Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Jared Diamond's Collapse - What Happened?

The Seattle Weekly has a weekly page of book reviews called This Week's Reads

One of the books reviewed is
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

The reviewer, Rober Downey, notes that Diamond is also

the author of

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
which Downey describes to have "examined human nature and society in the light of the latest anthropological studies of people as apes"

Guns, Germs and Steel:The Fates of Human Societies - winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize - which, writes Downey, "asked and—amazingly—plausibly answered the question: 'Why did the phenomenon we call civilization develop just where it did, and why didn't it develop elsewhere?' "

Although Downey is not happy with Diamond's Collapse as compared to his previous books (perhaps Diamond was influenced by the title in his writing), the message of the book is interesting in concentrating on environment as one of the leading causes for the collapse of societies over history.

Crossposted to the Ancient World Blog STONEHENGE.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Ultimate Birthday Gift for Religious Awareness

The Ultimate Birthday Gift - Stars Stones and Scholars

I have nothing against religion but I get tired of listening to religious babble from people who are not familiar with the history of their own beliefs.

Are you looking for a gift for adults who already have everything?

Give them the book Stars Stones and Scholars
available here and here
and jog the complacent noncritical brains of your family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

In a day when religious fanatics are making life on our planet much more difficult than it objectively should be, it might be useful to consider the fact that all modern religions are rooted in ancient hermetic belief ("as above, so below", or "As on Earth, So in Heaven").

Before the advent of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, men studied the stars, and this ancient stargazing gave mankind its first conceptions of natural law (so Bertrand Russell).

The idea that God is "in Heaven" and not elsewhere is rooted in the idea of our prehistoric forefathers that God's abode was in the (apparently) immovable part of the Center of Heaven. Contrary to God's modern abstract realm, in ancient days God had a specific celestial "home".

Where is that home now?

This and much more is found in this fascinating book of which I am proud to say that I am the author. Read Stars Stones and Scholars to understand YOUR religion better.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers - Worth a read....

This tip in from a world traveling friend....

Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers looks like one of the ultimate travel books.

We look for this book to perhaps be filmed by the big boys.

Crossposted to LawPundit.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Literary Quality of Scientific Papers Declining

Henry Gee, an editor at Nature, has an article entitled The write stuff remarking on the decline in the literary quality of scientific papers.

Gee discusses several reasons for this development of "lexical sludge":

"[F]or those authors who are honestly striving to do a good job, much of the problem could be rooted ... with what I perceive to be the low standard of English teaching in schools. It seems that formal teaching of grammar has been abandoned, possibly in the cause of social and linguistic relativism.

Another possible cause is the desire of some scientists in certain specialities to write as densely as possible, so that the audience is restricted to a clique of peers. This is not literature so much as the delineation of territory: for the same reason that dogs mark fire hydrants in ways inaccessible to human apprehension, the message is not intended for everyone, only competitors."

"Their convoluted prose contains subordinate clauses stacked one after the other, indiscriminate neologisms and nouns prostituted as verbs. Reading it produces a general frustration akin to that felt by the boxer who, while still gloved, tries to peel a banana."

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