The Oldest Art: 40,800 Years Ago

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Paleolithic paintings in El Castillo cave in Northern Spain date back at least 40,800 years — making them Europe’s oldest known cave art, according to new research published June 14 in Science. That’s the lead to a fascinating story about the origins of art. Cave art seems to have been practiced 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. That age could make the artists either the first modern humans or even Neanderthals. That latter possibility is pretty exciting. We know from … click below for more!

A Delightful Farce Called Anonymous

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Watched a delightful, satirical farce last night, called Anonymous. It’s a spoof about the conspiracy theory that the Earl of Oxford (Edward de Vere) wrote the works of William Shakespeare. This conspiracy notion has a pop following, but lacks significant scholarly and any historical support. Like other conspiracy theories, it has gained ground on the Internet from the simple fact that most people are naturally superstitious and suspicious, and would rather not apply critical thinking or do any serious research … click below for more!

Horwath needs to read her Machiavelli

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Andrea Horwath needs to do some more reading before she decides to negotiate further with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. Specifically, she needs to read more Machiavelli. The Prince, in particular. This week the Globe & Mail reported that Horwath announced that, “…NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (is) now abandoning another major proposal in return for her party’s support of the governing Liberals’ budget, it will be easier for the two sides to strike a deal.” Her “proposal” – actually a demand … click below for more!

This time it’s a Machiavellian mis-quote.

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Whilst perusing the Net for some material for my book on Machiavelli, I came across this maxim: “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” It’s attributed on many, many sites to Machiavelli in his most famous work, The Prince. Sounds pretty Machiavellian, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. Machiavelli never wrote those words. Sun Tzu wrote that, “All warfare is based on deception.” (Book 1, 18), which is close. Sun Tzu went on to add in … click below for more!

Is Machiavelli relevant to today’s municipal politicians?

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Are the political theories of a 16th-century Italian diplomat relevant to today’s municipal politics? Yes, assuming you know and have read his works, not just the bumper-sticker over-simplification that says, “The end justifies the means.” Actually, Machiavelli never wrote those words. That’s a modern condensation. It’s also an erroneous paraphrase of what he wrote in The Prince, because it overlooks a lot of his comments on the effect of some types of behaviour on the honour and reputation of the … click below for more!

Why not a Napoleon theme park?

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There’s a sarcastic, somewhat-tongue-in-cheek commentary in the Guardian this week, called, “Why not have a Napoleon theme park?” In it, Agnès C. Poirier editorializes on a recent proposal by a French MP to build a theme park in France dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte. She writes, Abroad, observers could be forgiven for almost choking on hearing this news: why not a Stalin or a Kim Jong-il theme park too? That made me choke, almost pushing my half-swallowed tea through my nose. … click below for more!

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