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Thinker_thumbA lot of disparate thoughts travel through this brain case I can safely inform you. You know me well enough to recognize the dangers of entering into my sandbox of synaptic pleasures. I’m either hopelessly unfocused or a cobbled together unrecognized genius. Some days it’s more one, other days, well.

I’ve come to see it as a blessing of sorts. At least I try to see it that way. I should have been a college professor, but of course that but begs the question–on what subject?

Any the hoo, I have a lot of thoughts about Syria but not a lot of coalesced conclusions, so I’ll beg off at the moment. Is it too trite and cowardly to just say, I’m conflicted?

I had a bizarre discussion with fellow high-school mates about the issue of spanking as discipline which proved to me once again how easy it is to stay with ideas that are both comfortable and supported by simplistic memes that denote little if any critical thinking. More and more I conclude that indeed advances in the human condition are the result of a very few minds indeed, and put into place by mostly brain-dead human hordes who are spoon fed some “reason” for implementing them.

If all that sounds rather cloudy and vague, well, it’s a cloudy and vague day here in Las Cruces. It’s been raining off and on for several days, which is highly unusual, at least for us recent arrivals–we saw so little rain last year that it made one appreciate water as a life-giving commodity surely. This year, we were told, as of Monday at least we had not yet received four inches of the wet stuff, and we might get at least that during this week. Since the desert is nothing but sand covering a rock hard-pan, the danger in these parts is floods in low-lying areas. Water races to its lowest place and rushes along, making gullies and rivulets through the desert. These become ditches or arroyos as we call them here, and eventually the Grand Canyon if you can stick around that long.

So anyway, here are some things I’ve read this week that you might find interesting.

horse_1456083iVlad, who appears to be in the driver’s seat at the moment internationally that is, has some things to say and said them in the NYTimes.

It’s an interesting “open letter to the American people“. Part propaganda, part history lesson, part chutzpah, it is worth a couple of minutes to read.

Having a power mad ex-president of the Communist party and ex-KGB officer, Putin deigns to give America a lesson in democracy. One can but admire the rich irony of that alone!

What he has to say about the subject of exceptionalism is worth reading. There is truth in those words.

As I said, my thoughts on the subject of Syria are unclear. That Putin wants to be a “player” is clear. What it will cost is not so clear.

A man so determined to show off his “masculinity” bespeaks something surely. What that is, I am not at all sure of.

 

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geniusI did mention the possibility that I am a hidden genius didn’t I?

That is almost surely a good reason for concluding that I am not.

Like “hero” we bandy about the word genius rather loosely these days.

If you would like to read an interesting take on what genius is and is not, then read I Dream of Genius over at Commentary. I found it a good read.

At least you can see if those you think of as geniuses are what the author does.

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If you would like to look at the mind in a different way, a more evolutionary way perhaps then you might want to pick up a new book out there by E. O Wilson, emeritus professor of biology at Harvard.

If you are unsure of whether you want to invest in The Social Conquest of Earth, then you can read through a review of the book from The Spectator.

HINT: once more we are compared to insects. All it all, it looks worthy of some good reading and some very good thinking ahead if you opt in. The review is not favorable on Wilson’s book. See if you agree. In either case, it seems a worthwhile read.

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Cosmic archaeology, need I say more?

Some say that aliens have looked and found us. But there is a thriving scientific community that spends its time looking for them. This is way more than looking for Goldilocks planets my friends, much more.

This is the type of scientific speculation that leads young boys and girls to dream of going into space, and leads them to enrolling in our best science and technology universities.

Come and dream for a few minutes. What can it hurt?

Go and read Distant Ruins.

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What happens when we both hear and see something? Do these two senses work together to enhance our fact gathering?

Is there a hierarchy of the senses? Do some matter more? Does one?

Oh I’m sure in the late recesses of a bleak and cold winter’s night, you too have asked this question.

So go and get the answer: Who did you hear, Me, or your lying eyes?

HINT: You might just have been McGurked!

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Another thing I imagine you’ve given a lot of thought to is why we are so fascinated by the lives of the writers we read and admire. I mean how much has been written about the life of Hemingway for instance? Are we not enthralled with the secret world of Proust, or Dickinson? How about Emerson or Fitzgerald? Balzac? Oh come now, you know you are curious.

A biography writer, shares some thoughts on what we can and cannot learn about those whose words cause us to depart this reality and enter another, one that sometimes we would rather inhabit.

Good reading here.

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Finally, if you have ever had the occasion to be “linked” to a “scientist” or other “expert” on something like global warming or evolution, or biblical literalness, American exceptionalism, the Judeo-Christian roots of American government, or similar things, you know what you are up against.

If you had the resources and or time to do the research,  you would almost surely find that most of these experts are anything but. Some our out-and-out failures who can be bought for a price, others are traveling into areas for which they have no formal expertise at all, and others are simply grifters, ready always to make a buck upholding any cockamamie “theory” that comes down the pike.

There is a great little site called Encyclopedia of American Loons. You can look up the biography of a startlingly large group of imposters and get the real low down on what they know and don’t know. An invaluable site. Since they seem to be novice bloggers I asked to them add the widget for a search engine and they have. Now you can enter a name and find out if they have bio’ed him or her. Or if you just want some fun reading, just go read a few.

So, now that I have solved all your reading needs for the weekend, I’ll leave you to it, with promises of more to come.

 

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