Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rainbows End

I just finished reading Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge and I recommend it. It is science fiction in the style of Gibson's Neuromancer series or Stephenson's Diamond Age but less cyberpunk. In Rainbows End, Vinge describes a near-future which includes augmented reality and life-changing medical advances.

Vinge published this novel recently in 2006 and makes reasonable predictions for a setting of 2025. I think this is futurism done right as educational entertainment. I do not read much fiction these days but when I do I like it to be a bit speculative as to what we might look forward to in our shared reality.


Rainbows End

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Optihumanist Principles 2009

I posted the 2009 revision to my Optihumanist Principles. I reordered the sections to put the "Democracy first" section first and I inserted the following: "When we defend the rights of others, we defend our own".

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Democracy Day

November 3rd Tuesday is one of my favorite Optihumanist Holidays. On this day I am planning to exercise my right to vote in celebration of Democracy Day. In this off-year election, there are a number of amendments to the state constitution that are up for the approval of the voters here in Texas. My thanks to the League of Women Voters for publication of their Voters Guide explaining the pros and cons of each item on the ballot.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pledge Appeal

Our attorney Dean Cook has filed his appeal brief for the Texas pledge case.

I will upload and link the brief and the previous ruling soon.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Camp Quest Texas

Our children participated in the first Camp Quest Texas. Television news gave it good coverage. You can spot our eldest three children and children from other families that we know from the Dallas Brights Family Meetup in the videos. Here are the links:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Two New Dallas Meetups

UT Dallas student Matthew Fuller and I have launched the Dallas Transhumanists Meetup group for discussing books and videos on topics related to Transhumanism, Extropianism, H+, Cryonics, Life Extension, and the Singularity. For our first meeting on August 21st, we will discuss the first half of the book Youniverse: Toward a Self-Centered Philosophy of Immortalism and Cryonics by R.C.W. Ettinger.

Recently my wife Shannon started the Dallas Brights Family Meetup. It already has 55 parent members who are interested in bringing their children to the playgroup meetings and family-friendly outings. One of the topics we discuss is separation of church and school. See Shannon's recent blog entry on the Power Team as an example of what our children are exposed to as captive audience in our local public elementary.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mambo Chicken

The day before my trip to Alcor in Phoenix a week or so ago, I spotted Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition at Half-Price Books. It turned out to be an appropriate choice for reading on the flight as it documents the early history of Cryonics in an entertaining style. I had the chance to say hello to Hugh Hixon and Mike Perry, both mentioned in the book, while I was there touring Alcor.

I also finished up Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion. Although written by a different author, it could be the sequel to the Great Mambo Chicken book, picking up the story of the progress of the Immortalists some thirteen years later. I was pleased to see that it included an interview of my friend from the Humanist Fellowship Randy Wicker. I recommend both of these books to anyone interested in Cryonics, Extropianism, Transhumanism, and, of course, Optihumanism.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alcor Interview

My friend Chana de Wolf recently posted on her webzine "Depressed Metabolism" the article Interview with Alcor member David Croft. I submitted my article questionnaire responses about a year ago so some bits are out of date but it has been edited to reflect that I now have five children instead of four.

The picture included in the article was taken of me at the Alcor conference back in 2006. If you look closely, you can see the reflection of the photographer in the glass behind me, Regina Pancake. I recommend her interview on the same website as she tells of a dramatic brush with death: Interview with Alcor readiness coordinator Regina Pancake.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Theodore Bernard Croft

Theodore Bernard Croft was born on 2009 April 18th Saturday at 19:20. He weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sham

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the moment of silence law is constitutional. Their conclusion states:

While we cannot allow a "sham" legislative purpose, we should generally defer to the stated legislative intent. Here, that intent was to promote patriotism and allow for a moment of quiet contemplation. These are valid secular purposes, and are not outweighed by limited legislative history showing that some legislators may have been motivated by religion.

This ruling cites as evidence of secular intent the fact that one of the sponsors of the bill stated, "for purposes of legislative intent, this is not a prayer bill". This ruling permits any religious law to be passed so long as the legislators deny that the intent is religious while simultaneously presenting a sham secular purpose.

I have posted the ruling on my Moment of Silence webpage along with links to news covering the ruling. Some of those news stories erroneously state that we launched the lawsuit because a schoolteacher told my son's class that the moment of silence was a time for prayer. The correction is that we had already decided to pursue the lawsuit before we discovered what the teacher had said. The teacher merely stated what everyone already knew.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Appeal Trip

I went to New Orleans earlier this month. On February 3rd, our attorney Dean Cook argued before a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit for our moment of silence case. You can listen to the recording of the oral arguments. I posted links to the news stories covering the event on my Moment of Silence webpage.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Illinois Heroes

My congratulations to high school student Dawn Sherman and her father Rob Sherman for getting the moment of silence law in the state of Illinois struck down as unconstitutional. In response, Illinois legislators are already maneuvering to again amend the law to remove the word "prayer" from the statute in the hope that the court will no longer conclude, as Judge Gettleman did in his recent ruling, "that the amendment has no clear secular purpose, and that the stated purpose is a sham."

Whether the text mentions prayer or not, everyone knows that moment of silence laws in this day and age in America are about getting state-sponsored prayer into public schools. To state otherwise is analogous to claiming that the primary purpose of poll taxes just after the Civil War was to increase revenue to the States.

As far as our moment of silence case here in Texas goes, our attorney Dean Cook is headed to Louisiana in a couple of days to present oral arguments to a three judge panel as part of our appeal. A story covering the details of the case including an interview with Mr. Cook is currently featured on the website Texas Lawyer.

Previously I uploaded appeal briefs written by Mr. Cook. Today I uploaded to my Moment of Silence webpage the appeal brief presented by the State.