A Review of “Star.Ships: A Prehistory of the Spirits”


Gordon White’s impressive book Star.Ships: A Prehistory of the Spirits has garnered extensive well-deserved attention. There have been numerous excellent reviews (for a brief selection see here, here, and here) and Gordon has not been shy about giving fascinating interviews concerning the book and all related topics (see herehere, here, herehere, and here). Gordon is also well know for his very popular high-quality blog and podcast. This leaves me facing a very odd dilemma. What can I add to this already very rich conversation? It is my belief that the best compliment one can give to a book, especially one offering as much to the reader as Star.Ships, is to engage in the territory it opens up in a serious manner that attempts to extend the conversation. This is what I will seek to offer here after offering a summary of…

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John Rawls And The Veil Of Ignorance

Hammering Shield

220px-03-rawls-225[pictured:  John Rawls]

In his book, A Theory Of Justice, Rawls asks us to imagine a fantastic scene:  a group of people are gathered to plan their own future society, hammering out the details of what will basically become a Social Contract.  Rawls calls this the “Original Position.”  In the Original Position, the future citizens do not yet know what part they will play in their upcoming society.  They must design their society behind what Rawls calls the Veil Of Ignorance.

“No one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like.”   

Neither do the people know what type of society they will be entering.  They do not know its culture, its economic situation, or political climate.

It is important for Rawls that the…

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The human spirit is enslaved, but “creatives” are no abolitionists


richard_floridaDon’t give yourselves to these unnatural men — machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men!

The Great Dictator

I know now that this was Florida’s true genius: He took our anx­i­ety about place and turned it into a prod­uct. He found a way to cap­i­tal­ize on our nag­ging sense that there is always some­where out there more cre­ative, more fun, more diverse, more gay, and just plain bet­ter than the one where we hap­pen to be. But I’ve been down that road, and I know where it goes. I know that it leads both every­where and nowhere. I know you could go down it for­ever and never quite arrive. And I know now that it may be wiser to try to cre­ate the place you want to live, rather than to keep try­ing to find it.

Frank Bures


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Jezebel in Our Society – Who was Jezebel?

Wow, how prophetic..

Truth in Reality

Jezebel was an actual person. Jezebel, the Biblical character, first appears in First Kings 16, when she marries Ahab, king of Israel. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, the king and high priest of the Baal worshipping Sidonians. Baal worship was closely associated with obsessive sensuality and often involved sex acts. Jezebel, as a daughter of this perverse kingdom, was raised in an atmosphere where sex was a path to power and influence.

Ahab, King of Israel, was completely subdued and dominated by Jezebel (a type of modern man). Jezebel then introduced the worship of Ashtoroth to Israel. This god/goddess, represented the Canaanite culture of the moon, was a power-hungry goddess of love and sensuality. Priestess-prostitutes filled her shrines and serviced her worshippers. The lure of these legal, readily available erotic encounters was ore than the men of Israel would resist. By Jezebel’s influence, most Israelites, the northern kingdom, left…

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Ingenious machines for drawing curves: The Archives

Anita Chowdry

Spirograph Spirograph

A frequent comment made by viewers of the Iron Genie harmonograph in action, is that it reminds them of the Spirograph. Most of us are familiar with this childhood toy, which consists of a large ring-gear with internal teeth and a series of different sized gears which run inside it – when you insert a pen-tip into one of the holes of the interior gear and run it around within the annular gear, you get a fascinating spiraloid drawing. The drawings that can be achieved with a single gear can be varied quite dramatically by inserting the pen tip into different holes, and further variations are achieved by using different sized gears.

Spirographs and harmonographs are part of an interesting narrative of private obsession and ingenious inventiveness that took place throughout the nineteenth century. Once you delve into the relatively obscure archives of this story, a number of…

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The hardest part of transition…

Veronica Mead

23rd March 2017

Yesterday my surgeon assessed me, just over 8 weeks post surgery. He is very happy with the results, as I am and he has agreed that I am ready to return to work sooner than the planned 24th April. So I plan to restart at work on the 4th April. This is really good news for me as I have been going stir crazy at home.

Recently, peers of mine from nGendr have been producing videos about different aspects of transition. Six people giving their own personal views on topics. One of the recent set of releases were each of them giving their account of what they perceived was the hardest part of transition. They were really interesting and also surprising how differently  they all view the hardest part of transition. This got me thinking, like I do, of what has been the hardest part for…

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