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Friday, February 03, 2006

Creativity: Beyond the Myth of Coherence

"Creativity: Beyond the Myth of Genius," by Robert Weisberg, 1993, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0716723670/102-4292267-8637755?v=glance&n=283155.

"Neural Activity When People Solve Verbal Problems with Insight," by Mark Jung-Beeman, Edward M. Bowden, Jason Haberman, Jennifer L. Frymiare, Stella Arambel-Liu, Richard Greenblatt, Paul J. Reber1, John Kounios2, PLoS Biology, April 2004, http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020097 (from ZenPundit).

"Whorf hypothesis is supported in the right visual field but not the left," by
Aubrey L. Gilbert, Terry Regier, Paul Kay, Richard B. Ivry, PNAS, published online 30 December 2005, http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/2/489 (from University of Chicago News Office via Slashdot).

It's the blogs v. the books, as links from Slashdot and ZenPundit help to smack down Dr. Bob Weisberg.


Read more ...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Questioning Elkind on Cognition and Identity

My recent series Liberal Education (parts I, II, III, and IV) is partially based on the readings and discussions for the class I am taking in Adolescent Psychology. One book in particular that has been interesting is All Grown Up and No Place to Go by .


Our professor requires us to come prepared with written questions based on the week's assigned reading, so those are below the fold.

Read more ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Books Biz Borrowed: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by

His name is Christopher John Francis Boone. He knows all the countries of the world and all of their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. And he is the most unlikely hero of any novel I've read as long as I can remember.

The Curious Incident is the narrative story of a 15 year old autistic boy that finds his neighbors poodle stabbed through the middle with a garden fork. He sets out to find the dog murderer and has to come to terms with his relationship with his parents.

I have been reading quite a bit about autism lately and Haddons novel seems as true to form as anything I've read from the autistic community. The first-person perspective puts you into the brain of this boy and helps to understand how autitistic people think of the world around them, how they interpret their surroundings and go about their daily lives.

For example...

Read more ...

22:10 Posted in Bookosphere | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tags: biz, trumpy

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Extraordinary Minds" by Howard Gardner: Notes for Chapters 1-3

Below the fold are notes from the first three chapters of Extraordinary Minds by Howard Gardner.


This professor who leads this seminar also taught Human Cognition & Instruction, so I am looking forward to his insights.

Read more ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

de Blij v. Parker, Part II: Climate Change

Mark Safranski of ZenPundit declared de Blij the winner in the first part of our de Blij v. Parker death-match on the cores of the world.

Next up is climate change:


Who will win this round?

Read more ...

Monday, January 16, 2006

de Blij v. Parker, Part I: The Cores of Europe and The World

It's not a dispute


It's a deathmatch:


Read more ...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mini Reviews of The Weather Underground, The Good Earth movie, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Rob and Biz of Trumpy Productions have been having fun reviewing books and movies, so I decided to defend the honor of tdaxp and do both. To begin

The Weather Underground


The 70s were sick. Sick. I had to look up many of the claims of this documentary because they seemed so improbable. I'm a pretty knowledgeable guy, but the America of the 1970s is hardly the America I know.

For instance, from the documentary I learned this (verified from Wikipedia)

For a fee paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary and his wife Rosemary Woodruff Leary out of the United States and into Algeria. The couple's plan to take refuge with the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver failed after Cleaver attempted to hold Leary hostage.

Me: *stupified disgust*

The Weather Underground is an excellent documentary of the terrorist successor to Students for a Democratic Society. It is an impeccable documentary of a great nation in crisis.

Read more ...

22:33 Posted in Bookosphere, Films | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Books Biz Borrowed: Top 10 of 2005

I'm Biz and I'll be submitting book reviews on a fairly regular basis on tdaxp. These won't all be new books, just books that I happen to read and enjoy. I'm making this first post on tdaxp my year in review for the best books I read in 2005.

10. Amber & Ashes - Margaret Weis
This book isn't what I normally read, but I couldn't help but like it. I loved the Dragonlance series when I was younger and this book made me want to get back into the series again. It helps that it was written by Margaret Weis, one of the three Dragonlance authors that doesn't just write random weird crap.

9. The Best Recipes in the World - Mark Bittman
This was the best cookbook that I read all year. As the title states, these are the best recipes from all over the world in a form that makes them accessible. It mainly focuses on Italian and Asian cuisines, with a bit of French thrown in for good measure. Lots of helpful sections on varients of cooking methods that are aided by a world perspective.

8. The Agony and the Ecstasy - Irving Stone
I read this at the beginning of the year and although it was a bit of a struggle, I'm very happy that I got through it. The movie starring Charlton Heston and Rex Morgan didn't do this book any justice. This is a biographical novel of the artist Michelangelo, fictionalized but still exhaustively researched. The rich world of the 15th century portrayed by the author also helped me understand the Medici family that I had seen referenced in other texts. I really enjoyed this book.

7. Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home - Rupert Sheldrake
A camera crew recorded a dog that had a proclivity for waiting for his owner going about his daily business of scratching and sleeping and at the same time they had a seperate camera crew following his owner. At a random time it was communicated to the owner by a third party that it was time to go home. At the exact moment she was told this, the dog perked up his ears and went to wait for her in his usual place at the window. No one in the home with the dog had any way of knowing when the owner was coming home. This story is only the beginning of a great book about the animals we share our lives with.

6. Made in America - Bill Bryson
An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
I read a lot of Brysons work this summer and this was the best. As a lover of books, I'm also a lover of language and this gives a history of the English language as it evolved in the United States. This side of the Atlantic has contributed more than "asshat" and "light skinded" to the way we speak.

5. Global Brain - Howard Bloom
The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
Blooms followup to The Lucifer Principle is just as insightful. Howard Bloom has to be the hardest working writer in the science field. All of his books are researched like crazy. The bibliography of this book was about 40 pages long and filled with journals and books in several different languages. The thesis in this book is that the idea of a global culture isn't new, but something that has been in the works since the dawn of time. Excellent stuff.

4. 1491 : New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus - Charles C. Mann
In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety One the Indians had lots of fun, In Hundred and Ninety Two Columbus gave them smallpox flu. This unexpected history of the Americas before Columbus uses archaeological, biological, and linguistics evidence to support theories that have never been previously collected. I love this type of book.

3. A Feast For Crows - George RR Martin
I love epic fantasy books. If it weren't for this series I would be saying that I used to love them. The epic fantasy genre is big business. All you have to do is hook people on the first book and you've hooked them for life. Jordan, Goodkind, and Martin are the giants of this genre and only with Martin do I enjoy the series more and more with every book. This book is actually half of what was intended to be the 4th volume. The final draft of Crows was 1800 pages in length, so it was issued as two volumes, with the second to be released in 2006. I can't wait.

2. Freakonomics - Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
In keeping this short, this book is everything tdaxp says it is. It is the smartest book that I've read in a very long time.

1. Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham
This book was first published in 1915 and I think it is the "On the Road" of its time. It's simply about a man coming of age in the late 1800s and realizing that he doesn't have to grow up to be a rich asshole like all of the other 'gentlemen' of his time. The protaganist is very easy to identify with, and I liked him immediately, despite his faults, of which there are many. This writer also wrote "The Razors Edge" which was made into the best Bill Murray movie ever. Maybe it's the fact that I live with a bohemian hippie chick, but I love this stuff.

21:30 Posted in Bookosphere | Permalink | Comments (4) | Tags: biz, trumpy

Monday, December 26, 2005

What I'm Reading

Title: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy
Author: C.S. Lewis
Best Part: dancing girls (pg 238)
See Also: Review of The Chonicles of Narnia movie

Title: Skytrain to Murder
Author: Dean Barrett
Best Part: A smooth, well-dressed character named John Morrell
See Also: "The Chaplain's Last Sermon" Poem

Title: Why Geography Matters
Author: H.J. de Blij
Best Part: Our Ice Age
See Also: Dr. de Blij's Presentation in Washington, DC

21:58 Posted in Bookosphere | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Readings

I posted a few Christmas- and winter- themed items, and sure enough one's a hit. Which one?

It's the google result for "christmas hentai. I'd be fine with choclate covered Chinese girls, because, hey, Christianity is delightful. I'd be fine with Korean cellphone girls, because I'd like one for Christmas. But a link to a politically charged George W. Bush hentai as a top google result on Christmas Day? This is the state of our zeitgeist? It makes my faith waiver...

Fortunately, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw reminds me today is Christmas day.

To move our thoughts to Heaven, if not to the Chingay Martyrs District, Edgwise gives his two favorite passages of Scripture

John 1:14; 3:16-17
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Numbers 6:24-26
The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." '

Mine is Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself

What's yours?

16:05 Posted in Bookosphere | Permalink | Comments (6)