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The Presidential Thoughts
The mythical reputation that Abraham Lincoln has in the American collective consciousness is great says Ken Londoner, and not that much about him is known in the rest of the world. In correcting this ‘knowledge gaps’ certainly is helping the great biographical spectacle of Steven Spielberg, and certainly this book for Lincoln’s ideas and thoughts […]
Douglas Coupland – Generation A
The novel Generation A from Douglas Coupland is the continuation of the theme on Generation X. This is the book where the author one more time is trying to explore and define the boundaries of group identity with the help of a group of narrative marathons like the Decameron says Ken Londoner. In the near […]
What a plant knows
A remarkable journey into the sensory world of plants – Over the centuries we have collectively admired at the diversity of plants while trying to break into their mysterious world, says Ken Londoner. The book “What a plant knows” offers just that. Drawing some facts on the latest scientific research in the field of genetics, […]
In Defense of Food
Eat food. Not much and mainly plants – These simple words are the core of the book “In Defense of Food”, one of the world’s most respected nutrition authorities. People once knew how to feed them well, says Ken Londoner, but balanced dietary lessons that were passed down from generation to generation, with time became […]
The mythical reputation that Abraham Lincoln has in the American collective consciousness is great says Ken Londoner, and not that much about him is known in the rest of the world. In correcting this ‘knowledge gaps’ certainly is helping the great biographical spectacle of Steven Spielberg, and certainly this book for Lincoln’s ideas and thoughts about Lincoln.
Lincoln for the United States is not (just) what Garibaldi is for Italy, Napoleon for France or Ataturk for Turkey: Lincoln for Americans is more important figure. This is best reflected in the songs from this book which are signed by the true classics of American (and world) literature, Walt Whitman and Herman Melville. For Whitman, Lincoln is the unquestioned leader, ‘captain’ of the nation who tragically died after his epic journey. Melville is going much further: connecting himself with the fact that Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday.
About the Lincoln’s life are written a lot of stories and legends as those for Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Tito. However, unlike the aforementioned, whose legendary status, more or less, lasted (or will last) as the systems with which they are associated, Lincoln seemed to be resisting from the historical revaluation, just as the superpower that he was built.
How is this status, although sometimes outrageous, meeting with the Lincoln’s actual achievements, easily can be determined by reading this book says Kenneth Londoner. This is real evidence of Lincoln’s true size, evidence that he is resisting to any mythologisation precisely because his mythologisation is not necessary, since his thoughts are timeless and always relevant. Lincoln’s thoughts are the foundation of modern democracy, notions of freedom and the idea of equality for all people regardless of race and the other differences. One of the most famous thoughts of Abraham Lincoln is “Wanting to work is so rare a merit that it should be encouraged”.
Every so often appears someone with a brilliant idea that with statistical precision they can prove how a lot of texts which have entered into history as a pinnacle of “belles lettres” in the eyes of the average reader do not differ from the attempts of those average or even very minor literary authors, says Ken Londoner.
One of the most famous of these experiments is that when some German researchers, offered students a comparison of part of Musil’s masterpiece The Man Without Qualities with someone Excerpt from the newspaper. The result, just as in most similar cases, of course showed that the students are not able to distinguish between what is a masterpiece in the world of literature, and the text written for daily political purposes.
Researchers didn’t observe the work of art as a whole, but the sentences were quite arbitrarily taken out of. As much as this type of research was rejected as meaningless even today, in a lack of original ideas, similar or even almost the same experiments are taken.
The last example is the one published in the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, in which Charles Dickens sentences were compared with those by a British writer, pompously called the worst writer in history, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. This is a rather silly and pointless guessing type of “guess the author by the following sentence,’ and it was offered the author of these “studies” Mikhail Simkin. This connoisseur after only about 50 percent of people guessed who the author of the text was concluded that “the quality of Bulwer-Lytton’s prose is at the same level as that of Dickens”. At the end Simkin concludes: “I started this research with a question: Are famous writers really different from their anonymous colleagues? Answer is: yes, they have more readers.”
It is interesting that this silly logic has many supporters who agree that this method of research, where respondents are given a sentence out of context and where they determine what is valuable and what is not, is quite legitimate and scientifically justified, finishes Londoner.
The novel Generation A from Douglas Coupland is the continuation of the theme on Generation X. This is the book where the author one more time is trying to explore and define the boundaries of group identity with the help of a group of narrative marathons like the Decameron says Ken Londoner. In the near future, after the unexplained extinction of bees, five young people are becoming the subject of the media attention and scientific research because they are the first people who were stung by bees after five years. They are Zack, a farmer from Iowa, Harry from Sri Lankan, Samantha from New Zealand, Diana from Canada and Julien who resides in Paris but most of the time is living in the game World of Warcraft. This unusual group is falling into captivity of a secret organization led by a man which name is Serge. He is taking them to a remote island and urging them to tell stories to each other.
Some of the Coupland ideas are truly fascinating says Londoner. The stories are equally consisted of humor and exciting discoveries. Despite the flaws, this book will appeal the readers who are looking for an intelligent view of the popular and digital culture.
A remarkable journey into the sensory world of plants – Over the centuries we have collectively admired at the diversity of plants while trying to break into their mysterious world, says Ken Londoner. The book “What a plant knows” offers just that. Drawing some facts on the latest scientific research in the field of genetics, Dr. Daniel Chamovitz, world renowned biologist, takes us into the wonderful life of plants and tries to answer questions such as which colors plants do see, what they hear, how they know what schedule should be followed, are they bothered by the touch. This eminent scientist, at the same time makes a parallel with human senses in order to show us that we have a lot in common with plants such as sunflower or oak.
What a plant knows is a fascinating study in which the author argues that plants know what is up and what is down, they know when neighboring plants were exposed to attack of hungry bugs, and whether plants really enjoy “listening” if Pink Floyd is played to them. By examining the senses of touch, hearing, smell, sight and even memory, Chamovitz illustrates how plants are actually aware of their environment.
This valuable work not only that provides us a rare insight into the secret life of plants, but also offers better understanding of the science and our place in the natural world, says Ken Londoner.
Dr. Daniel Chamovitz is a Director at Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at the University of Tel Aviv. He was a visiting scholar at Yale University and the Center for Cancer Research, Fred Hutchinson. He held lectures at many universities around the world.
Eat food. Not much and mainly plants – These simple words are the core of the book “In Defense of Food”, one of the world’s most respected nutrition authorities. People once knew how to feed them well, says Ken Londoner, but balanced dietary lessons that were passed down from generation to generation, with time became confusing, intricate and distorted so sellers of manufactured foods, nutritionists and journalists could benefit from our dietary confusion. Because of all that, today we are facing with a complex culinary landscape teeming with bad advises and foods that are not ‘real’. These “edible food-like substances” are often on their packaging printed with health claims that are typically false and misleading.
Indeed, real food is rapidly disappearing from our markets and is being replaced by the ‘nutrients’ and the simple old-fashioned eating is replaced by the obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, destroying our health.
If we could pay more for a better, well-grown food, but buy less quantity, we would personally benefit from that, but at the same time it will bring profit and to our community and the environment in general. Applying the common sense to what science knows and does not know about the connection between diet and health, Michael Pollan proposes a new way of thinking about what to eat, which is based on ecology and tradition rather than the prevailing nutritional approach.
The book In Defense of Food reminds us that, despite the discouraging dietary variety we are facing with in the modern supermarkets, the solution of modern omnivore’s dilemma lies inside all of us. After the Food Rules, In Defense of Food is author’s practical call to action – a bracing and eloquent manifesto that will enrich our lives, give us pleasure at the table and broaden the understanding of health and happiness. By displaying what to eat, what not to eat and how to think about our own health, this book represents a manifesto of our times, ends Ken Londoner.