Print Story We're gonna have a good time
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:48:30 AM EST) Reading, Museums, MLP (all tags)
Reading: Scavenger trilogy. Museums. Web.

What I'm Reading
Finished the Scavenger trilogy by K.J. Parker: Shadow, Pattern and Memory. This is the series she wrote before the superb "Engineer" trilogy I've gone on about before.

This trilogy is still very good by normal fantasy standards, though not quite as good as the Engineer. The plot relies heavily on fate causing a series of coincidences that would otherwise be completely unbelievable. The protagonist Poldarn is believed by some to be a god sent to cause the end of the world: however he's an amnesiac and unaware of who he is.

This means that Poldarn wakes up in a river surrounded by bodies, with no memory of how he got there. He then wanders around, leaving a trail of devastation and death behind him, without any intention of doing so.

There are a few fantasy elements, but they're kept mostly in the background. There aren't any dragons or elves or wizards or suchlike, which seem to me the MSG of fantasy: cheap way to boost the flavour, but gets boring once you're used to it. There's some good world-building, especially the society of the raiders' island and the guild town. Parker's also unsentimental in giving terrible fates to her characters here: not quite at Donaldson levels but she's trying hard to get there.

Plot-wise they're very compelling despite the repetition and coincidence: read them all in a few huge sittings.

Overall, very good immersive reading if you can suspend disbelief for the plot coincidences. Not best read by the easily depressed though.

Saw the Cranach exhibition at the Royal Academy. Have a feeling I've seen this before: I think I might have wandered through it in Madrid. I was heavily museum-swamped at that stage though and can't be 100% sure.

Some interesting stuff there. Seems to be kind of a bridge between medieval and Renaissance art: there are some pretty realistic oils but also some ornately gothic, cheerfully gruesome crucifixions and martydoms. He seems to have had a case of only-one-model syndrome though. (It's one of the tragedies of Renaissance: it could have been even better if they'd had more naked women to look at.)

About six small rooms. Moderately crowded. Mostly elderly art-farts not tourists. Worth a look, but not spectacular.

Not sure about everyone else, but for me the Everything link in the top right of HuSi has started working. If so, you can see diaries, holiaries and whinies without being cluttered up with amazon links as in scoop/section. Thanks!

On the other hand, couldn't get two of the YouTube links below to show up directly.

Food Fight: [5 min]

Birthday in the Metropolis (3 min)

Barack O'Bollywood (2 min)

Science. Bat detection. Chomskian generative grammar supporters on the defensive. (Via Monkeyfilter).

Economics. Great depression and the UK:

As an aside, many people think the Great Depression was the source of the observation that, if America sneezes, Britain catches a cold. That was not the case. America’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by about a third from 1929 to 1932, while Britain’s dropped by only 5%, followed by the long upswing to 1938.
Is Ireland's luck running out?
The problem for Ireland is that, as part of the euro zone, it has no control over either interest rates or exchange rates. That leaves the country no room to maneuver its way out of recession via monetary policy.
Somewhat technical: Mankiw on Deflation and the great depression

Articles. The Abu Ghraib photographer: "They couldn’t say that we broke the rules because there were no rules". (MeFi). Million Dollar Murray and the hockey stick homeless. Leave Paris Alone.

Random. How many cannibals could you feed? (13 for me). Nanocannon.

< Apparently.... | on awakenings and remembering >
We're gonna have a good time | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
re. ireland and engineers by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 01:26:59 AM EST
I'm not a big fan of Ireland getting out of the euro and consider the idea a rather weak cop-out. I rather like the fact that the shower of corrupt, opportunist fuckwits that run the country are accountable to at least one higher power, even if it isn't the one it should be (stupid electorate). They fuelled the boom recklessly and everything they have tried to do to correct wrt. the property market has been crowd pleasing election fodder and ultimately made things worse.

Currently reading the engineers trilogy. While I'm reading it, it is gripping, intriguing, well told and generally absolutely fantastic stuff. As soon as I put it down though, I am curiously reluctant to pick it back up again.

Engineer trilogy by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 02:19:36 AM EST
I lent volume 1 to someone who beforehand has read books overnight and given them back to me, but this time she's kept it for months.

Some people seem to love it, but maybe it's not for everyone.
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 ]
Hasn't the Irish currency by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 11:24:10 AM EST
Always been tied to either the British pound, the Deutsche Mark or the Euro? So the Irish politicians have never had full reign over economic policy.

Glad that the UK has stayed out of the Euro as I definitely think we could do with a bit of a devaluation.

[ Parent ]
not exactly by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 11:31:51 AM EST
Before the preparation for the euro, it followed the British pound generally but in no way that was contractually binding.

[ Parent ]
13 is the new black by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 03:23:42 AM EST
Hey, did you hear that Jockland is seeking to emulate the Celtic Tiger, just as it's being skinned.  I guess the secret is to realise that regardless of being proud, noble blah blah, you're just cheap Native labour as far as your paymasters are concerned, so it's best not to get ideas above your station.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
youtube videos by hulver (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 02:04:49 PM EST
They need the full, not just the bit.

I might change that, but I'm a bit paranoid about allowing them in the first place so my code is a bit restrictive what it will allow.

And, yeah I finally fixed the everything link.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

Ireland by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Mar 25, 2008 at 01:14:07 AM EST
Even if things get worse, they won't be as bad as before it joined the EU. It was a complete basket case.

It's political correctness gone mad!

hear hear! by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #8 Tue Mar 25, 2008 at 01:39:55 AM EST
When I was in primary school, our family was notable because my dad had a job. Mortgage interest rates were double-figures, and people were pouring out of the country.

The EU helped Ireland come from a place somewhere near current living standards in Lithuania and rural Poland to where it is now. That pace of development has a cost you don't evade by simply dropping out when the going is tougher again.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand the get out of EU logic. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Mar 25, 2008 at 05:04:06 AM EST
States in the US ( or in any other Federal Republic ) don't have control over interest rates neither.

This is not a unique problem, but you don't see Texas trying to leave the US (yet) or Lower Saxony seceding from Germany ...

Well by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Mar 25, 2008 at 05:20:56 AM EST
Texas is economically tied very closely to the US, and Lower Saxony is tied very closely to Germany. There's high labour mobility in each case, since language barriers are less of a problem.

But from the article, Ireland is experiencing a house price collapse that's not happening across most of Euroland, and a higher rate of inflation than it. But it cannot adjust its interest rates to fit its own circumstances.

[ Parent ]
We're gonna have a good time | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)