Saturday, January 31, 2009

a brief defense of television

I'm not even a "Battlestar Galactica" watcher, but I was cc'd on this email between two friends the other day, after a dinner conversation that involved a little BSG.

I was thinking about bsg (Battlestar Galactica to the uninitiated) while driving home. It dawned on me that I have thus far missed one of the most obvious cultural/political allegories in the series: The humans hail from twelve tribes. Devastated by the Cylon attack, they take to wandering in space in search of earth. interesting conflation of Jewish and Roman history, no? (Evidence of the latter in their polytheism, their erstwhile dominance, militarism, and use of roman names such as Apollo, Hera, etc.) especially if one interprets the Cylon's militant fanaticism of the belief in "the one true god" as a metaphor for militant islamic fundamentalism. another interesting wrinkle if we tease this reading out further is that the Cylons "were made by" the humans. sounds somewhat familiar if we consider the oft-heard political narrative that Islamic terrorists have their genesis/antecedents in the protracted decolonisation of the Middle East and Africa. I love bsg.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the new airbus 320

Fear not the double bird strike.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

southpawdom's latest controversy

Just as another left-hander sits down to work in the Oval Office, the laterality research community is in the midst of a veritable dustup. The controversy? Whether or not a group of British researchers found a gene that is responsible for left-handedness. If you're daring enough to dig into the debate, read this editorial commentary by McManus et al. and watch the sparks fly!

What do I think? It's a punt, but I think we have to wait and see. Science is like that. What I like, though, is the persisting mystery of it all; this nut just refuses to be cracked.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


2008 was an astoundingly busy year. Christmas Island. The Netherlands. Tofino, B.C. Egypt. (Tube up my nose to pump my stomach after Egypt.) Majorca. Montreal. The Dolomites. And of course, book launch and tour. But the year ended with a life-changing event much closer to home. In late-November, my sister-in-law, Sareana, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Out of the blue. Scary as hell. She has had an astoundingly rapid--and essentially complete--recovery from surgery to remove the tumor. Next comes months of treatment to nuke the cancer completely. 2009 won't be easy for Sareana and the family, but she is a strong and loving person, and her attitude toward what has happened and what lies ahead is inspiring. To read about her experience, check out her blog, Notes from Sareana.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Some places I would return to in a heartbeat. Here's one:
US Airways Magazine » Dolomites of Italy