Ruby Ramblings


January Reads

I believe my bookie friends will agree, that almost as much time is spent on book websites as it is actually reading. As if it isn’t enough that I update what books I’m reading on facebook, on goodreads, and on Bookcrossing, but I also play games on Bookobsessed, and trade on Paperbackswap.

Then I saw a new way to post cover pics on the blog, and I can’t resist. I want to make a visual list of all the books I read this month. I want to see it, in full color, and not only that but I feel the need to make you look at it too. It’s like that contest in Elementary school where you bet yourself how many books you could read in one month, and if you met your goal, you got a coupon for a free pizza. Except with this I’m just trying to bully my friends into reading good books. :)

Books I read in January, all of them worthy of recommendation to you.

Post American WorldThe Post-American World

SnowSnow

OmnivoreThe Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Snow FlowerSnow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

BuddhaThe Buddha at War: Peaceful Heart, Courageous Action in Troubled Times

NamesakeThe Namesake: A Novel

Pity the NationPity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon (Nation Books)

EmbersEmbers

GeishaThe Life of a Geisha

God's PoliticsGod’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It

Short Stories 2000The Best American Short Stories 2000 (The Best American Series)

Grace Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith



Athena- The Goddess of Heroic Endeavors

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There is a statue in Nashville, inside the life-size replica of the Parthenon built for a fair in 1897, that stands almost 42 feet tall.  The statue is inspiring and quite impressive, the Goddess of heroic endeavors, also considered the Goddess of the “disciplined side of war.”  Whatever that is supposed to mean.  Her shield is called the “aegis”.  Like the Aegis destroyers, military gun ships, built in my home state of Maine at Bath Iron Works.  Aegis means something under protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, or benevolent source; mighty presumptuous don’t you think?
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On the way home from visiting this museum and taking pictures of the giant woman presiding over war and heroics, I listened to a story regarding the recent move toward using robotics in war.  The NPR story on P.W. Singer’s new book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Centurydescribed a terrible future (and present) of warfar by remote control.  Has no one read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forester, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein? 

Anyone, anyone at all?

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The ramifications of using robots to do jobs that humans used to do raises insane ethical questions.  Sure it’s great to use robots to unarm landminds, saving life and limb of soldier, not to mention the local children, but what about killing by video game controls?  The army is actual setting up tactical video games in malls using the games to lure young men into joining the service.  It’s easy to disassociate killers from the killed in a video game.  No remorse, no guilt, and no immediate retaliation.  One of the issues talked about in the radio interview is how when you are two thousand miles away controlling a robot, you can create your own reality.  Singer describes a situation where they were controlling a gunman robot from afar, believing they were targeting the so-called Chemical Ali.  When they blew the guy up, watching him bounce several times as he hit the ground, they cheered and congratulated themselves on killing a person the US government considered a huge threat and major terrorist.  They found out several days later that the man was a civilian, with no connections to any terrorist groups.

What if we tried this the old fashioned way.  Send people out with shields, spears, and a funny looking headdress.  Make them look each other in the eye, and see how many teenage boys want to sign up then.

Currently reading:

The Buddha at War: Peaceful Heart, Courageous Action in Troubled Times
by Robert Sachs


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Quote: “May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May they never be separated from the great happiness that is beyond suffering. May they dwell in great equanimity which is beyond passion, aggression, and prejudice.”

My old blog, including stories and photos from my ramblings around the US, Nepal, and Eastern Europe can be seen at www.myspace.com/therubycanary.




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