The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Hello, World!

Sep. 17, 2014 by | Comments (1)

As I write this, this new Skeptic blog doesn’t even have an official name yet. [Now “INSIGHT.”] But when a computer programmer wants to learn a new programming language, it is traditional to start by making a simple program that spits out the words, “Hello, World!” I’ve always felt a cheerful thrill when taking on such a daunting task as learning a new computer language, and I feel similarly about this blog.

Writing a blog is similar to writing a computer program. You start off with some idea and as you consider it, you can see it form into its core components: beginning, middle, end. The longer you consider it, mentally model it, and refine it, the more it seems a good thing. The more it seems like it’s elegant, possibly even important? Yes, that’s it! You’ve really got it now and all that remains is to type it in. And then…

Then comes the painful moment when you try and squeeze out that dreamy concept into the unforgiving here and now. Out here the thing stands or it falls, the sturdy wrought iron forged in your mind turns all gossamer and hazy and offers no support in the crushing gravity of reality.

Well, at least that’s how it is with me. Some folks can just hammer out excellence like Rumpelstiltskin weaves straw into gold.

I know these things rarely end up where we expect. Projects are like that, especially ones involving so many people with such different personalities as comprise this one.

I have some plans right now about discussing the way things are invented and discovered. I’m fascinated by computers, technology, engineering, inventions, biology, and especially the brain and the methods we use to discern reality. Of course I’m also quite an enthusiast about examining claims of the paranormal, so it is likely that sometimes I’ll talk about that sort of stuff as well. All in all, I’m hoping to be able to share some of the interesting topics I research from time to time.

In the coming weeks I hope to give some insight into that age-old question: “Who invented Pasteurization?” I will talk about how pocket-watches prove evolution. I will even endeavor to convince you that microchips were not reverse-engineered from a crashed space ship.

But for now, I’ve just two more words for you: Hello, World!

Blake Smith

Blake Smith is the producer and host of MonsterTalk, an official podcast of Skeptic magazine. He’s had a lifelong interest in science and the paranormal and enjoys researching the strange and unusual. By day he’s a computer consultant and by night he hunts monsters. He is married and has children. Puns are intentional; don’t bother alerting the management. Read Blake’s other posts on this blog.

One response to “Hello, World!”

  1. Daniel Loxton says:

    Confronting the opportunity to make something new is quite the feeling. I know that several of the INSIGHT bloggers have talked about the intimidation of the blank page, and the thrill of the challenge it poses. As an artist, I’ve often reflected on that feeling, standing in front of a white canvas or an empty screen—and I have certainly done so behind the scenes about the creation of INSIGHT, as Blake knows! I’m grateful for his decision to try to share that feeling here.

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