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

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:
Since the nineteenth century, millions of people have been converted to a materialistic worldview [by science], even though they know very little about science itself. They are, as it were, devotees of the Church of Science, or of scientism, of which scientists are the priests.
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I couldn't find that on Audible books.
So I just started listening to Sheldrake's newest book...... "Science and Spiritual Practices" (link)
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.

Many years ago I spent a very entertaining evening drinking with Rupert Sheldrake and a few others, the night before he gave a talk at the Beshara Centre in the UK (I wasn't a follower, by the way). He told the story of bumping into a scientist friend of his who for years had been researching some obscure aspect of some chemical or other, who looked rather depressed. He explained that he'd finished his research and now did not have anything to justify his job. Later, they crossed paths again and now the scientist looked much happier. Turned out he'd managed to find another obscure chemical that needed researching, probably for several years to come.

An interesting and challenging exploration of humanities relationship with firearms.

Just listened to it.
At first I thought it was going to be a hard left-wing anti-gun rant. Not so.
As I read (listened), the book was filled with facts and stories from within countries where guns have (or had) strong impacts on mortality....as well as analysis on mass shootings abroad and in the USA.
......very informative. Reccomend.
Listening to Niall Ferguson's..
"The Square and the Tower"

I did not expect the book to first include a portion toward "conspiracy theories", and various histories of conspiratorial sources and influences, and delving into...Bilderberg Group, the Illuminati, etc.....)

...publisher's summary (partial)
"The 21st century has been hailed as the Age of Networks. However, in The Square and the Tower, Niall Ferguson argues that networks have always been with us, from the structure of the brain to the food chain, from the family tree to freemasonry. Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. Just because conspiracy theorists like to fantasize about such networks doesn't mean they are not real."
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(It's not all gloom-and-doom. Besides, Metabunk uses "crowd-sourcing" to help unravel mistaken ideas - which is certainly a network.)
Here's some older radio drama / horror / sci-fi stories, to listen to.
(late at night, alone, is best...with your blanket protecting you....)

...or just some wine and marijuana.

Here's a selection from the video, a story called "Northern Lights"....
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I'm currently reading:

Martin Luther King Jr - Autobiography.

The Jim Crow Laws and Racism in the United States history.

Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters.
There is nothing but the spice of time.
I have held many nuthatchers, and my amazement never ceases to aquire curious looks, and repeated analog pecking at imaginary ants.
(que strange music)
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A small volume beginning with Newton and his equations for gravity, the triumph of using his work to predict, and then find, Neptune, how his equations hinted that there might be yet another planet, dubbed Vulcan, between the Sun and Mercury, how tenacious the search for Vulcan was -- and how Einstein finally killed off a planet more thoroughly than what happened to poor old Pluto! ;)

And, tonight, probably reading "A Visit From Saint Nicholas," an even smaller volume! Y'all be Merry, if you get a chance!

Recently read this from a US journalist. Well written , sceptical but respectful to the believers. A light anthropological study which I found to be insightful.
This is an extraordinary book which I highly recommend. well written and well referenced An encyclopedia containing 340 examples of; mass panics; mass hysteria, mass possessions; sects; hoaxes; fads; dancing/laughing/crying outbreaks and mass fits, scares, rumours and riots from antiquity to the modern world.
Latest book listened to.....
"The Outlaw Ocean", Ian Urbina
It's my personal feeling, that the fate of the world depends on the life of the oceans. I'll describe it as.... "the oceans are being raped" of the planet's life"..... and us humans are to blame.
"Super Trawlers" are gulping up the last strong schools of fish stock at a diminishing collection rate..
Life cannot continue if fish stocks diminish, while human population continues to increase. It's the easiest math, yet we ignore this math that licks our heels..
(includes a rather in-depth description of "Sealand" , an always tenuous nation of wealthy island-safe sovereignty..... surrounded by an ocean.}
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My copy just arrived. Fascinating encyclopedic collection of information -- somehow I missed tha was the format, though. While happy to add this to my bookshelf, does anybody have a recommendation of more of a narrative history of the subject? A "regular old book" to read, as opposed to a reference book to consult?
To clarify.....

"Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior "​

April ,2009
From fads, crazes, and manias to collective delusions, scares, panics, and mass hysterias, history is replete with examples of remarkable social behavior. Many are fueled by fear and uncertainty; others are driven by hope and expectation. For others still, the causes are more obscure. This massive collection of extraordinary social behaviors spans more than two millennia, and attempts to place many of the episodes within their greater historical and cultural context.
  • Endurance​

  • Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
This is a new reading of the thrilling account of one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded.
In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

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Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think by Andy Norman
I'm reading The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward J. Ruppelt. After that I'm planning on reading some of Escaping the Rabbit Hole by Mick West before venturing back into UAP discussions with some cyber friends.
Just finished "A Curious Boy" an autobiography of the early years of Richard Fortey. He's a very likeable and knowledgable palaeontologist (world expert in trilobites) and a fine writer too. I also recommend Dry Store Room Number 1, Survivors, and Life; an unauthorised biography.
I've just finished Richard Rhodes' Dark Sun, which is about the development of the hydrogen bomb. It's the sequel to The Making of the Atomic Bomb, although it's really more of a companion piece - the first half is about spying, with the development of the bomb in the background. It could have been smushed into Atomic Bomb to produce a single albeit enormous book.

It's fascinating stuff. Apparently certain metals can be arranged in such a way that they blow up! But it's really hard. The detail of how a fission bomb's shockwave compresses a mass of deuterium, which in turn compresses a mass of fissionable material inside the deuterium, such that the fissionable material explodes thus compressing the deuterium from within and without, comma, is genius.

I learn that for the multi-megaton Ivy Mike test they built a perfectly straight 9,000-feet wooden tunnel to measure the explosion that, being 9,000 feet long, had to be elevated at one end on account of the Earth's curvature. That's one way to illustrate that the Earth is curved. Build a very long straight rigid thing.

The two books are also depressing. They reinforce the fact that the universe is a physical process, explicable purely in physical terms, which is a simple observation but a profound one. For all their claims to represent truth, the worlds of art, philosophy, religion etc produced nothing during the twentieth century that approached the complexity and sheer genius of the atomic bomb. They have no equivalent statement.

I mean, a bunch of nerds theorised that metals could be made to explode, and then persuaded the world's wealthiest government to fund their research, and within twenty years they had developed a device that used the radioactive shockwave of a nuclear explosion to create an even larger explosion. In the same period Pablo Picasso's Guernica failed to prevent a single war and art shuffled from one -ism to another before turning into NFTs; philosophy produced Bernard-Henri Levy; religion is admittedly still hanging on there, although I find it ironic that the supposedly more advanced New Age religions of the 1970s are now on the back foot to the old-fashioned variety.

I'm digressing. They're both extremely readable books that make long train journeys whizz by.
Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs
by Michael T. Osterholm PhD MPH and Mark Olshaker
Subject: Disease causation
They explores public health emergencies including antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious disease, and the threat of an influenza pandemic.
in a sense, all of these epidemics can be attributed to conspiracy theory, since it is very difficult to accurately determine the history of the origin of these viruses (even in the case of the latest epidemic of covid 19)
I recently started Good Thinking: Why Flawed Logic Puts Us All at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save The World
by David Robert Grimes.
I'm not hugely interested in conspiracy theories or pseudoscience, but recently I've read a couple of books I highly recommend:

David Aaronovitch: Voodoo Histories: How conspiracy theory has shaped modern history, 2009.

David Clarke: The UFO Files: The inside story of real-life sightings, 2012.

Both books are available, in the UK at least, quite cheaply on Amazon for Kindle (download a free Kindle app if necessary).

The book by Aaronovitch is mainly about political conspiracy theories: the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Kennedy assassinations, 9/11, Princess Diana, etc, but also has a very entertaining chapter titled 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Holy Shit'. Aaronovitch is a UK journalist (currently on The Times) who has swung in his lifetime from extreme left to moderate right (in UK terms - in US terms he would probably still be considered a dangerous socialist). The book is well researched, well written, and often very funny.

The book by Clarke is the best book I have read on UFOs, but since I have only read one that does not mean very much. Clarke is a journalist and academic who spent several years curating the UK National Archives collection on UFOs, which contains virtually all unclassified information previously held by the Ministry of Defence, and dumped on the National Archives in the early 2000s when the MoD washed their hands of the subject. The book is therefore heavily concentrated on UK incidents, from the early 1900s to about 2010, but these include such classic cases as Rendlesham Forest and Lakenheath. There is also general background on foo fighters, the 'flying saucer' flap of the 1950s, and other matters of general interest. Readers here may be amused to see that Nick Pope only gets about a dozen brief mentions. It is clear that Nick Pope's part of the MoD was primarily a PR unit concerned with handling media and public inquiries. Any serious technical investigation (e.g. of radar contacts) was referred to other parts of the MoD or the Forces, including the shadowy Defence Intelligence division. Clarke is generally sceptical about UFOs, but respectful towards those who have reported their UFO sightings and experiences.
Aha! Some months ago I mentioned that I was writing a very silly book involving conspiracy theories and then a few posts above I mentioned that I'd just read a very silly conspiracy theory book about how it was actually OJ Simpson who masterminded 9/11 - but no one put 2+2 together.

Anyways, just wanted to let y'all know that I just made the Kindle version available for free for the next five days, if anyone fancies a read.

Warning: it mentions toilets more than once (and also JFK, shapeshifting alien space lizards, and Hitler).
Jaysis, what a way to earn a living. Bad enough to have to continually listen to the man, but to be surrounded by people who take him seriously ...

I couldn't do it.
Jon Ronson? Wasnt he involved in the film/book "The men who stare at Goats". When I watched it I didnt realise it was based on truth and that the well known Uri Gellar was part of that very Psy-Ops program!
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Aha! Some months ago I mentioned that I was writing a very silly book involving conspiracy theories and then a few posts above I mentioned that I'd just read a very silly conspiracy theory book about how it was actually OJ Simpson who masterminded 9/11 - but no one put 2+2 together.

Anyways, just wanted to let y'all know that I just made the Kindle version available for free for the next five days, if anyone fancies a read.

Warning: it mentions toilets more than once (and also JFK, shapeshifting alien space lizards, and Hitler).

You are the #2 best seller in all free books about 21s century world history!

why does it say OJ Simpson. you know his book was called IF i did it.

When I first had the idea I misremembered the title. But it amused me to keep the misremembering. Plus it fits the premise better (and in the book OJ also misremembers the title of the other book).
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I'm reading and watching masses of material on World War 2...gained a lot of expertise. One of the things I have discovered is that whilst there are a lot of myths and stories that are simply not true, or are mis-reported, there are even more truths and facts that rarely get told . There are so many 'I was totally unaware of that' facts...which is why I love history so much.
Flicking through The Spiritual Brain: A Nueroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul. Seems to show that the materialist and dogmatic skeptic position on certain things is really not quite as well-thought out as they like to think it is.
Jon Ronson? Wasnt he involved in the film/book "The men who stare at Goats". When I watched it I didnt realise it was based on truth and that the well known Uri Gellar was part of that very Psy-Ops program!

After reading this thread a while back, I watched the Hollywood movie, which was a bit silly, but vaguely entertaining. Since then I've found a copy of the original Channel 4 Ronson documentary, and watched that just tonight. Even though I was *thoroughly* primed for what to expect, I was almost aghast - even the stupidest parts of the movie were indistinguishable from the first person reports that we get to see in the documentary. So I guess I have to recommend it. If you like being aghast, that is.
So I guess I have to recommend it. If you like being aghast, that is.

Well, we can always use more ghasts, I guess.

At the moment, I'm re-reading some books on the "Golden Age" space program -- just finished up Chris Craft's and Gene Kranz's books, later tonight I'll open up the book-cupboard and see which one catches my eye next. It is interesting, the slight variations in memories (or, likely, in what people knew at the time) is interesting -- and what you'd expect in memoirs covering several decades of effort, decades ago.

I like to think that maybe some of the Apollo conspiracy believers would benefit from understanding more about how and why things were done during the Space Race -- if you are going to disbelieve something, it might be helpful to at least know what it is you are disbelieving! And understanding how it was done, and why, might help make it easier to grasp that it did, in fact, happen. But whether or not that would be true, it's a topic that I enjoy reading about, though I get mad at how the story ends, every time. As Jerry Pournelle is said to have remarked, "I always knew I'd see the first man on the moon in my lifetime, but I never thought I'd see the last.
"Interaction of Color" by Josef Albers.

It's a recommended read for debunkers.
"Fifty years after Interaction’s initial publication, this anniversary edition presents a significantly expanded selection of close to sixty color studies alongside Albers’s original text, demonstrating such principles as color relativity, intensity, and temperature; vibrating and vanishing boundaries; and the illusion of transparency and reversed grounds. A celebration of the longevity and unique authority of Albers’s contribution, this landmark edition will find new audiences in studios and classrooms around the world.
Josef Albers, one of the most influential artist-educators of the twentieth century, was a member of the Bauhaus group in Germany during the 1920s. In 1933 he came to the United States, where he taught at Black Mountain College for sixteen years. In 1950 he joined the faculty at Yale University as chairman of the department of design."


“One of the most important books on color ever written.”—Michael Hession, Gizmodo

Interaction of Color with its illuminating visual exercises and mind-bending optical illusions, remains an indispensable blueprint to the art of seeing. . . . An essential piece of visual literacy.“—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings


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