Print Story Their foes superior by an inch
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:22:40 PM EST) Reading, Web (all tags)
Reading: "The Glass Castle", "Swiftly". Web.


What I'm Reading
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir about growing up with dangerously eccentric parents. At first following the father through a succession of itinerant jobs, they eventually settle in an impoverished mining town before the children grow up enough to leave.

It's packed full of sometimes shocking, sometimes fascinating incidents. Avoids the usual misery-memoir self-pity though: there's an optimistic tone even at the worst.

Pretty interesting.

What I'm Reading 2
Finished Swiftly by Adam Roberts. Sequel to "Gulliver's Travels" where a century later Lilliputians are enslaved in miniature manufacturing, and Brobdingnagians recruited into the army.

It also contains references to other works like Voltaire's "Micromegas" and Rabelais' "Gargantua and Pantagruel" but I've never read those.

Has some good points. Roberts' specialist subject is the Nineteenth century so there's a good period feel. There's very vivid description and some spectacular set-pieces. Roberts seems to be relenting a little with his unsympathetic characters: they start off as hideous as ever but develop more then they used to.

However, the satirical elements seem a bit pointless: you don't really need exaggerated non-humans when the humans are just a grotesque. The Rabelaisian emphasis on faeces and sex is amusing at first, but gets a bit fucking shit after a while. As usual, Roberts isn't too interested in world-building or scientific logic, so there's not much here for even slightly hardish SF fans.

Overall, not bad if you like Adam Roberts books, but not really his best.

Recently abandoned
DVD Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I'm not amazingly fussy about what I'm watching while exercising or ironing, but after about 25 minutes without a chuckle I gave up on this comedy.

Sunnyside by Glen David Gold. The followup to the excellent "Carter Beats the Devil" features a fictionalised Charlie Chaplin. But the early film industry isn't nearly as novel a setting as the stage magic scene. Also this main character is rich, successful, admired and on an upward career path; which makes his whiny angst extremely annoying. The about-to-be-has-been Carter was more sympathetic.

Web
Video. Cylon Love Songs - I Can't Smile without You. Backwards sandcastle explosions (via). Whole pig pizza (somewhat gross). Onion: Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins Of 'Friendster'.

Economics. Value of work study debunked. Stephanomics: has UK already virtually lost its AAA rating. Hot countries poorer. Superfreakonomists: "you can be counterintuitive, or you can be sensible, but it's hard to be both".

Pics. Westminster Gold Classical album covers (via). Underground Swiss home.

Articles. Geeks Drive Girls Out of Computer Science. Why Do Airstrikes in Afghanistan Keep Killing Exactly 30 People? Aaronovitch: Chilcot inquiry most useful on the poor post-war planning.

Harrow protest followup. EDL vs photographer. SIOE say won't return. Guardian UAF, SIOE. Video.

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Their foes superior by an inch | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:25:19 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



oh one of those by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:03:17 PM EST
kinda boy's schools ?

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:18:34 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



[ Parent ]
From the Cylon page: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 04:02:18 PM EST
IMNSHO, the song "Kara Remembers" is the most frakkin' intense song I can recall coming out of a TELEVISION show.

Kudos to Bear McCreary for his excellent work on the show!

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Also re: airstrikes by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 06:28:39 PM EST
I think their tinfoil hats are on a bit too tight. That number is the approximate size of a platoon of soldiers, and as such is a handy metric for soldiers when estimating numbers of people from a distance.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Adam Roberts by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 05:12:08 PM EST
Is there a "best"?  I read "On" and hated it.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Ditto by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 03:25:31 AM EST
By all the signals I should have loved it but it was just tedious bile trying to be too clever.


[ Parent ]
I think by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 12:58:21 PM EST
"Salt" and "Land of the Headless" were his best. But his books are all pretty similar: they all have unsympathetic protagonists, imaginative scenery and flaky world-building. If you hated "On", you'd probably hate the other books, though possibly somewhat less.
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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 ]
Value of work: debunked by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 05:15:46 PM EST
From the article:
I repeat my earlier conclusion. The New Economics Foundation has taken a thin veneer of acceptable method – the theoretical distinction between private and social returns – and applied it to so weak and biased an analysis that it brings disrepute on (a) think tanks (b) economic research (c) the journalists that just repeat the press release without looking into it. In my view, it sets back the task of finding a truly just way out of this fiscal mess.

The UK must have a completely different kind of economist and think tank than the US. Tabloids feel dirty quoting ours.

Wumpus

Some call it by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 01:03:01 PM EST
Churnalism. A company or pressure group or think tank can easily put out a press release for a "study" with a catchy hook promoting something or other: the journalists rewrite it slightly and publish it since it's an easy way to get a story.

Maybe US non-commercial organizations aren't quite up to speed on it yet.
--
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 ]
whole pig pizza - not exactly diet food by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 05:51:40 PM EST
That looks good, but it seems a lot of extra work when a simple pulled pork sandwich is so awesome...

ungeeky girls by Kellnerin (4.00 / 3) #9 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 08:30:54 PM EST
That must be one of the laziest articles (and most dubious set of studies) I've ever read. I should probably have stopped when they described geeks as evoking a "portrait of masculinity" because it didn't get better from there.

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"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
hurrah by Merekat (4.00 / 3) #11 Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 03:27:17 AM EST
I have a lot of trouble working out these articles. I'm sure it happens. I know guys who say they've seen it happen, and girls who say they've had it happen but IME geeks are very egalitarian and if they're arseholes, they're equal opportunity arseholes.


[ Parent ]
You might be in the by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 12:54:46 PM EST
"Subset of women in the study who didn't view the stereotypical objects as masculine and geeky and aren't turned off by the associated office or classroom."

I thought the studies were interesting. But I suspect the media portrayals are more influential than real-life office environments.
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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 think that subset by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #16 Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 06:49:51 PM EST
is the group of women who realize that the stereotypical objects bear little resemblance to most actual work or classroom environments. That subset may also include women who can buy the notion that there are other factors that turn women off from computer science-y things, but that pizza boxes and coke cans are probably low on the list. However, "Media stereotypes of geekdom are less appealing to women than men" sounds a lot less earthshattering when you put it that way.

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"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
[ Parent ]
Geeks: cringe. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 3) #12 Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 06:21:33 AM EST
As my unemployed status allows for this, I have been to some geek gatherings in recent months.

The experience has been from mildly amusing to deeply embarrassing, to the point that I don't want to be associated with some of those people.

If that happens to me, a geek by all definitions (OK, I like opera, not the browser, the musical genre, run half marathons and don't drink neither beer or coffee, still I run Linux on my desktop, write Perl scripts to solve day to day domestic problems, can use Final Cut Pro and can talk about the GPL to obsessive fastidiousness)  it is frankly unsurprising that girls find the whole "geek" population somehow unappealing.

In a recent meeting I attended, one guy that has been very successful running his consultancy was asked what was the most difficult aspect of working with geeks. Without hesitation he replied it was personal hygiene. I was going to interject about what at first instance seemed like such an unfair comment, but then I looked around me and realized how wrong I was and how right he is...

Their foes superior by an inch | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback