Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hear Babylonian/Akkadian Poetry

It has been millenia since anyone heard Akkadian, the language of Babylonia, spoken.  Now the language has been reconstructed and you can hear it being read aloud, with sources such as the Gilgamesh epic, as well as seeing the translation.  Interesting for language geeks and Pagans with an interest in the Babylonian pantheon.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

DADT and Racial Integration Inot the Military

Ed Brayton points out something that many have conveniently forgotten - that comparisons between racially integrating the military and allowing gays to serve openly are valid, because many people pointed to the Bible as the reason for believing the races should not be integrated, just as today they point to the Bible as the reason for being anti-gay.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ministry of silly - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

What Americans Know about Religion

I find it highly amusing that atheists and agnostics score above average in knowledge about religion.  Some interesting overall results.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Incredible 3D Chalk Drawings

By English artist Julian Beever.  I've never seen anything to equal this.  Thanks to Crystal for the tip.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

For Lovecraft Fans

I'm home sick today, and watching The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson from last night.  One of the guests was Guillermo del Torro, and he is currently directing a movie of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, produced by James Cameron.  According to him, one of the ILM guys said there have never been monsters like these.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Muslim Comics to Promote Moderation

...provoke a backlash.  I post this mainly because of the concept of ass-kicking nuns named Faith, Hope, and Charity had me howling with laughter.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Oxford English Dictionary Announces Newly Added Words and Phrases

Always a fun list.  Stephen Colbert is thrilled, I'm sure, that "truthiness"  made it in.

I love the title of the blog post: "My BFF just told me “TTYL” is in the dictionary. LMAO."

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Monday, September 27, 2010

Interview with King Abdullah II of Jordan

If you are one of those who don't believe in moderate Muslims, please watch this interview with King Abdullah  II of Jordan.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

TEAMWORK - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Science Fiction Predictions that Came True

Haven't had time yet to do more than skim this article, but it looks fun and is a counterweight to those who say SF has no predictive value.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenge

The Animal Rescue site is once again having its shelter challenge where visitors to the site vote for a shelter after clicking on a button to donate food to animals - no cost to you, sponsors donate the food.  Shelter winners can win up to $100,000.  If you don't know a shelter to vote for, I'm voting for Good Mews no-kill cat sanctuary in Georgia.  I got my two dear ones, Heather and Shannon, there, and was very impressed with the shelter.

There are related sites for Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, and the Rainforest.  You can get a reminder email from any of them to click, and once you're on any of the sites there are tabs at the top to take you to the other sites.  It doesn't take much time to click once for each and donate to those causes.

A store is associated with the sites, and by buying from it you donate more to those causes.  It's a great place for Christmas gifts, because you can find unique gifts at a good price there.

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, I’m in Love: Ai Bite U, U Bathe Meh - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Judge Orders Reinstatement of Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt

She was discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  During the trial, many of Witt's coworkers said that not only did her discharge not increase unit cohesion, it decreased it substantially.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Syllabus and Book List for Introduction to Science Fiction

Interesting post from the blog Confessions of a Science Librarian.  Would love to see people post what they think about this list.

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

New Cheap Contraceptives on the Horizon

Nick Kristof covers new contraceptive technologies that could be a huge boon in developing countries.  I've very concerned over the level of overpopulation on the planet, so this is welcome news.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Paul Krugman on the GOP's Proposals

The Man Who Spied On Auschwitz

Interesting story from NPR about a Polish man who deliberately became a prisoner in Auschwitz to find out what was going on there and report on it.  Thanks to Mark for the link.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Book Review: Consigned to Death

Title Consigned to Death (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries)
Author Jane K. Cleland
Rating ****
Tags mystery, series, josie prescott, antiques 


First book in the Josie Prescott mystery series. Josie is an antiques dealer who runs a warehouse and auctions in New Hampshire. She left New York a few years ago after getting caught up in her boss's illegal activities and wearing a wire to get him arrested. She wants a fresh start and her business is growing. Things start going bacdly when the local chief of police questions her about the death of an older man she was talking to about selling his antiques on consignment. It was murder, and Josie is a suspect.

I really liked this book. the characters and plotting were good, but the best thing is that both plots and characters were so rational. Josie, her lawyer, and the police chief all listen to each other and cooperate with each other. That's just refreshing. I get so tired of books where the characters do stupid things to advance the plot. Cleland proves that it isn't necessary.

I've put the rest of the series on hold at my local library.

Publication St. Martin's Paperbacks (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Publication date 2007
ISBN 0312949529 / 9780312949525

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Book Review: The Enough Moment: Fighting to end Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes

Title The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes
Author John Prendergast
Rating ****
Tags non-fiction, africa, darfur, congo, rape, genocide, child soldiers 


This is the second book by John Prendergast, who has worked on human rights issues for over 25 years, and actor Don Cheadle, whose interest in the conflicts in Africa increased when he played the lead character in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

The book is about creating "enough" moments for each person - the moment when a person says, "this is enough, I'm going to do something about this situation". The situations they emphasize in the book are the genocide in Darfur, the abduction of children to be soldiers and/or sexual slaves, and the use of rape as a weapon of war. A lot of the book concerns Congo, where millions have died, millions more displaced, and many, many women raped repeatedly, often left with physical damage and unwanted babies.

The book can be very hard to read, because it talks about horrors that equal those perpetrated by the Nazis. Yet while portraying the very worst humans are capable of, it also tells many stories about the best of humanity. People who have been victims of terrible evil yet are not only surviving, they are determined to help others and do. There are also stories of people who have not been victims, but when hearing of the atrocities have done something, whatever they can, to help the situation.

Almost all of us bear some responsibility for these atrocities, as much of the conflicts are over access to minerals that go in our laptops and cell phones. So one thing that most of us could do is to encourage companies that manufacture electronics to use conflict-free minerals.

It is also a practical book, in that it lists things that each of us could do to help the situation. One I liked a lot is to write letters to some of the women who have been raped, then rejected by their families. Hearing from someone who cares can mean a lot in their lives. At the end of the book is a list of resources, organizations that are doing practical things to improve the situation.

Visit http://www.enoughproject.org to find out more and learn what actions to take.

Other authors:
Author – Cheadle, Don
Publication Three Rivers Press (2010), Edition: Original, Paperback, 304 pages
Publication date 2010
ISBN 0307464822 / 9780307464828

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Book Review: Scent of Rain and Lightning

Title The Scent of Rain and Lightning: A Novel
Author Nancy Pickard
Rating ****
Tags mystery, stand alone, cowboys, ranches 


Nancy Pickard is an author I've always liked. In this book, Jody Linder is a young women with a tragic past. Twenty-five years ago, when she was three, her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared. Jody was raised by her grandparents with help from her uncles. Now the man who was convicted of her father's murder is being released from jail, and Jody doesn't know how to handle it, especially when there is another death.

The book is another winner for Pickard, with good plotting and characters. Well worth reading, though I'm still a little disgruntled that she abandoned her excellent Jenny Cain series.

Publication Ballantine Books (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 336 pages
Publication date 2010
ISBN 0345471016 / 9780345471017

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Book Review: Aurorarama

Title Aurorarama
Author Jean-Christophe Valtat
Rating ***
Tags fantasy, new venice, alaska, ice, arctic 


Aurorarama is an alternate universe tale set in New Venice, a city in Alaska. It has somewhat of a steampunk feel, though the timeline is not clear. Early twentieth century, apparently, though the technology is sometimes more advanced than ours was at that time, and the culture has music and drug use similar to our own time.

The main characters are Brentford Orsini, who runs the Greenhouses for the city. He is troubled by the developing autarchy of the seven councilors who rule the city, and writes an anonymous book opposing them. His best friend is Gabriel, a professor at the university who gets into trouble with women and drugs.

Orsini gets a mysterious message from his dead love, Helen, to meet her at the North Pole, and he has to decide whether to accept what could be a suicidal task. Things are going strangely in the city of frozen canals. A dark aeroship has appeared and stationed itself above the city but makes no contact. Anarchists are being anarchic.

The book had its good elements, but wasn't, overall, my cup of tea. I wasn't fond of the characters, the setting, or the story. I don't think they were done badly, though, it just wasn't a book that interested me.

Publication Melville House (2010), Hardcover, 416 pages
Publication date 2010
ISBN 1935554131 / 9781935554134

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Book Review; The Hypnotist

Title The Hypnotist (The Reincarnationist, Book 3)
Author M. J. Rose
Rating ****
Tags mystery, series, reincarnation, art 


I've read all three in this series so far now, and find them quite uneven as to quality. The first, The Reincarnationist, was the weakest of the three by far. The pacing and plot were unimpressive, and it felt too much like a tract written to persuade the reader of the truth of reincarnation. Polemical books of any stripe just aren't as interesting to read, whether one agrees with the viewpoint they are espousing or not. In my case, I was wonderfully excited about reincarnation at age twelve when I discovered it. It seemed so much more sensible than heaven and hell decided by one short life. Now, at age 52, some days I believe it, some days not, but on all days the argument is not that attractive - feels too much like "been there, done that."

The first book was about the theft of some gemstones from a burial vault dating to the late Roman Empire. The stones are reputed to allow people to remember their past lives. The next two books expand on the idea of these memory tools. In the 2nd book, The Memorist, the tool is a bone flute which Beethoven had for a while and hid. It is found and used to devastating effect, and then broken. In the third book, The Hypnotist, the tool is something hidden in an ancient statue of the Greek God Hypnos. The statue was found in Persia in the 19th century and lost in the bowels of a museum until the present. In each of the three books, there are bad guys desperate for the tools, who don't hesitate to kill for them. In the third book we find there is a list of the ancient memory tools, though it is not complete, but that there are 12 of them.

The plots in the 2nd and 3rd books are much better, much more tightly written than in the first book. Although the three books are called a series, they are more related books than a series, as they focus on different characters with some carryover.

Worth reading all three, although the read the first mostly for background. It is an interesting series and I'm looking forward to the next books in the series.

Publication Mira (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Publication date 2010
ISBN 0778326756 / 9780778326755

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Origami Kittehs - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Some wonderful artistry in these.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Cyoot Kitteh of teh Day: Ansel Catams - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Great marriage of caption and photo... Ansel Catams indeed...

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Dan Savage Creates YouTube Channel for Gay Teens

I've posted at other times about how badly gay teens are harassed and worse in middle school and high school.  Columnist Dan Savage has created a YouTube channel with videos to show them that it does get better.  Given the high rate of suicide among teens who are gay or think they may be, this could literally be a life-saver.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Christian against Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)

In this post,  Candace Chew-Hollow takes on several of the religious right's talking points against repealing DADT. 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Monday, September 20, 2010

How the Internet of Things May Change Your Life

Interesting article from ReadWriteWeb on technology that is very close to being feasible.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Cartoon: If Facebook Built Cars

This one may become a classic like the old New Yorker "On the Internet No One Knows You're a Dog".

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Mashable: 5 Ways to Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day Online

I can goes - Loldogs, Dogs 'n' Puppy Dog Pictures - I Has A Hotdog!

MONDAY MORNING - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Why, it's a portrait of me on Monday mornings!

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Article: A Survey of Research into Canine Cognition

Fascinating article into what dogs are capable of.  They often perform better than chimpanzees.  What I wonder is a chicken or an egg question - has domestication and so many years of working with humans raised their IQ, or did these innate abilities make them more likely to be domesticated?  I think at least partly the former, as all dogs are descended from wolves and at least once the article refers to dogs performing better than wolves.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When you asked - Loldogs, Dogs 'n' Puppy Dog Pictures - I Has A Hotdog!

I’m sorry - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Income Inequality

...is now quite high.  Kevin Drum gives some of the details.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Seeing the Light and Dark of Religion

Nick Kristof has a good column on both sides of religion, and in particular, the bad and good sides he has seen of Islam in his travels about the world.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Pro-library editorial

... from novelist Karin Slaughter.  Here's the paragraph I liked best:

"Reading develops cognitive skills. It trains your mind to question what you are told, which is why the first thing dictators do when they come to power is censor or ban books. It’s why it was illegal for so many years to teach slaves to read. It’s why girls in developing countries have acid thrown in their faces going to school."

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jon Stewart's Rally

I love it that Stewart and Colbert are going to rally.  Here's the announcement.  I just loved the signs he showed:  "I may disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler".  "Take it down a notch America".  "Got competence?" "9/11 was an outside job", "I am not afraid of Muslims/tea partiers/socialists/gun owners/immigrants/gays, but I am kind of scared of spiders".  If you go, please take lots of pictures and post them.  And I do hope a lot of people go and take a stand against scary rhetoric.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Alice in Wonderland

Just watched the Tim Burton movie.  I really liked it, but some part of my brain kept saying, "bu-bu-but the story makes sense and has a coherent plot!  That's just so wrong!"

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Friday, September 17, 2010

Future of Networking

Interesting article on how networking is being reinvented for various situations.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Geez Muffin, - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

LGBT Student Harassment

This post reports on a survey of middle and high school LGBT students.  Here are some results:

"While the report did contain bright spots, such as the downward trend in the frequency of hearing homophobic remarks, it highlighted the daily challenges facing students who are (or are thought to be) LGBT in our nation’s schools. For example, nine of 10 reported experiencing harassment at their school within the past year based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and two-thirds said they felt unsafe at school because of who they are. Nearly one-third skipped at least one day of school within the previous month because of concerns for their safety."

The report also highlights some factors that help decrease this level of threat.

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Research: The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Awareness of Science News

Very interesting...early reports of research (http://bigthink.com/ideas/24068) indicate that viewers of the above TV shows are more aware of science and environmental news than viewers of mainstream media.  Near the end is this interesting tidbit:

"Another area that is ripe for study is the role of news satire in promoting news media literacy.  Arguably, The Daily Show is at its best when it is critiquing the news media. An important question is whether watching the program actually helps make audiences more critical and discerning news consumers, a question that is increasingly relevant given the vast amount of information – much of which is of dubious credibility – that citizens are forced to sift through in our contemporary media environment."

I've argued for this for some time.  If I were to teach the freshman experience class again, I would use clips of the Daily Show to teach critical thinking, and particularly use clips critiquing the media.

A friend and I were discussing the other day that the country's in trouble when the person most holding back the barbarism of ignorance and irrationality is a comedian.  At the same time, it puts Stewart and Colbert squarely in the tradition of court jesters, who were often the only people who speak truthfully to the king.

 

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Texas School Board At It Again

This time they want to get rid of textbooks with a pro-Islamic bias.  Yeah, because there are so many of those in U.S. schools.  They mention one text that has more on Muslim beliefs than Christian beliefs - didn't seem to occur to them that that might be bacause students in the U.S. are already much more familiar with Christian beliefs.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

NASA Finishes Topographic Map of the Moon

Which is apparently not the texture of cheese.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jon Stewart: The Media - SQUIRREL!

Great clip from the Daily Show on how the media is covering Islamophobia:

<table style='font:11px arial; color:#333; background-color:#f5f5f5' cellpadding='0' cellspacing='0' width='360' height='353'><tbody><tr style='background-color:#e5e5e5' valign='middle'><td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;'>The Daily Show With Jon Stewart</td><td style='padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; text-align:right; font-weight:bold;'>Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c</td></tr><tr style='height:14px;' valign='middle'><td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Islamophobiapaloozawww.thedailyshow.com</td></tr><tr valign='middle'><td style='padding:0px;' colspan='2'></td></tr><tr style='height:18px;' valign='middle'><td style='padding:0px;' colspan='2'><table style='margin:0px; text-align:center' cellpadding='0' cellspacing='0' width='100%' height='100%'><tr valign='middle'><td style='padding:3px; width:33%;'>Daily Show Full Episodes</td><td style='padding:3px; width:33%;'>Political Humor</td><td style='padding:3px; width:33%;'>Tea Party</td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table>

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Temple of Athena in Athens Restored

How wonderful that they've restored this temple.  By the way, if you've never visited the copy of the Parthenon in Nashville, TN, with its large and beautiful statue of Athena, it is well worth the visit..

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Monday, September 13, 2010

Humorous Definitions of Education

From Schott's Vocab column in the New York Times.  My favorite:

“Upon gaining one’s Bachelor Degree, you come to the realization that you know absolutely everything.
Upon gaining one’s Masters, you come to the realization that you don’t know anything.
Upon gaining one’s Doctorate, you come to the realization that you don’t know anything and neither does anyone else.” Garth

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Amusing Synchronicity

I took off work today for an eye doctor's appointment, the kind where I get dilated and so it takes a long time and impairs my vision for longer.  As I was coming home, I listened to a radio station that over the lunch hour plays songs that share a certain theme,  Today's theme?  Eyes.

Which included, by the way, two of my favorite songs:  Snow Patrol's Shut Your Eyes and Sing to Me and Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Nick Kristof on Anti-Muslim Frenzy

Kristof in his column expresses very well how I feel about the current anti-Islam climate.  It is, to me, essentially un-American (as much as I dislike how that word has been abused) because it would deny a fundamental freedom to members of one religion.  Unless our individual liberties apply to every citizen, they are safe for none.  It doesn't mean there aren't legitimate reasons to criticize some members of a religion, or some tenets of it.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Friday, September 10, 2010

IKEA - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Thoughtful Piece on Race in America Today

Longish, but worth the read.  By Henry Giroux.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Andrew Sullivan on What the Right to Marry Means

Very touching article on what the right to marry means, and what it means to gay couples as well as straight.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Hugo Awards

...are given by science fiction fans to works of science fiction in a variety of formats.  The following is from Neat New Stuff by Marylaine Block:

Hugo Awards, 2010
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/09/announcing-the-2010-hugo-award-winners

At this moment, Tor's announcement page is more informative about the winners and nominees than the official site <http://www.thehugoawards.org/>

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Goggies R Owr Frends: Aftur a Long Weekend, Toosdae Iz da New Mundae…ZZZZZ - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

I need some good lolcats/dogs after the day it has been...

Mary

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Video of St. Peter and Anti-Gay Marriage Advocate Maggie Gallagher

Ed Brayton points to this funny and insightful video:

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Balanced View of Islam and Other Religions

This article expresses wonderfully what I've been saying for a long time... every religion has been used for peaceful and loving purposes, and every religion has been used for destructive and vicious purposes.  It is wrong to tar all followers of any religion with the charge that they are among the latter.

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

Muslims Against Extremism and Fundamentalism

Thanks to Ed Brayton for pointing out this site for Muslims opposed to extremism, and that these kinds of sites rarely get mentioned in the media.

 

 

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

One, two, three… - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

test too

Trying out different browsers.  Sorry about that.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

test

This is only a test, Boopsie.

Posted via email from reannon's posterous