Review of "Dissolution"

November 27, 2007

This book is the first of a series by C. J. Sansom about a hunchbacked investigator who operates during the time of Henry VIII. I have a big, soft spot for historical fiction and for mysteries, so I really enjoyed this book. Caleb Carr will always be my gold standard in this subject, and this wasn’t that good, but I was great vacation reading (I was in Seattle over Thanksgiving).

The title of the book refers to the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and his agent Thomas Cromwell. A murder takes place at a monastery that is being dissolved. The plot twists and turns aslo take the reader through the beheading of Anne Boleyn. The author also suggests that Anne was falsely accused of adultery by Thomas Cromwell so that Cromwell could maintain power (Anne favored Cromwell and he did not want to go down with her as Henry tired of her).

It surprises me that more fiction is not set in this time period. A country essentailly had a new religion forced on it – and the process worked! What could be better for a fiction writer?


Review of "A Confederacy of Dunces"

November 27, 2007

It seems like all the critics loved this book. I thought it was funny, really funny, but then got a little painful by the end. Maybe that was a sign of how well the characters were developed though. I also think that this book would have been amazing, if I hadn’t already had my fill of this type of comedy.


A history of non-fiat (mostly gold) money

November 26, 2007

here


Is this a new form of evolution?

November 26, 2007

I’m all for survival of the fittest – can this be nominated for a Darwin Award?


I’d prefer "aristocracy"

November 21, 2007

to “secular priests” – and of course we should give credit to Tocqueville for predicting it so long ago.


IQ inherited-ness

November 21, 2007

Duh:

Twins with even a slight genetic IQ advantage are more likely to be drawn toward
learning, perform better during their primary and secondary education, and
thereby gain acceptance into top-tier universities. In the process, their IQ
levels are likely to increase even further.

Despite Dr. Flynn’s claim that this phenomenon means that environment is more important than genetics when it comes to IQ, I don’t see this as any different than an entirely genetic explanation. Your genes predisosing you to a different environment, is a genetic, not environmental, explanation.


Who said this?

November 20, 2007

From here:

I am convinced that the bold use of government to serve human rights and dignity
is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing. I believe the security of our
country depends on idealism abroad—the promotion of liberty and hope as the
alternatives to hatred and bitterness. I believe the unity of our country
depends on idealism at home—a determination to care for the weak and vulnerable,
and to heal racial divisions by the expansion of opportunity.

Not some progressive or liberal, nor was it a former president like Wilson or LBJ.

It was George Bush’s speechwriter. Your supposed to believe this stuff if you are a conservative now. I guess it doesn’t take long for the philosophical groundings of political beliefs to change.


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