Author Archives: Umwelt Utahpia

Art and Artifice

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” 

─ Paul Gaugin

“Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery.”

─ Charles Caleb Colton

My wife Ptarmi & I are building a new house this year on a lakeside lot we bought more than ten years ago.  It will be our final home, where we finish raising our kids and someday retire.

The new house will have a few … Read more

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Random Cultural Perspectives: Telephone Poles to Survivalism

In May 2013, I was in Tokyo for a business trip and had the chance to visit two of my Japanese cousins one weekend.  Chie and Miyo are sisters.  Since early childhood, we’ve been very close; I’m like a brother to them.  We spent the afternoon catching up, showing pictures of where we’ve been since the last time we saw each other and talking about … Read more

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YES–College Is STILL Worth It!

With today’s high unemployment rates and increasing student loan debt levels, many Americans question whether a college education is worth the cost.  An article written by William J. Bennett and David Wilezol at FoxNews.com in May 2013 answers the question “Is College Worth It?” with an unenthusiastic “It depends”.  The authors give several reasons for their ambivalent response:

  • Student debt is growing, as well as
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Ignored = Excluded

15 April 2013:  Boston Marathon bombing kills 3

17 April 2013:  Texas fertilizer plant explosion kills 14

20 April 2013:  earthquake in China’s Sichuan province kills 179

21 April 2013:  “Mommy, what’s wrong with the world?!”  That was the first thing my nine year old son Evan blurted after hearing about the devastating earthquake in China that occurred the day before.  … Read more

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Utahpia Travelblog: Machu Picchu

“If you love your child, send him out into the world.”

─ Japanese Proverb

I inherited my love for travel from my father, who had joined the Navy when he was eighteen to see the world (and to avoid going to college).  While I was in college, I made a vow to myself that, at a minimum, I would someday visit the following world heritage Read more

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My Book of Lists

“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.”

─ African proverb

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe….  All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.  Time to die.”

─ Roy Batty, Blade Runner

In 2008, a number of significant life events converged that spurred me seriously to ask myself what it means to be alive.  I … Read more

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Thinking Critically for Life

Article by Ken Kilgore

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

─ Derek Bok

I majored in Biology in college, but it wasn’t till I read Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World:  Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996) years later that I consciously developed a consistent and rigorous critical thinking process that applies to life in general.  In his book, Sagan devotes a … Read more

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“Not For the Body or Belly”

“And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.”

─ Doctrine & Covenants 89:9

My wife Ptarmi comes from a close-knit family, the Stones.  Unlike the Kilgores, the Stones family is large in number and deeply religious, with membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) going back several generations.  The Stones visit each other often and get together … Read more

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Teaching the Good in Godless

“Not possessing a religious basis for morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality.”

 –Conservapedia,  Atheism & Morality

“The biggest damage religion does is indoctrinating and brainwashing children.”

 –Richard Dawkins, in a The Times of India interview with Vineet Gill, 25 Jan 2012

As a precociously atheist child, I was often asked by friends why I didn’t just rob banks if … Read more

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Blessed Are the Happy

Happy“Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment.”

─ Jean Baudrillard

Molding statistics to fit one’s preconceived conclusions is such a common practice that it’s a cliché even to point out when it occurs.  But sometimes, I just can’t resist….

The following headline appeared on the 5 October 2012 on-line edition of Deseret News, Utah’s 2nd largest daily newspaper by circulation:

“Religious Read more

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