Monday, 16 September 2019

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

     At the beginning of the year I wrote an article about the literary parasites who prey on first time authors. I also mentioned that Amazon offered a self-publishing facility called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for e-books, which appeared legitimate, but I hadn't tried it at the time. I have now tried it, and discovered that it allows publication, not only of e-books, but of paperbacks in a print-on-demand (POD) manner. It is also free. Whatever else might be said about it, you won't be ripped off.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Global Warming?

     I've noticed that nearly all the propaganda information on global warming is about just that: global warming, not carbon dioxide. No, I am not "denying" the science. In order to do that, I would have to become an efficient climatologist. In any case, I don't think anything is gained by the parties abusing each other as "deniers" or "warmists". But I am sceptical - because that is what a scientist is supposed to be. When you hear that "the science is settled", we who are not climatologists, but who nevertheless have a background in science, know that the statement is ridiculous. Which science? And to what degree is it settled?

Monday, 3 June 2019

An Unlosable Election?

     I was just as amazed as everybody else on the evening of the May 18th Federal election to see the Coalition returned to office. Whether I was elated or appalled is beside the point; it wasn't supposed to happen - not if the opinion polls were to be believed. Since then there has been endless soul searching: firstly with the pollsters, who turned out so wrong, and secondly by the Labor Party which, like the American Democrats, feel "We was robbed!" Well, I have no intention of revisiting and analysing the various policies, but I do intend to elaborate on normal voter behaviour, and show that the results weren't so extraordinary after all.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Race and IQ

     Jared Diamond expressed the view that uncivilised people are more intelligent than civilised ones, but didn't actually provide any evidence. Now, I am a zoologist, not a psychometrician, but two things are pretty obvious to me. The first is that intelligence is not a social construct; some people really are born smarter than others. The second is that race is real. We may be all brothers under the skin, but my blood line separated from that of the Aborigines about 2,000 generations ago, and from Africans nearly 3,000 generations ago. A lot can happen in that time. Therefore, I find it extremely unlikely that the various races can differ in (say) average height, but be exactly the same in average intelligence. On the other hand, some of the extremely low racial IQ I have seen quoted make my baloney meter light up.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Wannabe Authors, Beware!

     So you've written your first book! Isn't it hard to find a publisher! Some of the biggest companies refuse to accept unsolicited manuscripts. In other words, they outsource to literary agents the task of culling out the badly written chaff from the wheat. Finding a good agent is almost as difficult as finding a publisher. You virtually have to have a reputation before you start. After all, a first time author gets little money, and the agent gets only a fraction of that, so they operate on a shoestring. Besides that, your book may well be poorly written - especially if it is a novel, which requires a whole more skill than non-fiction. Yes, we've all seen published rubbish which makes you wonder how anything ever gets rejected. Just the same, most people have an exaggerated idea of their own writing skill. But even if your book is good, it faces competition from a lot of other excellent works, and the publisher just might not have enough scope to fit it in. But beware! There are predators out there waiting to exploit first time authors.

Saturday, 12 January 2019


I might give this blog a rest for a while, but since it covers a wide range of subjects, let me help you find what might interest you by presenting an index. Some articles, of course, have multiple tags, but the major ones are: Books, Theology, Sex, Science, History, Islam, Politics, Social Issues, and Odds and Ends.
To read the appropriate article, click on the asterisk in front of it.

* What you don't know about making books  * Wannabe Authors, Beware!
* Kindle Direct Publishing
* Walking through walls and rationing days
* Rider Haggard      * Lionel Fanthorpe       * Robinson Crusoe's anonymous friends
* A forgotten childhood classic                   * Forgotten Australian comics
* Little Red Riding Hood and the werewolf

* Why I am a Christian     * Tradition and Doctrine     * Women's Ordination
* People's Damascus Road Experiences       * Dreams, Visions, and Muslims
* The Christian Explosion in China              * On the battlefield or scaffold
* Your Christmas Crib is Wrong                  * The Problems of Pontius Pilate
* The Hallowe'en that changed the world (1517)  * A Licence to Steal

Sex   I got my degrees in animal and human behaviour. Therefore ...
* The science of sexual morality
* Homosexuality in the lower animals?
* Rates of cures for homosexuality [one of my most popular articles]
* Same sex "marriage"?        * Same sex "marriage" and the Australian Constitution
* Transsexuals [I have personal experiences with them.]
* The National Geographic gender issue 
 * Lies, damned lies, and suicide statistics [Am I the only person to have read the paper?]          * The high cost of preventing AIDS
* Breasts were meant to be sexy.     * Toplessness 

My M.Sc. was on the Behaviour of the Koala, and since this is an animal dear to the hearts of Australians, I have summarised it in layman's terms in seven parts.
* 1. Background     * 2. Basics        * 3. Bringing up baby     * 4. Communication
* 5. Sex                 * 6.  Fighting    * 7. Comments and references [important]
In addition, I have written:
* Understanding those strange scientific names
* Antechinus or Why it doesn't always pay to be too macho.
* Vegetarianism          * Evolution as a theory    
* Of course, there's such a thing as race.     * Race and IQ

* Wini, the Wild White Man of Badu [one of my most popular articles, possibly because I seem to be the only person to write about this unusual facet of Australian history.]
* Why the Norse didn't settle America     * Why Columbus didn't write in Italian
* When a superpower was written off.     * When history is just a matter of chance
* Ned Kelly     * The Germans did not know about the gas chambers.
* On the scaffold or battlefield.     * The case for colonialism
* The miracles (?) of Apollonius of Tyana     * The riddle of the Amazonian amazons

Myths About Muhammad *1. Moon god     *2. Demon possessed      *3. Pedophile   
*4. Violence     * Muslims in Australia    * Polygamists in Australia      * The tragedy of an English jihadist     * Geert Wilders     * Dreams, visions, and Muslims

* Why I am not a liberal - or a conservative.
* Flogging the dead horse of the republic
* Why I would have voted for Trump if I had been an American.
* Why I voted for One Nation in the Queensland election.
* Guns in Australia and America     * The Australian voting system   
* Health Insurance in Australia        * An unlosable election? (2019)

Social Issues
* Domestic violence (facts)     * The "Respect" campaign     * Women's careers
* Working women and housing     * What we can learn from hobos.

Odds and Ends
* Hinduism and Buddhism      * The crazy ideas children have.     * Shaving
* Murder is not as easy as fiction makes out.  * Getting away with robbery is even harder.     * Do we all have a double somewhere?       * The philosophy of an Aboriginal tribe     * How salt can lose its savour    * Wedding presents     * None of my best friends belongs to a minority.

Monday, 1 October 2018

How to Steal a Million Dollars

      A while ago three men were arrested after a year-long crime spree bringing in $80,000. Sounds a lot, doesn't it? In point of fact, a third of $80,000 is chicken feed for a year's work, and hardly worth risking going to jail. They would have been better off getting an honest job.
     Crime is a mug's game: a high risk, low yield enterprise. If you decide on a life of crime, you are declaring war on society, which means you will be outnumbered and outgunned. No matter how clever or lucky you are, in the end you'll get caught. And apart from the sheer inconvenience of going to jail, once you get out, you can't logically go back to crime, because the police know your name, your fingerprints, your DNA, and your methods. At the same time, anything you steal will have to be "fenced" at a fraction of its nominal value. Even the few who do make it pay - the drug lords, the Mr. Bigs, the godfathers - probably have the enterprising skill to make the same amount of money in business without having to watch over one shoulder for the law, and over the other for their fellow crims.
      A few years ago I wrote an essay about how murder is a lot harder than the books and movies make out. So now I shall explain what needs to be done if you want to steal something and keep out of jail. You shouldn't do it, because (a) it's a bad thing to do, and (b) the danger is still very high. Nevertheless, these are the steps you need to take if you want to have at least some chance of getting away with it.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Riddle of the Amazonian Amazons

      Imagine, if you will, that beyond your towns and farms - the only world you know - dwell large settlements of aliens from outer space, of which you know very little, except that they are completely different, and incomprehensible. You see their flying saucers passing overhead, and more and more frequently they themselves are intruding into your domain. But you keep your distance, because oral tradition tells how they once committed terrible atrocities against your kind, or that once there were friendly relations, but then they brought the plague upon you.
     This, essentially, is the experience of thousands of Indians who are literally hiding from the outside world in the fastness of the Amazon jungle. Every time it is announced that the last uncontacted tribe has been discovered, another turns up. But once there were millions of them - only to be wiped out by massacre and enslavement, but mostly, as in North America, by infectious diseases which could devastate whole communities before any white man arrived. And somewhere in this maelstrom of destruction there was lost a community which most people now relegate to mythology: the women warriors after which the Amazon River was named.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Miracles (?) of Apollonius of Tyana

     Who the heck was Apollonius of Tyana? I first met him in a novel called My First 2,000 Years (about the Wandering Jew) by G. S. Viereck and P. Eldridge (1928), where he appears as a philosopher who raises a dead woman to life, and informs the narrator that he and Jesus had been disciples of the same master in Tibet. (The latter statement, of course, expresses the common Western trope of Tibet as a centre of profound, occult, and mystical philosophy. While Tibetan Buddhism could well be described in such terms, it did not arrive in the country until the seventh century.)
     Naturally, I assumed that Apollonius was a fictional character. Afterwards, however, I kept seeing references to him as a wonder worker, and always juxtaposed, usually favourably, with Jesus. I was later to discover that he had been cited in anti-Christian writers of the late second and early third centuries, and later by anti-Christian writers of the Enlightenment, up to the present day. But who the heck was he? When I finally managed to read his biography, it turned out to be a damp squib.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Hinduism and Buddhism in a Very Small Nutshell

     A while ago, my sister-in-law asked me to provide a short statement on what Hinduism and Buddhism were all about. Needless to say, this is not an easy subject to boil down into a few paragraphs. Both religions involve a tremendous amount of deep philosophical thinking, as well as a hugely diverse corpus of popular devotions and beliefs. One could spend a lifetime studying each. Nevertheless, since the whole outlook of these eastern religions is so completely alien to our own, it is worthwhile putting a brief summary into an article, so here goes.