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What are you reading?
Posted: 09 March 2011 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]
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I am in the middle of Moral Minds, Conciousness Explained, rereading The Gift of Fear (Gavin De Becker, good read) and smatterings of Hitchen’s “The Portable Atheist”.  I swear it takes me forever to finish anything….

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Posted: 09 March 2011 09:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]
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bradthebard - 09 March 2011 07:56 PM

I am in the middle of Moral Minds, Conciousness Explained, rereading The Gift of Fear (Gavin De Becker, good read) and smatterings of Hitchen’s “The Portable Atheist”.  I swear it takes me forever to finish anything….

I’ve read both De Becker and Hichen’s books and keep them both as references on my bookshelf. They are both very good books.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 10 March 2011 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]
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asanta - 09 March 2011 09:12 PM

I’ve read both De Becker and Hichen’s books and keep them both as references on my bookshelf. They are both very good books.

I have DeBecker’s “Just 2 Seconds” waiting in the wings.  More of a reference but the bits I’ve skimmed look really interesting.

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Posted: 27 April 2011 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 184 ]
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To all the parents and skeptics, there is a new book out by Bryan Caplan, called Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. Looks interesting.

A couple of review comments from Pinker and Rich Harris (The Nurture Assumption):

“Original, lively, well-researched, and wise, this book could change your life.” —S. Pinker

“A lively, witty, thoroughly engrossing book. Bryan Caplan looks at parenting from the viewpoint of an economist, as well as a father. His conclusions may surprise you but he has the data to back them up.” —J. Rich Harris

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Posted: 28 April 2011 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 185 ]
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THIS downer

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Posted: 28 April 2011 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 186 ]
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Sam Harris has a list of interesting books arranged alphatbetically by author

http://www.samharris.org/book_store/

Earlier this year I downloaded the Information by Gleick as an e-book—working pretty well…
http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0375423729.01.LZZZ ZZZZ.jpg

[ Edited: 05 May 2011 03:04 AM by Jackson ]
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Posted: 28 April 2011 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 187 ]
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Jackson - 28 April 2011 05:06 PM

I was impressed with the length of the list of interesting books that Sam Harris has to suggest:

http://www.samharris.org/book_store/


“You, f… people, baffle me. Spend all your money on these f… fancy books, you surround yourselves with ‘em and they’re the wrong f… books.”
grin

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Posted: 28 April 2011 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]
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George - 27 April 2011 08:24 AM

To all the parents and skeptics, there is a new book out by Bryan Caplan, called Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. Looks interesting.

You mean this guy’s advocating we make yet more kids?   shock

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Posted: 28 April 2011 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 28 April 2011 06:16 PM
George - 27 April 2011 08:24 AM

To all the parents and skeptics, there is a new book out by Bryan Caplan, called Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. Looks interesting.

You mean this guy’s advocating we make yet more kids?   shock

Is this a case where practice doesn’t make perfect?

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 28 April 2011 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 28 April 2011 06:16 PM

You mean this guy’s advocating we make yet more kids?   shock

I don’t know, I haven’t read it yet.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]
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well let us know   cheese

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Posted: 29 April 2011 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 192 ]
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Quicksand - America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East   Geoffrey Wawro
Penguin Press; 2010; 610 pgs.
Wawro, currently Professor of Military History at the University of North Texas, has written this very comprehensive and critical history of US relations in the Middle East from WWI through Operation Desert Storm.  Unusually for someone who is writing about a given set of local problems he does not lose sight of how the broader world situation impacts and diverts attention of the US foreign policy establishment from the problem at hand.  He does not simply construct his analysis or lay blame for today’s problems on “mistakes of the past” but analyzes the decisions made based upon the priorities of the actors and the often conflicting problems that were current at the time, as well domestic political pressures, US election competition bureaucratic infighting, inertia and sloppiness.  In other words he takes into account the real world and not some imagined perfect world that many authors imagine.
This is an excellent read for those who wish to know more about the Middle-east and its history with the US.

Some quotes, starting with my favorite:
It is quite extraordinary how people can live with delusions big enough to transform illusions into reality, reality into illusion.  Anwar Sadat – in Search of Identity, An Autobiography     Pg. 3
  Shiites, including millions of Arabs on Iran’s border with Iraq, were not natural adherents of Arab nationalism, which was an ideology based on Sunni notions of Islam and Arabism.    Pg. 328
. . .  the ideology of Shiism is explicit:  ever since Allah’s removal of the messianic Twelfth Imam in the ninth century, no temporal power is considered legitimate.          Pg. 331  
. . . Americans failed to grasp threat “the concepts of economic development current in the West - where quick material gain is often the only valid criterion – do not necessarily correspond to the true interests of developing nations.”                    Pg. 359
With their own political problems – an obstreperous clergy, a dissatisfied populace and foreign rivals (Iraq, Iran, and the Soviets) circling hungrily – the Saudis ramped up “petrodollar Islam” after 1973, when oil revenues soared, to bankroll fundamentalist movements like Jamaat-e-Islami.  The Saudis wanted to spread Wahhabism, push back against secular, pro-Soviet figures like Yasser Arafat – who had praised the Russian invasion of Afghanistan – and beat back Khomeini’s Shiite challenge.  Khomeini in Tehran was establishing something that looked suspiciously like a Shiite “papacy” which aspired to guide and dominate all Muslims - Shiite and Sunni – by harping on the secular themes of Israel, poverty and imperialism.                          Pg. 392
. . . no fewer than eighteen treaties had been concluded between the Turks and the Persians between 1638 and the withering of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, yet somehow the border between Iran and Iraq had never been precisely drawn.                  Pg. 398

National Security Decision Directive stated that the US “would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran.                Pg. 401
The United States, Regan said could not afford to allow Iraq to lose.        Pg. 401
In 1987-88, Washington tilted back towards Iraq.  The US Navy began flagging Kuwait tankers in the Persian Gulf – to shield them from Iranian attacks and protect Iraq’s oil revenues – and also began hitting Iranian oil platforms and surface ships.                Pg. 403

Senator Gore, weighing his own run for the presidency, agreed to vote for the war only if given the floor for a twenty-minute prime-time television slot (by Republican leader Bob Dole) to advertise his vote.  {Didn’t want to seem soft on defense.  – GRH} (Vote passed the senate 52-47; House 250-183)                                  Pg. 419
. . . Clinton’s two-week Camp David summit failed because of a divergence in narratives.  The Israelis saw themselves as generously giving Palestinians over 90 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza; the Palestinians grumbled that they were being pressed to accept just 22 percent of the Palestine that had been wrested from them in 1948.                  Pg. 601
Thomas Friedman’s “Pottery Barn Rule” You break it, you own it.        Pg. 603

This one gets an A

[ Edited: 29 April 2011 03:18 PM by garythehuman ]
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Posted: 29 April 2011 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 193 ]
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Supersense by Bruce M. Hood.

Interesting read thus far.

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 30 April 2011 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 194 ]
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Astronomy Today (7th ed); by Chaisson & McMillan

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Posted: 30 April 2011 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 195 ]
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Hey traveler, I have that book. It is pretty good, but I have seen better astronomy texts. For anyone who is interested enough to buy a college astronomy text I recommend any of the ones written by William Kaufman. They turn up at used bookstores at good prices. The Chaisson/MacMillan book has a lot of errors in the graphs. I’ve used it the last two semesters in my college astronomy classes, and while it is a good textbook the Kaufmann books are much better.

I tried reading The Planets by Dava Sobel, but after wading through the chapter on Jupiter I put it back on the bookshelf. I had recommended this book to a few people after skimming through it, but after spending more time with the book I found a few fact errors in the early chapters, and the Jupiter chapter went completely off the deep end talking about Galileo’s astrological charts and how they could have predicted greatness for him. Then Sobel got even deeper by discussing the astrological implications of the date of the Galileo probe launch. I apologize to anyone who wasted money on that book due to my recommendation.

I just finished reading How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming by Mike Brown. An excellent read, and very informative on how his team discovered Eris and why the decision to demote Pluto was correct.

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