New books!

I went for a walk and ended up at Circus Books & Music. They sell immaculate used books. I spent some time looking them over and bought something from almost every section, including a small raft of science books. This was one of them: Stephen Hawking’s most famous book of popular science, edited for readability.

A Briefer History of Time, with Leonard Mlodinow


What’s going to bankrupt the U.S.?

One Australian wingnut suggested that healthcare was the problem; but I’d say it was the actions and policies of G.W. Bush.

$87 billion, with person and car for scale

The $87 billion page shows what the $87 billion dollars asked for by Bush and the $315 billion dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan by mid-2006 would look like if stacked up.

U.S. dollars arrive in Iraq, 2003

And here’s the story of the U.S. under G. W. Bush sending U.S. $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills to Iraqi ministers and the notorious contractors. That’s 362 metric tons or about 400 U.S. tons. The U.S. doesn’t know where it went or who got it. That was in 2003:

The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors.

President Obama is not responsible for the 8 years of mismanagement and overspending overseen by Bush, and the $800 billion bailout started by Bush after letting the dogs of Wall Street run mad was probably the only way to prevent a worldwide Great Depression. If anyone has bankrupted the U.S., it was the Republicans and their profiteering hangers-on.

Daily quotation

Greta Christina in pirate regalia

Greta Christina has an atheist meme of the day and this week she’s posting quotations. I thought that this was from Richard Dawkins, but perhaps he was quoting:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen Roberts

This is a lovely quote for trying to get a theist to understand how their religion looks to the rest of us. It’s hard to believe I haven’t posted it yet. Thanks for reminding me, Greta!

Posted in religion. Tags: . 2 Comments »

Book: Animal Behavior by John Alcock

For an introduction to modern ethology, a good start is Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach. by John Alcock. According to the publisher, “[He] He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University under the direction of Ernst Mayr. Alcock has also written six other books on animal behavior and natural history for general audiences. One of these, In a Desert Garden, received the Burroughs’ Award for natural history writing in 1998.”

How to get schoolchildren moving

One of the simplest and best ways to encourage physical activity by pupils is to give a little structure for their imagination by painting some lines and images on the playground; easiest physical activity intervention ever.

The New Testament on Justice

What does the New Testament say about Justice? We have the Brick Testament to tell us.

The New Testament on Justice (Romans 9)

Quoting Charles Darwin

Whilst browsing another site, I found this:

In a passage excised by his wife Emma and son Francis from the published version of his Autobiography, Darwin commented that

the scientific community must not “overlook the probability of the constant inculcation [of] a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong [an] effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

You can find it at Biography Base, on the Charles Darwin page, near the bottom and just before the Resources.

For a more complete version, see Darwin’s Autobiography with original omissions.

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