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Saturday, February 16, 2008


Opuntia 64A & 64.1A

Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2E7 Canada / $3 @ or. / Dale eschews SF and fantasy to take on no less a topic than The Origin of Life, raging from a discussion of panspermia – the idea that life did not begin on Earth but was imported here from another realm – to autocatalytic molecules (right- and left-handed), the triose–ammonia reaction and, no kidding, common clay. (No wonder Mike Huckabee is a creationist.) I had no idea Speirs was so well-informed; such accessible, entertaining, and enlightening science is invaluable. In 64.1A (I'll never make sense of Dale's numbering) he shifts his attention to the literary, with an excellent essay on humorist Stephen Leacock, creator of the phrase "riding off madly in all directions" and author of books on Arctic exploration and "Social Credit Theory," an atypically dismal topic for this Benchley-esque figure.

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