My Perspective

March 4, 2020

Today, my college classmate, Pat, sent me a text from Hawaii. Visiting Hawaii had always been on her bucket list. Consistent with the person I’ve known for over half a century, Pat is fearless and unrelentingly positive as she persists in the face of stage-four colon cancer. This trip, or her “last ...

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Recently, an assistant district attorney sent me 2,700 pages of “discovery” relating to a client’s criminal matter. Reviewing the voluminous information to sift apart important information from what was superfluous, I realized that this is a process we all undertake in this age of mass and ...

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Perhaps it’s my frequent visits to an array of medical specialists, whose number (eight thus far) has so increased that I worry I’ll forget which body part is about to be examined, or worse!  Or maybe it’s my upcoming 50th year Fordham College reunion where I’ll earn, by not dying, the title of ...

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Was the moon once part of the Earth? Will we experience a snowstorm next weekend?  Did the Big Bang really happen? In past columns I have focused on the concept of what is called the “search” method as a way of arriving at sound answers to important questions. Now I would like to touch upon, for ...

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In last week’s column, I attempted to rationally examine (using the SEARCH method) both a conspiracy theory and its counterclaim. The particular conspiracy theory I critiqued last week was the claim that the World Trade Center collapse was a government-engineered event. My objective, as always, was ...

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In my 47 years of practicing law, I have witnessed with admiration and awe how our justice system attempts to resolve factual disputes. Jurors and often judges are charged with the duty of first sifting through and then evaluating evidence in light of a standard established in the law (in a ...

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The human race has always navigated somewhere between absolute rationality and madness. On an individual level, Plato’s model of the tripartite soul mirrors what takes place on a societal level. He imagined a charioteer (representing reason or intellect), trying to control a dark horse (the ...

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Matt Slater is the new Supervisor in Yorktown and I believe I speak for everyone when I wish him well. I thought it might be interesting to ask the former Supervisor (Ilan Gilbert) for his impressions of his two year term in that office. So here goes:   Q: Thank you for your extensive service to ...

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I had expected that this New Year’s Eve would be no different than any other. As is my custom I watched the Times Square ball drop on television and heard the mighty throng cheering deliriously the passing of one year and the beginning of a new one. Yet this year I found the celebratory emergence ...

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I wish you the most joyous of holidays as well as a healthy and happy 2020. During the coming year, we will continue to explore new and intriguing topics. But before we bid adieu to 2019, I would like to share with you some of my fondest holiday memories, which date back to my childhood, from the ...

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As the days fly by and we head into the heart of the holiday season, I can’t help but ask, what is this Holiday spirit really about? Even though many people celebrate different traditions during this time of year, it feels like a time when we are all united by feelings of goodwill and charity ...

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Do you remember in middle school when you first learned of “the Scientific Method”? What your teacher taught you that day was potentially more useful than just helping you on the next science quiz. For me, trying to solve problems by systematically evaluating the plausibility of various solutions ...

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Although national events continue to underscore the strained relationship between belief and evidence, we, as human beings, persevere in our search for knowledge. Not only is knowledge power, but knowledge is valuable in its own right. Knowledge takes on various forms. We know, for example, who ...

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Last week’s procession of trick or treaters and campaigning politicians, ringing our doorbells, seeking candy or votes, made me more determined than ever to continue our discussion concerning critical thinking. I can’t think of a better time than the period between Halloween and Election Day to ...

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It was a balmy Saturday night in the spring of 2006, when I was in the midst of the most exciting adventure of my life! I’m referring to my run for the democratic nomination for Congress in New York State’s 20th Congressional District. I was joined in my efforts that year by several other hopefuls ...

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Perhaps it was the death of famous journalist and reporter Cokie Roberts or, possibly, it was the fact that I was celebrating another birthday which was unfortunately attached to an alarmingly high number. Whatever the reason, I recently found myself reflecting on the entirety of my life and the ...

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Dr. Cliff Pickover, a resident of Yorktown, just published his 50th book, entitled Artificial Intelligence: An Illustrated History, From Medical Robots to Neural Networks. I thought it might be interesting to spend some time with him. He graciously agreed to answer my questions. Q: Tell us a ...

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Two weeks ago, we began discussing the conundrum of freewill verses determinism through the fictional court case of People vs. Dr. G. Petto. As you may recall, Dr. Petto is a scientist who constructed an android named Pinocchio that was programmed to be free and, thereafter, killed a human being.

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Last week, we began to discuss the fictitious case of G. Petto, my client who is accused of murder because the android he built, Pinocchio, killed a human being. Even though Dr. Petto insists his android was programmed to act freely, the District Attorney’s Office maintains that Pinocchio’s actions ...

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Just for fun, let’s imagine that years from now, you and I form a law firm. Like    many startups, we hope to land the “big case” that will put us on the map. But after months of trying, we have no success and we start to feel hopeless—until, that is, one fateful day when a potential client walks ...

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Four years ago, the Internet was lit up by the color of the dress controversy? Was the dress blue and black, or was it white and gold? Everyone was firmly on one side or the other! This Internet sensation actually highlighted a debate that has been raging for hundreds of years in both philosophy ...

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I am bringing for your consideration, interviews with all the candidates running on our local ballot this November. The interview below is the third of four interviews with Town Board candidates. This interview is with Sheralyn Pulver-Goodman. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did ...

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In my 20s, after I had made a career shift from philosophy to law (and became a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society), I took a trip to Boston to visit my old philosophy professor and mentor, Dr. Robert Neville. At the time, he was teaching philosophy at Boston University. He ...

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George Carlin once comically remarked that we don’t have time to ponder the deep questions of philosophy because we’re too busy working. He certainly had a point. All of us are immersed in both work and private lives, which demand our attention, our energy and our time. Who has the time to ...

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President Trump’s tweets last week, telling four congresswomen to “go back” to the countries from they came while suggesting they had no right to criticize how the government is being run, awakened in me long buried memories from my youth. My parents were first generation Italian-Americans. My ...

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At the magnificent moment of our birth we are introduced to the world as members of the human species: homosapiens. However, within minutes, our social conditioning begins. A specific language is spoken to us. The programming of specific feelings, values, ideas, group preferences, and religious ...

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In his classic song, “It Was a Very Good Year,” Frank Sinatra reflects on life through the lens of past romances. While the song is slow-paced, the truth is, most of us rush through our lives neither thinking of our destination nor appreciating the many phases of our journey. Nonetheless, the ...

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This is the second part in my series of interviews with candidates for local office on the ballot this November. You may recall that two weeks ago I spent some time with Patricia Sullivan-Rothberg, Democratic candidate for Town Board. This week it was Councilman Tom Diana’s turn. Tell us a ...

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Three weeks ago, I was contacted by a famous Tibetan author, Tenzin Dickie, who has authored and edited numerous books, including “Old Demons, New Deities.” You may recall that in my series on “The Meaning of Life,” I featured the Dalai Lama prominently in one of my columns. Ms. Dickie had come ...

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As advances in neuroscience continue to unlock the secrets of the inner workings of our brains, I am reminded of an intellectual quandary that I wrestled with in my early 20s: Are we really free? Back then, having read the works of B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) and Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980), I ...

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