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A wave of dread preceded the elf-lord through the plant. Not a kobold or korrigan, not a spunky, pillywiggin, nor lowliest dunter but knew the inspector general was coming. The air shivered in anticipation of his arrival. A glimmering light went just before him, causing all heads to turn, all work to stop, the instant before he turned a corner or entered a shop. He appeared in the doorway. Tall and majestic he was in an Italian suit and tufted silk tie. He wore a white hard hat.

His face was square-jawed and handsome in a more than human way, and his hair and teeth were perfect. Two high-ranking Tylwyth Teg accompanied him, clipboards in hand, and a vulture-headed cost analyst from Accounting trailed in his wake. School: After Grunt had called attendance, he cleared his throat.

Now—all together—what are they? Be Silent. Orchids and jungle vines filled most of the space within and a hummingbird fled into the corridor when she banged open the door. The place was jammed with fugitives from the heat. They were recreational rather than serious shoppers, most of them. Their hands were empty and their eyes were clear. Why else would I want it? I was hungry and I ate it. But really it was no more than she had learned to expect. Roommates were forever eating your books, having anxiety attacks, adopting rats and carnivorous slimes which they then expected you to feed, getting drunk and throwing up on your best dress, moving into the closet and refusing to come out for months on end, threatening suicide the night before Finals, leaving piles of rotting leaves in the middle of the floor, entertaining boyfriends in your bed because it was made and theirs not, evolving into large bloodsucking insects.

Monkey was actually good of her kind. Well, she could always pick up a new manual. Monkey snatched the pencil from her hand and snapped it in two. Jane closed her eyes and traced the sigil of Baphomet with her inner vision. When she was calm again, she slid open a drawer. There was a touch of the trickster in her heritage, and the trickster gene was a dominant. She licked her lips nervously as Jane pretended to lift an invisible box from the drawer.

Nemesis put an arm through hers, and walked her toward the front. Nemesis stamped her foot impatiently. As if in response the elevator door slid open. She steered Jane outside. They were on an office level now. The walls were decorated with large unframed oils of umbrellas and sides of beef. The runners on the hall floors smelled new. This is a Teind year, surely you must know that. Your name, Miss Alderberry, is going to be on that list unless you straighten up and fly right. My adviser, none other than the wizard Bongay himself mind you, had obtained grant money from the Horned Man Foundation to create a divinatory engine in the form of a brazen head.

This was, you will understand, very early in the history of cybernetics. It was all done with vacuum tubes then…Then he saw how the head glowed and how the solder ran in little rivulets from the seams in its neck and with it the gold and silver of its circuitry. Then did the wizard Bongay himself scream, in such fury that I fled for fear of his wrath.

That happened near the end of the fiscal year, and the University had been relying on that grant money. Everybody involved with that fiasco was executed by order of the Bursar. Even for the School of Grammarie, which was widely held to have pushed the concept of liberal arts to an extreme, Professor Tarapple was grotesque. A burnt and crisped cinder of a creature was he, blackened and small, his limbs charred sticks, his torso rendered, reduced, and carbonized. His mouth hung open and his step was slow and painful. He seemed a catalog of the infirmities of age.

He felt for the microphone. His hand closed about it with a soft boom, then retreated. The charred sockets of his eyes rose toward the ceiling. Jane realized that he was blind…. Professor Tarapple groped for a laser pointer, leaving sooty handprints on the lectern top. The red dot of light jiggled off to the side of the screen. The Ocean above which it is suspended is Time itself, and so far as could be determined with our limited instrumentation extends to infinity in all directions. Next slide. The harsh white image of Spiral Castle was like a magnesium flare.

It swelled and dwindled in her vision, as if softly breathing.

Her eyes pulsed, aching when she tried to follow the logic of its involutions. Curly-mounted bobtail jades! Codheaded pigfuck bastards! Throughout the auditorium, the audience members were rousing themselves.

BIG GAME SHOOTING

A gnome to her left passed a hand over his mushroom-spotted pate. Professor Tarapple had abandoned his lecture in a rage. He was berating his audience. By cannon-fire, holy water, and bells, listen to me! I risked more than life and sanity to bring you these photographs. I—I—I was once young and tall and handsome. I had friends who died in this expedition and will never be reborn. We were caught and punished and punished again. I alone escaped. Look at me! See the price that I paid! So many times I have tried to tell you! Why do you never listen?

Ah, she is cruel and unfathomable, and bitter, bitter is her vengeance. The applause was thunderous. We honked and waved. They gave us the finger and put the pedal to the metal. I did the same, of course, but even with dual carbs it was no contest. We had a muscle car but they had a sex machine. They made us eat their dust…. Ten-fifteen miles down the road we saw the Lotus in a Roy Rogers lot.

We pulled in for some take-out burgers. There they were. We struck up a conversation. When we left, Jerry-D went with the driver of the Lotus. Her friend went with me…Anyway, there I was, a blond in pink hot pants rubbing up against me. I had my foot to the floor, her tongue in my ear, and her hand down my pants.

I pushed up her halter top and squeezed her breasts. The air shimmered with the immanence of revelation. I felt then that the world was an illusion - and a rather shabby one at that, an image projected upon the thinnest of membranes, and that were I to push at it just right, I could step out of the world entirely. I unbuttoned her shorts. She wriggled a little to help.

I slid my hand under her panties. I was thinking that everything was information when I found myself clutching an erect penis. I whipped my head around. The blond was grinning wildly into my face. My hand involuntarily tightened about her cock. Her hand tightened about mine. They might have been the same hand. We might have been one person twinned. The car was up to about mph. It was in that instant that I achieved enlightenment. Bad Blood is a straightforward read about the rise and fall of Theranos, done in chronological order in third-person up until Carreyrou becomes personally involved, at which point things accelerate to the SEC civil settlement.

Good timing on my part. This puts more of a period on reading BB, although the story is far from over. In any case, BB is good for resolving a lot of details about Theranos. For example, I was perplexed at the time by the large Walgreens deal: Walgreens is a large, competent, sophisticated provider of pharmacy services, well capable of thorough testing; if Theranos was not what it was hyped up to be, how could Walgreens fail to notice? My assumption was that Theranos had done something clever to produce fake results if not perhaps as clever as the FSB at Sochi. BB provides the answer, which is dismayingly mundane: Theranos bluntly refused to provide any kind of real validation or access to its machines, and some Walgreens execs were furious about it and correctly convinced Theranos was a fraud, but others were seduced by the vision, and the doubters signed on because they were terrified of forcing Theranos into the arms of CVS , which is a rivalry I had no idea about.

Theranos had cleverly played on this insecurity. She was told to do it by one of her ex-Applers. Was Theranos initially too ambitious? Perhaps, but lots of startups scale back or pivot to new ideas based on their trial-and-error; reality cannot be planned out. Did it get too much money? But people already complain about investors being too risk-averse and short-term despite Theranos being 17 years old now! Should we outlaw investing millions of dollars based on a phonecall? Hard to imagine that working out well. Should we criticize VCs for being gullible?

Should we criticize the board for letting her accumulate so much stock and then letting her talk them out of firing her in ? Should blood testing in general be verboten to investors? Carreyrou suggests toward the end that Holmes might have psychopathic traits: A sociopath is often described as someone with little or no conscience. By all accounts, she had a vision that she genuinely believed in and threw herself into realizing.


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Her ambition was voracious and it brooked no interference. If there was collateral damage on her way to riches and fame, so be it. I think this is wide of the mark and he gets closest in the final lines. What is the stereotypical profile of psychopathy? The portrait of Holmes in BB is very far from this. There is no hint of tendencies towards sadism or violence in her childhood, merely a mention of competitiveness. The way she dressed was decidedly unfashionable. She wore wide gray pantsuits and Christmas sweaters that made her look like a frumpy accountant.

If so, she should dress the part, she told her. Elizabeth took the suggestion to heart. From that point on, she came to work in a black turtleneck and black slacks most days. An additional interesting thread throughout BB although Carreyrou puts no emphasis on this and I wonder if he missed the connection is how Holmes continuously sought to amass more stocks or voting control of Theranos: one oddity in the end of the Theranos saga was that Holmes was never, and could not be, fired because she continued to own so much stock and voting power.

Rather than selling out early and retiring to a life of leisure, she held on to the bitter end. The disappearing served a useful role in enforcing compartmentalization, risk-aversion, and covering up information, but might there not be another reason? Holmes did not start off as a psychopath determined to rip off VC and SV by using her cunningly honed social skills and sexuality to manipulate horny old white men, as one narrative goes.

I particularly appreciated the ample material devoted to Russia: Russia is too often neglected in Western publications because of the language barrier, and Russians feature even more in life-extension than in many fields. It gets worse. Because the fallout from aging is destroying all bodily systems and impairing homeostasis, this implies there are hundreds or thousands of pseudo-interventions: interventions which deal with some downstream effect of aging and may help on that one thing, but nothing else.

This is the more abstract form of observing that curing cancer does not do much about curing aging. This is because our prior for an intervention on aging is, at this point, extremely low and so all the alternative explanations are much more likely. If the treatment invigorated the patient but they died on schedule, it was not an anti-aging treatment.

Use of proxies is the dark side of life-extension research: quick, easy, seductive, encouraging one is constantly making progress , but a dead end. How, you might ask, could anyone possibly try to explain the mechanisms of aging, estimate possible maximal lifespans, or give interventions without the Gompertz curve or evolutionary biology? Not well, is the answer. I could forgive the people in the late s for not taking evolution or the Gompertz curve seriously in thinking about interventions, but it is baffling to read about Americans in the s getting excited about organ-transplant and replacements as a path to immortality—and how, pray tell, given the exponential increase with age of all diseases and failure rates of organs, were you planning on handling replacing the brain …?

So researchers are almost unanimous about moderate eating, or fruits and vegetables being the path to long life while meat is the path to an early grave? They are just repeating long-standing cultural prejudices about under-eating being morally virtuous and superior and meat which commits the sin of deliciousness is bestial and evil, part of the religious attitudes towards food we can see on display at any Whole Foods. Many of these recommendations are clearly coming less from scientific evidence than from the disgust axis of morality. But as it is, diet is to longevity researchers what the Knights Templar or Jews are to the conspiracy theorists—a predictable sign of derangement.

Our understanding of human aging is infinitely better than in , yet there are still no meaningful interventions. Multi-decade gaps separate practical and theoretical breakthroughs. The standard medical-academic approach is very slow. It is entirely possible that in , we will not be much beyond where we are in So, those are the hard and painful lessons taught by 3 centuries of life-extension work.

What are some of the more hopeful aspects? And if not, then in the long run there may be escape hatches through cryonics or plastination. Some of the book is a misfire. Far too much relevant content is buried in the footnotes where few readers will check. Gonzo-light style book by a music journalist on trying to meet the surviving 9 astronauts who walked on the moon, discuss it and their post-moon lives, and draw Deep Lessons.

The reply comes quickly. For instance, before the Moon, he was a good speaker, but afterwards he was a great one. He really believed. Something real happened to him. In fact he had a name for it. We could take it in and contemplate what we were doing more thoroughly. Those pictures of the Earth from the Moon are the most published pictures in the world. And so one has to ask the question: Why is that so? What is that? Now Scott is talking about Ed and his noetic quest, and Buzz Aldrin with his postflight breakdown … and Alan Bean with his Close Encounters Moon art … and of course Charlie Duke and Jim Irwin, who were directly or indirectly led to their faiths by the Moon.

Only Jack Schmitt followed a straight and normal path, and then only if you consider a desire to enter the Senate normal. Afterwards, I go to find Scott, because I want to know whether he thinks this postflight divergence is attributable to the different experiences of the Moonwalkers - as he seemed to be implying - or whether Deke simply assigned them roles according to character type, with focus and singularity seen as the stuff of leadership.

I ask, but he shakes his head firmly. What Slayton wanted was impregnability. Many of the commanders appear to be fine men, but it seems to me unlikely that they were ever going to become painters or preachers or poets or gurus, or have much to say about the metaphysical resonance of their journey. And then there was some pent-up demand, of course, that finally occurred. More astonishingly still, this will turn out to hold true for them all.

Is that what brought them here? Driven, work-obsessed, time-obsessed, fiercely competitive, prone to stress-induced heart disease … Type A. As the eldest of three sons, this produces a particular queasiness bordering on panic in me. There was nothing illegal in this, but it was against regulations and the crew were canned, with the incident following Scott like a toxic cloud ever after, because he was the commander and thus forced to shoulder the responsibility.

Over the three decades which followed he would become the most evasive of all the astronauts, including Armstrong. I find his story intriguing and a little scary. Not being an Apollo buff, I learned many interesting little bits. Edwin E. An exciting time, and a fertile environment.

I was surprised to learn that Everett made contributions to game theory, which turns out to later be relevant to one of the main mysteries of MWI where the subjective or Born probabilities come from , and only then turned to quantum mechanics. Byrne also covers his future wife, Nancy. I was left with a major question: why would Everett ever want to date her, much less marry her? The idea that they be not alternatives but all really happen simultaneously seems lunatic to him just impossible. He thinks that if the laws of nature took this form for, let me say, a quarter of an hour, we should find our surroundings rapidly turning into a quagmire, or sort of a featureless jelly or plasma, all contours becoming blurred, we ourselves probably becoming jelly fish.

It is strange that he should believe this. For I understand he grants that unobserved nature does behave this way - namely according to the wave equation. The aforesaid alternatives come into play only when we make an observation - which need, of course, not be a scientific observation. Still it would seem that, according to the quantum theorist, nature is prevented from rapid jellification only by our perceiving or observing it. And I wonder that he is not afraid, when he puts a ten-pound note into his drawer in the evening, he might find it dissolved in the morning, because he has not kept watching it.

Certainly it is understandable that Everett would leave academia and enter the military-industrial complex where his work was interesting, valuable, valued, and well-remunerated. Everett dived straight into the heart of US nuclear politics, the intersection of nuclear physics with military strategy and game theory and computing and operations research: what levels of bombs would be developed the Super? Strangelove route: everyone was insane and evil. People in real life often do defect unless additional mechanisms are in place often being put in place as a reaction to all the defecting.

One of his footnotes reveals this strikingly: In other words, rationality is a sometimes quantifiable quality. Most human beings would agree that it is not a rational act to cross the street in front of a speeding bus, or to poison the water supply in search of short term profit, or to depend on fossil fuels, etc. But people in power who do obviously irrational things are often compelled to rationalize these actions by falling back on agendized utility values and probability statements. Of course, if you start with an irrational premise, e. Context is everything. This is a tissue of nonsense which exposes clearly that Byrne does not deal with the real world, but with a world of ideals in which there are never any hard choices or necessity to make cost-benefit tradeoffs and all that matters is what sounds good.

The business section is similar, but much less political as they consulted on more civilian topics. It also sounds like Everett began drinking himself to death at this point but why? Eventually, he dies. In the mean time, MWI was gradually being rediscovered and rehabilitated by the likes of Deutsch and novel approaches like a Bayesian justification of Born probabilities developed, leaving off at the present time in which MWI is a respectable position leading to interesting research and believed in by a good-sized minority of physicists; this is interesting, but already familiar to me.

I will have to leave it to other readers to judge how good these parts of the book are. Overall, indispensable to anyone interested in the man, and a good account of a productive yet wasted life. Satan won. And all was well, [a green earth] until… [a capsule suddenly cuts across the earth] one man dared to make… [an astronaut] one small step for mankind… [astronaut using radio] one great leap for metaphysics. Nothing has ever been wrong.

Nothing could be wrong. As Scott says :. This is going to be a book about good and evil. How do people react to evil? How do they understand it? Do they tolerate it? Compromise with it? Try to fight it? Curse God for creating it? What if twenty years ago the Messiah called for the greatest crusade in all of history in order to conquer Hell itself, failed, died, and now the world is just sort of limping through the aftermath of that without really ever having processed it? The ending is regarded as rather abrupt and seemingly a little arbitrary, although on my reread I found that there was a great deal more foreshadowing of all the twists than I had noticed the first time and everything held together better.

I enjoyed it a great deal. Shades of HFT. Thus, notorious characters like Bugsy Siegel enter into a book about statistics as gambling becomes a major revenue source replacing the loss of alcohol. So Thorp moved onto roulette and the stock market. Which sounds a bit paradoxical.

And the risk of buying warrants can be offset just buy buying or selling short just some of the underlying stock. Thorp made money off warrants, and then published the strategy for increasing the credibility of his new hedge fund, and moved onto convertible bonds by applying similar reasoning: the bond should have a certain value which reflects the probability that the stock will spike high enough to make the built-in option worth exercising, and since stocks should follow a random walk, all you need to know is the variance… inventing Black-Scholes.

In one amusing anecdote, Black-Scholes used their pricing model to spot a particularly mispriced warrant; then the company changed the terms of the warrants, wiping out the warrant holders and Black-Scholes, in a way that insiders had known was coming and sold all their warrants.

A Dash of Temptation - Jo Leigh - Google книги

Thorp returned to trading eventually, and in terms of his lifetime performance:. In May Thorp reported that his investments had grown at an average 20 percent annual return with 6 percent standard deviation over The Thorps recently endowed a chair at the University of California at Irvine mathematics department. The gift consists of one million dollars to be invested entirely in stocks, with the university limited to withdrawing only 2 percent a year.

The fund is expected to compound exponentially in inflation-adjusted dollars. Ultimately, Thorp hopes, it will fund the most richly endowed university chair in the world, and will help draw exceptional mathematical talent to UC Irvine. What is a little remarkable to me is how well Shannon did financially by 3 early venture capital investments, and how little Shannon contributed intellectually after his information theory paper; I had always somehow assumed that Claude Shannon, a genius who had offhandedly made a major contribution to genetics simply because his advisor forced him to work on genetics, and had created fully-formed information theory, had died in the s or something, because how else would such a genius have not made further major contributions?

But no! Shannon died in ! Poundstone explains that Shannon was simply too unambitious and perfectionist to work hard on any big topics or write up and publish properly any of his findings! One of the more depressing demonstrations that raw genius is not enough. One downside is that despite the involvement of Jimmy Savage, Poundstone never mentions the connections to subjective Bayesianism, personal interpretations of probability, or Thompson sampling. Popper delivers a whirlwind tour of almost all dramatis personae in the rise of Bitcoin over the past 5 years. He seems to have gotten access to and interviewed everyone, from the early coders to especially all the late-entering business and entrepreneur types and the incestuous Silicon Valley VC community.

I had no idea! The description of growth can feel like just a chaos of events, one after another. Here are some corrections I noticed in material touching on particular interests of mine, the DNMs and Satoshi: The nine-page PDF attached to the e-mail made it clear that Satoshi was deeply versed in all the previous efforts to create a self-sustaining digital money. But Satoshi put all these earlier innovations together to create a system that was quite unlike anything that had come before it. Further, it did not compare or contrast Bitcoin in any meaningful way with all the previous work on digital currency like the whole universe of techniques and approaches based on Chaumian blinding.

The Internal Revenue Service agent who finally identified Ross did so by searching on Google through old posts on the Bitcoin forum. They did help snag baronsyntax, but the actual cause was the FBI finding the Iceland server thanks, presumably, to Tarbell hacking it , which had a VPN IP hardwired and had a clearnet backup server in Pennsylvania, both of which led back to Ross in San Francisco.

Most bizarrely, Nick altered the dates on his postings about bit gold to make it appear as though they had been published after Bitcoin was released, rather than before…. Most bizarrely, Nick altered the dates: the dates that Nick later put on the posts are at the top of each post. But the URL addresses of the posts still show the original posting date. Nothing bizarre about it. This is too high and was a mistake in that version of the paper. So as far as your analysis can tell, a 5-star seller just vanished overnight. Freenode banned open proxies, Bitcoin only gained proxy support in the later version 0.

I looked into the one person I was able to link to that address, but unfortunately neither he nor any of his relatives or friends on Facebook look remotely like possible Satoshi candidates, so for non-state actors, that is a dead end. Full disclosure: Popper offered a free copy of Digital Gold to me pre-publication to review, but I wound up not accepting because he was offering a physical book rather than an ebook.

Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism

The Playboy interview II , ed. Barry G. Golson: pages of dense challenging interviews with 23 famous people Each interview takes a good 20 pages, and these are not small pages, either, but hefty small font pages. Particularly memorable was this exchange:. Just what did you mean by that? Almost all of the interviews are worth reading and include good tidbits I wish I could excerpt from my print copy, but overall, I would say the best interviews were: Dali, Shelton, Haley, Arledge, Shockley, and Koch.

The case-studies are in chronological order and primarily WWII-oriented:. Why then are spec-ops not doomed to failure? The commandos sting the elephant and flee before the giant feet can smash them into paste. The parallels with computer security and cyberattacks is clear: a hack can take months or years to research and craft, but when triggered, it can attack and finish within seconds or minutes, far outspeeding the merely human defenders. The case-studies themselves are interesting.

McRaven was able to interview a number of people involved in the case-studies as well as visit the locations to see them for himself. Deception plays surprisingly little role in most of the operations considering its outsized role in the public imagination the St Nazaire raid ship briefly pretended to be German; Gran Sasso brought along an Italian general in the gliders to confuse the Italians; Operation Entebbe likewise involved the commandos pretending to be locals until they reached the building with the hostages, apparently successfully confusing the terrorists inside.

A skim of the Libgen EPUB version suggests that you might be better off with that edition although it appears to drop the photos entirely! Gossipy, detailed, a vivid look inside the industry. Long out of print, I read the online scan 2. Book 2 is especially full of alarming chemical stories. I suspect that some of the anecdotes have been polished up a bit over the years, but as Samuel Johnson once said, a man is not under oath in such matters.

But when Gergel says that he made methyl iodide in an un-air-conditioned building in the summertime in South Carolina, and describes in vivid detail the symptoms of being poisoned by it, I believe every word. He must have added a pound to his weight in sheer methyl groups. By modern standards, another shocking feature of the book is the treatment of chemical waste. With family and friends and no outside capital he founded Columbia Organic Chemicals, a specialty chemical supplier specialising in halocarbons but, operating on a shoestring, willing to make almost anything a customer was ready to purchase even Max drew the line, however, when the silver-tongued director of the Naval Research Laboratory tried to persuade him to make pentaborane.

The narrative is as rambling and entertaining as one imagines sharing a couple or a couple dozen drinks with Max at an American Chemical Society meeting would have been. But when DuPont placed an order for allene in gallon quantities, this posed a problem… All of this was in the days before the EPA, OSHA, and the rest of the suffocating blanket of soft despotism descended upon entrepreneurial ventures in the United States that actually did things and made stuff.

The flexibility and ingenuity which allowed Gergel not only to compete with the titans of the chemical industry but become a valued supplier to them is precisely what is extinguished by intrusive regulation, which accounts for why sclerotic dinosaurs are so comfortable with it. Fascinating account of a Gilded Age titan much worse known than Carnegie. His charming but scheming wandering bigamist con-artist father reminds me of my old observation that a lot of very successful people seem to be high but not too high on the psychopathy continuum and have had difficult or abusive childhoods; while we tend to think of psychopathy as all negative, aspects of it, like its heritability, are consistent with it being a lifecycle strategy under balancing selection, indicating advantages to the social skills, fearlessness etc.

The benign end of psychopathy may give us great leaders and businessmen and heroes like firefighters.

Works (970)

Why did he do it? I checked, but while there are 2 or 3 existing oil-themed board games, they either are about off-shore drilling or take a much more abstracted macroeconomics point of view. Indeed, some of his favored projects like the deworming of the American South have echoes in modern EA projects - deworming being a particular focus of GiveWell!

Rockefeller was a complex man trying to be simple: he knew many of the criticisms of him were true but tried to delude himself to the end; he was a devout Baptist, who was intelligent and worldly enough to see the problems there and how the wicked flourished; he loved homeopathy, but his funding of medical research and the Flexner Report would kill the last shreds of legitimacy it had.

The philanthropy transitions into an account of Rockefeller Junior, as he is entrusted with it, who emerges as diligent and effective, but not the man his father was. The strategy of the rich, putting all their eggs into 1 or 2 baskets, is hopelessly fragile and a hostage to the slightest bit of bad luck. Consider the Kennedys! I have to wonder. Live by the sword, die by the sword. If dry academic humor is not your thing, you probably already know from reading descriptions that you should not read this book, so I can address fellow aficionados.

Still, that leaves half the volume as successes, interesting and amusing. One has to wonder what Lem would have made of FanFiction. There are its great competitors, Hedonica and the Truelife Corporation. This is a theory of the Great Silence which is far from idiotic and quite interesting as a hard SF premise. Poetry back then was srs bsns. But the effects would linger. It is, however, not a good introduction to court poetry and is probably best read by those who are already somewhat familiar with the events surrounding the poem sequence! The commentaries look thorough to me and do a good job of explaining how the sequence of poems is not a jumble of poems which happen to be organized by topic, but a sequence, linked together by theme and progression.

But I think it still does Teika justice. Some samples: pg A quasi-police description of the events leading up to, then long preceding, an honor-killing of one Santiago. The style strikes me as vastly simpler and less magically-realistic than The Autumn of the Patriarch , and much shorter.

Borges would approve. This uncertainty renders the story sinister by the end - did the village conspire to kill Santiago? A nice example of cunctation: the mayor stop in to check on a dominos match so and is too late to take away the murder-weapons. How much is Angela responsible for failing to respect the charade of virginity and deliberately sabotaging her marriage? She is ultimately punished by the deliciously cruel method of returning 20 years of love-letters, unopened.

And so on. The villagers know their stories must terminate in the death of the victim, and in the stories they confabulate, he must be invisible to have performed the actions ascribed to him. Our daily conduct, dominated then by so many linear habits, had suddenly begun to spin around a single common anxiety. Aura Villeros, the midwife who had helped bring three generations into the world, suffered a spasm of the bladder when she heard the news and to the day of her death had to use a catheter in order to urinate.

I am reminded of an old story: One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row, if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. The students were chewing vigorously.

Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. Everything has been brought to light, it seems, but nothing has been enlightened. By the end, the death has been foretold but remains unknown. Existence is best-seen as a rewrite of Earth , and Earth was a sprawling futurological serious novel which was trying to both world-build by including countless perspectives and quotes and discussions and terms but also put them into context to build a overarching thesis.

Brin has had a few new ideas since Earth like the smart-mob. The book is huge, but a good deal of the bulk is fat and self-indulgent: 1. One must sift a lot of sand. This leads to the severe problem, in a repeated first contact novel, that none of the aliens were remotely alien, and the humans all seemed pretty similar to each other too. Brin also has a very weird attitude towards what he calls extropianism but most people these days just call transhumanism.

But by the time the story is set, the caloric restriction question will be settled: the primate studies will be finished, the human CRers will be dead, and the underlying biochemistry or lack thereof will have been elucidated. I was a little awe-struck when he has his mouthpiece badmouth cryonics, after saying it worked and there had been revivals? WTF indeed. This attitude could be called schizophrenic.

Throughout the novel, Brin seems to struggle with the fundamental problem posed by Vinge: how does he keep the story human given his belief in progress and his basic acceptance of the Strong AI thesis? He never comes up with a good answers, but blatantly hand-waves them away: an emulated rat brain goes critical and escapes into the Internet? There are even more AIs pervading the world, controlling countless key functions? Well, uh - nothing happens because I insinuate something about parents and children and them being grateful!

Humans can barely be grateful, ever. Humanity is a few decades away from a general nanofactory assembler in his story and thousands of crystal probes come to visit? On a purely factual basis, I have relatively little to fault Miller for. After writing this review, I asked Miller about this and he said no one had yet. Excerpts: - intro-ch3 - ch - ch9 - ch - ch13 - ch - ch We were received by a man in his forties with a thick mustache that covered his teeth when he spoke. We sat down in the guest room in front of the television. I gathered that the man lived alone. He went into the kitchen and came back with a bottle of arak.

He opened it and poured a glass. My brother told him to pour one for me too. We sat in silence, and the man and I watched a soccer match between two local teams, while my brother stared into a small fish tank. How could they be in water and not drink? He threw him to the ground, squatted on his chest, and pinned his arms down under his knees. How can fish drink salt water? Answer, you son of a bitch! Answer, shit-for-brains! I never would understand what the man had to do with my brother. The bumps were about to break my ribs, and only dust kicked up by the truck crept in through the holes in the barrel.

The barrel stank like the dead cats on the neighborhood trash heap. Maybe it was the souls of his victims that drove him into the ravine, maybe it was my own evil soul, or maybe it was the soul that preordained everything that is ephemeral and mysterious in this transitory world. Seven barrels lay in the darkness at the bottom of the cliff like sleeping animals. The pickup had overturned after my uncle tried to take a second rocky bend in the hill.

The barrels rolled down into the ravine with the truck. I spent the night unconscious inside the barrel. In the first hours of morning the rays of sunlight pierced the holes in the barrel, like lifelines extended to a drowning man. My mouth was full of blood and my hands were trembling. I was in pain and frightened. I started to observe the rays of the sun as they crisscrossed confusingly in the barrel.

I wanted to escape the chaos that had played havoc with my consciousness. I felt as if I had smoked a ton of marijuana: a fish coming to its senses in a sardine tin, a dead worm in an abandoned well, a putrid fetus with crushed bones in a womb the shape of a barrel. Then my mind fixed on another image: my brother sinking to the bottom of the septic tank and me diving after him. The bleating sounded faint at first, as though a choir was practicing. One goat started and then another joined in, then all the goats together, as if they had found the right key.

The rays of the sun moved and fell right in my eye. I pissed in my pants inside that barrel, appalled at the cruelty of the world to which I was returning. The goatherd called out to his flock, and one of the goats butted the barrel. Given such a enigmatic style, unsurprisingly some of the stories worked much better for me than others in particular, when he strays into clearer political commentary, the stories seem to get weaker. Savage Continent is a fascinating book on the bloody aftermath of WWII as the destruction wound down, the lingering consequences of anarchy worked themselves out in the sudden peace, and people tried to find a new equilibrium, punishing collaborators and finishing the ethnic cleansings.

Presumably after liberation, things were cleaned up quickly and calmly and a few years later our historical memory turns to the start of the Cold War. An example of the fluffiness I have in mind is an old movie I watched in August, Three Coins in the Fountain , a romantic comedy set in post-war Rome, where while there is still poverty and recovery from the war, things are basically OK. The end of WWII left much business unfinished: Wages of Destruction covers in detail the slave labor forces drawn from conquered Europe which worked in Germany up until defeat, and the parlous food situation of Germany and Europe at large - so what happened after?


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  • With all these victorious horny occupation forces? With the slave laborers, and the Jews, and the guerrillas or partisans or thieves or black-marketeers? How were morals slowly restored after being corrupted by the exigencies of war and the struggle for survival, and what was seen as now possible after the Holocaust? The answers are rarely pretty, but Lowe gives a synoptic view. Without the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see how one might resort to deep states, alliances with the Mafia, and so on. An enlightening and timely book. I end by discussing aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis.

    Understanding Temptation

    Dude, WTF? An engaging biography of Francis Galton, heavy with the many amusing Galton anecdotes we all know a sober analysis of the inefficacy of prayer which drew furious attack; recording people fidgeting during lectures or average attractiveness of women on the street; constructing devices to keep himself awake. Gillham helps in that respect, although in general his statistical explanations are poor enough and confused enough that I wondered if he understood the issues at all. I assumed he was a historian, but looking up his biography, he apparently is even a geneticist, so he really ought to be able to do better.

    One is probably better off looking to Stigler for accounts of things like the Quincunx. Still, I think I have to give Gillham credit for being as fair as he was in , and it overall is an excellent biography. Areas too impoverished, dried, or indefensible would not develop, and would be bypassed. The occasional revolts or invasions could be swiftly suppressed by the nearest legion marched or sailed into place. Thus, the Empire could enjoy a small cheap but invincible military and steady expansion into rich lands, with the borders eventually stabilizing at their outer limits of cost-benefit, and the golden age of the Empire.

    Far from being amusing anecdotes of ancient legalistic squabbling, the vassals were critical for freeing up legions and a necessary transition phase. He is good enough to make a number of specific predictions… pretty much all of which are wrong. Congress remains a province of lawyers, and no one gets wealthy in the military until they take the revolving door , and further that his loosely defined Bonapartism is inevitable although I do not recognize Clinton, Bush, or Obama as being very Bonaparte-like figures.

    These statements were published in , well after such events as the Battle of Midway June The rest are simply embarrassing. Always a problem with authors discussing deception. I read the trilogy in basically one sitting after reading the interesting opening to The Black Company on Tor. While admittedly the black castle is more than a little contrived the Dominator foresaw his defeat and this was the only countermeasure?

    Book 3, The White Rose , sees it all fall apart. But the rebellion is a tawdry little affair, and the plot unengaging. The final alliance is too easily accomplished. The new Taken are only names. On top of that, the finale is almost anti-climactic: they dismantle the defenses and neutralize the Dominator using the Rose, and bury him more thoroughly. I had come to expect more from Cook. The world of phages is more than a little scary.

    The material is presented engagingly - the vocabulary is a bit specialized but explained as it goes, and one can at least follow many of the articles. The illustrations are worth looking at. I have to note the genomes: phages are such genetic minimalists that a functional overview of the gene-regions of phages are presented before each one, and they are sometimes barely a page.

    The statistics and anecdotes are fairly horrifying, and the sheer profusion drills in how widespread the famine was. But for me, the most fascinating part of Tombstone was how the vast Chinese government hierarchy rippled policies and misinformation up and down it - how the local cadres tried to bow to the demands they were hearing from higher up, how the higher ups took the falsified statistics and claims often at face value, and how the highest officials in Beijing seem almost childishly helpless as they stagger between skepticism of reports given them and unthinking acceptance of positive results.

    What is surprising is how effective the Chinese government was in maintaining control despite these severe systemic problems. How could so many millions starve to death, and no province rise up in rebellion? How could the revolts be so small scale, when the abuses were so bad and the death tolls large fractions of entire local populations? How did emigration not overwhelm any checks set up? Jisheng is at pains to show that the Communist propaganda worked and the people were not uniformly cynical about the regime like the Russians at the end of the USSR were: many officials sacrificed their careers or lives for their people, high officials are routinely shocked when they return to their home villages, and throughout we see people who are in all seriousness convinced that all the faults stem from local or midlevel officials and if only they can get word to the Emperor in Beijing all will be made well.

    Curiously, for all the complaints about Pact being unbearably grim, the world itself is much more optimistically constructed - as one character says, humanity has been winning in contrast to the nigh-inevitable defeat of humanity in Worm. The start of the plot itself is well-enough described officially: Blake Thorburn was driven away from home and family by a vicious fight over inheritance, returning only for a deathbed visit with the grandmother who set it in motion.

    Well, it has a much faster start than Worm, the world-building takes what is usually authorial fiat and regulates it a bit so the action matters, some scenes are fantastic who could not enjoy the chapter about Blake negotiating a contract with the demon Pazu? And demon lawyers are intrinsically funny. Overall: good but not as great as Worm. So this filled in a lot of holes for me. Power starts with the Western discovery of psychedelics and LSD, giving an engaging potted history of the period to focus on the late Alexander Shulgin.

    Here Drugs 2. Disclosure: Mike Power has interviewed or quoted me on several occasions about the dark net markets, and gave me a free PDF of Drugs 2. But it was so hard to read because of publisher watermarking, that I downloaded a better copy from Libgen and read that instead. I was interested primarily in his comments on China, and was surprised the extent to which he fixates on French literature especially for someone who wrote in English.

    Because of the goodness, I must overlook the bad. I have little interest in French politics of the s or, much the same thing, its novelists and those essays were excruciatingly dull to me. Hilarious, eye for details, incessant curiosity, good at tracking down bogus stories and rumors. Roach comes up with all the best quotes and stories, seems to have talked to everyone and done everything. I laughed many times reading the book. One chapter was a revelation for me in explaining why early science fiction often postulated space driving people insane.

    Reading all the checks and modifications and details, one is boggled that we made it to the Moon, much less we be musing a Mars mission. I compiled some excerpts from most of the chapters: - chapters - 3 - - - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - - endnotes. To a lesser extent, I was interested in the treacherous subordinate. I read it in two sittings because I wanted to see what happened.

    Of obscure origins, Buson is one of the more popular post-Basho haiku poets, along with Kobayashi Issa. But where Issa is known for his idiosyncrasy and sympathetic focus on animals, Buson is much more traditional and tried to live up to the ideal of the bunjin or Chinese-like literary gentleman who has mastered all the arts of the brush in a refined and almost distant style. The discussion of his haiga likewise goes well beyond the usual superficialities and presentation of one or two photos, as Crowley comments in detail on how exactly the haiku and painting are supposed to combine into something more than their sum, and on the extremely obscure Chinese allusions Buson is prone to as a proper bunjin.

    Needless to say, this will only be of value to those already interested in haiku and its history. Mixed feelings. On the one hand, Dyson digs up all sorts of quotable lines and anecdotes and biographical details, many genuinely new to me. I enjoyed those greatly. For these I give it 4 stars. Instead, countless pages are taken up with detailed technical information that is simultaneously in depth and also poorly explained. I repeatedly got the feeling that Dyson is indulging in that common temptation, allocating material based on how much effort it took to find, not what would inform the reader - he went through a lot of work documenting MANIAC and the rest of us must enjoy suffer the fruits of it.

    The repeated analogies to search engines and modern computing come off very poorly search engines are analogue? For those reasons and others, this will never get 5 stars from me, and if there were a 3. Was it worthwhile? Not really. It is exactly how I pictured him. Both in my mind and from the description.

    Tess has come to NY from Tulip, Texas, and started her own business caring for plants in the offices of the rich and famous. From there, their relationship grows. I found it to be incredibly sweet, very hot, and super funny. What I loved: Dash. He recognizes that he wants to be with Tess, and moves heaven and earth to do it. Although his life is very public, he strives to keep his feelings close to the vest, and maintains a very personal, private life as well as his public persona. Strong, but vulnerable. And she's funny. I loved that she has a close girlfriend in the city, as well as her two close friends that keep in touch via email.

    A large portion of the book is told via emails between Tess and her two friends, Samantha and Erin. I love that Leigh shows a strong, supportive friendship between women without jealousy, pettiness, or one-upsmanship. Although she does manage to squeeze that into the story through a different character. Dash and Tess together: Oh wow.

    First of all, fireworks, chemistry, hot. But there were so many sweet, wonderful moments between them, too. I fell in love with Dash the second they had their first kiss, and he was the one to ask if the earth moved for her, too. He pulled her into his arms again, holding her tight as he moved deeper into the crowd on the dance floor.

    The music was familiar, and if she took just a moment she'd figure out the piece, but then Dash leaned close, his warm breath on her ear making her shiver. The angels wept. He does so many sweet, wonderful things for her, including getting up in the middle of the night and getting ice cream, just because she mumbled something about wanting some. Dash is protective of her, but lets her be her own woman as well. Tess, in turn, grounds him, keeps him real. She is funny, and she's irreverent. I was talking rhapsodizing about this book on twitter with Lauren Dane, and we agreed that scene makes both of us bawl every time.

    They are real people, and provide perspective for Tess and Dash. I could go on and on forever about this book, but really, you should pick it up for yourself. Oh, and if you're curious as to what other categories are in my keeper drawer? Nov 06, Linda rated it really liked it Shelves: romance , steamy , gave-away. This book started out very similar to the movie staring Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant, the title had something to do with Lyrics. Anyway even though I saw the movie twice because it wasn't memorable enough for me the first time, and I didn't think I'd seen it , anyway I really can't remember what happens after that the movie I mean , but the book was much better.

    Of course the story was a little farfetched, but it's a book, it's for entertainment. If we wanted reality all the time we'd watch This book started out very similar to the movie staring Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant, the title had something to do with Lyrics. If we wanted reality all the time we'd watch the news and read the newspapers - and find out who killed who, etc, etc. My question is why do we women always want the bad boys? In most of the romance novels if the males aren't the bad boys then their players in form or another, and happily so, then after they meet the heroine of the story, after a fight mostly with themselves - because they're in denial , they suddently only want just one woman.

    Yeah right. Don't get me wrong, I eat this stuff up, and I'm still a hopeless romantic - even after being divorced twice married the bad boy and then the player - actually he fancied himself the knight in shining armor and when I didn't need rescuing anymore then he needed someone else to save I guess it took some maturity for me to find the attraction of real guy.

    Jan 25, Barb rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Tess Norton knows that Dash Black is way out of her league. She just looks after his houseplants, for heaven's sake. But she can't resist a sizzling fling with the sexy media king before she settles for Mr. Ordinary someday. Dash has never experienced a woman like Tess in his life. She's a welcome distraction in the New York frenzy that he calls home.

    For Tess, he knows he's just a man to do. Not a man to marry. But sometimes se Tess Norton knows that Dash Black is way out of her league. But sometimes sex and romance can get all mixed up when you least expect it A very heartwarming story. A fairy tale come true. The bad guys don't always win. Just the same, the good guys sometimes do win. I gave this a 5 star. Algunas escenas divertidas y coherencia de hechos y pensamientos. Oct 11, Brigette rated it really liked it.

    Ahhh Este libro estuvo tan lindo!!! Feb 04, Roos rated it did not like it Shelves: dnf. Couldn't get into the story about a heroine who has a business watering plants. Seriously, watering plants!!! Oct 15, Linda rated it it was amazing. I enjoyed this continuing series and look forward to reading the next chapter of this series. Jun 27, Irene Angel rated it really liked it.

    Nov 28, penelopewanders rated it liked it. Not too bad, reminded me a bit of Manhatten Maid which I never really saw but saw the trailers for. Perfect for a day in bed with the flu. TJ-LibraryGirl rated it liked it Nov 12, Lacy rated it liked it Jan 03, Shawn Mockler rated it liked it Dec 24, Kay rated it really liked it Mar 12, Jillyan Wymer rated it really liked it Dec 25, Karin rated it liked it Dec 16,