The Scariest Book for Halloween

Looking for thrills this Halloween? Look no further than the book, described by the LA Times as: "... a far more frightening work than any of the nightmare novels of George Orwell ... the thesis that propaganda, whether its ends are demonstrably good or bad, is not only destructive to democracy, it is perhaps the most serious threat to humanity operating in the modern world."

Jacques Ellul writes in his book Propaganda:

"... propaganda destroys all individuality, is capable of creating only a collective personality, and that it is an obstacle to the free development of the personality.

Everywhere we find men who pronounce as highly personal truths what they have read in the papers only an hour before, and whose beliefs are merely the result of a powerful propaganda. Everywhere we find people who have blind confidence in a political party, a general, a movie star, a country, or a cause, and who will not tolerate the slightest challenge to that god. Everywhere we meet people who, because they are filled with the consciousness of Higher Interests they must serve unto death, are no longer capable of making the simplest moral or intellectual distinctions or of engaging in the most elementary reasoning. Yet all this is acquired without effort, experience, reflection, or criticism -- by the destructive shock effect of well-made propaganda. We meet this alienated man at every turn, and are possibly already one ourselves."

What is particularly frightening, and the author makes a compelling point of it, is that propaganda is omnipresent, and over time humans became dependent on its effects, they crave it, and cannot function without it.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine, another French writer, puts it very simply, and succinctly, though perhaps not without male chauvinism: "The public is like a woman, it wants to be fucked."


The Truth about the Enigma Cipher Machine

"The cracking of the “unbreakable” Enigma Code by analysts at Bletchley Park is believed to have tipped the balance of the war, by allowing the Allies to learn of German military plans. It was the initial work by [Polish Intelligence Officer] Colonel Langer’s team which paved the way for the British to unlock Enigma.

But for decades after the war, the role of Polish cipher experts went unrecognised. Canadian historian Witold K Liliental said Polish mathematicians broke the code before the outbreak of World War Two. Three young maths students took up posts as codebreakers in the Cipher Bureau of the Polish Army, under the command of Colonel Langer.

He said: “Realising the looming danger of impending war with Hitler, the Polish High Command decided to share the closely guarded secret with her Allies, Britain and France. This happened at a meeting in Warsaw in 1939.” He added: “For many years the role of Poles was either totally ignored or skimmed over with only vague references in historical literature.”" SOURCE

It's one of the saddest examples of selective history making: the Enigma Machine was captured, copied, and cracked by Polish Intelligence before the outbreak of the Second World War, as every Polish child knows, and Polish literature is rich in exploring the subject. Unfortunately, readers in the Anglo-American world, with access to only 2-3 % of books translated from other languages, will not have the opportunity to read the true account of breaking of the Enigma.

The Original, Real-Life, Ian Fleming's Bond Girl Inspiration

"Krystyna Skarbek was a Polish Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent. She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in intelligence and sabotage missions to Nazi-occupied  Poland and France.

She became a British agent months before the SOE was founded in July 1940 and was one of the longest-serving of all Britain's wartime women agents. Her resourcefulness and success have been credited with influencing the sabotage organization's policy of recruiting increasing numbers of women.

In 1941 she began using the nom de guerre Christine Granville, which she legally adopted after the war.

A friend of Ian Fleming, Skarbek is said to have been the inspiration for Bond girls Tatiana Romanova and Vesper Lynd.

Skarbek became a legend in her lifetime. Soon after her death, she entered the realm of popular culture. It has been said that Ian Fleming, in his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), modeled Vesper Lynd on her. According to William F. Nolan, Fleming also based Tatiana Romanova, in his 1957 novel From Russia, with Love, on Skarbek.

After the war, Skarbek was left without financial reserves or a native country to return to. Xan Fielding, whom she had saved at Digne, wrote in his 1954 book, Hide and Seek, and dedicated "To the memory of Christine Granville":

"After the physical hardship and mental strain she had suffered for six years in our service, she needed, probably more than any other agent we had employed, security for life. […] Yet a few weeks after the armistice she was dismissed with a month's salary and left in Cairo to fend for herself ... [Alt]hough she was too proud to ask for any other assistance, she did apply for […] a British passport; for ever since the Anglo-American betrayal of her country at Yalta she had been virtually stateless. But the naturalization papers […] were delayed in the normal bureaucratic manner.

Meanwhile, abandoning all hope of security, she deliberately embarked on a life of uncertain travel, as though anxious to reproduce in peace time the hazards she had known during the war; until, finally, in June 1952, in the lobby of a cheap London hotel, the menial existence to which she had been reduced by penury was ended by an assassin's knife.

In that latter period of her life, she met Ian Fleming, with whom she allegedly had a year-long affair, although there is no proof that this affair occurred. The man who made the allegation, Donald McCormick, relied on the word of a woman named "Olga Bialoguski"; McCormick always refused to identify her, and she is not included in his list of acknowledgments." SOURCE: WikiPedia

British Female Spies of WWII

"One of Britain's most-decorated female spies was initially dismissed as "scatterbrained" and "not very intelligent" by her superiors, documents released for the first time today reveal.

When Eileen Nearne was buried last month, details of the 89-year-old’s heroism came to light. One of a select number of Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents, she was parachuted into France in 1944 as a radio operator codenamed Rose, transmitting vital intelligence until she was captured. She endured torture at the hands of Nazi interrogators, refusing to reveal any details and eventually managing to escape. She was later awarded the French Croix de Guerre and the MBE for her “cool efficiency, perseverance and willingness to undergo any risk”.

Known as Churchill’s Secret Army, the SOE was set up in 1940 to encourage and facilitate espionage and sabotage behind enemy lines. Two years later Winston Churchill gave his approval for women to be sent into Europe after it was argued that they would be less conspicuous than men." SOURCE

Eileen Nearne on WikiPedia


JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Cure for Cancer

What do JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald and the Cure for Cancer have in common?

According to Oswald's lover, Judyth Vary Baker (she was accepted as a political asylum seeker in Europe, the first ever non-combatant American woman to succeed in gaining asylum seeker status in the world), the underlying reason for the assassinations were Biological Weapons / Cure for Cancer.

"What happened is far more impressive and sinister than anyone could have imagined. Beyond the facts that the death of JFK opened the way to more wars, such as in Vietnam, ostensibly to fight communism while enriching the war industry, with the Mafia free of Bobby Kennedy's pesky presence countering corruption, we now know there is now a whole new angle to the story. And it is perhaps more important and worrying than even the assassination of a beloved President. Behind it all was the development of a biological weapon capable of killing anyone by injecting virulent cancer cells. Any such murder would, of course, look like a natural death.

This is what Lee Harvey Oswald, a US government agent, was working on with Judyth Vary Baker in the summer of 1963 in New Orleans, along with David Ferrie, Dr. Mary Sherman, and Dr. Alton Ochsner from the Ochsner Clinic, with the government and the Mafia waiting in the wings. [...]

Judyth Vary Baker had only one wish when she was a young and promising lab researcher hired by Dr. Ochsner -- to discover a cure for cancer -- and everyone believed then that she could do it. She and her fellow research associates were led to believe that the New Orleans Project -- developing a biological weapon designed to assassinate Fidel Castro -- could have prevented the death of JFK and World War Three. Then, after Kennedy was killed, she was told to keep her mouth shut and to never again work in cancer research."


Would you like know what we shall find when they declassify the information on the JFK assassination?


The Great Gold Conspiracy

"The precious metals markets have tremendous potential for investors. But they are also wrapped up in great mystery -- deliberately so.

Gold is the worst understood financial market. Most official data about gold is actually disinformation. [...]

Many of you have heard about the looting of Europe that was undertaken by the Nazi German occupation during World War II. But most of that looting did not take place at the point of a gun. No, it took place through the currency markets.

This looting through the currency markets was spelled out by the November 1943 issue of a military intelligence letter published by the U.S. War Department, a letter called Tactical and Technical Trends. Of course the Nazi occupation seized whatever central bank gold reserves had not been sent out of the occupied countries in time. But then the Nazi occupation either issued special occupation currency that could not be used in Germany itself or, in countries that had fairly sophisticated banking systems, took over the domestic central bank and enforced an exchange rate much more favorable to the reichsmark. Or else the Nazi occupation simply printed for itself and spent huge new amounts of the regular currency of the occupied country. This control of the currency markets drafted every resident of the occupied countries into the service of the occupation and achieved a one-way flow of production -- a flow out of the occupied countries and into Germany."


There are several fascinating accounts of German Intelligence operations involving gold and currency in occupied countries, including concentration camp money production. Look them up.


Every writer's dilemma: How to begin a novel?

Every writer dreads the beginning. How, oh how, to begin the novel? Is there a magical formula, one applicable to every genre, and to every writer? Many literary agents, and numerous editors believe so, hence the oft repeated dogma: If your story does not grab the reader's [read: the literary agent's] attention from the very first page then it only warrants a rejection slip.

What is a writer to do?

Be true to yourself, as this celebrated author of numerous works suggests:

"I am an author without talent who doesn't even have a complete command of his own language. But it matters little. Read on at any rate, kind public. Truth is a good thing which compensates even for an author's faults. This reading will be useful to you, and you will experience no deception, since I have warned you that you will find in my novel neither talent nor art, only the truth.

For the rest, my kind public, regardless of how you may love to read between the lines, I prefer to tell you everything. Because I have confessed that I have no trace of talent and that my novel will be faulty in the telling, do not conclude that I am inferior to the storytellers whom you accept and that this book is beneath their writings. That is not the purpose of my explanation. I merely mean that my story is very weak, so far as execution is concerned, in comparison with the works produced by real talent. But, as for the celebrated works of your favorite authors, you may, even in point of execution, put it on their level; you may even place it above them; for there is more art here than in the works aforesaid, you may be sure. And now, public, thank me! And since you love so well to bend the knee before him who disdains you, salute me!

Happily, scattered through your throngs, there exist, O public, persons, more and more numerous, whom I esteem. If I have just been impudent, it was because I spoke only to the vast majority of you. Before the persons to whom I have just referred, on the contrary, I shall be modest and even timid. Only, with them, long explanations are useless. I know in advance that we shall get along together. Men of research and justice, intelligence and goodness, it is but yesterday that you emerged among us; and already your number is great and becoming ever greater. If you were the whole public, I should not need to write; if you did not exist, I could not write. But you are a part of the public, without yet being the whole public; and that is why it is possible, that is why it is necessary, for me to write."

From the preface to "What is to be done?" by Nikolay Chernyshevsky
Play your best card:


Support literature for a better society

"Literature is about social liveliness, it's a life-blood [...] It enriches life. Culture enriches people, it makes for a better society, it makes for a better educated and more cultivated and humane society. Literature is part of that [...] It was hugely important for corporations, such as banks, investment firms, construction companies and property developers to support literature as part of the arts, and for us to say to them: You can't just develop properties, you have to let people develop as well" SOURCE


Literature can bring an end to extremism

"Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Monday that we have distanced ourselves from literature and art which has resulted in the predicament of our society and recent wave of extremism.

Kaira lamented that in the past dialogue used to be weapon in our society, but now weapons have taken the place of dialogue in our society and there was urgent need to fight this mindset and literacy figures can play a crucial role in winning this war against terrorism.

Kaira said that as a nation we have tried to find political and administrative solution of the problems being faced by us but real solution lies in revival of arts and literature in the society.

Our society has stopped giving respect to poets and writers which they deserve and as a result of this attitude our approach has become stagnant and retrospective.

He said that no single person can bring a revolution. Literary personalities and politicians all play their role in revolutionizing the society."



The XXth Century's Robin Hood

"Salvatore Giuliano (November 16, 1922 – July 5, 1950) was a Sicilian peasant. The subjugated social status of his class led him to become a bandit and separatist who has been mythologised during his life and after his death.  He is commonly compared to the legend of Robin Hood in popular culture, due to stories pertaining to him helping the poor villagers in his area by taking from the rich.

In the Sagana mountains, Giuliano collected a gang of approximately fifty bandits, criminals, deserters, and homeless men under his leadership and gave them military-style marksmanship training. The gang took to robbery and burglary for the money they needed for food and weapons.

Giuliano led small-scale attacks on government and police targets in the name of this movement. Reputedly, Giuliano himself would have liked to have seen Sicily become a state within the United States of America. He sent president Harry S. Truman a letter in which he urged him to annex Sicily.

Giuliano also fostered a number of myths around himself. One tale tells how he discovered a postal worker was stealing letters that contained money Sicilian families had sent to their relatives in the USA; he killed the postal worker and assured the letters continued to their correct destinations. When he robbed the duchess of Pratameno, he left her with her wedding ring and borrowed a book she was reading; he returned it later with compliments. He fostered cooperation of poor tenant farmers by sending them money and food. Contrary to some claims, he was not a Mafioso."

"The Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano entered legend in 1950 when his bullet-riddled body was found in the courtyard of a house in Castelvetrano, having apparently died in a shoot-out with the Carabinieri.

A controversial figure in life – seen by some as a Robin Hood-type figure and by others, more realistically, as a terrorist – Giuliano appears to have become even more mysterious in death.

Far from being a romantic “Sicilian Robin Hood”, Casarrubea says, Giuliano’s gang worked first at the orders of a German SS Colonel, Herbert Kappler, before switching at the end of the war to the service of the US intelligence agency.

The band’s most infamous exploit was the Portella della Ginestra massacre, a response to an electoral victory by the leftist People’s Bloc.

The massacre, on Labour Day 1947, claimed the lives of 11 Socialist party supporters and injured 71 others.

By the end of his criminal career Giuliano was believed to have been responsible for some 430 murders, his victims distributed promiscuously among the police, the mafia and civilians."

SOURCES: 1 and 2


"The remains were exhumed in order to ascertain, once and for all, whether Salvatore Giuliano had a lookalike buried in his place and then escaped Italy for a new life in the United States. If still alive, he would be 88.

Surviving relatives of Italy's most famous bandit chieftain insist that he was at least 5ft 9in tall.

But the skeleton found in his grave in Montelpre, in western Sicily, belongs to someone who was between 5ft 2in and 5ft 5in tall, investigators said.

A local coroner has instructed police to check documents which may record Giuliano's exact height in order to confirm the apparent discrepancy.

The remains were exhumed last week, 60 years after the man dubbed The King of Montelpre was supposed to have been murdered by his cousin, one of his most trusted lieutenants.

Experts plan to carry out DNA tests on the skeleton and to match the samples with those of Giuliano's living relatives. " Source


Read Literature to Understand the World

William Penn University advises students to "become more interested in the world instead of becoming more interesting to the world", about "literature, oppression and the need for college students to seriously consider their roles in the global marketplace. ... To have a global market successful at meeting people's needs, it is necessary to understand the market from the viewpoint of the poor, the 'best advisers in the global marketplace.' ... the literature of various cultures can yield a better way to understand 'this world of technology, in which we constantly communicate but hardly connect.'" SOURCE


Tools of the Spy Trade

Here are some boys' toys, or espionage gadgets

A pocket watch gun, 3mm caliber:

A pocket watch camera, from 1886:


Voting, Elections, and REAL Change

In a few days we will be voting in municipal elections. Elsewhere people will be voting for Change, again. Is Change possible at all, what with the plutocracy that runs for office and decides the outcomes of elections?

Novelist Stanislaw Lem (Author of Solaris) had an idea:

"At midnight all people of our country make a switch, someone who yesterday was a gardener, today becomes an engineer, yesterday’s building contractor becomes a judge, sovereign becomes a teacher, and so on. What remains unchanged is the society as a whole.

In every society of the old type most citizens perform their occupational functions poorly, and still the society does not seize to go on. Someone who is a poor gardener will ruin the garden, and a poor sovereign will ruin the entire country because both have the time to cause damage, time they do not have in our type of society. Furthermore in the old type of society, apart from poor skills, there is additional negative, even destructive effect of individuals’ private wants. Jealousy, egoism, conceit, vanity, want of power, all have a negative effect on the life of the society. This negative influence does not exist in our society. In our world one cannot do things to enrich oneself, or to make longer egoistic plans, hoping to enrich oneself in the long run, because tomorrow one becomes someone else, without knowing today what it will be." Stanislaw Lem

Now, imagine that citizens are drawn at random to advise governments on issues such as the environment, the economy, domestic and international policy, etc, much as jurors are called in to decide the outcomes of judicial cases… What if the midnight switch applies to the highest offices in the Government? Now, that's change.

Literature and History are Inseparable

"While armed confrontation constituted part of the strategy to liberate societies from the yoke of colonialism, literature in the form of poetry, prose and drama also played an important part in educating the oppressed populations of their plight and by so doing urge them to fight that oppression.

Literature that emerged from the continent at that time precisely looks at the consequences of Africa’s contact with Europe. The Berlin Conference of 1884 had granted European powers the "mandate" to occupy territories on the continent. Francophone writers like Ferdinand Oyono seek to explore the brutality of the European settler administration in Africa.

The coming in of missionaries in Africa is a specific historical process that is seen preceding colonial conquest in a number of localities. It is missionaries that established mission schools with the aim of creating a subservient population in the colonisers’ areas of influence." ...



How to make invisible ink

Invisible Ink in espionage:

"Well, invisible ink is of course one of the key ways of communicating all the way through this period and there is a formula. He did employ an early scientist, a fellow of the Royal Society later, who produces a formula for invisible ink.

But then someone discovered, apparently to Cumming's delight, that semen makes a very good invisible ink and the Head of Station at Copenhagen took to this with some enthusiasm apparently... and his letters arrived stinking of high heaven and he had to be instructed that a fresh operation was required for each communication.

Now we haven't actually tested this but if there are any volunteers out there I'd like to, you know, I'd like to hear from them and perhaps we could arrange some kind of field test for this."

Read the complete interview with the author of The Secret History of MI6

War Plan Red

"War Plan Red, also known as the Atlantic Strategic War Plan, was a plan for the United States to make war with Great Britain (the "Red" forces). It was developed by the United States Army during the mid 1920s, approved in May 1930 by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Navy, updated in 1934-35, and officially withdrawn in 1939, following the outbreak of the Second World War, when it and others like it were replaced by the five "Rainbow" plans created to deal with the Axis threat. However, it was not declassified until 1974.

The war was intended to be a continental war, waged primarily on North American territory between the United States and the British Empire. The assumption was that Canada would represent the ideal geographic forum through which the United States could wage war against the British."

Canadians had a counter-plan:

"Defence Scheme No. 1 was created on April 12, 1921 and details a surprise counterattack on the northern U.S. as soon as possible after evidence was received of an American invasion of Canada.

According to the plan, Canadian troops stationed in Pacific Command in Western Canada would immediately be sent to seize Seattle, Washington; Canadian Forces stationed in Prairie Command in Western Canada would be sent to attack Great Falls, Montana and then move to Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Canadian Forces stationed in Quebec Command would be sent to seize Albany, New York in a surprise counterattack while Canadian Forces in Maritime Command[clarification needed]would counterattack into Maine.[1] Meanwhile, according to the plan, the Canadian Forces Great Lakes Command in Ontario was assumed to be fighting on the defensive against the main attack from the Armed Forces of the USA; if Canadian forces were successful in defending in the Great Lakes area, they were encouraged to launch counterattacks in the area of the Niagara River and the St. Clair River.

When resistance stiffened, the Canadians would retreat to their own borders, destroying bridges and railways to hinder American pursuit.[1] The purpose of the invasion would be to allow time for Canada to prepare its war effort and to receive aid from Britain, or to limit the American invasion before the US government opted to discontinue the incursions. Defence Scheme No. 1 has as a counterpart in the American War Plan Red, a plan to invade Canada drafted in 1930."

Read more on the Rainbow War Plans

When the war is not going as planned

"There they lay - badly wounded cases or men who could not walk any farther - wrapped in rags and bedded down on dirty straw or simply on the floorboards, keeping themselves warm by huddling together or by means of bonfires. There was no one there to attend to them, if there had been, it would not have helped them much, for the Army Staff had canceled the sixty-gramme bread ration for the wounded on the ground that those who cannot fight, shall not eat. The walking cases dragged themselves to a near-by pump to wait for the horse-drawn carts. Before the unsuspecting driver understood what was happening they would throw themselves with pocket-knives, pieces of metal or just their bare hands on to the trembling horse and cut it to pieces, carrying away with them the shreds of steaming flesh."

German soldiers in the winter of 1942 / 43, during the battle of Stalingrad -- hungry, wounded, sick. The war wasn't going as planned...

"The Lieutenant was silent. He remembered the alcazar and thought of the General with the message who wasn't able to speak when he came into the Presence. Frederick the Great's generals had thrown their daggers on the ground in front of the King. How was it that the generals of today won battles and wore decorations, if they were so cowardly?"

Heinrich Gerlach, in "The Forsaken Army". The novel is considered in line with Erich Maria Remarque's masterpieces.


Novel Writing

"Announcer:     And now it's time for Novel Writing, which today comes from the west country on Dorset.

Commentator:     Hello, and welcome to Dorchester, where a very good crowd has turned out to watch local boy Thomas Hardy write his new novel "The Return Of The Native", on this very pleasant July morning. This will be his eleventh novel and the fifth of the very popular Wessex novels, and here he comes! Here comes Hardy, walking out towards his desk. He looks confident, he looks relaxed, very much the man in form, as he acknowledges this very good natured bank holiday crowd. And the crowd goes quiet now, as Hardy settles himself down at the desk, body straight, shoulders relaxed, pen held lightly but firmly in the right hand. He dips the pen...in the ink, and he's off! It's the first word, but it's not a word - oh, no! - it's a doodle. Way up on the top of the lefthand margin is a piece of meaningless scribble - and he's signed his name underneath it! Oh dear, what a disappointing start. But his off again - and here he goes - the first word of Thomas Hardy's new novel, at ten thirty-five on this very lovely morning, it's three letters, it's the definite article, and it's "The". Dennis.

Dennis:     Well, this is true to form, no surprises there. He started five of his eleven novels to date with the definite article. We had two of them with "It", there's been one "But", two "At"s, one "On" and a "Dolores", but that of course was never published.

Commentator:     I'm sorry to interrupt you there, Dennis, but he's crossed it out. Thomas Hardy, here on the first day of his new novel, has crossed out the only word he has written so far, and he's gazing off into space. Oh, ohh, there he signed his name again.

Dennis:     It looks like "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" all over again.

Commentator:     But he's...no, he's down again and writing, Dennis, he's written "B" again, he's crossed it out again, and he has written "A" - and there is a second word coming up straight away, and it's "Sat" - "A Sat" - doesn't make sense - "A Satur" - "A Saturday" - it's "A Saturday", and the crowd are loving it, they are really enjoying this novel. And it's "afternoon", it's "Saturday afternoon", a comfortable beginning, and he's straight on to the next word - it's "in" - "A Saturday afternoon in" - "in" - "in" "in Nov" - "November" - November is spelled wrong, he's left out the second "E", but he's not going back, it looks like he's going for the sentence, and it's the first verb coming up - it's the first verb of the novel, and it's "was", and the crowd are going wild! "A Saturday afternoon in November was", and a long word here - "appro" - "appro" - is it a "approving"? - no, it's "approaching" - "approaching" - "A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching" - and he's done the definite article "but" again. And he's writing fluently, easily with flurrying strokes of the pen, as he comes up to the middle of this first sentence. And with this eleventh novel well underway, and the prospects of a good days writing ahead, back to the studio."

Spook spotting

"The [ARMY] regulation  presents an extensive description of suspicious behaviors that are reportable to authorities, including “attempts to expand access to classified information by repeatedly volunteering for assignments or duties beyond the normal scope of responsibilities.”

It also provides guidance on how to respond to the discovery of a clandestine surveillance device (“do not disturb the device”) or an approach by a foreign intelligence officer (“remain noncommittal, neither refusing nor agreeing to cooperate”;  also, “do not, under any circumstances, conduct your own investigation”)."



Writers and Social Media

Recently Malcolm Gladwell weighed in on the relevance of Facebook and Twitter. His answer was a vigorous headshake, so vigorous the head could actually unscrew. Seems Gladwell unnerved a touchy subject. Everyone is running in circles, like headless roosters. Are Social Media of any use to writers / novelists?

Louis-Ferdinand Céline answers (and long before the emergence of these services):

"Let's talk about work, the job of writing. It's the only thing that counts. And even that calls for a good deal of indiscretion. Too much publicity in the way people talk about these things. We're objects of publicity. It's revolting. It's high time people took a cure of modesty. In literature as in everything else we're befouled by publicity. It's disgraceful. I say: do your job and shut up, that's the only way. People will read it or they won't read it, that's their business. The only thing for the author to do is to make himself scarce."


Reading makes you better

"Have you ever, as a reader, felt misunderstood? Do non-readers around you ask why you read so much? Have you ever had to defend your choice of books because you prefer fiction to self-help? And have you ever found the words to make non-readers truly understand the impact books have had on your life?

Reading makes you better at anything you want to do. By filling your mind with thoughts and stories, it removes the possibility of tediousness in any activity, the edge from suffering and the despair of loneliness. Knowledge is power but imagination takes that power even further. Imagination is the basis of empathy and compassion." SOURCE

Alberto Manguel, A Reader on Reading

Spy Balloon

Ethical Civilization

"The contradiction between modern problems, new scientific knowledge and the inadequacy of our prevalent source of morality or of ethics, led me to ask what kind of values would be required to face the new challenges. What would our civilization look like if we were to adopt them?

In a such a civilization,

• All human beings would be equal in dignity and in human rights.

• Life on this planet would not be devalued and seen as only a preparation for a better life after death, somewhere beyond the clouds.

• The virtues of tolerance and of human liberty would be proclaimed and applied, subject only to the requirements of public order.

• Human solidarity and sharing would be better accepted as a protection against poverty and deprivation.

• The manipulation and domination of others through lies, propaganda, and exploitation schemes of all kinds would be less prevalent.

• There would be less reliance on superstition and religion to understand the Universe and to solve life's problems and more on reason, logic and science.

• Better care of the Earth's natural environment—land, soil, water, air and space—would be taken in order to bequeath a brighter heritage to future generations.

• We would have ended the primitive practice of resorting to violence or to wars to resolve differences and conflicts.

• There would be more genuine democracy in the organization of public affairs, according to individual freedom and responsibility.

• Governments would see that their first and most important task is to help develop children's intelligence and talents through education.

Yes we can, if we try."

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay