Category Archives: 4-Culture & society

Clash of cultures, immigration, religion, immigration, Islam, racism, Zeitgeist, conspiracy theories

Heineken on the rocks

Another weekend on the Bruce peninsula, another cultural experience. In some of the busier parts of the peninsula, about 80% of the people I met were clearly first-generation immigrants. Indians, Arabs, Sikhs, Africans, Russians, Chinese and whatever else was not obvious to identify. I was there with my Mexican relatives. I am an immigrant myself, it is just not obvious from the way I look.
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Artificial Intelligence vs. Programmed Stupidity

Popular culture is awash with images of a dystopian future brought about by artificial intelligence. Dozens of TV series, movies and books are discussing the dangers of artificial intelligence. How robots will take our jobs and rule our lives. The more promising AI becomes, the darker the perceived threat. On the one hand we embrace the good things AI can do for us while on the other we fear losing our humanity, our position on the top of the dominance hierarchy.

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Political Chassé

Chasing the elusive notion of political correctness

The word chassé means two things. It is the past participle of the French verb ‘to chase’ and it is a noun describing a ballet step, in which one leg is sort of ‘chasing’ the other.

Watching the last Munk debate gave me a visceral demonstration of the two meanings. The CON side hopelessly chasing the pro side which was consistently chasseing away from the real subject. The subject, which was supposed to be political correctness. The resolution of the debate was:

“Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…” Continue reading →

Cultural Castration

I got into an exchange with a Muslim professor of a Canadian university recently in an internet discussion group. He is a strong and vocal opponent of ‘Islamism’. It was that exchange that led to this post and the questions I will discuss in it.

Can there be a moderate Islam? I don’t believe so, but the questions at this point in history is not just about Islam but Western civilization as well. The question is all about balls, about having them and losing them, figuratively speaking, of course. Continue reading →

The long view #2 – Our uncertain future

I finished my last post without actually answering the question I set out to answer. Instead of the possible futures, I ended up talking about immigration. While it is an important subject playing an important role in our future, it is far from being the only source of risk and uncertainty. The future is indeed a mystery, but it clearly has some directions.

The fortune tellers

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The long view

I had a conversation with a friend a few months ago about immigration. We are both immigrants, but with clearly differing views on it. The conversation quickly moved on to culture and demographics, but maybe it started with them. I laid out my angst that he countered with……… I don’t even know what.
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The prostitution principle

I was reminding a friend of a classic joke:

A guy walks up to a gorgeous woman and says: “Would you sleep with me for a million bucks?”
The woman looks at him and says “Well, OK……”
Then the man says: “how about for $50?”
The woman gets indignant: “What kind of woman do you think I am?”
The man answers: “We already established that, now we are just negotiating the price.”

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How can smart people be so stupid?

I know some smart people. I know that they are smart because they have all the credentials, the accomplishments and the recognition to prove it. They are experts in their fields, they are clearly knowledgeable, they are articulate and very confident about the value of their knowledge.

Yet, when it comes to subjects that is not in the direct purview of their field of expertise, they can be excessively stupid and difficult to argue with. Their stupidity on those subjects can be outright obnoxious. Continue reading →