Dawkins to Target Creationism

The Bookseller is reporting that publisher Free Press has bought the U.S. rights to Richard Dawkins’ next book, "for a reported $3.5m" and UK rights have gone to Transworld for a "substantial sum" (I think I'm converting to atheism before writing my next book...). The new book from Dawkins is said to explore creationism and the evidence for evolution:

The as-yet-untitled volume will be published in 2009, a year that will feature a double anniversary for Charles Darwin—the 200th anniversary of his birth in February, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species in November.

Gaminara said: "He is arguably the science writer most closely associated with Darwin and in my view it would be strange not to have a book by Richard Dawkins in this anniversary year.

"He feels that never in his lifetime has there been such a belief in creationism, in the US and also creeping into the school curriculum in this country, and as the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, he feels it is his duty to write a book that sets the record straight on the evidence for evolution."

Should be another good read from Mr Dawkins, who certainly isn't shy of expressing his opinion...

News Briefs 13-02-2008

For the first time in 3 years (or is it 4 years?) as a Grail editor, I managed to accidentally delete my news before posting it. Don't let me down, memory...

Thanks Greg.

Quote of the Day:

Love is a friendship set to music.

Joseph Campbell

Mysteries of the Great Seal

A new Associated Press story doing the rounds attempts to debunk some of the hype and conspiracy theories which surround (literally, see the image!) the Great Seal of the United States. I wrote about the seal in my book The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key, as Dan Brown had indicated that the emblem would be a part of the plotline of his next book. For those interested, I've excerpted some of it beneath...just a small part of a lot of fascinating 'hidden history' of the United States which you'll find in my book (which you can pick up from Amazon US and Amazon UK):

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HISTORY OF THE GREAT SEAL

Before adjourning on the ground-breaking day of July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that a committee be formed to design a seal for the newly independent United States. The members of that committee were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – three of the five men who worked on the Declaration of Independence, two of whom would go on to become President. However, it would take another six years before the Great Seal of the United States came into being, with two more committees and fourteen men eventually employed to establish the icon.

The first committee of Franklin, Adams and Jefferson initially worked on Biblical and classical themes, including the ‘Children of Israel in the Wilderness’, but with little success. They then employed the talents of French portrait artist, Pierre Eugene du Simitiere, who had some experience in designing seals. However, the du Simitiere-influenced design was rejected by Congress on August 20th 1776, although a couple of the features later became a part of the official seal – the infamous Eye of Providence within a triangle, and the motto E Pluribus Unum

Parapsychology Winner

Thanks for all the entries in our competition involving Robert Schoch's new book. The winner was TDG reader Pascal, from Canada, who will be receiving a complimentary copy of The Parapsychology Revolution courtesy of TDG and Tarcher Penguin. For all those who missed out, I can only point you towards Amazon US. I'll see what else I can organise in the way of book competitions in the coming months, just to keep things interesting around here (because we do cover such boring topics).

News Briefs 12-02-08

From Aesop to Aesop.

  • Aesop's translators have had varied agendas.
  • Self-cleaning wool and silk developed using nanotechnology.
  • X-rays betray giant electrical particle accelerator in the sky.
  • With climate swing a culture bloomed in the Americas.
  • Computer simulations strongly support new theory of Earth's core.
  • 2,500 years ago, a city bigger than Athens in Orissa.
  • Organic molecules found on alien world for first time.
  • New cosmic theory unites dark forces. Sounds like the aether to me.
  • Napolean didnt die from arsenic poisoning. But dont worry, he did die.
  • Implanting false memories.
  • How writing changed the world. How about the change from seeing is believing to reading is believing? Or how about...

Quote of the Day:

Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

Aesop

Shulgin Lab Book Online

Erowid.org has a great announcement:

After several years of consideration and preparation, the first of Alexander Shulgin's lab books has been scanned and put online. The lab books contain detailed experience reports about a wide variety of substances as well as notes on chemical processes, formulas, sketches, and hand-drawn graphs.

When funding appeared for the project, the Shulgins' trusted assistants, gregM and Tania, began the labor intensive process of redacting the names of individuals whose privacy should be protected.

The scanning is being facilitated by Archive.org and performed by gregM and Raj Kumar.

There is nothing more pleasing to me than seeing history preserved and shared, and Alexander 'Sasha' Shulgin's notebooks are certainly worth preserving - no matter what your opinion on drugs/psychedelics. Shulgin's chemical innovation, self-testing and reporting of effects of various chemicals is a legendary piece of the history of exploration of 'inner space' - and to be able to view his hand-written notes is quite a thrill.

The notebook is downloadable as a colour PDF (22mb), or as a B&W PDF (8mb).

Vallee-arama

Legendary ufologist Jacques Vallee will be appearing on Coast to Coast AM tonight, for two hours, so if you have access to the show make sure you tune in. I'm assuming Jacques will be discussing the reissue of his classic 'Alien Contact Trilogy' by Anomalist Books.

For those that don't get C2C (although it should be pointed out that you can easily listen to C2C live, or to recent archived shows, via CJOB.com), Cabinet of Wonders has provided a timely antidote - Emps has posted a selection of videos featuring Vallee, as well as the audio from JV's previous C2C appearance.

Tuesday Roundup 12-02-2008

A strange assortment to get you through the week...

Enjoy!

'Space Machines' Hoax

We've been giving regular updates on the claims of an individual named John Lenard Walson, who claims to have invented a telescope attachment which allows him to film craft orbiting the Earth. Some of these images (and video) have been posted over the past few months on Rense.com, in which it is claimed that Walson has found anomalous spacecraft. However, Forgetomori has now posted a skeptical investigation into these claims. Worth noting is Mori's statement that this case has even been labeled a hoax by "the definitely not-debunkers folks at the AboveTopSecret forum."

News Briefs 11-02-2008

Arrghhhh! Help! Murphy's after me again.

Quote of the Day:

A world entirely conquered by technology, entirely dominated by industrial processes, entirely occupied by man and machine, would be a world unfit to live in.

Edward Abbey