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Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,14:54   

I am fair sure that we used to have a thread on current reading here. Tried to search it but damned if I can.

Just started nto read "The ragged trousered philanthropists" and wanted to share thoughts.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,15:34   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ June 15 2007,14:54)
I am fair sure that we used to have a thread on current reading here. Tried to search it but damned if I can.

Just started nto read "The ragged trousered philanthropists" and wanted to share thoughts.

Under A Green Sky - Excellent - I recommend it and give it 2 Mastodon Tusks Up.  Discussion of global warming and previous mass extinctions.  Well written - moves along - interesting - the opposite of a Dembski tome.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books....ex.aspx

And we should always have a Current Books Read / Reading post easily accessable - I would bet that most of read all the time.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,15:35   

I've got one.
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."

In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?

Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?

--------------
The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,15:43   

I am reading Gonick's The Cartoon Guide to Statistics and ran into two people now who raved about it. Also re-reading The God Delusion and The Extended Phenotype.

Re: Not finding threads - I remember SteveStory saying at one time "I made a funny on the UD thread and I'd like to refer to it but damned if I can find my comment and I'm not going to search." (Don't blame ya.)

This site could use an index (example), though perhaps not an A-Z one, something customized - I've been thinking about that - but it would be a huge job.

For very little pay.

Or none. :)

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,15:43   

Just finished Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla."

Awesome.  Even if you don't want to read about the fine structural and developmental details of, oh, priapulids, Valentine is such a smooth writer that you keep on plugging away as if you were gonna learn whodunit just around the next paragraph (hint: not Teh Designist).

And VAlentine's an especially good writer when he's not writing about inividual phyla or fossils or traces or embryos.  When he's writing about the "combinatorial" construction kit of the genome, or overviews about almost anything, he's just awesome.  In fact, the further he drifts away from his academic and career specialties, and the more he has to explain things that are at least somewhat novel even to him, the more clarity and muscularity he brings to his writing.  

Great illos and diagrams as well.

And that's almost without presenting any form of critter that's newer than the ordovician.  No cute and cuddlies: 97% invertebrates.  And no "higher" cephalapods like octos, either.  But what cool-ass vermiform little invertebrates!

I can't reccommend this more highly for digging into the meat of the Cambrian "explosion" and the origin of metazoan phyla.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,15:50   

I brought along "The Republican War on Science" for reading on the plane, since I had never gotten around to reading it when it first was published. It does get you some interesting looks from your fellow passengers.

While I was slumming at this literary conference this week, I naturally had to peruse the books being sold, and I even purchased oe. I bought "Postcards from Ed", a collection of letters and other writings by Ed Abbey. The conference price was $16, well off the $24.95 list price. I'm looking forward to reading it.

And I just finished and submitted my review of Francisco Ayala's "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion" for the American Library Association's review journal (Choice).

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,16:13   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 15 2007,15:50)
And I just finished and submitted my review of Francisco Ayala's "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion" for the American Library Association's review journal (Choice).

How was it?  I just picked up a copy at a talk Ayala gave.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,16:51   

[quote=Dr.GH,June 15 2007,16:13][/quote]
Quote (Dr.GH @ June 15 2007,16:13)
 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 15 2007,15:50)
And I just finished and submitted my review of Francisco Ayala's "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion" for the American Library Association's review journal (Choice).

How was it?  I just picked up a copy at a talk Ayala gave.

I sent you my review by PM, since I don't think the ALA would take kindly to me posting it here on a website where they can't charge subscribers. And it is a short review; they limit you to 190 words...

In brief, it is sort of a schizophrenic book. As you know, he was training to be a Catholic priest before he went to grad school and got his PhD with Dobzhansky. That could explain the schizophrenic aspects, I guess. The description of basic evolutionary biology is quite good, and is worth reading if you don't have those facts properly straight in your head (are you reading this, FtK?). And he has an interesting notion that I have not heard before, that evolutionary theory solves the theodicy problem. You have to buy theistic evolution for this argument to be acceptable. And that is my real problem with the book. He sells it as a way to reconcile religion with science. And it might be that. But only in a narrower scope than he acknowledges, since he is only interested in talking about one religion, christianity. Granted, that is the religion whose adherents seem most recalcitrant on this subject, but I think it is a bit presumptuous to think that this is the only religion worth considering. So in the end it is an apologetic, similar to Miller and Collins. Shorter, and with a very succinct and readable biology section, but nevertheless a christian-targeted apologetic.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,18:03   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ June 15 2007,22:35)
I've got one.
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."

In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?

Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?

I've read it and I thought it was brilliant. I also thought it was far more damaging to faith/religion than the other two precisely because of it's comparatively quiet, scholarly tone and academic leanings.

I'm not saying the other two are ill considered, or wrong or unintellectual or anything like it. They are more polemical than the Dennett book in my opinion, and that doesn't detract from them at all but it does garner them the most publicity.

I'm reading three books at the moment: Douglas Hofstader's "Godel, Escher, Bach" which is a bit heavy going in places but very intriguing, Jared Diamond's "Collapse" which is an easy read in terms of technicalities but not in terms of implications, and lastly Stephen Fry's "An Ode Less Travelled" which is very funny and a bit densely poetic for me, but I find it very enjoyable and the exercises are fun. I usually have two or three books on the go at once because sometimes I don't feel like reading the very technical stuff late at night, or I feel more like something technical in the bath or what have you! I'm sure you all know the drill!

I've got a whole swathe of books on the Enlightenment and also on British History coming up on my little personal reading list. Then I have most of Gould's popular offerings to get through and finally The Gouldian Brick to reread properly (as opposed to dipping in and out). I reckon that's my serious reading for the rest of the year! I'll of course add the new Pratchett book when it comes out and a few other trashy novels I fancy for fun. Ooooh I've just had a thought, I'm off to Cyprus for a fortnight in a couple of months, I could build up to Gould's Brick before then and read it on holiday. Nice! Sun, brandy sours, evolutionary biology. If I could work in impertinent imbroglios with a famous atheist and ethologist I'd be almost as enviable as that shimmying siren Kristine!

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,19:06   

Quote (Louis @ June 15 2007,18:03)
I've got a whole swathe of books on the Enlightenment and also on British History coming up on my little personal reading list.

I'm glad not to be the only one with a decidely non-sciency reading list.  I am currently reading Duff Cooper's biography of Talleyrand.  On deck I have "Son of Thunder: Patrick Henry and the American Republic", Stan Hoig's "The Battle of the Washita", Akhil Amar's "America's Constitution:A Biography", and some collected works of John Locke.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,19:49   

Well, we could always get into fiction.

But then, Behe's latest has already garnered a fair bit of mention on PT, Pharyngula, and elsewhere...

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,22:25   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ June 15 2007,15:35)
I've got one.
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."

In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?

Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?

I purchased and read "Breaking the Spell" when it was first published. I recall liking it least of all of the Dennett I've read - I found him obnoxiously arrogant and condescending - and the whole "bright" thing is fingernails on chalkboard for me, a horrible blunder IMHO. This from a guy who enjoys and essentially agrees with Dennett in many respects.  

My favorite Dennett is "Freedom Evolves." The essays in "The Intentional Stance" are fascinating and important.  "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" is OK, although a lot of it is recycled from earlier essays and a lot of it grinds various axes (vis Skinner and Gould).  I found the portions of "Consciousness Explained" I read unconvincing, at least with respect to phenomenal consciousness. "Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds" is fun. "Kinds of Minds" is sort of an introductory Dennett pastry.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,22:50   

Quote (Louis @ June 15 2007,18:03)
   
Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ June 15 2007,22:35)
I've got one.
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."

In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?

Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?

I've read it and I thought it was brilliant. I also thought it was far more damaging to faith/religion than the other two precisely because of it's comparatively quiet, scholarly tone and academic leanings.

I'm not saying the other two are ill considered, or wrong or unintellectual or anything like it. They are more polemical than the Dennett book in my opinion, and that doesn't detract from them at all but it does garner them the most publicity.

I'm reading three books at the moment: Douglas Hofstader's "Godel, Escher, Bach" which is a bit heavy going in places but very intriguing, Jared Diamond's "Collapse" which is an easy read in terms of technicalities but not in terms of implications, and lastly Stephen Fry's "An Ode Less Travelled" which is very funny and a bit densely poetic for me, but I find it very enjoyable and the exercises are fun. I usually have two or three books on the go at once because sometimes I don't feel like reading the very technical stuff late at night, or I feel more like something technical in the bath or what have you! I'm sure you all know the drill!

I've got a whole swathe of books on the Enlightenment and also on British History coming up on my little personal reading list. Then I have most of Gould's popular offerings to get through and finally The Gouldian Brick to reread properly (as opposed to dipping in and out). I reckon that's my serious reading for the rest of the year! I'll of course add the new Pratchett book when it comes out and a few other trashy novels I fancy for fun. Ooooh I've just had a thought, I'm off to Cyprus for a fortnight in a couple of months, I could build up to Gould's Brick before then and read it on holiday. Nice! Sun, brandy sours, evolutionary biology. If I could work in impertinent imbroglios with a famous atheist and ethologist I'd be almost as enviable as that shimmying siren Kristine!

Louis

"Godel, Escher, Bach" created an enormous stir when first published, particularly as it was advanced by Martin Gardner at Scientific American. It proved much less influential in the long run than many expected, however.  (Hofstader eventually replaced Gardner in SciAm, supplying his "Metamagical Themas" column in place of Gardner's "Mathematical Games" for a couple years.) I agree with your assessment of "Collapse," human history often being a downer an' all. "Guns, Germs and Steel" is more fun - and renders assertions such as Uncommonly Denyse's recent speculation that "something happened" to the human race 6,000 years ago particularly ridiculous by contrast.  

Ah, the Gouldian Brick. I got through 1,000 pages of that thing during late summer and fall of '02, but never did quite finish it.  The level of detail is REALLY pathetic.  But I think I got the idea.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
someotherguy



Posts: 367
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2007,23:22   

Quote (Steviepinhead @ June 15 2007,15:43)
Just finished Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla."

Awesome.  Even if you don't want to read about the fine structural and developmental details of, oh, priapulids, Valentine is such a smooth writer that you keep on plugging away as if you were gonna learn whodunit just around the next paragraph (hint: not Teh Designist).

And VAlentine's an especially good writer when he's not writing about inividual phyla or fossils or traces or embryos.  When he's writing about the "combinatorial" construction kit of the genome, or overviews about almost anything, he's just awesome.  In fact, the further he drifts away from his academic and career specialties, and the more he has to explain things that are at least somewhat novel even to him, the more clarity and muscularity he brings to his writing.  

Great illos and diagrams as well.

And that's almost without presenting any form of critter that's newer than the ordovician.  No cute and cuddlies: 97% invertebrates.  And no "higher" cephalapods like octos, either.  But what cool-ass vermiform little invertebrates!

I can't reccommend this more highly for digging into the meat of the Cambrian "explosion" and the origin of metazoan phyla.

I've been wanting to read that for some time now.  Sadly, no libraries in my area carry it, and I'm to cheap to shell out the big bucks to buy it.

--------------
Evolander in training

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2007,01:26   

Quote (Louis @ June 15 2007,18:03)
Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ June 15 2007,22:35)
I've got one.
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."

In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?

Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?

...I'm reading three books at the moment: Douglas Hofstader's "Godel, Escher, Bach" which is a bit heavy going in places but very intriguing, Jared Diamond's "Collapse" which is an easy read in terms of technicalities but not in terms of implications, and lastly Stephen Fry's "An Ode Less Travelled"...
Louis

CJO,
Yes it is a book. Written by Robert Tressell and published after his death.  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ragged-....6090363

Louis,
I also have Diamond's book "collapse" from the library. I will be reading that next. Can I assume it is good? Also read "Guns, Germs and Steel" plus "Why sex is fun" by him. I found both to be a good read.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2007,08:53   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ June 15 2007,23:50)
Ah, the Gouldian Brick. I got through 1,000 pages of that thing during late summer and fall of '02, but never did quite finish it.  The level of detail is REALLY pathetic.

LOL

   
clamboy



Posts: 155
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2007,11:15   

At the recent meeting of the Seattle ATBC (motto "Dim lights and beer? Okay, I'll be seen in public."), I asked if anyone had read Victor Stenger's "God: The Failed Hypothesis," which I had just finished reading. I liked it quite a bit, though Stenger gets a bit into his own individual maybe-crackpot maybe-genius theories (but he clearly states, "This is *me* talking now, not the current scientific concensus!"). What impressed me was how he calmly and dispassionately addresses various arguments that have been proposed to prove the existence of the Jewish/Christian/Islamic God, and through evidence from the universe shows how those arguments fail.

Anyone else here read it yet?

I'm reading "god is not Great" now, which I think is quite well written; no matter what I think of Hitchens' substance, it is a page-turner. Since the topic is important to me, I have taken some time to look at some of the more reasoned reviews, such as that in "The New Yorker," and I think that a number of the reviewers focus almost solely on Hitchens' excoriative language, which does a disservice to the book. Hitchens has not written something like "An Atheist's Reply to 'Godless,'" which is how it could be perceived if one reads only the reviews.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 17 2007,07:27   

I think I might have to order this and read it this summer...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
SpaghettiSawUs



Posts: 77
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 17 2007,10:30   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ June 15 2007,21:35)
I've got one.
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."

In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?

Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?

I read it a while back, and I though it was excellent. I love Dennett's writing style, and the book is currently doing the rounds with my friends.

Meanwhile I've just finished Sir Arthur Eddington's Space Time an Gravitation, now that was a hard read. When you find you need to read a chapter for the fifth time you know it's a challenging read. Fantastic though.

Angela's Ashes followed by Love on the Dole the two most recent story books.

Meanwhile I've read everything published by Iain Banks / Iain M Banks and loved The Algebraist (although I guessed the "truth" quite early on.

Political polemics also occupy alot of shelf space John Pilger and Greg Palast the last two authors I've read, though I get very angry with such tomes and have to inersprese them with New Scientist/Viz and some light philosophy ;).

Cheers
Spags

--------------
On June 23, 2007, 01:06 PM AFDave wrote: "How can we dismiss their theories without first reading their work?"

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 22 2007,20:39   

Just finished "The ragged trousered philanthropists"  and would recommend it to anyone. Took me longer than I thought as I spent too much time at work or on the internet.

Next is either,
Jared Diamond "collapse"
or
Richard Dawkins "the selfish gene"

Both look good.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,14:54   

About 2/3 the way through "Collapse" now. Damn good read. This is my 3rd book by Diamond and I would recommend him. The other 2 where Guns,Germs and Steel and Why sex is fun. All good.

  
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,15:42   

I'm reading a few right now. Unfortunately my ADHD has be jumping all over the place reading different books.

Hitchens new book, a couple different cookbooks I'm sorting through and about 5 different technical books all of which are as exciting as this one sounds

Administrators guide to Tivoli Storage Manager.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,20:02   

Just finished (re)reading Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett, which is excellent.

Also reading The God Delusion.

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,21:19   

The Richness of Life - The Essential Stephen Jay Gould, edited by Steven Rose.  This is a "best of" compendium, and excellent, but I have always liked Gould.  4 page essays to 20 + pages, and all Gould's excellent, readable prose.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10296
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,23:08   

CULTURE WARRIOR BY BILL O RIELLY. ITS SATISFYING LIKE A BIG, LONG POO.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10296
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,23:10   

Quote (SpaghettiSawUs @ June 17 2007,10:30)
Meanwhile I've read everything published by Iain Banks / Iain M Banks and loved The Algebraist (although I guessed the "truth" quite early on.

I've often thought "the culture" is how a secular society of the future should be.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Glenn Branch



Posts: 18
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,23:36   

I suppose that the mention of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is reason enough to delurk: I read it while I was in college, primarily on the strength of the enthusiastic mention of it in Brendan Behan's Borstal Boy. Not many of the details remain with me now, perhaps not entirely unfortunately; it's a long book.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 01 2007,23:50   

I'm now halfway through Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed by Paul Trynka. A splendid read. I'm currently at around 1974~1975, after the Stooges had collapsed and Iggy was being a coked-out bum around LA.

It nicely complements the Iggy & the Stooges concert I went to last Spring.

Further info here.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 05 2007,17:04   

I was just sent another book to review for Choice, the review journal for the American Library Association. It is from Oxford University Press (2007), and is entitled Evolution and Religious Creation Myths: How Scientists Respond, by Paul F. Lurquin and Linda Stone (professors of Genetics and Anthropology, respectively, at Washington State University). I haven't started it yet, but two of the jacket blurbs are are from two of my scientific heroes, Paul Gross and and Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, so I suspect it is well done.

I promise not to let you influence my review, but I'd be interested if anyone out there in AtBC-land has read it and/or has any thoughts about it.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 05 2007,18:19   

I haven't been reading much. NYT & the New Yorker, that's about it. I've had way too much stress lately so yesterday I realized I had to take a break. Started playing poker, Texas Hold 'Em, at PokerStars.com. I picked that site because Ed Brayton said it was his favorite, and he's a poker afficianado. It's been a lot of fun actually.

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 05 2007,18:43   

I'm stepping through "Endless Forms Most Beautiful," probably last here to do so.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 05 2007,19:52   

I didn't finish it. I intented to review it here as I read each chapter, but I got distracted with other things and only made it about halfway. Good stuff, though, very good book.

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 06 2007,03:26   

I've just finished with "God is Not Great" by Hitchens....good in places, wasn't that impressed.

I'm no apologist for religion and as a fully paid up member of the Evil Atheists Who Like to Give The Religious Lot a Really Good Kicking On Occasion Group I'm hardly going to be squeamish about Hitchens rhetoric, but I see this as yet another book that will be reviewed by title. The arguments are in there but not explicitly stated enough for my taste (stupid people might miss them! And BOY do we have to contend with some stupid people!), but in the end my disappointment is not really a substantial one, more a subjective one.

I liked "The God Delusion" and Dennett's "Breaking the Spell" (This one is my favourite so far) and Stenger's "God: the failed hypothesis" and I am buying Grayling's "Against all gods" but so far they have left me, whilst pleasantly rallied, a little cold. Maybe it's just because I'm looking for a book on the subject that deals with the whole set of related topics and phenomena in one hit. The capo di tutti capi of modern atheist popular literature. That would be a huge book! Either way, the "criticisms" of the apologists would still come, and come from the usual place (i.e. ignorance), and I rather suspect that to silent the substanital critics (which are few and far between) that it would be an unpopular scholarly tome, and thus defeat it's own purpose.

I suppose the interested atheist can read Mackie and Smith and Russell and Hume etc etc for him or her self.

Oh well

Louis

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Bye.

  
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 06 2007,11:16   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 05 2007,18:43)
I'm stepping through "Endless Forms Most Beautiful," probably last here to do so.

Not quite.  On my shelf, not read yet.  I'm about a third of the way through Victor Stenger's "God: The Failed Hypothesis".  I'll reserve judgment until I've finished it, except to say that it's a fantastic bus book.  For those who haven't seen it, the cover has "GOD" in huge letters, with smaller letters below reading "The Failed Hypothesis", then in tiny ones "How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist".  I've had several people sidle up to me with grins on their faces, get closer, then turn pale and back away slowly.

Which reminds me, I must get the shower fixed.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 06 2007,14:37   

Just about finished "Collapse" now. Damned god book. I love the way that Jared Diamond writes pop science.
About to start, "the selfish gene". Dawkins is also good IMO.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 07 2007,20:43   

This is amusing.

As previously noted, I am reviewing a book entitled Evolution and Religious Creation Myths. I browsed over to the Amazon listing for this book, and found that it had been reviewed on June 12 by someone named "Booklady". She panned it.

The only problem with that is that the authors, in a response to this review, point out that the book was not available at that time; they hadn't even received their examination copies by that date... This review was written by someone who never read the book, only the title!

Given that the location for "booklady" is somewhere in California, I gotta wonder if this is yet another example of Larry Farfarman's fabulous abilities to review books without even reading them!

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 09 2007,11:26   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 07 2007,20:43)
This is amusing.

As previously noted, I am reviewing a book entitled Evolution and Religious Creation Myths. I browsed over to the Amazon listing for this book, and found that it had been reviewed on June 12 by someone named "Booklady". She panned it.

The only problem with that is that the authors, in a response to this review, point out that the book was not available at that time; they hadn't even received their examination copies by that date... This review was written by someone who never read the book, only the title!

Given that the location for "booklady" is somewhere in California, I gotta wonder if this is yet another example of Larry Farfarman's fabulous abilities to review books without even reading them!

Possible, but built on pretty slender evidence.  This sort of thing happens all the time on Amazon.  Just look at the reviews of books by anyone controversial (Dawkins, Moore, Coulter, etc.) and it's pretty clear that few "reviewers", on either side, have read what they're critiquing.  They can't all be Larry.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 09 2007,11:38   

Quote (JohnW @ July 09 2007,11:26)

Possible, but built on pretty slender evidence.  This sort of thing happens all the time on Amazon.  Just look at the reviews of books by anyone controversial (Dawkins, Moore, Coulter, etc.) and it's pretty clear that few "reviewers", on either side, have read what they're critiquing.  They can't all be Larry.

I agree that the evidence is slim, and I certainly agree that all of the bogus reviewers on Amazon can't all be Larry. There are plenty of other Larrys in this country. As Gordon Tompkins once said - "Somewhere there must be a hell of a lot of horses' front ends."

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 09 2007,18:26   

I've completed Endless Forms Most Beautiful.  It left me feeling a bit underwhelmed - not by the astounding discoveries vis the evolution of development described by Carroll, but by the narrative structure of the book itself. It was a great thrill to follow him into the Cambrian explosion, and as he unfolded his presentation of the logic of animal bodies (modularity, repetitive reuse of modules for differing adaptive functions, etc.), but I found his discussions of butterfly eyespots and the evolution of black pigmentation that follow a bit anticlimactic, and the sections on evolution and education rather obviously tacked on (in fact, I didn't bother with them).  I would have given the book a different, more cumulative narrative structure.  

I also wondered whether somewhat MORE technical detail was called for in his description of the operation of genetic toolkits and the logic of switching, as I left these passages not quite able to visualize how all this works. Perhaps others who are more sophisticated vis contemporary biology can comment.

Lastly, I felt frustrated by the lack of footnotes, endnotes, references - SOMETHING to give guidance to find quoted material - eg. Gould on the implications of toolkit genes - do I really have to find a quoted passage in the Gouldian Brick myself?

However, there are some wonderful passages describing the logic of research that leverages common descent to which the likes of FTK should attend.  And vis the above criticisms, I am certainly open to being told that I didn't quite get it.

[edit] I somewhat overlooked the section entitled "Sources and Further Reading" at the back of the book, which provides some information on sources and is moderately helpful - but STILL does not give citations for significant quotations.  Example: on Page 72, first paragraph, a passage from "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" (Gould) vis the genetics of development is quoted, but there is no indication of the page number either at the quotation or in the afterward.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,20:12   

Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

Edited by stevestory on July 12 2007,21:13

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,20:25   

Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:12)
Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

*SHRUG*

Dunno, I mostly just read nonfiction myself. I've never read Wodehouse and I haven't read Shakespeare since high school. Philistine, I know.

I'm not that well informed about 'the Big L', as they call Classic Literature.

I'm still finishing this, and just started this. I just ordered this, and plan to read it in a week or two. I THINK the last fiction I read was this, last winter.

This is one of my fave novels of all time.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,20:38   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,21:25)
This is one of my fave novels of all time.

good movie.

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,20:50   

Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:38)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,21:25)
This is one of my fave novels of all time.

good movie.

I had read the novel a couple times before the movie came out, and I quite liked the film. However, the book is so long and dense they had to cut out about 2/3rds of the book to make the movie a manageable length.
Even so, lots of people STILL find the movie to be extremely dense.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,20:55   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,21:50)
Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:38)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,21:25)
This is one of my fave novels of all time.

good movie.

I had read the novel a couple times before the movie came out, and I quite liked the film. However, the book is so long and dense they had to cut out about 2/3rds of the book to make the movie a manageable length.
Even so, lots of people STILL find the movie to be extremely dense.

It took several viewings for me to get it. Several people in the area are reading the book, and they make for interesting conversationalists. I'm going to have to read it at some point.

PS--at some point, a wacko (Larry F?) was accusing Ed Brayton of using pseudonyms across the internet. Some of us took to commenting, a la fight club, "People ask me...do I know Ed Brayton..." which always cracked me up to see.

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10296
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,20:57   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,20:50)
However, the book is so long and dense...

Uncommonly Dense?

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,21:03   

Quote (Richardthughes @ July 12 2007,20:57)
 
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,20:50)
However, the book is so long and dense...

Uncommonly Dense?

Absolutely.

If you've ever read Ellroy, you'd understand.

BTW, for an amazingly frank (and sometimes hilarious) account of the 15-odd years Ellroy spent as a severe alcoholic, drug addict and vagrant, his autobiography is a fascinating read.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,21:31   

Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:12)
Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

Well, I basically just read non-fiction too, but I have encountered several writers who's best work has an almost lyrical quality to me.  One is Bill Bryson, who's penultimate book is all sciency and what not.  Another wonderful non-fiction writer is Michael Wallis (the voice of the sheriff in "Cars"). He is most known for his celebrations of Route 66, but I think his book about The 101 Ranch is fantastic.  A better place to start might be this book of short stories.  

Another non-fiction writer who has the ability to really make you feel the emotions he is writing about is William Least Heat Moon. Of course, he seems to me to have an issue with depression, so that may not always  be a good thing. He is best known for Blue Highways, but I think PrairyErth is better.  I found River Horse to be a difficult read because of the apparent depression.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,21:49   

Quote (carlsonjok @ July 12 2007,21:31)
Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:12)
Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

Well, I basically just read non-fiction too, but I have encountered several writers who's best work has an almost lyrical quality to me.  One is Bill Bryson, who's penultimate book is all sciency and what not.  

Oh yeah, I read that a year ago. It's incredibly informative and I really like the writing style.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,22:06   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,21:49)
Quote (carlsonjok @ July 12 2007,21:31)
 
Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:12)
Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

Well, I basically just read non-fiction too, but I have encountered several writers who's best work has an almost lyrical quality to me.  One is Bill Bryson, who's penultimate book is all sciency and what not.  

Oh yeah, I read that a year ago. It's incredibly informative and I really like the writing style.

Of course, the Bryson book has the predictable Tard reviews:

Quote



5 of 57 people found the following review helpful:
A Skewed History of Almost Everthing, April 17, 2006
By David B. Palmer (Windsor, SC USA) - See all my reviews
 
This book was given to me as a gift,and while I enjoyed reading it, I found it to be more Science-Fiction than science. While Bryson presents several theories as fact (Big Bang, Oort cloud, and macro-evolution), He is honest enough to admit (many times over) that the evidence is either scarce or non-existent. He attempts to present the un-proven and un-provable as fact, and it is actually quite humorous at times. Instead, I would recomend "Science and the Bible" by Dr. Henry Morris.


Quote

6 of 32 people found the following review helpful:
I have just become stupider for having read this book, November 26, 2004
By Val Patrick - See all my reviews
I suppose it isn't the author's fault, as his information came from "trusted sources", but obviously his trusted sources were of a certain political bent - though I doubt it was mere coincidence.

Authors typically get their information from those who have an interest in spewing their own personal ideas with little regard to reality, and such was the case here. This becomes especially evident in the second half of the book where Bill is insistent that humanity is a pock-mark on evolution.

While much of what he says with regards to the destructive nature of mankind is true, his unspoken assertion that mankind has been malicious is readily evident and absolutely unjustified. Mankind was careless? Perhaps. Mankind was ignorant? Definitely. Makind has been malicious in it's intent? Definitely NOT. Call me an optimist, or a right-wing nut-job if you want if you feel that's what my belief makes me but I hold my fellow man in much higher esteem than this author does, and the self-loathing of his race is pathetic and insulting to me.

Especially when it comes the the greatest scientist of our time. Many of our greatest scientists were eccentric, but Bill's anecdotes of them sound like the insecure rumor mongerings of an english major who never did very well in chemistry. The truth of the matter is that in order to put themselves in positions where they could think outside of the box to make truly great discoveries, the great scientists of our time often lived outside of the box of socially acceptable behavior. Bill may exploit these behaviors for his own gratification, but I'm sure history will be far kinder to them than to Bill.


Quote
14 of 112 people found the following review helpful:
Bill has learned nothing from all his research, October 24, 2004
By David Saul Austin (Elkton, MD) - See all my reviews
"Scientists have a natural tendency to interpret finds in the way that most flatters their stature", he says on page 442. It seems that authors have this same natural tendency.

The first half of the book is spent revealing the amazing fact that we even exist in such an unbelieavably inhospitable and unlikely universe, galaxy, world, and ecosystem - all these systems endowed with mind-boggling improbabilities that all the greatest evolutionary scientists must admit exist. For example: "there may be as many as a million proteins in the human body, and each one is a miracle. By all the laws of probability proteins shouldn't exist." pg 288

But on the next page he does a 180 and while admitting that evolutionary theories don't make sense he still insists that they must be true, like: "if you make monomers wet they don't turn into polymers-except when creating life on Earth. How and why it happens then and not otherwise is one of biology's great unanswered questions." pg#291

From here on out he insists that evolutionary theories are true while admitting that they are improbable and mysterious, which sets the tone for the second half of the book. He never does, incidentally, explain how millions of proteins came into existence despite the fact that the improbability of any of them evolving is mind bogglingly remote. There are so many phrases like "algea learned to tap" and "chemicals figited to life" and "whatever prompted life to begin" and "it shouldn't happen, but somehow it does" and "it's a puzzle" and "quite suddenly an entirely new type of cell arose" and "eukaryotes 'learned' to form together into multi-cellular beings" - all without any explanation how this could have happened when radiation was destorying life and creating malignant cancers incredibly faster than it was creating these serendipitous small steps that resulted in a human, so that you wonder how much of your time you can afford to waste on his arrogant and narrow-minded insistence to avoid any suggestion involving divine intervention.

He does however have an answer that I find more satisfying than what most atheists produce, albeit incredibly lame, that life simply "wants" to evolve, and would have done so in whatever environment it started in - adapting to its environment whatever that environment and becoming totally intolerant to anything else, ultimately ending up with an ecosystem that seems amazingly improbable. Seems reasonable right? Until you ask, "why does it 'want' to evolve"? His answer: "it does really seem that the purpose of life is to perpetuate DNA" Pg#410 Well, maybe that's his purpose, but not mine.

In short his trite book, which reads more like the national enquirer of dead inventors and scientists than a history book, falls prey to the blind arrogance endemic to an atheist population who claims they have it all figured out despite that for everything new that we learn, we also learn how wrong we were about other things that their "theory of everything" relied upon.


This one may be the, um, 'best':

Quote
This author will be judged by God, January 20, 2004
By Matthew Luke, Jr. (Bentonville, AR) - See all my reviews
This book, and so many other horrible books, should not be allowed to be published or sold. It was written by a liberal who has been possessed by the Devil. Belief in, and a personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ is the only way to understand the truth about these things. The only book you need to read is the Bible. The Bible is 100% accurate and true, this laughable book is a book filled with horrible lies.


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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,22:11   

Shakespeare and Wodehouse -- fascinating pair of likes there.  I'm not too familiar with Wodehouse's work - but his writing has a reputation for sparkling and creative word use which is certainly justified based on what little of it I am familiar with.  

Steve,  you might want to look up the works of Will Cuppy.  I think you'd appreciate his sensibility.

Shakespeare is something else.....   I love Shakespeare, particularly Midsummer, and the sonnets  (it's my pride in life that my daughter was quoting Shakespeare before she knew any commercial jingles),   but addressing why he's a good writer is difficult,  because he was such a seminal writer.

We're left with the quandary -- has our modern use of English been so deeply influence by Shakespeare because Shakespeare's writing was that good,  or do we consider Shakespeare's writing to be that good because it has so deeply influenced our use of English, and by extension our culture?

I've just finished 'The Seven Daughter's of Eve', by Bryan Sykes,  and am starting Sylvia Nasar's biography of John Nash, 'A Beautiful Mind'.

I very much enjoyed 'The Seven Daughters of Eve' -- it was lucidly written, and I found it easy (as a layperson) to follow the science being discussed.   There were several excellent examples of how scientific knowledge is tested and retested broadly, and either rejected or accepted on its merits, regardless of personal opinion.  I do think it could have done without the fictional biographies of mitochondrial clan mothers, however.

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Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,07:16   

Wodehouse is sublime. The Master was the best comic writer of all time. I defy anyone to read "Joy in the Morning" and not be unmoved.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,11:05   

Quote (Louis @ July 13 2007,07:16)
Wodehouse is sublime. The Master was the best comic writer of all time. I defy anyone to read "Joy in the Morning" and not be unmoved.

Louis

I think you meant to say 'not be moved'?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,13:36   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 05 2007,18:43)
I'm stepping through "Endless Forms Most Beautiful," probably last here to do so.

Nope. Not the last. ATM it is a toss-up between that or a "Wodehouse" as my next book. Going from the comments it is going to be a difficult descision.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,13:43   

Quote (Louis @ June 15 2007,18:03)
I'm reading three books at the moment: Douglas Hofstader's "Godel, Escher, Bach" which is a bit heavy going in places but very intriguing, Jared Diamond's "Collapse" which is an easy read in terms of technicalities but not in terms of implications, and lastly Stephen Fry's "An Ode Less Travelled" which is very funny and a bit densely poetic for me, but I find it very enjoyable and the exercises are fun.

Godel Escher Bach while quite dense probably influenced my thinking as much as any book (other than Heller's Catch-22 but that's a given).

Curious, have you discovered yourself having long breaks where you discover that you've been silently contemplating some aspect of the book, slightly checked out, and people notice? That happens to me alot but IIRC it happened more while I was reading it.

Collapse I thought was brilliant for the very simple analysis. Here are the factors that lead to a society's collapse: 1,2,3,

The fact that he avoids pretension for the most part is more amazing to me now then it was when I read it.


I'm Reading

1. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson, kind of wordy and pretentious but very good.

2. Unbowed: A Memoir  by Wangari Maathai, strangely engaging and moving where you expect trite. She is the real deal.

Just finished:

1.Naked by David Sedaris, Hilarious.

2. The Omnivore's Dillemna by Michael Pollan. Put it on your must read list. I'm not kidding. His other book, The Botany of Desire should be on that list too actually.

Hi everyone :)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,13:46   

Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:12)
Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

James Joyce.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,13:56   

Quote (BWE @ July 13 2007,13:43)
Collapse I thought was brilliant for the very simple analysis. Here are the factors that lead to a society's collapse: 1,2,3,

The fact that he avoids pretension for the most part is more amazing to me now then it was when I read it.

Loved it. For pretty much the same reasons. The guy writes well. I love the way he makes stuff that was obviously difficult at conception sound accessible to lay people.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,14:10   

Quote (Louis @ July 13 2007,08:16)
Wodehouse is sublime. The Master was the best comic writer of all time. I defy anyone to read "Joy in the Morning" and not be unmoved.

Louis

That was the first one I read. From the very first sentence, I knew this guy was something special.

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,14:14   

Quote (PennyBright @ July 12 2007,23:11)
Shakespeare and Wodehouse -- fascinating pair of likes there.  I'm not too familiar with Wodehouse's work - but his writing has a reputation for sparkling and creative word use which is certainly justified based on what little of it I am familiar with.  

Steve,  you might want to look up the works of Will Cuppy.  I think you'd appreciate his sensibility.

Shakespeare is something else.....   I love Shakespeare, particularly Midsummer, and the sonnets  (it's my pride in life that my daughter was quoting Shakespeare before she knew any commercial jingles),   but addressing why he's a good writer is difficult,  because he was such a seminal writer.

We're left with the quandary -- has our modern use of English been so deeply influence by Shakespeare because Shakespeare's writing was that good,  or do we consider Shakespeare's writing to be that good because it has so deeply influenced our use of English, and by extension our culture?

I've just finished 'The Seven Daughter's of Eve', by Bryan Sykes,  and am starting Sylvia Nasar's biography of John Nash, 'A Beautiful Mind'.

I very much enjoyed 'The Seven Daughters of Eve' -- it was lucidly written, and I found it easy (as a layperson) to follow the science being discussed.   There were several excellent examples of how scientific knowledge is tested and retested broadly, and either rejected or accepted on its merits, regardless of personal opinion.  I do think it could have done without the fictional biographies of mitochondrial clan mothers, however.

Speaking of Billy Shakes and questions like these, here's a good article:

Quote
A man for all ages


According to many critics of his time, Shakespeare was vulgar, provincial and overrated. So how did he become the supreme deity of poetry, drama and high culture itself, asks Jonathan Bate, editor of the first Complete Works from the Folio for 300 years

Saturday April 14, 2007
The Guardian


http://books.guardian.co.uk/departm....00.html

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,15:12   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 13 2007,17:05)
Quote (Louis @ July 13 2007,07:16)
Wodehouse is sublime. The Master was the best comic writer of all time. I defy anyone to read "Joy in the Morning" and not be unmoved.

Louis

I think you meant to say 'not be moved'?

Oh dear, did I make a balls up? Oh well, ho hum! You're quite right of course.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,15:24   

Quote (stevestory @ July 13 2007,20:10)
That was the first one I read. From the very first sentence, I knew this guy was something special.

Apparently what he used to do is paste pages of his novel in progress all around the walls of the room in which he would write. Initially they would be pasted low down on the wall, roughly skirting board height. He would then edit them and rewrite them and as he improved them he would repaste them higher up the wall until they reache the picture rail, whereupon they were suitable for publication.

If that single fact doesn't make you squirm with delight I don't know what will!

Louis

P.S. Oh and I was at school with his great-granddaughter, not that that means anything.

P.P.S. Aunts Aren't Gentlemen and Carry On Jeeves are also personal favourites, as are the Blandings stories and Psmith.....oh well, all of it!

--------------
Bye.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,15:45   

Quote (Louis @ July 13 2007,15:12)
 
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 13 2007,17:05)
 
Quote (Louis @ July 13 2007,07:16)
Wodehouse is sublime. The Master was the best comic writer of all time. I defy anyone to read "Joy in the Morning" and not be unmoved.

Louis

I think you meant to say 'not be moved'?

Oh dear, did I make a balls up?

Genitals first, no doubt.  ;)

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 13 2007,16:13   

Here's a brilliant new piece of fiction I'm working through slowly: Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra.  An enormous, sprawling crime novel set in Mumbai.  Filled with delicious writing.

--------------
"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,05:29   

Currently "On War" By Carl Von Clausewitz. Not as dry as it may seem.

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,12:55   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ July 14 2007,05:29)
Currently "On War" By Carl Von Clausewitz. Not as dry as it may seem.

Ian - Could you do the world a favor and send that to Bush and Cheney when you're done reading it?

They will me utterly amazed that you can actually plan to win a war!  Say what you will about the Krauts, but I think they knew how to win, except that Hitler kept second-guessing his professionals and going with his gut reactions...   Sound familiar?  Yep, it's The ID of WWII.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,13:56   

Quote (J-Dog @ July 14 2007,12:55)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ July 14 2007,05:29)
Currently "On War" By Carl Von Clausewitz. Not as dry as it may seem.

Ian - Could you do the world a favor and send that to Bush and Cheney when you're done reading it?

They will me utterly amazed that you can actually plan to win a war!  Say what you will about the Krauts, but I think they knew how to win, except that Hitler kept second-guessing his professionals and going with his gut reactions...   Sound familiar?  Yep, it's The ID of WWII.

It's a tad outdated, but hey, even Sun Tzu would do better. (I have that to read as well).

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,16:17   

Curious, Has anyone else sprung for "The Omnivore's Dilemma"?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,16:46   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ July 14 2007,13:56)
It's a tad outdated, but hey, even Sun Tzu would do better. (I have that to read as well).

Add Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings", too.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,16:50   

Quote (BWE @ July 14 2007,16:17)
Curious, Has anyone else sprung for "The Omnivore's Dilemma"?

Yeah, I read it and liked it a lot. Botany of Desire was better, IMHO, but both of them were excellent reading!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,20:16   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ July 14 2007,16:46)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ July 14 2007,13:56)
It's a tad outdated, but hey, even Sun Tzu would do better. (I have that to read as well).

Add Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings", too.

I already spent well over £100 of my parents money on textbooks, otherwise I would happily add that.

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:00   

I'll admit I'm failing horribly compared to all the science books listed here. But I just ordered this. Should have it Tuesday


  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:06   

I read the NYT Dining In/Out section every Wednesday. (Richardthughes: OF COURSE YOU DO, HOMO (Richard, I miss the tardologues. You were riding that joke into the ground, but it was still sometimes funny)) And I think last year sometime was an article about a very avant garde restaurant whose dishes were based upon offal. Those bones pics reminds me that one such dish was bone marrow. The leg bones were sawn up, the pieces were grilled or something, and at the table you were supposed to scoop out the marrow and spread it on I believe bread.

   
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:11   

Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:06)
I read the NYT Dining In/Out section every Wednesday. (Richardthughes: OF COURSE YOU DO, HOMO (Richard, I miss the tardologues. You were riding that joke into the ground, but it was still sometimes funny)) And I think last year sometime was an article about a very avant garde restaurant whose dishes were based upon offal. Those bones pics reminds me that one such dish was bone marrow. The leg bones were sawn up, the pieces were grilled or something, and at the table you were supposed to scoop out the marrow and spread it on I believe bread.

That is actually a pretty classic dish. I've had marrow a number of times and it is quite good.

It's usually one of those "Chefs only order it" dishes, but trust me it's really good.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:20   

It makes sense. Yellow marrow on bread would contain the yummy trinity of fats, protein, and carbs.

   
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:29   

Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:20)
It makes sense. Yellow marrow on bread would contain the yummy trinity of fats, protein, and carbs.

bingo

It's rich as hell. Not somethign you want to be eating every day.... Well maybe wanting... but not somethign you SHOULD be eating every day :0

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:37   

Given my horrible diet, "not something you should eat everyday" mentally translates in my head to "something you should eat everyday, and additionally wash down with whiskey, because nobody really wants to be 70"

   
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:43   

Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:37)
Given my horrible diet, "not something you should eat everyday" mentally translates in my head to "something you should eat everyday, and additionally wash down with whiskey, because nobody really wants to be 70"

You and I need to have a few drinks sometime. I think you just detailed my life philosophy.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,21:51   

I'm fairly immobile. I seldom leave Chapel Hill, NC. If you make it here, though, I'm up for it. I'm planning a Decemberfest on the anniversary of Judge Jones's decision, but I'm also open to plenty of preliminary boozing. We should call Reed and Bora, they live around here. And Lou FCD needs to get his ass up here. (and if anyone else lives in the area, you're welcome too)

   
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,22:01   

Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:51)
I'm fairly immobile. I seldom leave Chapel Hill, NC. If you make it here, though, I'm up for it. I'm planning a Decemberfest on the anniversary of Judge Jones's decision, but I'm also open to plenty of preliminary boozing. We should call Reed and Bora, they live around here. And Lou FCD needs to get his ass up here. (and if anyone else lives in the area, you're welcome too)

Ahh. Well I'm in Charleston and my brother lives in Raleigh. I've briefly met Reed and Bora at a tribute for my grandfather at NC State where Ken Miller spoke. I make it up there occasionally. Next time I'm up there I'll definitely let you know.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,22:49   

Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:37)
Given my horrible diet, "not something you should eat everyday" mentally translates in my head to "something you should eat everyday, and additionally wash down with whiskey, because nobody really wants to be 70"

Ah, but will you still feel that way when you're 50?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,22:57   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 14 2007,22:49)
Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:37)
Given my horrible diet, "not something you should eat everyday" mentally translates in my head to "something you should eat everyday, and additionally wash down with whiskey, because nobody really wants to be 70"

Ah, but will you still feel that way when you're 50?

Who says we'll get to 50?

No I want t live a long life but I also get a high level of life enjoyment out of experiencing the massive variety of food and beverage styles in the world. If I sacrifice a few years.. well. Shit. That's how it goes. I can't imagine life without trying what you have access to and want to try, be it food or other things.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 14 2007,23:54   

Quote (Rev. BigDumbChimp @ July 14 2007,22:57)
No I want t live a long life but I also get a high level of life enjoyment out of experiencing the massive variety of food and beverage styles in the world. If I sacrifice a few years.. well. Shit. That's how it goes. I can't imagine life without trying what you have access to and want to try, be it food or other things.

Amen, brother.  Who wants to be 100 years old, drooling in your oatmeal and pooping in your Depends?

Live hard, die young.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,04:22   

However you COULD be 100 like Ernst Mayr and still going into a job you love, doing the research you love, being productive and not wearing Depends and dribbling from any orifice.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the work of Aubrey de Grey.

The thing that annoys me is the calorie restriction stuff, mainly because I like the "better to live a moment as a lion than a lifetime as a mouse" philosophy a little too much! ;-) But you've got to admit he has a point.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,09:57   

Seems to me that capacity for pleasure and hedonism is intimately connected to one's health - very ill and chronically debilitated persons often can't derive much pleasure from the basics (eating, sex, conversation, risk taking, substances, art, etc.) regardless of extremes; fit and healthy persons can derive the full amplitude of pleasure associated with those activities even with moderate and subtle inputs. So the most hedonistic course is to observe measures (which typically entail moderation) that lengthen one's health span, rather than full-bore indulgence. In short, care for the instrument.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,10:26   

Bill,

Very much in that vein, I remember (vaguely) a line from Pratchett's "Moving Pictures" in which one of the chief protagonists is described as a very lazy person, so lazy in fact that he couldn't be bothered to haul a hugly fat carcass about so he took regular exercise and ate sensibly, and this had a toned physique and muscles that could crack walnuts etc. Made sense to me....at least in theory! ;-)

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,11:07   

Quote (Rev. BigDumbChimp @ July 14 2007,22:57)
   
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 14 2007,22:49)
     
Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:37)
Given my horrible diet, "not something you should eat everyday" mentally translates in my head to "something you should eat everyday, and additionally wash down with whiskey, because nobody really wants to be 70"

Ah, but will you still feel that way when you're 50?

Who says we'll get to 50?

Trust me, LOTS of people make it to 50 without ever dreaming they would.

I don't feel like keeling over from smoking or heart disease at 49 (having a young daughter is a big part of that), but at the same time I'm not willing to spend my whole life jogging 2 hours every morning and eating nothing but bland low-fat high-fiber vegetarian food. (What's the point of a long life, if it's filled with that?) Fortunately I've never smoked, but I do love me some fried food. So you compromise. I try and keep the fats lowish and take meds for cholesterol and blood pressure (hereditary high BP -- thanks, dad!), but I don't jog or work out, either. So what'll that buy me? 77? Cool.

I've known a couple people in academia who made it into their 90's still sharp and still productive (I certainly have enough projects to last me another 50 years) but it is incredibly rare. (For every one of them I can name, I can name ten people who keeled over at 81 after 12 years of idleness and shitty health.) My personal opinion is that making it to 100 with all your marbles is so totally a matter of genetic luck that it's ridiculous to deliberately try to make it happen.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Rev. BigDumbChimp



Posts: 185
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,11:19   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 15 2007,11:07)
Quote (Rev. BigDumbChimp @ July 14 2007,22:57)
   
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 14 2007,22:49)
     
Quote (stevestory @ July 14 2007,21:37)
Given my horrible diet, "not something you should eat everyday" mentally translates in my head to "something you should eat everyday, and additionally wash down with whiskey, because nobody really wants to be 70"

Ah, but will you still feel that way when you're 50?

Who says we'll get to 50?

Trust me, LOTS of people make it to 50 without ever dreaming they would.

I don't feel like keeling over from smoking or heart disease at 49 (having a young daughter is a big part of that), but at the same time I'm not willing to spend my whole life jogging 2 hours every morning and eating nothing but bland low-fat high-fiber vegetarian food. (What's the point of a long life, if it's filled with that?) Fortunately I've never smoked, but I do love me some fried food. So you compromise. I try and keep the fats lowish and take meds for cholesterol and blood pressure (hereditary high BP -- thanks, dad!), but I don't jog or work out, either. So what'll that buy me? 77? Cool.

I've known a couple people in academia who made it into their 90's still sharp and still productive (I certainly have enough projects to last me another 50 years) but it is incredibly rare. (For every one of them I can name, I can name ten people who keeled over at 81 after 12 years of idleness and shitty health.) My personal opinion that making it to 100 with all your marbles is so totally a matter of genetic luck that it's ridiculous to deliberately try to make it happen.

Yeah I know I was half kidding. My grandfather made it to almost 90 with all his faculties working at the same level they always did (although a hair slower). Living long and being healthy is a goal, however, liek yuo said I'd like to enjoy the ride.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,12:24   

My Grandfather made it to 90 but decided one day that the leak in the roof would be best dealt with on a 100' day in August and had a heart attack up on his roof.

Bizarre.

My great grandmother had to turn over the running of her orchards to her 84 year old son when she was 101. Seems she got too shaken up driving the Honda 3 wheeler around.

She died four years later. She told my grandmother the year before she died that she knew she was going to die soon because she was bored too much.

P.S. "The Prince" is my favorite book on War.

It is also my favorite essay. I wish I could read it in the original.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,13:23   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 15 2007,12:07)
I've known a couple people in academia who made it into their 90's still sharp and still productive (I certainly have enough projects to last me another 50 years) but it is incredibly rare.

The general rule vis aging is "use it or loose it." Very likely remaining productive into advanced years contributed to their longevity.  Becoming cognitively and physically inactive at 69 invites the reaper.



--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,13:34   

There was a star trek episode I recall about a society where at 60 they ritualistically killed themselves because they hated decrepitude.

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,14:02   

Last night I read "Evolution Exposed," a stinking pile of crap smeared on paper by Paul G. Humber.  It was disgusting.

I had to read it as part of the longish response to Weikart that I am working on sporadically.  Humber likes to email people and then use their replies as "gotchas."  He goes on for some while about Lenny without ever mentioning him by name.

I realized that he had sent me several emails years ago.  I told him that I didn't respond to individual emails about E/c, (I don't), and that he should post these to the TO newsgroup where I would reply.

I have also just finished reading

Morris, Henry M.
1974 "The Troubled Waters of Evolution" San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

All for the same critical review of Weikart.  These will only be a tiny observation that the creationist lies about Darwin+Hitler are not original, that they have been essentially unmodified for over 30 years, that Weikart is well known to creationists as a fellow believer (notable in Humber of course), and that Weikart has nothing new to offer.

PS:  If I live another 8 months I'll set an all family male longevity record.  I cannot understand why I waste so much time reading creationist crap.  Oh Well.

Edited by Dr.GH on July 15 2007,14:04

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,14:06   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ July 14 2007,16:46)
Add Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings", too.

I liked that one the best of the three mentioned.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,14:59   

What I'm checking out from UNC in about 5 mins:

http://www.amazon.com/Outlaw-Sea-World-Freedom-Chaos/dp/0865475814


   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,15:25   

Quote (stevestory @ July 15 2007,14:59)
What I'm checking out from UNC in about 5 mins:

http://www.amazon.com/Outlaw-Sea-World-Freedom-Chaos/dp/0865475814


Read it last year. It's great. The chapters about piracy, ship breaking, and the sinking of the Estonia are especially good.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,17:32   

Quote (BWE @ July 15 2007,12:24)
My Grandfather made it to 90 but decided one day that the leak in the roof would be best dealt with on a 100' day in August and had a heart attack up on his roof.

Bizarre.

According to family lore, one of my ancestors (a great-great uncle or something) lived to be 90, and was killed when he was watching his grandsons cut down a tree, and part of it fell on him.

On my mother's side, everyone lives to be 80 or 90.  On my father's side, everyone has bad tickers and dies when they're 60 or 70.

I don't know which genes I got.  But I do know that at age 46, I'm a hundred times more active than my father was when *he* was 46.  I still kayak, hike and camp a lot, and ride a bicycle six miles for work every day.  At age 46, my father huffed and puffed going up a flight of stairs (he had his first heart attack at age 47 or 48, IIRC).  But then, he is (still) a two-pack-a-day smoker, and I rarely smoked (cigarettes, anyway).

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,17:39   

Quote (Dr.GH @ July 15 2007,14:02)
 Humber likes to email people and then use their replies as "gotchas."  He goes on for some while about Lenny without ever mentioning him by name.

IIRC, he emailed me with some horseshit about Darwin being responsible for Hitler, and I pointed out that neither "Darwin" nor "evolution" is mentioned anywhere in "Mein Kampf", and that he is a flat-out liar for claiming so.


That was a few years ago, though.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,17:50   

I'm dipping into "The Ordinall of Alchemy" by thomas Norton.  I just can't seem to settle on any book these days, my attention abilities are broken.

Finally finished "The face of battle" by John Keegan, which looks at Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme, and consider the phsychological and social factors associated with fighting in each of these battles, the dangers people faced, how they coped with them, what kept them fighting rather than running away.  Very moving in places, also makes me glad I have grown up without particular fear of being involved in war.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,17:57   

Quote (Dr.GH @ July 15 2007,14:02)
I realized that he had sent me several emails years ago.  I told him that I didn't respond to individual emails about E/c, (I don't), and that he should post these to the TO newsgroup where I would reply.

After I gave up attempting to "debate" the nutters in private email, I answered everyone with a form letter explaining that I had no interest all in debating theology with them, since their religious opinions aren't any more authoritative or divine than anyone else's.  Alas, about two-thirds of the nutters responded to that anyway, wanting to argue over this or that -- which prompted the response from me: "Which part of 'I have no interest in debating theology with you' were you too stupid to understand?"

Now, I just answer all the nutters right away with a one-sentence reply:  "I don't give a flying fuck about your religious opinions.  (shrug) "

That seems to shut them up.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 15 2007,18:10   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 15 2007,16:25)
Read it last year. It's great. The chapters about piracy, ship breaking, and the sinking of the Estonia are especially good.

At the moment, Langweische is my favorite writer. I've read about 10 pages of this so far, and it's excellent.

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,04:03   

Question: Is "Stranger in a Strange Land" literature (in the stuffy, English sense of the word)?

and

Question: Did anybody else love "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,06:08   

Quote (BWE @ July 17 2007,04:03)
Question: Is "Stranger in a Strange Land" literature (in the stuffy, English sense of the word)?

No.  
On the grounds that it tells us little about the human condition that has not been said before, is not, as far as I can recall, particularly well written, and also ultimately doesn't go far enough in the implications of what capabilities people have.  

As an SF book of the time, it's good.  That is if you agree that one of the purposes of SF is to explore possibilities and alternatives, and hold a mirror up to the present.  But when I re-read it a few years ago, I found it a bit boring, because the shock value it had when it came out has been diluted as society has changed.  Mind you, I still think Heinlein had an Oedipal complex.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,06:42   

Thanks, I was considering re-reading it. I haven't read it for ... er,... a long time. I remembered liking it.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,07:20   

You should re-read it.  I read it when I was at school, about 17.  It seemed pretty good at the time.  Then I re-read it when I was 26 or so, and found it ok, but rather transparent and wish fulfilling, in the same way Starship troopers is.  Reding it again will give you an idea of how you and your tastes have changed over the years.

Just to clarify, in the previous comments, I meant capabilities of people in the book, not people in real life.

  
JohnW



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Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,10:41   

Quote (JohnW @ July 06 2007,11:16)
I'm about a third of the way through Victor Stenger's "God: The Failed Hypothesis".  I'll reserve judgment until I've finished it, except to say that it's a fantastic bus book.  For those who haven't seen it, the cover has "GOD" in huge letters, with smaller letters below reading "The Failed Hypothesis", then in tiny ones "How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist".  I've had several people sidle up to me with grins on their faces, get closer, then turn pale and back away slowly.

Finished it.  He makes some good points, and although I think he makes an unjustified leap from "no evidence of existence" to "therefore non-existence", I agree with his overall conclusion that the universe looks exactly the way we would expect it to look if there was no god.  It was nice to see such a concentration on the scientific evidence, rather than "religion is evil".

Now reading Owen Gingerich's The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
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(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,11:03   

Quote (JohnW @ July 17 2007,16:41)
He makes some good points, and although I think he makes an unjustified leap from "no evidence of existence" to "therefore non-existence", I agree with his overall conclusion that the universe looks exactly the way we would expect it to look if there was no god.

While, philosophically speaking I agree with you, the question that always springs to my mind is "would we be so philosophically precise and indulgent if we were talking about unicorns, fairies at the bottom of the garden or celestial teapots?".

My guess is we'd say "yes", but the bulk of the time we'd act "no".

A person who claims that they ride a unicorn to work every day and is paid by pixies in special fairy money, which is worth double, and has a direct phone line to Batman doesn't get the same treatment as a person who claims that they have a direct mystical hotline to the creator of the universe and we can get one too if we just abandon the evidenciary approach on the matter.

Louis

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Bye.

  
JohnW



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(Permalink) Posted: July 17 2007,11:35   

Quote (Louis @ July 17 2007,11:03)
Quote (JohnW @ July 17 2007,16:41)
He makes some good points, and although I think he makes an unjustified leap from "no evidence of existence" to "therefore non-existence", I agree with his overall conclusion that the universe looks exactly the way we would expect it to look if there was no god.

While, philosophically speaking I agree with you, the question that always springs to my mind is "would we be so philosophically precise and indulgent if we were talking about unicorns, fairies at the bottom of the garden or celestial teapots?".

My guess is we'd say "yes", but the bulk of the time we'd act "no".

A person who claims that they ride a unicorn to work every day and is paid by pixies in special fairy money, which is worth double, and has a direct phone line to Batman doesn't get the same treatment as a person who claims that they have a direct mystical hotline to the creator of the universe and we can get one too if we just abandon the evidenciary approach on the matter.

Louis

I more or less agree with you, Louis.  I think the absence of evidence, given that it is total absence of evidence, is very, very strong evidence of absence, and it's why I am an atheist.  I Just think that Stenger stretches the point a little.

If we uncovered evidence that the universe had been created by a god (and I have no idea what that evidence might be) I would be very, very surprised, but I'm not prepared to rule it out totally, in the way we can totally rule out a 6,000-year-old Earth, or fairies at the bottom of my garden.  (The unicorns ate all the fairies).

And the fact is that most people do weigh the evidence on God in a different way to the evidence on unicorns.  It's for cultural reasons, and it's not a good thing, but I think we have to just learn to live with it.

"If only God would show me a sign.  Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank."
- Woody Allen

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,08:55   

Quote (JohnW @ July 17 2007,10:41)
...
Now reading Owen Gingerich's The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus.

I read that some months ago and found it fascinating.

Finished the selfish gene(30th Aniversary edition) on Thu and moved onto The Drones omnibus by P.G.Wodehouse. I checked the Wodehouse out while still reading chapter 11 of "selfish" and kinda wish I'd waited and read "extended phenotype" first. Still, I am enjoying "drones", some fantastic lines.

  
Steviepinhead



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(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,16:26   

Revealing my utter mundanity, I just received my copy of "Deathly Hallows," the final Harry Potter book.

I'm also reading the fourth book, "Summer Night," in the light Chicago-set wizard-noir series about Harry Dresden, by Jim Butcher.

But, on the science side of the ledger, I'm also reading (BWE's suggestion of) "The botany of Desire."  It's going slowly (for me), not because it's either dense or turgid, but because each sentence is a clear-sparkling gem, that requires contemplation.

I'm also reading a couple of summaries of (primarily) archaeological study about Southeastern/Mississipian precontact cultures, one more general, susan c. Power's "Early Art of the Southeastern Indians: Feathered Serpents & Winged Beings," and one more specific and site-focused, Timothy Pauketat's "Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians."

I'm still working through the text of J.J. Brody's "Mimbres Painted Pottery," which is both an archaeological/anthropological work and, in effect, an art history (I've repeatedly devoured the splendid graphics),
whilst I'm also nibbling away at de Laguna's multi-volume tome on the northernmost Tlingit group, "Under Mount Saint Elias: The history and culture of the Yakutat Tlingit."

Oh, yeah, and trying to pick up a couple of tunes from the tabs'n'chords book, "Creedence Clearwater Revival: The Guitar Anthology Series."

Okay, back to Harry...

  
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,17:33   

Quote

But, on the science side of the ledger, I'm also reading (BWE's suggestion of) "The botany of Desire."  It's going slowly (for me), not because it's either dense or turgid, but because each sentence is a clear-sparkling gem, that requires contemplation.


That's a fantastic book. Although it sounds implausible, the chapter on the potato may actually be the best. His summary of the history of potatoes in Ireland is especially interesting.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,19:48   

Quote (BWE @ July 17 2007,05:03)
Question: Is "Stranger in a Strange Land" literature (in the stuffy, English sense of the word)?

and

Question: Did anybody else love "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins?

I don't know if it's literature, I just found it boring.

Quote
Question: Did anybody else love "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins?


Just reread it a month ago. Really fantastic stuff. I could read his stuff over and over. If you haven't read Jitterbug Perfume, read that immediately.

   
BWE



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(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,19:51   

I've read them all. Another roadside attraction is quite different though. It's a bit clunky at the beginning and the blowjobs are sort of gratuitous (can't wait for the jokes from that one) but the story moved me.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,21:06   

Quote (BWE @ July 21 2007,19:51)
the blowjobs are sort of gratuitous. . .

I"m sorry, but this writing is jibberish.  You're making no sense at all.

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"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
Bob O'H



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(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2007,04:29   

Quote
Revealing my utter mundanity, I just received my copy of "Deathly Hallows," the final Harry Potter book.

Oh, I finished that yesterday.  :-)

All I can say I that Harry did better than Arthur Dent: Kings Cross does have a bit more class than Southend.

Bob

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It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
Albatrossity2



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(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2007,10:04   

Well, I sent in my review for Evolution and Religious Creation Myths: How Scientists Respond, by Paul F. Lurquin and Linda Stone. So I figured I should post something here as well.

This book is well-researched, and would be a valuable tool for "anyone who has ever needed to argue why evolution and creationism are not both valid theories that deserve equal attention", as the publisher points out. It is dense, with small type, so it packs a lot of ammo into a slim volume. It seems to be aimed at a broad audience, and therefore has sections that will be pretty superficial for some members of that audience. For example, if you know much about biology, you can skip the chapters about genetics and molecular biology. Ditto for the chapter on the Big Bang if you are reasonably well-acquainted with modern physics. It is nice to have all of these things in one volume, but it does detract from the "readability" score.

It also has a decent summary of the history of creationism and ID (which the authors call neo-creationism, a nice touch). They tackle irreducible complexity as well, and show that all of Behe's examples (immune system, flagellum, etc) are not really irreducibly complex. Unfortunately, since this book went to press before Behe's latest opus, it is already a bit dated with regard to disputing his latest sham arguments.

All in all, this is a very good resource book. It is not light reading, but I can recommend it to this crowd as a good book to lend to anyone who has serious questions about the creationism/neo-creationism v evolution "controversy". It will get them up to speed quite handily.

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2007,12:06   

Since it's been thunderstorming here for the past two days, I've been housebound all weekend, and have been spending the time reading through a bunch of declassified documents I found on the web, about US military plans for waging nuclear warfare.  Fascinating.  among other things, the documents show that:

Eisenhower initiated a policy wherein, under certain circumstances, US military officials recieved thre authority to launch nuclear weapons on their own, without any prior communciation from the President (a policy that later scared the shit out of the US government during the Cuban Missile Crisis -- when Curtis Lemay, among others, argued for a full pre-emptive nuclear attack on the Soviet bloc).  

The US also physically moved nuclear weapons into Korea for use, but declined to use them because (1) Truman was opposed to it on political grounds, and (2) North Korea had no large targets worthy of a nuclear strike.

The US also moved and deployed nuclear weapons in several dozen other nations, mostly without that nation's permission or knowledge -- many times in direct violation of treaty.

The military plan for nuclear warfare was known as the Single Integrated Operations Plan (SIOP).  It was updated periodically as new weapons became available.  In reading the SIOPs over the years, it becomes apparent that targeting plans were not based on any military need or necessity, but simply used every weapon that became available, by assigning it to SOMETHING.

Originally, SIOP had only two options for any military incident; either no nuclear action at all, or a fullscale all-out attack. The SIOP also drew no distinctions between unfriendly nations --- a regional attack by China on Taiwan, for example, would provoke a fullscale nuclear response not only against China, but against the USSR and all the Eastern European Soviet Bloc nations as well.  The SIOP was, literally, all or nothing.  Kennedy was the first President to order the plan modified for "flexible response", wherein intermediate grades of nuclear response were possible -- targeting specific countries, for example, or targeting just a portion of the enemy's nuclear weapons capability.

One of the documents presents an estimate of the casualties that would result from several different nuclear options -- including a strike solely against Soviet nuclear weapons sites, and an all-out attack on Soviet cities (the casualties, not surprisingly, were about the same in either case).

The US also gave serious consideration to the use of nuclear weapons during the 1961 Berlin crisis, and to a lesser extent, during the Vietnam War.  Unlike in Korea, however, no nuclear weapons were actually moved into physical position for an attack.

During the late 70's and early 80's, members of the joint Chiefs of Staff argued that the nuclear war plans (which were largely developed by the Air Force) were unnecessary overkill, that the plan greatly overestimated Soviet nuclear strength, and that far more weapons were being produced and deployed than were militarily necessary.  (Oddly enough, those are the very same points that the antiwar nuclear freeze movement, which I was involved with during the Reagan years, was making.)

Also declassified is a 1994 report on the role of nuclear weapons in the "new world order".  It argues that the US should use nuclear weapons unilaterally, without international oversite or permission, against non-nuclear nations, in the "war on terror".  (A few months ago, when active plans appeared to be in action for an invasion of Iran, it was leaked that part of that plan was the use of earth-penetrating nuclear weapons to destroy underground Iranian command bunkers and weapons centers.)


For those of us who lived through the Cold War years, it is somewhat surprising that, with Korea making nuclear efforts, both India and Pakistan (who have already fought three wars against each other) both in possession of nuclear weapons, the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel (which is why Iran and Iraq want them), and the current US policy of unilateral use against non-nuclear nations, the probability of the intentional military use of nuclear weapons is higher today than it has been at any time since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 23 2007,08:32   

Thanks for that Lenny. Relax and learn to love the bomb ....or something. I see no romances on the ATBC book list? ......can I recommend "Memories of My Melancholy Whores". by Gabriel Garcia Marquez?
(Howie Ahmanson's nemisis). If that tickles your fancy try "Love in the time of Cholera" Fidel, me and the woman who claims to be my girlfriend all enjoyed it.

While you guys have been fighting the good fight I have been swanning around the mountains of Papua New Guinea reading Joseph Campbell's "Oriental Mythology"
all 500 pages of it, dense reading from Egypt to Japan and around 5000 years of mythological history .....not for the faint-hearted.

I should have been reading "Primitive Mythology" his first volume on the subject  which would have been a great conversation starter with the locals.

Marquez should have 2 Nobels in my humble opinion. One for writing and one for reving up GWD by visiting Fidel recently. ......<snigger>.

Suck that down Bill and Dave you gobsmacks.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 23 2007,18:13   

Quote (k.e @ July 23 2007,08:32)
Thanks for that Lenny. Relax and learn to love the bomb ....or something.

Okay, Slim.   ;)

The part I found most frightening was that as early as 1967, the US had enough nuclear weapons available to launch a strike against every city in the Soviet Bloc with a population over 25,000.  That's every city the size of Cleburne, Texas.  Or DeWitt, New York.  Or Hertford, England.  At least one-third of the total population of Russia, China and the Eastern Europe nations, would have died.  At least another third would have been maimed.

By the mid 70's (when MIRVs were introduced), the US had so many nuclear weapons in its arsenal that it literally ran out of targets for them all, and simply began planning to hit the same targets more than once.  (Some large cities, such as Moscow and Beijing, were already being targeted by as many as six or eight nukes right from the very first plans).

One can only presume that the Soviets were in a similar position in regards to NATO.


"MAD" is indeed an apt acronym for the whole era.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 23 2007,18:44   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ July 22 2007,12:06)
The US also physically moved nuclear weapons into Korea for use, but declined to use them because (1) Truman was opposed to it on political grounds, and (2) North Korea had no large targets worthy of a nuclear strike.

A correction to this -- it was the nuclear-trained bombers and their crews that were moved to Korea.  The actual nuclear weapons (nine of them) only got as far as Guam before further transport was suspended.  

The documents don't say whether these weapons were actually assembled with a live nuclear core (known as "the pit").  

A quick thumbnail explanation --- nearly all US nuclear weapons are "implosion" types, in which a nuclear core is suspended within a hollow sphere made of several conventional explosives (around two tons or so, at that time).  When the conventional explosives are set off, the converging shock waves compress the nuclear "pit" and squeeze it to supercritical density, which sparks off a fission chain reaction and detonates the bomb.  (Hydrogen bombs, in turn, use an implosion bomb as a trigger, channeling the X-rays from that explosion around a nearby secondary core of lithium-deuteride, which is imploded by the radiation and sets off a fusion reaction).

For safety reasons, nuclear weapons are stored without their nuclear cores (legally, the "pits" are the property of the US Atomic Energy Commission, and can only be released to the Defense Department when authorized by the President; in actuality, a large number of "pits" have been "preauthorized" and are stored at Defense Department facilities, separately from the bomb assemblies but available for immediate use).

It seems most probable that the implosion explosive assemblies and the "pits" probably travelled separately, and in all likelihood would not have been actually mated to each other until they had reached the bomber bases in Japan and Korea that were to deliver them.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Stephen Elliott



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 27 2007,08:57   

Just checked out "ape.man" by Robin McKie. Seems Ok but using it as a "coffee table" book ATM as it doesn't read well as a coherent story IMO.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 27 2007,14:46   

The Outlaw Sea was pretty good. The last section, on shipbreaking, seemed a little disconnected, but the whole thing was good.

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: July 27 2007,14:56   

I'm revising my opinion of William Langweische down a notch. He's good, but the best nonfiction writer is David Foster Wallace.

   
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 02 2007,10:45   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ July 27 2007,08:57)
Just checked out "ape.man" by Robin McKie. Seems Ok but using it as a "coffee table" book ATM as it doesn't read well as a coherent story IMO.

Change of opinion. Once I got into it I found it rivetting. It was hard for me to put down and caused a few late nights and going to work tired.

Finished it now and also finished the Wodehouse "Drone omnibus".

Just starting The Blind Watchmaker. Initially I am surprised that Dawkins seems to quite admire Paley. Perhaps I shouldn't be as life certainly does look designed. Indeed it is in a way, just not pre-planned.

 
Quote (stevestory   Posted on July 27 2007 @ 14:56)
I'm revising my opinion of William Langweische down a notch. He's good, but the best nonfiction writer is David Foster Wallace.


Not read him yet. ATM my favourite none-fiction writer is probably Jared Diamond followed closely by Dawkins, Greene and Hawking (in no particular order).

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 03 2007,21:29   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ July 22 2007,12:06)
Also declassified is a 1994 report on the role of nuclear weapons in the "new world order".  It argues that the US should use nuclear weapons unilaterally, without international oversite or permission, against non-nuclear nations, in the "war on terror".  (A few months ago, when active plans appeared to be in action for an invasion of Iran, it was leaked that part of that plan was the use of earth-penetrating nuclear weapons to destroy underground Iranian command bunkers and weapons centers.)

Well, I just heard something on the news today about Obama stating that he would not use nuclear weapons in the "war on terror" --- and Hillary replying that nuclear weapons should never be ruled out, or somesuch. . .

It's nice to know that, when it comes to the needs of Empire, Hillary and the Republicrats just ain't all that different.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Paul Flocken



Posts: 290
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 03 2007,21:49   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ Aug. 03 2007,21:29)
Well, I just heard something on the news today about Obama stating that he would not use nuclear weapons in the "war on terror" --- and Hillary replying that nuclear weapons should never be ruled out, or somesuch. . .

It's nice to know that, when it comes to the needs of Empire, Hillary and the Republicrats just ain't all that different.

And yet Obama was boneheaded enough to state that he had no problem violating a nation's sovereignty.  I hope he gets past these little mistakes although, considering the American public, they may not actually be mistakes.

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"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.  Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."-John F. Kennedy

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 03 2007,22:47   

Quote (Paul Flocken @ Aug. 03 2007,21:49)
And yet Obama was boneheaded enough to state that he had no problem violating a nation's sovereignty.  

Well, when it comes to the needs of Empire, Obama and Dubya aren't all that different, either.  (shrug)

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
JohnW



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,11:30   

Quote (JohnW @ July 17 2007,10:41)
Now reading Owen Gingerich's The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus.

Finally finished it.  Bloody hell, three weeks, and it's a short book.  The combination of biking to work and a very cranky four-year-old hasn't left me much reading time recently.

Anyway, it was utterly fascinating - filled in a whole lot of gaps in my knowledge of Renaissance astronomy.  For example, I had no idea Copernicus' model used epicycles.  And obviously I need to start scribbling notes in the margins of all my books, for the benefit of future generations.   :p

I'll start with the next one: The Real Frank Zappa Book.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,23:00   

Quote (JohnW @ Aug. 14 2007,12:30)
I'll start with the next one: The Real Frank Zappa Book.

As part of your homework check out this.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,11:46   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Aug. 14 2007,21:00)
Quote (JohnW @ Aug. 14 2007,12:30)
I'll start with the next one: The Real Frank Zappa Book.

As part of your homework check out this.

I know.  Seattle in November.  Tickets not on sale yet.

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
heddle



Posts: 124
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:36   

I am reading 1491. Anyone have any thoughts? I find (a) as interesting as I could have hoped and (b) not as dry as I feared.

I give it, provisionally, 90 out of 95 theses.

[Aside: Also, though I love it, I deny that it actually exists.]

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Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognized something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reason for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical. --Sam Harris

  
Arden Chatfield



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:48   

Quote (heddle @ Aug. 15 2007,16:36)
I am reading 1491. Anyone have any thoughts? I find (a) as interesting as I could have hoped and (b) not as dry as I feared.

I read that several months ago. It's quite good -- I learned a lot. The section about the Precolumbian tree planting of the Amazon was amazing.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,13:15   

Just received this, which is one of the most interesting ling books I've read in YEARS.

Also, on the side, I am slooooooooowly working my way thru this, which is totally brilliant. Maderchod!

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Louis



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,13:58   

Maderchod?

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,14:06   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 16 2007,13:58)
Maderchod?

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis

Louis, don't be such a gaandu!

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,17:30   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 16 2007,14:15)
Just received this, which is one of the most interesting ling books I've read in YEARS.

Haven't read any McWhorter, but I bought a friend this, and she said it was great.

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,17:42   

Someone yesterday urged me to read Blood Meridian.

   
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2007,03:03   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 16 2007,20:06)
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 16 2007,13:58)
Maderchod?

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis

Louis, don't be such a gaandu!

Mafkarnaji.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2007,10:54   

Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 16 2007,15:42)
Someone yesterday urged me to read Blood Meridian.

Tremendous stuff.  Blood Meridian was the first McCarthy I read, and I've since read most of the others. (Not The Road yet).  A truly great writer.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2007,10:58   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 17 2007,03:03)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 16 2007,20:06)
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 16 2007,13:58)
Maderchod?

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis

Louis, don't be such a gaandu!

Mafkarnaji.

Louis

Chutiya.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2007,11:16   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 17 2007,16:58)
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 17 2007,03:03)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 16 2007,20:06)
 
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 16 2007,13:58)
Maderchod?

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis

Louis, don't be such a gaandu!

Mafkarnaji.

Louis

Chutiya.

I'M TELLING THE TRUTH!

I'm really sorry.

No, really, I am.

Just to keep things on topic: I'm reading "I have Landed" by SJ Gould at the moment. I'm getting my Gould on so that in a few weeks when I am on holiday, reading The Brick won't be such a shock.

Yes folks, you heard it here first, I'm going to do The Brick!

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2007,20:11   

I need to try Gould again. When I tried to read several of his books, and couldn't, I was 25. Maybe I'll like them more now.

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2007,20:44   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 17 2007,12:16)
?

...Just to keep things on topic: I'm reading "I have Landed" by SJ Gould at the moment. I'm getting my Gould on so that in a few weeks when I am on holiday, reading The Brick won't be such a shock.

Yes folks, you heard it here first, I'm going to do The Brick!

Louis

The secret to The Brick, which is both brilliant and exasperating, is to recognize that you needn't read every word. ?It is the fullest expression of Gould's obsessive-compulsive approach to topics dear to his heart, particularly his presentation of the history of debate surrounding punctuated equilibrium (but check out the little cartoon on page 979). This is not the breezy voice of "This view of life."

That said, his erudition is stunning, and the essential thesis vis levels of selection is both very interesting and quite explicitly at odds with Dawkins' selfish gene argument.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2007,12:34   

Hey, Arden...!

Is Vol. 17 of the North American Indians series--the one about Languages--something that Teh Layperson could make heads or tails of...?

Five stars?  Four, 3, 2...?   ...one...?

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2007,12:40   

Quote (Steviepinhead @ Aug. 31 2007,12:34)
Hey, Arden...!

Is Vol. 17 of the North American Indians series--the one about Languages--something that Teh Layperson could make heads or tails of...?

Five stars? ?Four, 3, 2...? ? ...one...?

Good question! I own it and actually wrote a review of it 10 years ago.

Answer, yes. An informed, motivated layperson could probably get a LOT out of it. It's a masterpiece. Five stars.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2007,12:53   

Weekly update:

No surprise, STILL wading thru this. It's fantastic but it is 928 pages long, gimme a damn break.

In the last chapter of this.

Just bought this, and have snuck a few peeks at it, but am holding off on actually starting it til I finish my other books. It looks REALLY GOOD so far.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2007,16:37   

Thanks, Arden.

I enjoyed Collapse (well, maybe "enjoy" isn't the correct verb for reading about the dire consequences of society after society over-drawing their resources...) and would definitely recommend it.

I haven't tucked it back into (what passes for) the Pinhead stacks because it contains a section at the end for constructive actions that one might take.  To prevent this kind of collapse from overtaking US.  Keep meaning to dig into that part.  Keep putting it off.  Moral melt-down is only a couple of steps away, I'm sure...

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2007,16:59   

Quote (Steviepinhead @ Aug. 31 2007,16:37)
I enjoyed Collapse (well, maybe "enjoy" isn't the correct verb for reading about the dire consequences of society after society over-drawing their resources...)

Yeah, the chapter on China was rather, um, scary.

The chapter on Mangareva, Pitcairn Island, and Henderson Island was pretty great, tho.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 01 2007,00:01   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 31 2007,16:59)
Quote (Steviepinhead @ Aug. 31 2007,16:37)
I enjoyed Collapse (well, maybe "enjoy" isn't the correct verb for reading about the dire consequences of society after society over-drawing their resources...)

Yeah, the chapter on China was rather, um, scary...

It certainly was. Especially that it affects about 25% of the world's human population directly and even more indirectly. China could become a global catastrophy.

Diamond is an incredibly good writer.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 10 2007,19:25   

I liked Collapse much more than Guns Germs ..

I'm reading E.O. Wilson, Consilience at the moment. Actually, I don't recommend it. It's sometimes truly beautiful but mostly not. A lot of pretension. That said, I've been doing ten to twenty pages a night for a bit so maybe there is something redeeming.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 10 2007,22:02   

Quote (BWE @ Sep. 10 2007,20:25)
I liked Collapse much more than Guns Germs ..

I'm reading E.O. Wilson, Consilience at the moment. Actually, I don't recommend it. It's sometimes truly beautiful but mostly not. A lot of pretension. That said, I've been doing ten to twenty pages a night for a bit so maybe there is something redeeming.

Be sure to read Jerry Fodor's review of Consilience. I personally found Wilson's book to be pretentious, obviously inattentive to the difficulties entailed in intertheoretic reduction.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 11 2007,03:00   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Sep. 10 2007,22:02)
Be sure to read Jerry Fodor's review of Consilience. I personally found Wilson's book to be pretentious, obviously inattentive to the difficulties entailed in intertheoretic reduction.


I get the feeling that he wrote it in exasperation. He's telling the scientifically illiterate that scientists aren't crooks (mostly). He states the obvious and the outline doesn't make the point (so far).

But, like I said, I'm still reading it.From the revue you linked:
 
Quote
It is, by the way, characteristic of Wilson's book that he fails to notice the difference between what one might call vertical and horizontal consilience. Cases of the former (the molecular theory of heat; the physical theory of the chemical bond) provide the paradigms for the unification programme. Far more frequent, however, is the joining forces of scientific disciplines at more or less the same explanatory level; and in these cases, no reduction need be achieved or intended. Rather, conjoining the experimental and theoretical armamentarium of several sciences allows explanations and systematisations of phenomena that none of them is able to handle on its own. This really is a robust tactic of scientific investigation: it's what spawns the host of 'hyphenated' disciplines that have become increasingly familiar, especially in the biological and social sciences - physical anthropology; developmental psycholinguistics; acoustic phonetics; palaeobiology, evolutionary psychology and so on. The point to notice is that when this sort of thing happens, you end up with more sciences than you started with, not fewer: developmental psychology and linguistics and developmental psycholinguistics, as the case might be. The web of causal explanation is extended; but sideways, not up and down.


That was the same issue that drove Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance- I've kind of been on a jag about it lately. dunno why.) over the edge and resulted in:  
Quote
While doing biochemical lab work, Pirsig was greatly bothered by the fact that there was always more than one workable hypothesis to explain a given phenomenon, and that the number of such hypotheses seemed almost unlimited. He could not think of any way around this, and to him it seemed that the whole scientific endeavor had been brought to a halt, in some sense. This question so distracted him that he was dismissed from the university for poor grades.
(wiki)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 25 2007,16:30   

Ok, I've got to share.

Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind (Paperback)
by David Quammen
link

I've been reading it for only two nights so it might go downhill but so far it's pretty good. Nay, exceptionally good.

He identifies something he calls "predator porn", calls god's tone to Job "teasing irony", and point's out the humility gained by periodically being made aware that we're just another "flavor of meat" to certain alpha predators. He muses on the species that is "bizarrely ingenious" enough to invent iambic pentameter and plutonium.

Often the writing is beautiful.

Anybody read it?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 25 2007,21:46   

When I get done with what I'm reading now in about a week (100 pages left, but I'm very busy these days) I think I'm going to read some good comprehensive works about the Civil War. I really don't know anything about it, and I want to. I'm thinking about Shelby Foote's trilogy, but it's been criticized for not examining the political and economic underpinnings.

Any suggestions?

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 25 2007,22:14   

Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 25 2007,21:46)
When I get done with what I'm reading now in about a week (100 pages left, but I'm very busy these days) I think I'm going to read some good comprehensive works about the Civil War. I really don't know anything about it, and I want to. I'm thinking about Shelby Foote's trilogy, but it's been criticized for not examining the political and economic underpinnings.

Any suggestions?

I've always heard that Shelby Foote's was the standard bearer, and I've considered reading it myself.  But, if that isn't your bag, I might suggest "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It covers more than the Civil War, although it does spend alot of time on it.  It is well researched and, more importantly, well written.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,23:59   

Last week I finished the Harry Potter series. Didn't mention it because I didn't want anyone to inadvertantly ruin the ending.

Also, just watched Ladyhawke. Pretty good. Still have Rome, season 1 disc 2 to watch.

   
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 16 2007,16:26   

Now that biking season is over and I have about an hour a day of reading time on the bus, I've started a little project.

I'm about 1.5 chapters into Volume 1 of Janet Browne's Darwin biography, which will be followed by Volume 2, and then From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, which was a birthday present last year.  (I've read Origin, years ago, but not the other three).

I'll probably be interspersing these with lighter stuff, so this may take a few months.

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
drew91



Posts: 32
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 18 2007,08:34   

Quote (J-Dog @ June 15 2007,15:34)

Under A Green Sky - Excellent - I recommend it and give it 2 Mastodon Tusks Up.  

I've got to chime in and say thanks for this recommendation.  I'm just about halfway through it and finding it very enjoyable, and it's not something I'd have casually stumbled across or given a second look in a store.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for their many suggestions.  I've now got about a years worth of material stacked on my bedside table.  I just need to find the time to churn through them.

  
Lou FCD



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 11 2007,09:46   

Norman Mailer just went to California

Just so y'know.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 11 2007,10:18   

It's also Kurt Vonnegut's birthday today.

Also just so y'know.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 11 2007,10:49   

Minsky, The Emotional Machine. Anyone? It's a little odd- computer scientists looking at brains often turn out that way- but interesting nonetheless, I think.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
J-Dog



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Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 28 2007,19:24   

I just finished reading "The Egyptologist" by Arthur Phillips, and give it 10 thumbs up.  Smart funny book about a not so successful English Egyptologist circa 1922.   At the same time it is also a missing persons/ murder mystery, with an Ausie tec doing the "digging".

From a professional view - (cribbed from the back of the book):

"From the bestselling author of Prague,  comes a witty, inventive brilliantly constructed novel about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryful king.  This darkly comic labyrinth of a story opens on the dessert sands of Egypt in 1922, then winds its way from the slums of Australia to the ballrooms of Boston by way of Oxford, the battlefields of WWI, and a royal court in turmoil.  Exploring issues of class, greed, ambition and the very human hunger for eternal life, The Egyptologist is a triumph of narrative bravado."

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 28 2007,22:00   

Matthews, Victor H., Don C. Benjamin
2006 “Old Testament Parallels: Law and Stories from the Ancient Near East” New York: The Paulist Press.

Sparks, Kenton L.
2005 “Ancient Texts for the Study of  the Hebrew Bible” Peabody PA: Hendrickson Publishers

Walton, John H.
2006 “Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament” Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press

I recommend Sparks.  Skip the other two, and read

Dalley, Stephanie
2000 Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Revised Oxford: Oxford University Press

and

Finkelstein, Israel, Neil Silberman
2001 The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts    New York: The Free Press

Friedman, Richard Elliott
1987 Who Wrote the Bible? New York:Harper and Row (Paperback Edition)

instead.

I also dragged myself through 3 chapters of;

White, Joe, Nicholas Comminellis
2001 “The Demise of Darwin: Why Evolution Can’t Take the Heat” Green Forest AR: Master Books

My reaction is negative.

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
snoeman



Posts: 109
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 28 2007,23:21   

Quote (JohnW @ Oct. 16 2007,16:26)
Now that biking season is over and I have about an hour a day of reading time on the bus, I've started a little project.

I'm about 1.5 chapters into Volume 1 of Janet Browne's Darwin biography, which will be followed by Volume 2, and then From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, which was a birthday present last year.  (I've read Origin, years ago, but not the other three).

I'll probably be interspersing these with lighter stuff, so this may take a few months.

As long-time bike commuter (since July of, uh, this year) :), living in the same city as you, I have to ask: what do you mean, "biking season is over"?

Aren't there things you can buy to deal with the cold and dark?

:)

  
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2007,11:05   

Quote (snoeman @ Nov. 28 2007,21:21)
Quote (JohnW @ Oct. 16 2007,16:26)
Now that biking season is over and I have about an hour a day of reading time on the bus, I've started a little project.

I'm about 1.5 chapters into Volume 1 of Janet Browne's Darwin biography, which will be followed by Volume 2, and then From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, which was a birthday present last year.  (I've read Origin, years ago, but not the other three).

I'll probably be interspersing these with lighter stuff, so this may take a few months.

As long-time bike commuter (since July of, uh, this year) :), living in the same city as you, I have to ask: what do you mean, "biking season is over"?

Aren't there things you can buy to deal with the cold and dark?

:)

I like biking when it's light and dry.
I don't like biking when it's dark and wet.  
No matter how much shopping I do, I still won't like it.

Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, biking season is over.

------

Anyway, I finished the first volume of Browne's Darwin biography a couple of weeks ago, took a few days off to read other things ( I highly recommend this.  What a bunch of arrogant, pig-headed morons) and am now starting on Volume 2.  It certainly deserves all the praise it received - an exhaustive piece of scholarship, but very readable, although, at about 600 large-format pages each, not very portable.

One thing in Volume 1 struck me.  Darwin studied geology at Edinburgh and Cambridge, and, as far as I could tell, every word he was taught was based on an old-Earth model.  I already knew, as most of us did, that the idea of deep time long predated Darwin, but this reinforced the fact that six-day creation and a young Earth had no scientific credibility by the early 19th century.

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2007,18:49   

But we all know one thing that is fun to do in the dark and wet, right.

No, no, not that!    :p

I was trying to resurrect the Seattle drinking thread...!

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2007,18:51   

Hey!  How comes teh smilies ain't workin'?

Didn't they hear the Broadway strike was over?

:angry:    :angry:

  
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2007,19:01   

Reading Joyce's Ulysses again, for the umpteenth time.  But for the first time I'm reading it out loud.  I've read to my wife nightly for 20 years of marriage, and we've read a ton of novels: Jane Austen, George Eliot, Vikram Chandra -- as well as long poems (Dante [trans. Mandelbaum], Homer [trans. Fagels], Beowulf [trans. Heaney]).  

I have finally convinced her that Ulysses is actually a hilarious book.    (Here's a game of Chinese Whispers: Hugh Kenner once told me how Joyce used to complain to Ezra Pound about how nobody saw the humor in the book.  So that's why Pound has "Jim the comedian" in the Pisan Cantos.  So: Joyce tells Pound who tells Kenner who tells me.)

It's going pretty well, meaning my wife is starting to warm to it.  (She loves the earlier Joyce but has always been intimidated by Ulysses.)  I did skim over a couple of pages of "Proteus" (the third chapter) -- that's Stephen at his most depressingly self-indulgent, and just before we get introduced to the fantastic Leopold Bloom.   We're just entering "Lotus-Eaters" tonight.  

Also reading Freud and the Question of Pseudoscience by Frank Cioffi, and The Outernationale, poems by Peter Gizzi.

--------------
"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2007,19:09   

Quote (Hermagoras @ Dec. 01 2007,19:01)
Reading Joyce's Ulysses again, for the umpteenth time.  But for the first time I'm reading it out loud.  I've read to my wife nightly for 20 years of marriage, and we've read a ton of novels: Jane Austen, George Eliot, Vikram Chandra -- as well as long poems (Dante [trans. Mandelbaum], Homer [trans. Fagels], Beowulf [trans. Heaney]).  

My wife and my reading tastes are too divergent to even attempt that, but good on you, man. Interestingly, I am reading Dante's "Divine Comedy" (John Ciardi translation) right now. I'm about 2/3 of the way through Inferno.
Quote
We're just entering "Lotus-Eaters" tonight


:O  I think that falls into the category of Too Much Information.   ;)

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2007,19:46   

I'm so busy lately I've still got Wednesday's NYT to read. Dining In / Dining Out is kind of like therapy. In my stressed-out life, there's nothing more relaxing than reading exactly how the $30 amuse-bouche failed to meet Frank Bruni's expectations, or why you just have to try the bone marrow on toasted bread at some restaurant in the meat-packing district that you'll never visit in real life. All the better that, in touch with the rhythms of Chapel Hill, I snagged it for free on Thursday morning from the recycling bin behind Starbucks.

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2007,19:49   

I started to read the Bruce Catton books about the Civil War, but it was too high-level. They'd make great books after you already know the basics of what happened, but I got waaaaay too lost in the details only a few dozen pages in.

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,02:22   

So, I get challenged on a minor YEC dominated site about some biblical sources.

I am told that I don't read the "right" books, so I have no idea what the Bible says.  Mind you, I have read the Bible.  And I have read thousands of pages about the Bible, particulary the Old Testament, and particularly those parts related the the creationist doctrine.

So that last month I have read;

Brown F., Driver S., Briggs C.
2007 (reprint from 1906) “Hebrew and English Lexicon: With an Appendex Containing the Biblical Aramaic: With Strong’s Numbering”  Peabody Mass: Hendrickson Publishers (The Strong’s catalog #s was added by Hendrickson Publishers).
(All the expository material)

Matthews, Victor H., Don C. Benjamin
2006 “Old Testament Parallels: Law and Stories from the Ancient Near East” New York: The Paulist Press.

Sparks, Kenton L.
2005 “Ancient Texts for the Study of  the Hebrew Bible” Peabody PA: Hendrickson Publishers

Strong, James (author), revised and edited Kohlenberger, James R. III, Swanson, James A.
2001 edition (original 1894) “The Strongest Strong’s exhaustive concordance of the Bible (KJV) for the 21st Century”  Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
(All the expository material)

Walton, John H.
2006 “Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament” Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press

While working through the books above, I had occasion to reread parts of

Dalley, Stephanie
2000 Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Revised Oxford: Oxford University Press

Cross, Frank Moore
1973 Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel.  Boston: Harvard University Press

Dahood, Mitchell
1965 Psalms I, 1-50: Introduction, Translation and Notes  New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

Speiser, E. A.
1962 "Genesis: Introduction, Translation and Notes"  New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

Schmandt-Besserat, Denise
1992 Before Writing Volume I:  From counting to cuneiform Austin: University of Texas Press


These are all excellent books.

Really. Almost.  Well, Walton is a wussie.  He hides from any hard questions about the Bible.  Matthews and Benjamin give such short lumps of Ancient Near Eastern (AKA Syropalistine) texts that you must read Schmandt-Besserat, Dalley, as well as

Black, Jeremy, Anthony Green, Tessa Rickards (illustrator)
2003 "Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia" Austin: University of Texas Press

Blenkinsopp, Joseph
1992 The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible The Anchor Bible Reference Library  New York: ABRL/Doubleday

Finkelstein, Israel, Neil Silberman
2001 The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts    New York: The Free Press

Friedman, Richard Elliott
1987 Who Wrote the Bible? New York:Harper and Row (Paperback Edition)

Anyway a good start.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Altabin



Posts: 308
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 05 2007,13:53   

Don Quixote.  Just finished the first part - one of the funniest things I've read.  Man, there are some nice parallels there with IDC.  But perhaps a little too obvious.  I just want to quote something that I thought would appeal to you here.  (Well, I thought it was funny, anyway).

It's from Cervantes' introduction to the second part of the book.  (The second part was issued some years after the first.  In the meantime, an anonymous author had published his own second part to the story.  Cervantes attacks him, telling his readers to take this message to him if they ever meet him):
 
Quote

In Sevilla there was a madman who had the strangest, most comical notion that any madman ever had.  What he did was to make a tube out of a reed that he sharpened at one end, and then he would catch a dog on the street, or somewhere else, hold down one of its hind legs with his foot, lift the other with his hand, fit the tube into the right place, and blow until he had made the animal as round as a ball, and then, holding it up, he would give the dog two little pats on the belly and let it go, saying to the onlookers, and there was were always a good number of them, "Now do your graces think it's an easy job to blow up a dog?"  Now does your grace think it's an easy job to write a book?


Added in edit: Added in edit

--------------

  
Amadan



Posts: 1264
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2007,04:27   

Oops! Thought the title of this thread was 'Boob Club...

(Closes stained macintosh, shuffles off)

--------------
"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
Amadan



Posts: 1264
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2007,04:32   

Akshully, just finished Empires of the Word by Nicholas Ostler, a history of languages. Very good, and comprehensible by mere mortals such as meself. It helped to amplify my hysterics over recent comments I saw somewhere by (I think) FL about how the Tower of Babel story was confirmed by modern linguistics, which he had just discovered.

--------------
"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
Amadan



Posts: 1264
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2007,04:47   

Quote (Hermagoras @ Dec. 01 2007,19:01)
Reading Joyce's Ulysses again, for the umpteenth time.  But for the first time I'm reading it out loud.  ...

I have finally convinced her that Ulysses is actually a hilarious book.

I strongly recommend the Ulysses audiobook, particularly because Joyce put so much effort into crystallising Dublin accents.

I used to play it in the car and ended up bellowing "Shoite 'n onions!" at drivers who offended me.

--------------
"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2007,11:02   

Quote (Amadan @ Dec. 06 2007,04:47)
Quote (Hermagoras @ Dec. 01 2007,19:01)
Reading Joyce's Ulysses again, for the umpteenth time.  But for the first time I'm reading it out loud.  ...

I have finally convinced her that Ulysses is actually a hilarious book.

I strongly recommend the Ulysses audiobook, particularly because Joyce put so much effort into crystallising Dublin accents.

I used to play it in the car and ended up bellowing "Shoite 'n onions!" at drivers who offended me.

Nice short story dude at your blog - good to see you're not just another pretty face.  

I expect more of the same, so I can expand my horizons.

Thanks in advance.

Joe D

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2007,16:01   

I'm a bit into "Me Talk Pretty Someday". David Sedaris might be the funniest author I've ever read. I read "Naked" a year ago or so and same thing.

I'm also about 30 pages into Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree." Don't know what it is yet but I'm getting a nagging feeling that what he overlooks is bigger than his thesis. Anybody read the whole book?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 10 2007,13:10   

Apropos of nothing much at all, a colleague of mine in the English Department found this critique of Flannery O'Connor quoted in a final paper for her class.
Quote
"Her chief characters belong to the genus Southern Neanderthal.  Their minds are pre-Darwinian and post-Christian.  The only belief that might make a difference in their lives is Baptist literalism.  Like astrology, it's nonfunctional, but provides a defensive reflex system against thought."  Webster Schott, "Flannery O'Connor: Faith's Stepchild."  THE NATION 201.7 (Sept. 1965): 142-44.

I may have to re-read O'Connor's stories during the Christmas/holiday/pagan festival break.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Ra-Úl



Posts: 93
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 11 2007,15:16   

I read Flannery O'Connor right after re-reading Joyce's Dubliners, and found some deep similarities and sympathies, and was at the same time apalled by some of their more, uh, idiosyncratic characters. I love the audio "Ulysses". For a foreign-born, English as second language reader, there is no substitute to hearing the local Doric. I remember a girlfriend's mother coming into the den while gf and I watched The Commitments, and asking us what language the movie was in. Joyce's difficulties for foreigners are almost always a matter of rendering accents.

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Beauty is that which makes us desperate. - P Valery

  
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,22:28   

God help me, I'm reading Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.  I'll have to post on the thing at some point.  

Word to the wise: never take book recommendations from BA77.

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"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
Bob O'H



Posts: 1991
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2007,07:00   

Hermagoras - if you want a quick divorce, ask your wife to read it to you.

I'm finally reading Tristram Shandy.  Highly recommended, and much better than the book on survey sampling that's my 'work reading'.

Bob

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It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 20 2007,08:47   

I'm reading a rather amusing book called "The Science of Superheroes" which I'm borrowing from a comic mad friend of mine. It's really good fun, but I have found one major, major problem.

In the begining of the book, just before the intro, it talks about science. It (rightly) states that a scientific theory is propped up by masses of evidence and is therefore "prooven" but still somewhat in doubt.

However, it then drops the ball. Hard.

"When a theory has been proven so many times that it is no longer in doubt, then it's finally considered a law"

I read that and immediately thought "NO!!!!" what promised to be an entertaining book using real science and written by people who seemed to know what they were on about, was somewhat damaged by that passage there. It's still good fun, and while I'm only a little way in, it does have real science in there, but it obviously isn't the best written...

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 21 2007,18:21   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 01 2007,17:49)
I started to read the Bruce Catton books about the Civil War, but it was too high-level. They'd make great books after you already know the basics of what happened, but I got waaaaay too lost in the details only a few dozen pages in.

Heh!  Here's the "basics" of the Civil War in a four-minute video (tip of the hat to PZ Myers):
http://www.idkwtf.com/videos....minutes

Now you can return to Catton!

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 22 2007,08:30   

Lou's taunted me about my severe aversion to written cliches, so I'm going to be honest.

This is the worst book ever written, and I love it. One chapter is randomly generated via word-mash software, and the rest is all written by authors with no knowledge of what the other authors are doing under instructions to write as badly as possible with almost no direction. Every single virtue of a good story has been eviscerated and placed on display. It's a book so terrible it actually becomes a bizarre, dadaist form of commentary on bad fiction and writing in general.

It's also kind of funny.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Bob O'H



Posts: 1991
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 22 2007,10:46   

From the page Annyday recommended:
 
Quote
"ATLANTA NIGHTS makes the legendary EYE OF ARGON read like Asimov!" — Nick Pollotta

Ouch.

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It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 22 2007,19:30   

I'm getting this for xmas. I find most 'popular linguistics' books pretty dorky, but a very good linguist wrote this one and it looked good when I glanced at it in a bookstore. I will report back after the holidays.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 22 2007,19:35   

just picked up The Historian

   
KCdgw



Posts: 368
Joined: Sep. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2008,23:59   

I'm about half-way through Thomas Pynchon's new novel  Against the Day.

Huge, hilarious, strange. Just as I like it.

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Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it-- Confucius

  
Bob O'H



Posts: 1991
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 14 2008,14:00   

KCdgw - enough about your private life.  What's the book like?

Bob

--------------
It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,02:51   

Susan Jacoby, author of the excellent Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, has written a new book.

Entitled The Age of American Unreason, it was inspired by the following event:
Quote
The author of seven other books, she was a fellow at the [New York Public] library when she first got the idea for this book back in 2001, on 9/11.

Walking home to her Upper East Side apartment, she said, overwhelmed and confused, she stopped at a bar. As she sipped her bloody mary, she quietly listened to two men, neatly dressed in suits. For a second she thought they were going to compare that day’s horrifying attack to the Japanese bombing in 1941 that blew America into World War II:

“This is just like Pearl Harbor,” one of the men said.

The other asked, “What is Pearl Harbor?”

“That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a harbor, and it started the Vietnam War,” the first man replied.

At that moment, Ms. Jacoby said, “I decided to write this book.”


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And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Amadan



Posts: 1264
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,06:09   

How would anyone here like to get involved in writing the Epic Surging Saga of the Evolution Wars?

--------------
"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,09:39   

Quote (Amadan @ Feb. 15 2008,06:09)
How would anyone here like to get involved in writing the Epic Surging Saga of the Evolution Wars?

Hmmm... Maybe, but I have read your  stuff, and you are a pretty damn polished writer my friend... why look for hacks like me?

PM me about what you think about time commitment, what you are expecting, etc...

I can tell you that I would pay to read that book with chapters by Kristine, Louis, Richard, Albatrosity, Lou, ERV and all the usual suspects...

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,16:44   

I've been on a historical Jesus/early Christiam mythmaking kick. (It was a subject that I had previously held relatively uninformed opinions about, so I thought I'd inform myself.)

I started with Gospel Truth by Russel Shorto. It's a good, quick read, an overview of recent scholarship on the question of what can be known about the historical figure behind the myths. It doesn't give much more than a couple sentences to the idea that Jesus is wholly fictional, but it doesn't greatly overstate what is known either. It's mostly focussed on the Jesus Seminar and its critics and the various approaches to New Testament exegesis. Lots of context and differing views, very little assertion.

Now I'm reading Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack, and Excavating Jesus by Dominic Crossan and Jonathan Reed. (I switch back and forth; the Mack is somewhat dry at times.)

Mack is exclusively concerned with scriptural exegesis. He apparently doesn't even consider the question of the historical Jesus meaningful for his purposes. He draws some fascinating conclusions, but I do have to say that he comes across as a little dogmatic at times about his own particular theories. There is none of the larger scholarly context of these questions. This is Mack's book, and you get Mack's take. None other. That said, he does paint a detailed and compelling picture of the earliest Jesus people (his term) as well as the socio-political motives for the invention of the myths that find their way into the canonical Gospels. He charts the transition from Jesus movements to the Christ cults of the later First Century C.E. in a way that makes a lot of sense, but I know there are scholars who disagree. I don't have the knowledge to make informed decisions about who is more likely to be right, and this book has no interest in giving it to me. It's as I said a little dry and on the scholarly side for a popular book.

Excavating Jesus is part Achaeology, part exegesis. I haven't got very far into it, but I will read more of it this weekend. Before I'm off my kick, I also intend to read some stuff by Bart Ehrman, another highly regarded New Testament scholar. If anybody has any other recommendations along the same lines, I'd love to hear them.

--------------
The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,18:42   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Feb. 15 2008,16:44)
I've been on a historical Jesus/early Christiam mythmaking kick. (It was a subject that I had previously held relatively uninformed opinions about, so I thought I'd inform myself.)

I started with Gospel Truth by Russel Shorto. It's a good, quick read, an overview of recent scholarship on the question of what can be known about the historical figure behind the myths. It doesn't give much more than a couple sentences to the idea that Jesus is wholly fictional, but it doesn't greatly overstate what is known either. It's mostly focussed on the Jesus Seminar and its critics and the various approaches to New Testament exegesis. Lots of context and differing views, very little assertion.

Now I'm reading Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack, and Excavating Jesus by Dominic Crossan and Jonathan Reed. (I switch back and forth; the Mack is somewhat dry at times.)

Mack is exclusively concerned with scriptural exegesis. He apparently doesn't even consider the question of the historical Jesus meaningful for his purposes. He draws some fascinating conclusions, but I do have to say that he comes across as a little dogmatic at times about his own particular theories. There is none of the larger scholarly context of these questions. This is Mack's book, and you get Mack's take. None other. That said, he does paint a detailed and compelling picture of the earliest Jesus people (his term) as well as the socio-political motives for the invention of the myths that find their way into the canonical Gospels. He charts the transition from Jesus movements to the Christ cults of the later First Century C.E. in a way that makes a lot of sense, but I know there are scholars who disagree. I don't have the knowledge to make informed decisions about who is more likely to be right, and this book has no interest in giving it to me. It's as I said a little dry and on the scholarly side for a popular book.

Excavating Jesus is part Achaeology, part exegesis. I haven't got very far into it, but I will read more of it this weekend. Before I'm off my kick, I also intend to read some stuff by Bart Ehrman, another highly regarded New Testament scholar. If anybody has any other recommendations along the same lines, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for the book reports, I appreciate it.  Based on all that I know, you are now an expert, and I am willing to wait until you develop the syllabus, and required reading.*

Seriously, this is a very interesting topic, and if I do run  accross any new books in the area, I will try to scan and report. (When I visit my  local library, @ 1-2 a week, I usually check non-fiction new arrivals.)  So, if any What's Up Wit Jesus Books are due out, I'll pick them up.

* Please make sure to tell us what is on the final test.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,20:55   

Quote (J-Dog @ Feb. 15 2008,10:39)
Quote (Amadan @ Feb. 15 2008,06:09)
How would anyone here like to get involved in writing the Epic Surging Saga of the Evolution Wars?

Hmmm... Maybe, but I have read your  stuff, and you are a pretty damn polished writer my friend... why look for hacks like me?

PM me about what you think about time commitment, what you are expecting, etc...

I can tell you that I would pay to read that book with chapters by Kristine, Louis, Richard, Albatrosity, Lou, ERV and all the usual suspects...

Heh.  JanieBelle's working on a Sci-Fi novel of the ID galactic takeover strain.

Lots of familiar characters in it.  There's an early version of the first chapter on the blog (in five parts), but it's barely recognizable next to the current version.  (The current version isn't nearly as sexually graphic as the blog version, and it's much more filled out, etc. etc.)

It's called The Lilith Quotient.

I need to spend more time on that and less here, really.

Lou

P.S. Buy my her book (when it's published).  (Assuming it ever is, of course.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,10:26   

I am privileged to live with a wonderful writer. She just had an essay published in the alumni mag for the University of Notre Dame, which included a very nice blurb from the editor himself.
Quote
And then, before I knew it, carried by the words, I found myself with a group of people in the cold January desert night in southern Colorado, watching the moon.

The web version, unlike the tangible magazine, has no pictures of the lunar standstill moonrise chronicled in Elizabeth's essay. But you can find them here (under the header "Chimney Rock Pueblo").

Enjoy!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Leftfield



Posts: 99
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 27 2008,09:37   

A recent novel I'm reading (listening to, actually), Ghost, by Alan Lightman, might be of interest to ATBCers. The protagonist works in a funeral home and sees something strange. Word gets out, exaggeration occurs, and he gets involved with the "Second World Society," a pseudoscientific group researching the supernatural. Scientists from the local university also get involved in the situation.
The book attempts to take a realistic look at a ghost story situation. It's not about the mystery of the ghost, it's about how seeing something strange affects the rest of the witness's life. The character ruminates on memory, consciousness, and the nature of time.

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Speaking for myself, I have long been confused . . .-Denyse O'Leary

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 29 2008,19:35   

Interesting book for all you serious Anthro Readers out there.

David W. Anthony Professor of Anthropology at Hartwick Collge, has written a book called:
"The Horse, The Wheel, and Language
How Bronze Age Riders from the Eurasion Steppes Shaped the Modern World"

He has studdied bit-wear patterns on horse molors and discovered that even ropes used as bits will leave evidence on enamel if a horse was subjected to human control.

After dealing with all the ID / Creo nonsense on a regular basis here, it is very refreshing to read some real science for a change.  

The guy writes well, lots of charts and graphs, the only down-side is no pictures of swimsuit models.  I guess they must not of had them on the Bronze-Age Eurasion Stepppes, although I swear I had an email from a couple of them last week, wanting me to get in touch with them.

But, that's a subject for another book report.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,05:01   

Ok so it's confessions time:

In addition to all the usual reading of journals and science books and pop science books and historical books and philosophy books etc I occasionally read a novel or two as light relief. I have read many of the so called "classics" and found them to be a varied bunch to say the least. Some staggeringly good, some atrocious, pretentious crap advocated by people trying to look smart.

One genre of novels I find myself returning to like a fat bloke to fried chicken is fantasy. It is my guilty literary pleasure. I can devour a fantasy novel in a day or two (they are very light on the brain after all and I do read very fast) and have read my favourite series several times. By far and away my favourite author is Terry Pratchett. This is the one fantasy author I feel utterly unashamed about reading, even loving, the works of. The man is an out and out genius and his parodies of our world are sublime. I shall brook little to no criticism of Terry! (incidentally donate to Alzheimer's research, Match it for Pratchett! Google it)

The "serious" fantasy authors I have read are Robert Jordan, Raymond E Feist, Stephen Donaldson, Tolkein, David Gemmell, Robin Hobb, Trudi Canavan, Tad Williams, and I've just bought George R R Martin's series of 4 books (Ice and fire? Something like that). I'm not saying these aforementioned authors are without flaws, or producers of perfect series/novels etc, but in my experience they turn out more good than bad, or at least works of sufficient consonance with my tastes that I'll buy the next book to find out how the story goes.

My quandry is this: I have invested in titles by other authors and found them to be unutterable dreck. The list is long, and it seems that the fantasy and sci fi genres are replete with talentless hacks bashing out books for the bumptious and bewildered. So I plead with you, my online chums, to recommend any of your fantasy books, I'm less interested in sci fi, but I've read a bit so feel free to add the jewels from that area too. I've heard good things about Neil Gaiman....

Louis

ETA: P.S. I've also thought about the Xanth series, worth a look?

ETA: P.P.S. I have also read most of David Eddings' work, and whilst it was fun when I was a teenager, I find his stuff very infantile (for example Terry Prachett's books for children are vastly more adult!). So don't recommend Eddings.

--------------
Bye.

  
philbert



Posts: 20
Joined: Feb. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,05:31   

Ginormous Terry Pratchett fan here, also.

Absolutely no expertise in the rest of the fantasy area, but if you've only "heard" good things about Neil Gaiman, then by all means get yourself some Good Omens, sharpish.



I was a big fan of American Gods, too -- and can also recommend Coraline, which was offically written for kids, but is loads of fun (and possibly a nice, shortish, sample of his style, for when you've finished Omens.)

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4511
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,06:16   

Arthur C. Clarke is dead at age 90.

AP obituary

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,11:30   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2008,07:16)
Arthur C. Clarke is dead at age 90.

AP obituary

Sad. It just so happens that I watched "2001, a Space Odyssey" this past weekend. Twice. (An unbelievable accomplishment for 1968).

I've often wondered why the ID community has never latched onto it: I can't think of a more explicit depiction of the "ET" variety of ID than "2001."

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
JohnW



Posts: 2291
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,11:42   

One of the giants.  I read pretty much everything he wrote when I was  teenager, and re-read his short stories a couple of years ago when the collected edition was published.  Most of them have held up incredibly well - like all the best SF, they survived being overtaken by technological events.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 19 2008,09:30)
I've often wondered why the ID community has never latched onto it: I can't think of a more explicit depiction of the "ET" variety of ID than "2001."

I expect they'll do it now that he's safely dead, and can't answer back.  If they'd tried it earlier, I think he'd have given them both barrels:

From 1984: Spring:
Quote
I would defend the liberty of concenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.

From the 1998 essay Presidents, Experts, and Asteroids:
Quote
I have encountered a few creationists and because they were usually nice, intelligent people, I have been unable to decide whether they were really mad, or only pretending to be mad. If I was a religious person, I would consider creationism nothing less than blasphemy. Do its adherents imagine that God is a cosmic hoaxer who has created that whole vast fossil record for the sole purpose of misleading mankind?

Quoted on Pharyngula.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4511
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,12:32   

I have a book cover credit... that's my pic of Tammy Kitzmiller and daughters in the press scrum following the close of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial featured on Lauri Lebo's new book, The Devil in Dover.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
J-Dog



Posts: 4368
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,12:39   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2008,12:32)
I have a book cover credit... that's my pic of Tammy Kitzmiller and daughters in the press scrum following the close of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial featured on Lauri Lebo's new book, The Devil in Dover.

Thanks for the link -  Congratulations on the Credit - and the photo, and of course for being there.

I have read the other Dover Books; I would like to read this one.  As a Dover resident and reporter, she might bring a nice insider's perspective to the story.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,13:02   

I second Good Omens and American Gods.

Xanth, the entire output of Piers Anthony for that matter, skip it. Pratchett is far superior.

I could write a pretentious novel of my own on the subject of genre literature (SF/Fantasy), but I'll try to limit myself to what I consider the cream of the crop.

My favorite genre author, bar none, is Gene Wolfe. Often referred to as "the best writer you've never read," his prose never fails to be anything but excellent. His magnum opus is the tetrology The Book of the New Sun. I like genre-bending stuff, not quite science fiction, not quite fantasy, and this one sets the standard for that kind of thematic inventiveness.
I am especially fond of the Latro books. Originally published as Soldier in the Mist and Soldier of Arete, they are now in print in one volume, called Latro in the Mist. Set in the ancient Mediterranean just after the Persian Wars, the story is presented as the "diary" of a (Roman?) soldier who was wounded in battle and has amnesia. Along with this disability, however, comes the ability to see and interact with the gods, who seem to take an at times unhealthy interest in Latro's doings. It can be frustrating to read, since many events have to be inferred --Latro often has no idea what's going on around him. But, if you can dig it, the narrative trick is Wolfe's art, and he is truly a master. There's a new one out, too, after twenty years, called Soldier of Sidon.
There's agreat deal more, both SF and Fantasy, and a lot of it you couldn't say what it is really. Mostly it's just damn fine writing.

Another favorite author is Michael Swanwick. He deals in a brand of decidedly grown-up dark fantasy that would frankly scare the pants off the likes of David Eddings. My fave is Iron Dragon's Daughter, which turns the fairy-tale upside down and sets it in a gritty, magical-industrial dystopia. Again, a tantalizing blend of Fantasy and Sci-Fi themes. It's currently out of print in the US (not sure about the UK), so look for it used or at the library. Just out is a sequel, Dragons of Babel, which I have not yet read. I believe its release has occasioned a reprint of Daughter, so the first one may soon be available new.
Swanwick isn't the craftsman Wolfe is, but then, nobody is.

On the SF side, for a taste of "the new Space Opera," I recommend two authors: Charles Stross, especially Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise, and Alastair Reynolds, a series beginning with Revelation Space.

My Fantasy runners-up are China Mieville (Perdido Street Station et al) and Ian R. MacLeod (The Light Ages and House of Storms). Both brilliantly inventive, if not outright weird, both much darker than traditional swords n' sorcery-type Fantasy.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2008,13:20   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Mar. 19 2008,19:02)
I second Good Omens and American Gods.

{snip helpful stuff, thanks}

So another vote for Neil Gaiman. Good oh.

Gene Wolfe, Michael Swanwick, China Melville and Ian R McCleod in fantasy and Charles Stross and Alastair Reynolds in SF.

Check!

{Sound of frantic Amazoning}

Ok, thanks Philbert and CJ. I'm always open to more suggestions from people. I read ferociously fast and collect books, so keep 'em coming.

Louis

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Bye.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 20 2008,13:06   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Mar. 19 2008,13:02)
My favorite genre author, bar none, is Gene Wolfe. Often referred to as "the best writer you've never read," his prose never fails to be anything but excellent. His magnum opus is the tetrology The Book of the New Sun. I like genre-bending stuff, not quite science fiction, not quite fantasy, and this one sets the standard for that kind of thematic inventiveness.

Definitely seconded. I haven't read much fantasy and Terry Pratchet left me wondering what people meant when they said he was clever and witty, but Gene Wolfe stands in a class alone.

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Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 20 2008,14:38   

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 20 2008,19:06)
Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Mar. 19 2008,13:02)
My favorite genre author, bar none, is Gene Wolfe. Often referred to as "the best writer you've never read," his prose never fails to be anything but excellent. His magnum opus is the tetrology The Book of the New Sun. I like genre-bending stuff, not quite science fiction, not quite fantasy, and this one sets the standard for that kind of thematic inventiveness.

Definitely seconded. I haven't read much fantasy and Terry Pratchet left me wondering what people meant when they said he was clever and witty, but Gene Wolfe stands in a class alone.

What books of Pratchetts were you reading?

His first two works (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) and to a lesser extent, a few other early books of his aren't anywhere near as good as the later things, because as even he says, he wasn't as good back then. Indeed I consider myself a huge fan of his, but I can't finish Colour or Light. I find them boring, and not that well written. However, I count a number of his works among my favourite novels, and his wit is...sometimes a little obscure (his latin jokes can sometimes go right over my head, and I didn't get the main reference of Jingo at all the first time I read it).

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 20 2008,14:49   

read the colour of magic and gave up. You can tell something's wrong with a guy when he thinks colour is a real word.

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Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10296
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 20 2008,15:16   

I am going to buy and read:

“Tongue tied: Fifty years of friendship in a subnormality hospital”

Will this get my Deacon-Karma straight? Will anyone else commit to this spiritual healing?

Rich

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 20 2008,17:00   

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 20 2008,20:49)
read the colour of magic and gave up. You can tell something's wrong with a guy when he thinks colour is a real word.

Don't bother with Colour, it's not good. Try Guards Guards, the first watch book, or Eric, one of the better Rincewind ones.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
stevestory



Posts: 8990
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 21 2008,02:17   

After about 5 attempts, I'm finally getting into Quicksilver. Good stuff, though I prefer Stephenson's nonfiction, which is tied for my favorite with David Foster Wallace's nonfiction.

   
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 21 2008,10:16   

I read the Illuminatus! trilogy last week, for the first time.  It was fun.  

Now I'm going to re-read some Arthur C Clarke, because its maybe 7 years since I last read anything by him.

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 21 2008,16:46   

I doubt it matters that much which Pratchett book you first read.  I stated probably in the middle somewhere, and then bought them all.  I read them in publication order then in narrative sequecnes following particular character arcs.  Then in publication order again, and then randomly.

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2008,12:06   

Two book related comments.

1.  I just finished The Devil in Dover by Lauri Lebo.  It was absolutely awesome.  She is a great writer who infuses the book with enough of her personal journey to make it compelling even if you aren't a student of the anti-evolution movement.  Of course, that doesn't describe anyone here, but you get my point.  Buy this book.

2. Hat tip to Albatrossity2 who turned me on to Merrill Gilfillan.  I read his collection of essays Magpie Rising a couple months ago and enjoyed it so much that I just bought Chokecherry Places to be my travelling companion on a business trip next week.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2008,13:35   

Quote (carlsonjok @ May 17 2008,12:06)
Two book related comments.

1.  I just finished The Devil in Dover by Lauri Lebo.  It was absolutely awesome.  She is a great writer who infuses the book with enough of her personal journey to make it compelling even if you aren't a student of the anti-evolution movement.  Of course, that doesn't describe anyone here, but you get my point.  Buy this book.

2. Hat tip to Albatrossity2 who turned me on to Merrill Gilfillan.  I read his collection of essays Magpie Rising a couple months ago and enjoyed it so much that I just bought Chokecherry Places to be my travelling companion on a business trip next week.

Yeah, Lebo's book is on the desk, awaiting the time when I will have some free hours to read it. Glad to hear that it is a good read.

And I'm glad you liked Magpie Rising; it's one of my all-time favorite books. The only problem with Gilfillan is that all of his books are too short; you never want to turn that last page and return to the mundane.

I think you'll enjoy Chokecherry Places as well, and Sworn Before Cranes if you want to continue on the Great Plains theme. Erasmus might like Burnt House to Paw Paw, which focuses more on the Appalachian region. I know several natives of the Appalachian region who told me that it was their favorite Gilfillan work.

Of course, I am fortunate to be able to meet and hike with some of these good writers, including Gilfillan, who visited here a few years back and actually went birding with my Field Ornithology class one morning. He's a pretty good birder, too. This is one of the perks of living with an excellent writer; I get to hobnob with the visiting poets and writers as well as with the biologists.

And I get to participate in the activities that lead up to her essays; she just had a story published in the latest issue of Orion (Sunrise on the Medicine Wheel), about the expedition that we made up to the Bighorn Mountains last year for the solstice. That essay is not available online at this time, but Orion does rotate their articles on the website, so maybe it will be available sometime soon.

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2008,15:26   

This week;

Caldwell, Billy R.
2005 "Geology in the Bible" Burgess Hill, UK: Meadow Books

Froede, Carl R.
2005 "Geology by Design: Interpreting Rocks and Their Catastrophic Record" Green Forest: Master Books

Sailhamer, John H.
1998 "Old Testament History" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan)

Sailhamer, John H.
1998 "Biblical Archaeology" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan)

Wilson, Robert Dick
1919 "A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament" Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times (1996 reprint)

All but the last are complete and utter garbage. Wilson's book is merely obsolete, but not dishonest.

My review copy of the Intelligent Design "high school textbook" has finally arrived from the Discovery Institute (Thanks to Paul Nelson)

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2008,16:17   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 17 2008,13:35)
Yeah, Lebo's book is on the desk, awaiting