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By TheophileEscargot (Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 10:34:55 PM EST) Reading, Travel, Ask Husi, Me, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Temporal Void". Advice: Smartphones, holiday? Web.

What I'm Reading
Finished The Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton. Second in the Void Trilogy.

Not quite as good as the first, but still a good fun read. This one has a lot more space devoted to the fantasyish story of the Waterwalker. That was the best part of the first book, but is a bit weaker here: things are a bit too easy for him as he just pulls another superpower out of his arse to solve every problem. On the other hand, Hamilton does start to integrate this with the main plotline a bit. There's some plot progress outside the void, but nothing really galaxy-shattering.

Looking forward to the final volume, "The Evolutionary Void", hopefully out late 2009. If you want to read this trilogy, might be better off waiting for him to finish and then reading it all in one go.

Ought to upgrade my phone really: it's flaking out on me a bit, sometimes struggling to reboot and going silent in calls.

Can't decide though. I do use the web on it quite a bit, and as an MP3 player. So not sure whether to get the dreaded iPhone: not sure if I can be bothered switching providers, or if I'll be able to cope.

Tempted by the Samsung Omnia which runs a skinned Windows Mobile: apparently even that makes it a bit fiddly to upload MP3s though.

Any suggestions for an MP3 playing iPhone? Burned on Nokias after all the problems I've had with the buggy N80.

Considering another winter holiday. Was thinking of Greece. Possible plan: Fly to Heraklion in Crete, check out the museums and the Palace of Minos at Knossos. Fly to Athens, look at Parthenon and the museums there.

However, Istanbul is another possibility. Any thoughts?

Video. London 1904 (MeFi). Vote Kennedy (GRRM). Everything is amazing (MC). Another tilt shift beach. Stop motion chess animation.

Game. Glider Pro (MeFi)

Random. Kids in fridge experiment (MeFi).

Politics. Behind the violent crime stats admission:

At times of economic boom theft rates of all kinds increase, while violence goes down dramatically. During times of recession the opposite occurs as violence decreases and theft rates multiply...

What might their planned response be?..."May I tell the Right Honorable Gentleman that Her Majesty's Government has halved the rate of violent crime in the past six months and that it continues to decline! "

Behind the oligarch yacht scandal:
For all the apparent ruthlessness, the media are dancing around the main point. It is not showing what should be at the heart of the affair: a proper sense of outrage at Mandelson, Osborne and Rothschild's belief that the tame oligarchs of a dangerous autocracy are no better or worse than other industrialists.

My colleagues are not to blame for pulling punches. London not only offers crony capitalists Michelin-starred restaurants, security guards and discreet bankers. Our authoritarian libel laws also attract the rich. Editors think once, twice, 100 times before crossing them. They know they must contend with libel judges and Law Lords unfit to hold office in an open society because they won't stand up for freedom of speech.

Reading between the lines, you may realise that when reporters talk about 'the aluminium wars' that turned Deripaska into a tycoon in Nineties' Siberia, we do not use 'war' figuratively. Notice, too, how often we say that the State Department revoked Deripaska's visa to enter the US in 2006 and how rarely we explain why.

Economics Web
Academic salaries bar chart.

Why do people have children?

Using as a natural experiment the Italian pension reforms of the 1990s that suddenly - and substantially - decreased pension prospects for a large group of individuals, the authors find that people with lower pension income prospects as a result of the reforms have significantly higher fertility. The relative increase in the probability of them having a child is above 10%.

The findings support the 'old-age security' theory where children are seen as a source of future financial support for their retired parents, as opposed to the traditional 'consumption' motive which suggests that a reduced pension income should lead to a reduction in parents' consumption and, therefore, fertility.

Recessions no big deal?
And recessions don't increase this [job] insecurity much. Indeed - using US evidence - Robert Hall has found that job destruction doesn't increase much at all in recessions. Instead, what happens is that the job creation rate slows down:
Marginal Revolution. Where is the credit crunch? There it is. Oh no it isn't. Oh yes it is.

Where is the Sterling crash?

Spoofs. Bernanke to the rescue. Banks told to stop being so obsessed with money.

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Form or Void | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)
Mp3 Phone by thunderbee (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:26:37 AM EST
I've been very happy with my string of Sony-Ericsson. Just plug it in a USB port, and copy files as if it were a thumb drive.
I have a w850i, it's very good for music & e-mail, screen way too small for serious web usage. Same thoughts for my wife's thinner w580i.
You could also wait for the G1 google phone should it ever make it to europe.

Istanbul by Scrymarch (4.00 / 2) #2 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 05:26:04 AM EST
Is a magnificent world city. Worth it for the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque alone, but there's a lot more.

I'm sure Greece would be amusing too though, especially if the Parthenon and Athens museum was open, unlike when we were there ...

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

Long, long time ago by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 06:17:07 AM EST
Used to be a company called British India did school cruises on what had started out as troopships, kids in the troop deck bunkrooms and teachers and a few paying passengers in the officers quarters. Back in about 1974 I went on one that started in Dubrovnik (was supposed to be Venice but Italy decided to have what I think was the last large scale epidemic in Europe) and called at Heraklion, Santorini, Piraeus, Istanbul, Rhodes and Malta (Should have been Naples, see above) although not necessarily in that order.

Knossos hasn't left much of an impression on me but Mycenae did, I suspect the Parthenon would have been better with more time to explore independently as in later years I've been surprised at how much more there is up there than I saw. There was another hilltop temple complex a mile or so from the Parthenon that I remember as being better. Looking down into the Corinth canal and remembering it was started with Bronze Age tools makes you think.

Sailing up through the Dardenelles past Gallipoli needs to be done, there are some really impressive war memorials along that bit of coast. Istanbul is another big city with history, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. Rhodes and Malta feature the Knights of St John (Him of the Ambulance) heavily.

After more than 30 years I suspect a lot of it will have been theme parked, but after my lottery win happens a summer cruising round the Aegean in a decent sized boat is definitely on.

Old movies by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:00:56 AM EST
One from a similar time was found of San francisco's Market Street.

Re: Job Insecurity - Seems to me that much of job insecurity is fear that if you lose your current job, you won't find a new one.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Knossos is cool by imrdkl (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 08:13:22 AM EST
But ck with the museum, the inner rooms (where one finds most of the artwork -  albeit almost entirely homoerotic) were all closed this summer.  The outer rooms and the palace grounds alone are well worth the trip, though. 

See Aptera if you're on the west side of the island, and dont forget the gorge walks.  I think Samaria is still open.

Thanks by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 08:45:21 AM EST
Welcome back... it's been a while!
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 ]
There is but one iPhone by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 09:24:15 AM EST

and it is called 'iPhone'. Plus, every time someone buys one, I get to buy more gear. You know what the right thing to do here is. I trust you will do it.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
Traqfone and Verizon don't offer them by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:07:00 PM EST
though I hear the LG Dare is almost as good.

[ Parent ]
jailbreaking is your friend. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #12 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 01:29:46 PM EST
And if you were my friend, you'd buy an iphone, so I can buy more tactical gear. Man, I should work in marketing...
You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Children and pensions by Herring (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:30:38 AM EST
In places like the BBC "Have your say", there is the inevitable criticism of those in the 3rd world "why don't they stop having so many children?". Of course, in the 3rd world there are no pensions or state funded nursing homes. People do have children to support them in their old age. Until that is sorted out, then no amount of family planning is going to stem the rising tide of population.

It's the other way around over here though. Mrs. H. and I can cruise along paying the interest on what we owe but not making much of a dent in the capital sum until one or other set of parents kicks the bucket and we get the proceeds. I might still all go in nursing home fees though.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Sony Ericsson w908i by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:39:18 PM EST
Its mp3 player isn't as good as an iPod, but nothing else is.

Web browsing works decently, and its email client is shockingly usable.

Comes with 8gb storage as standard, phone part of it works very well, and it was a free upgrade for me.

All in all, very happy with it and would recommend.

Wanker by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:39:51 PM EST
That's a w980i...

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 02:11:00 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by Phil Urich

Oops, that'll teach me not to preview. Try #2... by Phil Urich (4.00 / 1) #14 Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 02:13:27 PM EST
Here in Soviet Albertastan there's only one GSM provider (well, two, but the second is owned by the first...great choice, there) so unless I want inferior service and to pay $40 for even just the SIM card I'm stuck with either expensive Western Canada-priced phones or tight-gripped contracts.

Or in other words, for me even an older Nokia would be heaven-sent, so I'm jealous!

But hey, from the article for the Samsung that you linked:

"The Omnia can be manually set to perform as either a USB Mass Storage or MTP device which makes the loading of content via drag'n'drop from Windows, Linux or Mac boxes or via Windows Media Player very straightforward. No problems with ID3 tags or album art recognition, either."

That doesn't sound fiddly at all! Actually, that sounds like a fairly big improvement on something like the iPhone where you'd be tied to iTunes instead of being able to just drag-drop from anywhere. Can't say I know anyone personally that has any decent (non-ancient) smartphones, but my overall experience with Samsung products has always been positive, especially their mp3 players and phones (though never anything that was both at once, although I hear the P2 works with cells very well through bluetooth).

[ Parent ]
Form or Void | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)