Author Topic: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?  (Read 491256 times)

Doktor Howl

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2955 on: August 23, 2018, 11:53:06 pm »
Light reading:

Just finished Alice and then The Red Queen by Alice Liddel. 

Good reading if you want your Wonderland with 50% extra murder and crimes against humanity.
Well, that's hardly my fault.  I was just doing what I do, doing my little dance, singing my little song, you know?  And then Hirley0 got on the dance floor and said

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2956 on: August 31, 2018, 07:21:11 pm »
Started Steve Coll's "Directorate S", which I would call "yet another book on the War on Terror and Afghanistan" if it were not from Steve Coll, who actually knows his stuff.

I'm more convinced than ever that our biggest mistake in the War on Terror was not razing the ISI headquarters to the ground and shipping everyone in the so-called Directorate S (the US intel community nickname for the Pakistani infrastructure that supports terrorism and the Taliban) off to Guantanamo for enhanced interrogation.

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2957 on: August 31, 2018, 07:38:09 pm »
Splitting my time between:

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (about a plausible apocalypse)

Statistics Done Wrong by Alex Reinhart (about how scientists don't understand p values)

Making Money by Terry Pratchett (re-reading)

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (a white woman talking about structural white supremacy)

Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley (suggested by Dok Howl)

Mercy On Me by Reinhard Kleist (graphic novel about Nick Cave)

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2958 on: August 31, 2018, 07:40:43 pm »
Splitting my time between Farewell My Lovely by Chandler (more racist than I remember most of his novels to be), and Illuminations by Rimbaud. All in all, I prefer Cummings.
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Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2959 on: September 01, 2018, 10:12:05 am »
Farewell My Lovely is probably his weakest novel IMO, and the racial characterisations in it definitely don't help.  I believe it was originally a mix of a number of earlier unpublished short stories which were subsequently re-edited together, which might explain why the prose felt stilted to me, in comparison with his other novels.

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2960 on: September 05, 2018, 01:03:28 am »
Currently reading
Red Country by Abercrombie, and How to Read a Book by Adler and Van Doren (reread)

Abercrombie's book is good, but so far, Heroes is the best of the standalone First Law novels.
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Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2961 on: September 05, 2018, 06:25:45 pm »
I preferred Best Served Cold, but all 3 are pretty good...arguably better than the original trilogy (which is also still pretty good).

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2962 on: September 14, 2018, 09:47:03 pm »
Best served cikd was great too.


I also liked the first book from Luke Scull, Grim Company. Haven’t gotten around to read the rest yet.
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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2963 on: September 20, 2018, 09:17:04 am »
Just started "Endurance- Shackleton's Incredible Voyage" by Alfred Lansing

Seems like a fun book.
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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2964 on: September 22, 2018, 12:50:22 am »
Recently finished "The Science Delusion" by Rupert Sheldrake. Now, before you go all "but that guy's a charlatan and his books ought to be burned" on me, you Fact Nazis, let me explain.

Yes, the guy is probably wrong about everything.

But, I don't care. I will never be pushing the boundaries of science, so it doesn't really matter what I think either way. That fact, plus the fact that I'm, like, colossally tired of living in a boring, mechanistic universe, means I can believe what I want and you can't stop me.

So I choose to live in a universe where science has proven dogs are psychic. There, I said it.
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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2965 on: September 22, 2018, 03:18:22 am »
But, I don't care. I will never be pushing the boundaries of science, so it doesn't really matter what I think either way. That fact, plus the fact that I'm, like, colossally tired of living in a boring, mechanistic universe, means I can believe what I want and you can't stop me.
The universe I live in is mechanistic, but there are billions of unknown variables and unexpected interactions and undomesticated marketing weasels, so that even though I believe there are Inviolable Rules*, it's still almost impossible to figure out what's going to happen next.

It's not boring, it's terrifying.

Quote
So I choose to live in a universe where science has proven dogs are psychic. There, I said it.
I once thought I had a telepathic link with my intestinal bacteria, but it turned out it was just gas.


*If there weren't Rules, it would be much harder to do physics.
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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2966 on: October 06, 2018, 02:14:52 pm »
Currently reading Rules for Rebels: The Science of Militant Success by Max Abrahms (at the request of the author).

Not going to lie, I like Max.  He's controversial, because he stands against a lot of the conventional wisdom in terrorism studies and is quite outspoken about it, but he's usually got the data to back it up.  In this book, he argues that militant groups only succeed when they avoid civilian casualties, when they have a command structure that not only enforces that targeting but can appropriately deal with elements that choose to do otherwise, and have the marketing/PR skill to condemn those actors while not implicating themselves.

Conversely, terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda and Hamas are never going anywhere, because all they do is attack civilians, which makes any kind of political resolution impossible.  As he quite rightly points out, from a strategic viewpoint terrorism is a failing strategy.  While pundits were claiming ISIS was creating a new state in the Middle East, all they did was unite an alliance against them, which smashed their fake caliphate (which looked impressive on a map, but mostly ruled empty desert and half a dozen key cities) and sent them running.  Even the IRA, who are often seen as a successful terrorist group, completely failed in their aims to reunite Northern Ireland with the rest of the country - the Good Friday agreement and Stormont Assembly was a consolation prize at best.

I do think Max tends to overstate how un-strategic terrorists are (I like to use the concept of bounded rationality here - terrorists do select their targets and go about planning their attacks with a reasonable amount of rational behaviour.  However the larger, strategic behaviour of "how does this actually advance our cause" is often heavily constrained by a number of factors), but given the strangehold that Rational Actor Terrorism Theory has, I can understand why he might feel he has to.

Doktor Howl

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2967 on: October 13, 2018, 04:59:30 pm »
Currently reading Rules for Rebels: The Science of Militant Success by Max Abrahms (at the request of the author).

Not going to lie, I like Max.  He's controversial, because he stands against a lot of the conventional wisdom in terrorism studies and is quite outspoken about it, but he's usually got the data to back it up.  In this book, he argues that militant groups only succeed when they avoid civilian casualties, when they have a command structure that not only enforces that targeting but can appropriately deal with elements that choose to do otherwise, and have the marketing/PR skill to condemn those actors while not implicating themselves.

Conversely, terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda and Hamas are never going anywhere, because all they do is attack civilians, which makes any kind of political resolution impossible.  As he quite rightly points out, from a strategic viewpoint terrorism is a failing strategy.  While pundits were claiming ISIS was creating a new state in the Middle East, all they did was unite an alliance against them, which smashed their fake caliphate (which looked impressive on a map, but mostly ruled empty desert and half a dozen key cities) and sent them running.  Even the IRA, who are often seen as a successful terrorist group, completely failed in their aims to reunite Northern Ireland with the rest of the country - the Good Friday agreement and Stormont Assembly was a consolation prize at best.

I do think Max tends to overstate how un-strategic terrorists are (I like to use the concept of bounded rationality here - terrorists do select their targets and go about planning their attacks with a reasonable amount of rational behaviour.  However the larger, strategic behaviour of "how does this actually advance our cause" is often heavily constrained by a number of factors), but given the strangehold that Rational Actor Terrorism Theory has, I can understand why he might feel he has to.

Where can I find this?
Well, that's hardly my fault.  I was just doing what I do, doing my little dance, singing my little song, you know?  And then Hirley0 got on the dance floor and said

SHAKE THAT
First ^  Then V

And I did.  I didn't feel like I had any choice.  Between P-Funk and Hirley0, I became the man reptillian menace I am today.

Bootsy Collins did this to me.

Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2968 on: October 14, 2018, 11:48:12 am »
Oxford Univeristy Press, I got mine via Amazon.