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By TheophileEscargot (Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 12:23:05 PM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Princeps' Fury", "Red Plenty". Me. Web.


What I'm Reading
Finished the fifth book in the Codex Alera fantasy series, Princeps' Fury. Pretty good, some big battles and some clever solutions to the plot problems he sets.

Seems to be settling down into a more formulaic mould though, I miss some of the smaller-scale stuff from earlier in the series.

Have one more remaining in the series. I think that's the last one as the plot seems to be coming to a head.

What I'm Reading 2
Finished Red Plenty by Francis Spufford, who also wrote Backroom Boys. It's an interesting concept, a kind of hybrid of novel and nonfiction; with some fictional characters, some real people, and some section of exposition. Its theme is the economy of the Soviet Union of the Fifties and early Sixties. After a period of startling economic growth, the Soviets had already built a successful manufacturing economy out of a primitive agricultural one. The next step: consumerism. Their advanced, scientifically planned economy was going to overtake the West's crude capitalism and deluge their citizens with an unparalleled abundance of material plenty.

Much of this was based around computers. Their Cyberneticians realised that manual planners were struggling to cope with the relative complexity of consumer goods compared to heavy industry, itself fiendishly complicated. So, they tried to create a system of Shadow Prices, where computers would take in inputs about configuration of all factories, and use linear methods to calculate ideal prices. These prices would change dynamically like market prices, but would supposedly reflect genuine human needs. However, the system was never put into full use, though the optimizing methods were used in a couple of industries. Some characters are pretty skeptical that this could ever have worked, pointing out that the input data was very unreliable.

Overall, it's a fascinating book. It's full of little anecdotes and incidents showing how the economic system worked in practice as well as theory.

Slight annoyance: it's lavishly annotated with the sources of everything, but Spufford follows the infuriating new convention of not putting any scary superscripted numbers in the text, so I didn't realise the notes were there until I'd nearly finished.

Well worth reading. There's a good article by the author summarizing thngs here.

Me
After 20 days, Dad's finally out of hospital for the second broken bone, and seems to be getting better. Had some scary moments when he had an infection and his mind was affected, but he seems better now. He's still very over-confident though and keeps trying to do things himself: hope he doesn't just fall over and break something else.

So, took Friday and Monday off to stay with parents again. Think I've been up for maybe 6 of the last 7 weekends. Feel a bit frazzled, though it's not much of a burden compared to my brother and mother who live here.

Web
Sci/Tech. Diminished Reality

Pollsters still don't know why they overstated Lib Dem vote.

< Circus and tragedy | open fire cooking question >
Red Cred Redemption | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
Diminished reality by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 02:34:32 PM EST
I'd be more impressed if they were removing objects from backgrounds that weren't uniform.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Automatic, real-time video removal by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 05:52:50 PM EST
Doing all the processing between video frames, rather than getting some bloke to use the clone tool in Photoshop for each frame after the fact, seems pretty impressive to me.
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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 ]
Maybe by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 06:43:52 PM EST
I've seen the single frame versions of that in person, and they tend to fall apart for non-complex backgrounds.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Ah so many points to take up by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #2 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 05:27:37 PM EST
But I'll do just the one - glad your Dad's out of hospital, and home.


Thanks! [nt] by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 05:43:25 PM EST

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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 ]
IAWTP. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #9 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 07:49:36 PM EST
Good work doing all that you can. Hope your family cope as well as you can with it all.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by aggressive cyclist (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 05:34:13 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by aggressive cyclist



Not exactly by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 05:46:35 PM EST
He's a YouGov pollster, so he only has direct access to YouGov's private raw data.

The main page says "In association with YouGov", so it's not like he's hiding a secret YouGov bias.
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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 ]
(Comment Deleted) by aggressive cyclist (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 06:32:52 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by aggressive cyclist



[ Parent ]
This might amuse you by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:17:49 AM EST
Seems the Win2k article was cited in a recent CS paper.

Via k5 Q

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Red Cred Redemption | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)