Observations, Science.

Large Scale Genomics in Beijing

Beijing Genomics Institute, BGI, situated in Shenzhen, on the border between Guangdong and Hong Kong, claims the title of the world's biggest Genomics institute. Their president Jian Wang said, 'For the last 500 years, you (the West) have been leading the way with innovation. We are no longer interested in following.' The scale of their sequencing capability is large, as are their goals: to crack hunger, illness, evolution - and the genetics of human intelligence.
Observations, Reviews.

Is the Lost Cause finally getting lost?

-CC BY 2.0, Maureen

Confederate flag with assault rifle superimposed and the message 'Come and take it'. Attrib: Maureen, CC BY 2.0.

In a response to the recent furor over the Confederate flag and its removal from public grounds, Kevin Drum just nails it:

Are we still arguing about whether the Civil War was really fought over slavery? Seriously? What's next? The Holocaust was really about Jews overstaying their tourist visas? The Inquisition was a scientific exploration of the limits of the human body? The Romans were genuinely curious about whether a man could kill a hungry lion? The Bataan death march was a controlled trial of different brands of army boots?
(Kevin Drum, Are We Still Yammering About Whether the Civil War Was About Slavery? Really?, Mother Jones

The Sylmar Scribbler gets a new name

The Sylmar Scribbler has a new name:  The Oregon Scribbler.  

Cindy and I are preparing to re-locate back to Oregon, in the Portland area, next year.  We will be leaving Sylmar.  We love living here.  The weather is amazing.  But changes are afoot. My thoughts are already turning to Oregon, where we have deep roots; I felt a name change for my website was in order, to celebrate our impending return.

The new website address is oregonscribbler.com.  If you use the old sylmarscribbler.com address, it will seemlessly redirect your request to the new address, so no worries, but please change your bookmarks, etc. to the new address when you can.   Vielen Dank!


The Saxon Chronicles

Book Book Review, Title The Saxon Chronicles, Author Bernard Cornwell, Rating 3.5,

The Saxon Chronicles

Bernard Cornwell

Book Review

Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Chronicles series, ever growing, takes place around the reign of King Alfred the Great of England and is generally solid historical fiction, in that it fleshes out a historical era with care, and adds a somewhat plausible adventure story to liven up the slow turn of historical events. The main character, Uhtred of Babbenburg, like, say, Little Big Man of the Wild West, experiences and absorbs all of the main cultures of the time, providing a sturdy historical vehicle for Cornwell's tales.

History, Observations.

Why read history?

Adam Gopnik recently asked: Does it help to know history?  Here is the first part of his answer:

The best argument for reading history is not that it will show us the right thing to do in one case or the other, but rather that it will show us why even doing the right thing rarely works out. The advantage of having a historical sense is not that it will lead you to some quarry of instructions, the way that Superman can regularly return to the Fortress of Solitude to get instructions from his dad, but that it will teach you that no such crystal cave exists. What history generally ‚Äúteaches‚ÄĚ is how hard it is for anyone to control it, including the people who think they‚Äôre making it.

The full essay can be found here.