There is no single “natural” way

I am reading Sapiens : a brief history of humankind (a fascinating book about the history of our species) and there is a quote I like:

The heated debates about Homo sapiens’ `natural way of life’ miss the main point. Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, there hasn’t been a singe natural way of life for Sapiens. There are only cultural choices, from among a bewildering palette of possibilities.

So just as there is no one “natural” (or “proper”) way to be an individual, there is no “natural” (or “proper”) way for a society to be. Some ways are of course better suited to some environments and both individuals and societies that don’t adapt to changing environments don’t survive.

For another great book with a similar theme, check out Our kind : who we are, where we came from, where we are going.

Why I have no kids

Having children is a personal choice. While my wife and I both like kids, early in our relationship we decided (for a number of reasons) not to have our own children. We enjoy spending time with our nieces, nephews, & god children. For most, the preceding will suffice. Others may want to know what our reasons are. For those few curious folks, here are some of them (in no particular order):

  • With the current global population at around 7.3 billion and a projected peak of about 11 billion in 2100, there is no lack of humans on the earth. While our species is in no imminent danger of dying out many other species, with whom we share the planet, are (and in fact many already have.) A large contributor to these extinctions is the number and ecological impact of us.
  • There is a risk (increasing as we both get older) of having a child with a severe mental, physical, or emotional handicap. Some of the disorders in our combined families include bi-polar, migraines, Asperger’s, suicidal tendencies, addictive personality (substance abuse), etc. I would not want to subjugate a child to any of the the above disorders.
  • As a frequent migraine sufferer, having loud children around the house would compound my suffering.
  • A child may die early in life (as happened to my sister) and cause us terrible grief.
  • With the extra time and money we gain from not having children, we are able to volunteer and give much more generously to the charities that are important to us.

Some may accuse us of being selfish while others may say we are shirking our duty or avoiding parts of life. We chose to look at things somewhat differently. It is precisely because we care that we have made this difficult choice. I hope the above has helped you understand our decision.

Why I am not a Christian

I talk about this on my blog here and here. Interestingly, many of my friends have also left the church, as has my wife, for her own reasons. I even recently talked to a long time pastor who told me he no longer attends church since, in his words, “it does not feed me.” This is not to say I do not believe in a “higher being”, but I certainly do not believe the tenets of the Christian faith (or any other faith for that matter.) For the curious, my current view of “God” is analogous to the relationship between cells and our bodies. Each cell is a distinct tiny living organism. While each individual cell is of little consequence on its own, when combined together to form your body (trillions of them), the whole (your body) is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts (the cells). Under this analogy, each of us is a cell, and “God” is the body.

Useful Free Computer Programs

Here are a few handy computer programs I regularly use:

  • Chrome with AdBlock – Web surfing (without advertisements)
  • Calibre with DeDRM – eBook manager (with DRM remover)
  • Balabolka with Ivona* – eBook reader (with text to speech)
  • Flux – auto dim your screen at night (better for you)
  • Gizmo Drive – mount CD/DVD images (iso files) 
  • iTunes – Music, Podcasts, internet radio
  • VLC Media Player – play audio / video files

And some for software development / system admin:

(* Ivona and Beyond Compare are not free)

Bucket List

Some exciting things I have done:

Some exciting things I want to do:

25 Things

25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about me:
[This was a Facebook challenge from a few years ago.]

  1. I usually never do these kinds of things.
  2. My fantasy job is to lead laughter clubs on the beaches of Mexico (or some other warm yet not humid place.)
  3. I love many kinds of music. Music often touches the very core of my being.
  4. I need sunshine. I wither and die without it. I must be part plant. I need to move to a sunnier place.
  5. When I was young and foolish I climbed to the top of a full size electricity pylon (transmission tower.) I could feel the hum of the high voltage cables. Don’t try this.
  6. Years ago I worked in the cellular phone industry. I have always liked technology. It was only in 2008 though that I got my very first mobile phone. A little late to the party perhaps. It was a BlackBerry Bold though so I hope that makes up for things. 🙂
  7. I have no TV (have not for years)
  8. I have no car (since 2008, by choice). We are a part of Modo and Car2go.
  9. I have never been drunk nor stoned/high.
  10. I make Sundays a screen-free day. No TV, no computers, no smart phones.
  11. I (used to) like to play foosball, pool, ping-pong, & badminton with my friends at work at few times a week.
  12. I also like to snowshoe, hike, river raft, & play beach vollyball with my friends. Not all at the same time of course. That would be a real challenge.
  13. I love to laugh and help others to laugh. Laughtyer Yoga was especially invented just for me. If you haven’t had a long, deep belly laugh in a while you owe it to yourself to give LY a try. Ask me about it. I attend an awesome weekly group on Sundays. See laughteryoga.org for a club near you.
  14. I recently did a “10 reasons why I’m glad you are my parents” which was well received. You should try it.
  15. I have had a personal blog since September 2002. It does not get any traffic but it is a place for me to pontificate, which I enjoy.
  16. I led a monthly TED (www.ted.com) group at work.
  17. I also led a monthly Laughter Club at work.
  18. I love to rollerblade. Especially down long, steep hills.
  19. I suffer from occasional migraines.
  20. I am nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. This works out OK for the most part.
  21. After 37 years born and raised in the Christian faith, I left and never looked back.
  22. I am an avid student of Near-death experiences and related phenomena
  23. I can be too loud at times and embarrass people.
  24. I miss my hair. Come back! What did I do to make you leave?
  25. Age is a state of mind. I hope I never get old.

Wow, 25 is a larger number than I would have guessed. Did you nod off at about 12? Thought so.  😀