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Search tags: non-fiction
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text 2017-03-24 02:44
Reading progress update: I've read 204 out of 527 pages.
Charles Darwin: A New Life - John Bowlby

During the nearly 5 years of the Beagle expedition, Darwin went from intending to join the Clergy to planning a life as a scientist. He'd never been enthusiastic about the religious aspect of Church life, seeming keener on the country lifestyle than giving sermons. In the end he got what was, for him, the best of both worlds; a life in science, lived in the country, being as his family was, independently wealthy.

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text 2017-03-24 00:56
Reading progress update: I've read 186 out of 527 pages.
Charles Darwin: A New Life - John Bowlby

The author suggests that Darwin was more concerned with geology than biology during the Beagle journey. From my recollections of The Voyage of the Beagle, both featured strongly in the published Journal, but in terms of theorising, geology hugely outweighs zoology or botany. Evolution is not mentioned in the contemporary writings about the voyage and only appears briefly in the Journal as a later interpolation.

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text 2017-03-23 20:00
DNF at 20%
Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio - Anne Finger

This is a rambling, incoherent mess. Finger's writing is also very annoying to read due to her constant condescending attitude toward the reader. She does not inform on the history of the disease or how it affected her personally. The final straw was when she wrote about how the oral polio vaccine may be the linchpin to the AIDS epidemic as proof that eradication of polio from the world may not be as awesome as we all want it to be.....wtf?

 

 

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text 2017-03-23 13:53
Reading progress update: I've read 367 out of 517 pages.
Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being - Ted Hughes Hughes suggests that in most cases the later plays focus on the hero's inner life and not on the heroine's. He points out a few exceptions but doesn't mention Othello, which, it has oft been observed, seems to be dominated by the villain, Iago, rather than the Moor, let alone Desdemona.
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text 2017-03-23 00:15
Reading progress update: I've read 94 out of 527 pages.
Charles Darwin: A New Life - John Bowlby

So far there is little to suggest Darwin suffered the social difficulties that form an important part of an autism diagnosis. It might be necessary to go directly to his letters to get a better idea about this. The fact that Darwin clearly had what are referred to as "special interests" from a young age still gives autism more explanatory power than the bereavement/difficult father theory. I have arrived at no firm conclusion either way, yet. This is in contrast to Einstein and Dirac where the evidence seems to me overwhelmingly in favour of an autism diagnosis.

 

For my purposes I need 3 extremely influential scientists who were probably autistic; I have two. If I conclude Darwin probably wasn't or at least the evidence is inconclusive, I can fall back on the suggestion of Newton and see how that turns out - but I do have a deadline - the talk is to be given during the first week of July.

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