Category Archives: Philosophy

Best Nonfiction Books I Read in 2020

According to my Goodreads stats (which I use to track every book I read), I read 95 books in 2020, which is down slightly from last year (114). Though that includes comic books, which are shorter and quicker to read, plus audiobooks, and I read less comics, so more full-books in all. My increased reading was not due to being stuck at home during quarantine as that didn’t affect my lifestyle much—it’s primarily because I severely cut down on reading Twitter and other online news. I previously wrote about the futility of following the daily news closely, but I still clung to Twitter—a little too much—sometimes a lot too much. I will expand upon how I broke my Twitter addiction in a future post, but suffice it to say, these days I check Twitter just once a day (at night after getting my work done) for only a couple minutes—if at all. This immediately reduced my stress levels and gave me much more time to read more valuable things that will stand the test of time, such as the following books.

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Schrödinger’s Santa: A Quantum Christmas Poem

Quantum mechanics has proven that, contrary to human intuition,
matter exists in multiple states at one time, known as superposition.

Santa can simultaneously be in your chimney and at the North Pole.
Until it’s looked in, your stocking contains both merry presents and humbug coal.

The same sleigh of reindeer fly through the sky while sleeping on ice.
This past year, you’ve been equal parts naughty and equal parts nice.

On Christmas morning, when you check under your green tree,
the wave function collapses—an observer you’ll be.

The elves’ algorithm determines on which list you fall,
then you’ll find the gifts you have wished for…or nothing at all.

Is a Work of Art Ever Finished?

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Whenever I re-read something I wrote, I always find things to edit and change, whether it’s actual mistakes or just rewording sentences to make them more clear and readable. Yet when I last left the work, I thought it was perfect—not actually perfect, as there’s no such thing as “perfect” in art, but as close to perfect as I could make it. However, every time I re-read anything I previously thought was perfect, I always find things to change. Why is that? Did I miss those things before? Or Is my idea of perfection changing? Continue reading

Best Nonfiction Books I Read in 2019

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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

The Purpose of Stories

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One night when I was in college, a group of friends were thinking about going to a movie, and someone said, “No, I don’t want to go to a movie where you have to think.” It bothered me that someone could ever feel that way. I thought those were the best types of movies. What’s the point of watching a movie if it doesn’t make you think?

I was reminiscing about that night from college recently while contemplating the purpose of stories. They’ve been around for the entirety of human history. Storytelling is what makes humans human; it’s what separates us from other species. No other animal can tell stories to each other and pass on wisdom and knowledge through language. Continue reading

Why People Love Post-Apocalyptic Stories

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Whether it’s zombie outbreaks, nuclear wastelands, or climate change, people love post-apocalyptic stories. Examples include books like The Road and A Canticle for Leibowitz, TV shows like The Walking Dead and Jericho, video games like Fallout and The Last of Us, comics like Y: The Last Man, and movies like Mad Max, I am Legend, World War ZBook of Eli, and The Postman. The causes and effects differ, but what these stories share is the setting of a world after civilization has fallen, with people living in brutal conditions where everyday survival is a struggle. The themes are dark and dour, yet these stories are extremely popular. The question is: why are people so drawn to post-apocalyptic stories? Continue reading

Best Nonfiction Books I Read in 2018

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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

Behind the Simulation Test

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I recently had a short (flash fiction) story published in Daily Science Fiction. This was my first professional publication (though I’ve self-published before). The story is available to read for free on their website. (Which you should do before continuing to read this.) Continue reading

A Memory…

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It was the sixth grade, and we were on the bus ride home from our class trip. I was sitting in the back with my best friend, Gary. The other kids were joking around, making fun of him in a cruel way. He was not taking it well. I felt bad, but as an extremely shy person, I was too afraid to speak up. The teasing got worse and worse, then, as the bus arrived at my apartment complex, Gary pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. He died instantly.

Then I woke up. I was not in the sixth grade—I was 31 years old. Gary was alive and well. It was all a dream. Continue reading