“The Case Against Reality” Might Make Your Head Explode

The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes by Donald D. Hoffman is an absolutely fascinating book that changed the way I look at the world. It posits theories that assert that the world is not what we think it is. It suggests that every experience we have is like a set of icons on a computer screen, simplifying what’s really happening underneath. Hoffman writes that nothing we sense is real, and goes about proving it in a variety of mind-boggling ways.

The Case Against Reality book

According to the theory, as we evolved, the way we perceived our unseen and infinitely complex existence has become a simplified interface because the true nature of our existence is too calorically expensive.

All our perceptions and actions have one goal: “fitness payoffs,” which increase the chances of survival of our DNA. Treading the familiar path of Darwinism, this assures that humans most capable of surviving to reproductive age will be most likely to pass along those traits to the next generation.

The most astonishing claim in The Case Against Reality: Space and time do not actually exist, but serve as a user-friendly canvas on which our efforts to obtain fitness payoffs play themselves out. Being a life-long space-and-time dweller, that concept alone stretches my comprehension to its boundaries and beyond.

These ideas are currently turning the world of physics upside down, perhaps changing everything as we know it in the realm of quantum physics and the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness, as well as the Theory of Everything.

I’m eager to see what becomes of this theory and if the truth of our existence emerges from it. In the meantime, this will require a lot of thought, something I greatly value when reading mind-bending books like this. If you’re up for a wild ride, The Case Against Reality is the book for you. Whew!

‘Enlightenment Now’ is Steven Pinker’s Masterpiece

Enlightenment NowEnlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
is Steven Pinker‘s masterpiece. If you choose just one of his books to read, this is the one. He takes an optimistic view of the current political and social upheavals plaguing our world and puts them in context with both recent and ancient history.

In his perfect-pitch prose, Pinker makes the case that although many people decry the times in which we live, he disagrees, in essence saying, “let the good times roll.“ He doesn’t think we’re nearing the end of The Enlightenment, either — he thinks it’s a set of ideas and a way of reasoning that can and should be renewed with each successive generation.

He cites numerous statistics showing how people are richer, wealthier, and live longer than any other time in history. There are hundreds of examples that give ample reason for optimism as we navigate this era of confusion and frustration in U.S. and world politics.

Enlightenment Now is a long and dense book, but be sure to read it all the way to the end, because all through this masterful narrative of our society, there are some of the most profound paragraphs, pages and chapters I’ve ever read.

This is one of my favorite books of all time, perhaps my most favorite. I need a long time to think about and sort out all the ideas in this book. After spending the past month reading and studying it, it’s become clear to me that I need to adjust my point of view on many issues. One thing is certain: I will carry with me the ideas, concepts, and most importantly, the way of thinking that I’ve learned in Enlightenment Now for the rest of my life.

Fire and Fury: Shocking First-Hand Horror Story of White House Chaos

Fire and FuryAfter reading Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury, I’m now certain that Donald Trump is by far the least competent and most insane president to ever occupy the White House.

This blow-by-blow eyewitness account, supported by recordings of most of the conversations, is a shocking tour through the infighting, hate, and total incompetence of the entire staff of the Trump Administration. The only sane people in the building must be the Secret Service agents, kitchen workers and lawn care staff.

After reading this well-written, gripping and true horror story, I can only conclude that our country is in the deepest trouble it’s ever encountered in its 241-year history. I’m also even more disappointed than ever in everyone who was conned into voting for this monster.

Even though I suspect not every word of this book is true, I think most of it is. Page after page, Trump’s true personality makes its loathsome and toxic presence evident. The most frustrating aspect of this is that this pathetic, incredibly stupid individual was completely transparent about what we would be getting if he became president. And he still won the election!

It’s hard to believe that so many people in our society are so gullible, so completely brainwashed and ignorant that they don’t know what they don’t know. Most of the voters described as Trump’s “base” are so filled with hate and confusion that they could correctly be called sociopaths.

If someone as incompetent as Trump can make it to the White House, what else is in store for our battered country? I can only hope the United States can survive this grave error in its electoral process and somehow set things back on course again.

Duralex Picardie Tumblers Are the Best Drinking Glasses I’ve Ever Experienced

duralex picardie
If there’s an object in my home that I use every day, I tend to choose that item carefully. But for some reason, I never chose drinking glasses with such discernment … until now. I saw these Duralex Picardie glasses recommended in a trustworthy publication, and I was wondering what all the fuss was about. I decided to order the largest Duralex Picardie tumblers and find out.

Over the past two months, I have been surprised at how wonderful these 17.62 oz (0.52 L) Duralex Picardie tumblers are, and what a difference they’ve made in my quality of life. I hadn’t realized that I had been drinking out of cheap copies of this particular design for all my life. But the subtle difference between those knockoffs and these classic tumblers was significantly noticeable with daily use.

Duralex Made In France Picardie Tumbler Set of 6, 17.62 oz

The delicate rise in the beltline of these glasses — a feature that’s absent in the cheap knockoffs — gives my fingers an inviting place to hold onto. The elegantly flared lip at the top allows a more pleasing interface between glass and mouth. The feel of the glass itself is smoother and easier to grip than any other I’ve encountered. And the impression of bulletproof durability is unmistakeable (even though I’m sure these tumblers are not bulletproof).

The result? A delightful, profoundly different experience while drinking liquids that affects me multiple times every day. It’s hard for me to believe that a mere piece of glassware could be so enjoyable to use, but there it is. I can’t recommend these glasses enough. They’re a delight to have and to hold and they’ve genuinely improved my life by a tiny, yet persistent degree.

Lightsky Wireless Earbuds Are Better Than AirPods at Less Than 1/3 the Price

wireless earbuds

Could there be a pair of truly wireless earphones that are as good or better than Apple’s AirPods? My new answer after listening to these Lightsky wireless earbuds for a day is an unqualified yes.

These sound better because of their tight seal on the ear canal and internal magic. They don’t have the Apple-esque coolness like the ability to see how much charge they have left on the iPhone screen, but they still have charge indicator lights and a similar charging case. And they are a bit balky with starting them up if you don’t insert them at exactly the same time, but I think I’ll get the hang of that soon enough.

I’m willing to overlook those slight shortcomings, though, because these Lightsky wireless earbuds have much better bass, cleaner highs, better comfort and they don’t look goofy with that white stick growing out of my ears. Best of all, at $49.99 they cost less than a third of Apple’s $159 AirPods.

They’re just as wireless and magical, but not quite as effortless. In my view, the effortlessness difference is so slight, it’s nowhere near $109.01’s worth of effort. I don’t know about you, fellow Apple fans, but I’m getting tired of paying the Apple Tax. And now my dear wife will stop calling me a space alien with those white sticks growing out of my ears!

iPulse Minimalist Wallet Is Lovely, Tiny, Clever, Practical

This iPulse Minimalist carbon fiber wallet is the smallest wallet I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s excellent. It looks better than it does in these pictures, and it’s literally as small as a wallet can get and still be practical. It’s exactly the width of a credit card. The coolest feature is the way you can pull a little tab and your credit cards are magically offered up to you. Please take a look at this coolness on the video I shot.

iPulse minimalist wallet

It’s hard to photograph the beauty of carbon fiber, but this iPulse Minimalist wallet is certainly attractive with its 3D looks. It’s also so light you can hardly tell you’re holding it in your hand. I get compliments on it anytime anyone sees it — especially when I pull that little tab. And if you don’t like the idea of a minimalist wallet, its RF protection against electronic snooping makes it a perfect business-card or passport case as well.

And the most astonishing thing about it is its price: $19.98 on Amazon. Worth it!

‘Bugs 2’ Drone is Easy to Fly, Delivers Jaw-Dropping Performance

bugs 2

Flying drones is my newest obsession, and I have begun to rack up a few hours with these little angry birds. But now I have this MJX B2C, better known as Bugs 2, and it’s a not a toy but a grown-up drone. I’m ready. To prepare for flying it, I’ve been practicing on the humble toy drones that have the same four-channel flight characteristics, and I am now confident with the two sticks and how they make the drone behave during flight.

I’m glad I had that experience, because now after all the indoor training, I took this Bugs 2 out to a huge field today. Yes, it’s way too big and fast to fly indoors. It was like driving a race car compared to the tiny tricycles I was pedaling before. This thing climbs so high, I can hardly see it or hear it, and the GPS keeps it civilized, returning to my exact spot with a simple button push. It feels about ten times easier to fly than the mini-drones I’ve grown accustomed to.

Perhaps I was overconfident because I crashed it a few times, and once — hard — into a telephone pole, cracking the plastic across its nose. It’s still flightworthy but is now sporting a rugged battle scar.

Bugs 2

Next, I’m going to try taking some stills and video using the B2C’s 1080p camera. I’m starting to wonder if I should have ordered the B2C-W, the Wi-Fi version of Bugs 2 that lets you see video from the drone in real time on your smartphone that you attach to the top of its remote transceiver.

I only wish its battery would last longer than 15 minutes, and additional battery packs weren’t so expensive (prices vary widely from $17 – $40 each). And I wish its battery wasn’t so difficult to remove, where I almost need a pair of pliers to extricate it. But for now, I’m delighted with this fast, powerful and easy-to-fly aircraft.

iPulse Card-Holder Leather Case for iPhone X: Enjoy the Subtle, Luxurious Scent of Real Leather

iPulse Wallet Case
There’s nothing like real leather. That’s what you get with this elegant iPulse card-holder leather case for iPhone X ($24.98). Its compact construction lets the iPhone X seem as slim as it is while allowing room for several credit cards, your driver’s license and a few bills. You’ll be able to go without your wallet!

Looking more closely, you can plainly see the master craftsmanship that went into the creation of this product. It’s simply perfect, with precise stitching along with that natural patina and the unmistakable scent of real leather. Continue reading