Great Quote

Physicist Wolfgang Pauli’s comment on a paper submitted by a colleague: “This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.” (Shamelessly stolen from Cathy Siepp).

Frederick Turner on dubious judgement

Frederick Turner, classicist, poet, teacher, and polymath, is one of our most important and unfortunately least known intellectuals and philosophers. His remarkable body of work transcends genres and easy political categories. He is a biologically and scientifically literate humanist and a poet who writes epics and metered lyrics. A quick view of his work can …

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“Think Like a Neanderthal”

Dr. Ana Pinto did just that and found a Spanish cave that was inhabited for 60,000 years, and more. This New York Times interview covers carnivorous cave bears, even more carnivorous Neanderthals, and the possibility that H. sapiens greater omnivory might have given us a competitive advantage. Via Cronaca.

Africa’s Pol Pot?

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has begun to burn the houses of thousands of urban poor people and drive them into the already-starving countryside. One of Africa’s rare food exporters has been turned into something resembling a subtropical North Korea. I was in Zimbabwe shortly before the current troubles began and fell in love with it. Even …

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Am I in the wrong trade?

Jonathan Hanson of Alpha Environmentalist and I have a long history of trying to one- up each other with the worst and always hilarious excesses of postmodern academic– i. e., art school– “art”. This is not actually the worst, but will do as a contender. “In May, at the annual spring auction at Christie’s in …

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Fashion Week in Almaty

Sometimes it is very hard to convey the realities of Central Asia. People can just about get the idea of what remote parts of Mongolia are like– they like the idea of “primitive”. But what about Almaty? It is a huge modern city with tree- lined boulevards and excellent restaurants and cyber- cafes, situated in …

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Parrot Reality Check

Parrot trainer, falconer, and writer Rebecca O’Connor of Operation Desert Dove gently rebukes me for the “crap” implied in the bbc article below: “Please please remind all to refrain from calling what parrots do language. They are excellent labelers, excelling at using learned noises at appropriate moments. They cannot however, understand the abstract concepts involved …

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Bird Brains?

I have always been fairly unimpessed with the “linguistic” exploits of our closest genetic relatives, the great apes– the communications chasm seems wider than that between us and our dogs, despite their having been trained to manipulate some symbols. Which is why recent developments in bird speech and cognition are so mind-boggling, especially as the …

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A good line from contrarian blogger- evolutionist- film critic Steve Sailer: “One conservative element I like about “Lord of the Rings” is Tolkien’s arch-Tory / proto-hippie conservationism. Here in the U.S., conservatives tend to assume that the essence of conservatism is to bulldoze a forest and build a Costco. Tolkien would have shuddered.”