In This Episode: I like to make fun of the lottery; a common joke is, it’s “a tax on people who are bad at math.” But if you are going to play, here’s how to apply some Uncommon Sense to the mix, whether you win or not.
In This Episode: There’s a lot of talk about accuracy in the media these days, up to and including frequent accusations that the mainstream press publishes “fake news.” For the most part, I don’t think that’s true, but that doesn’t mean people who watch TV or read news online don’t have to be intelligent consumers of news, especially when it comes to medical or scientific topics. Or, to put it another way, we need to exercise Uncommon Sense as a filter on the news, and this episode has an example of why.
In This Episode: From California, where I came to see and reflect on the End of Mission for the Cassini spacecraft — its so-called Grand Finale. This isn’t about the mission per se, but rather the thinking behind it, how that fits into True’s mission, and how that ties into this week’s Honorary Unsubscribe! In other words, The Bigger Picture.
There has been a significant update in a story from this week’s issue (12 August 2018). Let’s start with my original story:
It Has Been Weird to see all the news coverage lately for comedian Michelle Wolf, who was thrust into the limelight after a searing routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where comics commonly roast the president — although the famously thin-skinned Mr. Trump refuses to go to the dinner, unlike most. Why “weird” for me? Because Michele Wolf was my first wife.
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.
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:
Updated with Post-Eclipse photos and video. (Jump to Updates)
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface. This can happen only during a new moon when the sun and the moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy.
True contributor Mike Straw, who as you might remember is a fairly recently retired career U.S. Air Force officer, had more to say about one of the stories he wrote this week. We’ll start first with the story, from the 7 August 2016 issue:
You — Yes, You — Can “Do Something” about Mass Killings. A good friend of mine posted this yesterday, after he heard about the 49 murders at a “gay night club” in Orlando, Florida, overnight. The gunman was killed in a shoot-out with police.
One of My Most Memorable Medical Mysteries as a medic was a call from a man for his 50ish-year-old wife. On arrival I asked, What’s going on? “She’s just not herself,” he said. Has she been ill? “She had been talking to her doctor who thought she either had a kidney stone, or a bladder infection. She has an office appointment tomorrow.”
I Really Hate to Keep sending traffic to Facebook, since they’re eating the Internet already, but man, have I been having fun there lately. Baiting the political partisans is like shooting fish in a barrel: easy and hella fun.
I had to get something off my chest. I’ve been seething about this for awhile, but a story this week brought it to a head. You probable saw it: it was the talk of social media last week. So let’s start with that, from True’s 20 September 2015 issue:
Sometimes It’s Really Tough to write True — to be entertaining and thoughtful when your mind is preoccupied by something so pressing, it’s all you can think about. This weekend was one of those times.
Thursday afternoon, I got a message from a friend in Minneapolis, a former member of the mastermind group I run for online entrepreneurs. “Randy, did you see this?” — and a link to a newspaper article.
Another politician, another hypocrite — this time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Missouri. Let’s start with the story, from the 17 May 2015 issue:
I Am Charlie. Unless you live in a cave, you probably have heard something about a terrorist attack on a weekly magazine in Paris this week. Charlie is Charlie Hebdo. Who’s he? Well, that’s French for Weekly Charlie — and they chose “Charlie” for Charlie Brown, the perpetual underdog in the Peanuts comic strip.
I write This is True (and edit the submissions of the contributing writers) each Sunday. On Mondays I write the surrounding material, like the Honorary Unsubscribe. It’s a fair amount of material, and it’s almost always possible to get it done in two days.
But not this week.
A good friend “shared” something on social media not too long ago that really made me roll my eyes. It was about the wanna-be terrorist “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid. Just before Christmas in 2001, Reid, a Brit, got on an American Airlines plane from Paris to Florida, and while in-flight he tried to light a bomb in his shoe. Other passengers subdued him, and his airplane bombing fizzled. He’s now in prison in the U.S., serving a life sentence without parole.
Yes, I know I’m weird. I know I see things differently than most people. I know I notice things that …um… normal people mostly wouldn’t. And I skim a lot of news stories while searching out illustrations of the Human Condition.
Simply put, I fully believe in the idea that “all men* are created equal” and are entitled to equal protection under the law.
*(“men” being a generic word for humans, as in “mankind” — I believe the statement equally applies to women.)