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By TheophileEscargot (Tue Jun 11, 2019 at 01:19:55 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching, Me (all tags)
Reading: "The Art of the Loophole", "Inglorious Empire", "Record of a Spaceborn Few". Watching. Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
The Art of the Loophole by Nick Freeman. Autobiographical book by the lawyer nicknamed "Mr Loophole" by the tabloids, who's most famous for getting various celebritiies off speeding tickets. Despite the subtitle "Making the law work for you" there's not much that's practically useful for you to know apart from that it's good to hire a really expensive lawyer. The loopholes he uses most are errors made in the complicated paperwork and failure to follow procedures exactly. For instance, after one breathalyser broke down someone was taken to another police station, but only given the legal warning on the first one.

Freeman seems to succeed by working hard and understanding every detail of the law, procedures, even studying the manuals of speed guns and breathalysers to look at how they could be misused. He seems to regard this as a kind of public service in that he's motivating prosecutors to stick to the law. It doesn't fill you with much confidence in the fairness of the law though that an expensive lawyer makes so much difference.

Overall, fairly interesting but not that surprising.

What I'm Reading 2
Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor is a book that shouldn't have to exist but does: exposing the realities of the British Empire to revisionists. Does the job very well, going through the claimed benefits of the British Empire one by one and comparing them to the reality.

Points out that despite the rhetoric of free trade in multiple ways the British made sure to cripple Indian exports with rules and restrictions: sometimes blatantly like the laws passed to ban Indian workshops from making locomotives, sometimes more subtly by insisting on unnecessary steel standards and banning Indian ships from tray

The railways were constructed at far greater cost than railways elsewhere, with profits guaranteed by Indian taxpayers. In some ways it almost seems like this technique is now what drives "public/private" initiatives in the UK today, where corporations milk the state.

Education was poor: in 1930 there were only 66% as many community schools as a hundred years earlier. Famine was rife, but avoidable. Extractive taxes drained wealth and investment.

Overall: a useful and informative book, crisply written.

What I'm Reading
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. Third in the "Wayfarers" science fiction series. I struggled to get into this one: it has a variety of separated characters and very little plot momentum for the first part. Was glad I persevered though as it's basically a walkthrough of how an interesting future society works: the generation ships of Earth now parked in orbit as a permanent habitat.

Not bad if you can cope with the very low-key events and lack of pace.

What I'm Watching
Managed to get to see Avengers Endgame at the cinema. Better than I expected as I didn't like the cliffhanger at the end of the last one and thought this would be fairly routine and predictable. They did manage to shake up expectations a bit though by having the obvious time travel solution be a heist movie thing about grabbing the infinity stones, rather than just going back and changing history. The final battle did seem to be a bit of a repeat. Was good to see various long-running plot threads tied up for Captain America in particular.

What I'm Watching 2
Saw Inside Out at home, Pixar movie about the anthropomorphized emotions controlling an eleven year old girl: Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness. Pretty good movie with a reasonable message. Kid watched it to the end but wasn't interested in seeing it again.

What I'm Watching 3
Saw Aquaman at home. Decent superhero movie that thankfully doesn't try the usual DC grimdark tone. Feels a bit long and heavy for what it is but decently done.

Me
Ran the Vitality 10k race in central London. This was much bigger than my last race: 23,000 people in central London. There was a huge queue for the toilets, barely made it to the start time for my place in the second wave (out of seven).

Had a fantastic time though. Strange to come out to blaring music and crowds of applauding people. Great route, very flat, passing the famous London landmarks as the streets were closed off.

Managed to get four personal bests out of the same race: 10km, 5km, mile and 1km. I think I took it a bit too easy at the start as the short PBs were in the last two kilometers. I'd been training by the book with mostly high volumes of slow running and I wasn't sure it was doing much, but at the end I was amazed at how fast I was going. It seems like doing what you're supposed to actually works here.

Me 2
Had a work trip to a team building event in Greece for a few days. Was actually really good: they kept the motivational speeches and teamwork games to a minimum, and the boozing to a maximum. Got to do some sea swimming every morning and evening and they put on a boat trip too. Struggled to keep up with the huge contigent of Eastern European employees though: I gave up at 3:15AM on the first night and they were still going strong.

Probably won't happen again as the manager who was driving these events has left, but good while it lasted. Glad I finally got to one as only a fraction of UK staff go each year and I had to turn one down a while ago.

Links
Socioeconomics. Study showing married women are uniquely unhappy was flawed as "spouse absent" on survey meant "separated" not "husband out of the room so can speak freely". Decades of tax wars among the world's richest countries are unravelling the century-old global corporate tax system. 1953 test: hat are Your Best Fitted for: Love or Career. Dissecting the Eurozone's (lack of) inflation.

Random. Blaschka scientific glass models of sea creatures, video. Spirited Gay Aunts In Fiction, Ranked

Pics. Shadow art.

Sci/Tech. Perpetual Diamond optical illusion. Mammoth bone dwellings, via. Life Cycle Assessment of grocery carrier bags (big PDF, Table IV is the most useful).

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Get in the sea | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)
Avengers... by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Jun 11, 2019 at 06:18:11 AM EST
Reading some of the critiques, I'm glad I didn't get into the MCU movies.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Inside Out by me0w (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Jun 11, 2019 at 06:28:31 AM EST
Dr. Dacher Keltner was the consultant on the movie. Heard him speak at a conference I was recently at. He's quite good and has a couple of books. I haven't read the books but if they are a representation of his keynote - might be a worthy read.

I don't know if you've seen this yet by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jun 12, 2019 at 07:10:23 AM EST
From the NY Times, It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Mammoth house link is awesome. by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Jun 12, 2019 at 10:10:19 PM EST


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Get in the sea | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)