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Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

Indeed, in the world beyond grade school, where adults must exercise their moral knowledge and reasoning to conduct themselves in the society, the stakes are greater. There, consistency demands that we acknowledge the existence of moral facts. If it’s not true that it’s wrong to murder a cartoonist with whom one disagrees, then how can we be outraged? If there are no truths about what is good or valuable or…

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They called it a “flashlight” because early handheld lights weren’t designed to shine steadily

A student’s short story featuring a treasure hunt at an ancestral mansion uses a vintage name for the mistress of the house a vintage name and supplies a butler, suggesting a Victorian Engliand setting. But the story also used the term “flashlight” — an Americanism for what the Brits are more likely to call an “electric torch”. So I looked up the history of flashlights.

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Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time

A very moving reflection by a dying man, who contemplates the meaning of the time he has left with his baby daughter. Time for me is double-edged: Every day brings me further from the low of my last cancer relapse, but every day also brings me closer to the next cancer recurrence — and eventually, death. Perhaps later than I think, but certainly sooner than I desire. There are, I…

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Computer Interfaces in Star Trek’s “Assignment Earth”

I was watching classic Star Trek with my son a few days ago when I came across this scene, from Assignment Earth, which is set on Earth during the 1960s (when the original show aired). This episode featured the adventures of a human raised by apparently benevolent aliens who want to stop Earth from destroying itself. As a kid I remember being thrilled at how much NASA footage they worked…