When most people think about history, they tend to be far too near-sighted and fail to realize the big picture. To put things in perspective, I’ll try to sum up all we know about history by starting from the beginning. Continue reading
1. The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil (1998)
Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist famous for his optimistic predictions for technology in the future, particularly the idea of the singularity—when humans will be able to upload their minds to computers and potentially live forever—which he predicts will happen by the year 2045. Kurzweil has his doubters, but it’s hard to dismiss his track record of predictions when you look at how many have already come true in this book written over thirty years ago. Continue reading
At all times, I am reading at least one fiction book and one nonfiction book. The nonfiction subjects vary: science, history, philosophy, psychology, and writing. There’s so much I want to learn about the world and so little time to do it. The nonfiction books I read often inspire and influence the fiction I write, though really I’m just hoping to learn something new from each book I read, and I learned a lot from those I read this past year. Continue reading
The greatest invention in human history is written language. Before writing, to convey any information to anyone, you could only do it through word of mouth to people you saw face to face. For most of human history, we lived in small tribes as hunter-gatherers, so knowledge was only passed on to fellow members of one’s tribe (family and close friends). A son would only know what his father remembered from what his father directly told him, and so on. Continue reading
One Strange Rock is a documentary series that aired on National Geographic in the spring of 2018. Hosted by Will Smith and directed/produced by Darren Aronofsky, the show features interviews with eight astronauts, a rare group of humans who have ever seen Earth from off of Earth. With their unique perspective, they can better understand the planet and our place in the universe.
As well as fascinating information, One Strange Rock also includes spectacular visuals: footage of Earth from above (outer space) and below (the strangest far reaches of the planet). It’s a show that every human on Earth should watch to better understand themselves and the planet we all share. It’s certainly a better viewing option than the daily news cycle. Whereas the news aims to invoke fear and outrage and divide people against each other, One Strange Rock is educational and inspiring and aims to bring us all together.
News is literally making people sick. The media mostly reports negative events because that’s what gets ratings. But constant negativity will lead to nothing but fear, hatred, anxiety, and depression in those who consume it. Continue reading
I tend to consume most of my non-fiction content through podcasts, which I like because non-fiction authors are often guests, and they summarize their books in their own words in about an hour. That allows me to learn more in less time. Then when I hear an author or subject I am especially interested in, I can delve deeper by reading their full book. That was the case with many of the non-fiction books I read in 2017. Continue reading
If you read my Halloween-themed kids vs. monsters novel, Trick or Zombie Treat, then you might remember the character of the witch. Trick or treaters go to her house, and when they eat her “special” homemade candy, they magically transform into real-life versions of their costumes. What you may not know is that the character of the witch, Jane Kaniff, was based on a real person. Continue reading
I used to think of my shyness and social anxiety as a disorder—something wrong with me. As if I got unlucky and inherited a genetic defect. Then, I heard that social anxiety is not something you’re born with—it’s developed. Which didn’t make sense either because I’ve been shy and socially anxious my entire life. It wasn’t until I learned about evolutionary psychology that everything started to make sense. I was born with the tendency to be shy around strangers and worry about what other people think of me, but that wasn’t a genetic mistake. Shyness and social anxiety were actually an evolutionary advantage. Continue reading