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By TheophileEscargot (Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 03:17:25 AM EST) Reading, Politics, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Divided Kingdom". US election prediction. Web.


What I'm Reading
Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson. Sort of dystopian SF by a mainstreamy author. Great concept: the UK is split up into four different kingdoms based on medieval theory of humours. Angry people are transported to the Choleric quarter, depressives to the Melancholy, passive to the Phlegmatic and calm people to the Sanguine.

The sanguine protagonist, full of suppressed trauma at being separated from his parents, goes on a journey that unsurprisingly takes him through every quarter, as well as with a group of mute wanderers.

It's a nice idea, and there are good, subtle depictions of life in the various quarters. Also has some creepy moments as the wanderers get abused. However, there's no real plot: I was unsurprised when the quest went nowhere and he apparently completely forgot why he cared about it. The characters aren't particularly interesting. The allegory doesn't really seem to go anywhere either: it's a bit weak to be a metaphor on ethic cleansing and a bit bland to be a message that diversity is good.

Overall, I'd say not worth reading. However, the lit crowd seem to like it: Review, review, review.

Consumerism
Had a day off work, so I went to buy an Iphone as threatened. They won't let you buy a new one online in the UK, so I went to the Apple store in the new Westfield centre. However, while I brought a bill along, a kid with a trendy haircut told me I also needed to bring my passport as ID, and it would be a very long process as they had to check my credit and so on.

So I went home and ordered a Google Android G1 phone online instead. They'll probably give me just as much bullshit and fuck up the delivery, but I least I can eat their shit in the comfort of my own home.

US election prediction
I predicted:
Obama 53%
McCain 46%
Other 1%

Actual results according to BBC:
Obama (64,908,616) 52.5%
McCain (57,083,284) 46.2%
Other (1.589518) 1.1%

It was pretty fine, but late results just pushed Obama up to 52.5229535% of the vote, making me accurate to the nearest percent for everything.

Note that I also managed that in Bush vs Kerry 2004.

Web
SSCCATAGAPP-friendly videos. Football in the face. Child stuck in vending machine. Kid stuck in rubber ring.

Space. European IXV re-entry vehicle. Enceladus pics.

Punternet again. Statistics. Trafficking? Should I report a suspected sex slave?

Daily Mash again Banks Not Happy Until All That's Left Is Banks. Public Can't Wait To Be Truncheoned Across The Jaw, Says Smith

Misc. Hitler's library. Online syntax highlighting. North Korea's hovering leaders. Bjork explains television. Some days, Rorschach's mask just refused to look scary. Test scores by field, physicists top.

US election web
Onion video Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are.

Republican self-destruction. Fox and McCain campaigners expose Palin ignorance. RedState plans Operation Leper to punish aforementioned campaigners. Republicans have finally turned into Democrats.

< Attn: Breaker Infidel | woo-fucking-hoo! >
Sense of Humours | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I'm always a bit wary by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 03:29:45 AM EST
of literary types doing SF. "The Road" was good though.

I hate the "passport or driver's license" demands made by people selling you stuff. Until a few years ago I had neither. Yet I can take out bank loans, rent a flat etc?

You should have called Mac's bluff and said you don't travel abroad because of the environment so don't have a passport, you're discriminating against my environmentalism, I'm going to raise hell on the forums etc.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

I haven't really encountered it before by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 03:35:30 AM EST
I don't usually go for credit deals, I so kind of expect to hand over some money and get something in exchange.

When literary types do SF: sometimes it can work very well: I liked "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth and "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro. Sometimes not so well.

But it wasn't the SF-y bits that were the problem. His world-building was fine and his ideas were new, he didn't reinvent any wheels. It was just the lack of plot and interest that was the problem.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
The central premise doesn't inspire me by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 03:48:05 AM EST
It just seems ridiculous. Does he convincingly explain how the division came about?

Yeah, Plot Against America is another very good one (apart from the ending). What Ishiguro I've read I've liked a lot but "Never Let Me Go" is one I've missed. It goes on the Wishlist...

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Well, I suppose it is a bit unlikely by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 04:09:33 AM EST
He doesn't explain much about how it happened: the propaganda says that the old world was overrun with crime and violence, but I think you're supposed to be skeptical of that.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
So... by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:33:04 AM EST
We're ignoring the "30-40% chance of Obama victory" stuff from last summer, I presume...
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Heh, I was never that far out by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:44:44 AM EST
Early on I gave probabilities of 55% McCain, 45% Obama; but I always said it would depend on "VP choices, the debates, and whether McCain has any senior moments or temper tantrums on video."

Winning all three debates and the timing of the credit crisis helped Obama out, and I said so.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Chances by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #7 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:48:17 AM EST
I was just surprised at the time, because it was so far out from what the betting markets were saying.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Yep, 3 to 1 by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:53:08 AM EST
McCain took the lead soon after that... I was kicking myself for not putting a bet on.

I still think it would have been a rational bet: those odds were too long. I think if the credit crisis had held off and Iran/Russian/North Korea had done something nasty instead, we'd probably be looking at President-Elect McCain right now...
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I find that doubtful by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 07:15:07 AM EST
Except for the post-convention bounce, Obama held the lead in the polls for nearly the entire election.

There's lots of evidence that the polls were changing in Obama's direction after the Katie Couric interview, *before* the credit crisis.  There's also lots of speculation that had McCain picked someone like Christine Todd Whitman, who appeals to the middle, he'd have lost the base.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
I have a better record than the polls though by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 07:38:17 AM EST
3% margins of error... pah!
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
fivethirtyeight.com by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 07:43:39 AM EST
fivethirtyeight.com called the popular vote to a tenth of a percent. :-)
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
In how many elections? by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 07:53:44 AM EST
You need to watch out for these dodgy amateur types who fluke one election and then claim to be great predictors...
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Bjork by priestess (4.00 / 2) #13 Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:29:57 AM EST
My god she's lovely, I just wanna eat her all up. She was losing me there in the middle with all the weird pseudoscience but pulled it together for a masterful comeback leaving me litterally clapping when she said not to trust poets.

Can someone pack her up and send her over please?

Pre............

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Chat to the virtual me...
Sorry no. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #14 Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 01:25:12 PM EST
Iceland's creditors like me have a righteous first stab at all the possible assets of that country.

I would consider dropping my rightful claim if this lady is sent to me in the terms you describe...


[ Parent ]
Sense of Humours | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback