links for 2009-03-26

  • "Recent evidence that Druids possibly committed cannibalism and ritual human sacrifice—perhaps on a massive scale—add weight to ancient Roman accounts of Druidic savagery, archaeologists say."
  • "For centuries it's been said that the crusading Knights of Malta constructed an underground city on the Mediterranean island of Malta, sparking rumors of secret carriageways and military labyrinths.

    Now a tunnel network has been uncovered beneath the historic heart of the Maltese capital of Valletta, researchers say. But the tunnels—likely from an ahead-of-its-time water system—may render previous theories all wet."

  • "Kitezh is something of a Russian Shangri-la–a city saved by the Tartar hordes by a miraculous mist. It is said to exist in the depths of a lake, by whose shores the faithful can ever so faintly hear the sound of bells. In the apocalyptic years around the 1905 revolution, many intellectuals, in a spirit not unlike Tolstoy's, went on pilgrimages to the site."

    "Though it was once dubbed 'the Russian Parsifal,' Kitezh is in many ways Mahlerian rather than Wagnerian."

  • "Establish something as a 'pseudoscience' and you dismiss the evidence offered out of hand. The processes to which pseudoscience refers are very modern: expert communities, institutional truth, public discourse, and the body of scientific thinking. Twentieth-century philosophers of science like Karl Popper of course fashioned us the tool, discerning communities of disciplinary inquiry, methods, and paradigm shifts as the symptom of science an its distance from its opposite, pseudoscience, where evidence could be marshaled into the simulacrum of established knowledge without the actuality of the same authority."

    "I suppose I’m attracted to things labeled pseudoscience in part because they represent communities whose thinking is out-of-time or out-of-place, and twenty-first-century interlocutors frequently have problems determining which and why."

  • "Storyworlds are a new form of computer entertainment developed by Storytron, Inc. Using our free authoring tool, SWAT, creative individuals with a story to tell can script their own sets of Actors, Stages, Props, and a web of potential interactions known as Verbs. Players seeking a unique new form of computer entertainment can play those storyworlds, engage with the Actors, and explore a wide range of choices and behavior in the dramatically rich environment developed by the author of that world.

    Storytron—It's About the People!"

  • "What I think is more insidious, though, than wingnut dentists’ cutting back their hours or Mrs. Instapundit cutting back on whatever it is that she normally does, is the widespread belief among elites that they and their colleagues are indispensable men."
  • "If you're basing your lifestyle, your belief system, or even the name of one of your pets on Atlas Shrugged or anything else written by Ayn Rand, you are a tool.

    This isn't even the cranky asshole left-wing liberal in me telling you this, this is the cranky asshole English-lit minor: Atlas Shrugged sucks. It sucks as both a political allegory and a work of fiction. It sucks hard."