Shetland to Rosyth in 31 hours

Anyone with connections with Shetland, Orkney or the North-east of Scotland will be interested in this news story:


Aberdeen 08/11/10

A ferry stranded off the north east coast of Scotland, the Hjaltland, coping with “atrocious” high seas, has docked in Fife after more than a day (actually 31 hours) at sea. Strong winds left 87 people stranded on the NorthLink passenger ferry. The vessel was supposed to dock in Aberdeen at 0700 GMT on Monday 08/11/10, after travelling overnight from Shetland. It finally arrived in Rosyth at about 0115 GMT on Tuesday (18 hours late) after a decision to take the ferry 100 miles south (Source: BBC news 09/11/10).

Recent storms are a reminder of how Scotland’s northern waters can be amongst the most treacherous in the world. Makes the achievements of the Vikings even more remarkable. They probably spent the winters indoors though! Don’t let the winter weather put you off a visit. Here are a couple of stock photographs from for those who have never sailed out of Stromness (Orkney). Try and go there one day!

The Used Book Trade

Having bought and sold books on a casual basis for a couple of decades or so, I thought I would deviate from my usual subjects to give my personal insights into the business, what constitutes ‘success’ and where the future may lead.

The reality is, used book selling is not what it was. I suppose the current economic climate has a part to play, but across the country, the small, independent specialist bookshops are disappearing in like fashion to the corner-shops’ demise under the competition of the supermarkets. My first conclusion is ‘use them or lose them’. The other factor must be the number of charity shops with a couple of shelves crammed with a mixed range of books, and for one, now opening used bookshops of their own.

In itself, this is no bad thing, at least they represent a source of books. However, they naturally expect donations of books, as opposed to the independent book sellers who were usually pleased enough to give a few pounds for what you brought in. Far more importantly though, was the knowledge they had of the business. Many shops I have traded with in the past were happy to track down a book for you. This brings us to the brave new era of the Internet, and especially Now of course, anyone can quickly locate a copy of a book, even ones that in the past would have taken a lot of time and effort to track down. Accepting the advantages this has brought in sourcing, purchasing, and selling books, it is appropriate here to mention a few disadvantages.

These may not be the observations of everyone in the book business, but it seems to me that Internet selling has created a broader base of what is available, but in so doing, has driven down the price percentage available to the seller, taking into account postage fees, and site selling fees. It is pretty obvious that on Amazon as an example, it is simply not worth competing against the rest on what may once have been viewed as ‘bread and butter’ products. Some of the fun has gone too, twenty years ago, I used to travel once or twice a year between Wales and Scotland. I used to buy Scottish books in Wales and sell in Scotland, and vice versa. There’s just no point anymore..

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Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths

`When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, “Ours”

Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths: A Critical Inquiry

Starting with the knee-jerk reaction of evolutionists to the decision of the Kansas State Board of Education to relax opposition to alternatives to evolution being discussed in schools, Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths (2002), is a unique, revelatory critique of much that is wrong with science today. Vine Deloria Jr. quotes from an impressive range of scientists, philosophers and other writers, with familiarity and an ability to summarize their arguments simply and concisely, often exposing the flimsy logic employed by respected authorities.. Continue reading Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths

The truth about Ghosts

In The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia , Samuel Johnson has the philosopher Imlac say: ‘That the dead are seen no more I will not undertake to maintain against the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all ages and of all nations. There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed’. Johnson suggests universal experience alone has made belief in ghosts credible, and for every hoax there may be cited an instance not so easily dismissed.

The occult, the supernatural and the paranormal are as prevalent as ever, with people from all walks of life prepared to pay to consult with mediums, seers, astrologers, psychics, spiritualists and other self-proclaimed visionaries. Literally millions of pounds are also spent on magazines, films, books, tarot cards and other paraphernalia that deal with subjects that range “from astrology to witchcraft.” Millions of readers regularly consult newspaper horoscopes, with wide interest shown in conventions, lectures and fairs that deal with psychic matters. Why such interest in the supernatural? Among the reasons given are: “Fear of death, personal experience with premonitions and widespread treatment of the topic in books and films.” Many people are also drawn in by the “entertainment value” of the occult, often from childhood, or are “sincere people for whom the paranormal amounts to a religion or a body of knowledge that to them is or will prove to be scientifically valid.”

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