Archive for November, 2012

History

November 29, 2012 | By | Reply More

BTW, Dragging the truth out of tobacco companies is only the first step of a LONG journey.

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Pat Robertson stumbles over a low bar

November 29, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

I do enjoy how it becomes newsworthy when an ignorant public figure finally figures out the obvious. In this recent case reported by CNN, Pat Robertson finally admitted that the earth is a lot older than 6,000 years.

Televangelist Pat Robertson challenged the idea that Earth is 6,000 years old this week, saying the man who many credit with conceiving the idea, former Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years.”

“You go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you’ve got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They’re out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don’t try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That’s not the Bible.”

Update November 30, 2012. Here’s more. I wonder how many enslaved minds are going to wake up thanks to Robertson’s declaration of the obvious.

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Starting from the beginning

November 29, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

This past weekend, I was discussing the nature of explanations with some relatives. I argued that to explain anything completely, one would have to explain absolutely everything, given the need for context in a complete explanation and given the inter-connectedness of all that we know. Many explanations falling short of explaining everything work, at least on a local level, because on a local/pragmatic level an explanation is merely a description that makes us feel good.

Today, I came across a quote by Carl Sagan that relates to the above:

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Hate as poison

November 28, 2012 | By | Reply More

This quote by Booker T. Washington really hits the mark:

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Oscar Wilde on war

November 28, 2012 | By | Reply More

As Christopher Hedges has written, war is exciting and carries its own meaning, regardless of the flimsy excuses that politicians bandy about.

The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our airwaves. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those who have the least meaning in their lives, the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the legions of young who live in the splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world, are all susceptible to war’s appeal.

I’ve previously written about the power of how we frame war; how is it that human slaughter can be seen as glamorous? Oscar Wilde also touches on this issue of how we frame war:

As long as we uncritically bandy about horribly vague phrases like “Support the Troops,” we will not expose America’s needless wars for what they are.

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More euphemisms for sex

November 27, 2012 | By | Reply More

I thought I had heard them all, but I hadn’t heard the euphemisms for sex from the 1800s. They include such terms as “Take a flyer” and “Lobster kettle.” I suppose people did have sex, even back in the 1800s.

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Independent journalists and Obama

November 26, 2012 | By | Reply More

Glenn Greenwald’s advice to independent journalists: Ruffle feathers and “develop true expertise on a finite number of subjects.” Glenn Greenwald took time to do a walk and talk interview with Luke Rudkowski. The two discussed the next 4 years with Obama, the lack of criticism of the Obama and journalism tips.

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Obama’s adventure in Afghanistan

November 26, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

U.S. deaths in Afghanistan under Bush Administration: 575. Under Obama Administration: 1492. So far. And see here.

This imbalance was brought to my attention on Facebook when I saw the following quote:

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Christmas Minimalism

November 26, 2012 | By | Reply More

At this site, you’ll find a collection of thoughtful essays that might serve as an antidote to the Christmas craziness.

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