All entries for Monday 26 June 2006
June 26, 2006
Have always speculated about this ever since hearing about how Flock of Seagulls got their name. Limited list to date is:
- Flock of Seagulls (line in 'Toiler on the Sea' by The Stranglers)
- Ordinary Boys (Morrissey song of same name)
- Pretty Girls Make Graves (Smiths song)
- Deacon Blue (from Deacon Blues by Steely Dan)
- Radiohead (from Radio Head by Talking Heads)
- Sisters of Mercy (song by Leonard Cohen)
- Death Cab for Cutie (song by Bonzo dog doo–dah band – or whatever they were called)
- Simple minds (kind of from Jean Genie)
(Still catching up on some recent reading…)
I'm not a great fan of the popular science section in the bookshop but thought that I should give Dawkins a go given how impressive he sounds on the radio.
This one does not disappoint as a straightforward yet extremely cogent – indeed masterful – presentation of the Darwinian view. Lots of wonderful vignettes which explain evolution articulately to the lay reader (ie me). The best bit though is a very direct challenge to the 'science is just another viewpoint' gang:
Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principles and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees–waxed wings of Icarus don't.
A neat and quite entertaining follow up to 44 Scotland Street, again produced originally as a daily serial for the Scotsman. It follows the lives of a small and diverse group of inhabitants of this address in their somewhat, but not excessively, taxing existences. Some nice little tales of a nudist picnic, an insufferably vain ex–surveyor turned wine merchant and pushy parents and their pushed prodigy, little Bertie.
The episodic approach works extremely well for holiday reading and the characters are sufficiently engaging to keep you involved. Light but not completely slight.