The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi. Sequel to "The Quantum Thief" which I liked a lot. Set in the same hard SF future solar system, involving space travel, quantum computing, virtual reality.
I wasn't so keen on this one. The expanded scenario just felt a bit too overcomplicated, with too many factions, too many plots, too many layers. It's hard to keep track and get involved with the characters when you're not sure whether their goal is actually part of a counter productive triple-cross a nested sub-universe. It reminded me a bit of Wolfmother's second album, all complicated twiddly bits and not enough heart.
On the other hand, it's all cleverly worked out, and I felt obscurely satisfied when the Finnish author features a Space Sauna where you expose yourself to vacuum for a few seconds at the end.
Overall: OK, not brilliant.
What I'm Watching
Saw Frequently Asked Questions about Time Travel on Iplayer. Movie where three nerds discover a time portal in their local pub.
Started off a bit cringeworthy and leaden as it plodded through various nerd cliches. The movie does kick into gear when the time travel gets going, with some effective humour and mystery.
Overall, fairly entertaining.
What I'm Watching 2
Saw Machete Kills at the cinema. It's lighter and funnier than the first one: Kills is only a 15 and has to do without the nudity, and with more cartoonish violence.
Still, enjoyed it a lot. It's packed with jokes and spoofs, some of the kills are Tom and Jerryishly hilarious: really good fun.
Well worth seeing if you have a certain tolerance for bad taste. Really hope they actually go on to the trailed sequel "Machete Kills Again... In Space".
Since 1980, the aggregate pre-tax income of the bottom 90 per cent of US households has grown by 1.9 per cent in real terms. But among the top 1 per cent, pre-tax incomes have more than doubled. Deaton adds: “All but the top 1 per cent of the French population did better than all but the top 1 per cent of the American population.”OECD has bad news about UK education, report.
Social background has a strong impact on skills in some countries… In England/Northern Ireland (UK), Germany, Italy, Poland and the United States, social background has a major impact on literacy skills. In these countries more so than in others, the children of parents with low levels of education have significantly lower proficiency than those whose parents have higher levels of education, even after taking other factors into accountGove advisor: genetics outweighs teaching.
Low-skilled adults risk getting trapped in a situation in which they rarely benefit from adult learning, and their skills remain weak or deteriorate over time – which makes it even harder for these individuals to participate in learning activities. This presents a formidable policy challenge for countries such as Canada, England/Northern Ireland (UK), Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United States, where significant shares of adults are at or below Level 1 on the literacy and numeracy scales.
Politics. US. Conservative shift in opinion has happened in all states. Tea Party radicalism is rational movement of local elites. UK. Matthew Dancona's book on the coalition: "the Cameroon elite…are a social grouping which chanced upon a political project". Vice watches Tommy Robinson resign.
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