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Steven Adamson

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About Steven Adamson

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    Guyana, South America
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    Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror, Comics, World cultures, Astronomy, Sports, Politics.
  1. That story took a weird turn in all the best ways. The intrusion of some mythology into the modern day is always a tricky proposition, especially the risk of cliche, but this works well and comes out fresh.
  2. True story: As a kid my second favorite breakfast was fried cow brains. Very fluffy texture. People around here stopped eating brains when the mad cow scare hit in the nineties and it never came back into style. Some are still scared of the disease others are too young to have gotten a taste for it. Happy Halloween, everyone, especially John, our webmaster, who I'm sure is out trick-or-treating right now.
  3. Really liked this. My kind of story. Gruesome humor and clever interweaving of plot and character elements.
  4. ISIS and Hezbollah are natural enemies, being Sunni and Shia. I'm not sure in what sense you mean they are close, but I definitely don't see them working together. The stupidest thing GW Bush did in his haphard middle east policy was forget that the Shiites and Sunnis can be split and distracted into competing with each other. It's why Rumsfeld and co miscalculated the aftermath of the war. He should have talked to his daddy. Bush Senior refused to topple Saddam in 1991 because he knew that Saddam was a counterweight to shiite radicalism. And radicalism in general too since Saddam was a Baathist (Pan-arab socialist) Anyway, I suspect Hezbollah is going to be very quiet on the Israel front because 1) Israel is happy to leave them alone and 2) They don't want to turn their backs on ISIS who have targeted shiites in Iraq.
  5. The Irish were happy to let Hitler hurt the British. "4,983 members of the Defence Forces deserted to fight with the British and Allied armed forces. After the war they faced discrimination, lost their rights to pensions and were barred from holding government jobs. They were finally pardoned in 2012" Let's also not forget the warmonger Mahatma Ghandi who refused to join the fight against the Nazis that they acknowledged to be evil, using their refusal as a bargaining chip for independence. - - - I'm also going to take a sentence written earlier and makes some substitutions: I think that if you observe Europe since that period (immediate pre-Islamic times) that sentence is pretty accurate too. Barons used to pay bandits to waylay travelers through their fiefs. Castles were set up in part to claim trade routes over land and water. European nations/cities CONSTANTLY warred with each other to steal wealth and resources (This is after all the culture that gave us Machiavelli, Napoleon, Slobodan Milosovic, Putin vs Ukraine, The IRA, the Huns, the Vandals, the Sack of Rome, Vikings, the Lannisters, the battle of Hastings, the Battle of Agincourt, The battle of Flanders...) I think it's clear that Arab culture was typically violent for human beings at that economic level, and that's plenty violent. And they've not reformed their thinking the way Europe largely has. But to say Arabs were the most warlike culture seems like hyperbole.
  6. Far too many of you are thinking of Christianity only as you know it in your areas. Right now children are being killed by Christians for witchcraft in West Africa. Gays are being baited and bashed at the behest of the state church in Russia who have upped their anti gay agenda. Everyone knows that Jamaicans are the most homophobic people in the west, but few realize it comes from their deep Christian colonial influence. (True story: A few gays tried to organize a gay pride march in Jamaica about ten years back. People turned out along the parade route armed with machetes to catch the gays.) These people are as much Christians as any Christian in the developed west and their current-day abuses come from christian inspiration. Now I know I'm sounding a bit like I'm arguing with myself since I said earlier that Christianity today is reformed by the Enlightenment, but I was merely making a technical point to show that Islam is not inherently evil, just wandering a different historical path. I totally agree that even modern Christianity is susceptible to the abuses of extremists, though not on such a large scale since it has by and large been tempered by rationality.
  7. Well, I did acknowledge the events of colonialism, but I think most of that took place BEFORE the Enlightenment. Indeed, the wealth plundered by colonialism is what fed the Enlightenment. Once Enlightenment values moderated Christianity, things changed even in the colonial world. You ended up seeing Christians work to end slavery in the British Empire and the first secular constitution, in the USA. There were still places where horrible events took place post-enlightenment, like the Belgian Congo but those are places where the Enlightenment took a while to reach, so in a way that was still un-Enlightened Christianity at work. They could only get away with it out of sight. I too am an atheist and find religion illogical, but I think it's unfair to lump the more rational modern strains of Christianity in with the older autocratic forms.
  8. Obama's view is flawed in one respect: he omitted something. Almost all the great Christian abuses occurred before the Enlightnment, or as backlash against it and once that period was over, Christianity was kinder and gentler. Islam has never had that transformative moment. I have been loud on this forum defending *muslims* when I think they are being stereotyped in negative ways, but Islam itself has too many medieval elements to equate it to modern Christianity. There are three big foundational reasons Islam has not progressed and a fourth, more immediate. 1) Islam started 600 years behind. It's not a mature religion. It simply hasn't had enough time to mellow out from the zeal that drives the growth of a young religion. 2) Economically, the muslim regions of the world never got that boost to support free thinkers. Think about why the Enlightenment came about and you see that wealth in Europe was accumulating through the previous few centuries to a tipping point. The cruelty and greed of the colonial rush brought wealth to Europe that lifted masses out of poverty and broke the priest class' hold over people. Arab/muslim nations never got to such a tipping point. Even in the heyday of Islamic culture when they were the premiere traders and scientists of their day, they never hit a high enough mark to break the grip of the priest class. 3) Islam spread much faster and much wider than Christianity did. So there is no way to reform the whole thing at once. With the Enlightenment, Christianity was still bound mostly within the confines of Europe (hemmed in by Islam, ironically enough). It meant that the whole population could get a 'vaccination' against extremism all together. With Islam we see very moderate and enlightened strains popping up throughout history in various places like the mystical Sufis in Egypt and the hindufied Islam of India and the casual islam of South East Europe or Indonesia etc. But every now and again, a virulent strain takes hold in some corner and the disunited nature of Islam meant it festered and then spread to infect vast stretches of the worldwide religion. 4) As a consequence of 3) Arabia gave us wahabbism, an anti-Enlightenment extremist movement, which pushed back against European/Christian secularism when the Enlightenment ideas started to take hold in Arabia a few hundred years late. It's the root of all the modern Sunni Jihadi brands of Islam that have colonized previously laid back places like Malaysia, Nigeria and Chechnya. (For those of you who know your Isaac Asimov, Wahabbism is like the Mule in the foundation series. It really has wared the natural flow of the religion which was previously towards a more benign nature. The only problem is that unlike the Mule's influence, Wahibbism has only grown since the death of it's founder. ) -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Can Islam be rescued? Sure: Look to the foundational issues. It's mostly an issue of reducing poverty in Islamic states. True, many extremists grow up in wealthy households, but that's not my point. Wealthy households are also where the secularists and freethinkers come from. And Islamic countries have very few of those cradles now. Islam's hope lies in economic development. Is there anything the west can do to promote such development? I don't know. Outside of not interfering militarily and thus furthering a war footing, probably not. But the oil politics makes that unlikely.
  9. Oh yeah, since I have owls in my avatar... An Observation of Owls.
  10. We should have more stories with music and music references. I know it's skirting legality, but I think our corner of the internet is small enough to escape the eye of Sauron.
  11. I like the T-shirt that says, "Meat is Murder. Tasty, tasty murder."
  12. A glittering of gays A twist of twinks A hunger of hunks A penal colony of priests...oh wait, I've gone off topic.
  13. Thanks for the comments. This story really surprised me. I was watching a BBC special on 'Thankful Villages' in the middle of December. These were villages that lost no soldiers to the Great War. That's where I first heard the story of the young wagon soldier winning a medal because he stayed with his horses through an artillery barrage. I got inspired that night knowing the 100th anniversary of that first Christmas was coming up and 3 days later I had the story complete, bar minor revisions. (I worked full time on it since I was home on vacation and most of my family was on a trip.) Still, 3 days for a story of that length and quality is something I'm proud of now. Hopefully it signals a better productivity to come :-)
  14. Thank you for the kind words. Some inside info: This story was written when I was still a young teacher and one of my students told me he'd rather live in the middle ages because life was 'more real' back then. I, being a firm technologist, had a lot to say on the idea. You can see the signs that I was a raw writer in the fact that I made the main characters teacher and student. Nowadays, I'd find a way to remove the characters from my own life more. But that's a discussion for another thread maybe? Re-reading it now, I'm most happy that my pro-technology views didn't come out in the story as preachy.
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