Tag Archives | Books

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments [Free]

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I know how much everyone loves to call out fallacious arguments — especially on the Internet. So here’s a book illustrating and detailing some of the better known logical fallacies. You can read it in its entirety for free at the website or buy the hardcover book.

According to the author, Ali Almossawi:

I go on two solitary walks every day. There is a small park off the Embarcadero that is tucked away in a quiet spot. It has a pleasant stream flowing through it and an unassuming bench beside that stream. I have made walking to that frail bench a ritual, and the half an hour or so spent daydreaming on it amid the cool San Francisco breeze, an article of faith.

It was on a day in October of last year when, during one of those quiet moments on that bench, I recalled my college years and how outspoken I happened to be during them, an observation only made interesting by the fact that I have since turned into the quietest of beings.

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Charles Bukowski’s Letter to the Librarian Who Banned His Book

51Gk+OrWOqLYet another intriguing Charles Bukowski letter. I think I still prefer the letter he wrote to his publisher, John Martin. But this one is also a gem.

A library in Holland banned Bukowski’s book, Tales of Ordinary MadnessWell Bukowski apparently felt the need to not exactly defend his writing, but to explain how honored he was to have written something so prolific. Though, he rightfully condemns the librarian’s censorship.

Dear Hans van den Broek:

Thank you for your letter telling me of the removal of one of my books from the Nijmegen library. And that it is accused of discrimination against black people, homosexuals and women. And that it is sadism because of the sadism.

The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth.

If I write badly about blacks, homosexuals and women it is because of these who I met were that. There are many “bads”–bad dogs, bad censorship; there are even “bad” white males.

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HP Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space’

H. P. Lovecraft, June 1934.jpg

H. P. Lovecraft, June 1934

[Excerpted from Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action (Manifesto) by JF Martel]

Published in 1927, H. P. Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space can be read as a prophecy of this new spectral age that isolates the properly aesthetic component of the social order that would rise in the postwar era. An unnamed narrator attempts to uncover the truth behind a “blasted heath” shunned by the people of a rural New England county. From a possibly insane old man, he learns that a meteorite fell at that spot several decades ago, bringing with it a diabolical entity from outer space. Interestingly the creature does not take the form of the usual space invader but of a mass of unearthly color. As the story unfolds we learn how this malignant color warped and withered the surrounding vegetation, mutated wildlife and livestock, and caused the madness or death of the unfortunate souls who lived closest to its lair.… Read the rest

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Aleister Crowley’s Books Keep Disappearing From a New Zealand Library — And Other Frequently Stolen Books

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Librarians at Hamilton City Libraries have noticed an interesting trend. Books by occultist Aleister Crowley keep disappearing from their shelves.

Nancy El-Gamel writes at the Waikato Times,

Whether it’s due to theft or something more sinister, Hamilton libraries cannot keep Sex Magick or Dramatic Ritual on their shelves.

Works by a long-dead British occultist keep vanishing, not quite in smoke. Aleister Crowley, clearly, refuses to die. Or, at least, his fans do.

And people just keep asking for the books, despite their publication in the far reaches of the previous century, Hamilton City Libraries Director Su Scott said.

Among other popular disappearing titles at Hamilton Libaries are cookbooks, Children DVDs, and books about tattoos and crafts.

After I did some digging, I found out that books about the occult are often hot items at libraries. Library book thieves also like titles about UFOs and astrology.

However, bookstores appear to attract a different type of book thief.… Read the rest

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Transcendence: RU Sirius & Jay Cornell on Transhumanism

TranscendenceR.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell are the authors of Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. Transhumanism has been a hot but divisive topic on disinformation, so we felt there was a need to foster greater understanding of just what transhumanism is, and is not, hence the format of the book is an A-Z encyclopedia.

We asked Jay and R.U. to answer a few questions about the book and the topic in general:

RU, you have long been associated with the transhumanism movement; can you tell us how you got hooked and what your personal interest in transhumanism is?

RU: In a sense, I go way back to the 1970s, although I wasn’t familiar with the term transhumanism then. I think the only person using it at that time was a guy named F.M. Esfandiary. I was, if you will, turned on and tuned in by Timothy Leary and his cohort in conscious evolution Robert Anton Wilson.… Read the rest

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Michel Houellebecq New Book Foresees Possible Muslim President For France

Michel Houllebecq, France’s famously controversial novelist, has a new book (Soumission) – published this week in extraordinary timing – depicting a possible future for France with a Muslim president. Both the book and the interview below in the Paris Review were carried out before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but it’s clear that Houellebecq has zeroed in on the religious versus secularist tension in France.

After the attack, The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated: “France is not Houellebecq. It’s not intolerance, hatred and fear.” Houellebecq is apparently in hiding and his publisher’s office is under police protection. Regarding the book itself, he tells interviewer Sylvain Bourmeau:

Is this a satirical novel?

No. Maybe a small part of the book satirizes political journalists—politicians a little bit, too, to be honest. But the main characters are not satirical.

2008.06.09. Michel Houellebecq Fot Mariusz Kubik 16.JPG

Michel Houellebecq. Photo by Mariusz Kubik (CC)

 

Where did you get the idea for a presidential election, in 2022, that came down to Marine Le Pen and the leader of a Muslim party?

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The True Practice of Binding Books in Human Skin

book fleshEarlier posts have verified that Harvard University’s library contains books bound in human skin, but in case you missed it Rob Velella has summarized what you need to know about the somewhat bizarre practice, at Atlas Obscura:

There are a few urban legends that poke up here and there that certain libraries — usually dusty, private, or academic ones which are not easily accessible by the public — hold books bound in human skin. Few of these stories turn out to be true: the “human” skin is often proven to be lamb, sheep, or deer. But Harvard University’s Houghton Library was recently surprised — and somewhat taken aback — to find one of its books was absolutely an example of the practice known as anthropodermic bibliopegy.

The book in question (pictured here courtesy Houghton Library, Harvard University), a French volume titled Des destinées de l’ameby Arsène Houssaye, is also relatively recent, dating only to the 1880s.

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How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

Peter Bebergal, disinformation friend and contributor, has a fascinating new book out called Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll. We recently caught up with Peter and asked him some questions in this exclusive interview:

Disinformation: You seem to struggle somewhat to define “occult.” Is it a loaded term?

Bebergal: For a word with such a simple definition, the “occult” has lost almost all meaning, as when you say a word over and over again until it sounds made-up. When I told people I was working on this book, the responses were wildly different, and extremely prejudicial. Some folks assumed I was writing only about the devil and rock music, others—believing the occult to be nothing more than base superstitions—thought the project had no merit, and then there were those that assumed, and hoped, I was going to be making metaphysical claims. I’m sure there were others who worried about my soul.… Read the rest

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Frank Schaeffer on Religion, Skepticism, Community, and Connecting as People

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From the Indie Bohemians Morning Show: One of the few independent morning shows left on the airwaves, IBMS is a morning show for people who hate morning shows.

From his website: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as “pretty terrible.” He is also an acclaimed author of both fiction and nonfiction and an artist with a loyal following of international collectors who own many of his oil paintings. Frank has been a frequent guest on the Rachel Maddow Show on NBC, has appeared on Oprah, been interviewed by Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and appeared on the Today Show, BBC News and many other media outlets.Read the rest

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