll be amply entertained. The first entry is here: Introducing My Blog, and there are links at the bottom of each page (above the comments) to get to the next entry.
Note 2: See bottom of this page regarding comment photos.
A Listing of ALL Blog Entries is here — the listing is long: there are over 600 pages. Note there’s a search function in the navbar if you’re trying to find something specific. The following is a listing of the most-recent entries:
- The Race to Pluto - Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern & David Grinspoon I’ve been waiting for this one! After pre-ordering months ago, this book arrived on its publication date: May 1 — and it’s spectacular. In the early 1990s, I worked on the Pluto mission pre-project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, so obviously I have an interest in the subject. Yet I learned plenty from this book, written by my friend Alan Stern, the project’s Principal Investigator, […]
- Podcast 037: What IS Thinking? - In This Episode: The question is harder to answer than you …think! But really, what IS thinking? Plus, if you use the “Dunning-Kruger Effect” to judge other peoples’ thinking, you’re doing it wrong — says Dr. Dunning. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast37
- Podcast 036: The Way to …Spain? - In This Episode: Another No Longer Weird story for the list, why episodes will be a bit sporadic over the next six weeks, and the role model that is Homer Simpson. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast36
- Can’t Help But Laugh - When readers unsubscribe from the free newsletter, the service I use allows them to send feedback — and while not everyone provides that, I always read it when they do. Happily, the most-common feedback is along the lines of “I’ve upgraded to Premium” so they don’t want the subset of stories in the free edition that they’ve already read. Sadly, the second-most-common feedback is along the lines of “too busy” or “overwhelmed by email” — they don’t have time for […]
- Podcast 035: “Why Should I Have to Develop a Sense of Humor?” - In This Episode: Another story based on religion, another complaint from a reader asking “Why should I have to develop a sense of humor?” In this week’s podcast, my response to that question.
- Podcast 034: Mind Triggers - In This Episode: Scenarios are a great way to do long-term planning and thinking, but here’s a great trick for short-term results. Also: another segment of No Longer Weird. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast34
- Dust Storms May Exist - While Driving Across southern New Mexico this morning, I rolled my eyes a bit at a warning sign: “Dust Storms May Exist”. Well yeah, so might space aliens bent on beaming someone up from the desert. Reminds me of the one I see farther north: “Icy Conditions May Exist”. Are lawyers writing road signs now? Maybe charging by the letter? When I was a kid, the latter just said “Icy” but I guess people ridiculed that when it was summertime. […]
- A Quarter Century of Increasing Optimism - “Why Aren’t You Cynical by Now?” It’s a common question: I’ve been writing True for nearly 25 years now, chronicling the sometimes staggering obliviocy of our species, but I still have an optimistic view of humanity. In fact, my optimism has increased over time — probably because I’m such an avid people-watcher. So I sigh when readers unsubscribe because it’s “too depressing” to see how their fellow citizens fail to think. They’re really missing the point: every single one of […]
- Podcast 033: Don’t Say You Haven’t Been Warned - In This Episode: Whether you “need” a monkey (wait… what?!) or “want” something for nothing, scammers are eager to take your money from you. And what’s No Longer Weird this week. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast33
- Podcast 032: The Poison Keyboard - In This Episode: A really interesting cautionary tale for anyone who posts anything online — on social media, on a review site, even a comment on a blog. Can you be sued …and LOSE? You bet! Even if you “don’t listen to podcasts” you might want to try this one — or at least read the transcript. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast32
- 1989: An Amazing Year for NASA/JPL - Note: I actually wrote this in January to explain the background on an item I had put up for auction. It was deleted once the auction was over, but a reader wanted to be able to point someone at the text because he thought it was interesting. So here it is. –RC It Was Truly Exciting to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1989; I worked there from 1986 to 1996, when I resigned to work full time on […]
- Podcast 031: Letting Kids Set Boundaries - In This Episode: Following on the previous episode, a lot of child abuse could be stopped if we encouraged our kids to set boundaries — and then we honored them. The story from the middle school in Utah where girls were not allowed to say no to boys asking them to dance really drives this all home: the rule actually sets girls up for abuse. Plus another segment of No Longer Weird. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast31
- When Good People Do Nothing - See Update Below Last Week’s Story about the teacher-student sex scandal in a Colorado school — the principal and vice principal were indicted for failure to report the case, as required since they’re “mandatory reporters” of child abuse under state law — is followed up this week by another that really applies to the whole mindset. That would be the Utah school where girls (and boys? Unclear) are not allowed to say no when asked to dance: Demanding Dances “You […]
- Podcast 030: What ‘Mandatory’ Means - In This Episode: A home-town story has a notable parallel to a national story, and they both hinge on men in power taking advantage of the young — while other supposedly responsible adults failed to do their legal, and “mandatory”, duty. It was a tough one to record, and it’ll be tough to listen to, but it’s an important, and thought-provoking, issue: what would YOU do? Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast30
- Podcast 029: I Thought You Were a Christian Organization! - In This Episode: Two segments of No Longer Weird to catch up a little, and one of the most ridiculous reader complaints about a story EVER (and my response). There’s a twist at the end: even in this kind of hilarity, there’s a real lesson to be learned about The Human Condition, supplied by an amazing reader letter. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast29
- When “Reporting” Just Isn’t Enough - I’m taking a quick break from writing the stories for this week’s issue to tell you why I’m rejecting a story, even though it’s mind-boggling in its implication. The story’s lead (or, as they say in the news biz, “lede”) paragraph: “The driver of a Department of Transportation snow plow was charged Monday with driving while intoxicated when he struck two vehicles while clearing snow in Morris County [N.J.], police said.” The “amusing” part, which is why the story was […]
- Podcast 028: I Have a Scenario For You - In This Episode: A remarkable letter from a reader who was inspired by This is True to do …what?! And another powerful tool in the This is True Thinking Toolbox: Scenarios aren’t just for critical situations, but everyday life. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast21
- Podcast 027: Thinking in Emergencies - In This Episode: Thinking in emergencies, as didn’t happen in Hawaii — but here’s how to do it better at home using the first tool in the “This is True Thinking Toolbox”. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast27
- This is Not a Drill - When it Comes to “Big” News Stories, I like to focus on some of the smaller points — the parts that illustrate the “thinking” aspects of the stories, or what should be the “lessons learned” from them. Hawaii’s “ballistic missile” incident is a perfect example. Let’s start with my take on it, from True’s 14 January 2018 issue: If You Have to Fry, Hawaii is the Place to Do It The false cell phone warning of “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND” […]
- Podcast 026: That’s Not Hypocrisy, It’s Clear Thinking - In This Episode: Is it a contradiction to laugh at Oregon and New Jersey for not allowing self-serve gas stations, AND to urge businesses to offer better customer service to help them with online competitors? At least one reader thinks so, and here’s why he’s wrong. Show Page: https://thisistrue.com/podcast26
How to Include Your Photo on Comments
You’ll note some comments include a photo representing the commenter. The comment system uses Gravatar to pull up user photos. Register there if you already haven’t; it uses your e-mail address to associate your stated address when you comment with your Gravatar account, and then it’s automagical on any site that uses Gravatar (which is a lot).
If you wish to remain anonymous and not have your photo show, then add an “address” tag to your address (because comments that use fake addresses are automatically rejected). That is, if your email is your.name @ gmail.com, you can use a tag like your.name+nopic @ gmail.com — that changes your address enough that it won’t pull up a photo. You’ll still get notifications (if you sign up for them), too.