Archive for January, 2006

Jan 29 2006

No god but God

Published by Brian under religion, history, philosophy, politics, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
by Reza Aslan
Publisher: Random House, 2006


No god but GodReza Aslan has written an important and wonderfully readable book on the history of Islam. A devout Muslim who cares deeply about his religion, Aslan is also a thoughtful humanist. No god but God generously, gracefully and intelligently incorporates both these sets of values. It’s important for Americans to read this book: we keep asking, Why do they hate us?, and reply foolishly with thoughtless answers like, Because they’re jealous of our freedoms (as George W. Bush has maintained for the past several years). More likely, it seems to me, the answer lies in our own ignorance: what do we really know about Islam? Recently I was asked to teach an Introduction to Humanities class at a community college. The regular instructor bailed out at the last minute; I was given a textbook on a Friday and told to be prepared to start teaching the following Monday. I read fast, but knew I had to skim most of the required textbook in order to prepare. One of the chapters I read in detail, though, was the one on the history of Islam. To my horror is read, in this widely used textbook, the authors’ claim that the Prophet Mohammed married Fatima. This kind of ignorance of other cultures and other faiths is deeply offensive. In this case, Fatima, as we all should know, was the Prophet’s daughter (his wife’s name was Khadija). How could the authors (an archeologist and a theologian, both of prestigious U.S. universities) implicitly accuse Mohammad of a crime—incest—that all the children of Abraham find offensive? Continue Reading »

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Jan 20 2006

Real Climate

Published by Brian under climate, science

Get the straight dope on climate change from Real Climate, a blog by scientists who aren’t afraid of the so-called “liberal” media (right-wing monkey boys, all of ‘em) and the American oligarchy called democratic politics. Get a great intro to the Real Climate blog and the state of climate change science and politics by reading this interview over at Daily Kos.

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Jan 14 2006

Avant Spud

Potato chip bar - it's from the future!

Still waiting for the City of the Future? Look no further! In 1961 the American Potato Journal published this photo of the food of the future: the potato-chip bar! Get a dose of salt and starch to fuel the jetpack-powered business of you day.


“The potato chip bar is made by crushing chips and molding them by pressure into a shape and size resembling a candy bar. Such bars can be shipped economically without the protective packaging normally required for potato chips, and their flavor and crunchy texture give them distinct possibilities for commercialization” (Am Potato J 38:10 [1961] 340).

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Jan 04 2006

Dirt Road by DJ Funken Wagnalls feat. Cottonmouth

Published by Brian under mp3, music

Dirt road through a forestDirt Road” is probably my favorite of the many songs Cotton and I wrote together. It’s folk rap. Cotton based the lyrics on the old Robert Johnson “Crossroads” legend: a guy goes down to the crossroads, meets the devil, and sells his soul for talent. Like everything we wrote and recorded together, this was done on desktop equipment. The guitar I’m playing is Cotton’s beat, no-name acoustic with a cheap pick-up. Cotton blew some harmonica riffs. When we released this tune it got a lot of airplay on KUOI, Moscow, Idaho, thanks to a couple DJs there. The image for this post is by M. O. Hammond and is called “Dirt road through a forest,” 1896.

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