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Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK)
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Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace
Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace
by Charles H. Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth look at the oft-neglected discoverer of evolution, 16 April 2014
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Natural Selection & Beyond: The intellectual legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace, edited by Charles H. Smith and George Beccaloni, Oxford University Press, 2008, 510 ff

When we talk about evolution, we usually think in terms of the work of Charles Darwin. But there was another scientist thinking along the same lines at the same time as Darwin and that was the Welsh-born biologist Alfred Russel Wallace. Furthermore, Darwin and Wallace were not even the first to address the problem as, half a century earlier, Charles’ grandfather Erasmus Darwin and the French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck produced their own theories of how life on Earth developed.

This volume has contributions from twenty-three specialists in their fields, as well as the two editors, to recount the work of Wallace, not only as a biologist but also as a passionate socialist and investigator of spiritualism. As historian of science Peter Bowler comments in his Foreword, Wallace not only made major contributions to evolutionary biology but also, in both his biology and spiritualism, showed his opposition to the materialism of mainstream Victorian culture.

Although Darwin trained to be a priest in the Anglican Church, his approach to evolution was essentially materialistic with no mention of any possible divine intervention in the process. Wallace on the other hand did not exclude the possibility of some non-material agency in shaping the course of evolution.

In this book, Normal Johnson tells us something about Wallace’s concept of reinforcement as he saw it operating in the natural world. Tim Caro and colleagues writes on the colours of animals. Bernard Michaux gives a good account of Wallace’s biogeographical studies in the Far East that produced what came to be called the Wallace Line in Indonesia. And some of what are now regarded as misdirections in Wallace’s work are also covered – like his campaign against vaccination (by Martin Fichman), and his equivocal view of Francis Galton’s advocacy of eugenics.

There is not a lot written here on Wallace’s interest in spiritualism – of importance to the man himself in his lifetime and in the early years of the 20th century but probably of much less significance in comparison with his evolutionary studies and conclusions. Overall, this is a book for the reader who wants to have a serious grounding in what the life and work of this great man was all about. The book ends with a 40-page list of References and a useful Index.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness


Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life
Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life
by Michael A. Flannery
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced assessment of Wallace's contributuon to the theory of evolution, 7 Feb 2014
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Alfred Russel Wallace: a rediscovered life by Michael A. Flannery, Discovery Institute Press, Seattle, Washington, 2011, 166 ff.

Michael Flannery is Professor and Associate Director for Historical Collections at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama in the U.S.A. He has written here a most readable and accessible introduction to the life and work of a great naturalist , whose work has tended to be overlooked by the general public in favour of Wallace’s contemporary, friend and rival, Charles Darwin. The arguments go on as to whether Darwin or Wallace should be credited with creating the theory of evolution; but the documents of scientific history show us that both men were proposing similar – but far from identical – views about the origin of species at the same time and it seems obvious that each developed ideas from the work of the other.

It is often said that Wallace has been relatively neglected in the story of scientific developments because in later years he took an interest in spiritualism, long derided as fantasy and fiction by much of the scientific establishment. But, as Flannery has so eloquently shown, the processes of evolution as described by Darwin and by Wallace differ in a fundamental and significant way. Although Darwin trained to be an Anglican priest in his early years, his description of evolution envisages a thoroughgoing materialism in the process. Wallace on the other hand adopted a more teleological approach. Darwin had the advantages of a full schooling and study at two eminent universities, Edinburgh and Cambridge, while Wallace had only eight years of formal schooling and was largely self-taught. Darwin’s family were financially secure while Wallace had to be withdrawn from school because of the family’s financial hardship.

Flannery sets out the backgrounds of the two men and explains in this short book how their views of evolution differ. Without any religious hyperbole about Wallace’s ideas on ‘intelligent evolution’, Flannery interprets Wallace’s writings in a very measured way and shows their significance for readers interested as much as anything in the human side of the story and without any detail of the biology for non-scientists. He compares Wallace’s approach not only with Darwin’s but also in the context of the current so-called ‘intelligent design’ movement. There are three useful Appendixes of key writings by Wallace, nearly 300 references of sources, and a detailed Index. I would unhesitatingly recommend this book as a balanced view of the work of Alfred Russel Wallace and its interpretation.

Howard Jones is the author of The World as Spirit and other books.


Change Your Mind: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation
Change Your Mind: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation
Price: £3.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all meditation levels, 31 Jan 2014
This is a clear, no-nonsense guide to two forms of meditation - focusing on the breath and loving kindness, both of which are relevant to living today. The author has written it in such a way that it doesn't talk down to experienced meditators and in fact, as an experienced meditator, I found some new ideas and practices here that have enhanced my current meditation techniques. Equally, the author makes it easy to understand for those who have perhaps never done any meditation before or who have little experience. Very skilfully written and interesting to read. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to find out more about meditation.


Quantum Jumps: An Extraordinary Science of Happiness and Prosperity
Quantum Jumps: An Extraordinary Science of Happiness and Prosperity
by Cynthia Sue Larson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyday meaning for a difficult scientific concept, 12 Jan 2014
Quantum Jumps: an extraordinary science of happiness and prosperity, by Cynthia Sue Larson, 2013, 286 ff.

The opening paragraph of Larson's book presents us with a profound truism - one that an increasing number of people are embracing but also one that so many people either ignore or are too apprehensive to acknowledge: `A new Quantum Age is upon us . . . In this new Quantum Age, our experience of reality is transformed when we acknowledge that we are all connected - and that at any given moment, there exists an infinite number of possibilities'.
There is in science an idea that there might exist `many worlds' - a whole galaxy of universes. I have long believed that these `many worlds' are virtual, that is, they consist of the realm of all the possibilities of thoughts and actions that humankind had available to them though human history - a kind of cosmic akashic field or, to put it another way, an assemblage in fact of `quantum jumps'. This is the author's message here. At the outset Cynthia, who has a degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley, describes a similar picture using two of the fundamental principles of quantum physics - potentiality and interconnection.
The opening chapters of the book explain in completely non-technical language the relevance and application of these ideas from quantum physics in our everyday lives - we don't have to be quantum physicists or working in a laboratory to see and feel these ideas in practice. Technical ideas like coherence, tunnelling, entanglement and superposition are all explained with their everyday relevance to us. We can begin to improve our health instantaneously by focussing our minds - what medics describe as the placebo effect. Spiritual healers do not have to be at the bedside of their patients but are able to transmit their beneficent thoughts to their patients remotely - just as the interactions of the subatomic entities of matter are able to transgress the restrictions of space and time.
To the creative writer or composer - or scientist or mathematician - the `quantum jump' is that moment of inspiration when the subconscious mind tunes in to the cosmic energy and a great new book, poem, symphony or theory comes into physical existence. After the simplified scientific stuff, the author goes on to suggest ways these ideas can be used to change the present and future of our lives. Larson echoes the importance of the power of intention that several other authors have written about in the last two decades. Each chapter of the book describes a number of exercises that readers can carry out by applying the principles of what has just been described.
I have read many technical papers and popular books about quantum physics. Unfortunately, as Larry Dossey has pointed out, the word `quantum' has become hackneyed because in recent years it has been overused by `New Age' gurus who clearly had no real understanding of its significance. But here, we have a book that is precisely about quantum jumps in our everyday lives - but it has taken a physicist to use the term in its entirely proper context. That she is also blessed with a spiritual outlook makes the book doubly valuable.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness, and other books

One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
You Can Heal Your Life
The Power Of Intention: Change The Way You Look At Things And The Things You Look At Will Change: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way


3mm Letter Letters Lettering Guide Drawing Drafting Template Stencil Metric
3mm Letter Letters Lettering Guide Drawing Drafting Template Stencil Metric
Offered by Technical Drawing Supplies
Price: £8.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small letter stencil, 5 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The product itself is fine. The only difficulty is in finding a manufacturer who makes a stylus to fit it!


Billion Dollar Brain [DVD]
Billion Dollar Brain [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another Harry Carter spy thriller, 13 Oct 2013
This review is from: Billion Dollar Brain [DVD] (DVD)
This is another in the series of Harry Carter movies with Michael Caine as our indefatigable hero. As with the James Bond movies, the plot is over-the-top, but none the less entertaining for that. Harry - now a private detective rather than working as part of the British Secret Service - is engaged by his old employer, Colonel Ross to carry a vacuum flask full of nasty microbes to a former contact, Leo Newbigen (Karl Malden) in Helsinki. Once there, he runs into his old friendly Russian enemy, Colonel Stock (Oskar Homolka), who warns him not to get involved with Newbigen and his comrades. Newbigen gets his (and Harry's) instructions via a computer link - that has a voice just like Donald Sutherland! It seems the viruses are destined for the controller of the computer, Texas oil magnate Colonel Midwinter (Ed Begley) who, like Barry Goldwater before him, is intent upon wiping out Communism from the face of the earth. The movie is just as entertaining as the other Harry Carter movies and of course the good guys win.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2013 7:24 PM BST


The Page Turner [2006] [DVD]
The Page Turner [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Catherine Frot
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A study of artistic temperament., 13 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Page Turner [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a French film directed by Denis Dercourt. Mélanie Prouvost (Déborah François) is a teenage girl with ambitions to be a professional pianist. She leaves home to work in a law firm. While there, she is engaged by the head of the practice, Jean Fouchécourt (Pascal Greggory), to look after his young piano playing son when he and his wife are away. Jean's wife, Ariane (Catherine Frot) is an established professional concert pianist who suffers badly from `stagefright'. Mélanie and Ariane strike up a relationship so that Ariane becomes more comfortable with Mélanie acting as a page turner for her in her concerts. The two women also clearly have a romantic attachment to one another. But Ariane was responsible for Mélanie failing an audition and so, when Ariane has an important concert to give, Mélanie doesn't turn up to do her page turning. Another page turner is found for the performance but it isn't clear whether or not Ariane falls apart without the companion she has come to rely on. This is an interesting human drama but not gripping stuff. There are some lovely bits of music in the score.


Western Europe Simplified Catalogue 2005: an Illustrated and Priced Single-volume Guide to the Postage Stamps of Western Europe Excluding Changes of ... Shade and Watermark (Stamp Catalogue)
Western Europe Simplified Catalogue 2005: an Illustrated and Priced Single-volume Guide to the Postage Stamps of Western Europe Excluding Changes of ... Shade and Watermark (Stamp Catalogue)
by Stanley Gibbons
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable source-book of philatelic information, 6 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would not have thought it possible to give basic details of all the stamps issued in the western world for the past century and a half in one volume; but here it is. Over my lifetime I have built up a collection of stamps from France, Germany, Scandinavia and many other western countries usually with no indication of when the stamps were issued or for what occasion. Here is a volume that provides all that information. It's a basic catalogue that doesn't go into details of variations in watermarks and perforations, but all the necessary information for all but the most intense collector is here.


Ice Twisters (With bonus film Storm Cell) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Ice Twisters (With bonus film Storm Cell) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Mark Moses

3.0 out of 5 stars A nearly plausible sci-fi movie, 6 Oct 2013
Seeding of clouds with dry ice or silver iodide has been used for many years to produce rainfall artificially. This sci-fi film is about an experiment to use 2000 drones to create the clouds themselves, seed them with silver iodide and then have the drones recharge themselves automatically by drawing in atmospheric carbon dioxide and freezing it to dry ice. The drones drift in the upper atmosphere to a new location and then start the process all over again. Unfortunately, they are a little too successful and start producing mini ice tornados in one location after another in north-western USA. Frank (Robert Moloney) is the coordinating bureaucrat behind the project and the guy who puts up the money. Once the experiment is underway they find its effects are dramatic and fatal but the scientists in the field are powerless to moderate it. Meanwhile former scientist turned sci-fi author Charlie Price (whose has just had a signing locally for his latest novel) gets drawn in to the impending disaster. It's not a great movie but the special effects are quite good and it's an entertaining enough film using a piece of nearly believable science when actual highly damaging hailstorms with tennis-ball sized hailstones have become a reality of our present-day weather.


The Life of David Gale [DVD] [2003]
The Life of David Gale [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey|Kate Winslet
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Arguments for and against capital punishment, 4 Oct 2013
Passionate abolitionist and philosophy professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is on death row in a Texas prison awaiting execution for the rape and murder of a fellow DeathWatch activist, Constance Harraway (Laura Linney). Gale had previously been accused of the rape of a former student, Berlin (Rhona Mitra), although he was subsequently cleared. Gale secures a huge fee from a magazine to give a series of three two-hour interviews on the last three days of his life with one of their successful investigative journalists, Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet). The story is therefore told retrospectively and Bloom uncovers increasing amounts of evidence to suggest that Gale is innocent. But there are other individuals involved who support or oppose the death penalty. This is an exciting story directed by Alan Parker and we don't know until the very end whether or not Gale is innocent.


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