Christianity, selected denominations

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Empire of the Summer Moon

S. C. Gwynne (2011)

“AR 70-28, dated 18 June 1976, specifies that Army aircraft should be given the names of American Indian tribes or chiefs or terms. The name should appeal to the imagination without sacrifice of dignity, and should suggest an aggressive spirit and confidence in the capabilities of the aircraft. The name also should suggest mobility, agility, flexibility, firepower and endurance.” –Aviation Digest (March 1977)

It is tempting to take the naming of the United States Army’s most technologically sophisticated helicopters after tribes of the great American Plains as a final act of usurpation.

For what it’s worth, I think the term ‘Comanche’ inspires a feeling of immense awe amongst most white men, and using it for a stealth helicopter signifies a certain aspiration, an enduring (yet nostalgic) vision of masculinity.

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Anti-Fragile

Nassim Taleb (2017)

The. Best. Book. Makes me want to have kids.

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The Heart of Everything that Is

Bub Drury & Tom Clavin (2014)

Sad sad sad.

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Homo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari (2017)

Ok so I read it, can everybody please shut up about it now! 😉

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What Darwin Got Wrong

Jerry Fodor & Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (2010)

Brace yourself for a more extensive summary than usual.

Boisterous diatribe to the contrary, ‘science’ is far from free of taboos. Nietzsche remains right about that. Examples: questioning the potential merits of astrology, or links between ‘race’ (however ill-defined) and particular traits. First off, kudos to J&M for having the cajones to put this work out, under such a provocative title. It is hard, even for established intellectuals, to criticise the theory of Darwinian evolution and escape ostracism. And as it turned out, J&M did not escape their un/fair (?) share of ostracization.

J&M think that the Theory of Natural Selection (‘TNS’) is flawed. They come at it with a dual-barreled attack, and the two barrels can be quite cleanly divided. » Continue reading “What Darwin Got Wrong”

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Age of Anger

Pankaj Mishra (2017)

Pankaj’s new book might well have been subtitled, ‘An Anthology of Terrorism’.  And at times it’s not the most cohesive one, reading more like a smattering attempt to capture every act of politically subversive violence, and a checkered description of the perpetrators and their inter-relationships, since the Enlightenment.

But looking through this somewhat ramshackle layer of narrative exposes an uncut gem of substance.  Pankaj makes the case that the same fundamental processes that are giving rise to the likes of Brexit, Erdogan, Hofer, Le Pen, Orban, Trump and Wilders simultaneously explain ISIS.  Ressentiment, in a nutshell:

“… where individual dissatisfaction with the actually available degree of freedom constantly collides with elaborate theories and promises of individual freedom and empowerment.”

» Continue reading “Age of Anger”

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Raiders & Rebels

Frank Sherry (1986)

Highly entertaining and accessible narrative covering the Golden Age of Piracy.

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The New Wild

Fred Pearce (2015)

fredpearce_thenewwild “Here we face a central paradox of conservation in the 21st century and beyond. Traditional wild lands – the old-growth forests and other historic habitats – will in future be the places most dependent on human intervention for their survival. In a world of climate change, where the old wild is hemmed in by human activity, these ecosystem islands will increasingly resemble museum pieces, time capsules and experimental labs for scientists. They will not be ‘wild’ in any true sense. On the other hand, the novel ecosystems, the make-do-and-mend places, will be the ones able to stand on their own two feet. They will be the new wild.”

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An Ecological View of History: Japanese Civilization in the World Context

Tadao Umesao (1957)

 tadaoumesao_ecologicalviewofhistory No good. If only it lived up to its title …

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