Cave of the Hands
Image of Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for Cave of Hands), in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina

About 10,000 years, a group of cave dwellers in what is now Argentina laid their hands on the cave wall, and sprayed paint  through little pipes made of hollow bones to produce these images.

There are a lot of things I want to share, from being a lifelong learner, a heavy reader for 60 years.  Despite being in a Math Ph.D., program, and later a full participant in the main organization for historians of the early 19c U.S., the last 10 years of semi-retirement seem like my peak of intellectual ambition.  I've been goaded by growing sense of the impotence of facts, and have wanted to do something about.  I have read, and want to write about and interpret for non-specialists:

  I suspect all the descriptions of human actions we've ever heard are like this superficial description of a chess game:

"The pawn exchange in the centre of the board opened him up to an attack, his black knight sacrificed for position. Might have been a blunder, his opponent seemed more confident. He saw a possible check and decided to take it -  Protected obliquely by his bishop, might just pull a win out of this situation and flip it. Unless there was something he didn’t see. Reluctantly, he removed his fingers from the rook, committing to the move."

Suppose we thought we were playing chess, but we only understood it at that level; or suppose we dressed up like chess pieces and had group skirmishes in what we imagined was the style of chess.

But if we needed to really play chess well, we would be very deluded if we thought we knew what we were doing.

Alex Dau, another member of this class, writes about a teachable way of training people to deal effectively with violent arguments and people in massive breakdowns, called Nonviolent Communication (NVC).  It sounds a bit like what I'm after:  a set of "moves of the game" which people generally don't know.  Many people discover amazingly powerful things like NVC, through practice and intuition and if NVC is teachable, that is much more encouraging than the mere existence of "gifter" people who can talk someone down off a ledge or get a kindnapper to release hostages.  But one thing that gives ideas more power is when they have a foundation, and everyone who looks into it with energy and good faith will see that it has a foundation.  The developer of another set of crisis management tools, Brené Brown, was driven (unwillingly at first) in the direction of her life work by masses of psychological data showing that vulnerability is what makes for happiness.

I am always looking for something new that could contribute to a better world.

Write of Passage Writings (In progress)

Michael Tomasello on How and Why Humans Achieve Sociability and Culture
What Happened to Russia? (extremely unfinished)
FAQ: Can This Be True
Twelve Favorite Problems
A Knowledge Detective

3/7/2020 Sunday Feedback Session

Possible Directions for my Online Work:

"Lord Ronald ...  flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions."
Stephen Leacock in his story "Gertrude the Governess"
That's how I seem to some people, and feel to myself at times.

How do I promote, and exploit my own almost manically diverse interests.

Attempting to explain deep structure of human nature: "From Monkey Neurons to the Meta-Brain"

What is Science?  How it is a social enterprise, and how we can socially search for truth
"Cannon Balls, Plate Tectonics, and Invisible Elephants"

Blogs I've tried to start:

Meta-Reality Show:  Partly inspired by our reality show president, and by a long held sense that we each live in our own reality, the dangers of these realities are getting further apart, and a search for ideas for bringing them closer together.
I have partly written one post, a thought experiment or a science fiction story in which an alien intervention into Earth's problems comes in the form of a packed of tiny intelligent entities who can only access "reality" on earth by slipping into the brains of any number of humans.

My blog, The "Real" Truth Project, struggling against "fake news" years before the phrase was invented has one article (out of 150) that I feel particularly good about:
 My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land"

How to promote my diversity?

Disinformation Daily

From my “Truth Project” phase:

My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land (revision)

Myths About Saul Alinsky (and Obama)

Possibly rerunning my 20 year old early 19c US History newsletter.

Perl to Python

Tales of the Early Republic

HW Debate

JMISC HILITES (possible almost already written newsletter, and eBook in time)