Welcome. My name is Roy Fischler. I was born in 1956, and I live in the Fort Lauderdale area in southeastern Florida. I am originally from Brooklyn, New York, and moved here in 1998. I am a former computer analyst, but freed myself from wage slavery and retired in 1999, at the age of 42.
I am active in a number of organizations. I am a member of a local atheist group, Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists. I'm also a member of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), which fights irrational beliefs such as pseudoscience and religion, and also serve as webmaster for our local chapter. I also occasionally attend monthly discussion group meetings at The James Randi Educational Institute, which debunks irrationality, and is run by the famous magician The Amazing Randi, who happens to live in my area. I also attend meetings of a local meetup.com socialist group. And I scuba dive with a local meetup.com diving group.
I have a wide range of interests that I have picked up over the course of my life, everything from the intellectual to the adventurous, including:
I am NOT interested in spectator sports, TV, and anything else involving experiencing life vicariously instead of living it directly.
Links to my favorite websites:
Marshall Brain's awesome website, that talks about the same technological - economic - political ideas as I do. Check out his "robotic evidence" blog for the latest on progress in artificial intelligence and robots. He also has other blogs, such as AltEng, about alternative energy, and Sad, about technology that needs improvement, and he periodically adds more blogs.
The Foresight Institute, which promotes nanotechnology, and its safe development and use.
Nanodot, daily nanotechnology news from The Foresight Institute.
Ray Kurzweil's website, about artificial intelligence and The Singularity.
A page from a futurology site about The Singularity Institute.
The Edge, an online magazine at the cutting edge of science and technology.
Transhumanism, the idea that humans and the human condition are going to be radically changed by technology.
An excellent article about when computers should pass human intelligence, "How Long Before Superintelligence?", part of an excellent website by someone involved in Transhumanism, named Nick Bostrom. Since this article was written, things have gone in accordance with the most optimistic predictions in the article. He estimated that supercomputers would pass human intelligence, at least as far as the hardware goes, between 2004 and 2024, depending on what estimate is used for how powerful the brain is. As I talk about in my essay "The Singularity" on my politics page, we reached the lower limit in mid-2004, but now it looks like we'll reach the upper limit by 2014, the way progress has sped up so dramatically. When we'd have the software is another matter that no one can guess as yet.
Another article on the same subject, "When Will Computer Hardware Match the Human Brain?" by robot researcher Hans Moravec. It gives what seems like a good explanation for why progress with artificial intelligence hadn't occurred for decades from the 1960s to the 1980s, and why he expected increasing progress after the article was written, in 1997. Another article by him from 2000, Re-evolving Mind, updates that progress a little, and focuses on what he expects for progress in robotics in the coming decades. Now that it's almost a decade later, his forecast still seems on track, and we have had those robot vacuum cleaners he predicted for several years now, several years sooner than he predicted (his book "Robot" predicted 2005), and they are much less expensive than he predicted, $200 instead of $1000. I still see predictions for the widespread use of single-purpose robots starting around 2010, so his forecast still seems on track for the next half decade at least. For more fascinating articles by him, see his website.
The Space Studies Institute, established by the late Gerard K. O'Neill to bring about space colonization. It is no longer very active since his death, as far as I know, but the site contains information about the whole concept, now somewhat dated since the idea of rotating space tethers is starting to seem feasible. He based his ideas on people traveling to space on cheaper rockets, which still hasn't come about, and on moving cargo around with what are called mass drivers, when space tethers would be far better. His idea that we would live in space colonies in orbit about the Earth or sun, rather than on Mars or the moon, in part because it is so difficult to get on and off planets, wouldn't be as valid with space tethers, but there are still major disadvantages to living on planets, especially the lack of continuous solar energy.
An excellent page all about rotating space tethers. It is specifically about ones that could be built right now, with current materials, that could eliminate the need for rockets to reach orbital velocity, but still wouldn't eliminate the need for suborbital rockets yet.
The page from the people working on the space elevator for NASA, and another on the subject.
Space.com, which has articles on what's going on (or usually, isn't) with space travel.
The Simple Living Network, which includes a synopsis of the book "Your Money or Your Life" online, and lists of local study groups getting together to help each other simplify their lives.
Marshall Brain's awesome website again, that I listed above under technology and futurology, that talks about the same technological - economic - political ideas as I do. Check out his concentration of wealth blog, full of economic outrages such as corporate CEOs paid millions of dollars for doing lousy jobs running their companies or even doing nothing.
Why Work?, an excellent site for people who want to fight "wage slavery", which has an online discussion group that I was involved with for a while.
"Embrace the End of Work", by James Hughes, which makes some of the same economic arguments that I do about automation.
www.timesizing.com, a site run by a politician from Massachussets, Phil Hyde, with similar views as I have, from downward redistribution of wealth to shorter work hours to direct democracy to legalizing drugs. And get this -- he's a Republican. You can't always tell a book by its party (or something like that). However, he concentrates on eliminating the economic dangers of automation by reducing work hours, as I used to advocate. But as we approach total automation, that approach would no longer work, as I explain in my essay "The Case Against Conservative Economics" on my politics page. It certainly wouldn't work when we reached total automation, since work hours would reach zero, and workers would earn nothing even if salaries became infinitely great. We would have to switch to paying people whether they work or not.
Rational Revolution, an excellent website by a friend (who wants to remain anonymous due to its contraversial content), a fellow Mensan who independently came to many of the same conclusions as I have before we met. Unlike my website, his is heavily documented, and contains statistics on such things as distribution of wealth in the US, and increasing productivity over the decades, that my website lacks. So if you want justification for the things I say, refer to his website, especially In Depth Analysis of American Income and Taxation, so I don't have to duplicate his effort.
An excellent article, How the Income Tax Became a Tax on Labor by Jonathan Rowe and Clifford Cobb. Even more important is how, as they talk about, it went from a tax on the rich only to a tax on almost everyone, especially the middle class.
Another excellent website by Marshall Brain, devoted to disproving religion, especially Christianity.
Jesus Never Existed, an apparently well-researched website that has this guy's entire 500-page book online. Before I read it, I just assumed, as even most non-religious people probably do, that even if the mystical parts of the Bible are obviously nonsense, it contains some accounts of true historical events. According to this website, virtually everything in the Bible is fictitious. Christ is just a myth, created from various other myths of the time, and so is Abraham, Moses, and the original Jewish kingdom, including the First Temple and David and Solomon, all of them made up by Jews during their captivity in Babylon. He also shows how the early Christians destroyed ancient civilization, burning all the books of hard-won knowledge from the previous millenium, murdering anyone who disagreed with them, and each other, and setting humanity's progress back a thousand years. In the U.S., they're now trying to destroy civilization once again. He calls Christianity "the worst catastrophe in human history."
Skeptics Annotated Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon, which has the full text of those books online, with notes pointing out the blatant contradictions, immorality and absurdities within them. As a bumper sticker I have on my car says: "Read the Bible - become an atheist."
The James Randi Educational Institute, devoted to debunking all mystical claims. Randi, a famous former magician, who helped Johnny Carson disable Uri Geller's magic act on the Tonight Show, many years ago offered a $1 million prize for anyone who can prove anything mystical. All the astrologers, psychics and their ilk out there, and yet no one has claimed it -- how strange! He happens to live in my area, and I have occasionally gone to his meetings. Of course, he's wasting his time, since people who believe in that stuff are impervious to reason.
2 good sites on atheism: www.atheists.org and www.infidels.org.
Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists, the local group I participate in, that I also listed at the top of this page.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI), which fights irrational beliefs such as pseudoscience and religion and publishes magazines such as Skeptical Inquirer. I listed the local chapter's website at the top of this page.
Artificial language FAQ, just to prove I'm not the only one out there with that unusual hobby. There is actually a discussion group for people who are designing their own languages -- get a life! I even have a friend who is also into linguistics, and is in the process of creating his own language.
Here's one of many sites with Steven Wright jokes, which seems fairly comprehensive.
New York City climate data, so that, now that I finally moved to south Florida, I can check on what I'm missing back north (especially each winter), and gloat, and laugh malevolently (WAH HA HA!!!! YAH HA HA!!!!). And did I mention gloating? Also, I used to keep records of NYC weather when I lived there, and I continue to check for evidence of the greenhouse effect in the climate data for there. When palm trees start to grow there, maybe I'll move back.
Links to friends' websites:
Balu Vandor, who I met through Mensa, and has similar views and interests -- except he's into boring cars instead of dangerous motorcycles. His site has some nice travel photos, of places I've never been to such as Africa and Hong Kong.
rationalrevolution.net, the same website that I listed above, under politics, by a friend who wants to remain anonymous due to its contraversial content.
My favorite books:
Those who don't believe in heaven are more likely to create heaven on earth.
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Last updated: 12-3-08.
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