This is an excellent article by Phil Plait, I recommend we all read it.
I recently contributed a chapter to what I think is a very remarkable anthology of short stories written by fellow Minnesota Atheists. It was a very nice experience to finally be able to write about the unusual path I have taken to both arrive in Minnesota and become and atheist. My contribution was a fairly personal story, partly about my time in a religious cult but also how it felt to loose my faith and the thought process that lead me to the conclusion that there is no God. It felt good to share it publicly and I hope you enjoy it. The goal of the book was to provide positive and inspirational stories from regular people to show everyone that Atheists are just people too and to help provide some insight into what makes us tick. And maybe you are an atheist too? If so, with this book you may find a community of like minded people waiting for you.
The book is now officially published and available in print or ebook from various book stores. Please head over to the website for more details:
Leo doesn’t approve of this so I couldn’t put it in a Tao of Leo but here is my own belief on estimation:
Estimation is a waste of time. The problem with estimation is that it masquerades as data when, by definition, it is guaranteed to be wrong.
I voted for you in your last election and have been very happy with your service overall. You’re a great source of reason and intelligence in the Senate and I’m glad to have you here in Minnesota.
However, it’s come to my attention that you have chosen to support PIPA. I believe that this is a very unpopular position for you to take, and for good reason. I would strongly urge you to reconsider your position in this matter. Internet freedom and freedom of expression in general is an important issue to me; in fact I might say it is one of the most important issues to me. The reason it is so important is that I believe that all other evils stem from untruth and censorship. Freedom of expression is the most general way to combat evil and without it we are lost. This completely open, global, communication system we have created is truly the most incredible wonder human kind has ever created. And the potential for evil that PIPA is attempting to prevent is only matched by a potential for good which will be equivalently stifled. Please do not support anything that will diminish this amazing creation. The internet is still young, and full of zest. People do evil things, it’s true, but that fact is dramatically outweighed by the goodness we do as well.
What’s needed is not for the movie industry to get overly general legislation so they can continue to stagnate but for them to embrace this brave new world and finally innovate. They’re still stuck on over priced mega-plexes, DVD’s and obsolete Cable TV while the rest of us are pining for verbose streaming options, ownership of the things we purchase and the removal of entrenched middle men. Please read this article for opinions I agree with:
We cannot allow a single industry to hinder free expression of everyone simply because they have a powerful lobby in Washington. Combatting piracy with legislation is a losing battle, it’s bad for consumers and it’s bad for the art we all want to protect.
Take a stand. Force them to change, not the internet. A free and open internet will make this world a better place and that is the most important thing to remember. From there all other things will unfold.
Thank you, I know you’ll do the right thing.