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What are you reading?
Posted: 11 August 2011 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 241 ]
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Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael S. Gazzaniga

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Free in Kentucky
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“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

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Posted: 15 August 2011 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 242 ]
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I’m reading a compilation of Cthulhu Mythos stories by people other than Lovecraft.  It’s a little uneven.  Some of them are quite good, others…uh not so much.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 15 August 2011 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 243 ]
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Dead Monky - 15 August 2011 11:02 AM

I’m reading a compilation of Cthulhu Mythos stories by people other than Lovecraft.  It’s a little uneven.  Some of them are quite good, others…uh not so much.

I found the same to be true even of the ones written by Lovecraft. grin Although, I think that was before I discovered that I couldn’t read story after story he had written (they are a bit formulaic for me) and would read one story a week or so.

As to the question: The IceWind Dale trilogy by R.A. Salvatore. So far it’s a bit rough. It was his first novel (IIRC) and obviously shows it’s D&D gaming roots.

Take care,

Derek

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“It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good—and less trouble.”—Mark Twain

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Posted: 15 August 2011 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 244 ]
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Before the Dawn, a book about how we became human.
http://www.amazon.com/Before-Dawn-Recovering-History-Ancestors/dp/014303832X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313469761&sr=1-1

Very interesting and well written, I’m about a forth of the way in, and I am enjoying the read.

from a review:

“Before the Dawn” is a very well written survey of what genetics can teach us about the origin and evolution of the human species. Starting with the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees 5 million years ago, Wade explores the latest theories about the development of the “hominid” line and explains why homo sapiens evolved differently from our cousins, the chimpanzees and the bonobos.

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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: 16 August 2011 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 245 ]
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Moved to here from the new thread “Bolsheviks” because it fits in this thread.

I should be sleeping at this time. But I am reading. The author is Edvard Radzinsky; the title is “Stalin: The first in-depth biography based on ...” Those who are not familiar with the Soviet history might be lost among so many names of political figures. But I am fascinated by this book.
.

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Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia), a retired nuclear physicist from New Jersey, USA. A am also the author of a FREE ONLINE book: “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

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Succinctness, clarity’s core.

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Posted: 16 August 2011 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 246 ]
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Stalin was a very interesting character. I believe his daughter emigrated to the US.

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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: 17 August 2011 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 247 ]
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At the moment, I’m reading “Warships of the Napoleonic Era” by Robert Gardiner. I’ve already read through the latest and greatest issue of Skeptical Inquirer.

Looking forward to Skeptic magazine next month.

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Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

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Posted: 24 August 2011 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 248 ]
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Just finished Surface Detail by Ian M. Banks.

In his Culture science fiction novels Ian M. Banks explores a distant future when the galaxy is fully explored and artificial intelligence /machine intelligence supports intelligent life in the galaxy.

In this novel Banks explores the implications of being able to download consciousness to a database both for “reventing” oneself in a new body if something happens to the old one, and in this particular novel the implications of downloading consciousness to virtual worlds and living in the virtual worlds.

Some galactic societies have virtual heavens and virtual hells where they download people.  The Culture is an atheistic society but not an autocratic one.  Correcting this misuse of virtual realities is not easy. 

It’s a large book but this topic is a central thread.

Jackson

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Posted: 24 August 2011 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 249 ]
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Just finished a book on Attila the Hun and the end of the Roman Empire. The author has pored through all the original sources and read a great deal between the lines, based on his extensive knowledge of the times. While the result is rather speculative in places (analyzing the intentions of Attila, for example), I am happy to trust the author’s speculations, because they are so well-informed.

I had never connected the dots showing that Attila’s actions were so directly responsible for the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. For example, the decisive battle of Adrianople, which crushed the army of the Eastern Empire, was fought by Goths, but they in turn had been forced into Roman lands by the depredations of the Huns. Attila himself never won a decisive battle against any Roman army; the battle of the Catalaunian Plains was a bloody stalemate from which everybody retreated, and the strategically brilliant invasion of Italy ended in an orderly retreat. The Gothic conquest of Italy was also triggered by upheavals in the Hun Empire following the death of Attila. And finally, all sorts of internal shenanigans and political intrigues that weakened the Romans were driven, to a large extent, by the need to respond to the continuing threat that Attila posed.

All in all, Attila emerges as a brilliant strategist who achieved wonders largely through the effective combination of diplomacy and the threat of military action—while seldom actually engaging in such action. When he did act, his campaigns were executed brilliantly, with a minimum of wasted resources and a maximum of benefits. Attila deliberately obliterated entire districts, not so much for booty as to demonstrate just how dangerous he was, thereby gaining considerable leverage in subsequent diplomatic negotiations. I suspect that he actually derived greater benefit from his diplomatic settlements than from his military campaigns.

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Posted: 24 August 2011 09:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 250 ]
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Several days ago I started reading God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters by Sarah Posner, but I kept having to resist the urge to underline, highlight, and write “WTF” in the margins of a library book (I would NEVER do that, btw). So, I purchased it at Amazon. I’m awaiting its arrival.

So I decided to read Alice in Wonderland in the meantime. I finished it today and began reading Through the Looking Glass. But, I’m a little conflicted. The other day I heard Frank Schaeffer discuss his latest book Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics—and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) on Dan Barker and Annie-Laurie Gaylor’s FFRF show and now I’m a little tempted to purchase it for my Nook.

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Fiction is fun, but facts are fundamental.

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Posted: 04 October 2011 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 251 ]
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I am reading “The Many Colored Land” and “The Golden Torc” by Julian May

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“I am neither a Christian, nor an atheist, I’m not Jewish or Muslim … my religion is written on a piece of parchment called the Constitution”

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Posted: 06 October 2011 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 252 ]
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Have just started “American Nations - A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.”  by Colin Woodard.  Interesting book.

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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 253 ]
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Just finished the biography of Georges Guynemer and am starting Before the Dawn. Excellent read! Parallels Brian Fagan’s book Cro-Magnon.

Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

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Posted: 06 October 2011 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 254 ]
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Before the Dawn is an excellent book. One of the best! (And I was supposed to meet Brian Fagan at a party a few months back but I couldn’t make it.  downer )

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Posted: 06 October 2011 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 255 ]
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Would like to meet him. I consider his book on the Pleistocene era one of the best. He makes the contact between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon come alive.

Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

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