Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson discusses The Origin of Religions, From a Distinctly Darwinian View.
Finally, a missle defense system. When will critics figure out that Mutally Assured Destruction is long gone & ballistic missle defense is not a first-strike technology? It may have been optimistic to expect to shoot down thousands of Soviet warheads (though, just the thought of it sure put them out of business), but we must be able to defend ourselves from a handful of terrorist missle attacks, or we're simply wearing the emperor's new clothes.
There have been few posts because I have been a little out of sorts since we (The University of Alabama) lost to Auburn. I really want Coach Fran to stay, but I want him to end the speculation that he may go to Texas A&M - now. In a particularly vicious column, Paul Finebaum lets Coach Fran have it.
He was one of the pantheon of my childhood. I grew up playing chess and Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess was the book we learned from. Plus he was a Cold War hero. I've always wondered exactly what happened to him. An article in the Atlantic shows how his life has become A Beautiful Mind without the happy ending. It's sad.
I remember reading several years ago in the National Review the argument that the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, was actually "William Shakespeare". In a recent book Paul Streitz, of the Oxford Institute, argues that de Vere was Shakespeare AND the son of Elizabeth I. The book is a direct challenge to two traditions of English history: The Virgin Queen and the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon.
I am a southerner. I am a historian. Therefore, I study the War Between the States/American Civil War. I have no cornbread-fed illusions that slavery was not the heart of the matter. There's no doubt that it was evil and had to go. Nonetheless, I am not excited about government-employed historians providing "context" and de-emphasizing the actual battles at our National Park Battlefields. The usually-acceptable U.S. News & World Report provides an insightful article on the matter, but unfortunately favors the socialists.
Bernard Lewis wrote an excellent and extensive article that clearly answers one of today's most pertinent questions, "Why do Islamic terrorists (and people) hate the United States?".
From Jan. 02, "What Went Wrong" with the islamic world.
A recent interview with Lewis - The Patriarch of the Islamicists.
A massive collection of science fiction and pulp magazines spanning the last century has been donated to the University of Calgary (story). William Gibson (not the author) seems to have spent much of his 92 years collecting, cataloging, storing, & apparently poorly labeling science fiction that covers the genre from the late 1800's all the way to cyberpunk.
I've often said that to see where technology is going "follow the porn".
Then, to find the holes in the new technologies, count on 'hackers' of various stripes to take advantage of the clueless.
Wireless internet access has resulted in "warchalking" of access points.
I think this is cool as hell, in a geeky sort of way.
The posting has been slow - I've been incommunicado. We are moving from a new house in sunny Gulf Shores, AL to a sagging older house in semi-rural Priceville, AL. Why? Gulf Shores is vastly overrated, my job has not worked out, & the house in Priceville is paid for. We've been driving the length of the state for the last two weeks, making preparations. Right now we only have Earthlink dial-up in Priceville & I left the laptop in Gulf Shores this past week. With no cable ('til Tuesday), we had to get our news from Sprint PCS and we even bought a couple of newspapers (Decatur Daily, Huntsville Times).
My desire to get out of teaching is increased by idiotic things like changing authors' works on the N.Y. State graduation exam, so that no one is made to feel uncomfortable. Censorship, violation of copyright, and offensive political correctness - just what I expext from educators.
(Arts & Letters Daily-N.Y. Times)
Libertarians for slavery by Charles Paul Freund for ReasonOnline is excellent - "People did not use emerging concepts of liberty to claim greater personal rights at the expense of others; they used such ideas to expand the rights of ever-greater numbers of their fellow citizens as they were presented with their demands."
As a southerner I was brought up with a latent emnity for General Ulysses S. Grant. For the last two years I've been teaching "U.S. History until 1900" and I've shown Ken Burn's Civil War as the penultimate event in the class. I've learned to see Grant as the general the Union needed to win the war. He achieved all three land-war objectives for the Union (Central Tennessee, Vicksburg, & Richmond) and knew it must be a war of attrition. His leadership skills have become the subject of a book & recently in Slate, Chris Suellentrop reconsiders Grant's Presidency as well.
"Environmentalism, not modern civilization, is tottering. As more critics -- demographers, epidemiologists, toxicologists, climatologists, economists, and, yes, statisticians -- point ever more insistently at the yawning gap between the doomsayers’ claims and scientific and economic reality, the ideologues are becoming ever more frantic to deny the growing contradictions."