Archive for July, 2013

The Reading List – July 23 – 30

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Scientific Mythologies by James Herrick. Herrick basically goes through science fiction and unveils the quasi-religious nature of some the fantasies on offer. A short summary might be this, to borrow from Qohelet: there’s nothing new under the sun – when someone says “Look, something new!”, behold, it has already been. What he basically reveals, but does not say himself, is that science fiction offers authors and interested scientists an outlet for propagating their own preferred worldviews and mythologies in the dress of the future, or aliens, or whatever. These worldviews and myths are simply old ones in these new clothes – e.g. gnosticism, the myth of the Fairly Awesome Land We Haven’t Discovered Yet But Clearly Has A Mountains Of Gold And Maybe A Fountain Of Youth. The book is ok, but I thought his analysis could be tighter, and there are some glaring factual and spelling errors (e.g. talking about Yoda being in A New Hope). All in all, I’ll have an extra set of eyes on when I next read some SF.

The Reading List – July 16 – 22

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

One book this time, to slowly get myself back on some sort of discipline, though I definitely felt the effects of Tour fatigue. Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible by Stephen Dempster, in the NSBT series.

This book is basically a biblical theology of the OT, only, brief, and the OT in the MT canonical order, i.e. Tanakh. His basic argument is that the Torah sets up expectations of a dominion (i.e. a kingdom or land) and a dynasty (i.e. offspring or nation), which is then commented, not only by the fact that the rest of the OT talks about it, but also because the canonical order itself represents a structuring intended to further illustrate the point. That is, the placement and ordering of the books is intended to amplify and/or complement the themes of each book and the whole work up to that point as it is read in order. As a ~200 page book commenting on the entire OT, well, its necessarily brief, but his general gist is fairly compelling, and illustrates how much is lost by the modern canonical order and the fact that most of us will hardly ever read the whole Bible in order. However, its brevity means that it makes for a useful summary treatise on OT theology for someone not really wanting to swallow larger works, e.g. Goldingay, Waltke, so on.

Random sporting commentary

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

1) Ashton Agar is definitely inline for some sponsorship money. Also, Ed Cowan will probably not make it to the end of the series unless someone gets injured.

2) This year’s Tour is definitely more interesting than last years. Last year, it was Team Sky destroying the opposition in time trials. This year, Sky doesn’t have Michael Rogers, who transferred to Saxo-Tinkoff, and has now dropped 2 riders, and everyone is playing the ‘spite’ game. In particular, Movistar and Saxo-Tinkoff have a lot to gain if their climbers can ride Sky off the road in the next few stages, which range from medium climbs to multiple massive climbs. Also, the recently renamed Belkin team have snuck in under the radar, and I expect they too will join in on the ‘anti-Sky’ action.

3) The AFL season progresses much as before. The top 5 deserve to be up there, but it will be a matter of musical chairs as to the final ladder positions come September. Richmond are playing well enough to deserve to play finals, and Collingwood also. However, the eighth spot will be hotly contested.

4) Barneys FC is entering the tenuous uni winter holiday period, when many people disappear back to the regional centres where they came from, leaving those of us left with, let us say, a lot more game time. At least we’re doing better than last year – firsts are top of the table, reserves are playing much better as a team due to a more consistent line-up.

Random comments on Australian politics

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

1) I cringe every time I see Scott Morrison, opposition spokesman on immigration, come up on TV. He strikes me as an intransigent, belligerent fool, and is probably the number 1 reason I will not be persuaded to vote liberal in the next federal election. There are many places on the interwebs that will tell you why they are foolish and incompassionate on this, so I’ll let google earn its worth.

2) I also cringe, but slightly less so, when I see Greg Hunt, opposition spokesman on environment, though up until recently he’d not been anywhere near in the spotlight. The liberal position on climate change post Malcolm Turnbull’s time as leader is somewhat counter to the, what is it, 97% consensus figure in the scientific community?

3) The liberal party seems intent on bringing Australia back to what was perceived to be golden years under Howard, as though all the policy settings in that era will again bring prosperity and all-round awesomeness. This is stupid and will not work, for the simple reason of time and change.

4) Gillard really did get the short end of the stick. What really hurt her was a seeming inability to communicate well with the Australian public. Key example – “The Real Julia”, lol. The government tried – really tried – to get the message that they got stuff done, that they achieved significant things, but Julia had just failed to really connect with a broad enough section of the populous. She had some really competent people working on her team, Nicola Roxon springs to mind easily – remember plain packaging on tobacco? Unfortunately, many of these are forgotten as attention was focused elsewhere.

5) I’ll take this opportunity to point back to my party game of talking political idiocy, see top right in the links column.

Random Miscellany, pt -9/16

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

1) With SMH mostly behind a paywall now, I’ve now deleted it from all my bookmarks. Unfortunately, this also comes as I make my transition out of the Google Reader universe, so I need to be a bit more pro-active on my other news sources (Global Mail, The Conversation [recommended], Slashdot). Fortunately, ABC has updated their Android app.

2) It’s Tour season, and already, the realistic Australian expectations have been met – Simon Gerrans of GreenEDGE winning a stage, and then the team winning the time trial, putting Gerro in the yellow jersey. After tonight, the peloton moves into the Pyrenees, so there’ll be some GC shakeup there and I doubt Simon will keep after that. We will then see who’s really come out to party at the TdF. The Tour has also helped me re-regulate my body clock – for unknown reasons I’ve been waking up far too early, but the late nights mean that I now get up at a more normal time.

3) The late night sport season combined with school holidays means I’m laying off the books for a little bit – I doubt concentration will be my strong suit right now.

4) Egypt has gone berserk again, only this time it’s more like Thailand, only, replace the monarchy with the army. And the mobs don’t appear to have colour-coded. Sigh.