Author Archives: Brent

Life vs. quality of life and other considerations

Like everybody else I know I have for several days been doing what we’ve been told to do : social distancing, washing our hands, doing our bit to “flatten the curve,” as we’ve learned to think of it. Every surface you come in contact with (of which it turns out the world has a lot) […]

The coronavirus vs. flu-as-usual

 [Note: this was written on Sunday, March 8th, four days before it appeared in the paper. It was of course–the tone and substance–immediately out-of-date.] If the world has had a hard time getting sufficiently exercised about imminent climate disaster to do much of anything about it, not so about coronavirus. As I write, panic seems […]

Democrats’ winning issue is defeating the danger of Trump

“Dems in disarray” is the theme since the Iowa debacle. (If they cant run their own nominating process, how can they run the country?) And now the puzzling NH results: The most progressive candidate wins but the more centrist candidates taken together get twice as many votes. How are we supposed to read that? And […]

Burgers are not the cause of climate change

Impossible Burger’s CEO says cows are the cause of climate change and is aiming to reverse it by getting rid of all cows by 2035. His plan is to satisfy the world’s considerable appetite for cooked cow with a fake version of the same thing. But he’s wrong about the cause of climate change. The […]

We should see affordable housing as an opportunity for architecture

Affordable housing is more talked about than actually accomplished in Wellfleet. With under two percent of our housing stock affordable, we lag far behind most towns on the Cape in meeting the state mandated ten percent. The possibility of making a big improvement in this situation was the subject of a Community Forum on a […]

We need a Manifesto.for a Human Future

The End of the Human Era is nigh. Or so we are told by what seems like a consensus of those who have done the most thinking about where the trajectory of AI is headed. We should know the story by now: as soon as only a generation away AI, that product of human intelligence, […]

Artificial Christmas trees unclear on the concept

I read a newspaper story a some months back about the movement to boost the sales of real Christmas trees. I hadn’t known real trees were in need of boosting. I was shocked to learn that almost everybody but us (and everyone we know) has a fake one. 75-80 per cent is what the AP […]

Organized crime north and south of the border

“When you know there are babies tied in a car seat that are burning because of some twisted evil that’s in this world, it’s just hard to cope with that,” ( –a cousin of the victims quoted in the New York Times story on the recent cartel massacre in northern Mexico of six children and […]

Facebook: platform or publisher?

On the slippery slope to AI a debate rages these days about whether Facebook and other social media platforms are in fact platforms or publishers. A platform, like the physical raised stage whence the metaphor derives, it is a completely neutral enabler of communication, like the printing press or telephone. We don’t blame the podium, […]

Hey or Hi? Going with the flow of language ; or not

Those of us of a certain age have had to cope with many changes in the language we inherited. I myself feel pretty proud of how I’ve rolled with the punches. After a couple of decades of going through whatever contortions were needed to avoid splitting an infinitive, I learned how to split one without […]