16 of 38
16
What are you reading?
Posted: 01 July 2011 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 226 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1805
Joined  2005-07-20

I remember _1984_, I think I’d read it in about 1992.  What an impact it had, that ending was a real shock for me having been fed underdog-hero-makes-good endings for most of my life ‘till then.  That Orwell, he really got my attention, I was rooting for the hero the whole time.  smile  I read _Animal_Farm_ afterwards to see what else that crazy Orwell could be thinking, it was more political with the pigs of the farm saying that all deserve equal rights, [ but making themselves more-equal than the other animals ], not a climactic story and nowhere near the impact of _1984_, but pretty interesting.

Oh no downer, I’m sad to see a spoiler for _1984_ posted here, it was such an impactful surprise ending, I thought.  Maybe people could hide their spoilers with the background color #f9f9f9?

 Signature 

I saw a happy rainbow recently.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 July 2011 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 227 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  765
Joined  2009-07-17

Recently finished But They Didn’t Read Me My Rights! by Michael Cicchini and Amy B. Kushner. Very interesting and a bit disconcerting. So many laws that we intended to protect people have so many ways around them that the originals are pretty much worthless. Each chapter is a question or (mis)perception about some aspect of the legal system. The authors then answer the question. Each chapter is only 3-6 pages long. A few times I wanted more detail. Still informative though.

Currently I’m reading The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century edited by Harry Turtledove with Martin H. Greenberg. Just yesterday I finished the story Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Wow! That was cool.

Superiority by Arthur C. Clarke was very entertaining as well.

So far I haven’t read a story I didn’t like.  grin

Take care,

Derek

 Signature 

“It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good—and less trouble.”—Mark Twain

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 July 2011 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 228 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2011-06-20

“don’t believe everything you think”—an excellent book on critical thinking.  pretty basic, but i assigned it for summer reading for my h.s students.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 July 2011 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 229 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7641
Joined  2008-04-11
jump_in_the_pit - 01 July 2011 09:41 AM

I remember _1984_, I think I’d read it in about 1992.

I read it in HS. It was required by my English teacher. We also read and discussed Animal Farm. It was about 1970, and 1984 seemed far, far, far away. The fact that it was set it the future, had a great impact upon us as students, as a possibility..

[ Edited: 11 July 2011 09:35 PM by asanta ]
 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2011 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 230 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  19
Joined  2011-07-09

I’m kinda in the middle of two books:

1.) The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
2.) The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers by Kevin Mitnick

I recently finished these two:

1.) Have You Found Her: A Memoir by Janice Erlbaum
2.) Cracked: Life on the Edge in a Rehab Clinic by Dr. Drew Pinsky

I reveiwed the two I finished at my blog: http://briancrisan.wordpress.com, if anyone wants to check it out.

 Signature 

http://briancrisan.wordpress.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 231 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2584
Joined  2011-04-24
Dr. Bobo - 11 July 2011 07:22 AM

I’m kinda in the middle of two books:

1.) The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
2.) The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers by Kevin Mitnick

I recently finished these two:

1.) Have You Found Her: A Memoir by Janice Erlbaum
2.) Cracked: Life on the Edge in a Rehab Clinic by Dr. Drew Pinsky

I reveiwed the two I finished at my blog: http://briancrisan.wordpress.com, if anyone wants to check it out.

I started a thread about Pinsky under entertainment several weeks ago, you should comment.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 232 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2584
Joined  2011-04-24

I am in the middle of “Welcome to the monkey house” by Kurt Vonnegut. So far it’s terrible, but I’m going to finish it.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 233 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9280
Joined  2006-08-29
mid atlantic - 12 July 2011 07:54 PM

So far it’s terrible, but I’m going to finish it.

LOL

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2011 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 234 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2274
Joined  2007-07-05
mid atlantic - 12 July 2011 07:54 PM

I am in the middle of “Welcome to the monkey house” by Kurt Vonnegut. So far it’s terrible, but I’m going to finish it.

I know I read that and I recall finding it as funny as hell.

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2011 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 235 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  158
Joined  2010-01-03

EDIT: based on the availability at the library within walking distance, I picked Joe Nickell’s “The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-files” - so far so good.  I wish I had this book back when I was in an anthropology class, so I could tell that pretentious professor that the Nazca did have a culture.


nothing! well except Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer.  I just finished another biography on Maximilien Robespierre (talk about being an irreproachable, flagrant flip flopper!).  I think I might go check out Freakanomics from the library.

[ Edited: 18 July 2011 05:49 PM by Chudwick ]
 Signature 

I live in a world of lighthouses. However, my friends are living in sunny tranquility.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 August 2011 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 236 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1995
Joined  2008-09-18

I am finally completing “The Oxford Companion to the English Language”, which has all the excitement of reading a dictionary. I’ve been slaving over this thing for several years now, reading a few pages at a time when I put down one of my primary books. This is a drearily useful book; it has filled in many of the gaps in my knowledge of language. For example, I did not understand a key difference between English poesy and that of other languages. English prosody is based on syllable emphasis, while in other languages the primary driving force is the length of the vowel. Which brings up another point: all that stuff about “long” vowels versus “short” vowels, which never made any sense to me, makes perfect sense in OTHER languages: the long vowels in those languages really are pronounced for longer time than the short vowels. In English, that’s not the case, but for some idiotic reason grammarians carried the concept over to English.

The book also contains biographical sketches of all sorts of utterly obscure people who somehow had some remote impact on English: grammarians, lexicographers, writers, poets, linguists. There are also discussions of every oddball grammatical term you’ve ever heard plus many more that you haven’t.

It’s a huge tome, and I am just now finishing up the “W” section; there are only some twenty pages left, and by God (excuse me!), I shall finish this thing. I am at last standing over it with harpoon in hand, ready to deliver the final blow.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 August 2011 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 237 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5166
Joined  2010-06-16

It’s gratifying to finish a project like that.  Between the 8th and 9th grades I had a fight with my best friend just before summer vacation.  Being stuck home alone, I spent much of the summer reading and trying to remember each word in the Webster’s New World Dictionary.  I did a good job, but school started just as I finished O.  I guess that’s why I’ve always felt a lack of adequate vocabulary in the last part of the alphabet.  smile

Occam

 Signature 

Succinctness, clarity’s core.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2011 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 238 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1741
Joined  2007-10-22

The Origins of Political Order - Francis Fukuyama; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2011 pp. 483
This the first book of a study of the politics of human societies from its beginnings prior to the agricultural revolution up to the French Revolution.  The chapters on China, India, and the Ottoman political development are excellent short studies of an area that IMO most of us, including myself, are unfamiliar with.  I am going to give this a rare A+

Quotes:
If we are seeking to understand the functioning of contemporary institutions, it is necessary to look at their origins and often accidental and contingent forces that brought them into being.
                                Pg. x

Once the Industrial Revolution occurred and human societies exited the Malthusian conditions they experienced up to then, a new dynamic was added to the process of social change that would have political consequences.                      Pg. xiii

Liberal democracy is more than majority voting in elections; it is a complex set of institutions that restrain and regularize the exercise of power through law and a system of checks and balances.                              Pg.4

Political institutions develop, often slowly and painfully over time, as human societies strive to organize themselves to master their environments.  But political decay occurs when political systems fail to adjust to changing circumstances.  There is something like a law of conservation of institutions.  Human beings are rule-following by nature; they are born to conform to the social norms they see around them, and they entrench those rules with often transcendent meaning and value.  When the surrounding environment changes and new challenges arise, there is often a disjunction between existing institutions and present needs.  Those institutions are supported by legions of entrenched stakeholders who oppose any fundamental change.  Pg. 7

. . . it is the perceived legitimacy of the government that binds populations together and makes them willing to accept its authority.                      Pg. 11

We might label this the Hobbesean fallacy:  the idea that human beings were primordially individualistic and they entered into a society at a later stage in their development only as a rational calculation that social cooperation was the best way for them to achieve their individual ends.  . . . But it is in fact individualism and not sociability that developed over the course of human history.  That individualism seems today like a solid core of our economic and political behavior is only because we have developed institutions that override our more naturally communal instincts.  Pg. 29
Historically . . . religion . . . it is a source of social cohesion that permits human beings to cooperate far more widely and securely than they would if they were the simple rational and self- interested agents posited by the economists                 Pg. 37
Norm following is embedded in human nature via the specific emotions of anger, shame, guilt and pride.  . . . Human beings can invest so much emotion in following a norm that it becomes irrational with respect to self-interest.                  Pg. 40
One of the great mistakes of early modernization theory . . . was to think that transitions between “stages” of history were clean and irreversible.  The only part of the world where tribalism was fully suspended by more voluntary and individualistic forms of social relationship was Europe, where Christianity played a decisive role in undermining kinship as a basis for social cohesion.  Since early modernization theorists were European they assumed that other parts of the world would experience a similar shift away from kinship as part of the modernization process.  But they were mistaken.                        Pg. 78
Inhabitants of agricultural societies may be richer (than hunter-gathers – GRH) on the average, but they also have to work much harder and the tradeoff may not seem appealing.  Pg. 84
. . .  the transition from tribe to state involves high losses in freedom and equality.  Pg. 85
in the end, there are too many interesting factors to be able to develop one, strong predictive theory of when and how states formed.                Pg. 92
Legal scholars have argued the first model of the modern bureaucratic “office” as defined by Weber was created within the new, twelfth century church hierarchy.  Among the hallmarks of the modern office are a separation between the office and officeholder; the office is not private property; the officeholder is a salaried official subject to the discipline of the hierarchy within which he is embedded; the offices are defined functionally; and the office holding is based on technical competence.                        Pg. 270

The church’s move towards institutional independence stimulated corporate organization of the other sectors of feudal society as well.                Pg. 271

*  The existence of a separate religious authority accustomed rulers to the idea that they were not the ultimate source of law.                  Pg. 273
Human beings have an innate propensity for creating and following norms or rules.
                              Pg.439-40

Human beings by nature desire not just material resources but also recognition.  Pg. 441
Shared mental models – most particularly those that take the form of religion – are critical in facilitating large scale collective action.  Collective action based merely on rational self-interest is wholly inadequate in explaining the degree of social cooperation and altruism that actually exists in the world.  Religious beliefs help to motivate people to do things they would not do if they were interested only in resources or material well-being,  . . .        Pg. 442
Building an institution is not like building a hydroelectric dam or a road network.  It requires a great deal of hard work to persuade people that institutional change is needed in the first place, build a coalition in favor of change that can overcome the resistance of existing stakeholders in the old system, and then condition people to accept the new set of behaviors as routine and accepted.      Pg. 479

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2011 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 239 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7641
Joined  2008-04-11

I am reading Wicked Plants and Wicked Bugs, not books I would recommend to anyone who thinks this world is perfectly designed for us.  grrr ...on the other hand, it would be a reality check..

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 August 2011 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 240 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10

I’m listening to Your Brain at Work by David Roth on audio book. It’s about how the brain works, its limitations, and how to use it to its maximum potential at work and in everyday life. According to Amazon reviews, it is neuroscientifically sound, and has a good rating on top of that. I’m about halfway through and it’s been very enlightening. In particular, I found it interesting that the author actually goes over “being present”, which, if you remember, I was all about when I first come to these forums. He explains how it works, as well as its advantages and disadvantages - a much more even-handed treatment than the spiritualized version in The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle - and contrasts it against the “default network”, which is how your mind meanders when you’re not doing much of anything. But this is only a small part of the book. Every chapter contains an illustrative story about a situation and how its characters handle it before and after learning about the topic of the chapter. It’s very well done, and I highly recommend it smile

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
   
16 of 38
16
 
‹‹ Eckhart Tolle (Merged)      Swine flu ››