Suppression, Prejudice, and Misinformation

Three political topics for today. How the Republicans seek to suppress history, concepts, books, even words; Two problems that could be solved simultaneously (were it not for Republicans); How anti-vaxxers and anti-abortionists are searching for new senses of meaning.

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Recent Book Lists

Three items for today: a list of “influential” science fiction works, a list of nonfiction books that changed minds, and Elon Musk’s books he thinks everyone should read.

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Third Culture Books; Perceptions and Reality

Today’s three topics: A new Michael Shermer book I missed when it came out last October; How magenta is a color that doesn’t exist on the spectrum; Public perceptions of the economy.

There are authors I’ve followed for years, both in science fiction (of course) and in general science, alert for when their new books are out, buying to read eventually if not immediately, my shelves filling up with their works. This is easier done with SF than with science; for decades, ever since discovering Locus (in, um, 1973), I’ve followed their reviews and forthcoming books lists (which the magazine compiles from lists sent to them by the publishers, often particular editors, in a field where everybody knows everybody) to know what to anticipate coming on sale in future months. Continue reading

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A Crisp, Sunny January Day

Topics for today: Why China’s decline in population is a good thing; Yuval Noah Harari on identity; Moral panic and the right-wing mind; How climate change has been covered in textbooks since the 1970s.

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Recent Science Matters

What fetal tissue actually looks like; how humans inbreed dogs to the point of their inability to survive in the wild; the discovery of the enormous universe and who did and didn’t get credit.

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Feelings vs. Data, Political Items, and Awe

Today Paul Krugman counters feelings with facts, this time about the economy; also, items about DeSantis, red state murders, Truth Social ads. And a new book about awe.
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Rural Rage and Republican Shenanigans

Paul Krugman responds to Thomas Edsall about the roots of conservative rural resentment, and how their three key perceptions are in fact wrong. Also, the GOP’s 30% sales tax idea; how religion would control or cut off the world; and some hypocrites and loonies.

And why politics and religion are the things we don’t talk about over dinner.

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The Moral Arc and Animals, Animal Intelligence, and People Who Don’t Read Books

Just these three topics for today, one focusing on Ray Nayler’s SF novel The Mountain in the Sea.

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More About the Evolution of a Political Party

Today’s items follow up from yesterday’s, about the growing extremism and commitment to things that aren’t true by one particular American political party. As I still wonder, how did we get here?

Specific items are about changes in the Republican party since the 1960s (via letters to the New York Times); a conservative claim of victory in voter suppression; DeSantis’ war on all state-unapproved books; reasons for resentment among Republicans; DeSantis’ strategy in fighting the cultural wars.

And as a lagniappe on another theme, how the scientist who discovered sperm was so grossed out he hoped his discovery would be suppressed.

With an endpiece on a personal note.

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Things That Are Not True, and Immorality

Catching up on interesting items from the past few days, about the Christian right’s embrace of a “lying libertine,” how faith healers who kill their children get away with it in some states, how Republicans who lose elections react to the point to shooting up Democrats, the need to find a villain behind COVID, and the mature idea of being able to change one’s mind based on changing evidence. All, today, filtered through Michael Shermer’s notion that false beliefs about the world lead to immorality.

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