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Old 09-13-2009, 08:33 AM   #276
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I'm reading an article on the Wabi Sabi aesthetic and Shamans Through Time edited by Jeremy Narby and Francis Huxley.
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:15 PM   #277
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:12 AM   #278
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The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The book is good, but overly filled with assertions not backed by proof! But then again, its pretty tough to back anything we as a race know nothing about, i.e., the beginning of life. It's all educated guess at this point.

Also, I felt the book to be long-winded on its explanations, so much so, that one feels treated like an idiot: "You don't have to explain it to me this many times you know. I get what you're saying..."
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:02 AM   #279
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:13 AM   #280
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I'm in the midst of reading The Outlaw Sea by William Langewiesche ( 2004 ). It contains an account of the midnight capsize of a Baltic Sea ferry, the Estonia, in a 1994 storm while it was en route from Tallin ( Estonia ) to Stockholm resulting in the loss of 850 passengers and crew. It is a very spooky story that reinforces the roles that both random chance and cool-headed action play in surviving such events.

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Old 10-18-2009, 10:30 AM   #281
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Originally Posted by SirLicksAalot View Post
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The book is good, but overly filled with assertions not backed by proof! But then again, its pretty tough to back anything we as a race know nothing about, i.e., the beginning of life. It's all educated guess at this point.

Also, I felt the book to be long-winded on its explanations, so much so, that one feels treated like an idiot: "You don't have to explain it to me this many times you know. I get what you're saying..."
THE SELFISH GENE is a classic of socio-biology nee evolutionary psychology. Its thesis: Organisms exploit environmental niches and each other, offends virtually every perfesser and Usual Suspect and environ-MENTAL-ist.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:19 AM   #282
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Im reading Traitors Gate by Kate Elliott it is the 3rd book in her crossroads series
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:05 PM   #283
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THE SELFISH GENE is a classic of socio-biology nee evolutionary psychology. Its thesis: Organisms exploit environmental niches and each other, offends virtually every perfesser and Usual Suspect and environ-MENTAL-ist.
Actually, the book was recommended to me by 3 former professors. I didn't even know the author 'til then--but I trusted my professors, so here I am.

Dawkins dealt with a supposedly counter-intuitive notion of altruism when put into the evolutionary context where the principal unit of selection is the gene, not the individual. Today, this is ho-hum theme, anyone who've taken introductory Biology in college pretty much gets it, but I would imagine this assertion must be radical back in 1976.

He he he. If by "Usual Suspect," you meant the Creationists or its modern incarnate Intelligent Design group, heck yes! I have to admit--I feel for them. It's a losing battle, sad thing is that they just don't know it yet; the evidences are piling up, and they're backed into a corner. It's a painful thing. It's like "Santa Claus is not real" all over again. (That actually broke me when I first heard that).
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:08 PM   #284
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:11 PM   #285
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- book 7 of stephen king's 'dark tower' series
- the beautiful and the damned, f.s. fitzgerald
- the end of the affair, graham greene

2 outta 3 are good :-P
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Old 11-28-2009, 03:29 PM   #286
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A comics day yesterday, with some hits and misses.

Alan Moore proved to be decidedly under-whelming. His writing is not atrocious or stupid; far from it. So long as I compare him to old-school mainstream American comics, I can see why he's acclaimed as the guy who transformed the medium.

When you read V for Vendetta today, though, it seems terribly…unremarkable. It doesn't dazzle with ideas, nor does it do so with graphic solutions. The story is okay, despite some juvenile political pontificating, but not so good as to enthuse at the lack of either visual wonders or strong characters. A couple of scenes that get under the characters' skin make it worth reading, but mostly you're supposed to be moved by the very idea of the totalitarian world the story depicts—and we've all read much better takes on that. V is solidly enough executed, but to my mind, lacks any memorable twists of its own.

Watchmen I've just begun, but I can already tell Moore just doesn't agree with me. A different story, a different graphic artist, yet Moore's writing and sequencing give me the same impression of a not very exciting déjà vu. Possibly his stuff isn't aging too well, and possibly he's just not my cup of tea. A bit of both, I think.

Hypothetical Lizard is a sweet little accidental pick that makes me part from Moore on not entirely lukewarm terms. It's a story about love and betrayal in a fantasy-world brothel. While based on Alan Moore's eponymous story, the graphic novel script was done by someone else. That and a stunning artist lead to an enchanting read. A few blemishes in the conception of the story bothered me not at all, as I was too busy basking in the beauty and lyricism of the images. Lizard is in no way a groundbreaking story, but it is an hour of dreamy, moving, subtly erotic visual delight.

Asterios Polyp, not by Moore, takes all my praise after all. The story is of a know-it-all professor of architecture who has to come to terms with the messiness of life. David Mazzucchelli, the writer and the artist, brings it to life in a cartoonist's style, with lots of unique solutions and painstaking perfectionism. The unsatisfying resolution stops me from calling it the masterpiece the reviewers are calling it everywhere around, but even so, this graphic novel packs so much originality, wit, and humor it just has to be recommended.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:07 PM   #287
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:46 PM   #288
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:47 PM   #289
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:48 PM   #290
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The art of Electronics. Horowitz & Hill.
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:52 PM   #291
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Aesop's Fables
I read them too, I really liked them. They had real humour. It's surprising what a light touch the ancient Greek writers could have. Even some of Plato's dialogs abound with humour.
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:52 PM   #292
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:57 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by SirLicksAalot View Post
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The book is good, but overly filled with assertions not backed by proof! But then again, its pretty tough to back anything we as a race know nothing about, i.e., the beginning of life. It's all educated guess at this point.

Also, I felt the book to be long-winded on its explanations, so much so, that one feels treated like an idiot: "You don't have to explain it to me this many times you know. I get what you're saying..."
The concept is not at all obvious -- and it's still contentious. I was a student when it came out, and, along with many many others, was most impressed by the throwaway chapter where Dawkins coins the term "Meme" and discusses memetic selection and mutation, albeit slightly flippantly
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:06 PM   #294
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I've always said that any book worth reading is worth re-reading, and in keeping with that, I'm currently reading Roy Porter's London -- A Social History, Zangwill's The King of Schnorrers, and George Borrow's Lavengro. All three books make vivid the rich blend of vibrant cultures that makes the English people.
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:08 PM   #295
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Umberto Eco's Kant and the Platypus; started it a few years ago, but let it slide. Need to get back to it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:08 AM   #296
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The concept is not at all obvious -- and it's still contentious. I was a student when it came out, and, along with many many others, was most impressed by the throwaway chapter where Dawkins coins the term "Meme" and discusses memetic selection and mutation, albeit slightly flippantly
my jaw almost dropped when I you stated: "...impressed ... meme ...". Huh??
The assertion is much too open for "alternative" interpretation and the fact that the unit itself, meme, is not definitely quantifiable leads it stuck to the realm of sociology not biology. That's the politically correct me . . . but

it's hard to argue against the idea. We are all genetically equal, and any chance of it being not true, is moot since airplanes have made it easy for us to virtually fuck anyone, anywhere, at whichever timezone the other person is in. In some cases, it need not even be a person [grin]

but there has to be something unique to a group that leads it to thrive and lead healthy lives compared to others. Genetics? No. Nature? No way! what is it then?? Culture? Hmmm. . .maybe.

it's basically the same thing as saying better parents make better and more successful children. It is exclusive within the community, not subject to extrinsic factors, and therefore a constant. . . How I wish there is a way to measure it.

like what Michael Dell said--founder of Dell computers--"If you can measure it, you can improve it."

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Old 12-29-2009, 03:55 AM   #297
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plus some new regulatory rules in force from 01/01/10 and wondering how the hell they got through consultation!
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:20 AM   #298
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:29 AM   #299
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:00 PM   #300
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I just finished Bob Woodward's State of Denial, having previously read Plan of Attack and Bush At War. State of Denial is— by far— the weakest of the bunch. Woodward's like and dislike of various individuals is on full display.

After many years and resolutions, I have finally run Robert A. Caro's The Power Broker to ground. I can tell I'm going to end up hating Robert Moses; as the epitome of a Machiavellian, he represents everything I dislike in homo politicus. The biography is widely regarded as one of the best of the genre, purportedly ranking with Boswell's oeuvre on "Dictionary" Johnson and Strachey's portrait of Victoria.

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