Saturday, 28 June 2014

The God Argument

The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism
A. C. Grayling
Bloomsbury USA, 2013, 258 pp plus backmatter

god-argument-graylingThe God Argument, as the subtitle suggests, has two parts. The first delineates most of the religious arguments in favor of religion, and refutes each in its turn. The second lays out the case for humanism, establishing it as a rational basis for moral and ethical behavior, expanding on an earlier argument that a peaceful and productive community is not based on, and does not require, a set of rules laid down by a religion, or the presence and action of a higher being. Despite a careful academic approach to these points, Grayling’s text is reasonably easy to follow.

As I find myself drifting from a traditional Western Catholic view of creation and life, toward perhaps my own modified deism, and at times finding myself all the way in the atheist camp, I found The God Argument to be reassuring. As Grayling points out, one of the essential elements of most religions is that the doctrine is presented to children by those who have a natural authority and credibility. The survival of the species does, after all, depend on children learning certain facts about the world and their place therein, our genes give children a bias towards accepting instruction from their parents and other trusted members of the community. This point by Grayling was not really a surprise to me, nor were the others. But as a “public intellectual” and prolific writer he has spent significant organized time addressing each of the arguments. It turns out to be a significant comfort, for one abandoning such long held beliefs, to see the logical work of refutation presented with very little effort on my part.

If your faith, regardless of the religion, is strong and you are comfortable in this position, I wouldn’t recommend this book. Grayling approaches each of the various arguments very calmly, with little or no rancor towards any of them, but perhaps not with the strength and energy required to convert a devout follower to become a humanist. Even if I thought this book could bring about conversion in the devout, I really don’t find that an appealing or pressing need. If your faith suits you, and brings you comfort and moral clarity without demanding the privilege of judging the lives and actions of those around you, I’m completely happy for you to keep it. On the other hand, if you are among the baby boomers who, on the downhill side of life, finds the faith you formed early in life no longer as rewarding, no longer a source of certainty, then Grayling’s calm presentation is very likely to help you get the rest of the way out of the superstitions you grew up with and make you more comfortable with the decision that you have already been coming to.

The chapter “A Humanist on Love, Sex and Drugs” could well stand alone as a guide to how we address those issues, possibly as individuals and certainly as matters of law. I found this quote to be particularly apt, “Nature has made sex pleasurable not just to ensure reproduction but, in some of the higher mammals at least, to create bonds. The narrow views of the ancient Jews and the modern Catholics, that sex must always have pregnancy as a possible outcome, miss a very important point here.”.

If I Were King there would be no state church, nor any state objections to the churches supported by my subjects. Religion often offers benefits to the believer which I would certainly not wish to deprive anyone of. Many churches, despite being based on revealed wisdom and superstition, are positive influences in our communities, although certainly not a net benefit when balanced against the great evils that have been committed in the name of one deity or another at various times. But it’s up to each person, and if you are in a transition in this regard, this book will be a helpful read.

Redskins name change

Last week the US Patent and Trademark office stripped the Washington Redskins of registered trademark status for six of their trademarks, on the grounds that the name was “disparaging to native Americans”. Really? Apparently there are a number of dictionaries that have declared it to be  “usually offensive”, “disparaging”, “insulting”, and “taboo” (see Wikipedia entry footnotes for which dictionary makes which claims). I flatly don’t believe this. To start with, the name is so rarely used in reference to actual aboriginal tribe members that I suspect any disparaging meaning of the name is actually referring to the football team. (See “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder” by Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper.) I suspect that if you’ve heard the term used to refer to actual Native Americans, you were watching a very old western.

According to a Washington Post article by Johathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University, the only actual poll of Native Americans found 90% weren’t bothered by the name. The National Congress of Native American Indians adopted a resolution in 1993 denouncing the name, but the fact that tribes that are members of that group represent 30% of all Native Americans doesn’t mean that anything like 30% of the individual members were offended.

And at least one Indian, Don Wetzel of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, sincerely likes the name and the logo, his father (obviously also a Native American) designed it, making specific efforts to render the logo in ways that related to actual Indian tradition rather than Hollywood depictions. See this article in the Great Falls Tribune.

I think that if we’re going to start stripping teams of their names we should start with all the allegedly aggressive carnivorous creatures. I much prefer the names of the teams from my daughter’s schools: The Wombats of John Woolman School and The Geoducks of Evergreen State College. Note that wombats are not only cute and fuzzy, they’re herbivorous. Geoducks are, of course, really big ugly clams. Both species are primarily subterranean, so aren’t likely to bother anyone that doesn’t go trying to dig them up.

If I Were King I might be tempted to ban trademarks that offend me. For example, I think that “realtor” should never have been made a trademark because it was already a word (British English), and based on comments from people that have had real estate deals turn out less advantageous than they hoped, you could probably come up with quite a few people that thought that term was disparaging. But it’s just plain silly for a government to get involved at all. If the business wants to use the mark, perhaps risking offending paying customers, let them.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Communications needed in the Levant

A few days ago I opened up a nasty can of worms by suggesting that one of the reasons the US should keep the Warthogs on the job was the vicious fighting in places like Iraq, Syria, and the Ukraine. I hope that it doesn’t actually come to that. In fact, if there is to be a deployment of US air power in that part of the world I think the best plan would be to establish 24/7 drone coverage of the Ukraine-Russia border so the world knows exactly what levels of troops and materiel transfers are going on there.

But before any decisions are made on that possibility I think there’s another program that would serve the interests of the US and quite a few others. My thought is that whether on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq or inside the various dictatorial states that aren’t actively at war, one of the crucial needs is communication between individuals and from the area to the outside world.

Google has tested a balloon-based internet system in New Zealand. Several players have talked about other possibilities, such as a lightweight solar-powered aircraft that would carry the wireless equipment for networking on the ground below, loitering for months at a time. If the Sunni population under ISIS control had a way to get videos of atrocities out to YouTube it wouldn’t be pretty, but it would be a good thing. If an Iranian Snowden or Manning could upload nuclear plans to Wikileaks it could dramatically help efforts to come to a long-term nuclear agreement with Iran. (It would royally piss off the mullahs that rule there, please don’t think this would upset me even slightly!)

Last year I suggested we should be developing a reasonable anti-aircraft weapon that included user identification and target verification to eliminate any possibility of the weapons being used by jihadis against us. I’m not aware of any development of such weapons, but if someone did read that post and wants to make them real, they’ll need a reliable network to make them work.

If you’ve been reading my posts here for a while, you know for certain that If I Were King I would support open communications within my realm. I’d also be willing to temporarily extend such a boon in other areas where poverty, military action, or small-minded governments prevent their people from enjoying what should be available to every sentient being.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Watch Full Movie Online And Download Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Watch Full Movie Assassin’s Creed (2016), Free Download Full Movie Assassin’s Creed (2016) Online , Assassin’s Creed (2016) English Subtitles , Free Streaming Movie Assassin’s Creed (2016).

Watch movie online Assassin’s Creed (2016) Free Online Streaming and Download HD Quality

Quality: HD
Title : Assassin’s Creed
Release : 2016-12-21.
Language : English.
Runtime : 115 min.
Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction.
Stars : Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Kenneth Williams.

Through unlocked genetic memories that allow him to relive the adventures of his ancestor in 15th century Spain, Callum Lynch discovers he’s a descendant of the secret ‘Assassins’ society. After gaining incredible knowledge and skills, he is now poised to take on the oppressive Knights Templar in the present day.

Incoming search term :

Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Watch Assassin’s Creed
Watch Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Watch Movie Assassin’s Creed
Watch Movie Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Watch Movie Online Assassin’s Creed
Watch Movie Online Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Watch Full Movie Assassin’s Creed
Watch Full Movie Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Watch Full Movie Online Assassin’s Creed
Watch Full Movie Online Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Streaming Assassin’s Creed
Streaming Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Streaming Movie Assassin’s Creed
Streaming Movie Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Streaming Online Assassin’s Creed
Streaming Online Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Streaming Full Movie Assassin’s Creed
Streaming Full Movie Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Streaming Full Movie Online Assassin’s Creed
Streaming Full Movie Online Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Download Assassin’s Creed
Download Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Download Movie Assassin’s Creed
Download Movie Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Download Movie Online Assassin’s Creed
Download Movie Online Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Download Full Movie Assassin’s Creed
Download Full Movie Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles
Download Full Movie Online Assassin’s Creed
Download Full Movie Online Assassin’s Creed English Subtitles

You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty

You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty:
Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About
Dave Barry
Putnam Adult, 2014, 224 pp (no backmatter)

YOU_CAN_DATE_jacket_imageWhen the Empress Larkin and I are both home at the end of the evening, I join her in the bedroom and we share a few light moments. Specifically, she reads for ten or fifteen minutes, normally something light from Erma Bombeck, Tom Bodett, Pat McManus, or with the most titles on our shelves, Dave Barry. This isn’t any intellectual exercise, it’s just fun – it gives us a few minutes afterward to connect at the end of the day.

Here’s the heart of my review: If you like Dave Barry, you’ll enjoy this book. If you don’t, it’s hard to predict.

FACT: If you see a paragraph in this book that starts like this one, you can depend on only one thing: not much of it is true. On the other hand, anything followed by “I am not making this up” is probably verifiably true, although there is a good chance he’s moved it way out of context for humorous effect.

For example, “How to Become a Professional Author” is riddled with paragraphs like these:

FACT: The Hunger Games, as originally conceived by the author, was supposed to be a three-book series on the historical impact of salad dressing.”

FACT: The average children’s book author works two hour per year.”

Somehow, you always come away from a Dave Barry essay with something worth keeping in mind. In this volume, “Seeking Wifi in the Holy Land” relates an eleven-day tour of Israel. Barry is not a believer but his wife, Miami Herald sports writer Michelle Kaufman, is a member of Temple Judea of Coral Gables which is a reformed congregation so open-minded they don’t mind taking the occasional atheist into their bosom. The result is both occasionally hilarious (a visit to the Dead Sea – “my butt still stings”) and touching (after an evening in the home of a local couple, the husband says of his wife who has been holding court while he served endless food, “I do not agree with her. <pause> About anything.”).

It’s unlikely that Sophie is dungeoned up to the extent the book’s title suggests, although Barry’s comments on the subject will resonate with any man who ever raised a daughter. But he’s braver than I am: He actually took his daughter Sophie, as in bought tickets and went inside with her and one of her girlfriends, to a Justin Bieber concert. That may not be the equivalent of raising the flag at Iwo Jima, but I’m impressed.

If I Were King, those who bring this kind of positive energy to the kingdom would be knighted, mostly because the honoree would be required to spend a little time with the monarch, and I wouldn’t want to miss that chance.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Watch Full Movie Online And Download Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Watch Full Movie Captain America: Civil War (2016), Free Download Full Movie Captain America: Civil War (2016) Online , Captain America: Civil War (2016) English Subtitles , Free Streaming Movie Captain America: Civil War (2016).

Watch movie online Captain America: Civil War (2016) Free Online Streaming and Download HD Quality

Quality: HD
Title : Captain America: Civil War
Release : 2016-04-27.
Language : English.
Runtime : 146 min.
Genre : Action, Science Fiction.
Stars : Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle.

Following the events of Age of Ultron, the collective governments of the world pass an act designed to regulate all superhuman activity. This polarizes opinion amongst the Avengers, causing two factions to side with Iron Man or Captain America, which causes an epic battle between former allies.

Incoming search term :

Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Watch Captain America: Civil War
Watch Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Watch Movie Captain America: Civil War
Watch Movie Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Watch Movie Online Captain America: Civil War
Watch Movie Online Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Watch Full Movie Captain America: Civil War
Watch Full Movie Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Watch Full Movie Online Captain America: Civil War
Watch Full Movie Online Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Streaming Captain America: Civil War
Streaming Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Streaming Movie Captain America: Civil War
Streaming Movie Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Streaming Online Captain America: Civil War
Streaming Online Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Streaming Full Movie Captain America: Civil War
Streaming Full Movie Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Streaming Full Movie Online Captain America: Civil War
Streaming Full Movie Online Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Download Captain America: Civil War
Download Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Download Movie Captain America: Civil War
Download Movie Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Download Movie Online Captain America: Civil War
Download Movie Online Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Download Full Movie Captain America: Civil War
Download Full Movie Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles
Download Full Movie Online Captain America: Civil War
Download Full Movie Online Captain America: Civil War English Subtitles

Friday, 20 June 2014

FuLL {{HD©Watch}} Power Rangers (2017) Watch Online HD1080P

Power Rangers (2017) Free Latest Films, Full Movie Online Watch Free, Free Movies Streaming, English Subtitles Full HD.


Quality : HD
Title : Power Rangers.
Director : Dean Israelite
Release : March 23, 2017
Language : en.
Runtime : 124 min
Genre : Adventure, Action, Science Fiction.

Plot
‘Power Rangers’ is great movie tell story about Saban’s Power Rangers follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers. This movie have genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction and have 124 minutes runtime.

Cast
Ludi Lin as Zack Taylor / The Black Ranger, RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston / The Blue Ranger, Bill Hader as Alpha 5 (voice), Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart / The Pink Ranger, Dacre Montgomery as Jason Lee Scott / The Red Ranger, Becky G as Trini / The Yellow Ranger.

Production
The Director of this movie is Dean Israelite. The movie Power Rangers is produced by Saban Brands, Lionsgate and released in March 23, 2017.

Watch Full Movie Power Rangers (2017)

We serve you with the best possible view of the facilities and procedures to follow step by step so that you (the visitor) will feel like a king. Download Power Rangers, take a little time now to register for free and you can benefit later.

In addition, the movie Power Rangers security issues and antivirus technology, you no longer have to worry about any set of data transfer security disturb your precious PC or laptop. Also, with a different file formats such as DVD, CD, iPod, HDD and Divx, now you can really forget about replusive video format that can not be played! So guys, now it’s time for you to sit back, relax, drinking a can of cola (cold drink) or some snacks to watch Power Rangers online just take 124 min, and you will feel you like in the cinema room. just by sitting in front of your computer and sign in to our site to watch Power Rangers online and you could see your favorite movie the other.

Incoming search term :

Power Rangers (2016) Watch Online
VodlockerHd Watch Stream Online Power Rangers
Power Rangers HD Full Episodes Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Boxofficemojo
Watch Power Rangers Online Independent
Power Rangers (2016) Episodes Online
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Megashare
Power Rangers (2016) English Episode
Watch Power Rangers Online Cinemablend
Power Rangers Watch Online
Power Rangers English Full Episode Online
Power Rangers English Full Episodes
Power Rangers (2016) HD English Full Episodes Download
Power Rangers (2016) For Free online
Power Rangers Episodes Watch Online
Power Rangers English Episode
Power Rangers (2016) English Full Episodes Online Free Download
Watch Power Rangers Online Hitfix
Watch Power Rangers Online Collider
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Online Free Download
Power Rangers English Episodes Free Watch Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Viooz
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Megashare
Power Rangers (2016) Watch Online
Power Rangers Free Online
Watch Stream Online Power Rangers
Watch Power Rangers Online Idigitaltimes
Power Rangers Free Online
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Watch Online
Power Rangers Watch Online
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Free
Power Rangers For Free Online
Power Rangers (2016) HD Full Episodes Online
Power Rangers HD English Full Episodes Download
Power Rangers (2016) English Full Episodes Watch Online
Power Rangers Episodes Watch Online
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Putlocker
Power Rangers Watch Online
Power Rangers For Free online
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Free Viooz
Power Rangers Free Download
Power Rangers Full Episodes Watch Online
Power Rangers Episodes Online
Power Rangers Online Free Megashare
Watch Power Rangers Online Free Putlocker
Power Rangers (2016) Watch Online
Watch Power Rangers Online HIGH quality definitons
Watch Power Rangers Online Full Movie
UltraHD Watch Stream Online Power Rangers
Watch Power Rangers Online Hitfix
Power Rangers (2016) Full Episodes Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Free
Watch Power Rangers Online HDQ
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Free megashare
Power Rangers (2016) Watch Online
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Online Free Download
Watch Power Rangers Online Allmyvideos
Power Rangers (2016) English Episode
Watch Power Rangers (2016) Online Free putlocker
Power Rangers (2016) HD English Full Episodes Download

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Turbulence

Turbulence: Boeing and the Sate of American Wrokers and Managers
Edward S. Greenberg et al.
Yale University Press, 2010, 194 pp plus back matter

turbulenceI frequently get involved in discussions on the Seattle Times website, generally related to news about Boeing. As long as I can remember I’ve been a big fan of “The Kite Factory”, also known as “The Lazy B”, and even worked at headquarters for a few months, but this has rather changed in the last fifteen years. Many involved in the discussions refer to the 1997 “merger” with McDonnell Douglass as the McDonnell takeover of Boeing. One of the authors interviewed Ron Woodard in 2007; Woodard was the former president of the commercial aircraft division, who had been unceremoniously fired on a Saturday in September of 1998. “I was dead-set against the merge. … We thought that we’d kill McDonnell Douglass and we had it on the ropes. … I still believe that Harry [Stonecipher, of MD] outsmarted Phil [Condit, then Boeing president] and his gang bought Boeing with Boeing’s money.” A major transformation of the company began once the bean counters from McDonnell Douglass took charge.

After a period in which Boeing had been resting on its laurels, the focus turned to maximizing stockholder value. The Boeing “family” approach to employees changed to a “team” focus, promising even less employee stability than had been the rule in the past, although the ups and downs of the industry had led to several massive layoffs over the previous three decades. Headquarters, long located at “Plant 2” in Seattle, moved to Chicago. Computers became part of the workflow for almost every employee rather than just the engineers and managers. The company lost ground to Airbus, finally starting work on the 787 Dreamliner only in 2003. That project involved transferring unprecedented levels of the design and manufacturing to outside companies, mostly overseas. New management strategies came frequently, leaving confusion throughout the company. The company, long a macho environment of beefy mechanics and remote engineers finally began the changes to increase the level of women in the company and to empower them to contribute.

The authors of this book began a decade-long analysis of the changes within the company. The heart of the longitudinal study was four extensive questionnaires mailed to Boeing employees at their homes in 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006. Over three thousand employees completed at least one survey, but the core of the analysis is based on the 525 that responded all four times. Additional surveys and interviews were done on smaller groups, including employees who were laid off or chose to leave the company during the decade.

The text is a bit dry, given the academic focus (one author from Yale, two from the University of Puget Sound, and one consultant), but they don’t pull their punches. They admit that the results might have been more meaningful if they had started a couple of years earlier, before most of the changes started, but they did get a good look at the most stressful period.

Turbulence is probably only of value to those who are big fans of the company or who are interested in the effects of change on employees (assembly line to middle-management) during times of corporate change. Or, perhaps, those who are simply disgusted with the short-term bottom-line focus of far too many companies and what it can do to the people employed.

The saddest part of the story came on 21 May 2014 when Boeing CEO John McNerney told the Seattle Times, “Every 25 years a big moonshot … and then produce a 707 or a 787 — that’s the wrong way to pursue this business. The more-for-less world will not let you pursue moonshots.” In other words, instead of ramping up to create great products at a faster pace to compete in changing world, the company has committed to simply scraping by on marginal improvements. If I Were King, I’d move headquarters back to Seattle and then dropkick McNerney and the current board back to Chicago. Without any golden parachutes, they’ve done a dreadful job as this book, and the marketplace, demonstrate.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Intuition Pumps

intuition-pumpsIntuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking
Daniel C. Dennett
W. W. Norton, 2013, 432 pp plus back matter

If you are a student of philosophy you know the author’s work and you probably shouldn’t spend the time to read this volume, just about every one of the 77 chapters are based on something he has previously published. (The bibliography cites no fewer than 64 of his books and articles.) But if you haven’t read most of those, and care about the process of thinking, this is a rare gem.

His “intuition pumps” are thought experiments that allow one to critically evaluate an argument or concept. Some are simple, some rather complex, and most of them likely to be of value. He includes Occam’s Razor, of course, but also Occam’s Broom – the latter being the skill of noticing if your interlocutor has swept a lot of problematic details under the rug. That’s just two of them, there are 77 of them grouped in eight categories. Most of the chapters are short, something I find to be a great help when dealing with this much dense text.

As he lays these out, Dennett addresses meaning, consciousness, free will, artificial intelligence, biology, neuroscience, and evolution. Over his long career he has had plenty of disputes with other philosophers; he cheerfully details some of these and why his opponents are wrong. At the same time he has no problem giving credit to others for coming up with some of the intuition pumps he discusses, the book is full of citations and footnotes.

Book Reviews

As you may have noticed, the general distortions of life that have accompanied my health problems over the last year have led to some huge gaps in posting. The upside is that I’ve been doing a boatload of reading. It occurs to me that I should write up my impressions, both to help crystallize my own thinking about them and, possibly, to send you to a rewarding book or two.

I had this thought a couple of weeks ago, but now the pressure is on. As I don’t seem to have any money to buy books these days, and I haven’t had enough storage to hold all my books for ages, I’ve discovered the local public library. In my case, the Freeland branch of the Sno-Isle Libary System. This is a total of 21 libraries in Snohomish and Island counties, I believe it’s all the libraries in those counties except the Everett library. They have an excellent on-line interface and a staggering collection (1.4 million books, eBooks, DVDs and CDs). The pressure stems from the fact that the first book I’m going to review was due today, and I think I’d better get that dealt with so I can return it tomorrow!

If I Were King, I strongly suspect that my procrastination would be just as bad, but I’d have a staff that made sure I worked in a more productive sequence!