August 2005 Archives

Four Centuries

So far this year I have made a 100 k + ride 4 times - as have Mike and Steve. St. Francois Xavier and Highway 26 on Canada Day, Niverville on July 31, the Muddy Waters Ride through East Selkirk and Bird's Hill Park on August 14, and East Selkirk last Sunday August 28. In spite of rain, I have kept up with the distances I rode last year.

There have been some complications. I had an odd feeling in my right hip and a little pain in my right knee most of the year. I tinkered with my seat height and seat alignment on both bikes, and with cleat position before finally noticing that the seat on my heavier urban bike had actually worn out and canted down on the right. I realized that I had not been having those problems when I rode my road bike. I replaced the seat on the urban bike last week. I suspect I had mild bursitis in my right hip, from the uneven position of my hips on the saddle. Having fixed that - but not recoverd or healed yet - I ran into a new problem. I changed the stem on my road bike from a 70 mm extension to 90 mm. The next time I rode that bike - last Sunday, I had intermittent tingling in my right leg, radiating into my right arm. That seems to be a stretching issue, getting loose before getting on the bike, watching my posture, getting accustomed to the changes in my body position. I did a hard sprint up the Arlington Bridge, twisting my neck to look for overtaking traffic, early in the ride. That may have aggravated my sore hip enough to set off the tingling.

Live and learn.

MT 3.2 Installed

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The upgrade to MT 3.2 was fairly smooth. I ran into 2 problems before being able to post this entry.

Fresher Bullshit

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An article by Jim Holt in the New Yorker's Critics at Large column called "Say Anything" looks at Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit, which I mentioned on February 25, 2005 and Laura Penny's Your Call is Important to Us, which I mentioned on June 14, 2005. It goes into Simon Blackburn's new book Truth: A Guide and a broad discussion of modern theories of truth and meaning. It's readable and useful. (I found this article through Arts & Letters Daily).

Scientific Pharisees

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There is a feature article on Richard Dawkins in the September 2005 issue of Discover magazine, by Stephen S. Hall, Darwin's Rottweiler. It isn't in the archives yet - only the first few paragraphs are on line. Hall credits the title of his article to Alister McGrath, in his book Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life. It plays on the nickname for Thomas Henry Huxley - Darwin's bulldog. It also plays on one of the nicknames - God's Rottweiler - given to Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) by the media for his ferocious defences of Catholic orthodoxy during his tenure as prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It implies that Dawkins is dogmatic and intolerant. Hall presents an overview of Dawkins' work, with some attention to his limitations as a communicator. He is a good writer, and presents science to the general public in clear, accessible and poetic language. He is a well-recognized celebrity intellectual. Hall reports on Dawkins' appearance in a panel discussion on the usual issue - how scientific views of evolution and religiously based views of a divinely created world should be presented in public schools. He reports on Dawkins' turning on people who agree with him that Creation science and Intelligent design are phony, because they say they have religious beliefs and can reconcile scientific theories with their own religious belief. He seems to alienate them, and parts of a a friendly audience. Dawkins seems to have earned the Rottweiler nickname honestly. In spite of his charm, intelligence, and verbal skills, his social and political judgment seems to be impaired. This has allowed religious writers like McGrath to marginalize him as a fanatic, and to discredit his arguments.

Ruse on Evolution

In May, the Boston Globe (online) published an interview of zoologist, philosopher of science and popular writer Michael Ruse discussing his new book The Evolution-Creation Struggle. More recently, the American Scientist Online published another interview. The book expands on the arguments made in an article Is Evolution a Secular Religion, published in Science Magazine in March 2003.

I noticed a preliminary review of Ruse's book and commented on it in an entry called Atheists, Darwinists.

Moaning about MT

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I have been committed to Movable Type, but I have had some problems with it. When friends like Randy with history and good connections in blogging talked about changing to WordPress, I tried to compare the products. I think SixApart and MT will lose ground if SixApart doesn't address some problems. I don't want to spend time on importing entries and writing new stylesheets and templates for a WordPress blog. For the time being, the balance of convenience favours staying with MT and hoping for improvement.

The English writer, mathemetician and philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote The Conquest of Happiness in 1930. It was written for a general audience. It has aged well.

Essay on Anti-Semitism

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This essay - The Anti-Semitic Disease - by historian Paul Johnson, published in Commentary is certainly interesting. It has some good information about the history of anti-semitism in the West and in the Arab World, but it takes an odd spin.

Crash

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Crash - the 2004 movie written and directed by Paul Haggis - is excellent. I missed it in its first theatrical release, but it is still playing in the second run theaters in Winnipeg. Haggis is a Canadian who made it in LA, writing for TV. I liked his work on Due South. He made a move to feature films a few years ago and his screenplay for Million-Dollar Baby has been highly praised.

His membership in the Church of Scientology was in the news when he left it in 2009.

Crap in the Forest

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Forests of the Night by James W. Hall is to be avoided. I picked it up at the library, hoping for a good story to fill in the long weekend. Hall is an experienced writer with many books to his credit, in the suspense and mystery genre. The quotes on the jacket were positive - but I should have been tipped by the fact that most of them related to his work in general, not to this book.

Video Game Theories

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Journalist and writer Steven Johnson (Steven Berlin Johnson) has been riding a wave. His latest book Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter presents a defence of video games. Before he became the leading apologist for the video game industry, he wrote an emerging technology column in Discover and had written a few books on technology, communication and popular culture. His writing supports and justifies the role of new toys in popular culture. Sometimes a hint of mystical reverence for the power of change and progress creeps in.

Last Friday (July 29) the Winnipeg Free Press published Getting Too Serious about Play, credited to Johnson and the Los Angeles Times. I found this short opinion piece published by the LA Times on July 27 - Hillary vs. The XBox which made the basic points, although it seemed to be shorter than what I read in the Free Press. He also has a feature article in the July issue of Discover Magazine titled Your Brain on Video Games. He was interviewed by the Washington Post in June.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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