Main      Photographs    Poetry    Articles   Travels     Trails     Music     Readings    




other non-fiction readings of interest




While this book is difficult reading and too technical and disjointed, it is a powerful reminder of how much we do not know, and where the future lies for medical research.





The Future of the Brain
Steven Rose, neuroscientist, writer

Brain repair, smart pills, mind-reading machines--modern neuroscience promises to deliver an array of treatments and diagnostic tools that sound like they are the stuff of science fiction, as well as profound insight into the nature of the brain over the next decade. But these breakthroughs raise troubling questions about what it means to be human, Steven Rose warns. If the human genome is 99% identical to the chimpanzee's, why are we so different? What does the pharmaceutical promise of mental health do to our understanding of mental health? How does our evolving understanding of the human brain affect our sense of the human mind and our sense of agency and humanity?

An internationally renowned biologist, Steven Rose has written or edited 15 books, including The Chemistry of Life, The Conscious Brain, and Not in our Genes with Richard Lewontin. His research has made significant strides toward a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. He is a frequent guest on the BBC, and is known for questioning the relationships between science, business and politics. Dr Rose is professor of biology and director of the brain research group at the Open University in Great Britain and a visiting professor in anatomy and developmental biology at University College London.




Thoughts on memory and ways of improvement.


Memory Power: You Can Develop A Great Memory--
America's Grand Master Shows You How 
by Scott Hagwood 

Memory champion Scott Hagwood not only shows you how to dramatically increase your short-term and long-term memory, but also explains the medically proven fact that these new memory skills will actually stimulate your brain physically to help you: increase your attention span; recall facts easily and accurately; become more creative; process information quickly; adapt to change; accelerate your verbal skills; communicate more effectively; think more clearly; develop your intuition; increase your learning capability. So stop thinking you have a poor memory and discover how to tap into your latent but very real memory power.

The most complete book on Afghanistan politics in existence.

A problem like few other in the world.

A compelling proposal of a solution to the conflict.


Taliban was written and published before the events of September 11, 2001, yet it is essential reading.  It includes details on how and why the Taliban came to power, the government's oppression of ordinary citizens (especially women), the heroin trade, oil intrigue, and--in a vitally relevant chapter--bin Laden's sinister rise to power.  

Rashid notes  "The Taliban were right, their interpretation of Islam was right, and everything else was wrong and an expression of human weakness and a lack of piety," 



"Taliban" by Ahmed Rashid

A veteran journalist relates the full horror -- brutality, oppression of women and genocide -- of the new Afghanistan.

The Taliban, which springs from the Sunni branch of Islam, began a genocidal campaign designed to wipe out Shiite Muslims from much of Afghanistan. It openly countenanced international terrorism, harboring the criminal mastermind Osama bin Laden and giving him virtually free rein to plan bombings and assassinations. And it imposed a disturbing and deeply fundamentalist form of Muslim culture on the nation. Under the Taliban regime, girls' schools were closed and women were forced to quit their jobs (at one time, 40 percent of Afghan doctors were female) and to wear a head-to-toe garment known as the burkha. Movies, television, videos, music and dance -- all were banned.

The tale is even more complicated, though. There's also the matter of oil -- specifically the desire of international oil companies to build a pipeline from the Caspian oil-producing region (home to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and several other small nations) to serve potentially massive markets in South Asia. The route goes directly through Afghanistan, and the result has been what Rashid refers to as "romancing the Taliban": For years, he reports, U.S. economic interests, driven by oil, took precedence over human-rights concerns; only very recently did pressure from American women concerned about the repression of Afghan women finally lead to a reversal in policy. Rashid was on the scene all along, covering what he calls the new "Great Game" in Central Asia, a late 20th century version of the late 19th century colonial struggle for hegemony. "Policy was not being driven by politicians and diplomats," he writes, "but by the secretive oil companies and intelligence services of the regional states."


The Taliban are poorly tutored in Islamic and Afghan history, knowledge of the Sharia [Islamic law] and the Koran and the political and theoretical developments in the Muslim world during the twentieth century. While Islamic radicalism in the twentieth century has a long history of scholarly writing and debate, the Taliban have no such historical perspective or tradition ... Their exposure to the radical Islamic debate around the world is minimal, their sense of their own history is even less.

In Rashid's view, the members of the Taliban "divest Islam of all its legacies except theology -- Islamic philosophy, science, arts, aesthetics and mysticism are ignored." Even the theology is ignored when it's politically expedient: The organization has permitted opium, prohibited under Muslim law, to thrive as one of the disintegrating nation's few cash crops. The Taliban also seems unconcerned with the day-to-day issues of governing,  "Allah will provide." The result is an Afghanistan that is rapidly falling back into the Middle Ages, a country where life expectancy is only about 44 years and 1.7 of every 100 mothers die in childbirth.



Book on the natural history and ecosystems of Colorado and the surrounding areas.



From Grassland To Glacier: The Natural History Of Colorado And The Surrounding Region (Revised)

Author: Mutel, Cornelia Fleisher; Author: With Emerick, John C.

Revised Edition; Paperback; Illustrated
Published: June 1992

Guides the nature lover through the natural world of the Southern Rocky Mountains. Self-guided tours and easy-to-use keys simplify the identification of natural communities through personal experience.




  The Crisis of Islam: 

Holy War and Unholy Terror (Hardcover)
by Bernard Lewis " 







  Messages in Stone

Vincent Matthews


 The book is aimed at the general public, but will also be of interest to professional earth scientists and students. The book not only displays Colorado’s fantastic geologic features, but also serves as a primer on geologic principles and concepts.  

The book discusses and illustrates three broad categories: Colorado’s rocks and structures, Colorado’s Geologic History, and the impact of Colorado’s geology on humans which includes water, economic resources, and geologic hazards. 

     Wilderness Survival Handbook: A Practical, All-Season Guide To Short-Trip Preparation And Survival Techniques For Hikers, Skiers, Backpackers, Canoeists, ... The Outdoors by Alan Fry

Outdoor pursuits such as hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and canoeing have grown wildly popular of late. But what does one do if injured or caught in a storm, far from home or human contact? Fry, who lives in a tepee in the Yukon Territory, offers much advice, detailing the techniques and equipment required to survive emergencies in the wilderness. Notably, Fry's counsel is adaptable to similar situations in less demanding wilderness areas of North America, which should give his book wide appeal.


by Ekman, Paul

Subtitled, Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics and Marriage,  includes updated information on his groundbreaking inquiry into lying and methods for uncovering lies. He analyzes a range of deception strategies--from political strategies of international public figures to deceitful behavior of private individuals. 

He even discusses poker faces and attempting to conceal emotion ("tells") in poker. Looks at detecting deceit from words, voice, body; facial clues; the polygraph as a lie catcher; and catching; lies in public life. 390 pages, paperbound. 2002.


Book Excerpt: 'Thy Kingdom Come'

by Randall Balmer


'Thy Kingdom Come'

The story of the formation of the Religious Right





 In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.

Although various Roman Catholic groups denounced the ruling, and Christianity Today complained that the Roe decision "runs counter to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people," the vast majority of evangelical leaders said virtually nothing about it; many of those who did comment actually applauded the decision. W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press wrote, "Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision." Indeed, even before the Roe decision, the messengers (delegates) to the 1971 Southern Baptist Convention gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, adopted a resolution that stated, "we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother." W.A. Criswell, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, expressed his satisfaction with the Roe v. Wade ruling. "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person," the redoubtable fundamentalist declared, "and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed."

The Religious Right's self-portrayal as mobilizing in response to the Roe decision was so pervasive among evangelicals that few questioned it. But my attendance at an unusual gathering in Washington, D.C., finally alerted me to the abortion myth. In November

1990, for reasons that I still don't entirely understand, I was invited to attend a conference in Washington sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Religious Right organization (though I didn't realize it at the time). I soon found myself in a conference room with a couple of dozen people, including Ralph Reed, then head of the Christian Coalition; Carl F. H. Henry, an evangelical theologian; Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Association; Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Edward G. Dobson, pastor of an evangelical church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and formerly one of Jerry Falwell's acolytes at Moral Majority. Paul M. Weyrich, a longtime conservative activist, head of what is now called the Free Congress Foundation, and one of the architects of the Religious Right in the late 1970s, was also there.

In the course of one of the sessions, Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall). Let's remember, he said animatedly, that the Religious Right did not come together in response to the Roe decision. No, Weyrich insisted, what got us going as a political movement was the attempt on the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of its racially discriminatory policies.

Bob Jones University was one target of a broader attempt by the federal government to enforce the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, had sought to penalize schools for failure to abide by antisegregation provisions. A court case in 1972, Green v. Connally, produced a ruling that any institution that practiced segregation was not, by definition, a charitable institution and, therefore, no longer qualified for tax-exempt standing.

The IRS sought to revoke the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University in 1975 because the school's regulations forbade interracial dating; African Americans, in fact, had been denied admission altogether until 1971, and it took another four years before unmarried African Americans were allowed to enroll. The university filed suit to retain its tax-exempt status, although that suit would not reach the Supreme Court until 1983 (at which time, the Reagan administration argued in favor of Bob Jones University).

Initially, I found Weyrich's admission jarring. He declared, in effect, that the origins of the Religious Right lay in Green v. Connally rather than Roe v. Wade. I quickly concluded, however, that his story made a great deal of sense. When I was growing up within the evangelical subculture, there was an unmistakably defensive cast to evangelicalism. I recall many presidents of colleges or Bible institutes coming through our churches to recruit students and to raise money. One of their recurrent themes was,We don't accept federal money, so the government can't tell us how to run our shop—whom to hire or fire or what kind of rules to live by. The IRS attempt to deny tax-exempt status to segregated private schools, then, represented an assault on the evangelical subculture, something that raised an alarm among many evangelical leaders, who mobilized against it.

For his part, Weyrich saw the evangelical discontent over the Bob Jones case as the opening he was looking for to start a new conservative movement using evangelicals as foot soldiers. Although both the Green decision of 1972 and the IRS action against Bob Jones University in 1975 predated Jimmy Carter's presidency, Weyrich succeeded in blaming Carter for efforts to revoke the taxexempt status of segregated Christian schools. He recruited James Dobson and Jerry Falwell to the cause, the latter of whom complained, "In some states it's easier to open a massage parlor than to open a Christian school."

Weyrich, whose conservative activism dates at least as far back as the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964, had been trying for years to energize evangelical voters over school prayer, abortion, or the proposed equal rights amendment to the Constitution. "I was

trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed," he recalled in an interview in the early 1990s. "What changed their mind was Jimmy Carter's intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation."

During the meeting in Washington, D.C., Weyrich went on to characterize the leaders of the Religious Right as reluctant to take up the abortion cause even close to a decade after the Roe ruling. "I had discussions with all the leading lights of the movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, post–Roe v. Wade," he said, "and they were all arguing that that decision was one more reason why Christians had to isolate themselves from the rest of the world."

"What caused the movement to surface," Weyrich reiterated,"was the federal government's moves against Christian schools." The IRS threat against segregated schools, he said, "enraged the Christian community." That, not abortion, according to Weyrich, was what galvanized politically conservative evangelicals into the Religious Right and goaded them into action. "It was not the other things," he said.

Ed Dobson, Falwell's erstwhile associate, corroborated Weyrich's account during the ensuing discussion. "The Religious New Right did not start because of a concern about abortion," Dobson said. "I sat in the non-smoke-filled back room with the Moral Majority, and I frankly do not remember abortion ever being mentioned as a reason why we ought to do something."

During the following break in the conference proceedings, I cornered Weyrich to make sure I had heard him correctly. He was adamant that, yes, the 1975 action by the IRS against Bob Jones University was responsible for the genesis of the Religious Right in

the late 1970s. What about abortion? After mobilizing to defend Bob Jones University and its racially discriminatory policies, Weyrich said, these evangelical leaders held a conference call to discuss strategy. He recalled that someone suggested that they had

the makings of a broader political movement—something that Weyrich had been pushing for all along—and asked what other issues they might address. Several callers made suggestions, and then, according to Weyrich, a voice on the end of one of the lines said, "How about abortion?" And that is how abortion was cobbled into the political agenda of the Religious Right.

The abortion myth serves as a convenient fiction because it suggests noble and altruistic motives behind the formation of the Religious Right. But it is highly disingenuous and renders absurd the argument of the leaders of Religious Right that, in defending the rights of the unborn, they are the "new abolitionists." The Religious Right arose as a political movement for the purpose, effectively, of defending racial discrimination at Bob Jones University and at other segregated schools. Whereas evangelical abolitionists of the nineteenth century sought freedom for African Americans, the Religious Right of the late twentieth century organized to perpetuate racial discrimination. Sadly, the Religious Right has no legitimate claim to the mantle of the abolitionist crusaders of the nineteenth century. White evangelicals were conspicuous by their absence in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Where were Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington or on Sunday, March 7, 1965, when Martin Luther King Jr. and religious leaders from other traditions linked arms on the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to stare down the ugly face of racism?

Falwell and others who eventually became leaders of the Religious Right, in fact, explicitly condemned the civil rights movement. "Believing the Bible as I do," Falwell proclaimed in 1965, "I would find it impossible to stop preaching the pure saving gospel

of Jesus Christ, and begin doing anything else—including fighting Communism, or participating in civil-rights reforms." This makes all the more outrageous the occasional attempts by leaders of the Religious Right to portray themselves as the "new abolitionists" in an effort to link their campaign against abortion to the nineteenth century crusade against slavery.

Excerpted from Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America Copyright © 2006 by Randall Balmer.