Remembrance Day

 Today is Remembrance Day,   November 11 . We are to remember all those who died in war, all those injured, all those who survived. Yet sometimes it seems more like a celebration, a parade. Yes, it’s good that it’s over, but was the war really necessary? Where are the regrets for the war? Wouldn’t it be better to try harder to prevent war? Of course that is no easy task. But war  must always be the last choice. “And if I could, I would send you a bone. Not to call you to war, but away from it. Something you cannot avoid seeing, touching. Something to make the blood on our hands visible, unmistakable. A limb, a shoulder, a hunk of flesh dripping real blood, from the rubble beneath the bulldozer, the doorstep, from the child shot dead in the gunfight or buried under the house, from the bomb shelters of Baghdad and from the bloody busses of Tel Aviv. A bone red with blood to say: This is what colonization requires: blood soaked sand, holy earth defiled with death, human sacrifice.” — STARHAWK Below are two poems from Wilfred Owen, an English soldier, sent off to die in… Continue reading

The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

book, tipping point

This book is about contagion, how an idea, a product, a book, song, movie, or a phone can suddenly become the item to have. What causes one product to succeed while another fails? The point where an item becomes an overnight success is the “tipping point”. Once you reach the tipping point there is no stopping the flood. It is like the flu virus, up till a certain point, the flu can be contained. Some people are getting over it, as others are coming down with it. That’s the balance point. But if there is a small increase in the number catching the flu, the tipping point is reached, and there is no stopping the contagion until it has burnt itself out. The Tipping Point is a non-fiction book about how that tipping point is achieved. What are the factors that cause one item to reach the tipping point, while a similar item will fail? For something to reach a tipping point it requires some special people: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. Connectors are people with a special gift for bringing people together — connecting them. Connectors know lots of people, but it is important that they are not all within… Continue reading

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True

 Of course what is implied is that these beliefs are not true, or at least unproven. And as it happens that’s quite right, he sets about dismantling each of these beliefs. Harrison does this by assembling the facts, the evidence, the basis of the story. Where did it come from? Who said this? What evidence is there for this belief? With some beliefs like flying saucers, he is ready to believe, he does not dispute the possibility, but is waiting for reliable evidence, which he shows does not yet exist. Because something is not understood, that does not mean we should believe in some explanation that has no factual basis, like ancient Greeks thinking Zeus was throwing lightning bolts whenever there was a storm. There are plenty of beliefs to consider. Here’s a list of a dozen. Your Either Born Smart Or You’re Not. Astrology is Scientific A Psychic Read My Mind Atlantis is Down There Somewhere Creationism is True and Evolution is Not Stories of Past Lives Prove Reincarnation is Real Ghosts Are Real and They Live in Haunted Houses UFOs Are Visitors From Other Worlds Area 51 is Where They Keep the Aliens My Religion is the One That… Continue reading

Best Australian books

A_Fortunate_Life

 A FORTUNATE LIFE,  A.B. Facey A Fortunate Life is an autobiography by Albert Facey, published in 1981, nine months before his death. It chronicles his early life in Western Australia, his experiences as a private during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I, and his return to civilian life after the war. It also documents his extraordinary life of hardship, loss, friendship and love. During the initial days of its publication, Albert Facey became a nationwide celebrity. Despite his renowned life, Facey considered his life to be simple and “had no idea what all the fuss was about”. When asked on an interview, where the name of the book originated. He replied, “I called it ‘A Fortunate Life’ because I truly believe that is what I had”. After its great reception it has become a classic piece of Australian literature and is one of Australia’s most beloved books. Since its publication in 1981 it has become a primary account of the Australian experience during World War I. Buy paperback from Penguin books ISBN-13: 978-0140081671   GALLIPOLI,  Alan Moorehead When Turkey unexpectedly sided with Germany in World War I, Winston Churchill, as Sea Lord for the British, conceived a plan: smash… Continue reading