Second book in the Fencer trilogy: The Belly of the Bow. This one was pretty weak. The military stuff didn't seem plausible at all. It rested on one army made up entirely of heavy infantry, no cavalry, no projectile weapons; and another made up entirely of archers. Infantryland is supposed to be a long-established army too. It's not like it's just been assembled by a hitherto peaceful society. Nor is it just doing ritualised or agonistic combat: it's supposed to be the real thing.
I suppose the closest example might be the Ten Thousand: Hellenistic mercenary heavy infantry who found themselves stranded in enemy territory after their army dissolved: but practically the first thing they did was create a sub-corps of slingers to give themselves some projectile weapons from the materials at hand.
There's also badly-handled attempt at shocking the reader: but seems to involve someone acting far too out of character, and it's something seen before.
Hopefully she'll pull something together for the last volume.
The interring of my grandmother's ashes at the cemetery is happening today. Have a bad feeling about it: suspect it's going to be an organizational nightmare.
Articles: Diana verdict.
Starting salaries by major. Top 5: Engineering, Computer Programming, Mathematics, Economics, Accounting.
I don't get advice columns. Just who is the crazy one there?
Keep meaning to write about various things, but can't find the time. So here's a few hastily-written thoughts, without much depth or research.
Complex cult systems
Whenever I start looking into cult mysticism or so on, what strikes me is how ugly the system looks. It's like reading one of those horrible fat functional specs full of redundancies and exceptions and special cases and jargon... it just seems heartsinkingly dull.
I really don't see what normal people see in them, but they obviously have a lot of appeal. Maybe normal people aren't used to dealing in abstract systems, so it all looks impressive to them. What is the appeal?
From Ain Suph Aur crystallises Kether, the first sephirah of the Hermetic Qabalistic tree of life. From Kether emanate the rest of the sephirot in turn, viz. Kether (1), Chokhmah (2), Binah (3), Daath, Chesed (4), Geburah (5), Tiphareth (6), Netzach (7), Hod (8), Yesod (9), Malkuth (10). Daath is not assigned a number as it is considered either a false or a hidden sephirah.Scientology bible:
NED for OTs handles those BTs and clusters which, while they could still affect the body, are not readily responsive to OT III handling. As NED for OTs is run these cats wake up and get handled. This relieves the Pre-OT of a lot of phenomena which puzzles him and can hold him down. As you go along in running it you will find that the material to which NED for OTs is addressed seldom considers itself live beings.
The Lords immigration report came out a while back I find it irritating even though the report isn't entirely worthless that it was spun so heavily. As David Smith hints, they seem to have heavily publicized its conclusions before the report was actually published, thus getting a whole day's worth of headlines suggesting they've proved immigration is economically worthless before anyone could criticize it.
They seem to have a problem with framing. They keep coming up with things like show your face and BMI illustrated. The purpose is to show lots of pictures of people who have been declared fat by the oppressive mainstream media and medical establishment, to demonstrate that fat people are actually beautiful, normal people.
The problem is, I think maybe because of the regions they live, or their social networks, or their families, they're accustomed to standards of fat and beauty that are bit different to those of people in thinner regions.
Because as some pointed out here: when we see these allegedly fat people, they do look fat.
Biofuels and food prices
Wish there was a decent article or website summarizing the issues and pros and cons, but I haven't seen one.
On the one hand, there is currently a disturbing rise in grain prices. However, this is the result of several factors:
- Increased meat-eating in a more prosperous Asia, raising demand for feed grain.
- Bad harvests in several regions of the world
- Increased use of grain for biofuels
- Possibly a speculative bubble in commodities as money flees low interest rates into other investments. (Hotly debated)
Now even if the effect of biofuels are small, there might still be a case for reducing their use: since they're heavily dependent on subsidies, they're probably the easiest factor to change.
However, there seems to be a lot of spin around at the moment that the grain-price problem can be solved just by eliminating biofuels. That seems unlikely because of the other factors: it might ameliorate the problem but is unlikely to solve it.
Whether it's worthwhile depends on the utility of biofuels, but it's hard to find sensible information on that either.
There seems to be a certain amount of wishful thinking, that when the oil runs out we can just substitute biofuels in vehicles and keep burning as many gallons as we do now. That seems impractical given the amount of cropland that would be required.
However, assuming that post-oil we can transition to other forms of power generation (say nuclear for example), while we can run trains, homes and factories on that, we still have to distribute food and stuff to people. I think the "last mile" is a particular problem, since you can't use trains.
So, it seems likely to me that biofuel trucks, vans, taxis and buses may well be the most practical means of doing this. So, it could be worthwhile to develop biofuels infrastructure for things like that. This depends on how hard it is to develop such an infrastructure.
But I'm not seeing any real practical analysis on that side of things either.
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