Category Archives: READING MATTER

Books I read & recommend


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waxmothThe bat is the king of extreme hearing in the mammalian world. It uses echolocation, emitting ultrasonic sounds and measuring the length of time before the sounds echo back, in order to locate prey. But it turns out there’s an animal that uses an even more extreme variety of sounds.

Ultrasound simply refers to a sound that is outside a human’s sonic range–which isn’t that hard, really, as humans have modest auditory abilities. Researchers discovered that the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella), a dull-colored, generally boring and common moth, has the most extreme hearing sense of any known animal. It’s capable of hearing sounds frequencies of up to 300,000 Hz !

frequency-hearing-range-in-man-and-some-common-animalHuman ear frequencies ranging between 20 Hz (lowest pich) and 20,000 Hz (highest pitch). Below 20 Hz (infrasounds), some species as the mole or the elephant are still hearing (they can for instance hear some vibrations from earthquakes). Similarly, lot of mammalian species can hear over 20,000 Hz (ultrasounds). Thus, cats and dogs hear up to 40,000 Hz, and dolphins or bats hear up to 160,000 Hz.  The video below demonstrates the human spectrum of hearing.

Here is a comparative chart of hearing for various animals.  Porpoises and whales and bats have the most sensitive hearing among mammals.

Species Approximate Range (Hz) 
human 64-23,000
dog 67-45,000
cat 45-64,000
cow 23-35,000
horse 55-33,500
sheep 100-30,000
rabbit 360-42,000
rat 200-76,000
mouse 1,000-91,000
gerbil 100-60,000
guinea pig 54-50,000
hedgehog 250-45,000
raccoon 100-40,000
ferret 16-44,000
opossum 500-64,000
chinchilla 90-22,800
bat 2,000-110,000
beluga whale 1,000-123,000
elephant 16-12,000
porpoise 75-150,000
goldfish 20-3,000
catfish 50-4,000
tuna 50-1,100
bullfrog 100-3,000
tree frog 50-4,000
canary 250-8,000
parakeet 200-8,500
cockatiel 250-8,000
owl 200-12,000
chicken 125-2,000


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Many videotapes of Johnny Carson’s 1960s episodes were lost in the fire of NBC’s archives, but at least part of Ayn Rand’s first appearance on The Tonight Show (she was on three times over the years, clearly Carson was a fan) has survived and has been posted on YouTube. Apparently, Carson snubbed his other guests that evening and kept Rand on for the entire 90 minute show. Topics include Objectivism, rationality, raising children, religion, the military draft and the Vietnam War. (via Dangerous Minds)


Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, February 2 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher,playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.

Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two early novels that were initially less successful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward she turned to nonfiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected all forms of faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed all forms of collectivism and statism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights. She promoted romantic realism in art. She was sharply critical of the philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her besides Aristotle.

Rand’s fiction was poorly received by many literary critics, and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings.She is a major influence among libertarians and American conservatives. (


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This short video is about the tragic lack of originality that makes Hollywood films into a cliché for “creative crap”. Innovations in technical effects notwithstanding, the majority of Hollywood films have degenerated into crass, formulaic regurgitation of material dug out of dumpster: films based on TV shows, theme parks and toys. More often films are remakes, with technical upgrades, of older films. The moral of the story? If you want to be inspired or uplifted by original stories, don’t waster your money on films. Instead, read the books of Lawrence R. Spencer: transcend the drab, mundane, trite and trivial. Go to