May 14th, 2008


Great post!

This great post over at Boing Boing of Albert Einstein:

A newly published letter reveals that Albert Einstein viewed religion and religious works as "childish," and "primitive works."

In the letter, dated January 3 1954, he wrote: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.
"No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this..."

"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people."

I love this excerpt - there is so much in here to love. Firstly, it's such a great example of the kinds of questions I get asked - how can you be a scientist and believe in Gpd? How can you be "religious" (quotes because I don't think I am at all religious but might appear more religious than many people) and How do your parents deal with your lifestyle ...

This excerpt sums up so much about Judaism. Einstein has totally dismissed Gpd, The Bible, religion and Judaism and yet he still "gladly belongs" to and still has a "deep affinity" for the Jewish people. And the Jewish people still gladly have him as "one of us" despite his dismissal. It reminds me of an answer my father once gave me to a question I asked (I was 15 or so) ... "Alisa, the French consider it to be a mature mind that can accept a paradox". Which frankly, is a pretty good answer to the kinds of questions you ask at 15 - it was probably about hypocrisy, isn't it always at that age? Which is to say ... Judaism is so much more than following and adhering to all and every law and commandment. And it encourages questioning, challenging, reasoning with logic and science. It survives despite and because of these things and its a religion in which you can and are invited to find your own level or place or space within it - be that just an appreciation of the food, of the traditions, of the humour, of family, of high holidays, of all of it, of none of it, of carrying out the letter of the law, of carrying out the spirit of it.

And that's how come I can be a scientist and still believe in Gpd, I guess.

2012 Review: Locus

Many thanks to Rich Horton who had the following to say about 2012 in the latest issue of Locus:

2012 is an Australian anthology of near future SF, focused on the problems plaguing us now - or in 2012. Environmental concerns dominate, not surprisingly. The editors called for engaged fiction, which is a two-edged sword - some of the stories here are greatly weakened by their polemics. But others manage to stay urgent and involving without being too shrill. My favorites were "Apocalypse Rules, OK?" by Lucy Sussex, very amusing stuff about the real movers behind the various idiocies humans get up to; and "The Last Word" by Dirk Flinthart, in which a scientist and her ex-lover who is now a wheeler-dealer negotiate the development of a genetic treatment with
effects that could be wonderful - like a cure for melanoma; trivial, like an easy suntan; or scarier yet.

2012 is currently available at:

All things Buswellian

Thanks to angriest - the following from

EMBATTLED WA Opposition Leader Troy Buswell says there is "absolutely no substance" to reports he once did something inappropriate to a quokka.

Mr Buswell, who has admitted to sniffing the chair of a former Liberal party colleague and snapping the bra of a Labor staffer, was questioned on the rumours today while attending a press conference at Parliament House.

Heh. Now see, as I was carefully explaining to a friend yesterday, your prior convictions cannot be used in a court of law when prosecuting you for a new crime. But this ain't a court of law here. This is the court of public opinion. And what do you think we think after you say ... well, yeah, ok, I snapped a lady MP's bra in the middle of a parliamentary session and well, yeah, I did sniff that other Chief of Staff's chair after she stood up and I did roll around on the floor in mock sexual ecstasy ... but I absolutely Did Not do anything inappropriate to that quokka.

*fits of laughter*


Great Moments in Television

I'm not watching Big Brother ... I'm not


There was this excellent moment just now where the spoilt blonde rich little girl who's had all her clothes and possessions taken away from her took the Aboriginal girl (Dixie) into the Diary Room with her to plead her case to get some shoes. We live in grande times. See, Dixie is a social worker and uses words like "distressed" and "concerned" and the other one says "But Big Brother! I'm going to get FAAAAT if you don't give me my shoes baaaack! Boo hoo hoo"

Ahh good times.


Today, whilst running on the treadmill (hilarious, yes I know) I had a revelation.

Of course Hillary can't quit. She can't quit because of ME. See I've depressed about the fact that I think she's lost the nomination and I've been wondering how much her continuing to run is hurting the chances of the White House being blue this time next year. And I've been annoyed about it.

But then today, it suddenly made sense! Here she is, the very first woman to be in serious running for the President of the United States of America. The first woman to go all the way - to prove that women can do *anything*. And so ... she carries with her a lot of hope and a lot of expectation. And so *of course* she can't quit before the end - she can't go home just cause a bunch of people tell her she can't win. She *has* to take this all the way to the bitter end.

She *has* to - for me, for you and for all our granddaughters.

(I just kinda wish it was over already)