As usual, entries may contain material snarfed from the net.
The language is extremely mixed.
This book made an enormous impression on me as he had a section on i The joys of scratching ii his ideal bed iii talking with friendsI think I've heard or read about this book somewhere else, long ago... it is too expensive right now, as the only edition I could find was
Title: The Importance of Living Author: Yutang, Lin Publisher: Buccaneer Books Date Pub: 06/91 Binding: Hardcover Text ISBN: 089966766X Price U.S.: $31.95
``The lawyer would be surprised and, I hope, intrigued by so-called 'ring species'. The best-known case is herring gull versus lesser black-backed gull. In Britain these are clearly distinct species, quite different in colour. Anybody can tell them apart. But if you follow the population of herring gulls westward round the North Pole to North America, then via Alaska across Siberia and back to Europe again, you will notice a curious fact. The 'herring gulls' gradually become less and less like herring gulls and more and more like lesser black-backed gulls until it turns out that our European lesser black-backed gulls actually are the other end of a ring that started out as herring gulls. At every stage around the ring, the birds are sufficiently similar to their neighbours to interbreed with them. Until, that is, the ends of the continuum are reached, in Europe. At this point the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull never interbreed, although they are linked by a continuous series of interbreeding colleagues all the way round the world.
Let us imagine [setting up a chain] along the equator, across the width of our home continent of Africa. It is a special kind of chain, involving parents and children, and we will have to play tricks with time in order to imagine it. You stand on the shore of the Indian Ocean in southern Somalia, facing north, and in your left hand you hold the right hand of your mother. In turn she holds the hand of her mother, your grandmother. Your grandmother holds her mother's hand, and so on. The chain wends its way up the beach, into the arid scrubland and westwards on towards the Kenya border.
How far do we have to go until we reach our common ancestor with the chimpanzees? It is a surprisingly short way. Allowing one yard per person, we arrive at the ancestor we share with chimpanzees in under 300 miles... The ancestor is standing well to the east of Mount Kenya, and holding in her hand an entire chain of her lineal descendants, culminating in you standing on the Somali beach.
The daughter that she is holding in her right hand is the one from whom we are descended. Now the arch-ancestress turns eastward to face the coast, and with her left hand grasps her other daughter, the one from whom the chimpanzees are descended (or son, of course, but let's stick to females for convenience). The two sisters are facing one another, and each holding their mother by the hand. Now the second daughter, the chimpanzee ancestress, holds her daughter's hand, and a new chain is formed, proceeding back towards the coast. First cousin faces first cousin, second cousin faces second cousin, and so on. By the time the folded-back chain has reached the coast again, it consists of modern chimpanzees. You are face to face with your chimpanzee cousin, and you are joined to her by an unbroken chain of mothers holding hands with daughters. If you walked up the line...and down again the other side...you would nowhere find any sharp discontinuity. Daughters would resemble mothers just as much (or as little) as they always do. Mothers would love daughters, and feel affinity with them, just as they always do.
Our chain of African apes, doubling back on itself, is in miniature like the ring of gulls round the pole, except that the intermediates happen to be dead. The point I want to make is that, as far as morality is concerned, it should be incidental that the intermediates are dead. What if they were not? What if a clutch of intermediate types had survived, enough to link us to modern chimpanzees by a chain, not just of hand-holders, but of interbreeders? Remember the song, 'I've danced with a man, who's danced with a girl, who's danced with the Prince of Wales'? We can't (quite) interbreed with modern chimpanzees, but we'd need only a handful of intermediate types to be able to sing: 'I've bred with a man, who's bred with a girl, who's bred with a chimpanzee.'
We inhabit bodies of exquisite design with near-miraculous capabilities. Why, then, are we plagued by a thousand flaws and frailties that make us vulnerable to disease? If evo- lution by natural selection can shape organs as sophisticated as our eyes, hearts, and brains, why hasn't it shaped ways to prevent nearsightedness, heart attacks, and Alzheimer's dis- ease? If our immune systems can recognize and attack a mil- lion foreign proteins, why do we still succumb to pneumonia? If our DNA can reliably code for ten trillion specialized cells, why can't we grow a replacement for a damaged finger? If we can live a hundred years, why not two hundred? Why do we need to sleep? Why does sex exist, and why does it so of- ten cause problems?And yes, the book does answer the question "Why do we sometimes choke on a piece of food?" For the benefit of Richard Sharpe, Jeffrey Shallit, and Kermyt Anderson, this is the best new book I've read so far this year.
-- Herb Huston
Of course many of these questions are answered in Dawkins' books, but it is still interesting to see an application of the 'selfish gene' paradigm to medicine.
Title: Why We Get Sick : The New Science of Darwinian Medicine Author: Nesse, Randolph M., M.D./Williams, George C., Ph.D. Publisher: Time Life Date Pub: 01/95 Binding: Trade ISBN: 0812922247 Price U.S.: $24.00
``I've taken to rereading books for the first time in a while. Will Cuppy's _The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody_ is still worth a lot of laughs for his keen observations on the ludicrousness of the behavior of great men and women in history, and the historians responsible (at least in part) for their current reputation. I noticed this time, however, Cuppy's even-handedness with respect to gender. That is, a lot of great women pass through this book (Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Godiva, etc.) with chapters of their own. But that isn't all. Cuppy keeps up a running commentary on what various historians have had to say about the behavior of these people, that is, of a judgmental nature, and Cuppy tends to nail double standards as that. It contributes a lot to the charm of the book, as it isn't done in a screechy way at all. I mean, "Now, really." directed at Gibbon for accusing Honoria of "indecent advances" for proposing to Attila _really_ can't be called screechy, now, can it?
And it's wonderfully well-researched. ''
If you've never seen these, take yourself off to the humor section of a largish bookstore and look for a couple of tall, skinny paperbacks. _Science Made Stupid: the Discomprehension of Everyday Things_ is a tour of the history and practice of the sciences, including particle physics and dinosaurs. Cut out and use your own Personal Planetarium. Learn how to build your own nuclear reactor in a plastic garbage can with some sand, pvc piping, water and uranium. And so on.
Then, progress to _Cvltvre Made Stvpid: A Misguided Tour of Illiterature, Fine and Dandy Arts, and the Subhumanities_. In addition to explaining the mysteries of cinema and bookbinding, Weller provides some excellent tips on how to get more for your money, cvltvre-wise. But wait! There's more! Names of composers and artists you can teach your dog and cat!
I got the Bassinette/Massenet joke in the opera section. Finally. I figure, some day, I'm going to reread these and laugh uproariously all the way through, and I will then consider myself Truly Educated.
Highly, highly, highly recommended.
'' (Rebecca Crowley)
It's been out in hardcover for a while; I got it from the local library last fall. It's...unexpected. The nature of the universe turns out to not really be what _anyone_ in the first two books thinks, and there's a genuinely beautiful section in the middle of the book dealing with this revelation. And the resolution is most satisfying.-- firstname.lastname@example.org
(So far, "Aristoi" is the only book by WJW that I've managed to find. As someone wrote, it shows "Cyberspace evolved beyond the Cyberpunk era", which is reason enough to read it. Stuff like the daimones and the posures are just an added extra;-)
(I have read De Lint's Moonheart, and it is good. Ruff's Fool is also one of my favourites. If those are representative of what "urban fantasy" is a about, i could stomach more.)
*them...then, tonight, it hit me -- I strongly suggest Paul Quarrington *(canadian author) especially _Whale Music_ and _Civilization_. Has anyone [..] Yep. He'd be a good one. I've recommended him a time or two my own self on this particular newsfroup. I dug Home Game, too. I suspect though that he's
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Catholic priest and a paleontologist; he made important contributions to the study of human evolution, but he is best known for his philosophical work that (he believed) unified Catholic theology and evolutionary theory. You can read about his beliefs in his book The Phenomenon of Man. You can also read about Teilhard in quite a different context, in some of Stephen Jay Gould's essays.
There was a recent article in _Foundation_ which dealt with _Childhood's End_. The author's thesis was that Clarke was exploring (in strictly humanistic terms!) the Omega point of Teilhard de Chardin's theology. If there ever was a man who predicted a Singularity first, it was de Chardin. Look for _The Phenomenon of Man_ - it may be theology, but it's *speculative* theology! It's probably the only specific theology to have inspired several different Sf writers...
From: email@example.com (Joann Zimmerman) Newsgroups: rec.arts.books Subject: Re: Reviews of new and recent cookbooks Date: 25 Aug 1995 18:31:12 MET
-- Doug Turnbull
Try the Enderby trilogy ("Inside Mr.Enderby","Enderby Outside", and "A Clockwork Testament" plus a fourth one called "Enderby's Dark Lady" that I've never read.) They're hilarious, scatological social novels about a lower class poetic genius and his travails with fame. Any novel whose first page includes the phrase "posterior riposte" is almost certainly bound to be a work of genius... Also try out "The End of the World News". I've never really been able to figure out whether it's a good novel or not, but it's very audacious, being a counterpoint of three stories: Freud, near his death, being rushed out of Vienna, A Broadway musical about Trotsky's visit to New York in 1917, and an end-of-the-world SF story about the world being destroyed by an asteroid. Kind of silly at times, but no one else even tries to do stuff like that.
He did a very interesting little book called _99 Novels_ : a page or so each on--surprise--99 novels that had come out since around 1940. It pointed the way to several writers whose work I would later enjoy, particularly Anthony Powell.
You think `Earthly Powers' has no point to make? You must have ducked. If you bother to look behind you you'll find, among other things, a couple of large spears labeled `God' and `The nature of evil' embedded in the wall.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Johnston) Newsgroups: rec.arts.books Subject: Re: must-reads Date: 08 Mar 1995 00:33:10 MET Organization: SCRG, Computer Science Department, Trinity College Dublin Originator: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org (Leslee Lesniewski) writes: >I would like to catch up on some reading of American and world literature >that "every educated person should have read." Please give some names of >books that you feel MUST BE READ. This is virtually impossible to answer. I decided I'll only list things that a.) I've read, b.) I'm glad I read, c.) I'd urge someone else to read. Not that I uncritically love or agree with them, but they're all important to me. In other words, my personal list of classics. And even then an incomplete one. Shakespeare - Hamlet Wm. Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Arthur Rimbaud - Illuminations James Joyce - Ulysses Franz Kafka - The Transformation (Die Verwandlung) The Trial (Der Prozess) Marcel Proust - Remembrance of Things Past Gustave Flaubert - Madame Bovary Sentimental Education Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace Laurence Sterne - Tristram Shandy Denis Diderot - Jacques the Fatalist Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow Sir Walter Ralegh - poems Jorge Luis Borges - Fictions Vladimir Nabokov - Pale Fire The Gift Italo Calvino - If on a winter's night a traveller Georges Perec - Life A User's Manual Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights Emily Dickinson - poems Herman Melville - Moby-Dick Bartleby the Scrivener Roland Barthes - Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives Roland Barthes Ludwig Wittgenstein - Culture and Value Friedrich Nietzsche - Twilight of the Idols The Birth of Tragedy James Boswell - Life of Samuel Johnson Jonathan Swift - A Tale of a Tub Samuel Johnson - Life of Richard Savage The Vanity of Human Wishes T.S. Eliot - poems Ezra Pound - poems Robert Walser - stories Thomas Bernhard - Correction The Lime Works James Joyce (again) - Finnegans Wake Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot Molloy Watt P.G. Wodehouse - The Code of the Woosters George Orwell - essays Nikolai Gogol - The Nose Diary of a Madman The Government Inspector Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Discourse on the Arts and Sciences