In the Beginning: a bird’s eye history of religion

In the beginning was the crisis. This is the singular belief that defines the religious history of our species, the insistence that this world, full of suffering -- where the race goes not to the swift nor bread to the hungry -- cannot be all there is, that there must be something more: a just …

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Setting and Hardboiled Detective Fiction

I was listening to some lectures on the detective novel on the plane, and the dude really had some neat points. (Go figure.) But first, for background, you have to know that American detective fiction, sometimes labelled "hardboiled," grew out of the English detective novel, which tended to be very genteel. The detective in the …

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Superpowers and Quantum Biology: Origins of The Minus Faction

According to Stan Lee, at least in one interview, he came up with the idea for Spider-man after seeing a fly on his wall. He knew that animals served as the inspiration for many superheroes -- Batman, anyone? -- but felt that insects were underrepresented, and eventually settled on our little eight-legged wonders. He wasn't …

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The Myth of the Batman, or Why I Love Reboots

Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns casts a long shadow over the Batman mythos. Not only is it considered paradigmatic for the character, it's also considered part of the larger comic book canon. I very much doubt DC is interested in challenging that status with a reboot of the premise. But they should. Batman isn't …

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