Print Story Something in the water
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By TheophileEscargot (Wed Apr 19, 2017 at 12:10:08 AM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The North Water", "Bitter Greens". Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
The North Water by Ian McGuire. Novel about a whaling crew operating from Hull towards the end of the whaling era. The book relishes the brutality of a desperate crew.

I found it absolutely gripping. Well worth reading if you can tolerate the violence.

Review, review, review.

What I'm Reading 2
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. Mixes several linked stories. A woman is exiled from the court of Louis XIV to a grim nunnery. There she is told a version of the Rapunzel story, which in turn leads back to the origin story of the Rapunzel witch.

I found this one compelling too. Unlike some of the cosier historical fantasies, this book doesn't shy away from the oppression of women in early modern Europe, even for those in privileged positions. It's interesting to see what happens after the convenient erasure of get-thee-to-a-nunnery.

Was surprised to find after reading that the protagonist was a real historical figure: the story seemed good enough to be fictional.

Overall, a great book, very glad I read it.

However not quite sure who to recommend it to. It's marketed as chick-lit which might put off some people; it's grittier and more feminist-oriented than some books with similar covers, but also dabbles in some male-rescuer fantasies which might put off some feminists. Also has some sexual violence. But it is a great story with fascinating characters.

Me
Had a good Easter though a bit tiring. Took toddler on a long walk through Hampstead Heath on Friday. Did usual weekend stuff on the Saturday. Battled allergies to get grass cut on Sunday while wife took him to church, apparently he did very well on the Easter Egg hunt: she had to give away eggs after he collected too many for them to carry. Monday rented a car and went to meet my sister's family at a stately home near them. Did a family egg-roll, then a massive Easter Egg hunt walking for miles round the grounds in search of clues.

He had a good time, but I was exhausted by the break.

Was involved in a crisis emergency release at work just before Easter. Annoying one offshore team tried to blame some code I'd written and I had to prove it was working (the purpose was to limit the number of concurrent requests triggered by an event). They kept putting debug with thread ids in and saying "aha look, more than 4 threads", but the code wasn't using explicit thread management just C# await statements so that doesn't tell you anything. Finally they found the actual problem: to purge one piece of data they'd decided to clear the entire application cache we were using for performance every time a user logged in or out.

Problems seem fixed in test, but the release hasn't gone live yet, plenty of time for other stuff to break.

Links
Socioeconomics. US mass incarceration largely driven by prosecutors not drug sentencing. Why the 101 model doesn't work for labor markets. The labor market seems to be missing high-skilled jobs, not high-skilled workers.

Sci/Tech. Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing. What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists Cannon duels across channel in WW2. Being a woman in programming in the Soviet Union.

Articles. Kirk Drift: the myth of Kirk the womaniser. Men Recommend David Foster Wallace to Me. History of the C-word. Stepmothers in fairy tales:

The evil stepmother is so integral to our familiar telling of "Snow White" that I was surprised to discover that an earlier version of the story doesn’t feature a stepmother at all. In this version, Snow White has no dead mother, only a living mother who wants her dead. This was a pattern of revision for the Brothers Grimm; they transformed several mothers into stepmothers between the first version of their stories, published in 1812, and the final version, published in 1857. The figure of the stepmother effectively became a vessel for the emotional aspects of motherhood that were too ugly to attribute to mothers directly...
Random. When Pixels Collide: history of a giant collaborative drawing. Tradescant tomb, 1853. The Victorian Teenage Girl Who Entertained Crowds by Overpowering Men. "Your Country Needs You" poster barely existed. A Popular '40s Map of American Folklore Was Destroyed by Fears of Communism

Video. It's different from what you expected 1, 2, 3.

< Update April | Don't believe the timecard, it's not really vacation >
Something in the water | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That C-word article is fascinating by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Apr 19, 2017 at 03:15:45 AM EST
I've written "C-word" a lot as a cheeky reference to the fact that certain groups oppose the idea of discussion of consciousness beyond being a measure of wakefulness. i didn't coin it, but I couldn't tell you where I got it from.

It's meant to signal a certain, nearly literal, profanity in my writing on the subject—I'm not trained in any of the relevant fields. But deeper than that, there is very little of consciousness (beyond wakefulness) that can be discussed scientifically at all. My hope is that little by little that can change as we develop new tools, in terms of theories, techniques and instrumentation.


Incidentally, there is another word, just as long, referring to approximately the same thing, which some people find more offensive. Its etymology is plainly obvious and it's quite an ignorant word. In all the media I've ever consumed, I've heard it only in Son's of Anarchy—and then only once or twice.

Chill out, snowflake.

Your country and hideous men by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Apr 19, 2017 at 03:23:18 PM EST
Seems like the fame of that poster is that it inspired this, which was widely used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Sam#/media/File:Unclesamwantyou.jpg

I'm not sure what I find more off-putting, people continually recommending books without taking the reader's taste into account or people insisting on making the reading of a book a social signifier without reading it themselves.   For fuck's sake, just read what you like and understand that others have different tastes.

My wife and I are both big readers, and we recommend things to each other from time to time, but probably only read about 5% of things in common.  We only recommend things we suspect the other will like.  My wife liked "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" but has never read "Infinite Jest" and in fact I've suggested to her that it's probably not to her taste.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Soviet programmer link was cool. by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Apr 22, 2017 at 03:30:33 AM EST


Iambic Web Certified

That NYT bit on moms and step-moms by lm (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Apr 22, 2017 at 10:08:07 AM EST
That was really interesting.

Oddly both me and my wife came into step-mothers late in the game. My widowed father-in-law just remarried last year and my twice divorced mother remarried this past April Fool's day.

In both cases, they seem to be good women.

I guess you could call my mom's ex partner my first step-mother. She did fit the bill of the evil step-mother. But that was a legally nebulous time for same sex marriage in the US. I'm not sure their marriage was legally recognized anywhere prior to their divorce. In fact their divorce may not be binding. At the time, same sex marriages weren't recognized in their state of residence so they couldn't get a legal divorce.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Step-mothers by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Apr 22, 2017 at 06:45:36 PM EST
My step-mother was a wonderful, witty, great person to be around.

The person she married to become my step-mother was a complete asshole.  Fortunately, she divorced him.  I saw her all the time after the divorce...him not so much.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

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Something in the water | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback