Sue Burke


Origin as a writer – 00:00

Seed idea of the book – 00:45

Nature of plants – 01:24

Plants communicate – 02:50

Rye volunteered! – 03:56

Plants are not passive! – 04:45

Do plants think? Depends – 05:20

How to add drama to plants – 06:34

Why skip generations in the story? – 07:51

Origin of pacing – 11:15

Inspiration for Stevland – 12:30

Plants as social beings – 13:15

Stevland motive – 14:45

Pando as inspiration – 15:15

Stevland is bamboo? – 16:15

Names stuck on things – 16:35

More reasons for Stevland – 17:30

Title origin – 18:20

What is your research process? – 20:18

Scientists are easy to talk to! – 22:26

Growing plants in space? – 23:33

How moss grows in space – 24:46

Andy Weir and The Martian – 25:35

Colonizing examples from history? – 26:40

Can they live in peace? – 27:51

Mistake in the book? – 28:25

Why not use Glassmaker writing in the first encounter? – 30:13

Why did the Glassmakers leave the city? – 31:04

Decisions for plant personalities? – 32:51

Origin of Stevland name – 34:18

Work as a translator informing work – 35:14

Glassmaker origin (ants/Mayans) – 36:15

Translator pitfalls – 37:45

Process of creating Glassmakers – 38:30

Ant knowledge – 39:20

World building process – 41:26

Looking for problems – 43:02

Novel = found enough problems – 44:40

Motivation for distinct generations – 47:11

Journalism work – 48:44

Generation preference? – 49:30

Poor Higgins – 49:45

Conflicts with generations – 51:30

Writing process (plan as much as possible) – 52:35

One sentence for each chapter plan – 53:40

Novel writing is complicated – 54:45

Color of floating cactus, why? – 55:25

Recommendation – 56:46

Meet Me in Another Life – 56:52

Thank you! – 58:00

How a Dead/Alive Cat in a Box is Responsible for Your Cell Phone

2.5 minute read

The technology behind cell phones is built on many theories, one of them quite bizarre. This bizarre theory is called quantum superposition.  If scientists hadn’t been able to come to a consensus concerning how this mysterious theory has practical implications, you wouldn’t be reading this on your cell phone. You’d probably be in a cave, warming your buttocks in front of a fire, and taking cover from the apocalypse. 

In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger wrote a letter to Albert Einstein. In this letter he was critiquing the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (the prevailing theory at the time) via a dead/alive cat in a box. The Copenhagen interpretation said that quantum mechanics is inherently indeterministic. In other words, tiny objects have certain pairs of complementary properties, which cannot be observed or measured simultaneously (according to the complementarity principle). In more words: in a quantum system, an atom or a photon can exist as MULTIPLE states corresponding to DIFFERENT possible outcomes. How can a thing be multiple things? How can a state correspond to multiple states? What is this quackery? 

This indeterminism drove Schrö-Schrö and Einstein insane for a couple of reasons. Schrö-Schrö expressed his frustration with the theory by creating a thought experiment in his letter where a cat was in a box with a flask of poison and a radioactive source.

Why did you put me in here? I want tuna.

According to the Copenhagen interpretation, after a while this cat in the box will simultaneously be both alive and dead. Again: this didn’t make any sense. How could a cat be both alive and dead (in superposition) until it is observed or interacts with the external world? Basically, Schrö-Schrö’s cat experiment asks how long quantum superpositions last and when (or whether) they collapse. This question, concerning the timing, is currently unsolved in physics. Despite not being solved and the letter being a critique, Schrö-Schrö’s paradoxical thought experiment became part of the foundation of quantum mechanics. It was also the first time the term “entangled” was used, as he described the cat’s wave function as being entangled.

Quantum reality: a weird and contradictory place. The characteristics of this place meant that the physics of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which described how big things in the universe (like planets, gravity, black holes) worked, moved, and functioned, could not be applied to how little things (subatomic particles) worked, moved, and functioned. The inability to reconcile quantum mechanics and relativity would plague Einstein for the rest of his life.

People think I’m smart…but my theory isn’t complete…

How can the universe have two sets of physics’ principles, one for small things and one for big things? There must be a unifying theory that we are missing. Scientists have proposed string theory and multi-dimensions as a reconciliation, but our inability to rigorously test this theory prevents us from accepting it completely. Anyway, Schrödinger had issues with the Copenhagen theory. 

String theory, wtf is this

Unsolved question in physics: how does the quantum description of reality, which includes elements such as the superposition of states, give rise to the coherent reality we perceive? If you’d like to read an entertaining story that plays with this idea, check out Quarantine by Greg Egan, my favorite Science Fiction author.

Schrödinger shedding light on this bizarre phenomenon, reasonably and critically, allowed others to build off of his thinking. My purpose for this essay is to express how most of us are unaware of how theories, and even discussions of theories or ones not fully understood, underpin our lives. 

Enter American physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley.

“Clashing egos until the end”

They were aware of the principles of quantum mechanics when they were working at Bell Labs in the 1940s. Their knowledge of quantum theory influenced their work on semiconductor physics. Their understanding of quantum mechanics played a CRUCIAL role in the development of the transistor (officially invented by them in 1947), as they were able to apply quantum principles (such as  quantum superposition) to manipulate the behavior of electrons in semiconductor materials.

Transistors: the building blocks of your cell phone.

Replica of the first transistor.

Transistors exploit quantum superposition by utilizing the ability of particles, such as electrons, to exist in multiple states simultaneously. In a transistor, this allows for the control of the flow of the electrons, enabling to act as a switch OR an amplifier in electronic devices. By using the principles of quantum superposition, transistors can perform complex operations. 

On average, a smart phone contains 10 billion transistors. 

So many quantum superpositions…

The existence of GPS, computer chips, lasers and electron microscopes all attest that quantum theory works beautifully.

Thank you, dead-alive cat in a box, for providing the theoretical foundation of our modern world. Without you we wouldn’t be able to watch cute cat videos, 24/7, anywhere on the planet, until our retinas burn and our neurons fry.

Subscribe below:


cat, black/white photo and in a box photo:

String theory photo:

Ann Leckie

Ann intro – 00:00

Translation State Pitch – 00:57

Origin as a writer – 01:37

Pivotal Point as a writer – 03:18

Upcoming Short Story Collection – 04:28

Scifi or Fantasy? – 05:22

Scifi world building challenge – 07:00

Language/Identity/History – 09:38

Language in Fantasy – 10:15

Adoption/Attachment – 11:00

Pluralism of Language – 12:16

Lack of English Translations of Taiwan texts – 13:00

Reet as a figurehead – 14:30

Irish Catholic Identity – 15:00

How did you create the politics? – 17:30

What is the Treaty? – 18:30

Writing process/scenes – 18:55

Court Room Scene – 20:00

Sword’s Point Shoutout – 20:20

Mystery of the Presgers – 21:02

The Geck – 23:06

Climax/Reality Spiral question – 23:54

Narrative Voice Choices? (1st/3rd) – 25:25

Unconscious work – 28:10

Planning vs. Spontaneous – 28:30

Walls/obstacles in writing this – 29:20

Ways to push through blocks – 30:10

My Pandemic Book – 31:45

Martha Wells Nod/Influence – 33:00

Murderbot = cousin of Breq/influence – 34:30

Spoiler – ending clarification – 37:00

Product of meshing – 37:55

Previous jobs influence – 40:00

Waiting Tables – 40:53

Land Sureying – 42:26

Trilogy Connection – 43:05

Tea Drinker – 45:13

Beginning of Ancillary Sword – 46:44

A.I. gain rights? – 47:56

Joy writing Presger Translators – 48:17

Reet – 49:29

Sphene as fan service – 51:20

Next step in the Radch universe? – 53:30

Feedback from Readers? – 54:43

Thank you! – 58:29

Recording, what tech is for – 58:59

Avez-vous besoin d’un agent ?

Choisir une représentation professionnelle

Au niveau professionnel, l’athlétisme et la course à pied sont essentiellement des sports individuels. Cependant, les athlètes bénéficient souvent du soutien d’une équipe dans la poursuite de leur carrière professionnelle. Idéalement, “l’équipe vous” s’occupe des aspects logistiques d’une carrière de coureur professionnel pendant que vous vous concentrez sur votre entraînement et vos compétitions.

Avez-vous besoin d’un agent ?

Probablement, oui. La plupart des coureurs professionnels ont intérêt à avoir un agent. Mais la décision d’engager un agent n’est pas automatique. Certains coureurs peuvent se passer d’un agent. Cependant, pour envisager de s’en passer, il faut bien comprendre quels services un agent fournit et dans quelles circonstances ces services peuvent être nécessaires.

Concurrencez avec succès sur la piste ou dans les courses sur route.
Bien que les centres d’entraînement fonctionnent différemment en fonction du financement, de l’emplacement et de l’encadrement, l’objectif est similaire : améliorer le niveau de compétition de la course de fond aux États-Unis, tant au niveau national qu’international. Les athlètes sont préparés à concourir sur la piste, sur les routes et en cross-country.

Les places étant limitées pour les athlètes dans chaque épreuve, les rencontres internationales d’athlétisme sont les plus sélectives de toutes les compétitions. Votre agent se chargera de négocier votre inscription aux rencontres, y compris les frais de participation, et vous aidera généralement à organiser votre voyage. En résumé : lorsqu’il est temps de se concentrer sur les courses au printemps et en été, vous avez besoin d’un agent pour vous faire participer aux bonnes compétitions.

Si vous envisagez une carrière sur les routes en participant au circuit USA Running, un agent est moins important. Il existe de nombreux championnats américains sur des distances allant du 5 km au marathon. L’entrée dans ces courses est moins sélective et peut facilement être accomplie sans représentant d’athlète. Les informations et les contacts pour l’inscription aux courses, ainsi que les normes de qualification et les conditions d’admissibilité applicables, sont disponibles sur le site Web de USA Track & Field.

Il convient de noter que les frais d’apparition pour les compétitions dans les grands marathons peuvent nécessiter d’importantes négociations. Bien sûr, il n’est pas aussi difficile d’entrer dans un champ de marathon que d’obtenir une place dans le 800 au Prefontaine Classic. Mais la négociation et l’optimisation de votre valeur d’apparition peuvent nécessiter l’aide d’un agent.

Les trois C : commodité, contacts et coût
Bien entendu, de nombreux coureurs professionnels participent à des événements sur piste et hors piste. Au-delà du type de carrière que vous envisagez, la décision de faire appel à un représentant d’athlètes repose en grande partie sur trois critères : commodité, contacts et coût.

  1. Commodité. Il est plus facile de laisser un agent s’occuper des détails que de le faire soi-même. Trouver des sponsors ou participer à des compétitions peut être difficile et stressant. Selon votre personnalité, un agent peut s’avérer essentiel, vous permettant de vous concentrer sur votre entraînement sans avoir à vous soucier de l’organisation de votre voyage ou de la négociation d’un contrat de chaussures.
  2. Contacts. Les agents ont des contacts avec les fabricants de chaussures et les directeurs de rencontres que la plupart des athlètes n’ont pas. Votre agent devrait être en mesure de vous mettre en relation avec les personnes et les entreprises nécessaires dans ce sport. De même, un agent peut vous faire paraître plus professionnel aux yeux des directeurs de rencontres et des sponsors potentiels. Les sponsors potentiels vous considèrent comme plus sérieux, ce qui accroît leur confiance dans la sécurité de leur investissement en vous. Votre agent doit travailler dur pour tenter d’obtenir un contrat de chaussures ou un autre contrat de sponsoring. Outre le fait de vous faire participer à des compétitions, c’est la principale responsabilité d’un agent.
  3. Le coût. Le coût d’un agent peut être important, mais un agent peut être un investissement rentable pour de nombreux coureurs professionnels. En général, un agent demande une commission de 15 % sur tout ce qu’il gagne, y compris : (a) contrat d’endossement d’une entreprise de chaussures, (b) frais de participation à une réunion ou à une course ; et (c) prix en argent. En outre, il est courant qu’un agent demande une commission de 20 % sur tous les contrats d’endossement autres que le contrat de chaussures principal. L’accord d’un athlète avec un agent – y compris les pourcentages – peut être négocié, mais la plupart des athlètes ont peu de pouvoir de négociation car le coureur professionnel moyen ne génère pas d’énormes revenus. Et malheureusement, moins vous gagnez d’argent, plus chaque dollar devient précieux. Alors qu’un athlète ayant un contrat de 1 000 000 $ peut ne pas ressentir l’impact de la commission de 15 % d’un agent, un athlète ayant un contrat de 30 000 $ fait un sacrifice beaucoup plus important en cédant 15 % à un agent. Toutefois, il convient de noter que, dans de nombreux cas, les athlètes les mieux payés subventionnent les athlètes aux revenus plus faibles. Vos commissions sont des “frais professionnels” et vous devez consulter un fiscaliste si vous n’êtes pas sûr de savoir comment profiter des déductions pour frais professionnels prévues par l’Internal Revenue Code.

Louvre Pyramid Turns 30

Last week I wrote an article for Agence France-Presse, which was published 4 days ago as “From outrage to icon: Paris marks 30 years of Louvre’s pyramid.” Below is the original article, before the editors changed it. 1 minute read:

Thirty years ago the Louvre Pyramid was called a cultural desecration, with journalists and the Parisian public calling for an insurrection against the structure, but today the monument is celebrated as a resounding success.

The initial hate for the Louvre Pyramid has been transformed so completely into iconic admiration that the Parisian street artist, JR, has created his second exhibit involving the pyramid. The exhibit was revealed last Friday and has been subsequently shredded by tourists.

The idea for renovating the Louvre came from the charismatic Jack Lang, who in 1981 wrote President François Mitterrand saying, “It would be a good idea to start recreating the Grand Louvre by allocating all the buildings to museums.” Mitterrand scribbled back in a letter, “Good idea, but it’s difficult to realize good ideas.”

Jack Lang continued to push for a renovation, writing that, “The Napoleon courtyard was a terrible parking lot. The museum was handicapped by the lack of a central entrance.” Mitterrand gave in to the requests and hired the architect, Ieo Ming Pei. Mitterrand had always admired Pei’s work in the United States, which included Pei’s modernist extension to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Dallas City Hall. 

When I.M. Pei’s model of the pyramid was revealed to the French public in 1984, Jack Lang remembers “an explosion of screams.” The journalist André Fermigier called the design “a house of death.” The academician Jean Dutourd wrote that “uncle wants to be the first pharaoh in our history.” And three historians, Antioine Schnapper, Sébastien Loste, and Bruno Foucart published a book of essays entitled, “Mystified Paris. The great illusion of the Great Louvre.”

The criticisms were focused less on the enlargement of the Louvre as about the aesthetics of the contemporary architecture clashing with the Napoleon III setting. I.M. Pei had never worked on a historic building before.
Pei remembers one architectural meeting that was “a terrible session,” where an expert shouted at him, “You are not in Dallas now!” His critics didn’t seem to care that he had won the Prtizker Prize in 1983, the “Nobel of architecture.”

“I received many angry glances in the streets of Paris,” Pei later said, confessing that “after the Louvre I thought no project would be too difficult.”

Pei’s genius was to link the three wings of the world’s most visited museum with vast underground galleries bathed in light from his glass and steel pyramid.

For its current Chairman and CEO Jean-Luc Martinez, the pyramid is a masterpiece that helped turned the museum around. “The Louvre is the only museum in the world whose entrance is a work of art,” he said “and the pyramid has become the symbol of a museum resolutely turned towards the future.”

Pei’s original design was intended for two million annual visitors. Last year 10.2 million people visited the Louvre. This year I.M. Pei is 102 years old, and continues to enjoy the success of his work, which is admired for its beautiful modernity as much as the ancient art it introduces.

The Louvre was not the first museum in Paris to experience hate that was turned to love. The Arche de la Défense, the Centre Pompidou, and the Eiffel Tower all experienced lashing disapproval at the time of their births. In 1887, the Eiffel Tower was attacked by a group of intellectuals (including Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant) who published a letter in the newspaper Le Temps protesting against the building, calling it “Useless…monstrous…and an odious column of sheet metal with bolts.” And like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre would survive the barrage of criticism to become one of the most popular structures in the world and a shining symbol of Paris.

Subscribe below:

Tech-no-Eulogy #4

“Hi friend!

My name is Casey Smith!

I’m an instagram influencer

Who gets paid $70,000 a year

To take pictures of my babies

Trees, food, and flowers

And post them with inspiring captions!

What’s your name?”




Subscribe below:

Bosnia’s Next Generation, Wary of Limited Job Opportunity and Gridlock Politics, But Still Hopeful

***Rough Draft In Progress, Come Back Later


Before the elections in Bosnia this past October, the capital of Sarajevo was full of hundreds of billboards advertising politicians who were running for office. These politicians were running for three presidential seats in what is, arguably, the world’s most complicated democracy:





















In a country that is struggling economically, that experienced the worst genocide since World War II twenty years ago, politics is one of the only place where people can find jobs and security.

“The most secure job is with the government,” says Danijela Mehic, who was born and raised in Sarajevo and gives tours to foreigners, “The only way to make a change in life is to join a political party.”

But despite the political power and gridlock, the city is attempting to become a tourist destination and to is trying to improve economically, moving on from the ethnic-cleansing nightmare of the Bosnia War.

“Last year we had four times more visitors than ever,” says Danijela Mehic, “This year there’s even more. And every year we put out the red carpet for the Sarajevo film festival.”

In Sarajevo today, contrary to the lingering worn-torn perspectives of most Westerners, you can find Irish pubs, luxury brand stores, outdoor cafes, a Vapiano, virtual reality booths, bustling restaurants, etc.:



Youth (teenagers born after The Bosnian war) in a Sarajevo hookah cafe, smoking and drinking Coca Cola.

“In school we go on friend trips to the Catholic Church, to the Synagogue, and to the Mosque. We study different religions,” says Emina Ivazouié

“In school we study the dates of the war, the governmental system, but not the details of the war itself. Because there are three different opinions.” says Dledina Ivazouié

*Emina and Deledia are muslim sisters (mother is a muslim) who don’t wear the hijab because “We like our hair.”

“Our parents say we’re lucky. But if you’re young or under 18, it is difficult to find a job.” says Ali Ljuštaku, who plays guitar in his father’s band.

“Most families here are mixed.” -Ali


R (Melika Borovina): The only thing missing here is jobs. We’re not that developed compared to the rest of the world.”

W: (Amna Maudžo) “I think there’s still a lot of tension because of the war. I want to go abroad after school.”

R: I’m okay with being friends from different groups. But parents still say things like, “Serbs cannot be trusted,” and I’m sure they think the same thing about us.

R: Culture here is like a a meeting of cultures. It’s mixed here. You can really see everything.

[In Sarajevo it is possible to stand in one place and see a Roman Catholic Church, a mosque, and an Orthodox Church…I have pics]

R: We don’t express our nationality on the streets, but we hear it on the news, and see it in the papers.

R: I love this country. But I don’t think change will happen anytime soon. We get promises, but nothing in return.

R: The Dayton agreement causes a lot of things not to be changed.


Lana Prlić, youngest member of Bosnian Parliament, born during the war, mother is Muslim and father is Catholic (they raised me in the way to have knowledge about each religion and tradition and to choose by myself what I what to be. And I choose to respect everything and everyone and to be atheist.”) —-perhaps Q and A?

I became political active when I was 17 and still in high school. Why?
Because I wanted to change something, I wanted to make society in my
town Mostar more healthy without borders that are made by those who
enjoy luxurious life for over two decades based on divided society. Because
Mostar and Bosnia and Herzegovina are multicultural. SDP was my
choice [political party] because tradition, history, program of this party had the most
similarities to the way I was raised, to respect everyone, do not judge and
divide people only on the criteria are the good or bad ones. I did not want
to give up my country, because that is the country where my parents are,
my friends and all memories. I want to fight for next generations, because
generations of my grandparents barely survive due to low pensions (cca. 100
euros minimum), generations of my parents lost their youth in the war, and
my generation lost childhood explaining ourselves are we bosniaks, serbs, or
croats why today my generation is leaving. For the record, in the last 4
years 5% (80,000) of population of B&H left this country.

A:The biggest issue is that youth do not vote and if we add to it fact that elders
mostly vote we can conclude that this country is ran by older generations.
Youths have a power to change power every elections and they do not use it
because of the complicated system and political culture that presented politics
to youths in B&H as something non changeable. But they can change it, SDP is an example how youths can change help and recover party, I am sure that they
can do it with the country as well but they need opportunity. At the other
hand, youths today are involve in many NGOs, and others but unfortunately
mainly they see political party as the way of employment, and again for it
political culture is the main cause.


Obviously Bosnia is the phenomena country where with the less of 4 million people
we do have three presidents, of each ethnic group and mostly they represent
party interests not state interest. From 2014-2018 we had 3 presidents and non
of them made decisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the Presidents on his
meeting do not even play on hymn of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I will repeat
again you cannot represent country which you do not feel yours. We need
people in Presidency which will represent every each citizen of Bosnia and
Herzegovina no matter their ethnic group, because Presidency is the mirror of
our country and clearly in the last 4 years it was broken.

Dayton Agreement had a goal to establish peace here, and that is the most
important thing. But DPA put this country in the hands of few families which
run nationalists parties, this country cannot function and cannot be healthy if
people here are divided in the constitution in the core of political and social
system. Bosnia and Herzegovina should be country of all its citizens no matter
where they live. DPA is discriminatory, by that education system as well,
electoral system as well. What we can expect from the country in which
constitution is discriminatory? How to develop? How to solve life issues, when
on every issue which is not in interest of nationalist parties they have right on
national vital interest or ethnical veto? It is clear that DPA was an experiment
and it failed together with the holders of its, OHR.

This country should be country of all its citizens led by
those who feel this country as its own, by those who listen people and do have
responsibility towards them, led by people who found life issues way ahead
national issues. Nationalist’s countries are mostly poor countries, and
unfortunately Bosnia is every year on the bottom of every list. This country
need rehab and I hope at Sunday my party will get a chance to make B&H
country for all together with our candidate for the presidency Denis Becirovic
who we represent every each people in this country no matter its name,
religion or ethnicity. My biggest wish is to make country where people will
come and youths return from Western countries, so parents do not longer speak
with their kids by Skype or see them only during the holidays.

Boriša Falatar….ran for president, but lost. Waiting on his response to my second email…








His father died when he was 8, his grandfather was in the concentration camps. When Borisa was 16 the Bosnian War started on April 5th, he was at a sleepover with a friend when his friend’s father woke him up and said, “Sarajevo is occupied.” They went to the protests. 

“At first, the war was super boring.” But nobody could go out. Everybody was in shelters. He was watching movies. No electricity. “You don’t think it’s dangerous.”

Danijeja (tour guide) spent 3 months underground. She can’t go to the Bosnian War museum because it fills her with pain. She married during the war and had a child…”a way to have something behind yourself.”

Boris’s paternal grandfather is Croatian. His paternal grandmother is Serbian. His mother is muslim. He grew up in a Jewish community. The war for me was: what the hell is happening? Different parts of my family are being blamed. Who am I?

Mother was shot and killed during the war when he was 18.

Worked for the U.N. as an interpreter.

I never settled in one place in my life. Bosnia is my home. Lost 5% of the population in the last 4 years. People live with photos of their children.

1.5 years ago he traveled around Bosnia, spoke to activists. There’s not unifying force.

All the presidents here are like Trump. Bt they never achieve anything. We have three Trumps.

It’s difficult to get media attention. Peace-loving Ghandi doesn’t make headlines. “Love each other,” isn’t clickable.

“Screw you assholes!” that is clickable.

My mission isn’t all about getting elected. It’s about healing the wounds of this country.

No country is as diverse as Bosnia.

When Europe was killing itself 500 years ago, we were living together.

Politicians here scare you with the worst possible option. Entrench yourself in a political party or the other will win.

Despite Bosnia’s difficulties and political in-fighting, there are those who are working towards a better future, and a youth that is open to acceptance and moving forward.





Part 2: A Brief, Calm Dialogue Between A Conservative And A Liberal On The Ford-Kavanaugh Testimonies

8.5 minute read, scroll down for today’s (10/2/18) conservative response 

This past week America has been politically torn in half by Christine Blasey Ford accusing Brett Kavanaugh, a Supreme Court nominee, of a sexual assault that occurred 36 years ago. An F.B.I. investigation of the sexual assault has begun, but I believe that it will be checked and halted by various political forces, and that nothing will come from it. The partisan divide in America has been made particularly clear to me through my Facebook newsfeed, which is about 50/50 conservative/democrat, and I’ve tried to engage in numerous dialogues with both conservatives and democrats. Here is the best one, that doesn’t devolve into conspiracy theories, hatred of the patriarchy, or personal attacks:


Something that I keep reading from conservatives regarding the Ford-Kavanaugh testimony is this: we need more evidence, Ford’s claims may not be true, so we shouldn’t acknowledge them to make our decision. For example, from a conservative article:

“That Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is not a criminal trial is, of course, true. But this fact does nothing whatsoever to change the logic of how civilized, decent, truth-respecting people assess claims of wrongdoing, no matter how paltry or grievous.” -Donald J. Boudreaux

The fact that Kavanaugh is being interviewed for a lifetime seat on the highest court DOES change how people assess claims of wrongdoing. How? A baseless, evidence-less accusation of something heinous must be listened to. Why? Because it’s heinous and coming from someone reasonable, because it is someone coming forward about a sexual assault, putting her life and family through hell. Do conservative writers know what it takes to come forward about a sexual assault? What do they think her motivation is? Political? If they truly believe her motivation is political, then there’s nothing I can (or want) to say concerning that theory. But even assuming that Ford’s claim has ZERO evidence, the severity of her claim and the situation of the accused is ENOUGH to change how “truth-respecting” people assess claims of wrongdoing.

Every right-leaning response I’ve read on this issue seems unable (or unwilling) to hold those two ideas in the mind at the same time:

1) Kavanaugh is engaged in a job interview for a lifetime appointment as a judge of the highest court, so accusations of a heinous crime from a citizen MUST be listened to.

2) The act of coming forward about a sexual assault, despite a lack of evidence, means she should STILL be listened to.

Focusing incessantly on the idea “we need more evidence” belittles what it means to come forward about a sexual assault and ignores the special, highly-scrutinized nature of vying for a Supreme Court seat.


Jack, I will be the first to say that someone with an assault allegation needs to be heard, not ignored or belittled. That being said, saying “we need more evidence” is exactly what is needed when someone comes forward with an assault allegation, especially during a question about a supreme court seat! If you are willing to accept an accusation because of how sincere someone is then you are in the incredibly dangerous territory. You are willing to destroy a potentially innocent person on the word of someone because it was hard for them to come forward and a painful experience but fail to consider that they may be remembering incorrectly, have a false memory or recollection or, rarely, be lying, no matter how sincere they appear to be.

The Duke Lacrosse sexual assault allegation is ample proof of the problem of accepting an allegation without evidence – because that lady sounded super sincere and she lied about all of it (she admitted she made it up). But your logic requires that we should believe her, no questions asked – do you actually think, given her lie, that we were right to believe her just based on her accusation? Ultimately, the problem is, one cannot base their opinion on emotion or how hard something is to do, or how much grief it may cause. One also cannot base it on what position someone is going for, lifetime or otherwise. those standards are subjective, being different for each person or group. It is a dangerous way of thinking precisely because everybody can have their own story and those stories can be diametrically opposed, equally compelling, and yet, they cannot both be equally right.

One must have an outside standard against which everything is measured (this does not mean that the standard isn’t abused, but you have to have a standard). That is the point that is trying to be made. If you do not have a standard or that standard is a poor one (presumption of guilt for example) then you have lost your ability to objectively judge a situation. Using the logic of people who claim that we must believe people making accusations of assault simply because they made those accusations and that includes those without evidence, is the same logic that was used at the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600’s (I’m not comparing sexual assaults nor sexual assault allegations to this historical situation, simply the logic of believing an accuser [no matter what the accusation is) and presuming guilt instead of innocence] – please do not misunderstand this). The difference is that men controlled the proceedings and not any women. The logic, however, is the same – the presumption of guilt, mob rule, hysteria, exaggerated grievances/concerns. It is just repackaged and given a more modern, emotional face to it so as to garner sympathy and support.

The logic (guilty until proven innocent because of the seriousness of the type of crime/allegation made) will ultimately lead to totalitarian state tactics, such as those that ISIS uses. It will lead to mob rule and fulfill the words of the high ranking Soviet leader, Lavrentiy Beria, who famously said – “show me the man and I will show you the crime!” His point being, name a person and I can convict him because guilt is presumed before innocence.

The point is, people may want to jump to conclusions based on emotion, they may have their opinion swayed by the severity of a charge, but at the end of the day they must take a step back and remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. They must remember that whatever their initial reaction, stepping back and reversing roles will bring a critical perspective and allow for seeing the logic and emotions from both sides. They must seek the truth, and to determine truth they must have evidence. Without which, an allegation is just that, an allegation, no matter how sincerely presented.

-Conservative (he desires to remain anonymous)



Hey J.-, two things to consider:

1) How are you and I both measuring the sincerity of the accusation? You write, “If you are willing to accept an accusation because of how sincere someone is then you are in the incredibly dangerous territory.” I personally, narrowly judge that Ford is sincere, despite a lack of evidence, for these reasons:

a) Ford discussed the assault and seemed to indirectly mention Kav with her therapist in 2012.

b) She wanted to remain anonymous.

c) She’s a professor at Palo Alto and a research assistant at Stanford.

d) She testified despite being terrified.

e) Her testimony seemed convincing to me/a reasonable human.

f) Everything I’ve read about Kav (heavy drinker, gambling debt, the Yale classmate’s full statement of Kav being aggressive and belligerent in college) and seen of his testimony (histrionics, anger) makes me think that he could have done this.

g) Coming forward about sexual assault is extremely difficult.*

Of course these reasons are extremely biased with logical fallacies (ad hominem, etc)., distorted by my limited experience, and would not hold up in a criminal court case (but this is not a criminal court case, this is a job interview, see reason 2). Do you not consider Ford to be sincere? Why not? I leave it to the senate to judge the sincerity of Ford. If you’re thinking, “But her sincerity doesn’t matter! It can’t be measured! There were no witnesses! It was a long time ago! Slippery slope!” Keep in mind that Kav is not going to be sent to prison based on someone’s evidence-less sincerity, he is going to experience really shitty publicity (a risk when you apply to the Supreme Court) and he may not get a job…(meanwhile don’t forget that Ford may, possibly, be telling the truth and have experienced years of trauma and suffering at Kav’s expense).

2) This is a job interview where there are other qualified candidates. You used the phrases “incredibly dangerous territory,” and “destroy a potentially innocent person.” But, again, we are talking about a job interview. I do consider that Ford may be remembering incorrectly….but this risk is justified by the fact that this is a job interview for the highest court. (And again please do not forget, she could be remembering correctly and could actually be the person who’s life had been destroyed.) Do you believe that Kav is being destroyed by this accusation, if it’s false? Are you subtly weighing his “public destruction” as more important and valid than Ford’s past destruction if she is telling the truth?

I don’t think your comparison to duke lacrosse is apt, because those players were not applying to become Supreme Court judges. And the allegation Ford makes is not to be accepted outright, but listened to and considered, amongst competing ideas and testimonies. In addition, a 2010 study by Violence Against Women found that only 2-10% of rape allegations are false, so I think it’s dangerous to focus on a case that is not representative of rape allegations.

You are right that when making decisions we must not be completely swayed by emotion or by grief laden stories that can be compelling, but false. But I disagree that an opinion cannot be influenced by the “position someone is going for” when this person is being accused. Why? If someone is going for a position that requires the person to be moral, just, and a leader of our country, then our opinions must be more sensitive to all kinds of accusations, even highly potentially false ones, opposed to someone applying for a job that doesn’t require them making decisions on what is justice for a nation.

*I want to end this comment with an emphasis on reason:

g) Coming forward to accuse someone of sexual assault, especially someone who is powerful, is extremely difficult. Do you not think so? Of course there’s a risk that she could be wrong. But aren’t you willing to take this risk if Ford is willing to put her life and family through such difficulties?

Again, I appreciate your response, and I hope you respond to this so I can clarify my thoughts, and better understand what many right-leaning people are thinking.*

 Today’s (10/2/2018) conservative response:


Jack, there were several questions mentioned so I’ll try to respond in two ways. First, I’ll give some consideration to Ford’s case and the question of sincerity vs credibility.


Second, some thinking about Kavanaugh’s side:

Lastly, some brief comment on the specific questions at the end.

Before I get into any discussion though I did want to answer the question related to comment 1g, related to the difficulty of coming forward. In short, my answer is, yes, it is extremely difficult to come forward, especially when it is someone in power and you feel that you won’t be believed.

While I cannot personally relate to an assault allegation I have had a time, a number of years ago, where I’ve had to bring concerns to management at work about my boss. This was a very difficult thing to do because I could not be sure I would be listened and that even if I was, the concerns would be taken seriously. I’m not trying to minimize coming forward on sexual assault to simply a work based concern but show that I can, in a way, empathize with the emotions that are involved in bringing an accusation forward about wrongdoing.
In regards to the initial question about sincerity, a few things need to be defined or clarified.


First, sincerity is not credibility. I’m not suggesting that you’re saying it is but there seems to be a confusion of terms coming up in a lot of these discussions that presupposes one’s sincerity or believability is equal to being credible and/or evidence of the validity of the claim (Specifically for Dr. Ford). You can be sincere and be completely wrong or mistaken.

Sincerity, as listed in the dictionary is the quality of being honest (slightly paraphrasing). In other words, you convey that you believe what you are saying. This doesn’t demonstrate that what you’re saying is true though. People who still believe the earth is flat are genuinely sincere in their belief (they really do believe the earth is flat even though overwhelming evidence would indicate otherwise). On this point, given the testimony of Dr. Ford, I would agree that she was sincere (as best can be judged) in her belief regarding the situation and events that occurred.
The reasons that you provide for her sincerity make sense. All of them (a-g) are valid reasons to accept that she was sincere in her testimony.

That brings us to the issue of credibility. Credible (the adjectival form) is defined as “offering reasonable grounds for being believed” (Online search – Merriam Webster – not linking because FB doesn’t handle multiple links well). Thus credibility (the noun form) would extend this definition to one being inspired to believe them based on their testimony, more specifically, the evidence offered to support their testimony. I would submit Dr. Ford’s testimony was not credible.


For the sake of balance, I would agree that her career and education level should be considered when assessing her credibility. However, I would suggest that several things weigh heavily against this and ultimately demonstrate that she should not be considered credible in what she is saying.

The best summary of the issues in Dr. Ford’s testimony is the material found Rachel Mitchell’s report (I highly recommend reading this report). It details the numerous inconsistencies and significant questions that arise from such a vague unprovable accusation. She shows in multiple instances where there is good reason to be suspect of her testimony, especially since she has offered no physical evidence to support her allegation and all of the witnesses named has rejected her allegation (while it may be semantics, stating under penalty of perjury that you do not recall the event and in one case do not even know the accused is essentially saying that it didn’t happen). The more people who don’t recall the events the less likely your statements are accurate (whether you believe them to be or not is irrelevant – memory is notoriously unreliable, which is why eyewitness testimony is such a weak standard of proof in civil and criminal cases).

While I will not rehash all of what Dr. Mitchell describes, a few of key things stand out that strongly suggest her testimony was not credible. Her details of the events are distinctly inconsistent, which lends to not believing her. The dating is especially problematic. For starters, she can’t pin down a year, month, day or time this occurred. That is highly suspect. Every single assault survivor I’ve ever heard remembers every single detail of the assault. One key question around this is that she says she suffered academically because of the trauma, but her last years in high school did not have any academic issues, this only occurred in college, several years after the alleged event (this problem could be solved if her first statement of the event occurring in her late teens is accurate – but then it couldn’t have been Kavanaugh cause he’d been in college at Yale).


Secondly, her memory of recent events was problematic. She stated several very strange things about the polygraph tests that were highly suspect. For example, she said she did not remember the exact day she took it. How can that be? This was only two months ago, and, given the public spotlight she was thrust into, it is very odd that you wouldn’t know these details – even if you looked them up the day before to make sure you knew your facts. Furthermore, her description of how the polygraph felt was abnormal. She described it as being a smothering experience on her whole body. What is odd about this is that Polygraph machines don’t have anything even remotely resembling a full body contraption. It’s normally just sensors on your fingers and a blood pressure type cuff on your arm, hardly a full body, smothering experience.

While I recognize the 2nd thing I highlighted is not the strongest of arguments, it was a rather unusual way to describe things and the limited memory was distinctly puzzling.
There are some things about the way this came about that are highly suspicious. One to note is that the weekend before she went public, she scrubbed her social media accounts? Why? That indicates she may have had something to hide, or perhaps that she wanted to hide her political activism, given that there are things that she has said which might hurt her case.

Lastly, it is highly suspicious that she did not have her therapy notes released. If her accusation is true, then would she not want to vindicate herself in every way possible? The best way to do this is provide all of the evidence or information you have. Since you have already opened yourself up to public scrutiny, releasing everything is the most plausible explanation. Why weren’t they released? Given the distinctly inconsistent, ever-shifting testimony, it leaves one to wonder if there was something in them that she didn’t want to be revealed.

Ultimately though, given the reasons outlined in Mitchell’s report, I think it is safe to say that her testimony was sincere but not credible.


Now, regarding Kavanaugh and some of the things mentioned. I am uncertain what the gambling debt is that you are referring to. The only thing I’m aware of is that he would pay for season pass tickets to a sports game for him and several close friends and then have them pay him back within a reasonable amount of time after – more specifically, all of that debt was paid off in a reasonable amount of time. Is there something else I’m not aware of? I’d be happy to investigate it more.


In regard to him being a heavy drinker. I’m not sure that I understand why this is such a character concern. For starters, it’s unproven (even the current news info isn’t suggesting it’s a current dynamic). Secondly, there are numerous witnesses throughout his life that have testified to his drinking habits, throughout his career and not one has suggested he is a heavy drinker. Third, I’m not sure that his drinking in college is something that should have a bearing on his life almost 40 years later unless a clear chain could be established showing that he is still that way (assuming he was to begin with, again, unproven).


Fourth, college-age drinking, even potentially heavy drinking is incredibly common, there are few who did not drink in college (I didn’t, and I never have had a drink, but I’m the exception, not the norm). Fifth, his drinking, heavy or not, doesn’t really have any bearing on him as a judge. Unless you could demonstrate that he was drunk or impaired in any of his legal opinions or during his work hours, it has no bearing on his professional life (he wouldn’t be a nominee if it did either). I know several people who drink, some perhaps heavily and yet there doesn’t seem to be any issue with their work performance because they are sober when they’re at work.


Finally, regarding his testimony on Thursday. I would challenge the assumption that him being angry shows a lack of jurist prudence. I take issue with this on several grounds. First, you have to look at this from his perspective, which is that he has been unjustly accused of something that, as far as he is aware, never happened. Furthermore, this unjust accusation (from his perspective) does not have any evidence to back it up. And yet this whole claim has been used to utterly destroy his life, his career, his family, his daughters. It has far-reaching implications for him and his life has been completely altered. (again, all of this is under the presumption of innocence because we don’t have any evidence to back up Ford’s claim). In addition to all of this, you are entering a scene with a very hostile crowd, the media has already declared you guilty without so much as a scintilla of evidence. Almost every single democratic senator has publicly stated that they are opposed to you and believe you are guilty (again, no presumption of innocence or at the very least giving him a fair shake on the issue). The leader of the democratic senators has publicly stated he will do everything in his power to stop you and numerous senators have called labeled you with horrible names without even considering the evidence. I could go on, but I think my point is made. In other words, against this backdrop, you would expect Kavanaugh to be angry, because he views this as fighting not only for the supreme court nomination but for his very life, career, reputation, family, and for the judicial code of innocent until proven guilty.


Secondly, there are specific things in Kavanaugh’s testimony that do not indicate guilt (and therefore him lying) on his part. The biggest reason is his inclusion of the prayer his daughter gave for Dr. Ford. Nobody who is guilty would have raised their daughter to pray for their enemies (this is an outworking of a principle taught in the Bible). The reaction you would expect from your children is anger, frustration, perhaps bitterness towards your accuser. But not love and grace.
Another key reason is that he has numerous women who back up his character all throughout his life. Including dozens of people who knew him well in both high school and college. This testimony is overwhelming when compared to Dr. Ford’s. (Dr Ford has very few if any people from her high school days who support her so emphatically [the myriad of alumnae who signed a statement of support were almost all before or after her time in high school]).


Furthermore, Kavanaugh has one of the best, if not the best record on supporting women in the workplace, as he amply demonstrates in his testimony. This is significant because it means two things. One, if his character was really how Dr. Ford portrayed it then there should be some indication of this later on, especially given how many women he has interacted with. But there has been nothing, not even a hint. Kavanaugh has undergone intense scrutiny for decades, multiple FBI background checks, and significant public exposure and not one thing has been brought up. This should count in his favor when considering the credibility of his claim to innocence.


Kavanaugh also has a significant level of support in his career from both sides of the aisle. This is seen in his support given by those from both sides and the fact that the supreme court has utilized his opinions numerous times. His opinions have been used quite extensively by them, which indicates the level of skill he has as a legal scholar and judge. He is known for being impartial, fair, and balanced.


Finally, I would strongly suggest to you that if Kavanaugh had gone into this hearing with the type of restraint he showed in his initial hearings, he would’ve been decried as a cold, heartless monster. Someone who does not deserve to sit on the court because of how he did not even try to defend his name in the face of the accusations. This just reminds me of the phrase “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. This is not a fair standard to hold someone too, precisely because it is an impossible and duplicitous standard to hold someone too.
One last thing, I do not think that our standard should change just because of the office that Kavanaugh is going for. While he should be held to a higher standard, that standard should be based on credible events and actions, legal opinions and other dynamics for review. Given the stellar career Kavanaugh has had, the impeccable record, and intense level of scrutiny, these things should weigh heavily in his favor unless compelling evidence is brought up – to date there is none.To answer your questions then.
1. Is Ford Sincere? Yes – not credible however
2. Is Kavanaugh being destroyed by the accusations, if they are false? Most definitely, even if it’s just public perception. This is why Kavanagh stated he was defending himself and attempting to clear his name on Thursday. (I don’t know of anyone who denies this, liberal or conservative.)


3. Am I weighing his public destruction as more important and valid than Ford’s past destruction if she is telling the truth? I think this is a non sequitur – we’d first have to establish that we have any basis to accept her testimony as credible. In regards to the damage to both families, I don’t think that one is more important than the other – they are equally horrible. However, certain present indicators & history suggests that Ford’s life is not actually as ruined as we are led to believe. She already has a gofund me page setup with an astronomical 700k+ set aside for her. She will undoubtedly be made a star on the left as was Anita Hill after the 1991 situation.


Has any of this happened for Kavanaugh or his family? No, and for some reason, people seem to be content to let his life just be utterly destroyed by a (as it now stands) baseless accusation. We would all be outraged if this happened to us, or to any other person if it wasn’t for the office he is aspiring to. This should give us pause in our assessment of the damage done to both parties.




(I’m working on a reply. Feel free to direct message me if you’d like to give your input on this discussion)

Subscribe below: