The Universe is a pretty big place, she said

They will come tonight
MAYBE THEY WILL COME TONIGHT. The universe is a pretty big place, she said. But what she left unsaid is that they’re coming for you. It’s just a matter of time. And they will surely ask: “Are you with us? Or against us?” (Saved from via Pinterest)

“The universe is a pretty big place,” Dr. Ellie Arroway used to say in Contact.

So, if you see nothing but stupidity around you these days—and I don’t mean just in your favorite media (including social media)—it’s good to keep this reminder in mind.

It means that sentient beings and intelligent civilizations continue to exist elsewhere—and I don’t mean we need to look in other star systems beyond Earth. Continue reading “The Universe is a pretty big place, she said”

The six stages in a product’s life

To preempt complaints about the title (with shouts of “Boo! False advertising!”), I should probably include an alternate title or subtitle this early: An Allegory for Historical Materialism and Modern Political Economy. Or maybe this: Science Fiction: Utopian and Scientific.

But let me get straight to the point and answer my own question: What are the six stages in a product’s life? I can think of six. There may be more if you add regional variations, or less if you see enough commonalities. But I’ll stick with six:

Scene from 2001 Space Odyssey: big ape meets monolith.
Scene from 2001 Space Odyssey: big ape meets monolith.

Continue reading “The six stages in a product’s life”

The Zen of saving water, even dishwater

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them — Chief Seattle of the Dwamish, in his 1855 letter to US President Franklin Pierce.


When I’m billeted at a local seminar house or resort, or at a hotel in some foreign city, I often notice a small, courteously worded card posted on the bathroom door or by the bedside table. It basically says, “Please conserve water” followed by some practical suggestions.

I take heed most of the time. But sometimes I forget. I leave the water on, warming it up while I go fetch something. Or in a wintry city, after I’ve rinsed down, I let the steaming shower relax me for much longer than necessary. Sometimes I tell myself that “the hotel bill has been paid for, anyway.” So I should be able to fill up the bathtub with hot water to the brim as often as I liked, even doze off in it if I wanted to, like some Hollywood royalty, and it’s none of your damn business to tell me otherwise. Continue reading “The Zen of saving water, even dishwater”