Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Several years ago, I was turned on to Thomas Kuhn’s revolutionary book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It is a book whose author took a similar path to knowledge as I did, from engineer/scientist to philosopher (junior grade) and back again, creating a more balanced, hearty and happy ME. Along the way, after taking a year off from college to finally graduate at the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius (1969), I became an Air Force officer stationed in Florida, then the Republic of Turkey, California, and finally at Denver’s Lowry Air Force base into 1973.

I began my careers... first in space systems as an orbital analyst. Then, after moving to Denver and leaving the Air Force, I got a Master's Degree in civil engineering (water resources and water rights consulting) forming the bulk of my career from which I retired last year (2014). Like Kuhn, I was profoundly impacted by a History of Science course in college; what began as a serendipitous elective produced some of the most profound AH HA! insights of my life.

I was extremely lucky to fall in love with science, philosophy – and the opportunity to dabble in law (expert testimony more than 70 times as a Professional Engineer working with more than 130 different lawyers). I overcame obstacles like inadequate high school preparation for these rewarding careers. In 1963, I graduated from Highland High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, ranked 463rd in my class of about 500. Growing up working in my Dad’s auto wrecking yard and reading hot rod magazines, I had a D average, failing to qualify with the C average required to enter the University of New Mexico (UNM) in my hometown. But, after a year off from college working at various jobs, I began again at the College of St. Joseph (now the University of Albuquerque) to get my grades up and finally qualify for the engineering curriculum at UNM.

As the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Apparently, it can also make you more successful and happy, if you allow it. Even today, at age 70, I look back with fondness to attribute both the bad and good decisions I made in my early adult development. The good things I did were obvious, but after-the-fact, I also came to realize how certain challenges and temporary failures of mine led to a more balanced, battle-tested personal constitution that including a variety of sports, hobbies and diverse skills. Along the way, I visited at least 45 states and enjoyed trips to England, Germany and the middle east, spending a year in the Bronze Age (3500 year-old) city of Diyarbakir, Turkey before leaving the Air Force. I have owned and trained more than 30 dogs, and have judged more than 100 others in the vigorous outdoor sport of tracking (like search and rescue). I ran marathons and other distance running and did scuba diving in Fiji, off Cozumel Island and the Dos Ojos (two eyes) springs connected by a scary underground traverse north of Cancun, Mexico, as well as other sites in California and Florida (from the panhandle to many springs mid-state down to and including Key Largo). For the last four decades, I have lived in the Denver, Colorado area.

Speaking of challenges making you stronger - about a decade ago, I was diagnosed with a tumor in one of my kidneys. After a few hours of online research, it became obvious to me that the best course of action was to remove the entire kidney, rather than cut it up and possibly spread cancer cells throughout my abdomen. As it turned out, I have been cancer free for a decade now, and choose to attribute at least some of my good luck heatlhwise to my body’s reaction to these stresses, which must have improved my immune system and ability to fight off disease. Without the early detection of my kidney cancer from a routine checkup, I may not have made the best decisions for my health, which I now call the blessing of a curable cancer.

As my rambling here comes to a close, let me heartily recommend Kuhn’s attached book which so elegantly integrates the rationality of logic (simple, easy, predictable) with the irrational, difficult and unpredictable – the essential essence of creativity and the underrated bad twin of science and health.

Here are the first two paragraphs from Kuhn’s preface - a profound addition to my life from the attached pdf copy of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:


The essay that follows is the first full published report on a project
originally conceived almost fifteen years ago. At that time I was a
graduate student in theoretical physics already within sight of the end
of my dissertation. A fortunate involvement with an experimental
college course treating physical science for the non-scientist provided
my first exposure to the history of science. To my complete surprise, that
exposure to out-of-date scientific theory and practice radically
undermined some of my basic conceptions about the nature of science
and the reasons for its special success.

Those conceptions were ones I had previously drawn partly from
scientific training itself and partly from a long-standing avocational
interest in the philosophy of science. Somehow, whatever their
pedagogic utility and their abstract plausibility, those notions did not at
all fit the enterprise that historical study displayed. Yet they were and
are fundamental to many discussions of science, and their failures of
verisimilitude therefore seemed thoroughly worth pursuing. The result
was a drastic shift in my career plans, a shift from physics to history of
science and then, gradually, from relatively straightforward historical
problems back to the more philosophical concerns that had initially led
me to history. Except for a few articles, this essay is the first of my
published works in which these early concerns are dominant. In some
part it is an attempt to explain to myself and to friends how I happened
to be drawn from science to its history in the first place….

Sunday, March 13, 2016


I have always liked PJ O’Rourke’s unashamed, radical writing, combining both humor and criticizing the most serious duplicity of ALL politicians and other government criminals, including their minions and protected hangers-on. He has produced some of the best anti-establishment writing that panders to freedom – NOT the insane politics of today’s thoroughly corrupt American welfare/warfare state, while so many people (politely called public servants) manage to keep straight faces after taking oaths to protect and defend the Constitution. Even after 27 amendments, that magnificent (though flawed) historical document still describes a government mostly limited to the tasks of small government listed in its elegant Article I, Sections 7-10, plus the following never-changed amendments:

Consider Amendment IX (nine) - The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

...and Amendment X (ten) - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or the people.

These and the other first ten amendments to the US Constitution (called the Bill of Rights) have remained unchanged since their adoption in 1791 – and STILL limit the US government to a much, much smaller one than the Federal behemoth with whom we struggle and so often glorify today. As usual, the US military’s primary purpose is war, not defense (Astronaut Jack Swigert quote, 1982). It’s good for military contractors’ businesses, but creates hell to pay for the economies participating in this wealth-destroying charade.

Here is PJ’s excellent article, with which I wholeheartedly agree, though I don’t risk much in going farther than him after I present it:

It took me several years AFTER I ran for Congress in 1982 and 1984 to finally conclude that politics is - by far - the most dangerous, dishonest and destructive profession by which any human ever soiled himself. Every “free lunch” it provides is funded by forcing innocents to pay for the insane, unaccountable lists of wet dreams promoted by politicians for their own aggrandizement, limited prosecutable liability and glorification as heroes. As you will see – the apparently legal, political theft built up over the last century has now shifted from a minority to a majority of voters in our overblown, “don’t stop the presses” economy. It has thoroughly shifted the balance of power in the US by giving American politicians a 60% to 40% incentive to vote for more government, as I describe in Chapter 14 of my pending book, Lasting Liberty Lost, attached. This can, and will, have only one outcome, and it’s not good. As I have written before, the US has gone from the world’s largest creditor to the world’s largest debtor in the last four decades.

No private burglar, bully, child molester, rapist or murderer - not even those organized into mafias, crime syndicates and other criminal organizations NOT protected and/or subsidized by government - has ever come close to the unsavory escalation of crime, war, destruction and tyranny that is the modern welfare/warfare state. In other words, most - perhaps all - governments and their minions murder many, many times more than private parties and organizations not subsidized or otherwise protected by government. The twentieth century included the murder, torture, rape and/or death by starvation of more than 100 million people, by just three countries (Soviet Union, Communist China and Hitler’s Germany). Bernie Madoff’s well-publicized multi-BILLION dollar fraud to his investors was a drop in the bucket compared to tens of thousands of American governments who LEGALLY enjoy this plunder, protected from legal liability in most cases. The US alone suffered more than 400,000 casualties in the WW II.

That is why you might be surprised, even shocked, by my last two paragraphs.

Steven Pinker’s magnificent book The Better Angels of our Nature documents the following claim in painstaking detail. Surprisingly (contrary to all media reporting), today’s Planet Earth (including America) is by far the LEAST violent period of human history, after World War II (1941-45) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). The destructive policies of the twentieth century were well-established long before top-of-the-world 20th-century dictators like US President Franklin Roosevelt and his cohorts Stalin and Mao took up the task. My friend Jerry recently turned me onto Pinker’s wonderful book, which shattered my long-held illusions about how today’s human societies have been the least violent. Ironically, the ongoing and insistent overreach of modern welfare/warfare states has wreaked havoc in every corner of our lives for political (i.e., ever-fraudulent and coercive) goals, including taxing and regulating us into lifetimes of tyranny, taxes and too-early deaths. Randolph Bourne (quoted below) and General von Clausewitz understood why, but you may not.

Mankind will find, as it has found in our lifetimes and long before we were born, a better way to “govern”, “regulate” or “help” its unfortunate victims than to torture, starve and bludgeon them into slavery, death, wealth destruction and economic collapse. Ironically, the detonation of two terrible atomic bombs in Japan a month before I was born was the LAST time the Grand Old US of A followed its Constitution by declaring war before dropping troops, bombs and inflated currencies into every backwater tyrant’s backyard.

War is the Health of the State – Randolph Bourne (1918)

War is politics carried on by other means – Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz (1812)