Richard Dawkins on his children’s book The Magic of Reality

Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science.



Irene is gonna totally ruin your weekend. We know, it sucks, but here’s a few pointers from Jen Doll’s handy guide to how to deal with it:

​• Stock up on your favorite booze(s), a supply of cash in case ATMs don’t work, or you can’t get to them, plus cash is just good to have, says Mom, and at least one yellow rain slicker so you can wear it while raising your fist to the sky in the driving rain and shouting, “Come and get me, mother fucker, I dare you!” (If you feel up to it.)

• Charge your cell phone. But it probably won’t work in an emergency, as we learned from the earthquake, mostly because everyone will be calling everyone. Invite your friends over and get drunk instead. Unless you live in a high-rise building above the 10th floor. Find some friends downstairs.

• Take a moment to employ the tagline from the1979 movie Hurricane“There is only one safe place… in each other’s arms.”

• Back up your computer. Why? Because we’ve been being told to do this for years and in a hurricane you might actually have time to do it.

• Get some canned goods, and maybe some milk and bread. We’re not really sure why, but this seems to be what you’re supposed to eat in a hurricane.

• Take your weathervane off the roof. And your pool chairs or whatever, if you’re a jerk with a pool. Bring stuff inside, and weigh down stuff that you can’t bring inside so it doesn’t fly away and/or hit somebody in the head.

Check out the rest of Jen’s pro-tips here. But seriously, stock up on the booze.