After the Coup (Old Mans War, Book 4.5)


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The Work Of A Nation. The Center of Intelligence.

Earl makes use of his sudden new wealth to put his life into order. He pays off his mortgage, reacquires his house and garden, buys a shiny new pickup truck; he tries to mend fences with his family by means of financial help; and he performs local acts of philanthropy. Each of these aspects of financial need—whether involving banks, schools, or insurance companies—suggests broken or indifferent institutions that present needless obstacles to the basic needs and simple pleasures of ordinary people.

As a struggling independent drug mule, Earl faces the soul-killing, and perhaps even body-killing, demands of a new cartel regime. Yet along with those threats, Earl faces an entirely different realm of threats—from law enforcement, both those officers whom he happens to encounter in the course of his travels and those working from the top down, at the D.

Alongside the frustrations and injustices borne by women, Eastwood suggests that men, too, have suffered from unchallenged traditional gender roles—they have been emotionally impoverished by the imposed distance from their wives and children. Eastwood is one of the great political filmmakers.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi - Review

He seems to contemplate his own path through life, and, cinematically shaking his head, wonders how in the hell he got to where he is. Recommended Stories. Sign in. Get the best of The New Yorker in your in-box every day. You are quite active on Twitter and seem to get involved in some healthy debates there. And sometimes you seems to stir up Twitstorms -- recently you were accused of Islamophobia following comments about Medhi Hasan.


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You also made some comments about abortion. Do you think Twitter is an effective communication channel for these sorts of conversations? There are risks in the sheer brevity of Twitter and it's actually quite an elegant art reducing what you have to say to characters and it's something that I quite enjoy attempting to do. As for Islamophobia, I get accused of avoiding talking about Islam and only talking about Christianity just as often as I get attacked for Islamophobia.

People attack one tweet and don't take into account everything else one has written. I am actually an equal opportunity anti-theist. I do attack Islam but Islamophobia is, of course, a ridiculous word. Islam deserves no more protection from being ridiculed than Christianity does and nobody talks about Christianophobia.

It's a public relations coup that somebody has achieved by inventing this word.

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It is a ridiculous word; it should never be used. What do you think about the fact that many modern atheists see atheism as part of their identity? I didn't know that was the case. It's undoubtedly true that many religious people see their religion as part of their identity, but I thought atheists were largely free of that. Do you still stand by the "Dear Muslima" comments you made about Rebecca Watson?


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When was the last time you changed your mind about something? I've changed my mind in science. One theory that I pretty much ridiculed in The Selfish Gene was the Handicap Theory, which was put forward by an Israeli biologist called Amotz Zahavi, which said that the reason why peacocks are so brightly, gaudily-coloured is because it is a handicap. Nobody denied that it was a handicap, but Zahavi was suggesting that it was favoured because it was a handicap.

So a peacock is advertising "look how strong, fit, clever I must be because I've managed to survive in spite of carrying around this ridiculous ornament on my back". The theory was pretty much universally ridiculed in the 70s and I have since admitted that I was wrong. That was because of an extremely clever colleague of mine called Alan Grafen who produced a brilliant mathematical model which, contrary to all intuitive expectation, showed that the handicap principle could work. So I had to climb down over that and was very glad to do so.

It's one of the virtues of science that we do change our minds when the evidence warrants it. What are the most important unanswered questions in biology? A perennial one in evolutionary biology is what's the good of sex. That's the subject of active theoretical research. The origin of life is a major unsolved problem -- it's a hard one because it happened a long time ago under very different conditions.

So the research has to consist of making theoretical models of what might have happened. And the evolution of subjective consciousness is probably the biggest of all outstanding problems in evolutionary biology.

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In biology more generally, the relationship between genes and embryological development is a very flourishing, active important field. What would you say is the most interesting piece of research that you've seen recently? I think the most interesting general field of research in terms of the sheer volume of results coming in is molecular genetics.

There's a sort of breakneck improvement in the speed and cheapness of sequencing DNA, which has led to extraordinary advances in all sorts of different fields of biology. In my own field, evolutionary biology, it helps to work out what animals are related to what. It's an extension of the method that was available to Darwin but with huge amounts more data because DNA sequencing is so fantastically data rich.

What are you working on at the moment? I am literally half way through my autobiography. That takes me up to the end of writing The Selfish Gene at the age of Volume II will take me up to the present and will be published in After that I have no particular books in mind though another children's book like The Magic of Reality might well be on the cards.

Can you tell me about your writing process? I am very inefficient I'm afraid. I have bursts interspersed with non-bursts. I don't have a routine of getting up and doing two hours before breakfast I'm afraid. The first half has been reasonably easy and I've had the advantage of being able to speak to my mother about early memories and she's been extremely helpful. She's 96 and has a good memory for the distant past. For my school days I've got a pretty good memory myself although I never kept a diary. And then I went into my scientific career, working for my doctorate at Oxford, then Berkeley California, then back to Oxford and writing The Selfish Gene.

The second volume will be harder. Maybe I'm wrong to think it will be harder. Volume I I did pretty much chronologically, Volume II I think I'll divide into topics like books, television, activism, that kind of thing. I really haven't made a start on it at all so perhaps I shouldn't even be talking about it. Since you give so many interviews, do you find yourself referring to your recollections of retelling your memories, as opposed to the memories themselves?

Psychologists like Elizabeth Loftus have done research on what they call false memory, which does seem almost unbelievably powerful. Elizabeth Loftus herself claims to be able to plant a false memory in anyone. One of these days I must take up her challenge.

After the Coup - John Scalzi • BookLikes (ISBN)

I think one of the problems is that you tend to remember not the event itself but subsequent retellings of it. When you've been interviewed a lot as I have, you tend to have to repeat the same thing quite often. It's very easy to repeat the repeating rather than retell the original story. It's like when you come back from holiday and people ask you how it was and you end up picking three things that you end up saying every time, even though they aren't really representative of the holiday as a whole That's right and it's possible that I along with everybody else have some false memories.


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There was one incident in my childhood where my memory is a bit different from my mother's. I was in Africa and I was stung by a scorpion. We both agree about that, but my memory is a little bit different. Mine was that I was walking across the floor and I saw what I thought was a lizard -- god knows how I mistook a scorpion for a lizard -- and I thought it would be fun to have the lizard walking across my foot, so I put my foot in the path of the lizard and the next thing I knew was a blinding pain.

Well, my mother's memory is that I got down from the table at a meal and stepped on the scorpion, which was under the table. A different memory. Which do you think is right? Well obviously I think mine is because I have a very clear memory of it, but I am mindful of the fact that psychologists do tell us we have false memories. I suppose it's possible that the extreme pain -- I think I passed out -- could have done funny things to my memory.

So it's possible that my mother's is more reliable in this respect.

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