Show me the sky. Barely twenty years old, I left the teeming streets of London for the lonely expanse of the Australian outback. I would buy a motorbike in Darwin, ride the sealed highway south to Alice Springs, and then cut across the top of the Simpson Desert along the desolate Plenty Highway to Mt Isa. It was an ambitious plan to beat the heat and isolation of a region where earlier explorers had vanished without a trace. How differently it would all turn out. A crash in the wilderness would inspire part of my novel, Show Me the Sky, but what happened before the wreck would be too fabulous for conventional fiction. — Bookslut

The 9 manliest names in the world. Our culture is full of manly men doing manly things. And those men, invariably, have manly names. John Rambo. John Matrix. John McClane. Hollywood writers know what side their bread’s buttered when it comes to first names. But, then there are those real-life men walking around who, by design or coincidence, have been gifted with names so manly you’d expect their penis to rip free of their pants and attack passersby. We’ve compiled a list of the 9 men with the manliest names in the world. — Cracked

Creationism in the eye of the beholder. The creationists (to give them their proper name and to deny them their annoying annexation of the word intelligent) invariably speak of the eye in hushed tones. How, they demand to know, can such a sophisticated organ have gone through clumsy evolutionary stages in order to reach its current magnificence and versatility? Christopher Hitchens argues that a species of blind salamanders make nonsense of creationists’ claims. — Slate

A textbook case of intolerance. Government produced school textbooks in Saudi Arabia teach a number of religious lessons. In fact, any child who sticks around in Saudi schools until ninth grade will eventually be taught that “Jews and Christians are enemies of believers.” They will also be taught that Jews conspire to “gain sole control of the world,” that the Christian crusades never ended, and that on Judgment Day “the rocks or the trees” will call out to Muslims to kill Jews. These passages, it should be noted, are from new, “revised” Saudi textbooks. Following a similar analysis of earlier versions of these same textbooks in 2006, American diplomats immediately approached their Saudi counterparts about the more disturbing passages, and the Saudis agreed to conduct a “comprehensive revision … to weed out disparaging remarks towards religious groups.” — Slate

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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