What books are you reading ? (conspiracy related, science, etc...)

MikeG

Senior Member.
Tribe.jpeg

I recently finished reading Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (New York: Hatchett Book Group, 2016).

One of the points made late in the book brought our discussions in Metabunk to mind (my emphasis):

(125-126)

And, just to clarify, I don't mean our contempt, but the attitudes that tend to influence discussions of conspiracies in general.
 
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Leifer

Senior Member.
In my opening post, I should have included "films you've watched".
Well two films stood out this week, as they are now on subscription cable.....

One, a documentary by Werner Herzog, "Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World"

...and a scripted feature based on a true story... "The Man Who Knew Infinity"
 

qed

Senior Member
upload_2017-12-27_8-55-44.jpeg

As a noir-freak, I was overjoyed to discover Perfidia (2014), an Ellroy novel that I had not read. While written last, sequentially it becomes the first book in the Dudley Smith quartet. Set over the days of the Pearl Harbour attack, the novel traces the roots of the quartet's main protagonists, namely Dudley Smith (fictional) and William H.Parker (non-fictional).

When I started "reading" two weeks ago, I found the repeated use of the term "fifth column" unnatural and jarring. I had never heard it used before (Ellroy had to explain it to us in a quote). It is used like "red" was in the 80s.

That however changed for me over Christmas 2017. I am now hearing the term "fifth column" (and "deep state") in mainstream US discourse for the first time in my lifetime : (
 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.


An interesting read (if your a transport buff). In effect its the history of locomotive development on the Great Western Railway and on into British Railways (Western Region) days 1837 - 1980. But it does delve into the realms of railway related conspiracy. Eg, When William Stanier left the GWR for the LMS in 1932 was it as a snub to the GWR directors and did he take some of the GWR's new boiler technology with him as a two fingered salute to his boss Charles Collet after Collet rejected his 1931 proposal to develop a high pressure compound version of Collets Castle locomotivess? Did F.W. Hawksworth really intend to develop a 4-6-2 pacific version of the King Class 4-6-0's or was it just a publicity stunt to undermine the choice of Robert Riddles as the CME of the newly nationalised British Railways? Did the GWR's long term relationship with the state German Railways lead to the Western Regions decision to develop diesel hydraulic traction when the rest of British railways were developing diesel electric locomotives as planned for in the 1955 Modernisation plan?

Interesting stuff, Mr Summers has researched the whole thing very well and it is well penned making for a gripping read. But above all it goes to show you can find conspiracy - real or imagined - wherever you care to look. :)
 
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sitarzan

Member
The book I'm recommending these days is UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says:


To get an idea of the book, check out this really neat video with Michael Shermer and the two authors, Donald Prothero & Timothy Callahan, discussing it in a recent lecture sponsored by Skeptic Magazine's Science Salon.

Though it's not included in the book itself, one particularly rare nugget in the video is at the 32:00 mark where Shermer shares an interesting story about the time he was "captured by aliens".

He describes a hallucination where he was surrounded by crooked-pinky-fingered 60s era alien Invaders that had taken on human form as his friends and family.

I wonder. Does that mean Shermer has unfulfilled subconscious longings to be an overly paranoid architect which he's suppressed all these years? Just kidding. Michael Shermer is my guy.
 

Jeremy

Active Member
View attachment 30810

As a noir-freak, I was overjoyed to discover Perfidia (2014), an Ellroy novel that I had not read. While written last, sequentially it becomes the first book in the Dudley Smith quartet. Set over the days of the Pearl Harbour attack, the novel traces the roots of the quartet's main protagonists, namely Dudley Smith (fictional) and William H.Parker (non-fictional).

When I started "reading" two weeks ago, I found the repeated use of the term "fifth column" unnatural and jarring. I had never heard it used before (Ellroy had to explain it to us in a quote). It is used like "red" was in the 80s.

That however changed for me over Christmas 2017. I am now hearing the term "fifth column" (and "deep state") in mainstream US discourse for the first time in my lifetime : (
I'm reading The Cold Six Thousand right now.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
View attachment 30810

As a noir-freak, I was overjoyed to discover Perfidia (2014), an Ellroy novel that I had not read. While written last, sequentially it becomes the first book in the Dudley Smith quartet. Set over the days of the Pearl Harbour attack, the novel traces the roots of the quartet's main protagonists, namely Dudley Smith (fictional) and William H.Parker (non-fictional).

When I started "reading" two weeks ago, I found the repeated use of the term "fifth column" unnatural and jarring. I had never heard it used before (Ellroy had to explain it to us in a quote). It is used like "red" was in the 80s.

That however changed for me over Christmas 2017. I am now hearing the term "fifth column" (and "deep state") in mainstream US discourse for the first time in my lifetime : (
Admittedly this is late to reply but I was brought up with the term "Fifth Column". It was used along terms like "Quisling" (who was a Norweigan) to describe what you posted. I am 50 and through my childhood the only 3 channels at home would show all the old WW2 films.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.

An interesting and challenging exploration of humanities relationship with firearms. has some insightful sections on the US gun lobby and related 'Obamas try'na get our guns' conspiracies and other topics like their reactions to events like Sandy Hook and Columbine.

 

qed

Senior Member
Of course, no literary exploration of "the JFK incident" is complete with out the grandmaster's Libra.



I have just begun re-"reading"...
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
Hillbilly Elegy.jpg
I just finished J.D. Vance Hillbilly Elegy (New York: HarperCollins, 2016). It is a complex book that talks about the breakdown of parts of American society in the last two generations.

On pages 190-195, Vance talks about the conspiracy theories that have filled in the vacuum, from Alex Jones to the usual tropes about Obama's birth certificate, false flags, etc.

A thoughtful work. Definitely work reading for the sake of context.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.

A study in rise of hate (racism, homophobia, transfobia etc) speech in the internet age. Looks into legal aspects of hate speech, mainly in the US, but in the rest of the world as well. Debanks a lot of 'free speech' mythology and most interestingly to us, has several sections linking the growth of internet bigorty with the growth of internet conspiracy bunk and fake news. Worth a read if you have a few hours to spare.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.

May 11th 1812, Spencer Perceval, British Prime Minister was shot, at very close range, in the lobby of the palace of Westminster by disgruntled Liverpool business man John Bellingham. Like the JFK assassination some 150 years later, the incident was surrounded by controversy at the time and gave rise to a number of what we would now call conspiracy theories.

This book by historian Andro Linklater re-examains the events around the shooting and its aftermath. It looks into some of the conspiracies, debunks some and labels others as 'possible but not proveable'. Over all an interesting read and investigation into a part of British history that isn't well known in this day and age, and proves that there will always be folks who look at 'official' naratives and claim its all a cover up and the truth is that THEY did it for 'reasons'
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Listening to some Steven Pinker books.
His newest one "Enlightenment Now" explores the many reasons people fail to see or recognize good events, and instead gravitate toward sudden bad events -- and that these negative events will somehow tell a story on where we are as a species. Pinker uses graphs and statistics to help grasp how we are advancing, not declining.

(I was never good at high school book reports, but maybe I've gotten better over the years.)
 

Tedsson

Member
As a believer (for it is only a belief) in extraterrestrial life (but categorically not UFOs) I just read these books in order.
  • The Eerie Silence: Are we alone in the universe. Paul Davies (who works for Seti.)
  • Rare Earth - Peter Ward & Donald Brownlea
  • If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life - Stephen Webb. (snappy title)
Rather depressingly, they seriously challenged my belief in ET.

I had always assumed the development of life was part of the natural history of a planet. All the stages of gas clouds, star formation, creation of planets etc can be observed elsewhere in the galaxy. These processes are, errh, universal. We know there are countless stars with planetary systems. We know there are rocky planets. Some of them will have water and be in Goldilocks Zones. And so on.

So the foundations for life must exist in abundance. It’s not going to happen everywhere but play the Drake Equation and it ought to be likely. So where is it?

So I became a bit agnostic about ET.

However, I thought about it for a bit and realised that we are basically in Universe V3.
  • V1.0 was only stars and gas giants for about 4.5 billion years (as the universe consisted of only hydrogen with a bit of helium)
  • V2.0 was a combination of stars, gas giants and rocky planets for a similar period. The higher elements that constitute the planets were formed in supernovae.
  • We are at the tail end of V3.0 where there are substantial numbers of rocky planets formed out of the products of supernovae.
So I think the process of life being part of the natural history of a planet might be true but both rare and recent.

Or maybe that’s just me trying to shoehorn some facts into a belief. Self delusion is easy.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
51Bs1jIns9L._AC_US218_.jpg

We just got this book. It looked like an interesting take on deliberate attempts to manipulate information on the internet.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0062795988/?tag=cowboyprogra-20
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
I just uploaded the audio version of Niall Ferguson's newest book,
"The Square and the Tower".

It's perhaps irresponsible of me to mention it here, when I have not yet read or listened to it.
Has anyone read it ?
https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Square-and-the-Tower-Audiobook/B078PT8T2G?ref=a_author_Ni_c9_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e9e52ec0-c05e-4911-8746-2586073224ad&pf_rd_r=ZV6WN8RCSRDWWTJ8NG4Y&f r

Interesting.... Fareed Zakaria's weekly CNN show (last week) did have a: Niall Ferguson and Steven Pinker "mini-debate".
It can be seen here....
Source: https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/12/21/exp-gps-1223-pinker-ferguson-debate.cnn
 
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Leifer

Senior Member.
In the meantime, I'm listening to a book on a different non-fictional subject.... America's largest fire (Yellowstone) during the time of Teddy Roosevelt. The book is ....

"The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America" by Timothy Egan

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Big-...a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=0N7RJA1MGBN5WN3CJ8R2&

It's full of detailed accounts of a 1910 fire so large, of which people said, "nobody had ever seen anything like this before"....plus the politics of why and how it happened, the theories at the time, America's forests, and is also a biography of Roosevelt.
Sound like a familiar topic ?.... the recent California fires.
 
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MikeG

Senior Member.
Denying to the Grave.jpg
An interesting take on conspiracies. I particularly liked the chapter "Charismatic Leaders," which talked about the appeal of emotion and the limits of education.
 

itsthematrix

New Member
This is currently what I have on my kindle, not many conspiracy books, kind of :). hope you don't mind.

Over 50 percent completed reading.

Everything Gets Out Eventually - Stephen Brennan (Horror)
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
The Martian Chronicles

%10-%25 read just started
Magicians of the Gods: Sequel to the International Bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods
Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts
 
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mudr0

New Member
The Story of Life.jpg

Essential reading for those that think transitional fossils do not exist.
The twenty-five fossils portrayed in this book catch animals in their evolutionary splendor as they transition from one kind of organism to another. We witness extinct plants and animals of microscopic and immense size and thrilling diversity. We learn about fantastic land and sea creatures that have no match in nature today.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Just started 'The Science Delusion' by Rupert Sheldrake. I'm not far in but I'm already struck by some of the language, such as:
Of course, anyone who's been around YouTube flat earthism, and maybe other spheres of thought, will be familiar with these terms. I'm not sure if he's the source for their increased popularity.
 
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qed

Senior Member
Audible has a much more pleasant reading of the report (there are a few). As a geek I found part one, in particular the details of the DNC hack, breathtaking. The scope of the hack!
 

Rory

Senior Member.
'The Science Delusion' by Rupert Sheldrake.
Any bored materialist debunkers should read this book: it's a veritable compendium of experiments, reports, assertions, and data that seem to support the 'whacky' notion that there's more to life than bricks, flesh, and eternal nothingness.

Just unpacking the stuff about pets picking up on their owners coming home - see: Wiseman, et al - should provide hours of fun.

I tell ya, I've never believed in anything behind brains and the physical, material realm - but this Sheldrake character has sure got me wondering, and I now think - in the words of the great Pete Shasta - that he may even be doing "a service to humanity."

Wink wink.
 

Gib

New Member
Read recently with great interest, Hallucinations (Oliver Sacks). Quite relevant to many topics on Metabunk.

 

Gib

New Member
Just started 'The Science Delusion' by Rupert Sheldrake. I'm not far in but I'm already struck by some of the language, such as:
As far as I'm concerned, what he calls the "materialistic worldview" is simply the application of reason to experience, and it is practiced by thoughtful people in all disciplines, not just science. This is not new, there have always been people trying to understand and explain things that they observe. The main difference between now and 2000 years ago is that we now know so much more. We stand on the shoulders of giants.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
As far as I'm concerned, what he calls the "materialistic worldview" is simply the application of reason to experience.
That may be a valid interpretation of what those two words might mean. But I don't think that's what Sheldrake means by them.
 
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Gib

New Member
Sheldrake is a mystifer. I have his "New Science of Life" book, and once delved into his idea of "morphic resonance" but in the end I was not convinced. There is no doubt that the phenomenon of life remains very mysterious and that scientific efforts to understand it are just scratching the surface of this incredibly complex mystery. To that extent I'll go along with Sheldrake. It is still true, though, IMO, that we have no better path to knowledge than the scientific method, i.e. the theory-prediction-observation loop, which is just formalised common sense.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Audible has a much more pleasant reading of the report (there are a few).......
Yes...I see that.....Mueller Report.

The one from the WPost will cost you one Audible credit, or $16.
The one from the D.O.Justice, is free.
I got both, but haven't tried them yet (audible)
 
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