May 2017

On the Brink of Disaster

For the last week an old spiral-bound journal has been occupying my desk.  I like to browse my journals for ideas occasionally, to see if I’ve grown out of certain kinds of angst.  Here’s an entry from June 1999: Sometimes the world tilts like a ride at the county fair when everyone on deck pretends […]

Spirit in the Qubits


Just when you think you might have a grip on Schrodinger’s cat, along come qubits.  I started hearing about this when a theoretical 7-qubit computer made the news in the spring of 2000.  Now teams are experimenting with a 20-qubit computer, and a 49-qubit machine is supposed to be just around the corner.  49 is […]

The Age of "Horrific"

It happened again—suicide bomber blows up self in a crowded venue, taking about two dozen immortal souls with him.  There’s always some extra hellish touch to these events.  This time it’s the nature of the crowd: teenagers, most of them, the vast majority girls.  Girls in swift transition, trying to figure out who they are […]

The End of All Beginnings

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he may be preeminent.  Col. 1:18 Today is the first day of the rest of your life. That’s the motivational slogan I remember from college.  It was a revelation: Hey!  Whatever bad habits I’d collected, whatever sins I’d slipped into, there was always […]

Strawberry Nation

Jonathan Edwards, in his famous paper describing the behavior of spiders, noted “the exuberance of creation,”  as though he wouldn’t have minded swinging on a thread of silk for a few minutes.  At strawberry season I catch a scent of exuberance, especially when the plants I set in four years ago decide to go wild. […]

Mother's Day: No Laughing Matter

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I realized something for the first time when my kids were of an age for sleepovers and birthday parties: dads are funnier than moms. I might have noticed it in my own house if it wasn’t right under my nose.  My husband was the one to get on the floor and wrestle, start sock fights, […]

Back in the Lifeboat


Try this thought experiment: You’re the captain on an ocean liner.  While en route to Europe your ship strikes an iceberg and starts sinking fast—so fast that the majority of passengers are drowned, and of the remainder almost all have panicked and piled into lifeboats that capsized or failed to launch or met some other […]

Arrival and the Right Choice


Arrival, a science fiction movie about aliens visiting earth, is equally irritating and moving, but after some thought I decided the moving part has the edge.  Not that anybody asked me, but here’s why. Irritating: So, 12 gigantic pod-like spacecraft land at strategic locations scattered over the globe.  Rather than attack at once, world leaders […]