The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Galileo's Pendulum: From the Rhythm of Time to the Making of Matter, by Roger G. Newton
Draw a large circle on the ground. Now walk clockwise round the circle at a steady four miles per hour. What does your motion look like to a person watching from some distance away on ground level at (say) the west? Well, you will appear to him to be moving at four miles per hour... Read More
Falun Gong: The End of Days, by Maria Hsia Chang
Eccentric religious sects present a nontrivial problem even for open societies. The early history of the Mormon Church illustrates this; so, more recently, have the People's Temple, Heaven's Gate, and Branch Davidian episodes. Issues of public health and the welfare of minors may arise. So may matters of straightforward criminality: the black-racist Nation of Yahweh... Read More
China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics and Diplomacy, by Peter Hays Gries
It is an item of current conventional wisdom that the Chinese Communist Party, confronted with a population to whom communism no longer has any appeal, has resorted to an extreme form of nationalism to justify its rule over China. The principal message of Peter Hays Gries's fascinating book is that while this is true, it... Read More
Eagle Dreams, by Stephen J. Bodio
This is a very striking and unusual book, sufficiently so that I imagine the people responsible for awarding it a Dewey Decimal number, in order to properly shelve it in libraries, must have engaged in some head-scratching. Is Eagle Dreams sport, travel, or zoology? You will have to make up your own mind. I have... Read More
The New Brain, by Richard Restak
Most of us carry around a standard model of how our mind works. Our thoughts happen in our brains, we assume. Some of them just buzz around in there inconsequentially; others actually cause us to do things. Most of the things they cause us to do are trivial, but a few are tremendous. Human thoughts,... Read More
Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?, by Martin Gardner
To get the title question out of the way up front, Martin Gardner says no, they are not. The book's title refers to the topic of the first essay in this collection: the "Many Worlds Interpretation" (MWI) of quantum mechanics. This is the theory that everything that might conceivably happen at any instant does actually... Read More
Knots, by Alexei Sossinsky
I was in the Army Cadets at school, but my best friend was in the Sea Cadets, and for a year or so I crossed over to join him. This phase of my life came to an end when I failed the oral exam for promotion to the rank of Leading Seaman. The exam was... Read More
Before the Deluge, by Dierdre Chetham
Fifty years ago the sinologist, political scientist and recovering Marxist Karl Wittfogel gave us his theory of "hydraulic despotism." Surveying the great imperial systems of the pre-industrial world, Wittfogel argued that their centralized, bureaucratic nature was a consequence of their having to organize great masses of manpower for water-management projects — dams, dikes, canals, and... Read More
Four Sisters of Hofei,by Annping Chin
The 20th century was an "interesting time" in China, and almost any Chinese person who lived through much of it, especially the earlier part of it, has a story worth telling. I have sat with quite ordinary people, in pleasant apartments in Peking or Taipei, and heard them tell of the most astounding adventures —... Read More
The China Dream by Joe Studwell
The dream of Joe Studwell's title is the dream of the China market: of 1.3 billion consumers just waiting to be sold clothes, medicine, cars, toothpaste, or whatever else the dreamer has to offer. As an English writer of the 1840s put it: "If we could only persuade every person in China to lengthen his... Read More
Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels, from Los Angeles to Beijing, by Ian Buruma
The nail that sticks up gets hammered down, the Chinese teach their children. They further instruct them that the rock that stands out from the river bank gets worn away by the current. In case the child still hasn't got the point, he will then be told that the tallest tree is the first to... Read More
Treason by the Book, by Jonathan D. Spence
Western enthusiasm for China waxes and wanes on long cycles. In the early 18th century it was waxing strong. "The constitution of their empire is the most excellent the world has ever seen," burbled Voltaire. The unfoxable Samuel Johnson scoffed at widespread popular conceptions of the "Chinese perfectly polite, and compleatly skill'd in all sciences."... Read More
Hegemon, by Steven Mosher
Steven Mosher is a hero to those of us who hate and fear the current Chinese government. He has the honor of having been persona non grata in the People's Republic for twenty years — longer, I think, than any other American scholar. Mosher was the first social scientist from this country invited to do... Read More
Bouncing across southern Lebanon is a convoy of 125 reporters, photographers, and TV crazies in 25 rented Subarus, the assembled war corespondents of the western world. Somehow I don't think this is how Ernie Pyle did it. We look like a traffic jam in Tokyo. Photographers dangle acrobatically from windows. Three TV cameras protrude like... Read More