Print Story The colour of money
By TheophileEscargot (Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 08:22:23 AM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Galactic North", "How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read". Web.

What I'm Reading
Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds is a collection of short stories set in the Revelation Space universe. I haven't been able to get in to short stories much lately: I think I've got too reliant on plots to keep me reading, but managed to get through this one pretty quickly. May have to start on the stack of fiction-unread Interzones.

Liked this collection a lot. A lot of them are fairly dark and gothic, with nifty set-ups and gimmicks. If you're used to the series it's also nice to seem glimpses of things only alluded too: the inside of a Conjoiner drive, the aftermath of the war on Mars.

Definitely worth reading if you like the series. Not sure how intelligible it would be if you haven't.

What I'm Reading 2
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard. Irony-drenched book by a French literature professor.

Not much actually helpful advice on the subject, as you'd find in a Bluffer's Guide or Molesworth. Instead he wants the reader to consider books as social objects, existing in a web of associations in people's minds. Seems like a limited version of Baudrillard: even if you can't accept that reality isn't real, you might accept that books are just mental constructs.

Hard to know how serious he is about there being a cultural pressure to appear to have read Important Works of Literature. Presumably it exists amongst literature professors; not sure if he seriously thinks it exists in the rest of the world.

If only it were true that people respected reading, rather than thought of it as unbearably pretentious, effete and boring. For one thing I could give up this blog and just talk to people in real life about it, instead of huddling on the Internet with the other perverts who share the vice.

Does have some interesting metafictional anecdotes, where he describes various satirical setups relating to unread books.

Overall, seems a bit pointless. Doesn't seem to consider that anyone could have an individual response to a book, appreciating a point, event, character or theme that hasn't made it into the collective consciousness.

Review, review, review, review.

Having that wisdom tooth out tomorrow. I fear. I had a couple of teeth out under general anaesthetic when I was a kid, but I've never had any work done, even a filling or anything, since then. And all I knew then was that I was awake and my teeth had gone.

Random thought
Update [2008-9-18 13:48:46 by TheophileEscargot]:
Why haven't I seen anyone calling for the return of old-fashioned building societies?

The whole point of them was that they would allow ordinary folk a source of credit at a time when banks wouldn't lend it. Surely a credit crunch should make them more viable?

In retrospect, it may not have been that great a move for them all to turn into banks to take advantage of complicated new financial instruments.

And they're a good old bottom-up, trad socialist self-help kind of thing.

Light bot programming game.

Heartwarming? Fat doctor: Do the right thing.

Gruelling Hue test. My score: 4. (MeFi).

Politics. Report on the Barnett formula allocating money to UK regions.

North Sea Oil has not funded the Scottish spending gap, despite Scottish Nationalist claims to the contrary. In only five of the last 23 years have North Sea Oil receipts exceeded the cost of higher funding paid to Scotland.
The Politics of Schadenfreude:
Frustrated by the campus climate and skeptical of anti-Bush claims that struck me as outlandish, I did a foolish thing: I let my preference for who would win the presidency be influenced--though not wholly determined--by the emotional satisfaction I’d get from seeing people who annoyed me lose the election. Of course, the candidate I preferred on the issues did win. But my behavior as a voter sent the message that an unimpressive man, drafted by the party apparatus, could help his chances at being elected by provoking hyperbolic criticism and cannily taking umbrage. The Bush Administration exploited that tactic to such spectacular, damaging effect later on that I am loath to admit my complicity in the schadenfreude, even all these years later.
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The colour of money | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)
Hmmm by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 08:38:53 AM EST
I apparently have troubles seeing turquoise. (My score:11. All errors in the blue-green row.)

I've had one wisdom tooth out. I have a dentist who operates on the "if it ain't broke..." theory. The removal was much easier than I'd feared.

The US political system seems to be in a depressing race for the bottom. I really expect future historians to call the late nineties the zenith.

I gave up on SF magazines a few years ago. I do pick up the odd anthology now and again (and things like Galactic North) but these days most of my short fiction comes from Escape Pod. The short stories are about the right length for the walking bit of my commute.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Ha! I win. I got: 0! by gzt (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 09:05:45 AM EST
PERFECT colour vision.

And perfect genetics: I do not even have wisdom teeth. I am clearly the next stage of evolution.

Sorry this was a reply to your comment rather than the diary, but because of some bug, my comments directly to stories don't show up while I'm at work.

[ Parent ]
Zero also by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:45:19 PM EST
Does this make me gay?

Also, it all seemed a bit...easy.  I wonder if there's a tactic element to this as well as just raw colourificationalising.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
which sorting algorithm? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:14:25 PM EST
I sort of mixed a selection sort with an insertion sort. It's sort of hard to describe.

[ Parent ]
with lots of bubbling at the end. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:19:54 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Sort of similar by gazbo (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 11:27:18 PM EST
My general technique was similar to one iteration of quick sort, followed by selection sort, and then bubble sort to check (though in practice this very rarely changed any ordering).

First step is to just "throw" the colours to the right side - so obvious reds get thrown far to the right, blues to the left, and intermediates to the middle.  Slight optimisation in that some of the obviously-red-but-not-really-bright wouldn't get thrown quite so far.  So it created about 5 sublists with each sublist being in order (minus some fuzzy boundary issues)

Next step was pretty much straight selection sort.

Finally, compare them one-by-one to see if anything looks out of place.  If in doubt, swap a pair.  I found that swapping a colour into the wrong place made it stand out like a sore thumb, and it turned out they were always in the right place anyway.

Plus, I'm awesome.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
sandwich by gzt (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 05:00:57 AM EST
For me, the bubbling wasn't really a true bubbling, since what I was really doing was looking at trios, since it's easier to look at XYZ vs YXZ than just to see XY vs YX

[ Parent ]
Building societies by DullTrev (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 09:02:46 AM EST

See today's Guardian letters page - a call for remutualisation, workers' control, and George Bush being a socialist.

Limited advertising budgets by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 09:27:33 AM EST
A Building Society exists for the mutual benefit of its members, a Bank exists to provide dividends for its shareholders. It is difficult to show why sticking one of your clerks in front of a camera and getting him to sing for 30 seconds in the middle of Coronation Street benefits the members, but much easier to show that it will tempt the mug punters in and swell the dividend for a lot fewer shareholders.

[ Parent ]
Wisdom teeth by MillMan (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 09:15:26 AM EST
I had seriously impacted lower wisdom teeth taken out when I was 29. I was under general anesthetic, so the whole thing felt like it took 10 minutes. Then I took some nice drugs for a few days.

When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?

Who's the freak with 5+ wisdom teeth? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 11:56:57 AM EST
Also, re: Building Societies

I don't know how many Vietnamese, or Chinese, people you have over there, but around here, it's a huge part of the sub-culture.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I knew I heard of those somewhere by garlic (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:38:08 PM EST
Chinatown, USA.

[ Parent ]
Not just there. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:41:42 PM EST
I can't speak for Chicago, but we have a huge Asian population here.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
yeah. by garlic (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:31:14 PM EST
I think the time I heard more about it was actually SF chinatown.

[ Parent ]
Ow.. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:56:13 PM EST
I started trying to take that test and I was getting cross-eyed before I finished the first row.

But I guess I already knew that I have no color perception - the other day I bought a "red" bottle holder for my bike. A couple of hours later, I noticed that it was actually "hot pink".

Thought for the day: Some people are like slinkies - Not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
Although it was waaay back in the 90s by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:05:48 PM EST
I remember being part of some sort of protest when my building society (God, can't even remember which one!) was sucked in by a bank. I think I even declined a payout. I used to be such a committed socialist - it'd be mental if the ideas of my youth turned out to be correct.

God, will I have to go through the painful process of admitting I was wrong and changing my entire world view again?

Interesting that you've got a stack of Interzone back issues - bizzarely, I've recently become friends with founder and long-time editor David Pringle. Never read the mag, too much hard SF despite its modus-operandi. I think Pringle left for that reason.

It's political correctness gone mad!

"Galactic North" by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 08:32:46 PM EST
Is dedicated to David Pringle.

He was kind of a legend: the last priest of a dying religion, diligently keeping the guttering flame of the science fiction short story alive. Shame he left, but he had a good long run I suppose.

If he has any Interzones around, read Nick Lowe's "Mutant Popcorn" film reviews. He's my favourite film reviewer of any kind. Sometimes he even does, like, actual research, and tells you about how the scripts have evolved. Who knew a film critic could do such a thing?
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 ]
Taxpayer's Alliance by gpig (4.00 / 1) #17 Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:04:47 AM EST
Every time I read something by them, they miss the point -- have they ever actually got it?

I've been through this one before, but anyway, their figures are mince because the 'identifiable spending' measure ignores a load of stuff which by and large happens only in England. Yes, the Barnett formula is stupid -- it allocates funding as a simple proportion, not on the basis of need as it should be. But it's by no means clear that Scotland is 'overfunded' as a result.
(,   ,') -- eep

It does exist by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 02:29:11 AM EST
cultural pressure to appear to have read Important Works of Literature

I certainly have to fight against it. I'm doing quite well too. I cheat a little and read synopses in books like Passing Time in the Loo.

There's the same thing with Important Films. I've never seen any of the "Lord of the Rings" films. I've never seen "E.T.". I've never seen "Apocalypse Now".

Credit Unions in the US.... by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #20 Sat Oct 04, 2008 at 08:53:58 AM EST
I have read several US commentators advocating that people take their business there (the equivalent of building societies).

It seems they are better managed  and the need to turn a profit either is not there (breaking even is fine) or is not the overwhelming "reason of etre"  of the institution.

The colour of money | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)