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By TheophileEscargot (Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 02:15:29 AM EST) Reading, Watching, Theatre, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Le Ton Beau de Marot", "Bring Up the Bodies". Watching: "Frankenweenie". Theatre: "The Pitmen Painters". Links.

What I'm Reading
Le Ton Beau de Marot by Douglas Hofstadter. Rambling book loosely themed around a series of translations of a very short French poem, "Ma Mignonne" by Clement Marot. It's mainly about the art of translation, but is also partly autobiographical, partly a tribute to Hofstadter's late wife, touches on themes of AI and cognitive science.

Definitely has a lot of fascinating content, it's packed full of fascinating facts and interesting ideas. I found the translations a bit wearying after a while though. I think I have fairly different taste in poetry to Hofstadter, he likes very systematic sing-song rhymes which often stretch syntax and sense. I prefer the translations he dislikes, which follow the original metaphors and feel more like natural English at the expense of proper rhyme and original meter.

The book was typeset by Hofstadter himself, and at times feels a bit self-indulgent. I think just as a good translator is important, a good editor can often improve a book.

Overall though, lots of interesting content and form. Worth reading if you have any fondness for intellectual magpie-ism.


What I'm Reading
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Sequel to "Wolf Hall", the second part of the proposed trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. I actually liked this one more than the first, maybe because I was more prepared for the slow pace of actual events. Cromwell himself seems a little more complex in this one, as he makes moral compromises in response to events. Definitely worth reading if you liked the first.

There's no firm date for the final volume The Mirror and the Light but it's pencilled in for 2015.

What I'm Watching
Saw Frankenweenie. on disk. Entertaining Tim Burton animation, spoofing Frankenstein as a high school kid brings his pet dog back to life. Packed full of movie references.

Not bad, but seemed a little bit cosy and lacking in bite. Could have done with a bit of actual fear or tearjerking, but I guess its aimed at kids and maybe it needed to be a bit light.

Saw "The Pitmen Painters" at the Richmond Theatre. Play based on a real group of coal miners who started a painting group, and had some moderately successful exhibitions while still working as miners.

Pretty good play, though it gets a little bit preachy with the lectures about art. Solid performances from a touring company. Fairly entertaining.

Socioeconomics. The Problem With Male Feminists. Britain’s Property Problem. HFT v. Day Traders.

Family. Why I am the perfect mother. Take back your pregnancy.

Sci/Tech. Blackberry and Nokia's failing. How Brains Race to Cancel Errant Movements. Supersymmetry evidence elusive. Brief Google outage affects total Internet traffic. Hyperloop proposal problems.

Articles. John Grisham on Guantanamo Prisoner. Richard Seymour on charging for social workers. The rise and fall of the mid-Atlantic fake accent. Freeman Dyson on Robert Oppenheimer.

I went to see Oppenheimer and asked him directly why he had thought that tactical nuclear weapons were a good idea. This time, he answered my question. He said, "To understand why I advocated tactical weapons, you would have to see the Air Force war plan that we had then. That was the God-damnedest thing I ever saw. It was a mindless obliteration of cities and populations. Anything, even a major ground war fought with nuclear weapons, was better than that."

Politics. Private school pupils 9% more likely to be admitted to Oxford than those at a state school with same grades (not worth mentioning except for the myth of the opposite).

Pics. Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You Might Remember Me From... Shorpy: old swimsuits, trunks on top. fashion showroom.

Random How to Block a Surveillance Camera: A DIY Art Tutorial from Ai Weiwei. 129 question D&D alignment test, via, apparently I'm a "Lawful Good Human Wizard". The wine-dark sea. Cats: A Tumblr Essay.

< A report from the New Rwanda | She looks up up at the blue >
Money for jam | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)
great links as usual by johnny (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:16:37 AM EST
Always wondered about that Katherine Hepburn accent. I had known the story of Cary Grant's. Another great one is the Kennedy accent. Many people assume that Kennedys speak in a Bostonian/New England accent. They don't. They speak in the Kennedy accent.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
Nerd test by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 10:11:59 AM EST
Chaotic Neutral Human Ranger

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Um, huh. by ana (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 11:45:45 AM EST
 True neutral human wizard.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Level 6. by ana (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:52:22 PM EST
I guess maybe that's significant. 

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
You do perform magic by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #11 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 07:49:19 PM EST
With your giant space cameras and all. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
A gimp by marvin (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 11:57:30 AM EST
The min/maxer in me was appalled to discover that I am a Chaotic Neutral Human 3 Wiz / 2 Clr.

[ Parent ]
similarly appalling by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:10:58 PM EST
Chaotic Neutral Human 2 Sor / 2 Rog.

They seem to be using 3.0 base classes, and if more were available, while keeping with the same survey conclusions, I'd probably be something like a 4th level one of these:

Wu Jen (Complete Arcane, 3.5)
Lurk (Complete Psionic, 3.5)
Witch (Feywild, 4.0)

And I'd be fine with any of those!

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
Huh. by technician (4.00 / 3) #6 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 01:10:31 PM EST
Lawful Good Human Monk (5th Level)

Which makes me a brewer of beer, I think.

[ Parent ]
And fine wines by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #12 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 07:51:03 PM EST
And jams and jellies at the local Trappist facility.

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Neutral Good Human Wizard (7th Level) by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 05:56:47 PM EST
I think I lean a bit chaotic.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Neutral Good Elf Wizard by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #9 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 06:33:35 PM EST
Which is also what I tended to default to for rolling a character - there's a cleverness in the comprehensiveness of the system.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
True Neutral Human Wizard by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #13 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:55:54 PM EST
Who knows what the hell I'll do!?

(Level 6, with a surprisingly high Constitution for a wizard.  Shame about the Charisma score.)

Oddly enough, it's a pretty good match to what picked in my first campaign decades ago.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Neutral Good Human Ranger by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #14 Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 11:00:36 AM EST
I expect as much

[ Parent ]
Comments by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 12:11:48 PM EST
Male feminists: requires a rather specific definition of "feminism" to exclude non-females, but doesn't spell out said definition.
HFT issues: Presumably HFT systems manipulate the market at speeds investors won't notice. The remaining issue is which "chaotic attractor" they will leave the price at and how that affects pricing.
Perfect Mom: TL;DR, but seriously ladies, you should be looking for tall guys for all your studly needs:) (part near the top seems to detail this).
Google goes dark: Remember, at watching 1.4% of the net, the NSA analyzes more of the net than google. What happens if something goes wrong at Ft. Meade if google can drop 40% of traffic?
Problems with hyperloop: If Elon Musk doesn't make it, it will likely require public money and end up with a price delta similar to the Space Shuttle vs. Falcon X. Everything else can be fixed if a similar private firm does the work (no idea who would be similar to Elon Musk).
On Oppenheimer: Someday I will have to manage to track down the reference of Oppenheimer as some sort of HR god. He is said to have been able to match arbitrary British (i.e. subjects of her Majesty) literature grad students with American advisers for some poor sap who was expected to find such matches. He was able to know both sets of figures far better than someone in the field and make careful pairings for some grant or another (that required brits studying in America).


Going through the rest by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:32:00 PM EST
lead me to "the wine dark sea". Homer proves Calvin's dad was right. People didn't always get the color they were expecting when the great color reveal happened.


[ Parent ]
The min/maxer in me by houser2112 (4.00 / 0) #17 Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 02:20:58 PM EST
is even more appalled at this combination than infinitera's sorceror/rogue and marvin's wizard/cleric. At least those are combinations of classes that bring different things to the table. There's way too much overlap between bard and wizard to justify gimping both by multiclassing.

Money for jam | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)