“The Back of the Envelope”  is a reference to Italian-American physicist, Enrico Fermi, who would often do fast, rough calculations just to get a sense of whether an idea is potentially reasonable or not. These types of first-order approximations were meant to give a quantitative sense of whether an idea from the top of one’s head was on the right track, way off-base, or in need of further investigation, and were defined by the order of magnitude accuracy one could get with just some plausible starting numbers and hasty arithmetic on any available scrap of paper.

I notice that sometimes writers of non-fiction (journalists, editorial writers, political pundits) get caught up in their own narrative and think they can write whatever kind of ending (conclusion) they want. As a math and science teacher myself, I try to make a point of grounding speculation and opinion in real-world evidence and actual numbers, rather than rhetoric.

My main topics of interest include environmental issues, general science, speculative fiction, educational issues, and my own ongoing experiment of freelance writing. I also love to travel, and have resided in Canada (originally), China, and Costa Rica. I’m trying to hit all the “C”s first.

I welcome comments, either on the site or via e-mail (jjsboyce (at) hotmail (dot) com). I hope to hear from you, whether you’ve run your own thoughts through the Fermi test beforehand or not.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Your “Destroy Alaska…” piece is a great train of thoughts and is surely a wakeup call to the decision makers in politics, only they are likely to deny having ever read your text.
    I have written in my limited English an almost documentary novel entitled “Injury” that deals with the fight of Gwichin Indians against Big Oil and other political and industry operators for the sake of protecting “their” Porcupine caribou herd. My small publishing company http://www.alouette-verlag.de printed the novel and published it in 2007 with limited success, and I have up-dated (per 2011) and enlarged it into 90,000 words. If you are interested and have the time to read and possibly review it, please let me know and I could send it to you via postmail or email. Juergen

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