Thursday, September 13, 2012
War and World History by Jonathan P. Roth is a audio course of lectures from the Teaching Company. The San Jose State professor takes you from pre-history to modern times in friendly engaging lectures that make it seem like you are part of his college class. It's a little longer than most Great Courses at 4 parts and 48 lectures. But this covers a lot of ground giving both the high points of history and also looking at the detail of the curiosities and controversies.
Most world histories that I have read seem like unrelated stories just thrown side by side and not coming together until we get to modern times. But this book ties everything together, giving a sense of the world as whole throughout history, showing how developments and technologies traveled between cultures and impacted them similarly or differently. The course examine the causes and consequences of both general trends and regional differences.
I originally picked this up because I like the history of warfare in particular and , as the title suggests, this course uses war as a unifying theme. However, not only does this work look at how the progress of war and it's aftermath influence wider history, but it looks at how the stresses and progress of wider society influence wars' progress and contribute to the causes of war. The focus is broad enough that, while war is used as unifying perspective, a good general picture of history is given.
I really liked this course and would recommend it to anyone interested in timing their sense of world history together.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
My husband and I both agree that this is my best attemp yet at creating a no tomato lasangua
Tbsp veg. Oil
About 2c. Chopped oinions
2 yellow squash
A large zucchini
a cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped cellery leaves
Pound hamburger meat
T. Butter+T.flour+bouillon (made into roux)
t. Dried rosemary
1/2t. Celery seed
1/4t. Dried parsley
When cooked add:
Can of peas
Can of water chestnuts
Half can of cream of mushroom soup
In separate bowl:
Scramble 2 eggs
Add container of ricotta cheese
3T. Chopped cilantro
Parmesan cheese or Italian cheese blend
In baking pan layer:
Meat veg. Sauté
No boil lasangua noddles
Bake in preheated oven at 325 for one hour.
This is posted from my iPad and I'm havering an extra hard time editing for spelling.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
So this summer I committed to doing a blog with at least a post every Wednesday. I only missed one week, which considering How much trouble I used to have with essay deadlines in college I consider pretty good. Now the summer is coming to an end and I have Bible studies starting up again. I’ll probably change my regular posts to a different night as I’m looking forward to a Bible study on Wednesdays. As I consider if and how I'm going to keep up this blog I'm thinking of establishing a theme. So, does anyone have an opinion on what theme I should try? Some ideas I have had:
- Book reviews (It would end up being a mix of general interest books and the Science Fiction I like.)
- Asperger’s Syndrome and my thoughts on my experience with it
- Original fiction (Could I finish a novel if I disciplined myself to post a chapter a week?)
- the Bible and my speculations from Bible study and looking at Theology
- Philosophy and general speculation
Monday, September 3, 2012
I just finished reading Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, which is an anthology of stories featuring better werewolves and Christmas. So it wasn't required element in the story,many of the stories ended up featuring Santa Claus. What really caught my attention was that, while many of the stories speculated about either the real Santa Claus or where the story Santa Claus to come from, only one story based their version of the story on St. Nicholas of Myra, in fact no other stories even mentioned him at all
I remember as a school child recognizing that the Santa in Santa Claus sounded like it might be part of a saint's name but not being able to figure out which saint was mentioned. Tracing it back only to a figure in Holland’s folk tradition and not to the saint whose saint day is December 6. Growing up in the Protestant home, I remember Santa Claus being treated as a pagan figure and not knowing anything about the bishop and martyr who was steadfast in his faith and a champion of orthodoxy.
It was not until recent years that I finally found out about this figure discovering of that funny floppy pointed hat with a puffball was traditional in the area around Myra and that the red and white Suit was based on bishops liturgical garments. It was only then that I found out about three gold balls he gave as dowries help destitute orphans and about the stores of them saving children's lives
I found this information on the Internet pretty easily once I figured out where to look. I think it says something about America sense of history and about the sense of the roots of their traditions that this information is so little-known. So did you know about Nicholas of Myra? Do you think the internet will help people explore history and tradition or make them even more focused on what’s now?
Saturday, September 1, 2012
A while ago I became aware of the idea there was a mystery in economics. This is the way I remember it: For a long time technology would improve but this would just lead to a change in population so that the standard of living remained pretty much the same over millennium. But then, during the industrial revolution something changed and technological changes began to lead to sharp rises in living standards. All the explanations for why Briton in the 18th and 19th century was the turning point, rather than any other place of time in history, seemed unsatisfactory to me. With this intellectual problem came a practical one. For not every place that came in contact with industrialized societies experienced the standard of living gain.
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson opened a whole new and promising view point on this for me. Looking at both political and economic processes as they interact with one another, the authors show how societal institutions can self perpetuate in ways that tend either towards wealth or towards poverty. Including how the problems of hanging onto power can pit a ruler’s own economic interests against the general economic interests of society. It looks at who well intentioned efforts to help poor nations can be ineffective or even backfire. It looks at the importance of empowering broad and diverse coalitions and developing stable inclusive political and economic institutions to sustainable economic growth.
The book is written in understandable and engaging style aimed at a lay audience. There are historical and contemporary stories that can tug at your heartstrings for call for cheering. It is a long book; this is a complicated theory and the authors go through lots of different examples to explain the subtleties. There is no quick fix proposed as the problem is not simplified into a one dimensional issue. I would still recommend that every responsible citizen read this book and give consideration to its ideas.
*The review was based on the audio version read by Dan Woren