The Lonely God

There’s an old adage that goes something like this; a work of art is never finished, only abandoned. This has been attributed to many different writers and poets, including W.H. Auden and Gore Vidal to name just two. After some research, it seems that the first published instance of this statement appeared in March 1933, in an essay by the French poet, Paul Valéry. He wrote:      “Aux yeux de ces amateurs d’inquiétude et de perfection, un ouvrage n’est jamais achevé, – mot qui pour eux n’a aucun sens, – mais abandonné” or, if you prefer the English,      “In the eyes …

A No BS Guide to Getting Rid of Your Back Pain!

Let’s start with my tragic backstory. I suffered with crippling back pain for more than twenty years. I’m talking about being out on my back, unable to drive, barely able to walk, or work. I spent every moment trying to deal with the pain while doing my best to lead something resembling a normal life. Sometimes, I’d spend a few days in bed loaded up with painkillers and muscle relaxing drugs to get rid of it. Every few weeks, or, if I were lucky, months, my back would go out, and the entire process would start all over again. In …

We Need to Stop Talking About Government Debt

The Ontario government, in its most recent budget, warned of deficits for the next 10 years. So what? Why are we still talking about deficits? Granted, it’s a pervasive myth, as myths go, but it’s high time for concepts like government deficits (or GDP, for that matter) to be retired for something more meaningful. The first mistake is to assume that an economically sovereign country’s budget (i.e. Canada, or the US) is anything like your personal household budget. It’s not. The “national debt” is just a measure, over time, of how much money the government put into the economy (health …

Our Botched Pandemic Dress Rehearsal

Here’s a cheery Saturday thought for you all, as you line up for your vaccine, or breathe a sigh of relief that you’ve at least got your first dose of Moderna, Pfeizer, or Astra Zeneca. Now, you can sit back, worry less, and wait for the booster shot. At least you won’t wind up in the hospital on a ventilator. Hold that optimism for a moment though, but don’t throw it away because you’re going to need it. You see, COVID-19 is, as pandemics go, a relatively benign pandemic, despite the staggering economic cost, despite more than 3 million deaths …

Where Has God Gone? US Church Membership Plummets.

Yesterday, as I write this, anyhow, a friend popped up in chat and said the following. “Looking at the posting regarding the drop in church membership. I noticed that The highest rate of decline took place from 2010 – 2020. I think that many good folks said goodbye to the church because of the evangelical support for Trump. It was for many, the last straw. It would be interesting to see the statistics from 2015 – 2020. The unholy trinity of Trump, Franklin Graham, and the Falwells & Pool Boy.” He was referring to reports, like this one from The …

You Are Your Avatar. Sort of.

On our lunchtime walk, Sally and I were discussing so-called “Zoom fatigue” and how some people just would rather not turn on their cameras. The result are people who follow protocol (as opposed to hard and fast rules) and they then experience a heightened level of fatigue because they are unable to properly (intuitively?) feel the conversation. If anything, there’s additional pressure because the people on camera get no visual feedback from those initials staring back at them on the screen. This is normal and it is, frankly, human nature. We look for visual cues when we’re in a face-to-face …

The True Story of Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer

You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen. You also know about Comet, and Cupid, and Donder and Blitzen, but nobody really cares about any of those others, even Olive (the other reindeer). The only reindeer anyone cares about is Rudolph. You may not know the actual and honest-to-goodness true story of Rudolph, but lucky for you, I am here to tell you. So, sit back, gather your kids, hug your Christmas tree, light a fire in the fireplace, and enjoy the true story of Rudolph.

Creating Virtual Worlds for Mozilla Hubs

Mozilla Hubs is a completely open source social VR experience that allows you to build your own worlds, craft avatars, have meetings, watch videos together, and more. Here’s where it gets really exciting. HUBS doesn’t require a VR headset. You can access it from any desktop, using a Web browser. In fact, people joining a HUBS session can interact with people using phones, tablets, laptops, or virtual reality headsets. To those who use headsets, the browser sessions look as though they are also participating in the VR experience. I invited a friend of mine to join me in a world I …

Fighting Isolation in Virtual Reality

It’s weird living in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s frankly surreal, on so many levels. One of those ‘levels’ is the forced isolation that many of us are having to get used to, and that can be hard. We are, after all, social animals. Yesterday afternoon, I dropped in to a small group meeting in AltspaceVR using an Oculus Quest virtual reality (VR) headset. I mention this because you or your kids may have one and you’re thinking of it as just another thing for playing games. Trust me when I say that it is, and can be, …

VR Conferences in the Days of COVID-19

I’ve had a fair bit of experience with VR conferences and meetings of late (including the “Educators in VR” conference mentioned in the linked article), and I’ve used several different platforms, including AltspaceVR, Mozilla HUBS, VRChat, RecRoom, and others. There’s a real future in VR and it’s just going to get bigger. I even recorded an episode of my podcast with Evan Leibovitch in AltspaceVR. Expect to see, hear, read, and experience a lot more about this in coming days. Over at FORBES online, they have an article on that very topic. You can find it by clicking here.

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