This is unbelievable!
But how many people actually read books on their PCs or Macs? I’ve tried it and it’s not nearly as comfortable a using an e-reader. People in the tech industry are bemoaning this as a bad sign, but it makes sense for B&N to focus their efforts on the platforms that people actually use to read e-books.
I had bought the original nook as my first e-reader and then graduated to the nook color once the e-ink burned through the screen. But after than, I switched to the iPad. Both the nook and Amazon’s Kindle have evolved into limited functioning Android tablets. To be honest, I suspect both products will eventually fall by the wayside. Why buy a tablet with limited functions that you can only read books from one retailer when you can have a fully-functional iPad or Android tablet with apps that let you read books from both Amazon and B&N? I don’t really see the point in owning either device at this point. E-books are still a new market and we’ll probably see more shakeups like this as time moves on and we eventually settle into some kind of standard.
So, B&N’s withdrawal from the PC and Mac market is another bump in the evolutionary highway of the e-book business, not the Armageddon people are saying it is. In fact, there will probably be some more growing pains as B&N and Amazon reevaluate their respective positions in the market.
We certainly have a lot in common.
Patrick Stewart was speaking on domestic violence prevention when a fan in a science officer uniform discussed her experience with abuse. His response was nothing short of awesome.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
Or at least it’s how Saint John the Divine saw it in the First Century.
If you’ve ever wanted to really understand the Book of Revelation as it was written and not filtered through the political and social views of the writers behind the Left Behind series, then pick up The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Book of Revelation.
Bell breaks Revelation down into manageable chunks and spreads it across several chapters, which digesting the final book of the Bible a lot easier. Revelation is chock full of imaginary and much of it is bloody and arcane. Bell goes through each passage and puts them in context of how fit into the the time it was written. He also unwinds the dense text and puts into the simple terms so that modern readers can grasp what is being described as the Seven Seals are unveiled, the Seven Trumpets are blasted, and the Beast rises out of the sea.
So, what does it all mean? Well, who knows. Maybe John really did have a revelation or maybe he was just tripping on mushrooms. Either way, he had something to say to the Christians of his time.
Bell spends most of his explanations based on two assumptions 1) That the John who wrote Revelation was also the author of the Gospel According to John (Many scholars point to the differences in writing styles to argue against this) and 2) John really was writing down what he saw as it was “revealed” to him. It’s only in the back chapters that Bell devotes time to discussing the idea that Revelation is a metaphor or a description of events contemporary to the author.
Still, Bell manages to give the modern audience and approachable glimpse into how early Christians viewed the apocalypse that many were sure would happen in their lifetime.
In that respect, not much has changed in two thousand years.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Metaphors are useful in describing any social phenomenon. In the case of Darrell Ray’s “The God Virus”, the metaphor is pretty obvious: Religion is like a virus of the mind. It “infects” the brain and reshapes our thoughts. Just as a virus hijacks the machinery of the host’s cells in order to reproduce more viruses, so does religion cause us to “infect” others with religion by seeking out converts.
Ray compares religion to real life diseases like toxoplasmosis, a disease that causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cats and actually make them attracted to the scent of car urine. Toxoplasmosis needs to pass through a cat’s digestive track in order to complete its life cycle, so, by changing the behavior of rodents, it encourages them to get eaten and thus the virus gets inside a cat. So, under this metaphor, people infected with religion have had their modes of thinking that alters the way they view themselves, sex, and how they relate to others. Your particular strain of the virus also “inoculates” you against other strains. Thus, if you are a Christian, you develop thought patterns that “immunize” you against becoming a Muslim or vice-versa.
It’s an interesting way of looking at religion, one that addresses how religious beliefs use conformity of behavior, community, fear of the outsider, and guilt to reinforce their grip on society, though Ray often stretches this metaphor well beyond the breaking point.
Ray is a former minister turned atheist and naturally, has a negative view of the affect religion has on society. He has little positive things to say about religion, so be aware that this is not an evenhanded examination of the impact of religion on society. Indeed, his thesis is that religion is a disease and needs to be eradicated for our good. He makes many arguments and examples to bolster this view, some of which are more convincing than others, but at the very least, he gives readers something to think about.