Author: Rick

History of the Guitar

The evolution of the modern guitar is a complicated one. Stringed instruments with some of the features of modern guitars have been used for about 4,000 years, as can be attested by archaeological evidence from digs in Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia, and elsewhere where organized human civilizations have been found. The guitar didn’t really start to

Universal Basic Income podcast

I just listened to Sam Harris interview Andrew Yang about his proposals for a Universal Basic Income in the U.S. They also touched on Yang’s campaign to become President of the U.S. in 2020! If you don’t know, a the Universal Basic Income proposal (UBI) is the idea that every adult citizen would receive an

Why is the Guitar tuned like this?

It may not make sense to you at first, and you might just never think of it. The guitar is tuned the way it is for good physical-mechanical reasons. You have four fingers on your fingering hand, so the guitar strings are tuned 5 frets apart (except for the B string). That means you can

Ontario election an embarrassment

As of today, June 7, 2018, the results of the provincial election are still unknown. But it is a pretty sure bet that whoever wins, we are in for a few more years of chaos and mismanagement. It is pretty amazing how the PC party in Ontario has blown their chance to elect a powerful

Easy and Fun: By the Rivers of Babylon

The group called Boney M. had a hit with “By the Rivers of Babylon” back in 1978. This arrangement almost has a polka feel, and is great fun. I’ve given you several keys, and the guitar part is easy in all of them. This is a great song to practice your strumming technique. Have fun!

With a Little Help from my Friends

I just finished posting an arrangement for the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends”, at It’s number 39. I’m planning on going live sometime around 75 songs, so it should be in a month or so. This was my most extensive arrangement to date. Alto sax lead, a simple trumpet accompaniment, nice

The World as Virtual Reality – Tom Campbell

This post is in response to my recent exposure to the theories of the physicist Tom Campbell. Campbell is a scientist who has worked at NASA and elsewhere, and has put forward a “theory of everything” he calls the “Big TOE” (theory of everything). As I understand it, the core claim of this theory is

Practical Consequences of Rejecting Free Will

The philosophical rejection of the notion of Free Will comes first and foremost out of the scientific belief in determinism: that all events, attitudes, background conditions, have a cause, and that therefore it does not make sense to take “credit” or “blame” for our attitudes, our level of intelligence, or, in the extreme, our actions.

Free Will as an Illusion – 1

In 2012 author, philosopher and neuroscience theorist Sam Harris published his book Free Will and reinvigorated the debate about the extent to which people can be thought to be “responsible” for their thoughts, motivations and actions. The idea that humans have “free will” (or perhaps we should say “Free Will” with big F and W)

Today’s technology patterns will be obsolete within ten years

The most interesting technology developments of the last decade or so, at least from the perspective of the average consumer, have been in computer, internet and telecommunications. These areas of development have come together with great fanfare and significant impact in the development of mobile networks and powerful “smartphones” – essentially portable computers. I follow

Why Should We Care What Others Believe?

There is an inherent conflict within Christianity between the urge to preach and convert, and the attitude of tolerance that says “live and let live”. We think we know where the urge to preach comes from. It is supposedly from the “Great Commission” where followers of Jesus are told “Therefore go and make disciples of

Believing in Belief in God

In his book Breaking The Spell, philosopher and noted atheist Daniel Dennett discusses (at some length) the difference between “belief in God” and “belief in belief in God”. This may sound like some philosopher’s tedious exercise in hair-splitting, but the fact is, this is actually an interesting and important distinction. Over the years I have

“I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”

This is pretty commonly heard in debates (or conversations) about religion. One person will be stating why she doesn’t believe in god(s), and someone else will say “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” This is meant to be a clever way of saying: “Atheists bug me. They’re so cock sure they’re right.