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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 03:13:46 PM EST) Reading, Watching, Museums, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Soldier, Ask Not". Watching: "Salt", "Bad Lieutenant". Museums. Links.


What I'm Reading
Picked up a copy of Soldier, Ask Not by Gordon R. Dickson. Very well-known 1967 science fiction novel, based on a Hugo-winning magazine version.

Not as much fun as I hoped. Thought there'd be more rip-roaring battles, but it's a bit angst-ridden and humourless. There's also a lot of tell-don't-show where you keep getting told what the characters' personalities are.

The book seems to have been published just two years after the novel version of Dune, and I think Dickson might have been trying a bit too hard to imitate that style.

However, it's fairly brisk and has a nicely set-up universe; where the various colony worlds of Earth have rapidly evolved specialized human personalities, and trade labour with each other. Also comes to an effective ending.

So, a good read, but may be a bit disappointing if you're expecting a classic.

What I'm Watching
Saw Angelina Jolie movie Salt at the cinema. Pretty decent thriller harking back to the Cold War. Not too predictable, and the action scenes avoid the daftest unbelievable CGI we see a lot these days. Not unmissable, but decent entertainment if you want to see a movie.

What I'm Watching 2
Saw the 1992 Abel Ferrara version of Bad Lieutenant on DVD. Didn't have ideal circumstances to watch it. Might have worked a lot better in the cinema where you can get into an intense atmosphere: seemed a bit over-the-top especially when Harvey Keitel starts howling in anguish.

Has a similar basic scenario to the Werner Herzog "Bad Lieutenant - Port Of Call New Orleans", and a couple of scenes hark back to it, but the movies are very different takes on it.

What I'm Watching 3
Also been watching the old C4 series "Weapons That Made Britain". Appeals to K.J. Parker fans with a nice formula: builds an old weapon, tests it, gets some volunteers to wave it around.

I was watching it on Lovefilm's free download section, but lots of chunks of it seem to be scattered around YouTube.

Museums
Saw the Wolfgang Tillmans photography exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery. Liked it a lot: some very striking images there, especially one of the shadow-barred secure area at the US/Mexico border.

They're mostly pretty realistic photos, a lot less avant-garde than the Serpentine usually favours. Well worth a look if you're strolling through the park. It's free and you can also see the 2010 Serpentine Pavilion by Jean Nouvel.

Didn't have anything inside: all that red plastic could make it a bit creepy, but it looks pretty impressive from the outside.

Serpentine Pavilion 2010 6434

Serpentine Pavilion 2010 6436

Museums 2
Also saw the Small Spaces architecture exhibition at the V & A. Various architects have been commissioned to scatter small huts that "that examine notions of refuge and retreat" around the premises.

Bit of a mixed bag. Mostly they don't have enough internal space to be useful for anything, so they're a kind of middle ground between sculpture and shed. Quite liked the tall multi-story bookcase one though, and it's fun to look through the perspex angled cube.

Small Spaces at Victoria and Albert Museum 6371

Small Spaces at Victoria and Albert Museum 6398

Small Spaces at Victoria and Albert Museum 6366

Web
Socioeconomics. World fertility drops. NHS evidence that healthcare competition saves lives. Migrant cap will 'devastate' UK firms.

Articles. Taxi driver blog: running the gamut. Feminists look for stuff to get mad about. Samuel Butler on knowing what gives us pleasure. Fred Pohl on Gene Roddenberry.

Pics. Alternate world movie posters (via). First lemon

Buildings. Scott Adams on building his green house. Pallet theatre, house (via).

Politics. The class basis of the Conservative Party .

Random. Jet trains.

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Bad to the bone | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Have you read Tactics of Mistake? by Captain Tenille (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 03:18:23 PM EST
Same series, but I think a better book than "Soldier, Ask Not". 

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/* You are not expected to understand this. */


I haven't by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 03:21:58 PM EST
"Soldier, Ask Not" is the only one I've read. picked up "Dorsai" in the same second-hand shop, haven't read it yet.
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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 ]
first lemon by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 03:46:19 PM EST
good stuff.. glad it wasn't first lemon party..

feminists can be counted on to have sand in their vagina..

Fertility by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #4 Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 04:33:42 PM EST
Long term, the fall in the Mexican fertility rate is incredibly important to the future stability of the US.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Surely by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 05:57:08 PM EST
Less immigration will drive up wages for those left behind?


Thereby increasing labor costs by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 10:44:41 PM EST
Thereby "devastating" UK firms with higher costs.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
*slow hand clap* by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 05:14:35 AM EST
NT


[ Parent ]
Well, it wasn't clear that you understood by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:10:30 AM EST
It looked more like you needed wage driven inflation explained than that you were agreeing with the article. After all, normally when you disagree with things there's snide nicknames involved.

[ Parent ]
I was explaining it by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:14:57 AM EST
For the benefit of the usually economically innumerate leftist.

So if wages go up for this reason, what happens to the supply of jobs?


[ Parent ]
If you're calling TE economically illiterate, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 09:04:55 AM EST
then I'm laughing. If you were calling anyone else economically illiterate, then you were doing it in the wrong place.

[ Parent ]
Oh ambrosen by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 09:38:09 AM EST
So quick to anger.  It's not good for you, you know?

I named no one, and even included the word "usually" to make it clear that not all leftists are economically innumerate.  And yet you're so quick to anger, why?

Would you be so good as to supply a list of approved and disapproved places to be "doing it" so as not to inflame your ire?


[ Parent ]
Where socially appropriate. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 10:05:21 AM EST
I'm very sorry that I can't provide you with a full list: the norms of social interaction aren't compatible with hard and fast rules.

[ Parent ]
Ah. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 10:31:05 AM EST
If only I could import your impressive list of internal social interaction norms.

Why was it the wrong place?  Or did you mean "in my opinion", it's in the wrong place?

And why are you so quick to anger?


[ Parent ]
I'm not quick to anger. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 10:35:33 AM EST
I'm quick to point out patronising twaddle.

[ Parent ]
Are you sure by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 11:24:48 AM EST
You're in the right place to do that?


[ Parent ]
Eventually by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:04:26 AM EST
It looks like the usual Demographic Transition. As countries develop economically, there's first a surge in birth rates as infant mortality declines but people/cultures keep up their old habits; then they start to realise it's kind of a pain raising all these children when you don't need them to work on the farm and you've got to educate them if they're to get jobs; so birth rates start to fall.
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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 ]
And manufacturing by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 05:16:01 AM EST
Moves to the next country where labour costs are low.


[ Parent ]
That hospital competition article is interesting by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:21:11 AM EST
... and validates my worldview what's more :)

As the authors say, when people are offered a choice of hospital, they go for the one that kills people less. The information mechanism may be imperfect but it still has a positive effect.

Interesting from a libertarian flamewar perspective is that the so-called internal market (with price competition) had a negative effect, as everyone optimised for waiting times. This scheme is similar to the way Australian GPs usually work, in that you can go to whichever has free appointments, and usually someone will, but most of the fee schedule is set and paid for by Medicare.

Iambic Web Certified

It's an interesting result by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:57:14 AM EST
But I'm a bit wary of placing too much emphasis on it since it's a before-and-after study which could quite easily be confounded by other factors, if anything else was going on that might have lowered death rates.
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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 have some time free by Phage (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:15:49 AM EST
and an annual train pass. What are the exhibitions I should see ? That Modernism one at the V&A looked good but I'm sure that's over now.

It's not the best crop at the moment by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:46:22 PM EST
Rude Britannia at Tate Britain is pretty good, though it costs a bit.

The Printed Image in China at the Britism Museum is small but interesting and free, as is Close Examination at the National Gallery.
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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 ]
Thanks by Phage (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:51:33 PM EST
I might have a look at the fakes.

[ Parent ]
Bad to the bone | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback