The Age of Genius

Randomly Yours, Alex

This book was sent to me by the publisher at no cost. Unknown.jpeg

This was a really interesting book; I’m just not sure it’s entirely the book that AC Grayling thinks it is.

I adore the concept of exploring a century as a turning point; in fact for Grayling, the seventeenth century was “the epoch in the history of the human mind” (p3, his italics). Obviously other historians have disagreed, as he acknowledges, but even if there are strong arguments for other times – or even suggesting that such a claim is ridiculous – it nonetheless should make for an interesting book.

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John's Navy and other Maritime or Military News

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Poland and Russia Spar Over Alleged Sub Collision
Polish and Russian sources are engaged in a dispute over whether two submarines were involved in a collision in the Baltic Sea.
Russia?s REN TV

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PACIFIC OCEAN (April 20, 2016) The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) (front) steams in formation with USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92)

John's Navy and other Maritime or Military News

John Currin (JC) posted PACIFIC OCEAN (April 20, 2016) The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) (front) steams in formation with USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92) https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Ztw3ez9sdC8/VyKcxom1uaI/AAAAAAAALrk/A7sWaF5GO-AwlS7-RjNK8NSBDZAMMg-Kw/unnamed%2B%252810%2529.jpg?imgmax=1024 PACIFIC OCEAN (April 20, 2016) The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) (front) steams in formation with USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92). Spruance, along with guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Decatur (DDG 73), and embarked… on https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/115825952045606932363/communities/103957417019711849907

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THE WORDY WAY – TUESDAY’S TALE

Wyrdwend

Last night while in bed I decided to write up some new lines for my Western, the Lettered Men.

I’ll do that sometimes right before I go to bed. Got some good stuff done but had to rework some of em this morning. Many of these lines are spoken by Jerimiah Jereds, also known as “Wordy” (the only name his friends call him) because he will either invent words (neologisms) or will twist around old phrases and common sayings in new ways. Wordy sometimes acts as the comic-relief of the novel, which is pretty rough in parts, and sometimes acts as the de-facto Bard of the novel, being a sort of frontier’s poet and cowboy wordsmith.

Now not all of these snippets are by Wordy. But many are.

Anywho I gave my notes to my wife and daughter this morning (before the final rewrites) so that they could look…

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SORROW AND PAIN, SORROW AND SHAME

Wyrdwend

SORROW AND PAIN, SORROW AND SHAME

I had a weird and kinda sad dream right before waking this morning. In it I was attending a military event in which at the end a group of soldiers were singing as part of the event.

There were two guys standing on a platform above most of the others and these two guys were carrying the song. Suddenly the taller guy stepped down and a much shorter and far younger guy (Audie Murphy type guy but with jet back hair and dark eyes) started singing alone. His voice was, well, let me be honest, incredible. Far deeper than you would expect from such a little guy and clear and resonant and so loud he almost shook the building. It started softly but it became a truly rousing extremely powerful song.

But it was not just how he was singing, but what he sang…

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THE ALPHA MALE – MAN AND WOLF

As I have always have told my wife, I stand alone when needed, in the front when necessary, and in the background when I’m superfluous.

I’m fine and happy with whatever is required, and however it shakes out… there’s only one thing I can’t stand to be – a sheep and a herd animal.


How to REALLY Be Alpha Like the Wolf

 alpha

Scroll through some young guy’s Tumblr or Instagram feed and you’re bound to find a picture of a menacing-looking wolf with blood around its chops or a lone wolf howling at the moon. Superimposed on this image is invariably a quote in big bold lettering — some kind of edgy, muscular platitude about ignoring your haters, striking out on your own, and dominating everyone in sight.

You know, being a straight up alpha wolf.

howl

The idea of there being alpha (and beta) wolves originated from Rudolph Schenkel of the University of Basel in Switzerland, who studied a pack of wolves living at a zoo in the 1940s. Schenkel observed that the wolves competed for status within their own sex, and that from these rivalries emerged a kind of “alpha pair” — a “lead wolf” that was the top male dog, and a “bitch” that was the top female dog.

Then in 1970, American scientist L. David Mech wrote a book called The Wolf, which expanded on Schenkel’s research and popularized the idea of alpha and beta wolves and the leader/subordinate social dynamic of wolf packs.

Both researchers described this dynamic as a competition for rank, with alphas being those who were domineering, aggressive, and violent, and used these qualities to fight off rivals to become the supreme leader of the pack.

Popular culture soon took this conception of the alpha wolf, along with the whole alpha vs beta distinction, and applied it to humans — especially men. Hence, the idea that to be an alpha male, you’ve got to take no prisoners, f*** s*** up each and every day, take what’s yours, and never say sorry.

There’s just one problem with this idea.

The research it’s based on turned out to be hugely flawed.

Below, we’ll explore the myth and reality of the alpha wolf. As we’ll see, looking to wolves for inspiration for human conduct can actually be useful and inspiring, but only if you’ve got a correct conception for what that behavior consists of. Here’s what it really means to be alpha like the wolf.

The Myth and Reality of the Alpha Wolf

For most of the 20th century, researchers believed that gray wolf packs formed each winter among independent and unrelated wolves that lived near each other. They had reached this conclusion from observing groups of wolves that had been taken from various zoos and thrown together in captivity.

Under these circumstances, researchers observed that wolves would organize the pack hierarchy based on physical aggression and dominance. The alpha male wolf, indeed, was the wolf that kicked ass and took names.

But then some researchers decided they should actually try to observe how pack formation happens in the wild.

Based on their studies on confined wolves, they thought they were going to see this:

wolf1

But were instead surprised to see this:

fam

Instead of forming packs of unrelated individuals, in which alphas compete to rise to the top, researchers discovered that wild wolf packs actually consist of little nuclear wolf families. Wolves are in fact a generally monogamous species, in which males and females pair off and mate for life. Together they form a pack that typically consists of 5-11 members — the mate pair plus their children, who stay with the pack until they’re about a year old, and then go off to secure their own mates and form their own packs.

The mate pair shares in the responsibility of leading their family and tending to their pups. In 21st century human terminology, they “co-parent.” And by virtue of being parents, and leading their “subordinate” children, the mates represent a pair of “alphas.” The alpha male, or papa wolf, sits at the top of the male hierarchy in the family and the alpha female, or mamma wolf, sits atop the female hierarchy in the family.

In other words, male alpha wolves don’t gain their status through aggression and the dominance of other males, but because the other wolves in the pack are his mate and kiddos. He’s the pack patriarch. The Pater Familias. Dear Old Dad.

And like any good family man, a male alpha wolf protects his family and treats them with kindness, generosity, and love.

After observing gray wolves in Yellowstone for more than twenty years, wolf researcher Richard McIntyre has rarely seen an alpha male wolf act aggressively towards his own pack. Instead, an alpha dad sticks around until his pups are fully matured. He hunts alone or with his mate and children to provide food for the family (and sometimes waits for them to get their fill before he digs in himself), roughhouses with his pups (and gets a kick out of letting them win), and even goes out of his way to tend to the runts of his pack.

This isn’t to say male alpha wolves are all cuddles and kisses. They’re of course fierce predators, and can take down large prey like moose and bison. And when his family is threatened by outside enemies and competitors, the alpha male will fiercely defend it — sometimes sacrificing his own life to save his mate and pups.

This also isn’t to say male wolves don’t sometimes engage in displays of social dominance. Mature male wolves do have dominance encounters with other male wolves – fathers will stand up to a stranger alpha, or sometimes show their own kids who’s boss, and an older wolf brother will demonstrate his superiority to his little wolf bro.

So an alpha wolf can indeed be violent and assertive when the situation calls for it. Yet for the most part, he leads not with noisy brashness and teeth-bared aggression, but steady strength, mettle, and heart; as McIntyre told another wolf researcher:

“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

After learning how wolves actually form packs, researchers like L. David Mech retracted their original theory of alpha wolves and now eschew terms like “alpha male” or “alpha female” altogether when describing wolf hierarchy, instead preferring to classify the leader wolves as “breeding males” and “breeding females.”

Unfortunately, the old conception has stuck around, and many men today have a mistaken notion of what it means to harness your inner alpha wolf. The reality of being an alpha is truly much more multi-faceted, and even more inspiring.

Making the Wolf Your Totem Animal of Manhood

wolf

I love the idea of animal totems, or at least finding inspiration from animals on how a man should live his life. Animals can serve as powerful symbols to us humans. The symbols become all the more powerful and meaningful when we have a correct understanding of how the animal actually behaves.

The gray wolf’s proclivity to roam and its prowess as a predator has for thousands of years made it a powerful symbol of the warrior, and of the freedom, wildness, and ferocity of masculinity. But that’s just one side of the wolf, and one side of what it means to be a man.

Yes, alpha male wolves are wild, aggressive, and savage. But they’re also protective, nurturing, and tender.

So if you want to truly become alpha like a wolf, you’ll need to do more than become a beast in the gym, and strive to overcome your competitors. You’ll also need to become a committed and dedicated family man — a loving and protective father.

While I’ve always loved wolves and their wildness, after learning more about the nuances of their social dynamics, I’ve fallen in love with them even more. The wolf is a nearly perfect symbol of the ideal of masculinity that I’m trying to get across here at Art of Manliness. Like alpha wolves, I want to see men who tackle life’s adventure with their mates by their side, and lead their families with heart and strength. I want to see men who have the ability to marshal the hard tactical virtues of masculinity when needed against external threats, but temper that ferocity with softer virtues like compassion and gentleness, particularly towards those they love.

In short, the male alpha wolf is the totem animal of the Gentleman Barbarian.

So by all means, continue sharing your savage wolf memes on Instagram and Tumblr. Wolves are awesome. But know that gray wolves howl to assemble their mate and pups before and after a hunt, to warn them of danger, and to locate each other during a storm, when traversing unfamiliar territory, or when separated over a great distance. It’s the call not of the angry, antisocial lone wolf, but of a father who’s leading, guiding, and lovingly gathering his pack.

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 Connecting Inuit with lost history of Knud Rasmussen expedition

By Elyse Skura, Jennifer Geens, CBC NewsPosted: Apr 23, 2016

22 Drum Dance_thumbThe online Fifth Thule Expedition Atlas is a new interactive online map is connecting Inuit with a lost part of their history captured by a Danish anthropological expedition led by the Inuktitut speaking anthropologist Knud Rasmussen Between 1921 and 1924. Rasmussen, who was part Inuk and spoke Inuktitut, was the first European to travel the Northwest Passage by dog team. The Fifth Thule Expedition collected vast amounts of Inuit knowledge in the form of oral traditions, traditional place names, linguistic information, Inuit drawn maps, photographs, and ethnographic objects. A select amount of this information was published in a series of scientific reports. A network of Danish institutions, including the National Museum of Denmark, currently cares for the ethnographic objects, field notes and associated records from the expedition.

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