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Last post Author Topic: What books are you reading?  (Read 294106 times)

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #875 on: June 28, 2017, 12:30 PM »


The Long Walk is one of my favorite Steven King books.  I had it in an anthology called The Bachman Books (a lot of his stories written under the Richard Bachman pseudonym), and to tell you what it's about would be to ruin the pathos of dawning horror.  But it is very good and recommended.  Also in that anthology are Roadwork (arguably- at least by me- Falling Down is based on that) and the Running Man (nothing like the tepid Schwartzenegger flick)

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #876 on: June 28, 2017, 03:33 PM »
^^ Thanks. Useful comment. I learned something there and after looking it up on Amazon - about the Bachman books comprising "Rage", "The Long Walk", "Roadwork" and "The Running Man".
Of those four, I have only read "Rage". I thought it a superb story, with a very realistic development of the central character and his pent-up rage, to which there was probably only one likely - if not inevitable - outcome.

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #877 on: June 29, 2017, 02:19 AM »


The Long Walk is one of my favorite Steven King books.  I had it in an anthology called The Bachman Books (a lot of his stories written under the Richard Bachman pseudonym), and to tell you what it's about would be to ruin the pathos of dawning horror.  But it is very good and recommended.  Also in that anthology are Roadwork (arguably- at least by me- Falling Down is based on that) and the Running Man (nothing like the tepid Schwartzenegger flick)

Only problem with it is that King had no clue how fast a human can walk. Hundred of miles with speed over 4 miles per hour (6-9) is just not realistic. Not for a bunch of teenagers ... I can do almost 7 km in one hour (average speed of 7,5 km/h on a distance of 500 meters and 8,4 km/h on same distance on uphill road with small elevation) but after several hours I would surely drop below minimum speed ... And they walked that fast while eating, smoking and speaking with each other ... I feel he should do some more research on the matter ... Otherwise it is a good book, a little bit too long, but good ...
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 02:25 AM by panzer »

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #878 on: June 29, 2017, 09:54 AM »


The Long Walk is one of my favorite Steven King books.  I had it in an anthology called The Bachman Books (a lot of his stories written under the Richard Bachman pseudonym), and to tell you what it's about would be to ruin the pathos of dawning horror.  But it is very good and recommended.  Also in that anthology are Roadwork (arguably- at least by me- Falling Down is based on that) and the Running Man (nothing like the tepid Schwartzenegger flick)

Only problem with it is that King had no clue how fast a human can walk. Hundred of miles with speed over 4 miles per hour (6-9) is just not realistic. Not for a bunch of teenagers ... I can do almost 7 km in one hour (average speed of 7,5 km/h on a distance of 500 meters and 8,4 km/h on same distance on uphill road with small elevation) but after several hours I would surely drop below minimum speed ... And they walked that fast while eating, smoking and speaking with each other ... I feel he should do some more research on the matter ... Otherwise it is a good book, a little bit too long, but good ...


I didn't find it unrealistic.  Especially with the other factors considered that I don't really want to go into for concern at spoiling the novel.  But we can agree to disagree on that.

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading? - Adults-in-the-Room (economics).
« Reply #879 on: July 01, 2017, 05:56 AM »
Adults in the Room– My battle with Europe's deep establishment
- by Prof. Yanis Varoufakis (former finance minister of Greece).
(The book's title is a sarcastic comment on the statist elite's patronising view of the masses.)
Brilliant book by a highly rational and concerned economist who is essentially performing the very useful role of whistleblower on "bankruptism" economics.
No proponent of "magic economics" or quantitative easing, the professor bluntly tells it like it is.
I found it quite alarming, and I suspect that he is right on all counts. Worth reading.
Amazon review:
https://www.amazon.c...e-Room/dp/1847924468
A Number One Sunday Times Bestseller.
What happens when you take on the establishment? In Adults in the Room, the renowned economist and former finance minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis gives the full, blistering account of his momentous clash with the mightiest economic and political forces on earth.

After being swept into power with the left-wing Syriza party, Varoufakis attempts to renegotiate Greece’s relationship with the EU?and sparks a spectacular battle with global implications. Varoufakis’s new position sends him ricocheting between mass demonstrations in Athens, closed-door negotiations in drab EU and IMF offices, and furtive meetings with power brokers in Washington, D.C. He consults and quarrels with Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron, Christine Lagarde, the economists Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs, and others, as he struggles to resolve Greece’s debt crisis without resorting to punishing austerity measures. But despite the mass support of the Greek people and the simple logic of Varoufakis’s arguments, he succeeds only in provoking the fury of Europe’s elite.

Varoufakis’s unvarnished memoir is an urgent warning that the economic policies once embraced by the EU and the White House have failed?and spawned authoritarianism, populist revolt, and instability throughout the Western world. Adults in the Room is an extraordinary tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion, and betrayal that will shake the global establishment to its foundations.

3 Readers' reviews:
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars - The Emperor's New Clothes
    By ZLF on May 9, 2017
    Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    "Adults in the Room" is actually a much better title than the one I use for this review, for its acerbic irony if for no other reason. But the book does show, with great clarity, that the Emperor has indeed no clothes on.
    This is a book every European, or any person who cares about Europe, should read. It is part memoir, part expose, part impassioned plea for a democratic, humane, rational European Union.
    Iirrationality breeds irrationality. The "I know I'm wrong but don't you dare say so" attitude, so forcefully portrayed and so minutely detailed in this book, is one of the reasons why larger and larger numbers of Europeans vote against what they regard as a lying, rotten, despotic establishment.
    One other reviewer notes that Mr. Varoufakis doesn't see Mr. Schäuble as a monster, but rather as a tragic character. Be that as it may, the hubris displayed by Mr. Schäuble, Mr. Dijsselbloem and others was nothing short of monstrous.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars - Brilliant
    ByAmazon Customer on May 30, 2017
    Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    At last a truth teller.Yanis Varoufakis is a breath of fresh air revealing what goes on behind the wizards ragged curtain.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars - Read this book - it is the real deal
    By Amazon Customer on June 16, 2017
    Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Pulls back the political curtain & tells some unconventional truths that need to be read. Also, Stateside or in Europa, an excellent primer to the pushback that voted Brexit & Trump
Also came across a video of Varoufakis being interviewed about the book by a Swedish TV interviewer.
The interview is in English with Swedish subtitles. An excellent and unbiased interview (so, probably not something the BBC could have done - in fact, they'd probably prefer not to give this guy any airtime at all as it would run contrary to the pro-EU narrative/propaganda).



The book reminded me a little of the book The Rake's Progress: New Zealand Economy Since 1945 (pub. Feb 1, 1984) by John Gould (an economics historian).

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #880 on: July 01, 2017, 04:54 PM »
Also came across a video of Varoufakis being interviewed about the book by a Swedish TV interviewer.
thanks for this :up:

No proponent of ... quantitative easing
this thread is no place for debate, (and all I know about this guy is this interview), but he appears to agree with it @ 3:23 of that video:
https://youtu.be/nGt82RFfg3U?t=3m23s
Tom

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #881 on: July 02, 2017, 12:37 AM »
Eh? Sorry, I can't see how you inferred from that that he was being a proponent of QE.
Lost in translation, maybe?

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #882 on: July 02, 2017, 01:17 PM »
^ he approves the 'printing' of money in the US to reflate the economy after the crash of 2008. I thought that was quantitative easing, or am I misunderstanding? Also thinks the ECB is flawed because, he says, it cannot do that.
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #883 on: July 02, 2017, 04:01 PM »
It seemed to me he spoke of it derisively.

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #884 on: July 02, 2017, 04:10 PM »
It seemed to me he spoke of it derisively.

He calls it 'pragmatic', and bemoans the ECB's workaround for not being able to do the same.
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #885 on: July 02, 2017, 06:17 PM »
It seemed to me he spoke of it derisively.

He calls it 'pragmatic', and bemoans the ECB's workaround for not being able to do the same.

You're right. I didn't understand that word due to his accent. I suppose I may have projected my own opinion of the situation into my interpretation of his meaning.

IainB

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@tomos: I listened to it all again, wondering whether I had missed something YV (Yanis Varoufakis) said about QE (Quantitative Easing). I think you may be unconsciously doing what @Deozaan says of himself, "I suppose I may have projected my own opinion of the situation into my interpretation of his meaning."
For example, YV's comments about the ECB statutory constraints against QE seemed to be matter-of-fact, objective and non-judgemental and neither in the book nor the video interview does he "bemoan the ECB's workaround for not being able to do the same" as the US QE.
However, if you want him to be perceived as speaking as a proponent of QE, then so be it.
Voilà! He's a proponent of QE!   

It's kind of immaterial anyway, as the subject of the interview and this thread is/was his book, why he wrote it and the story it tells - the revelations and drama of what unfolded behind the scenes and behind closed doors, in exhausting 10-hour long deliberately un-minuted meetings, etc.
From what he writes/says, it seems clear that it was neither an open nor democratic process (in his view) - and that seems to have been a key factor. If the EU had been a democracy, then the Greek bailout débâcle wouldn't (probably couldn't) have gone the way it did, though in retrospect YV says he made two mistakes that could have been crucial contributors to allowing the bureaucrats to have their way and the resultant damage to be done to the Greek economy. He apparently deliberately wrote the book as an alarm/warning to other Western economies, as to what was inherently wrong/irrational in the case of the Greek bailout, and that it could happen again, elsewhere.

In the book, YV doesn't seem to necessarily approve or disapproves of anything, really, and that is reflected in his comments in the video interview. He is a rational economist who is at pains to show what happened, and why, and how it was a tragedy of bureaucratic irrationality (not "political"), where the apparently powerful people making the decisions were powerless - impotently caught up in the constraints of a stupid mess of traps of their own creation and unable to step out of those constraints. He does not point the finger at anyone/anything or any religio-political ideology as being the "bad" guy/thing. He speaks as a detached but not disinterested observer, and considers that everybody was simply trying to do their utmost best to arrive at a resolution to bailout Greece, within the constraints they found themselves in.

@03:30min. YV refers to the 2008 US QE as being "very pragmatic", and then underscores the ECB's inability to use QE (which it is prudently prohibited from doing, by statute) - so, by implication, they would have had to use the funding means that they did have at their disposal. That would (presumably) have been OK and do-able/feasible, had not the EU ministers apparently previously hamstrung themselves by prior bureaucratic commitments having little to do with the situation of the Greek economy per se, but which Greece was going to have to accept and pay for, against the Greek government's wishes.

@10:25min. YV refers to a feasible plan - how he "...started putting together a plan for how to deter the bank closures [and by implication the unnecessarily harsh/punitive economic effects of that on the citizens] and how to force the troika to accept the basics that were necessary for Greece's [economic] recovery.". He then goes on to say that the IMF at first privately agreed with his plan and later publicly campaigned for the implementation of a plan that was identical "...precisely to the last decimal point". (He said he gains no satisfaction from having been thus vindicated.)

What eventuated, however, was the implementation of the troika's economically illogical, unworkable and harsh "plan" that could not be substantiated or maintained in perpetuity, and they all knew that was so.

There is a priceless and amusing bit near the start of the interview, just after YV has mentioned the astonishingly arrogant and undemocratic attitude of the EU bureaucrats, who consider themselves to be the "adults in the room" (quoting Christine Lagarde and used as the title for the book), which "...reflects the contempt that the establishment has for the people..." - the mass of voters being children, "...who supposedly are the source of all legitimacy in a properly-functioning democracy." (Redolent of similar statements by one of the recent US presidential candidates, so it's apparently not just an EU thing but is indeed a reflection of elitist self-perception and contempt, as YV seems to view it.):

02:12M:
  • Interviewer: So, Sweden has enjoined the Euro - we had a referendum in 2003...
  • YV (interjecting): Thankfully for Sweden.
  • Interviewer: ...did we have a lucky escape?
  • YV: Absolutely!    ;D    :D    :P    ;)   

That's one of the things I lurve about the collapsing of the value-chain on the Internet. We don't need (don't want) to have to read or watch pre-digested and expurgated news releases or interviews, excreted like t#rds for our consumption, by the MSA intermediaries who used to have an oligopoly controlling what news we were allowed to know about and digest.
If that had been a BBC interview rather than what it was (an interview for Swedish TV), it would have probably been seriously edited and that little discussion gem would almost certainly have ended up on the cutting-room floor. We mustn't say/hear thaaat sort of thing! Oh, the horror! Why, the children might overhear and misconstrue its meaning!

The interview is definitely consistent with what he says in the book, and vice versa. For anyone who is interested in applied economics (rather than just theoretical economics) I would suggest that this book is pretty compelling and thought-provoking reading, and it is a true, current and objective case study, with potential and serious relevance to all modern western economies. A great learning opportunity.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 11:46 PM by IainB »

Deozaan

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #887 on: July 02, 2017, 09:49 PM »
@tomos: I listened to it all again, wondering whether I had missed something YV (Yanis Varoufakis) said about QE (Quantitative Easing). I think you are probably correct where you say "I suppose I may have projected my own opinion of the situation into my interpretation of his meaning."

I said that. :Thmbsup:

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #888 on: July 02, 2017, 11:21 PM »
@Deozaan: Many thanks for pointing that out. I've corrected it now. Apologies. I actually had it all correct but then my browser crashed whilst I was writing the comment, and in the recovery I saw that I had lost some of the several changes that I had made, and I hastily tried to redo them completely from memory. In my annoyed haste, I didn't notice that the first part of the comment was also still incomplete and would not make sense as posted.    :-[

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #889 on: July 04, 2017, 03:45 AM »
@IainB -- we are largely in agreement,
you appear to have misunderstood my point though - I do not "want him to be perceived as speaking as a proponent of QE". FWIW I have no vested interests in seeing him in any particular way -- I have no reason to project here.

I was simply pointing out his seeing it as pragmatic when things get that bad. That was it.
Tom

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #890 on: July 04, 2017, 09:44 AM »
@IainB -- we are largely in agreement,
you appear to have misunderstood my point though - I do not "want him to be perceived as speaking as a proponent of QE". FWIW I have no vested interests in seeing him in any particular way -- I have no reason to project here.

I was simply pointing out his seeing it as pragmatic when things get that bad. That was it.

Look up a few Tomos.  He just misquoted- it was Deo.

Deozaan

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #891 on: July 04, 2017, 01:07 PM »
Look up a few Tomos.  He just misquoted- it was Deo.

Yes, that's true. But he then clarified his post to say that he thought tomos might also doing what I said I may have been doing. So it's not that different.

I think you may be unconsciously doing what @Deozaan says of himself, "I suppose I may have projected my own opinion of the situation into my interpretation of his meaning."

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #892 on: July 05, 2017, 02:56 AM »


The Long Walk is one of my favorite Steven King books.  I had it in an anthology called The Bachman Books (a lot of his stories written under the Richard Bachman pseudonym), and to tell you what it's about would be to ruin the pathos of dawning horror.  But it is very good and recommended.  Also in that anthology are Roadwork (arguably- at least by me- Falling Down is based on that) and the Running Man (nothing like the tepid Schwartzenegger flick)

Only problem with it is that King had no clue how fast a human can walk. Hundred of miles with speed over 4 miles per hour (6-9) is just not realistic. Not for a bunch of teenagers ... I can do almost 7 km in one hour (average speed of 7,5 km/h on a distance of 500 meters and 8,4 km/h on same distance on uphill road with small elevation) but after several hours I would surely drop below minimum speed ... And they walked that fast while eating, smoking and speaking with each other ... I feel he should do some more research on the matter ... Otherwise it is a good book, a little bit too long, but good ...


I didn't find it unrealistic.  Especially with the other factors considered that I don't really want to go into for concern at spoiling the novel.  But we can agree to disagree on that.

This would only be possible only if King meant professional walking like you see on competitions like WC or Olympics (funny leg, arm and hip movement) and not the ordinary one. In ordinary walking, at six miles/hour you are not walking anymore - you are running. But even if we assume that, walking at the speed of 10 miles/hour means that some of those teenagers (amateurs) for some time walked faster than the average speed of the current world record on 50 kilometers.

I was baffled because of another thing: none of the 100 contestants from that year (or any previous ones) tried the winning strategy. All of them walked pretty fast from the start. But that is not the right strategy.

Since this race is not about who walks the longest distance but rather who can walk over minimum speed for the longest time, then winning strategy becomes clear: walk with a speed just over 4 miles/hours and nothing more than that (and not talk to others like a teenage girls and don't smoke during the race because you need oxygen). That way you can save energy and outlast your rivals. Going any faster than that is just uneccesary consumption of energy you will need later on.

For example: Let assume that there is a teenager who know all this. He knows that he has let say at least 4 percent less stamina than the best walker. So if that guy can walk 330 miles and no more, than he would stop at 316,8 miles.

In ordinary walking competition where guy who will come the furthest wins, he would clearly lose. But this is not an ordinary competition.

So if a group around the winner from the book walks at a pace of 5 miles/hour while he intentionally travells at a pace of "only" 4,5 miles/hour, he "saves" 12 miles of walking per day, 24 miles in two days and so on. So in just two days the others would cover almost a distance of a marathon race more than he would. Thas is a lot of unecessary distance covered. When others will feel the first signs of being tired, he would be still fresh as a Daisy. When they would feel really tired, he would just be a little uncomfortable. 66 hours later, the last walker would reach 330 miles and would drop out of the race. At that exact time our winner would be at 297 miles, well within his dropping out point at 316,8 miles.

Even with his 4 percent less stamina, he would still win easily since his slower walking speed alowed him to cover 10 percent less distance than others in the same time period.

If the others would walk with even greater speed, his win would be even more convincing: at their 5,5 miles/hour versus his 4,5 miles/hour, he would cover 24 miles in one day less than others, 48 miles in two days and so on ... 60 hours later, the last remaining member of a group would reach 330 miles and drop out (since his average speed is a little bit higher he probably wouldn't even reach 330 miles due to faster energy drainage but nevermind that). Our guy would at that time cover 270 miles. So, he would win six hours earlier than before while covering 27 miles less distance that before.

And so on and so on ...

In reality, unless all contestants are braindead, someone would figure that out and would've won with this strategy. From next year on, all others would use it too.

Maybe writing about a race where all of contestants would try to be as close to minimum speed while trying to avoid being penalised because they would dip under it is not as exciting as writing King's version, but it looks like King never figured it out how you could win more easily than walking at the speed you feel comfortable with while crossing fingers that you will have more luck than your rivals ...

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #893 on: July 05, 2017, 02:59 AM »


Interesting read, but could be better ...

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #894 on: July 05, 2017, 08:20 AM »


The Long Walk is one of my favorite Steven King books.  I had it in an anthology called The Bachman Books (a lot of his stories written under the Richard Bachman pseudonym), and to tell you what it's about would be to ruin the pathos of dawning horror.  But it is very good and recommended.  Also in that anthology are Roadwork (arguably- at least by me- Falling Down is based on that) and the Running Man (nothing like the tepid Schwartzenegger flick)

Only problem with it is that King had no clue how fast a human can walk. Hundred of miles with speed over 4 miles per hour (6-9) is just not realistic. Not for a bunch of teenagers ... I can do almost 7 km in one hour (average speed of 7,5 km/h on a distance of 500 meters and 8,4 km/h on same distance on uphill road with small elevation) but after several hours I would surely drop below minimum speed ... And they walked that fast while eating, smoking and speaking with each other ... I feel he should do some more research on the matter ... Otherwise it is a good book, a little bit too long, but good ...


I didn't find it unrealistic.  Especially with the other factors considered that I don't really want to go into for concern at spoiling the novel.  But we can agree to disagree on that.

This would only be possible only if King meant professional walking like you see on competitions like WC or Olympics (funny leg, arm and hip movement) and not the ordinary one. In ordinary walking, at six miles/hour you are not walking anymore - you are running. But even if we assume that, walking at the speed of 10 miles/hour means that some of those teenagers (amateurs) for some time walked faster than the average speed of the current world record on 50 kilometers.

<snip discussion>


I'd suggest that if you're going to continue to discuss, you do it in spoilers, as some have not read the book, and might want to.

Spoiler
There is currently a walking challenge to do just this- to walk trails at a minimum of 4 mph, and the walker that walks the furthest wins. I walk 4 mph for my normal walk, and I am nowhere near running.  Also, the difference in speed wasn't a couple of miles per hour, but less than one mile per hour.

As far as your ideas, Stebbins did do exactly that.  And almost won.  But in the end, he lost.  No matter what you prepare for, the fact that there are other factors (weather, your body, etc) means that you can't prepare for all of them.  His final weakness was mental. 

And remember that the object wasn't to make it fair, nor even possible.  It was to make it entertaining, and get down to the winner in an entertaining manner.  And with the penalty for losing, that drives them.  And you're forgetting that they have multiple warnings, and they fall off per hour. 

You seem to be thinking that this was about the race.  It's about bread and circuses- akin to reality tv, but in a multi-day event, and that was made abundantly clear in the beginning of the short story.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 08:32 AM by wraith808 »

holt

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #895 on: July 08, 2017, 10:14 AM »
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo'.)

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #896 on: July 08, 2017, 10:42 AM »
Deep Learning by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio, Aaron Courville
deeplearnbook.jpg

https://www.amazon.c...achine/dp/0262035618

Read online here: http://www.deeplearningbook.org/

The current "definitive" book on Deep Learning in AI, which is all the rage these days -- though it's a bit erratic and uneven.

For the uninitiated, the term Deep Learning is a combination of a public relations marketing gimmick and rebrading of the field of Artificial Neural Networks, that came about when some very skilled engineers started squeezing out best-in-class performance from neural network models of a particular type warranting the term "Deep Learning", only to later realize that the specific "deep" architectures were not important to performance.  Rather than give up the fame and viral nature of the new term they just decided to re-brand the entire field of Artificial Neural Networks with the new catchy, and now quite misleading, term. Shrug.  The public relations effort and avarice is depressing, but the results and serious focus on maximizing performance are still impressive.


robinsleica

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #897 on: July 10, 2017, 02:51 PM »
I have always liked goosebump and I am re reading most of them. Enjoying my life . in my spare time! :)

Contro

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #898 on: August 15, 2017, 03:16 PM »
I am taking very seriously english learning.
so, some months ago, I am trying to read in english.
My first experience :

Lolita by Nubokov ( I dislike)
The second : The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ( I dislike)
The road by Cormac McCarthy ( a terrible experience for me , but i likes. Only I need to read in spanish first because of the trama, then in english to try to understand better)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I am reading now. If I don't feel comfortable in english firs i read in spanish. Seems a very good book.

 :-*

P.d. I hope learn better english and be able to express adequately ....

 :-[
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 03:24 PM by Contro »

Contro

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #899 on: August 16, 2017, 05:08 AM »
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have you tried this ?
http://cognexus.org/id41.htm

a very interesting program to take decisions...
 :P