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+--Forum: After the Bar Closes...
+---Topic: Book club started by Stephen Elliott


Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on 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?
Posted by: Kristine on 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. :)
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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).
Posted by: Dr.GH on 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).
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


How was it?  I just picked up a copy at a talk Ayala gave.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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).
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


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.
Posted by: Louis on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: carlsonjok on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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...
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


"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.
Posted by: someotherguy on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


...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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


LOL
Posted by: clamboy on 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.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 17 2007,07:27

I think I might have to order < this > and read it this summer...
Posted by: SpaghettiSawUs on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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.
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on July 01 2007,20:02

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

Also reading The God Delusion.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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.
Posted by: Richardthughes on July 01 2007,23:08

CULTURE WARRIOR BY BILL O RIELLY. ITS SATISFYING LIKE A BIG, LONG POO.
Posted by: Richardthughes on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've often thought "the culture" is how a secular society of the future should be.
Posted by: Glenn Branch on 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.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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. >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on July 05 2007,18:43

I'm stepping through "Endless Forms Most Beautiful," probably last here to do so.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: Louis on 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
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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!
Posted by: JohnW on 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!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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."
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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?


Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


*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.
Posted by: stevestory on July 12 2007,20:38

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


good movie.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


good movie.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


good movie.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Richardthughes on July 12 2007,20:57

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


Uncommonly Dense?
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Uncommonly Dense?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: carlsonjok on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Oh yeah, I read that a year ago. It's incredibly informative and I really like the writing style.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


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-------------------





---------------------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-------------------





---------------------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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



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.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: PennyBright on 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.
Posted by: Louis on 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
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think you meant to say 'not be moved'?
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: BWE on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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 :)
Posted by: BWE on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


James Joyce.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That was the first one I read. From the very first sentence, I knew this guy was something special.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



< http://books.guardian.co.uk/departm....00.html >
Posted by: Louis on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


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

Louis
Posted by: Louis on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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!
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


Oh dear, did I make a balls up?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Genitals first, no doubt.  ;)
Posted by: Hermagoras on 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.
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on July 14 2007,05:29

Currently "On War" By Carl Von Clausewitz. Not as dry as it may seem.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's a tad outdated, but hey, even Sun Tzu would do better. (I have that to read as well).
Posted by: BWE on July 14 2007,16:17

Curious, Has anyone else sprung for "The Omnivore's Dilemma"?
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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).
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Add Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings", too.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 14 2007,16:50

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


Yeah, I read it and liked it a lot. Botany of Desire was better, IMHO, but both of them were excellent reading!
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on 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).
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


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


Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: stevestory on July 14 2007,21:20

It makes sense. Yellow marrow on bread would contain the yummy trinity of fats, protein, and carbs.
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: stevestory on 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"
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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"
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You and I need to have a few drinks sometime. I think you just detailed my life philosophy.
Posted by: stevestory on 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)
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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"
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, but will you still feel that way when you're 50?
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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"
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


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.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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

Live hard, die young.
Posted by: Louis on 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
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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.
Posted by: Louis on 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
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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"
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


Who says we'll get to 50?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp on 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"
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


Who says we'll get to 50?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: BWE on 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.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.


Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: Dr.GH on 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.


Posted by: Dr.GH on July 15 2007,14:06

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


I liked that one the best of the three mentioned.
Posted by: stevestory on 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 >


Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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 >


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Read it last year. It's great. The chapters about piracy, ship breaking, and the sinking of the Estonia are especially good.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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).
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: guthrie on 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.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


At the moment, Langweische is my favorite writer. I've read about 10 pages of this so far, and it's excellent.
Posted by: BWE on 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?
Posted by: guthrie on 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)?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: BWE on 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.
Posted by: guthrie on 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.
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Louis on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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...
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



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.
Posted by: BWE on 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.
Posted by: Hermagoras on July 21 2007,21:06

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


I"m sorry, but this writing is jibberish.  You're making no sense at all.
Posted by: Bob O'H on July 22 2007,04:29



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


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
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
Posted by: k.e on 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.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: stevestory 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.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



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).
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Paul Flocken on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on 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.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, when it comes to the needs of Empire, Obama and Dubya aren't all that different, either.  (shrug)
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on Aug. 14 2007,23:00

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


As part of your homework check out < this >.
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


As part of your homework check out < this >.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I know.  Seattle in November.  Tickets not on sale yet.
Posted by: heddle on 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.]
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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!
Posted by: Louis on Aug. 16 2007,13:58

Maderchod?

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 16 2007,14:06

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

Haramzada! Kusera! Banchod!

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Louis, don't be such a gaandu!
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Haven't read any McWhorter, but I bought a friend < this, > and she said it was great.
Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 16 2007,17:42

Someone yesterday urged me to read < Blood Meridian >.
Posted by: Louis on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Louis, don't be such a gaandu!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Mafkarnaji.

Louis
Posted by: JohnW on Aug. 17 2007,10:54

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


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.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Louis, don't be such a gaandu!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Mafkarnaji.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Chutiya.
Posted by: Louis on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Louis, don't be such a gaandu!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Mafkarnaji.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Chutiya.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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...?
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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...?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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...
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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...)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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

The chapter on Mangareva, Pitcairn Island, and Henderson Island was pretty great, tho.
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on 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...)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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


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.
Posted by: BWE on 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.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: BWE on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------

(wiki)
Posted by: BWE on 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?
Posted by: stevestory on 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?
Posted by: carlsonjok on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
Posted by: drew91 on 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.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 11 2007,09:46

< Norman Mailer just went to California >

Just so y'know.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 11 2007,10:18

It's also Kurt Vonnegut's birthday today.

Also just so y'know.
Posted by: Annyday on 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.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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."
Posted by: Dr.GH on 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. >
Posted by: snoeman on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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? >

:)
Posted by: JohnW on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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? >

:)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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...!
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Dec. 01 2007,18:51

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

Didn't they hear the Broadway strike was over?

:angry:    :angry:
Posted by: Hermagoras on 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.
Posted by: carlsonjok on 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]).  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



:O  I think that falls into the category of Too Much Information.   ;)
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: Dr.GH on 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.
Posted by: Altabin on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Added in edit: Added in edit
Posted by: Amadan on Dec. 06 2007,04:27

Oops! Thought the title of this thread was 'Boob Club...

(Closes stained macintosh, shuffles off)
Posted by: Amadan on 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.
Posted by: Amadan on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: BWE on 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?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I may have to re-read O'Connor's stories during the Christmas/holiday/pagan festival break.
Posted by: Ra-Úl on 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.
Posted by: Hermagoras on 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.
Posted by: Bob O'H on 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
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on 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...
Posted by: Steviepinhead on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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!
Posted by: Annyday on 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.
Posted by: Bob O'H on Dec. 22 2007,10:46

From the page Annyday recommended:
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
"ATLANTA NIGHTS makes the legendary < EYE OF ARGON > read like Asimov!" — Nick Pollotta
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ouch.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on 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.
Posted by: stevestory on Dec. 22 2007,19:35

< just picked up The Historian >
Posted by: KCdgw on 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.
Posted by: Bob O'H on Jan. 14 2008,14:00

KCdgw - enough about your private life.  What's the book like?

Bob
Posted by: keiths on 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.”
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: Amadan on Feb. 15 2008,06:09

How would anyone here like to get involved in writing the Epic Surging Saga of the Evolution Wars?
Posted by: J-Dog on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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...
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on 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.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Lou FCD on 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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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!
Posted by: Leftfield on 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.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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.
Posted by: Louis on 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.
Posted by: philbert on 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.)
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 19 2008,06:16

Arthur C. Clarke is dead at age 90.

< AP obituary >
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on Mar. 19 2008,11:30

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2008,07:16)
Arthur C. Clarke is dead at age 90.

< AP obituary >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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."
Posted by: JohnW on 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."
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Quoted on < Pharyngula >.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on 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 >.
Posted by: J-Dog on 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 >.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on 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.
Posted by: Louis on 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}
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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
Posted by: BWE on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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).
Posted by: BWE on 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.
Posted by: Richardthughes on 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
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't bother with Colour, it's not good. Try Guards Guards, the first watch book, or Eric, one of the better Rincewind ones.
Posted by: stevestory on 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.
Posted by: guthrie on 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.
Posted by: Dr.GH on 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.
Posted by: carlsonjok on 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.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on 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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


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.
Posted by: Dr.GH on 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)
Posted by: carlsonjok on May 17 2008,16:17

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 17 2008,13:35)
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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


All I can say is to make sure you have enough time set aside to read it straight through.  I picked it up at around 6 PM Friday and read about half way through before bed. I finished the second half the following morning. Trivia: Poor old Davescot makes an another appearance with his now famous "all your bases are belong to us" comment about Kitzmiller v. Dover.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------

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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Indeed, the way he describes things is unique to my experience. He uses words and phrases that I wouldn't normally expect to be applied to landscapes, but it works.  There is one quote in Magpie that really captured the essence of my moving to the plains after a 30 years in the Northeast.  He expresses the experience in vivid, but parsimonious language:
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
On this continent and in the psyche of its people the plains have always been a staggering presence, a place for transformation, bafflement, or heartbreak. From the east they are a release from the clawing of swamp and tangle and human density. From the west they are a drop and a straightening after the kinks and strains of mountains. Entered from any direction they are a new air, a joy to behold, a combination of large-scale intimidations and primordial inner acoustics.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Perfect. Just perfect.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 17 2008,20:00

Speaking of books (I forgot we even had this thread), this week I received my copy of < Here, Eyeball This! >.

I'm very much looking forward to reading it, and I'll put a review up when I'm done.
Posted by: Dr.GH on May 18 2008,01:13

Quote (carlsonjok @ May 17 2008,14:17)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 17 2008,13:35)
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.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


All I can say is to make sure you have enough time set aside to read it straight through.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I also had to read Lebo's book straight through. Two days later I read Gordy Slack's book on Dover, "The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything."

The timing was not good for Gordy.  His only unique observations were made as casual asides about some of the other reporters he met at the trial.  His attempted personalizations were weak compared to Lebo.  His grasp of the pro-creationist arguments were weak compared to Edward Humes, (2007  “Monkey Girl” New York: Harper Collins), and his humor was weak compared to Matthew Chapman, (2007 “40 Days and 40 Nights” New York: Harper Collins).

The book I really wish would get written now on the Dover trial is the one by Mike Argento.  Why he hasn't done it is a mystery.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 21 2008,14:50

Quote (Dr.GH @ May 18 2008,02:13)
The book I really wish would get written now on the Dover trial is the one by Mike Argento.  Why he hasn't done it is a mystery.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'd like to see that one written as well.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 23 2008,07:01

This is not about a book, but about an essay that will be included in a future book. Elizabeth's essay about the Bighorn Medicine Wheel (Wyoming) is now available < online at Orion magazine. > It is not directly about evolution, or science, but it touches on both of those areas. And it gives me a chance to brag a bit about the wonderful writer with whom I share my life.



Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on June 09 2008,08:49

< Lauri Lebo's "The Devil in Dover" >

I just found out yesterday that the title is shared with a subtitle of a "Friday the 13th" sequel documentary about a Canadian biker rally. I haven't asked Lauri yet if that was intentional.


Posted by: k.e.. on June 09 2008,09:28

OK time for a little seriousness since books is hisself's first love...after my mother and all her younger sisters ...thank you all.

I took it easy on my last trip and only read some short stories since I treated hisself to an Ipod Classic 160 loaded up with ...hold on a sec. one of my gf's from Indon. has just sms'ed me ....I'll be right back...

OK here it is Collected Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

This traces his growth and mastery of his style over his career.

My suggestion is to start with the second last story and read it backwards to the first saving the end story for last.

Believe me it will make the pleasure almost perfect.

In my humble opinion his genius is unmatched except by maybe Joyce.

The last book I read by him My Melancholy Whores again defines him as the best male love story writer since whatever you want.

For an airport read John le Carré's The Missionary Song is a soft tease but we all need that once in a while.
Posted by: dnmlthr on June 09 2008,10:27

Currently reading Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, but making slow progress. It's not exactly a book you just zip through on a lazy summer day.
Posted by: J-Dog on June 09 2008,14:02

Quote (dnmlthr @ June 09 2008,10:27)
Currently reading Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, but making slow progress. It's not exactly a book you just zip through on a lazy summer day.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Perhaps you could send that to FTK when you're finished?

(We could probably take up a collection here to reimburse you for the expense.)
Posted by: midwifetoad on June 09 2008,14:22

Quote (dnmlthr @ June 09 2008,10:27)
Currently reading Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, but making slow progress. It's not exactly a book you just zip through on a lazy summer day.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I hope that road doesn't traverse too many miles through the Emperor's Mind.
Posted by: dnmlthr on June 09 2008,14:38

Quote (J-Dog @ June 09 2008,20:02)
   
Quote (dnmlthr @ June 09 2008,10:27)
Currently reading Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, but making slow progress. It's not exactly a book you just zip through on a lazy summer day.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Perhaps you could send that to FTK when you're finished?

(We could probably take up a collection here to reimburse you for the expense.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Haha, actually I like to keep books of this nature when I'm done with them (it's just a scruffy paperback anyway). In any case, I doubt she'd waste more than 5 minutes on it anyway.

Quote (midwifetoad @ June 09 2008,20:22)

I hope that road doesn't traverse too many miles through the Emperor's Mind.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Are you refering to his more speculative chapters?

Edit: There's at least not a chapter dedicated to his ideas on cognition, of which I have read absolutely zilch. I somehow misread your comment into a permutation of the emperor's new clothes.
Posted by: carlsonjok on June 13 2008,19:27

I just bought Ken Miller's "Only a Theory:Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul". I intend to settle in with it tonight. For shits and giggles, I looked it up on Amazon < here >.  No wonder Dembski has got his tidy whiteys in a bunch. Check this out:
     

---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Product Details
   * Hardcover: 256 pages
   * Publisher: Viking Adult (June 12, 2008)
   * Language: English
   * ISBN-10: 067001883X
   * ISBN-13: 978-0670018833
   * Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
   * Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

   * Amazon.com Sales Rank: #630 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Already at 630 on it's first day out! "Design of Life" never made it that high.
Posted by: stevestory on June 13 2008,23:06

Two books i picked up at Davis library tonight:

< Po Bronson: What should I do with my life? >

and

< Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 14 2008,07:14

Quote (stevestory @ June 13 2008,23:06)
Two books i picked up at Davis library tonight:

< Po Bronson: What should I do with my life? >

and

< Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


We read "Emotional intelligence" as part of a freshman woman's science and engineering seminar last fall; I co-taught this with a chem professor as an overload course. Most boring book I've read in a long while; chapter after chapter of anecdotes illustrating his main and simple point.

It amazes me that somebody can get a simple decent idea and stretch it out into a book-length treatise. But Goleman managed to get at least 5 books out of the idea, and all of them are boring. The self-help book market must be very lucrative...

Let me know what you think after you finish the book
Posted by: stevestory on June 25 2008,15:52

< Emotional Intelligence >

One of the most interesting books I've read in years. I'm going to go through and make a detailed outline after I'm done, because it's too dense to retain from one read.
Posted by: stevestory on June 25 2008,16:14

Some of the most interesting bits so far:

The importance of emotions to prioritizing decisions.

The cortex/limbic/amygdala relationiship whereby you can be influenced to behave differently based on emotions you aren't aware of.

How anger can increase from positive feedbacks loops, and catharsis actually makes the situation worse instead of better, but that anger can be diffused by waiting out the hormonal response.

Delayed gratification skills learned even by the age of 4 can have more impact on a person's graduation rates / SAT scores etc than IQ score well into adulthood.

The complicated relationship between anxiety and performance.

Ignoring/suppressing emotions may help make men 5 times more prone to alcoholism.

The significant impact optimism vs pessimism creates.

There's reference to a lot of research that seems to show that certain emotional traits can have more importance for success in life than any SAT or IQ test.

I'm only about halfway through. I'll have more to say later.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 25 2008,16:56

Quote (stevestory @ June 25 2008,15:52)
< Emotional Intelligence >

One of the most interesting books I've read in years. I'm going to go through and make a detailed outline after I'm done, because it's too dense to retain from one read.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, umm, good. I'm glad to see that my opinion didn't have any undue influence on yours.  :p
Posted by: Steviepinhead on June 25 2008,20:18

Just finished "Will in the World" by Stephen Greenblatt.

Very interesting juxtaposition of the actual documentary trail that Shakespeare left (mostly real estate purchases, leases, and the like) with his writing with his milieu (the most interesting, but speculative, parts).

I may do a book review for the interwebs somewhere, sometime, mainly because I was struck by the different way in which evidence is handled in literary (or biographical) criticism/history than in science or law...

But enjoyable and well-written.  Four stars, I think.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 25 2008,20:32

I just finished Joan Didion's "The  Year of Magical Thinking".

If you haven't heard about it, it documents the year after her husband dies suddenly of a massive cardiac infarction, while her only child is in the hospital with a life-threatening infection. It is a remarkable case-study of grief, mourning, and how we deal (or not) with loss. Four stars, easily. Not light reading, but powerful stuff, especially as you contemplate life and loss and love. Naturally that is difficult since none of us have a moral code on a daily basis, but I did my best to think about it anyway.

I also finished Lauri Lebo's book about the Dover Trial. It is an interesting window on the trial and the community, and I certainly enjoyed reading about the breathtaking inanity from a ground-floor perspective. Ed Humes "Monkey Girl" is a better read (he's just a better writer), but if you read both of these books, you will get a better  perspective on that remarkable story. Hopefully some Louisiana journalists are gearing up for their best-sellers based on the guaranteed future breathtaking inanity in the Bayou State...
Posted by: stevestory on June 25 2008,22:02

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 25 2008,17:56)
Well, umm, good. I'm glad to see that my opinion didn't have any undue influence on yours.  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well it's a good thing we're capable of reasonable disagreement. Good thing this isn't UD. I'd have to ban you, then you'd get Lou to ban me, then Wesley would ban Lou, then Lou's fans would rally and Wesley would unban him and reban me, then I'd take a fire hatchet to the server...

It's so much more work being an IDer.
Posted by: Lou FCD on June 25 2008,22:07

Quote (stevestory @ June 25 2008,23:02)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 25 2008,17:56)
Well, umm, good. I'm glad to see that my opinion didn't have any undue influence on yours.  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well it's a good thing we're capable of reasonable disagreement. Good thing this isn't UD. I'd have to ban you, then you'd get Lou to ban me, then Wesley would ban Lou, then Lou's fans would rally and Wesley would unban him and reban me, then I'd take a fire hatchet to the server...

It's so much more work being an IDer.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


:)

I don't think the bulk of my fans reside at AtBC.  No offense or nothin' but the vast majority of my fans aren't even mine per se.
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 26 2008,01:11

Quote (stevestory @ June 25 2008,14:14)
Some of the most interesting bits so far:

The importance of emotions to prioritizing decisions.

The cortex/limbic/amygdala relationiship whereby you can be influenced to behave differently based on emotions you aren't aware of.

How anger can increase from positive feedbacks loops, and catharsis actually makes the situation worse instead of better, but that anger can be diffused by waiting out the hormonal response.

Delayed gratification skills learned even by the age of 4 can have more impact on a person's graduation rates / SAT scores etc than IQ score well into adulthood.

The complicated relationship between anxiety and performance.

Ignoring/suppressing emotions may help make men 5 times more prone to alcoholism.

The significant impact optimism vs pessimism creates.

There's reference to a lot of research that seems to show that certain emotional traits can have more importance for success in life than any SAT or IQ test.

I'm only about halfway through. I'll have more to say later.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


None of the statistically normative studies have any help dealing with the extremes.

I recall my mother being very disappointed when I was a high school student when she read an news article that indicated that average income declined for people with normalized IQs over 3 standard deviations from the mean. She was very materialistic in the sociological sense of the word.

We never starved.

She got over her 1930s-childhood induced economic angst.
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 26 2008,01:43

I have been reading books, < and even posting reviews >.

Apparently there is some sort of contest about how many people vote for "helpful" reviews at Amazon.com. I do admit that I like my ratio of 336 helpful to 408 total votes. 82% positive aint bad.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 08 2008,13:12

I'm about one-third of the way through Robert Richards' biography of Ernst Haeckel, "A Tragic Sense of Life". I looked in the Acknowledgments to see if the author thanked < Paul Nelson > for his contributions, but didn't find it there. Ditto for the bibliography (which is 28 pp long, by the way). I guess we're still waiting for Paul to publish his contributions to Haeckel scholarship...

Anyhoo, I'm really liking the book. It is dense, heavily footnoted, and also heavy on the philosophy of science, so it is slow slogging. But it brings to life a period of time that I was not very familiar with, between the publication of The Origin of Species and the re-discovery of Mendelian genetics. In some ways it was an eclipse period for Darwin's theory, since without an understanding of the mechanism of heredity it was easy to take pot-shots at evolution. It also is a gripping biography.  Haeckel set out to prove and enhance Darwin's theories after the death of his young wife, dedicating his life and work as a sort of memorial to her.

Finally it appears that we have Haeckel to thank (at least partially) for the modern-day antagonism between religion and evolution. Apparently he was quite polemical in both his written and spoken works. The targets of his ire were clergy and others who had no comprehension of the science, but who nonetheless spoke out against it (sounds familiar, eh?). He thus set the stage for a battle that continues today. Even Huxley, no shrinking violet when it came to insult, cautioned Haeckel to tone down the vituperation in his monographs. No such luck.

I'll post a full review when I finish the thing; it may be a few days.

In the meantime, the worldwide scientific conspiracy marches on with the announcement of < WorldWideScience >.    

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The WorldWideScience Alliance website will provide visitors with free real-time search of national scientific databases, such as NRC-CISTI's collection, the collection of the Canadian Agriculture library (CAL), as well as the NRC-CISTI-Myilibrary eBook Loans collection, from around the globe. WorldWideScience will allow users to query from over 200 million pages of science and technology information that are not available through popular search engines.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I clicked on their link for the British Library and spent an hour or so wandering about in there. I need to look at the rest of the site as well!
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 08 2008,15:56

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 08 2008,11:12)
I'm about one-third of the way through Robert Richards' biography of Ernst Haeckel, "A Tragic Sense of Life". I looked in the Acknowledgments to see if the author thanked < Paul Nelson > for his contributions, but didn't find it there.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Interesting that Richard Weikart, 2004 "From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany" (New York: Palgrave/MacMillian) uses Haeckel as the secret conduit that injected “Darwinism” into Germany thus causing the Nazis and the Holocaust. I guess Weikart never heard of Martin Luther, or Arthur Comte de Gobineau's The inequality of Human Races (1853-1855).  I suspected that I would need to read Richards’s book whether it was good or not. I am glad to learn you have enjoyed it.

I finished “The Genesis Debate” (David Hagopian editor, 2001 Crux Press) this morning. In the introduction written by Norman Geisler, I learned that the important thing to remember was that the real enemy of the Christian Church is evolutionism, and “Our foe is Liberalism” and that evangelicals must “turn their cannons on naturalists.”  The best part of the book was getting to read YECs be as dishonest and arrogant toward their fellow conservative fundys as they are toward scientists.

I have stalled ~ ½ way through on “Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.” I bought it following Dembski’s glowing recommendation.

Two books arrived this afternoon “Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization” by A. Leo Opperheim (2nd edition 1977, University of Chicago Press), and “The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity 1919-1945” by Richard Steigmann-Gall (2003 Cambridge Uni Press).  I think I’ll read Steigmann-Gall before Saul Friedlander,  2007 Nazi Germany and the Jews, The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945 (New York:HarperCollins).  I don’t know how Friedlander writes so fast, it is only ten years since Nazi Germany and the Jews, The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939.

Niel Shubin’s book, “Your Inner Fish” was great fun, and a fairly quick read. I was less happy with Gordy Slack’s Dover book.  I liked Ken Miller’s new “Only a Theory,” but like others I was not convinced by his Christian apologetics. (The fishing was off last week and I only went on Friday.)

I stalled at page 22 of “Explore Evolution.” I have underlined errors on every page of text starting with the preface. I will finish it before Nelson publishes his “ontogenic depth” paper, and before (probably) I finish writing “Dembski: Hammered and Screwed.” (The latter is too long, 20+ pages not counting bibliography.)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 13 2008,11:15

Rather than reproduce it here, I'll just link to my < Amazon.com review > of Robert J. Richards A Tragic View of Life.

Short review if you don't want to read the longer version - an excellent and thorough biography, as well as a window into both a tortured soul and a different scientific era. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of evolutionary science and philosophy.
Posted by: drew91 on July 16 2008,12:49

I just finished < The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals > which I found quite good.  

A friend suggested < Real Food: What To Eat and Why > as a good follow up.  The author is a self described "recovering vegan", so I'm interested to hear her thoughts on diet.

The other book I'm slowly churning through is < Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers >.  Quite interesting.  Especially so considering I receive at least an email a week about the collapse of our "Christian Nation" from some of my more right leaning friends. :)
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 16 2008,17:26

"The Tragic Sense of Life" was delivered today along with "The Flood."  The latter, originally published the same year as I was, in 1951), was written by Alfred Rehwinkel, a Lutheran.  He gives a profuse acknowledgement to Seventh Day Adventist "Dr." George McCready Price, whom he called "a noted geologist." Price completed a single year course in "education" which was the sum total of his "scientific" training.  So I look forward to mainline creatotard.

I will be particularly interested in comparing this with the classic, "The Genesis Flood."
Posted by: carlsonjok on July 16 2008,18:22

I am trying to read Akhil Reed Amar's "America's Constition: A Biography" but am not making much headway.  But, I got a delivery today, as well. Shubin's "Your Inner Fish" along with a Milton's "Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained."  My guess is Amar is going back on the shelf for a time, while I read those books in the aforementioned order.
Posted by: drew91 on July 16 2008,18:58

Shubin's book won't take you very long.  It's excellent, but very short. (~200 pages)
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 16 2008,19:04

Quote (drew91 @ July 16 2008,16:58)
Shubin's book won't take you very long.  It's excellent, but very short. (~200 pages)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, I really enjoyed it too.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on July 18 2008,08:54

"Darwin Researcher" didn't like Lauri Lebo's "The Devil in Dover". I wasn't much taken with < his Amazon review >.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on July 18 2008,15:58

Thanks to the dozen or so of you who have gone to Amazon and added your votes on the "helpful" nature of the review posted by "Darwin Researcher".
Posted by: stevestory on July 18 2008,16:46

I've read many of the highlights of the bible but frankly I'm not going to read all 35,000 pages. I do want a good working knowledge of the stories, because western lit is rife with references to them. So a theology grad student friend I bumped into at the coffeeshop yesterday recommended this:

< The Manga Bible >
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on July 21 2008,11:42

what about < this'un? >

Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present (Hardcover)
by John Bellamy Foster (Author), Brett Clark (Author), Richard York (Author)

I greatly enjoyed John Bellamy Foster's extension of dialectical materialism and historical marxism to biology and ecology.  Can't remember the title but it was a very interesting read.

Anyone know anything about this book?
Posted by: dvunkannon on July 28 2008,10:58

I'm finishing Sean Carroll's Making of the Fittest, and starting The Good Soldier Svejk, by Jaroslav Hasek (tr. by Cecil Parrott), and The Wild Trees, by Richad Preston.
Posted by: dnmlthr on July 28 2008,12:56

Just finished Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. There are a few irritating stylistic choices (the overly dramatic plant for one) but overall it's an interesting take on the early 20th century race for cross atlantic wireless communication, among other things.

Good for a few lazy summer afternoons.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on July 28 2008,18:49

We neither take exception to your review of Thunderstruck, or to your enjoyment of your lazy summer afternoons...

We do, however, object to your limitation of the latter to a "few."

--Society for More Lazy Summer Afternoons
Posted by: dnmlthr on July 29 2008,13:57

Quote (Steviepinhead @ July 29 2008,00:49)
We neither take exception to your review of Thunderstruck, or to your enjoyment of your lazy summer afternoons...

We do, however, object to your limitation of the latter to a "few."

--Society for More Lazy Summer Afternoons
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Then you'll need a couple of books more. You see, Thunderstruck isn't that thick. By which I mean it doesn't contain an awful lot of pages.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on July 29 2008,20:37

Odd.  Steviepinhead is quuite thick, but contains no pages at all.

He's more of a sci-fi/fantasy fan, though, and has mo' than enough of that genre laid by to loll away many mo' lazy summer afternoons.

In between bouts with The Evolution of the Insects.
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 29 2008,23:30

"Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich" by Doris L. Bergen (1996, University of N. Carolina Press) arrived today. I am getting tired of reading about Nazi Christians, and this should be more than enough to finish my review/refutation of Weikart. My German is slowly coming back, so all was not wasted.
Posted by: Lou FCD on July 30 2008,08:59

I'd gotten busy with college stuff and had to set aside Here, Eyeball This by Heddle, but am restarting, and also reading-for-review < The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability > by Mirriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette.  (Review for and review copy provided by Elizabeth Wood of < Sex in the Public Square >.)
Posted by: dvunkannon on July 31 2008,13:27

Quote (Lou FCD @ July 30 2008,09:59)
I'd gotten busy with college stuff and had to set aside Here, Eyeball This by Heddle, but am restarting, and also reading-for-review < The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability > by Mirriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette.  (Review for and review copy provided by Elizabeth Wood of < Sex in the Public Square >.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Is being imaginary a disability?
Posted by: dheddle on July 31 2008,13:39

Quote (Lou FCD @ July 30 2008,08:59)
I'd gotten busy with college stuff and had to set aside Here, Eyeball This by Heddle, but am restarting, and also reading-for-review < The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability > by Mirriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette.  (Review for and review copy provided by Elizabeth Wood of < Sex in the Public Square >.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In case there is any doubt, Here, Eyeball This! is not intended as a companion volume to Sex in the Public Square.

Although if it helps sales... (I just got a royalty check for about 35 dollars, Canadian. The villa in Normandy is on hold.)
Posted by: stevestory on July 31 2008,15:36

Just spent 30 mins in a used book store without finding anything interesting. I went there looking for this

< http://www.clivebarker.com/html/visions/bib/book/books/galilee.htm >

but would have settled for some Wodehouse. Didn't find either.
Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 18 2008,15:00

It's boring out here in BFE Florida. Went to pet the cows in the nearby field. Turns out moo cows don't like strangers. Oh well. We'll see what kind of fungi are nearby ;-)

Seriously, though, I'm bored. Going to the library today and loading up on stuff:

Tristram Shandy
Right Ho, Jeeves
The Confusion (maybe)
MacBeth or The Tempest (I can't decide)
Some books about the local foliage
God is Not Great
and about a million back issues of Harpers, the Atlantic, GQ, Vanity Fair, etc.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 18 2008,15:51

Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 18 2008,13:00)
It's boring out here in BFE Florida. Went to pet the cows in the nearby field. Turns out moo cows don't like strangers. Oh well. We'll see what kind of fungi are nearby ;-)

Seriously, though, I'm bored.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< Here's some sound advice, > Steve.

And < here > is some advice more specifically for Louis.
Posted by: Louis on Aug. 18 2008,17:01

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 18 2008,21:51)
Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 18 2008,13:00)
It's boring out here in BFE Florida. Went to pet the cows in the nearby field. Turns out moo cows don't like strangers. Oh well. We'll see what kind of fungi are nearby ;-)

Seriously, though, I'm bored.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< Here's some sound advice, > Steve.

And < here > is some advice more specifically for Louis.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Since that is my favourite movie of all time, I'm taking it as a compliment. Although I'm more Bluto than Flounder.....

Louis
Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 18 2008,17:34

Accidentally moved Louis to the BW. Here was his comment:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 18 2008,21:00)
It's boring out here in BFE Florida. Went to pet the cows in the nearby field. Turns out moo cows don't like strangers. Oh well. We'll see what kind of fungi are nearby ;-)

[SNIP]
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


[Bill Hicks] Mushrooms grow on cow turds! Heaven is in a cow's butt! [/Bill Hicks]

I suggest buying a playstation 3 and GTA4. You'll get no work done and put on 50lbs, but you won't be bored.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 18 2008,17:35



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I suggest buying a playstation 3 and GTA4. You'll get no work done and put on 50lbs, but you won't be bored.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



My gf would not be Teh H4PP1 with that. She's kind of waiting on me to lose the other 20.
Posted by: Louis on Aug. 18 2008,17:40

Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 18 2008,23:34)
Accidentally moved Louis to the BW. Here was his comment:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 18 2008,21:00)
It's boring out here in BFE Florida. Went to pet the cows in the nearby field. Turns out moo cows don't like strangers. Oh well. We'll see what kind of fungi are nearby ;-)

[SNIP]
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


[Bill Hicks] Mushrooms grow on cow turds! Heaven is in a cow's butt! [/Bill Hicks]

I suggest buying a playstation 3 and GTA4. You'll get no work done and put on 50lbs, but you won't be bored.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


"Accidentally"?

Tis a CONSPIRACEH! Persecution!!!1one111one!!!! Help, help I'm being repressed! Come and see the violence inherent in the system.

But enough of that....

Surely if you AND the Mrs are present then there are things you can do TOGETHER* to alleviate boredom?

Louis

*That would be mushrooms and cow tipping.
Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 18 2008,18:02

I'm only seeing the missus on weekends at the moment.  :(
Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 18 2008,18:04

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 18 2008,18:40)
*That would be mushrooms and cow tipping.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Actually haven't done shrooms since i lived here 12 years ago. Don't even remember what to look for. I'm just more of a booze and cigarettes guy.
Posted by: skeptic on Aug. 19 2008,16:35

Do we have a review of "Decoding the Universe" by Seife?  Just picked it up today and I was curious what I was jumping into.
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 24 2008,20:30

A J-DOG Big Shout out to David Crystal for writing "By Hook or by Crook, a Journey in Seach of English".

Unlike most ID sites, this book is well-written and easy to read.  To steal from the blurb - and BTW "blurb" and its origens as a word are explained in the book - "it's a liguistic travellogue like no other".  

He explaine why I spell it "color", and Louis spells it "colour".  He writes about travels @ England & Wales, and even discusses some Chicago and San Francisco word backgrounds.

He discusses Shakespeare, strange Canadian writings, and making TV shows for the BBC. He discuses Tolkein and univocalics - citing an 8-line poem that only uses the vowel "a".  

Interesting for anyone that is curious about our language.

Two Thumbs UP!
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 30 2008,12:51

Everyone here urgently needs to read < this >. Especially Louis.
Posted by: stevestory on Aug. 30 2008,13:03

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 24 2008,21:30)
He explaine why I spell it "color", and Louis spells it "colour".
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I always just assumed Louis had brain damage.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Aug. 30 2008,14:13

I finished Robert Richards's biography of Ernst Haeckel "A Tragic Sense of Life." I am reading two other books related to the Darwin=Hitler creatocrap;

Bergen, Doris L.
1996 "Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich" (University of N. Carolina Press)

Steigmann-Gall, Richard
2003 “The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity 1919-1945” 2003 Cambridge University Press.

Both are excellent, and will make a refutation of Weikart's trash book rather straight forward.

I picked up two of John Haught's books, "God and the New Atheism" and "Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution." The latter is OK, but his reaction to the "New Atheism" is disappointing.

"Mark S. Smith's "The Early History of God, 2nd ed" and Ziony Zevit's massive 818 page "The Religions of Ancient Israel" came yesterday. I started with Smith's more managble book. I enjoyed his 2003 work “The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts”  (Oxford University Press) inspite of his very scholarly writting style. (Great bedtime reading).
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on Aug. 31 2008,07:30

I am reading 3 atm.

BIOLOGY sixth edition Campbell&Reece

A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING Bill Bryson

and

NOT FORGOTTEN Neil Oliver

The last is especially emotive. I have read it before but keep forgetting that the war memorials where mostly erected due to public sense of loss rather than government decree.
Posted by: dnmlthr on Sep. 03 2008,03:46

Currently binging on functional programming, in part thanks to school.

Programming in Haskell by Hutton
Apart from using mathematical notation in code examples instead of the corresponding ASCII character set that you would use when entering code into your editor, a practice so stupid that it boggles the mind, I guess it's ok as a very basic primer on Haskell and functional programming. Mercifully thin and thus nice to my back, unlike most of our other literature.

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programming by Abelson and Sussman
Haven't had the time to dig into this yet, school season is pretty intense right now. I just hope it's half as good as its classic status indicates.
Posted by: keiths on Sep. 14 2008,02:39

< David Foster Wallace > is gone.
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on Sep. 15 2008,14:15

Quote (keiths @ Sep. 14 2008,02:39)
< David Foster Wallace > is gone.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm just really bummed about this. Having lost friends to suicide, I feel for his wife and family. It's something you never really get over.
Posted by: stevestory on Sep. 20 2008,14:39

On the current reading list





and the usual backlog of New Yorkers and GQs.
Posted by: Spottedwind on Oct. 08 2008,09:57

Perhaps I missed it, and my apologies if so, but is there a thread for good science books?  Evolution and associated topics of course, but others as well.

I picked up The < Top Ten Myths About Evolution > at a small bookstore but haven't found 10 minutes to read it yet.  It looked good and like it might be a good read for non- to semi-science inclined people.

Basically I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about that book and/or any others to pick up.  As to reader level...any and all to be honest.  I want to be able to suggest easy, but accurate, reading at a layman level for friends and family if asked.  I'm not saying a dumbing down of the concept, but something that can make complex ideas and confusing terminology and jargon comprehensible to the average person.  For myself, I think I can handle something a bit more complex and probably could use the challenge, since my current job isn't that kind of mental stimulation.  (Something cometh before the fall but if I could only remember what...)  

Any suggestions appreciated.
Posted by: dvunkannon on Oct. 13 2008,14:46

Just picked up The Illustrated Origin of Species, by C. Darwin. It's wonderful!

Also, the new Annotated Dracula!
Posted by: huwp on Oct. 13 2008,16:56

Quote (dvunkannon @ Oct. 13 2008,14:46)
Just picked up The Illustrated Origin of Species, by C. Darwin. It's wonderful!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


OK this is somewhat off topic but on Saturday my wife and I visited Down House in Kent where Charles Darwin used to live.  The house is now owned and run by English Heritage who do a fine job.  The countryside round there has barely changed since Darwin's day apart from the aircraft noises - it's right next door to Biggin Hill airfield.

It's well worth a visit if any of you are in the area.

< http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.14922 >

Hwyl fawr

Huw
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 30 2008,15:13

I finally finished two books that got set aside during my recent move.

Shubin's "Your Inner Fish", which I found to be excellent.  Very enjoyable account of our rise from the swamps to having opposable thumbs and hiccups.

"Michael Palin Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years", a must read for the die-hard Python fan.  Lots of stories about "Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian", hangin' out with George Harrison, hosting Saturday Night Live, along with every day things like kids birthday parties and painful dentistry.

My lovely wife just gave me an autographed copy of "The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America ".  She knows me so well.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Oct. 30 2008,17:01



I don't know if I have managed to clarify any of my thoughts by reading this.  Very interesting however.  




also very interesting.  there is a common theme between the two books, namely that of how to deal with so-called emergent properties.  in two very different contexts.

last one doesn't ask that question, just jumps right into the fray.  also a good read.  not finished with it yet.


< Biotic Homogenization edited by J Lockwood and M McKinney >
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Nov. 13 2008,15:21

I'm reading Anathem, the new opus from Neal Stephenson, the author of Cryptonomicon and the "System of the World" books.  It's amazing how many issues that are au currant in our little science-creationist skirmishes that NS manages to render into lively fiction...

Anyway, it's good so far, but massive, so I'm only about a fifth of the way in.

I'm also reading an interesting book on Haida ethnography: The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse by Marianne Boelscher.  


Also fortunate enough to be sharing a couple of chapters from BWE's secret project...
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Dec. 05 2008,16:32

Over at TalkRational, we've started a Christmas Reading Wish List for our dear old friend, douty AF Dave Hawkins.  Here's teh linky.  (Funny, the hot-link worked just fine in the preview...)  http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=289873#post289873

And here were my initial contributions:

1. Grand Canyon Geology, by Beus and Morales.  Dave has been looking for a professional geologist to waste his time spoon-feeding Dave with the the “conventional”explanation!  The customer reviews at Amazon.com suggest that this book could use better pictures, but apparently the text is quite authoritative.  Perhaps others will suggest more “coffee table”-worthy numbers.

2. Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History, by Wang and Tedford.  Dave has recently asserted that he can tell that dogs and wolves are part of the same "kind."  We think he's overlooked, oh, just a few members of that baramin!

3. Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution , by Rudwick.  A badly-needed corrective for Dave’s woeful misconstructions of how and by whom the earth’s early history was reconstructed.

4. The Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia, by Fedonkin and several co-authors.  Both the text and illustrations are reputedly excellent.

5. On the Origin of Phyla, by Valentine.  A personal favorite, and a steal at $22.22 used in pb on amazon.com (i'm out of practice with the hot-links here, but hope I'm giving enough info that the interested can locate these online)!  I’m not sure Dave yet realizes how many of the phyla that “explosively” originated in and around Cambrian times are “just” one or another variety of soft-bodied worm.  Or how very few of the animals that Dave would recognize from our modern world were around then.

6. Annals of the Former World, by McPhee.  A highly-readable introduction to plate tectonics.

And, of course:

7. The Portuguese Language: History and Structure of Language, by Camara, Jr.  ‘Nuff said.

Anyway, feel free to stop on by.  Many old comrades are gathered there, roasting Dave's chestnuts round the fire.
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on Dec. 12 2008,16:09



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I'm reading Anathem, the new opus from Neal Stephenson, the author of Cryptonomicon and the "System of the World" books.  It's amazing how many issues that are au currant in our little science-creationist skirmishes that NS manages to render into lively fiction...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Yes, good stuff. I've been reading it, too... almost done.

What did you think, Stevie? (I'm assuming you've finished it by now)
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Dec. 16 2008,20:14

Er, no...  It's a big long book, slow going for pinheadz.

Actually, I have been enjoying it to date, but I tend to read several things at one time, especially when one of the things has the heft of this tome.

Just to spare my scrawny neck and shoulder muscles, if for no other reason.  

But I will report back.

Also, for Seattle-ites, or other fans or either paleoanthropology or Northwest Coast native art, we've got two great exhibits going on in town at the moment: Lucy Walks (well, actually, her bones flew over here from Ethiopia) at the Pacific Science Center and S'abadeb, The Gifts, an exhibit of Salish native art, old and new.  There is a good book/exhibit catalog associated with the latter, by the same title, edited by the curator, Barbara Brotherton.

I have been making (very desultory and behind-the-times) reports on the lecture series -- sponsored by the Burke Museum, our local natural history/ethnology museum -- associated with the Lucy Exhibit, over at TalkRational.  Charmingly, the lectures are titled "Lucy Talks."
Posted by: J-Dog on Dec. 17 2008,08:19

Quote (ppb @ Oct. 30 2008,15:13)
I finally finished two books that got set aside during my recent move.

Shubin's "Your Inner Fish", which I found to be excellent.  Very enjoyable account of our rise from the swamps to having opposable thumbs and hiccups.

"Michael Palin Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years", a must read for the die-hard Python fan.  Lots of stories about "Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian", hangin' out with George Harrison, hosting Saturday Night Live, along with every day things like kids birthday parties and painful dentistry.

My lovely wife just gave me an autographed copy of "The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America ".  She knows me so well.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks for the tip!  My library has the Michale Palin Diaries - it's Dewey Decimal 791.4509 if you are scoring at home.
Posted by: dnmlthr on Dec. 17 2008,08:47

Do text book authors in the US get paid by the word? We use "Fundamentals of physics" by Halliday et. al in a physics course now and man do they consistently take the long road...
Posted by: Seizure Salad on Dec. 21 2008,00:17

There's a new Pynchon book coming out summer 2009. It's called Inherent Vice.

Y'all Gravity's Rainbow nerds should Google that shit.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Dec. 21 2008,13:39

I have been reading some Christian "evolutionists" this week

Miller, Keith B. (editor)
2003 “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing

Frye, Roland Mushat (editor)
1983 "Is God a Creationist?: The Religious Case Against Creation-Science" New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, Inc.

and a truly terrible book

DeRosa, Tom
2006 “Evolution’s Fatal Fruit” Fort Lauderdale: Coral Ridge Ministries. (Darwin-->Hitler, etc… cheap and incompetent)

Yesterday, I bought as an antidote,

Prothero, Donald.
2007 "Evolution: What The Fossils Say and Why It Matters" Colombia University Press.
Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 06 2009,20:46

So another trip to the liberry today. First, the usual negotiations with them about my fines, which ones I felt were valid, and convincing them that since I'm going to pay for that October issue of the New Yorker that has disappeared into the ether could they erase the overdue fines in the meantime (they could). Then off to get the most recent new yorkers (when i moved from NC i didn't take one with me, and to reroute your subscription apparently you have to know everything on the mailing label, so my ex-roommate is enjoying half a year on me) and a GQ or two and happened past this: < American Gods >, and checked it out. Going to crack it open tomorrow.
Posted by: keiths on Jan. 07 2009,02:01

Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 20 2008,12:39)
On the current reading list





and the usual backlog of New Yorkers and GQs.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Dude -- I just noticed who wrote your abstract algebra book.  Whoa.
Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 07 2009,02:37

(tries to hit gangsta poses)
Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 07 2009,02:41

i'm all up on this 836-quadrillion permutation group, Bee-otch.

:-)
Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 07 2009,02:51

LOL in all seriousness, it is a really good textbook. And I took it under Dr. E. Stitzinger. I tutor math now, and when I want to hone my skills, I borrow it, and work through some of the proofs from chs 1-13. After that it gets too hard for li'l ol me.

"If you don't love Abstract Algebra, you don't love math." -Ernie Stitzinger
Posted by: keiths on Jan. 07 2009,03:02

I'm sure the author could help you with chapter 14:


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


Posted by: Assassinator on Jan. 07 2009,06:58

I'm finally going to read some books again (that means not buying the monthly computergame, a well yay for variation), namely the Discworld series recommended by a friend. Problem is, I have no idea where to start! There are 37 books, and according to this < reading guide > there are 4 big storylines and 2 small one's. Wich storyline would you guys recommend to start with, for whatever reason.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 07 2009,09:34

Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 07 2009,00:37)
(tries to hit gangsta poses)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


HA HA THIS IS YOU:


Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 07 2009,11:27

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 07 2009,10:34)
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 07 2009,00:37)
(tries to hit gangsta poses)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


HA HA THIS IS YOU:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hardly. :angry:

My bandana's more of a fuschia color.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Feb. 17 2009,16:04

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Dec. 12 2008,14:09)
     

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I'm reading Anathem, the new opus from Neal Stephenson, the author of Cryptonomicon and the "System of the World" books.  It's amazing how many issues that are au currant in our little science-creationist skirmishes that NS manages to render into lively fiction...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Yes, good stuff. I've been reading it, too... almost done.

What did you think, Stevie? (I'm assuming you've finished it by now)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I finally finished Anathem, the latest from Neal Stephenson.

That makes it sound like it was a hard slog, which is far from the case.  As always, reading a Stephenson book is quite enjoyable and inevitably thought-provoking.  Finishing a Stephenson book can be less so, however.  I have been less than enthralled with the endings of Cryptonomicon and the "Baroque Cycle" trilogy, for example.  After all kinds of fascinating and intricate build-up, the grand climaxes have, for me, fallen a little flat.

Such "realistic" endings may be more modern, less contrived, or whatever.  But, while I don't mind realistic damage, loss, cost, consequence -- however it might be worded -- in my fiction, and don't require the author to contort the incident, characters, and motivations simply to arrive at a predicatable "happy ending," I also don't necessarily look to find humdrum, everyday, back-to-earth, life-doesn't-always-work-out finales, either...

In short, Anathem had a more emotionally-satisfying ending than some of Stephenson's previous extravaganzas.  <Possible Spoiler Alert!>  Of course, to achieve this, Stephenson had to carefully weave his principal players through a batch of polycosmic timelines.  In any number of those "other" cosmic timelines, the fate of his principal players was, undoubtably, less satisfying to the captivated reader...

I certainly enjoyed Stephenson's play with words in his two invented languages of Orth and Fluccish, as well.  Not quite as challenging as Tolkien's thoroughly-worked out imaginary languages, but fun to grapple with over the course of the volume.

Just because this book was big and fat, I laid it down about two-thirds of the way through to concentrate on several other reading projects, including -- most recently -- Orr and Coyne's Speciation and Janet Browne's exemplary life of Darwin, Voyaging.

I'm only partway through each of these, but am enjoying both quite a lot:    < http://www.amazon.com/Charles....dbs_b_3 >

< http://www.amazon.com/Speciat....&sr=1-1 >
Posted by: J-Dog on Feb. 17 2009,20:43

The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing
by Richard Dawkins

A book full of essays rather than chapters, with intros by The Big Man hissself.  He included essays by Einstein and Stephen Hawking, and even I understood what the hell they were writing about.  Mostly. Well, ok, a little bit anyway...

Nothing about Dover or IDiots - the book is about Science Writig after all.  Sorry Dr. Dembski - please return to your seat.  Yes.  In the back row...

PLUS, it's got a realy nice silk-like book marker - I haven't had one of those on a book since back in me old churchin' days.

I give it two thumbs up.  I think it will be a nice reference book too.
Posted by: BWE on Feb. 19 2009,02:34

I'm re-reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. It turns out to be one of the more formative books in my life. Next to Catch-22 it may be the most.

I recommend it for a second read to those who have forgotten the subtleties of Bokonon.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Feb. 19 2009,14:48

Ah, Catch-22, good memories!

Well, I'm not sure Yossarian's memories were all that good, but mine of the book and the times and the ambience are all good.
Posted by: ppb on Mar. 06 2009,15:01

I just finished reading Chet Reymo's book "Walking Zero: Discovering Cosmic Space and Time Along the PRIME MERIDIAN".  In it he takes a walk of about 200 miles along the prime meridian in England.  He makes stops along the way at Greenwich Observatory, Darwin's home in Downe, and various other places of historic and scientific interest.  While doing so, he describes how our understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe has changed.  Where once we though ourselves at the center of everything, we now know we are a small part of a universe that is exceedingly vast in space and time.

While reading it I couldn't help but think of the creationists we deal with.  They are no different than the people who thought the earth was the literal center of the cosmos, and that the sun, moon and stars revolved around it.  To them, the story of mankind is all that matters.  The thought that the universe went along just fine without us for billions of years, and will keep rolling along for billions more after we are gone, is an uncomfortable one for them.

We've come a long way in the last 2000 years.  I'm constantly amazed at how much we've learned in the last 40 years that I have been a science geek.

ETA: spelling
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 15 2009,07:05

Here's my review of a new book, recently published in Choice.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The following review appeared in the April 2009 issue of CHOICE.

46-4390                 BS651           2008-36623 CIP
Forster, John Bellamy.  Critique of intelligent design: materialism versus creationism from antiquity to the present, by John Bellamy Forster, Brett Clark, and Richard York.  Monthly Review, 2008.  140p index ISBN 9781583671733 pbk, $15.95  

Although there have been prior authoritative critiques of intelligent design (ID) from the scientific perspective, this is the first from a sociological perspective.  It is overdue, because, as sociologists Forster and York (both, Univ. of Oregon) and Clark (North Carolina State) make clear, the clash between ID and evolutionary theory is a culture war, not a scientific skirmish.  The science was settled long ago; creationism is not a productive scientific paradigm, and ID, the intellectual heir to creationism, adds no new scientific arguments.  ID proponents, particularly the Discovery Institute, vainly cloak their culture-warrior garb in the language of science, thus a sociological treatment of this movement can be informative and insightful.  This volume is both.  The authors indicate that the ID movement is merely a protracted argumentum ad consequentiam, and the undesirable consequence (from the ID perspective) is that their religious paradigm (biblical literalism) is rendered impotent by the fact of evolution.  The Discovery Institute's infamous "wedge strategy" starts by replacing science with religious revelation. But the "thick end of the wedge," as the authors explain, aims to make their religious viewpoint the basis for social sciences/arts/humanities.  This ultimate aim of the ID movement deserves wider attention; this book should perform admirably in that task.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Academic libraries, all levels. -- D. A. Rintoul, Kansas State University
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 15 2009,07:41

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 15 2009,08:05)
Here's my review of a new book, recently published in Choice.
   

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The following review appeared in the April 2009 issue of CHOICE.

46-4390                 BS651           2008-36623 CIP
Forster, John Bellamy.  Critique of intelligent design: materialism versus creationism from antiquity to the present, by John Bellamy Forster, Brett Clark, and Richard York.  Monthly Review, 2008.  140p index ISBN 9781583671733 pbk, $15.95  

Although there have been prior authoritative critiques of intelligent design (ID) from the scientific perspective, this is the first from a sociological perspective.  It is overdue, because, as sociologists Forster and York (both, Univ. of Oregon) and Clark (North Carolina State) make clear, the clash between ID and evolutionary theory is a culture war, not a scientific skirmish.  The science was settled long ago; creationism is not a productive scientific paradigm, and ID, the intellectual heir to creationism, adds no new scientific arguments.  ID proponents, particularly the Discovery Institute, vainly cloak their culture-warrior garb in the language of science, thus a sociological treatment of this movement can be informative and insightful.  This volume is both.  The authors indicate that the ID movement is merely a protracted argumentum ad consequentiam, and the undesirable consequence (from the ID perspective) is that their religious paradigm (biblical literalism) is rendered impotent by the fact of evolution.  The Discovery Institute's infamous "wedge strategy" starts by replacing science with religious revelation. But the "thick end of the wedge," as the authors explain, aims to make their religious viewpoint the basis for social sciences/arts/humanities.  This ultimate aim of the ID movement deserves wider attention; this book should perform admirably in that task.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Academic libraries, all levels. -- D. A. Rintoul, Kansas State University
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


JBF is one of my favorite thinkers.  will be reading that.  thanks albie
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 15 2009,07:55

I'm currently awaiting a review copy of
< The Unlikely Disciple >
by Kevin Roose (the guy who spent a semester undercover at Liberty Looniversity).

The review is for
< Carnal Nation >, and I'll post a link when it's up.
Posted by: J-Dog on May 15 2009,08:40

Go and vote for your favorite Sarah Palin Book Title.

< Laugh & Vote Your Favorite >
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 15 2009,09:18

Quote (J-Dog @ May 15 2009,09:40)
Go and vote for your favorite Sarah Palin Book Title.

< Laugh & Vote Your Favorite >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


bwaa

Pulp Diction [seattlefan]

Carpe per Diem [Rob]

My Children are Off Limits, or, a Personal Journey Through the Lives of my Children [MimiC]
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 15 2009,18:05

Just got a new book for review. < Wetware: A computer in every living cell >, by computational biologist Dennis Bray. I'm sure that the title seems promising for the ID crowd, but I suspect that the contents will be disappointing for their presuppositions.

I'll put a report here when I finish it.
Posted by: Timothy McDougald on May 15 2009,20:10

Wow, I didn't know we had a book club. I'll bet there is a sauna hidden around here somewhere too :D

I'm currently rereading Raff's The Shape of Life. Strongly recommended for those who haven't read it.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 15 2009,20:31

Quote (afarensis @ May 15 2009,21:10)
Wow, I didn't know we had a book club. I'll bet there is a sauna hidden around here somewhere too :D
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


There was, but Daniel drained it for his flud.
Posted by: Dr.GH on May 16 2009,00:58

I have such a backlog that I don't even want to make a list. But one new purchase was Andrew Bergman's "Tender Is Levine: A Jack Levine Mystery" The only one we didn't have.

'Jack Levine' is a 1950's middle aged liberal Jewish private investigator. The man I trained under for my PI license was a 1950's (minded) middle aged liberal Irish Catholic private  investigator.

Perfect match.

Then there are these;

Dembski, William and Thomas Schirrmacher (ed.s)
2009 "Tough-Minded Christianity: Honoring the Legacy of John Warick Montgomery" Nashville: B&H publishing.

Two other turds that floated to the surface....

Henry M. Morris
1974 "Scientific Creationism" (2006 printing) Green Forest, Ar: Masters Books

Alister E. McGrath
2009 "A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology" Westminster: John Knox

Both were predictable crap. That alone made them very useful.

Two very pleasant surprises were;
 
"The Challenge of Creation: Judaism's Encounter with Science, Cosmology, and Evolution" and "Sacred Monsters" by Rabbi Natan Slifkin (2006: Yashar Books, 2007: Adama Books).
Posted by: dnmlthr on May 16 2009,03:40

"The Princeton Companion to Mathematics", edited by < Timothy Gowers > awaits after this batch of finals.

Not really an encyclopedia and not really something you read cover to cover but I'm really looking forward to dig into it.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 10 2009,11:53

I posted a review of Dennis Bray's book Wetware: A computer in every living cell on Amazon just now. This is an expanded version of the review I sent to Choice, which will appear sometime later this year. The Amazon review will take a couple of days to appear, but I'll append it below.

I think that the title of this book will excite the ID and TT crowd, but the contents are sure to disappoint. The author of Spatula Brain will be sorely disappointed, but that probably won't stop her from blogging about it in a particularly obtuse and uncomprehending manner...



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The premise for this book is that systems of proteins can convey and process information at the level of a single free-living cell. These proteins act as switches or transistors, functioning as the nervous system does for multicellular organisms. Bray presents abundant evidence that this is the case. Several well-studied cellular examples (e.g. bacterial chemotaxis) are used to illustrate the principle that complex behaviors and even the appearance of “consciousness” can be the product of relatively simple combinations of switches and outcomes. This is augmented by discussion of simple robots (e.g. Grey Walter’s “tortoises”) and computer games (e.g. PacMan), illustrating the point that some extremely complex behaviors can result from extremely simple circuits and motors.

His insight that “it is much more difficult to infer internal structure from the observation of behavior than to create the structure that gives the behavior in the first place” is a powerful one, and should give pause to anyone who subscribes to the notion of “intelligent design”, or who thinks that cellular activities are “irreducibly complex”. Humans can be easily fooled into believing that human-like attributes can only be attributed to human-like intelligence.. But the notion that a cell is so complex that it must have been designed by a supernatural agent is similar to the response one might imagine if a caveman was confronted by a simple robot. In both cases the object seems beyond comprehension; in both cases the object can actually be described by simple physical laws, circuits and switches.

Bray brings the full force of his experience and intellect to this book, showing the way toward a deeper understanding of single-cell behavior, neural net capabilities, and our innate ability to infer consciousness or agency in systems that actually have a very simple network of switches and outcomes. It is important to understand that Bray is not saying that single cells have what we call "consciousness", but they do have properties that could be described as short-term memory, intentions, and learning. Clearly these properties cannot be the result of a brain and nervous system, but must be based in a far simpler circuitry of proteins and environmental cues. Complete appreciation of this book will require some basic biological education; some of that is supplied by the author while other concepts are assumed. His perspective allows us another step away from the brain/mind Descartian dualism that seems to be making a comeback among anti-intellectual and anti-scientific proponents of theological arguments such as intelligent design.  

The arguments thus have not only scientific ramifications, but cultural and philosophical ramifications as well.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 08 2009,09:04

General J.C. Christian's < review > of Eugene Windchy's tome, The End of Darwinism is available for reading (and voting) on Amazon. This is a book that Pat Buchanan loved, so you know it's a good one!
Posted by: Stephen Elliott on Sep. 24 2009,13:44

I picked up Richard Dawkins "The Greatest Show on Earth" yesterday. I am just starting chapter 3 ATM and so far it is almost like reading this site, without the nonsense bits from creationists, LOL cats, dick jokes and references to alcohol and/or mums.

Oh, not much like reading here then.
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 07 2009,08:40

< This item >  should be of interest to any of you Edgar Allan Poe fans.  They're giving his funeral a do-over.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Oct. 22 2009,16:57

I just finished Sir Terry Pratchett's last offering: Unseen Academicals.

I'll give it a 4.5/5

While the main plot is about football (soccer for you Yankees), 60% of the novel is about very funny and interesting sub-plots, which Sir Pterry handles, as always, masterly. Anhk-Morpork is evolving, and with it the usual cast of all time favorites. And for the first time, Vetinary gets drunk!

A must read!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Nov. 09 2009,10:57

This might make a nice Christmas present:

The Fossil Hunter
Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World
by Shelley Emling, Palgrave Macmillan 2009
ISBN 978-0-230-61156-6

A biography of Mary Anning whose discoveries around the British coastal town of Lyme Regis helped establish paleontology among sciences.

The book describes Anning's life set in the context of Georgian society and the limits she experienced due to class, religious prejudice and gender.

Written in a lively and easy to read style (with the occasional snark against creationism), it is a good read for interested laypersons. I guess it could appeal to kids from the age of 12 upwards, too.

It comes with period drawings of fossils she discovered (Plesiosaurus and Pterodactylus).
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 09 2009,15:31

I've just posted a < brief review > on Amazon of Stephen Rothman's new book; Life Beyond Molecules and Genes: How our Adaptations Make Us Alive, published by the Templeton Foundation.

If you don't have time to read the review, here's a summary.

I didn't like it.
Posted by: ppb on Mar. 04 2010,11:05

I'm in the middle of reading < this book >:



I find out yesterday that I should be reading < this book >:



It's the Abraham Lincoln Doris Kearns Goodwin won't tell you about!  
Sure, she'll talk about the rail splitter, the Great Emancipator.  
But did you know that our sixteenth President was also a Vampire Hunter?  It's true! *

Soon to be a < Major Motion Picture > from director Tim Burton. **


* For certain values of "true".  
I mean, how do we know what's really true?  
Did Washington cross the Delaware?  Who knows!  
Were you there?!? ***

** Sweet!

*** NO!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on July 03 2010,09:52



This is one of the pictures in "Alpha" by Jens Harder, a hardcover comic about the history of our planet - 350 pages of sometimes scientific, sometimes phantastic drawings, black on white, red, or yellow, painstakingly inked. And it's only the first of two volumes; it ends with the first humans. He tries to be as scientifically accurate as possible.

Of course ideal for kids, but also for adults who share his enthusiasm for science and its wonders.

< http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alpha-directions-Jens-Harder/dp/2742781021 >

Strangely, I could not find it on Amazon.com.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on July 03 2010,15:33

P.S. I've got the German original, Amazon sells the French translation.
Posted by: dvunkannon on July 03 2010,21:08

I'm almost through with Nick Lane's "Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution". Very good summaries of current thinking on various topics. My only quibble is how often he says "it seems that X only evolved once" when what he means is "of all the times that X evolved, all current life descends from one instance".

The book is entertaining enough that I've purchased his two previous books, "Oxygen" and "Power, Sex, and Suicide" (about mitochondria).
Posted by: Bjarne on July 05 2010,16:46

Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 03 2010,16:52)


This is one of the pictures in "Alpha" by Jens Harder, a hardcover comic about the history of our planet - 350 pages of sometimes scientific, sometimes phantastic drawings, black on white, red, or yellow, painstakingly inked. And it's only the first of two volumes; it ends with the first humans. He tries to be as scientifically accurate as possible.

Of course ideal for kids, but also for adults who share his enthusiasm for science and its wonders.

< http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alpha-directions-Jens-Harder/dp/2742781021 >

Strangely, I could not find it on Amazon.com.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hmm, this might be the perfect birthday present for my dad. Though € 50 is a bit much for a comic book for my taste. Is it worth the money?


I've just begun reading "The Greatest shown on Earth" in the hope of finding inspirations for future Biology classes. So far it looks quite promising in this respect.

Furthermore, I read Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" for the 4th or 5th time. Its really a nice book in my eyes.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on July 06 2010,06:41

Quote (Bjarne @ July 05 2010,16:46)
Hmm, this might be the perfect birthday present for my dad. Though € 50 is a bit much for a comic book for my taste. Is it worth the money?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think it is - it's huge, approximately 20 by 30 cm, elegant lay-out, expensive paper, and the drawings are real artwork.
Posted by: Bjarne on July 06 2010,15:45

Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 06 2010,13:41)
Quote (Bjarne @ July 05 2010,16:46)
Hmm, this might be the perfect birthday present for my dad. Though € 50 is a bit much for a comic book for my taste. Is it worth the money?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think it is - it's huge, approximately 20 by 30 cm, elegant lay-out, expensive paper, and the drawings are real artwork.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. Its now definitely on the list of possible presents. :)
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on July 13 2010,21:52

Rest now, Harvey.
Posted by: Richardthughes on July 14 2010,23:48

Has anyone read "The Handmaid's Tale"?

Thoughts?
Posted by: fnxtr on July 15 2010,10:15

Quote (Richardthughes @ July 14 2010,21:48)
Has anyone read "The Handmaid's Tale"?

Thoughts?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Scary dystopic scenario, boring writing.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 15 2010,10:23

Quote (fnxtr @ July 15 2010,10:15)
Quote (Richardthughes @ July 14 2010,21:48)
Has anyone read "The Handmaid's Tale"?

Thoughts?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Scary dystopic scenario, boring writing.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Couldn't have said it better. I've also tried to read other books by Margaret Atwood, and just can't seem to get into them, even though lots of people whose taste I respect say that they love the stuff. Not for me.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on July 15 2010,10:38

I had the same reaction. Seems to me that it was made into an equally dreary movie starring Robert Duval.

OTOH, Duval's movie "The Apostle" (which he wrote and directed) is a wonderful portrait of a hellfire preacher gone astray.
Posted by: fnxtr on July 15 2010,12:15

There was a brief flurry of "what are you reading" on the local PT bathroom wall. I'll repeat my recommendation of anything by Iain (M.) Banks (science fiction like "The Algebraist" or "Against a Dark Background", or more reality-based stuff like "Espedair Street"), or Gregory Benford.
Posted by: Richardthughes on July 15 2010,16:17

Quote (fnxtr @ July 15 2010,12:15)
There was a brief flurry of "what are you reading" on the local PT bathroom wall. I'll repeat my recommendation of anything by Iain (M.) Banks (science fiction like "The Algebraist" or "Against a Dark Background", or more reality-based stuff like "Espedair Street"), or Gregory Benford.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aye, There's a cat here who posts a GCU Grey Area. "Use of weapons" - great twist!

Unlucky Handmaiden's tail, I'm not reading you.
Posted by: MichaelJ on July 15 2010,16:30

Quote (Richardthughes @ July 16 2010,07:17)
Quote (fnxtr @ July 15 2010,12:15)
There was a brief flurry of "what are you reading" on the local PT bathroom wall. I'll repeat my recommendation of anything by Iain (M.) Banks (science fiction like "The Algebraist" or "Against a Dark Background", or more reality-based stuff like "Espedair Street"), or Gregory Benford.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aye, There's a cat here who posts a GCU Grey Area. "Use of weapons" - great twist!

Unlucky Handmaiden's tail, I'm not reading you.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I actually enjoyed the handmaidens tail, but I read it a long time ago.
Posted by: fnxtr on July 15 2010,18:20

They've since shortened the title to The Handmaid's Tale.
;-)
Posted by: Louis on July 16 2010,04:08

Re-reading Gould at the moment. I'm up to "The Mismeasure of Man". Just wow.

A real lesson in how (unintentionally?) shitty social prejudice can inform (social) science. Terrifying.

Louis
Posted by: Doc Bill on July 16 2010,07:43

I started Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla" about a month ago.

I'm on page vii.

Should be finished when there are no more phyla to observe.
Posted by: Louis on July 16 2010,08:23

Quote (Doc Bill @ July 16 2010,13:43)
I started Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla" about a month ago.

I'm on page vii.

Should be finished when there are no more phyla to observe.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I felt that way about Gould's Brick the first time I read it. It took the first week of the holiday to get through the introduction. I sped up after then luckily but DAMN. I thought new species would pop into existence around me before I read the thing.

Louis
Posted by: fnxtr on July 16 2010,13:02

Quote (Louis @ July 16 2010,06:23)
Quote (Doc Bill @ July 16 2010,13:43)
I started Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla" about a month ago.

I'm on page vii.

Should be finished when there are no more phyla to observe.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I felt that way about Gould's Brick the first time I read it. It took the first week of the holiday to get through the introduction. I sped up after then luckily but DAMN. I thought new species would pop into existence around me before I read the thing.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


So the rest of the tome isn't as dense as the intro? That's encouraging, maybe I should take another stab at it...
Posted by: Robin on July 16 2010,14:01

Quote (Louis @ July 16 2010,04:08)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Re-reading Gould at the moment. I'm up to "The Mismeasure of Man". Just wow.

A real lesson in how (unintentionally?) shitty social prejudice can inform (social) science. Terrifying.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I'm re-reading Bill Bryson's A Small History of Nearly Everything. It's one of the 'science made accessible' type books and it's just a fun read. Truly mind boggling when he presents some of the scales of things - like the actual size of our universe and the size of atoms.
Posted by: rhmc on July 17 2010,20:57

i'm reading "Alone on Guadalcanal" by Martin Clemens.

one of the coast watchers in 1942.

of course he wasn't actually alone but still an interesting look at that part of history.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on July 19 2010,10:36

I've just come back from the English bookshop next to our local university (where I bought "Eight Little Piggies"). Next to Dawkins and Darwin I spotted WAD's "Debating Design". The owner explained that it was the last one of a batch ordered by a professor for his class: "I would not dream of having this book in stock."

America, thanks a heap for exporting ID to Europe.
Posted by: fnxtr on July 19 2010,12:35

Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 19 2010,08:36)
I've just come back from the English bookshop next to our local university (where I bought "Eight Little Piggies"). Next to Dawkins and Darwin I spotted WAD's "Debating Design". The owner explained that it was the last one of a batch ordered by a professor for his class: "I would not dream of having this book in stock."

America, thanks a heap for exporting ID to Europe.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


"Edge of Evolution" (why does that sound like the title of a daytime drama to me?) is sitting next to "The Selfish Gene" and "Hens' Teeth and Horses' Toes" in our local library. I actually took it off the shelf and looked at the back, but just couldn't bring myself to sign it out.

Think I should?
Posted by: Kattarina98 on July 19 2010,14:03

Quote (fnxtr @ July 19 2010,12:35)
"Edge of Evolution" (why does that sound like the title of a daytime drama to me?) is sitting next to "The Selfish Gene" and "Hens' Teeth and Horses' Toes" in our local library. I actually took it off the shelf and looked at the back, but just couldn't bring myself to sign it out.

Think I should?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Depends: Where I live they send you the bailiff if you forget to return a library book. Is it worth the sacrifice in order to protect future readers?
Posted by: J-Dog on July 20 2010,08:17

Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 19 2010,14:03)
Quote (fnxtr @ July 19 2010,12:35)
"Edge of Evolution" (why does that sound like the title of a daytime drama to me?) is sitting next to "The Selfish Gene" and "Hens' Teeth and Horses' Toes" in our local library. I actually took it off the shelf and looked at the back, but just couldn't bring myself to sign it out.

Think I should?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Depends: Where I live they send you the bailiff if you forget to return a library book. Is it worth the sacrifice in order to protect future readers?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I suggest moving it to either the comedy, or religious section.
Posted by: Louis on July 20 2010,09:48

Quote (fnxtr @ July 16 2010,19:02)
Quote (Louis @ July 16 2010,06:23)
Quote (Doc Bill @ July 16 2010,13:43)
I started Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla" about a month ago.

I'm on page vii.

Should be finished when there are no more phyla to observe.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I felt that way about Gould's Brick the first time I read it. It took the first week of the holiday to get through the introduction. I sped up after then luckily but DAMN. I thought new species would pop into existence around me before I read the thing.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


So the rest of the tome isn't as dense as the intro? That's encouraging, maybe I should take another stab at it...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Less dense? Not really. I just made more effort!

Louis
Posted by: Steviepinhead on July 20 2010,11:32

Well, a pinhead is hardly the sharpest blade in the cutlery drawer, but I liked "Origin of Phyla" quite a lot, once I got going.

There is a certain amount of basic laying-out of terminology and methodology that has to be gotten out of the way early on, and if -- like me -- very little of that is familiar except in the broadest strokes, the plow does tend to stick in the soil.

But I learned a lot from the book, which combines fossil info, evo-devo, cladistics, mol-gen phylogenetics, and a massive literature review to repeatedly stun and enlighten.

The evo-devo stuff on how mollusks generate one foot or many was fascinating.

This was also one of my first rigorous introductions to "cladistic thinking," and that has given a tremendous boost to my efforts to wrap my little pinhead around current evolutionary research.

hth
Posted by: Timothy McDougald on July 20 2010,19:10

I found the Origin of Phyla to be much more dense than Gould's book. Took me longer to read it too. As Steviepinhead says, the book is endlessly fascinating. Just stick with it.

Edit to add: I am currently reading two books. Phillips Tobias' The Brain in Human Evolution (which is fascinating although dated) and The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life by Paul Seabright. The first third of Seabright's book (about human evolution) sucks, but after that it gets really interesting.
Posted by: fnxtr on July 20 2010,22:22

Quote (Louis @ July 20 2010,07:48)
Quote (fnxtr @ July 16 2010,19:02)
Quote (Louis @ July 16 2010,06:23)
 
Quote (Doc Bill @ July 16 2010,13:43)
I started Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla" about a month ago.

I'm on page vii.

Should be finished when there are no more phyla to observe.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I felt that way about Gould's Brick the first time I read it. It took the first week of the holiday to get through the introduction. I sped up after then luckily but DAMN. I thought new species would pop into existence around me before I read the thing.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


So the rest of the tome isn't as dense as the intro? That's encouraging, maybe I should take another stab at it...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Less dense? Not really. I just made more effort!

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well I signed it out again and started plowing. I guess I just expected to quick a return on my investment last time.  

Man he sure does a lot of prep work.  "I'm going to tell what these three things are. Later. But here's why the three things, which I will tell you about later, are important."

And I did move one IDC book to its proper place in the  religion section before, but I don't think it was E of E.
Posted by: dvunkannon on July 27 2010,15:33

Reading "Power, Sex, and Suicide" by Nick Lane. I's about mitochondria.

On the nook for airplane reading is "The Rational Optimist" by Mark Ridley. A book about man as a commercial animal, how trade is what differentiates us from all other animals, and what lets us enjoy an escape from Malthusian horror, in favor of exponential improvements. Full of happy factals (unfootnoted quotes) reminding us of how bad life used to be. (Oetzi the Ice Man died of violence and had the blood of four other men on him when he died. Paging Bones from the Afarensis Birfday thread!)
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 24 2010,08:54

So where did YECs get those 6,000 years from?

As Jack Repcheck explains in the second chapter of
< The Man Who Found Time: James Hutton and the Discovery of the Earth's Antiquity >,
not by meticulously adding lifespans mentioned in the Old Testament.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
This belief came from a conflation of various revered nonbiblical writings and specific passages from the Bible. ... There was found the famous prophesy ascribed to the prophet Elijah that stated the world would exist for 6,000 years.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And Repcheck goes on to show how for 2,000 years Christian apologists frantically tried to cram history into those 6,000 years, squeezing the past, i.e. recalculating periods mentioned in the Bible, and stretching the future to leave a comfortable space so that the end of the world would not happen during their lifetime.
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 24 2010,09:39

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 24 2010,08:54)
So where did YECs get those 6,000 years from?

As Jack Repcheck explains in the second chapter of
< The Man Who Found Time: James Hutton and the Discovery of the Earth's Antiquity >,
not by meticulously adding lifespans mentioned in the Old Testament.
   

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
This belief came from a conflation of various revered nonbiblical writings and specific passages from the Bible. ... There was found the famous prophesy ascribed to the prophet Elijah that stated the world would exist for 6,000 years.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And Repcheck goes on to show how for 2,000 years Christian apologists frantically tried to cram history into those 6,000 years, squeezing the past, i.e. recalculating periods mentioned in the Bible, and stretching the future to leave a comfortable space so that the end of the world would not happen during their lifetime.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And now, the Christian Apologists have "devolved" to actually WANT the end of days to happen to them!  What a bunch of morans!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 24 2010,10:10

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 24 2010,09:39)
 
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 24 2010,08:54)
So where did YECs get those 6,000 years from?
... stretching the future to leave a comfortable space so that the end of the world would not happen during their lifetime.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And now, the Christian Apologists have "devolved" to actually WANT the end of days to happen to them!  What a bunch of morans!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Repcheck thinks that those apologists who left said comfortable space were not afraid of Doomsday but of being disproven by the event not taking place after all.    :-D
Posted by: dvunkannon on Aug. 24 2010,10:59

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 24 2010,11:10)
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 24 2010,09:39)
 
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 24 2010,08:54)
So where did YECs get those 6,000 years from?
... stretching the future to leave a comfortable space so that the end of the world would not happen during their lifetime.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And now, the Christian Apologists have "devolved" to actually WANT the end of days to happen to them!  What a bunch of morans!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Repcheck thinks that those apologists who left said comfortable space were not afraid of Doomsday but of being disproven by the event not taking place after all.    :-D
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Calling shenanigans on this.

The Jewish religion has always counted years since Creation, and they're just shy of 5800. Bishop Ussher was a johnny come lately in Biblical chronology.

There is also a strong eschatological belief in Judaism in a 6000 year period to be followed by a 1000 year "Sabbath" of Messianic rule, followed by God knows what. Ps 90:4 says,

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The first half of that is what motivates Jewish 6000 year thinking. Of course, when Rosh Hashanah 6000 rolls around with no Mashiach, they can focus on the second half. "A watch in the night" is roughly an hour, so the Messianic Age is pushed far into the future.

ps - the Jewish calendar really needs the Messiah to help press reset on its calculations of the seasons, which were set almost 2000 years ago and have gone ever so slightly off. The problem is well known in Orthodox circles, but contra the Pope and fatwa-issuing Islamic clerics, no rabbi would ever claim the authority to change things now.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 24 2010,13:00

Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 24 2010,10:59)
Calling shenanigans on this.

The Jewish religion has always counted years since Creation, and they're just shy of 5800. Bishop Ussher was a johnny come lately in Biblical chronology.

There is also a strong eschatological belief in Judaism in a 6000 year period to be followed by a 1000 year "Sabbath" of Messianic rule, followed by God knows what. Ps 90:4 says,  

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The first half of that is what motivates Jewish 6000 year thinking. Of course, when Rosh Hashanah 6000 rolls around with no Mashiach, they can focus on the second half. "A watch in the night" is roughly an hour, so the Messianic Age is pushed far into the future.

ps - the Jewish calendar really needs the Messiah to help press reset on its calculations of the seasons, which were set almost 2000 years ago and have gone ever so slightly off. The problem is well known in Orthodox circles, but contra the Pope and fatwa-issuing Islamic clerics, no rabbi would ever claim the authority to change things now.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


So it seems whereas the various Christian apologists tampered with the numbers over the millenia, Jews just stuck to their chronology? Or did I misunderstand you?
Posted by: dvunkannon on Aug. 24 2010,15:37

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 24 2010,14:00)
Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 24 2010,10:59)
Calling shenanigans on this.

The Jewish religion has always counted years since Creation, and they're just shy of 5800. Bishop Ussher was a johnny come lately in Biblical chronology.

There is also a strong eschatological belief in Judaism in a 6000 year period to be followed by a 1000 year "Sabbath" of Messianic rule, followed by God knows what. Ps 90:4 says,    

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The first half of that is what motivates Jewish 6000 year thinking. Of course, when Rosh Hashanah 6000 rolls around with no Mashiach, they can focus on the second half. "A watch in the night" is roughly an hour, so the Messianic Age is pushed far into the future.

ps - the Jewish calendar really needs the Messiah to help press reset on its calculations of the seasons, which were set almost 2000 years ago and have gone ever so slightly off. The problem is well known in Orthodox circles, but contra the Pope and fatwa-issuing Islamic clerics, no rabbi would ever claim the authority to change things now.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


So it seems whereas the various Christian apologists tampered with the numbers over the millenia, Jews just stuck to their chronology? Or did I misunderstand you?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'd have to see a clear example of what Repcheck is calling 'tampering' to answer your question. If he means that even 2000 years ago,  Christians believed the world was already 6000 years old, and today they still think it is 6000 years old, I would be very surprised if the source was authentic.

The Jewish religion thinks the world is about 5800 years old now, and 2000 years ago they thought it was 3800 years old. 2000 years ago those Jews that thought the world would last 6000 years thought the clock had 2200 years to run, and now it has 200.

The Biblical prophet Elijah never said anything about 6000 years (in the Bible). It is quite possible that Christian authors have mangled a quote by the individual known as "Tanna d'bei Eliyahu" (Teacher of the house of Elijah) which appears in the Babylonian Talmud.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day {Isaiah 2:11}.

Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight {Hosea 6:2}.

It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,' and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day {Psalm 92:1},  meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past {Psalm 90:4}.

The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;  two thousand years the Torah flourished;  and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 97a).

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



If the title 'tanna' is taken at face value, the author of that last quote lived just at the beginning of the Common Era, ie just by Jesus at around the 4000 mark. So by his own chronology, the Messianic era is right around the corner! But his was a minority opinion. A much later work (10th century CE) takes the name and quotations of TbE as its basis, see Wikipedia.

Bottom line - Jews have had a consistent understanding of the age of the earth since the beginning of rabbinic Judaism (at least). I'm not a student of historical Christian eschatology, but I've never heard of the idea that Christian authors have continually redefined what 6000 years means so that their own times were always just shy of 6000.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 24 2010,21:01

Seems as good a place as any to post this.

My Amazon review of Robert Richards book on < Haeckel > has attracted an IDiot who is claiming that modern textbooks have the original Haeckel drawings. After a bit of taunting, he posted a list of books where He (or some other idiot he is quoting) claims that this figure appears. I've got some of them, and he's wrong about those. But I don't have all of them. So if any of you have a collection of old textbooks, take a peek at his list and let me know if he is right about that figure being in any of them!

thanks

Dave
Posted by: Bjarne on Aug. 25 2010,07:23

Quote (Bjarne @ July 06 2010,22:45)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 06 2010,13:41)
Quote (Bjarne @ July 05 2010,16:46)
Hmm, this might be the perfect birthday present for my dad. Though € 50 is a bit much for a comic book for my taste. Is it worth the money?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think it is - it's huge, approximately 20 by 30 cm, elegant lay-out, expensive paper, and the drawings are real artwork.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. Its now definitely on the list of possible presents. :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Bought it for him and it really makes a great appearance. Unfortunately, I've hadn't heard yet, if he liked it.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 25 2010,10:50

Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 24 2010,15:37)
Bottom line - Jews have had a consistent understanding of the age of the earth since the beginning of rabbinic Judaism (at least). I'm not a student of historical Christian eschatology, but I've never heard of the idea that Christian authors have continually redefined what 6000 years means so that their own times were always just shy of 6000.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You have a point, I should have given more information. So here goes:

325 Council of Nicea: Eusebius of Caesarea presented his chronology which was based on Flavius Josephus, Julius Africanus (a Christian, born ca. 160) and the Septuagint. In 395, St. Jerome translated Eusebius's book and the Bible into Latin, and thus determined the style for official chronology for the next 1,400 years.
The first part of the Septuagint, the Pentateuch, contains the genealogy of the Hebrew tribes, starting from Adam and Eve.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
For Eusebius and all future chronologists, these explicit life spans were always the starting point.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


While Josephus Flavius in his Antiquities had used only the Bible, Julius Africanus had used the Bible, comparing it to Greek, Egyptian, and Persian sources.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Julius's first task was to determine how much time had elapsed from the birth of Adam, which was five days after the beginning of Creation, to the Deluge, or Noah's Flood. Using the ages of the descendants of Adam detailed in the aSeptuagint, Julius determined that the rains started 2,261 years after Creation. He believed that the Flood lasted twelve months, thus the year 2262 marks the beginning of the post-Flood period.
The next chapter in the Chronologia covers the period from when Noah first stepped off the ark to when the great father of the Jews, Abrahem, entered the Promised Land. Julius calculated that this period lasted another 1,015 years. So Abraham crossed the Euphrates River into Canaan in the year 3277. By Julius's reckoning, Abraham represented the twentieth generation after Adam. ...
From Exodus on, Julius's chore became more difficult because the Book of Moses, which had paid such close attention to the ages of the Hebrew forefathers, comes to an end. Not to be deterred, Julius calculated that 585 years separated the Ten Commandments and the dedication of the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon, bringing the chronology up to the year 429. ... Finally, the birth of Jesus Christ took place in the 5,500th year after Creation.
Julius brought his Chronologia up to A.D. 221, the year he completed his book ... stating that Jesus Christ was born five and one-half millennia after the beginning of time. This was significant, because Julius was not simply writing a world history with a focus on dates. In fact, his real purpose was to give context to biblical prophesy. He was most concerned with predicting the second coming of Christ, the thousand-year reign described in the Book of Revelation, ...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And this is the important bit:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Julius predicted that the present world would continue until the year A.D. 500 - 6,000 years after Creation. ... All future chronologists would calculate the earth's age to be 6,000 years at the time of the Second Coming. ... James Usher would date the beginning of the world at 4004 B.C.; this gave him nearly 350 years until the end of the sixth millennium.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In the next paragraphs Repcheck describes the Talmud, much like you did.
Then he talks about the obvious problem arising with the Second Coming never taking place when predicted:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Julius's and Eusebius's careful works would be the benchmarks for alll future chronologists; ... But, their successors would continually push back the end of the 6,000 years, as each threshold for the Second Coming neared. St. Jerome, Eusebius's translator, was the first to practice this form of recalculation; he placed the birth of Christ at 5,2000 years since Creation, putting off the end of the sixth millennium until A.D. 800. This kind of fudging was easily done because there was enough uncertainty in the original figures to allow for reinterpretation. The remaining chronologists were consistent in putting off the end of the sixth millennium until a couple of hundred years after their own deaths.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


After the collapse of the Roman Empire many new chronologies cropped up.
Repcheck mentions the most important authors: Isidor of Sevilla, Bede the Venerable, Joachim of Fiore, Otto of Freising, Martin Luther.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
... he made a significant adjustment for the end of the sixth millennium ... this giving his Protestant followers nearly 500 years to prepare for the return of Christ.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


More chronologists: James Ussher, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton.

I hope I have quoted and interpreted Repcheck faithfully.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 25 2010,10:52

Quote (Bjarne @ Aug. 25 2010,07:23)
Quote (Bjarne @ July 06 2010,22:45)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 06 2010,13:41)
 
Quote (Bjarne @ July 05 2010,16:46)
Hmm, this might be the perfect birthday present for my dad. Though € 50 is a bit much for a comic book for my taste. Is it worth the money?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think it is - it's huge, approximately 20 by 30 cm, elegant lay-out, expensive paper, and the drawings are real artwork.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. Its now definitely on the list of possible presents. :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Bought it for him and it really makes a great appearance. Unfortunately, I've hadn't heard yet, if he liked it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Please tell me when you hear from him.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 25 2010,10:56

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 24 2010,21:01)
Seems as good a place as any to post this.

My Amazon review of Robert Richards book on < Haeckel > has attracted an IDiot who is claiming that modern textbooks have the original Haeckel drawings. After a bit of taunting, he posted a list of books where He (or some other idiot he is quoting) claims that this figure appears. I've got some of them, and he's wrong about those. But I don't have all of them. So if any of you have a collection of old textbooks, take a peek at his list and let me know if he is right about that figure being in any of them!

thanks

Dave
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Over at UD, IDiots GEM of TKI and gpuccio made this claim, referring to a list made by Casey Luskin. When pressed to provide evidence, it turned out that no matter what image you use - photos or modern drawings - it is always Haeckel's drawing. Would you like me to find the relevant comments?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 25 2010,11:07

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,10:56)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 24 2010,21:01)
Seems as good a place as any to post this.

My Amazon review of Robert Richards book on < Haeckel > has attracted an IDiot who is claiming that modern textbooks have the original Haeckel drawings. After a bit of taunting, he posted a list of books where He (or some other idiot he is quoting) claims that this figure appears. I've got some of them, and he's wrong about those. But I don't have all of them. So if any of you have a collection of old textbooks, take a peek at his list and let me know if he is right about that figure being in any of them!

thanks

Dave
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Over at UD, IDiots GEM of TKI and gpuccio made this claim, referring to a list made by Casey Luskin. When pressed to provide evidence, it turned out that no matter what image you use - photos or modern drawings - it is always Haeckel's drawing. Would you like me to find the relevant comments?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. I think I found it < here >. If there is another discussion I missed, I'd appreciate hearing about that as well!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 25 2010,11:18

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:07)
 
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,10:56)
 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 24 2010,21:01)
Seems as good a place as any to post this.

My Amazon review of Robert Richards book on < Haeckel > has attracted an IDiot who is claiming that modern textbooks have the original Haeckel drawings. After a bit of taunting, he posted a list of books where He (or some other idiot he is quoting) claims that this figure appears. I've got some of them, and he's wrong about those. But I don't have all of them. So if any of you have a collection of old textbooks, take a peek at his list and let me know if he is right about that figure being in any of them!

thanks

Dave
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Over at UD, IDiots GEM of TKI and gpuccio made this claim, referring to a list made by Casey Luskin. When pressed to provide evidence, it turned out that no matter what image you use - photos or modern drawings - it is always Haeckel's drawing. Would you like me to find the relevant comments?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. I think I found it < here >. If there is another discussion I missed, I'd appreciate hearing about that as well!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


On UD, there was the thread < Blind Guides >.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 25 2010,11:34

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:18)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:07)
 
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,10:56)
   
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 24 2010,21:01)
Seems as good a place as any to post this.

My Amazon review of Robert Richards book on < Haeckel > has attracted an IDiot who is claiming that modern textbooks have the original Haeckel drawings. After a bit of taunting, he posted a list of books where He (or some other idiot he is quoting) claims that this figure appears. I've got some of them, and he's wrong about those. But I don't have all of them. So if any of you have a collection of old textbooks, take a peek at his list and let me know if he is right about that figure being in any of them!

thanks

Dave
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Over at UD, IDiots GEM of TKI and gpuccio made this claim, referring to a list made by Casey Luskin. When pressed to provide evidence, it turned out that no matter what image you use - photos or modern drawings - it is always Haeckel's drawing. Would you like me to find the relevant comments?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. I think I found it < here >. If there is another discussion I missed, I'd appreciate hearing about that as well!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


On UD, there was the thread < Blind Guides >.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks

Looks like pretty much the same list!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 25 2010,12:09

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:34)
 
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:18)
 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:07)
     
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,10:56)
     
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 24 2010,21:01)
Seems as good a place as any to post this.

My Amazon review of Robert Richards book on < Haeckel > has attracted an IDiot who is claiming that modern textbooks have the original Haeckel drawings. After a bit of taunting, he posted a list of books where He (or some other idiot he is quoting) claims that this figure appears. I've got some of them, and he's wrong about those. But I don't have all of them. So if any of you have a collection of old textbooks, take a peek at his list and let me know if he is right about that figure being in any of them!

thanks

Dave
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Over at UD, IDiots GEM of TKI and gpuccio made this claim, referring to a list made by Casey Luskin. When pressed to provide evidence, it turned out that no matter what image you use - photos or modern drawings - it is always Haeckel's drawing. Would you like me to find the relevant comments?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. I think I found it < here >. If there is another discussion I missed, I'd appreciate hearing about that as well!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


On UD, there was the thread < Blind Guides >.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks

Looks like pretty much the same list!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< Some pictures here: >
You need to scroll down a bit.
Posted by: dvunkannon on Aug. 25 2010,13:16

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:50)
Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 24 2010,15:37)
Bottom line - Jews have had a consistent understanding of the age of the earth since the beginning of rabbinic Judaism (at least). I'm not a student of historical Christian eschatology, but I've never heard of the idea that Christian authors have continually redefined what 6000 years means so that their own times were always just shy of 6000.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You have a point, I should have given more information. So here goes:

325 Council of Nicea: Eusebius of Caesarea presented his chronology which was based on Flavius Josephus, Julius Africanus (a Christian, born ca. 160) and the Septuagint. In 395, St. Jerome translated Eusebius's book and the Bible into Latin, and thus determined the style for official chronology for the next 1,400 years.
The first part of the Septuagint, the Pentateuch, contains the genealogy of the Hebrew tribes, starting from Adam and Eve.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
For Eusebius and all future chronologists, these explicit life spans were always the starting point.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


While Josephus Flavius in his Antiquities had used only the Bible, Julius Africanus had used the Bible, comparing it to Greek, Egyptian, and Persian sources.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Julius's first task was to determine how much time had elapsed from the birth of Adam, which was five days after the beginning of Creation, to the Deluge, or Noah's Flood. Using the ages of the descendants of Adam detailed in the aSeptuagint, Julius determined that the rains started 2,261 years after Creation. He believed that the Flood lasted twelve months, thus the year 2262 marks the beginning of the post-Flood period.
The next chapter in the Chronologia covers the period from when Noah first stepped off the ark to when the great father of the Jews, Abrahem, entered the Promised Land. Julius calculated that this period lasted another 1,015 years. So Abraham crossed the Euphrates River into Canaan in the year 3277. By Julius's reckoning, Abraham represented the twentieth generation after Adam. ...
From Exodus on, Julius's chore became more difficult because the Book of Moses, which had paid such close attention to the ages of the Hebrew forefathers, comes to an end. Not to be deterred, Julius calculated that 585 years separated the Ten Commandments and the dedication of the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon, bringing the chronology up to the year 429. ... Finally, the birth of Jesus Christ took place in the 5,500th year after Creation.
Julius brought his Chronologia up to A.D. 221, the year he completed his book ... stating that Jesus Christ was born five and one-half millennia after the beginning of time. This was significant, because Julius was not simply writing a world history with a focus on dates. In fact, his real purpose was to give context to biblical prophesy. He was most concerned with predicting the second coming of Christ, the thousand-year reign described in the Book of Revelation, ...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And this is the important bit:
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Julius predicted that the present world would continue until the year A.D. 500 - 6,000 years after Creation. ... All future chronologists would calculate the earth's age to be 6,000 years at the time of the Second Coming. ... James Usher would date the beginning of the world at 4004 B.C.; this gave him nearly 350 years until the end of the sixth millennium.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In the next paragraphs Repcheck describes the Talmud, much like you did.
Then he talks about the obvious problem arising with the Second Coming never taking place when predicted:
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Julius's and Eusebius's careful works would be the benchmarks for alll future chronologists; ... But, their successors would continually push back the end of the 6,000 years, as each threshold for the Second Coming neared. St. Jerome, Eusebius's translator, was the first to practice this form of recalculation; he placed the birth of Christ at 5,2000 years since Creation, putting off the end of the sixth millennium until A.D. 800. This kind of fudging was easily done because there was enough uncertainty in the original figures to allow for reinterpretation. The remaining chronologists were consistent in putting off the end of the sixth millennium until a couple of hundred years after their own deaths.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


After the collapse of the Roman Empire many new chronologies cropped up.
Repcheck mentions the most important authors: Isidor of Sevilla, Bede the Venerable, Joachim of Fiore, Otto of Freising, Martin Luther.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
... he made a significant adjustment for the end of the sixth millennium ... this giving his Protestant followers nearly 500 years to prepare for the return of Christ.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


More chronologists: James Ussher, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton.

I hope I have quoted and interpreted Repcheck faithfully.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Kattarina.

I looked into Repcheck's book via Amazon, and I have to say I am not impressed. His description of the creation of the Septuagint is sheer fantasy at times.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
When Ptolemy II came to power, a standard version of the Hebrew Bible did not exist, the Holy Scriptures varied from tribe to tribe and were largely based on oral tradition.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



What varied was the choice of books, not the content of each book (except for those books composed very recently - after the Babylonian Exile). The content of the Torah, the first five books, was very well established.

There were no more 'tribes' of Jews by this period. All Jews were (are) either from Judah or Levi (the priests and Levites). As a class with ritual and teaching roles, the priests and Levites lived completely intermingled with the other Jews.

A very large oral tradition did exist - the case law of the Jewish legal system for the most part. That is quite separate from the texts under discussion which were translated.

Repcheck correctly states that the Pentateuch covers from Creation to the death of Moses, though he wrongly calls it the Book (singular) of Moses. But later he says the Book of Moses ends with the Exodus, skipping three and a half books (and 70 odd years), and says this is a problem for Julius Africanus. Whatever Africanus' problems were (being off in his chronology by over thousand years by the birth of Abraham - and that was supposed to be the easy part!), Repcheck has his own problems understanding the Bible.

Similarly, he writes,


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Just as Hebrew prophesy had its greatest flowering during the decades the Jews were enslaved by the Babylonians, the centuries after the fall of Rome represented another great flowering.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Umm, no. Repcheck conflates prophecy and eschatology. In the Jewish tradition, prophecy ends with destruction of the First Temple, and there is a very clear distinction between the kinds of texts produced before and after this event (especially if the second half of Isaiah is re-attributed to a later writer). What did 'flourish' was the Daniel and several books left out of the canon such as Enoch and Jubilees that had eschatological sections.

Repcheck's thesis in this section is easy for a secular reader to buy into, but his breezy retelling and attribution of motive are to my mind untrustworthy based on what I know about some of the material.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Aug. 25 2010,14:12

Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 25 2010,13:16)
(snip)
Repcheck's thesis in this section is easy for a secular reader to buy into, but his breezy retelling and attribution of motive are to my mind untrustworthy based on what I know about some of the material.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, I'm a secular reader, and though I am interested in history of religions, I read this book to learn about Hutton and his era.
Repcheck's main interest is to show the intellectual climate that made it difficult for Hutton to publish his theory - some decades ago heretics still suffered capital punishment in Scotland.
So if Repcheck misrepresented the part you mentioned we still do not know if the same goes for Christian chronology. I can't imagine he simply invented its history, especially its repeated recalculating.
I have half a mind to contact Heddle - besides browsing the net, of course, or going to the library.
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 25 2010,15:06

Kattarina,



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I have half a mind to contact Heddle
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



And as a Calvinist, he knows you are pre-ordained to contact him about this!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Sep. 27 2010,11:15

It's arrived!!!111one!

No time for tardmining for the next two days.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Sep. 27 2010,13:36

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 27 2010,09:15)
It's arrived!!!111one!

No time for tardmining for the next two days.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Must go order now.  :D
Posted by: Lou FCD on Jan. 22 2011,18:14

This afternoon I became the proud new owner of < these oldies >.





---------------------QUOTE-------------------
From left to right:

Birds of Massachusetts and other New England States, Vol. I, by Edward Howe Forbush and illustrated with color plates from drawings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes for the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, 1925.

American Mammals, Their Lives, Habits, and Economic Relations, by W. J. Hamilton Jr. of Cornell University, First Edition, Fourth Impression, 1939.

Everyday Problems in Biology, by Charles J. Pieper, Wilbur L. Beauchamp, and Orlin D. Frank, 1932 and 1936.

Charles Darwin, Autobiography and Letters, Edited by his son Francis Darwin, 1893.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



And in that same order, I paid $10, $6.55, $3, and $5. The Everyday Problems is in rough shape but I love the names all written into it, with "Wilmington High School". The others might be 3 or 4 years old for the condition they're in.

It was a good day at the local bookstore.
Posted by: dvunkannon on Nov. 30 2011,13:21

< http://www.amazon.com/What-Re....0511594 >

Morris and Ham's Excellent Adventure! They have found their core audience - the preliterate and impressionable.
Posted by: fnxtr on Nov. 30 2011,19:36

Quote (dvunkannon @ Nov. 30 2011,11:21)
< http://www.amazon.com/What-Re....0511594 >

Morris and Ham's Excellent Adventure! They have found their core audience - the preliterate and impressionable.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Gotta love those reviews. Not that the fools who want this book for their kids are ever going to read them. :-/
Posted by: noncarborundum on Dec. 02 2011,14:15

Quote (fnxtr @ Nov. 30 2011,19:36)
Quote (dvunkannon @ Nov. 30 2011,11:21)
< http://www.amazon.com/What-Re....0511594 >

Morris and Ham's Excellent Adventure! They have found their core audience - the preliterate and impressionable.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Gotta love those reviews. Not that the fools who want this book for their kids are ever going to read them. :-/
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


From the reviews:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Bravo! In the world of children's books, this is the biggest thing since Dr. Seuss.
An utter game-changer.
This book is so ground-breaking that it inspired me to put together a detailed children's "pop-up" book based on Leviticus and Deuteronomy--and one that chronicles the events of Passover. After all, dinosaurs existed during these events--and yet sadly, have been excluded from these stories by the recklessness and thoughtless of godless historians, scientists and archaeologists. These stories need to be told WITHOUT SUCH INTELLECTUAL BIAS.
Here's where I'm going with this:
I'm thinking that it would be entertaining and informative for the kids to see dinosaurs eating the Egyptian first-born (Exodus never SAYS that dinosaurs didn't eat them), and perhaps to have a T-Rex giggling in the background as homosexuals and disobedient children are being stoned. We'll throw in a few koalas, kangaroos and other marsupials in, too. (Because of course, they didn't wind up in Australia out of NOWHERE, did they?)
After all, if you don't provide accurate historical evidence in the context of God's love, you may as well be the Devil himself.
If this goes as well as I think it will, I plan on releasing a similar rendition of the Book of Revelation.
Remember: we DO need to teach our children the truth--and we need to do this immediately and without any rational thought, lest their minds be poisoned by reason, science, and facts.
God bless.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


A masterpiece of snark.
Posted by: fnxtr on Jan. 11 2012,13:20

I'm in the middle of "Point" by Thomas Blackthorne, aka John Meaney.  Just wondering how well he's known across the pond.  It's like a William Gibson / Robert Ludlum collaboration, with the British penchant for dark introspection, like Aldiss and Orwell.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Jan. 13 2012,05:23

Received my (signed, bwahahaha) copy of 50 Voices of Disbelief. Gonna run through it!
Posted by: Amadan on Jan. 13 2012,08:53

Anyone read < Snuff >?

What did you think?
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Jan. 13 2012,11:03

Quote (Amadan @ Jan. 13 2012,15:53)
Anyone read < Snuff >?

What did you think?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I did, and I loved it. Really enjoyed the growing relationship between Vimes and Willikins.

I thought Pratchett may have lost it a bit with Unseen Academicals (too messy for me, close to the first books) but with Snuff, I really felt he got a hand on his material.

And Goblins? Yeah!!!
Posted by: Amadan on Jan. 13 2012,16:16

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Jan. 13 2012,17:03)
Quote (Amadan @ Jan. 13 2012,15:53)
Anyone read < Snuff >?

What did you think?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I did, and I loved it. Really enjoyed the growing relationship between Vimes and Willikins.

I thought Pratchett may have lost it a bit with Unseen Academicals (too messy for me, close to the first books) but with Snuff, I really felt he got a hand on his material.

And Goblins? Yeah!!!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I got if for Hogwatch (tee hee!) and was very disappointed. Laboured humour, what looked like desperate attempts to include familiar tropes, and a general lack of the don't-blink-now scene switching that was so much part of the fun in the earlier books.


Posted by: Dr.GH on Jan. 13 2012,17:41

Quote (Amadan @ Jan. 13 2012,06:53)
Anyone read < Snuff >?

What did you think?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I have read it twice now. The second reading was better. I think Pratchett was cramming too much happening at too many locations. I did not like the more assertive Williams. I really like the late implications re:Nobby and possible hereditarty influences.  

As a point of reference, my All Time favorite disk world was "Thief of Time."


Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Jan. 14 2012,04:22

My favorite is "Nightwatch". Maybe this might explain why I enjoyed "Snuff" so much. I am really attached to Sam Vimes, and to a lesser extent, Willikins (Jingo FTW!).

I think Sir Pterry has become more complex in his plots and character developments. I guess I've adapted to it...
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Jan. 14 2012,11:53

I've got two favourites, "Nightwatch" and "Unseen Academicals". I never saw why people would go all excited about football (soccer for the yanks) until I read "Unseen Academicals".
Posted by: dvunkannon on Jan. 15 2012,08:02

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Jan. 14 2012,05:22)
My favorite is "Nightwatch". Maybe this might explain why I enjoyed "Snuff" so much. I am really attached to Sam Vimes, and to a lesser extent, Willikins (Jingo FTW!).

I think Sir Pterry has become more complex in his plots and character developments. I guess I've adapted to it...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nightwatch, +1

I hadn't read any Pratchett before this book. I think I picked it up in an airport before a long flight. Huge mistake, never slept, couldn't stop reading it. Great book.
Posted by: dvunkannon on Jan. 15 2012,08:23

Just finished David Deamer's First Life.

The main point of the book is to expound on Deamer's theory that lipid based vesicles were important to OOL.

Having read a lot of pop sci literature (Zimmer, Ridley, etc.) it shows that Deamer is a working scientist, not a professional writer. At times the book felt padded by reviews of everything from the Big Bang onward, and an explanation of what name comes first in an article reference. And there was a fair bit of chemistry porn, in which the author gives a bit too much detail on lab procedures.

Deamer's take home message is that OOL requires some minimum complexity, and most scientists are not willing to attempt the messy experiments necessary. In a football analogy, grant funded science is a "three yards and down" ground game, and OOL needs some Hail Mary passing.

His last chapter describes his ideal update of the Miller-Urey experiment. It's big, throws a lot into the mix, and would cost a couple million to run. At the same time, he acknowledges that it would have to run over and over, with multiple changes in atmosphere, temperature, pressure, etc. which would increase the cost. But at the same same time, he mentions that robotic experimentation runs hundreds of experiments at the same time. However, the two ideas never connect - that you have to reduce OOL experiments to something that can be done on a microfluidics chip in large batches.

Recommended.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Jan. 15 2012,10:40

Quote (dvunkannon @ Jan. 15 2012,06:23)
Just finished David Deamer's First Life.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I also liked Deamer's book. I have been a "fan" of sorts for years. His membrane research is the link between stochatic reactions to metabolism.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Jan. 31 2012,11:35

Baby Jesus finally delivered my Christmas present:
Evolution's Witness - How Eyes Evolved
Ivan R. Schwab, Oxford University Press 2012
306 pages, 28,5 x 22 cm

Easy to navigate contents pages, generous index


I have had a first quick look at it; it is definitely layperson friendly. Lots of pictures, too.







(my images not to scale)

Soon I'll be able to tear kairosfocus to shreds when he comes up once again with his doubts about the evolution of the eye.
Posted by: J-Dog on Jan. 31 2012,17:42



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Soon I'll be able to tear kairosfocus to shreds when he comes up once again with his doubts about the evolution of the eye.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You mean without laughing at him, or wanting to bitch-slap him till he cries?
Posted by: fnxtr on Feb. 01 2012,12:41

I just discovered Tom Holt. "Blonde Bombshell".  Wheee!
Posted by: fnxtr on Feb. 02 2012,01:08

Also Penrose's "Shadows of the Mind".  

I suspect one of us might be nuts.
Posted by: BWE on Feb. 15 2012,12:07

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 01 2012,23:08)
Also Penrose's "Shadows of the Mind".  

I suspect one of us might be nuts.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That one is pretty weird. I have read The Emperor's new mind, Shadows of the Mind, and The Road to Reality. The first and last are very good and thought provoking in a lot of ways but Shadows is different. It is thought provoking but also much farther out on the proverbial limb than the other two.

I am reading 'Labyrinth' by Peter Pesic right now, and at about 50 pages in it is a very good book so far.
Posted by: BWE on Feb. 29 2012,00:18

In all I have to give Labyrinth a pretty poor grade. Idea was smaller than the book.

Some tortured prose around page 70 made me keenly aware that I had been waiting for it to get to the interesting part.

I liked Sky in a Bottle though by the same author.
Posted by: fnxtr on Feb. 29 2012,01:45

I just discovered Paul Di Fillipo. I seem to be on a sci-fi satire run these days. :-)
Posted by: dvunkannon on May 30 2012,17:21

I just stocked up the Nook with some new evo related books:

The Evolutionary Strategies that Shape Ecosystems by Grime and Pierce
Brand new book, my first exposure to CSR theory. I'm liking it so far, especially the fierce pro-Darwin stance. The introduction is full of boisterous, take-no-prisoners, full throttle "evolution rules!" rhetoric.

Evolution, the view from the 21st Century - James Shapiro's book, picking up the iconoclastic mantle from Lynn Margulis and Barbara McClintock. Basic idea of rebalancing the importance of variation (in its many forms) and selection (in its many forms) seems cool, already some evidence of subtle push messaging. I was frankly startled to see that Shapiro had published two papers with Richard "Expelled" von Sternberg in 2005, whom he thanks in his acknowledgments. Yes, I read those, and the Preface, too.

The Logic of Chance, by Eugene Koonin. I'm hoping for more than navel gazing and staring off into the middle distance by an eminence gris. Not sure I'll get it.

What are you all taking to the beach for summer reading?
Posted by: fnxtr on May 30 2012,21:13

Quote (dvunkannon @ May 30 2012,15:21)
I just stocked up the Nook with some new evo related books:

The Evolutionary Strategies that Shape Ecosystems by Grime and Pierce
Brand new book, my first exposure to CSR theory. I'm liking it so far, especially the fierce pro-Darwin stance. The introduction is full of boisterous, take-no-prisoners, full throttle "evolution rules!" rhetoric.

Evolution, the view from the 21st Century - James Shapiro's book, picking up the iconoclastic mantle from Lynn Margulis and Barbara McClintock. Basic idea of rebalancing the importance of variation (in its many forms) and selection (in its many forms) seems cool, already some evidence of subtle push messaging. I was frankly startled to see that Shapiro had published two papers with Richard "Expelled" von Sternberg in 2005, whom he thanks in his acknowledgments. Yes, I read those, and the Preface, too.

The Logic of Chance, by Eugene Koonin. I'm hoping for more than navel gazing and staring off into the middle distance by an eminence gris. Not sure I'll get it.

What are you all taking to the beach for summer reading?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I just started "Crucible of Creation". I have to say I'm not crazy about Conway Morris' editorializing about metaphysics and "the numinous".
Posted by: sparc on May 30 2012,22:08

I haven't been aware of  the book club.
Currently, I am reading Jason Rosenhuse's "Among the Creationists".
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on May 31 2012,01:48

Jeff Lindsay's "Dearly Devoted Dexter" (second reading).

Next will be "50 Voices of Disbelief" (Russell Blackford et all, signed)
Posted by: Woodbine on May 31 2012,01:54

Recently finished A Reason for Everything - Marek Kohn.

It's a collection of six biographies of British adaptionists from Wallace to Dawkins. Very good imho - and costs next to nothing! Bargain! I hope the author considers writing a companion volume to cover the continental and coloni.....ahem, American evolutionists.



< http://tinyurl.com/cp7jxj4....cp7jxj4 >

I'm currently in the final leg of Dracula - No introduction necessary.....Muhaahahaahahahahaa!


Posted by: Timothy McDougald on May 31 2012,09:21

I have a large backlog of books I am trying to work my way through, but the three I am currently working on are:

1) Classification and Human Evolution, edited by Washburn
2) Nature's Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation by James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould
3) Cells to Civilization: The Principles of Change that Shape Life
Posted by: Tracy P. Hamilton on May 31 2012,11:47

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow.

A cut and paste from an Amazon review:
"Here is one final example from Kahneman's work of some of the concepts the reader will encounter in this book. Suppose that Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. In college, she majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issues of discrimination and social justice, and she also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable?

1. Linda is a bank teller.
2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

According to Kahneman, about 85% - 90% of undergraduates at several major universities chose the second option, that Linda was a bank teller and active in the feminist movement. However, this is an example of the "conjunction fallacy," since the probability of two events occurring together (in conjunction) must necessarily be less than the probability of either event occurring alone. Put simpler, the probability that Linda is a bank teller must be greater than the probability that she is a bank teller and active in feminist causes. (To be complete, Kahneman points out that there are critics of the Linda experiment who, for example, question whether it is reasonable for test subjects to understand the word "probability" as if it meant "plausibility.")"

The book subtitle: Why people are IDiots. :)
Posted by: BWE on May 31 2012,12:09

rereading 'an eye for an eye' by wm. ian miller. Very good and the whole trayvon martin/george zimmerman story inspired me to reread it.

Also, I am going to try to get through a book by Lovelock about his gaia hypothesis. Any recommendations on which one I should read if I don't get to any of the others?

< http://www.amazon.com/James-L....&sr=8-3 >
Posted by: Richardthughes on May 31 2012,12:22

Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ May 31 2012,11:47)
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow.

A cut and paste from an Amazon review:
"Here is one final example from Kahneman's work of some of the concepts the reader will encounter in this book. Suppose that Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. In college, she majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issues of discrimination and social justice, and she also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable?

1. Linda is a bank teller.
2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

According to Kahneman, about 85% - 90% of undergraduates at several major universities chose the second option, that Linda was a bank teller and active in the feminist movement. However, this is an example of the "conjunction fallacy," since the probability of two events occurring together (in conjunction) must necessarily be less than the probability of either event occurring alone. Put simpler, the probability that Linda is a bank teller must be greater than the probability that she is a bank teller and active in feminist causes. (To be complete, Kahneman points out that there are critics of the Linda experiment who, for example, question whether it is reasonable for test subjects to understand the word "probability" as if it meant "plausibility.")"

The book subtitle: Why people are IDiots. :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Finally I get one right!
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 31 2012,12:30

Free, from a friend who completed her master's and moved across the country to work on her PhD. Forgive the size, but just sos you can read the titles of the motherload of freeness:


Posted by: midwifetoad on May 31 2012,12:47

See, even Hawking believes in design.
Posted by: Timothy McDougald on May 31 2012,13:08

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 31 2012,12:30)
Free, from a friend who completed her master's and moved across the country to work on her PhD. Forgive the size, but just sos you can read the titles of the motherload of freeness:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Are you giving them away? Or celebrating your haul?
Posted by: Kattarina98 on June 01 2012,03:31

Quote (Richardthughes @ May 31 2012,12:22)
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ May 31 2012,11:47)
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow.

A cut and paste from an Amazon review:
"Here is one final example from Kahneman's work of some of the concepts the reader will encounter in this book. Suppose that Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. In college, she majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issues of discrimination and social justice, and she also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable?

1. Linda is a bank teller.
2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

According to Kahneman, about 85% - 90% of undergraduates at several major universities chose the second option, that Linda was a bank teller and active in the feminist movement. However, this is an example of the "conjunction fallacy," since the probability of two events occurring together (in conjunction) must necessarily be less than the probability of either event occurring alone. Put simpler, the probability that Linda is a bank teller must be greater than the probability that she is a bank teller and active in feminist causes. (To be complete, Kahneman points out that there are critics of the Linda experiment who, for example, question whether it is reasonable for test subjects to understand the word "probability" as if it meant "plausibility.")"

The book subtitle: Why people are IDiots. :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Finally I get one right!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I got it right, too, not because I'm clever but because I saw it happen lots of times.
Posted by: fusilier on June 01 2012,10:42

Daniel K. Richter.  Facing East From Indian Country.  a native history of early america

Always worth learning a new perspective.
Posted by: BWE on June 04 2012,22:18

Im going to powells right now. Ill update you on which lovelock I choose. :)
Posted by: fusilier on July 11 2012,07:40

"If 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Had Been Written by a Biology Textbook Author"

< http://www.rickilewis.com/blog.ht....=864259 >
Posted by: oldmanintheskydidntdoit on July 11 2012,16:06

Been reading this: Thinking, Fast and Slow

< http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thinkin....9357980 >



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow.Kahneman, a winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, distils a lifetime of research into an encyclopedic coverage of both the surprising miracles and the equally surprising mistakes of our conscious and unconscious thinking. He achieves an even greater miracle by weaving his insights into an engaging narrative that is compulsively readable from beginning to end. My main problem in doing this review was preventing family members and friends from stealing my copy of the book to read it for themselves...this is one of the greatest and most engaging collections of insights into the human mind I have read (William Easterly Financial Times )
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Changed my life already. Also explains much of the "why ID supporters support ID despite compelling reasons not to".
Posted by: OgreMkV on Aug. 09 2012,18:58

Need some advice.

I need recommendations for very accessible books in geology, space science, chemistry/physics that would be appropriate for an 8th grader who is just learning about these topics.  I don't want text books, nor giant tomes of information.

For example, in the Life science area, I selected Your Inner Fish by Shubin.  It's fairly short, it's well written, but not too deep.  And it's got quite a few things that might make a kid go "cool".

Basically, I'm helping a friend develop a science curriculum for her home schooled daughter.

Hey Joe, here's your chance, get me something from ID I can put in the curriculum (if only to show how science isn't done).

Thanks
Posted by: midwifetoad on Aug. 09 2012,19:57

I recommend Paley's Natural Theology. It's more thorough and up-to-date than most ID literature. And it has the bonus of being completely honest.
Posted by: dvunkannon on Jan. 25 2013,09:59

Recently purchased "Dawn of the Deed" a history of vertebrate sex.

Just saw "Life's Ratchet" by Peter Hoffman. Apparently about how life uses 2LOT at the nano level, and how this is a distinguishing characteristic of life. Amazon reviews are very good, except for one wanker with an ID bent.
Posted by: Timothy McDougald on Jan. 26 2013,10:57

Quote (OgreMkV @ Aug. 09 2012,18:58)
Need some advice.

I need recommendations for very accessible books in geology, space science, chemistry/physics that would be appropriate for an 8th grader who is just learning about these topics.  I don't want text books, nor giant tomes of information.

For example, in the Life science area, I selected Your Inner Fish by Shubin.  It's fairly short, it's well written, but not too deep.  And it's got quite a few things that might make a kid go "cool".

Basically, I'm helping a friend develop a science curriculum for her home schooled daughter.

Hey Joe, here's your chance, get me something from ID I can put in the curriculum (if only to show how science isn't done).

Thanks
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The Seashell on the Mountaintop by Alan Cutler is excellent. Possibly Time Machines by Peter Ward. Just for fun The First Fossil Hunters by Adrienne Mayor. The Discovery of Time by Toulmin and Goodfield.

I'm sure I'll think of some others later...

Yup, one more Charles Darwin, Geologist by Sandra Herbert.
Posted by: QED on April 10 2013,21:39

Very sad news about Iain Banks. I was late to the party, but have become an avid fan. His latest novel, The Quarry, will be his last. Details at www.iain-banks.net.
Posted by: Arctodus23 on April 28 2013,10:36

I just finished reading, "Jesus, Interrupted". Good book, I think Ehrman can do a bit better though.
Posted by: stevestory on May 20 2013,17:36

while I already have all 6 volumes of Modernist Cuisine in .pdf format, I just picked < this > up from the podunk local library by way of Interliberry Loan. It's huge and glorious.
Posted by: J-Dog on May 20 2013,18:01

Quote (stevestory @ May 20 2013,17:36)
while I already have all 6 volumes of Modernist Cuisine in .pdf format, I just picked < this > up from the podunk local library by way of Interliberry Loan. It's huge and glorious.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Very interesting!  But it seems to me that your new treasure fits with your new diet plan like kairose "elliot" focus fits at a deep thinkers convention...
Posted by: stevestory on May 20 2013,18:53

Quote (J-Dog @ May 20 2013,19:01)
Very interesting!  But it seems to me that your new treasure fits with your new diet plan like kairose "elliot" focus fits at a deep thinkers convention...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I eat deliciously, actually, and on not much money. Steamed veggies, wonderful pastas with prosciutto matchsticks in a tomato gorgonzola sauce, chicken noodle soups with free range chicken and fresh herbs from the garden...the occasional gourmet burger with, say, goat cheese and slices of heirloom tomato and stone-ground mustard.

I like to eat well, I just have to not eat much. My constant-movement job and 2000 cals a day keeps me fitter than I was in my late 20's.

Really hoping the Black Krims start fruiting. Getting concerned.
Posted by: franklin on May 20 2013,20:58

Eating deliciously is key but it is pricy.  We get around that to a great extent by raising our own broilers, turkeys, and pigs with enough to supply friends at a price that covers our cost for the animals we keep.  While it doesn't cover the cost of my labor it works out to be pretty satisfying to supply 'the village' with quality products.  My wife also has a pretty large garden and far too big of a laying flock for just the two of us.  There is always someone who wants the extras and we donate a lot to the local soup kitchen as well.

I get a kick out of the 'free range' label which to me creates an image in the mind of a nice pastural setting with the chickens scratching around and eating bugs and grass and other stuff.  In reality it just isn't so!  

Broilers (cornish cross) make market size at 6-7 weeks of age (4.5-5.5 lbs dressed) and in that very short time of living will eat about 15 lbs (each) of a high protein diet (they convert at about 3 to 1 in weight of feed and if there isn't enough protein their legs won't support their fast growth and weight).  The only way I can exercise (aka free range my birds) is to put the feed at one end of the enclosure and the water at the other and I'm sure they don't behave any different in other settings.  

I do understand the concept of getting away from the 'factory' farming operations (well given the number of critters I raise I guess that's a moot point) and the quality of our product is certainly far superior than the average chicken, turkey or pork most people can get their hands on.  Paying a bit more to support that type of lifestyle is justified....to a point.  Some folks do get a bit nervous at Thanksgiving when I offer them a 40+ lb (dressed) tom turkey......some eventually get the hand of the idea of eating a half-turkey or letting me part it out for them to eat through the year and others like the novelty of the big bird if they have a oven it will fit into!  Nothing like a lightly brined turkey breast with a bit of smoke on it coming of the BBQ to get everyone hovering around the table.

I picked up some black russian tomato starts last year from a guy and I think they might have been the black Krims steve mentioned.  They were good but not as great as the Red zebra and some of the beef stakes we raised last year.  Regardless, snatching it off the vine in your garden always is a great thing for great flavor.  Currently gorging on fresh spinach, lettuce, radishes, and strawberries with the sugar snap peas a day or so away.  Ah well I'm rambling on too much here but a discussion of fresh quality food and what you can do with it always gets me going.

I've just started reading:  Medusa's gaze and vampires bite: The science of monsters by Matt Kaplan.  Can't say anything about it yet but I heard Matt on a NPR interview and the book sounded pretty interesting so I bought it.
Posted by: stevestory on May 21 2013,15:26

Quote (franklin @ May 20 2013,21:58)
I get a kick out of the 'free range' label which to me creates an image in the mind of a nice pastural setting with the chickens scratching around and eating bugs and grass and other stuff.  In reality it just isn't so!  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


the lady i get the chickens from lives about 3 miles from me. The chickens, about a dozen or so at a time, run around eating bugs all day long. She's got about a 20' x 20'x fence for them. they are skinny, and a bit tough, but yummy.
Posted by: stevestory on May 21 2013,15:32

it's true that you can get expensive by eating well, no disagreement there. But if you're careful about shopping, and frankly don't eat much, it can be surprisingly affordable. In college I got hooked on BOGO (buy one, get one), and most of my food comes from that selection.

Plus, spending 20% more on your food is, in the long run, less expensive than a $100,000 triple-bypass surgery.
Posted by: franklin on May 21 2013,17:47

Quote (stevestory @ May 21 2013,15:26)
Quote (franklin @ May 20 2013,21:58)
I get a kick out of the 'free range' label which to me creates an image in the mind of a nice pastural setting with the chickens scratching around and eating bugs and grass and other stuff.  In reality it just isn't so!  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


the lady i get the chickens from lives about 3 miles from me. The chickens, about a dozen or so at a time, run around eating bugs all day long. She's got about a 20' x 20'x fence for them. they are skinny, and a bit tough, but yummy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


likely she is raising either cockerels which are a byproduct of production for pullets (laying hens) which we used to get at the feed store for free.  They don't convert very well and as you said can be an workout for your dentition.  Or she may be raising a duel purpose breed (layers and meat production) which tend to get wee bit larger than something along the lines of a production red, Rhode Island red, or a barred rock breed.  They can be tasty no doubt but, IMO, can't hold a candle to a cornish cross raised properly.

I grew up eating farmyard bantam chickens when the flock over grew acceptable numbers.  A pain to butcher but everyone got their own half and they were tasty and a bit..well..chewy.

I ran into the same problem when I raised heritage turkeys (Narragansetts and Bourbons).  I loved the intense turkey flavor but folks were put off by the extra chew texture compared to the broad-breasted breeds.

That is great that you are supporting local production of meat and veggies.
Posted by: franklin on May 21 2013,17:55

Quote (stevestory @ May 21 2013,15:32)
it's true that you can get expensive by eating well, no disagreement there. But if you're careful about shopping, and frankly don't eat much, it can be surprisingly affordable. In college I got hooked on BOGO (buy one, get one), and most of my food comes from that selection.

Plus, spending 20% more on your food is, in the long run, less expensive than a $100,000 triple-bypass surgery.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It cost money (and from a production standpoint time) to produce high quality products for consumption.  There isn't anything wrong with that but lots of folks haven't been exposed to anything other than what is available in the major markets.

Eating frugally doesn't mean buying the cheapest but rather buying the best available (within reason).  For example I don't have a problem paying more $$ for veggies I'm not raising to someone at the local farmers market over what is in the grocery store.  Local production is harvested fresh and transport is minimal.  However, buying organic produce at the large-chain grocers is a waste of $$ (IMO) since much of the benefit has been lost due to longer transport, packaging, handling, and having to pick the produce at a less than optimum ripeness.

I agree with you that it is a much better deal being tastier and better for you in the short and long run.
Posted by: stevestory on May 21 2013,17:56

Well, a recent preoccupation of mine is the unsustainability of basically everything about human civilization. I don't think there's a fix, or I'd be an advocate, I think we're headed for a humongous collapse.

The local chicken thing is mostly because I've learned about how the big farms (smithfield, tyson, etc) operate, and it's horrific how chickens in the industrial farms live. I'm not the most ethical guy in the world, but that stuff sickened me, and I can't abide it.
Posted by: stevestory on May 21 2013,18:02

the heritage stuff is chewier, so I make chicken noodle soup. Cook anything long enough and it can get extremely soft. Throw in the herbs at the end IMHO.
Posted by: franklin on May 21 2013,18:08

I hear you, steve, and that is what set us on our path once we got our own little place back in 1980.  We do depend on commercial ag to provide the grains we need for our animal feed but we produce, by far, the largest portion of what we consume over a years time. It is a great lifestyle for us.
Posted by: stevestory on May 21 2013,18:22

that sounds fantastic. Wish you lived next door. (Although be glad you don't live in Lake City, Fla.)
Posted by: Arctodus23 on May 22 2013,11:49

I just finished reading, "Misquoting, Jesus". By Bart D. Erhman. A good read.  :)
Posted by: fnxtr on July 22 2013,16:08

I've got two words for you, too, < Card >, and they're not "Happy Birthday".
Posted by: stevestory on July 22 2013,18:06

That's the new thing, bigots complaining that they're being seen as bigots. See Maggie Gallagher, Fat Tony Scalia, etc...

Whenever I hear the term "protecting traditional marriage" I immediately hear "I'm a bigot" in my head because it's just such a bullshit excuse.
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 22 2013,22:35

I read "God's Demon" by Wanye Barlowe yesterday. It is a fantasy adventure story about a counter-rebellion in Hell. If you don't think about it it can be fun.

This morning, I finished
"Hitler's Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany's Crimes Against the Jewish People" by Max Weinreich, (1946, 1999 reissue YIVO Institute for Jewish Research). Excellent. It should be more widely known.

I started "What is Life: How Chemistry Becomes Biology" by "systems chemist" Addy Pross (2012 Oxford University Press), but it is a piece of shit. The guy hasn't read more than a dozen of the significant papers from just 10 years. Wasted money. So, instead I started  "The Heidelberg Myth: The Nazification and Denazification of a German University" by Steven P. Remy (2002 Harvard University Press). The first 30 pages are fairly good.


Posted by: fnxtr on July 22 2013,23:41

Quote (Dr.GH @ July 22 2013,20:35)
I read "God's Demon" by Wanye Barlowe yesterday. It is a fantasy adventure story about a counter-rebellion in Hell. If you don't think about it it can be fun.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Have you read Farmer's "Inside, Outside" or Moorcock's "The War Amongst the Angels"?
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 23 2013,02:28

Quote (fnxtr @ July 22 2013,21:41)
Quote (Dr.GH @ July 22 2013,20:35)
I read "God's Demon" by Wanye Barlowe yesterday. It is a fantasy adventure story about a counter-rebellion in Hell. If you don't think about it it can be fun.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Have you read Farmer's "Inside, Outside" or Moorcock's "The War Amongst the Angels"?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think I may have read them decades ago.  :)
Posted by: midwifetoad on July 23 2013,09:32

Quote (stevestory @ May 21 2013,17:56)
Well, a recent preoccupation of mine is the unsustainability of basically everything about human civilization. I don't think there's a fix, or I'd be an advocate, I think we're headed for a humongous collapse.

The local chicken thing is mostly because I've learned about how the big farms (smithfield, tyson, etc) operate, and it's horrific how chickens in the industrial farms live. I'm not the most ethical guy in the world, but that stuff sickened me, and I can't abide it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


There seems to be a conspiracy (or the unplanned equivalent) to make child rearing expensive. That seems to have reduced population growth in developed nations.

If I weren't a skeptic I'd think it's a deliberate policy.
Posted by: fnxtr on Oct. 16 2013,13:12

Bump.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 16 2013,13:38

I read "The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins a month or two ago (the 30th anniversary edition). Man, was it a powerful read.

There was no gene for selfishness described, however, which I found odd since O'Leary had assured us all that was the thesis of the book, a few years back.
Posted by: Woodbine on Oct. 16 2013,14:40

Just finished A Maze of Death by Philip K Dick.



It was OK but typically 'Dickian', i.e. a foundation of  interesting ideas groaning under the weight of terrible writing, implausible characterization and the author's own neuroses.

I've just started George Johnson's Fire in the Mind which looks much more promising. The blurb says....

 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Are there really laws governing the universe? Or is the order we see a mere artifact of the way evolution wired the brain? And is what we call science only a set of myths in which quarks, DNA, and information fill the role once occupied by gods?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Only read Chapter 1 but so far it's good.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Oct. 16 2013,15:02

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 16 2013,20:38)
I read "The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins a month or two ago (the 30th anniversary edition). Man, was it a powerful read.

There was no gene for selfishness described, however, which I found odd since O'Leary had assured us all that was the thesis of the book, a few years back.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've never been disapointed with Prof. Dawkins' writings. The only book of his I own and haven't read yet is "The Magic of reality"*. And I'm waiting for my copy of "The Selfish Gene".







*I went on a row with "The Greatest Show on Earth" and Prof. Ceiling Cat's "Why Evolution is True", so I fear TMOR might be redundant. Yet again, I might be proven wrong, and anyway it was bought for Ali to get more familiar with RD's writings. I'm finishing my re-re-re-reading of Pratchett's "Snuff" and getting down to it!
Posted by: Woodbine on Oct. 16 2013,15:46

TMOR is a kids book, isnt it?
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Oct. 16 2013,15:58

Quote (Woodbine @ Oct. 16 2013,22:46)
TMOR is a kids book, isnt it?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Young adults, from what I've gathered, but might be a kids book. I'll say more when I'm done with it.
end


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