Sacks: Aristarchus and Heliocentrism, Regression and Forgetting

from -- Oliver Sacks, The River of Consciousness (2017) p. 204 … a most momentous regression in the history of astronomy. Aristarchus, in the third century B.C., clearly established a heliocentric picture of the solar system  that was well understood and accepted by the Greeks. [It was further amplified by Archimedes, Hipparchus, and Eratosthenes.] Yet Ptolemy, five centuries later, turns this on its head a proposed geocentric theory of almost Babylonian complexity . the Ptolemaic darkness, the scotoma, lasted 1,400 years until a heliocentric theory was   reestablished by Copernicus. Scotoma, surprisingly common in all fields of science, involves more than prematurity; it involves a loss of knowledge, a forgetting of insights than once seemed clearly established, and sometimes a regression to less perceptive explanations. What makes an observation or a new idea acceptable, discussable, memorable? What may prevent it from being so, despite its clear importance and va

On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty

Part I – The Exposé Largely through the work of one researcher, BBC documentarian and author Peter Hounam, a disquieting revisionist theory has been abroad, opening windows onto the history of the 1967 Arab-Israel war (a/k/a, the Six-Day War) as well as on the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, a spy ship. Hounam published his exposé, Operation Cyanide : Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III in 2003, [1] asserting that the U.S. and Israel colluded to provoke the war and to sink the Liberty in a false-flag attack, blaming it on Egypt. The sinking of the Liberty was to serve as President Johnson's pretext to publicly join Israel's war and to strike a Cold War blow against U.S.S.R. support for Israel's Arab neighbors. Hounam's book revises our understanding of Israel’s otherwise inexplicable attack on its ally’s ship. Even more than a decade later, many, especially in the West, believe that Israel’s motivation for trying to sink