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Last post Author Topic: What books are you reading?  (Read 409412 times)

Paul Keith

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #975 on: September 27, 2018, 10:17 PM »


https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Chapo_Trap_Housew

mhhmm...miss you so much DC forum preview text box  :-*

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #976 on: September 29, 2018, 04:27 PM »
Today I was reading some US media channels in my BazQux feed-reader that seemed to be absolutely choc-a-block with "news" about the pillorying of one Brett Michael Kavanaugh (a US Circuit Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit) - almost to the exclusion of any other US/world news.

I don't know anything about Kavanaugh, but what struck me was a news feed (chicagotribune.com) that referred to it as Kavanaugh's 'character assassination'.
The related videos were absolutely pure theatre...
Costanza popcorn-eating watching TV anim.gif

- but, watching them I had a sense of déjà vu and after a bit of head-scratching, I finally traced it back to that well-known hated/loved world leader, Adolf Hitler. I mentioned in this discussion thread, back in 2011:
...I am reading an interesting book at the moment, as I explained in a separate post...
...I had not actually wanted to read it, though I had been steeling myself for the time when I would have to.
I am reading this English translation, here, if you want to take a look: Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation).pdf...

At 557pp, Mein Kampf is not a light reading exercise, but searching the .pdf file eventually turned this up: - Hitler was apparently describing the timeless methods that would seem to have been employed in the Kavanaugh pillorying:
From Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler - from pages 78 and 79:

... By far the most effective branch of political education, which in this connection is best expressed by the word 'propaganda', is carried on by the Press.  The Press is the chief means employed in the process of political 'enlightenment'.  It represents a kind of school for adults.  This educational activity, however, is not in the hands of the State but in the clutches of powers which are partly of a very inferior character.  While still a young man in Vienna I had excellent opportunities for coming to know the men who owned this machine for mass instruction, as well as those who supplied it with the ideas it distributed.  At first I was quite surprised when I realized how little time was necessary for this dangerous Great Power within the State to produce a certain belief among the public; and in doing so the genuine will and convictions of the public were often completely misconstrued.  It took the Press only a few days to transform some ridiculously trivial matter into an issue of national importance, while vital problems were completely ignored or filched and hidden away from public attention.

The Press succeeded in the magical art of producing names from nowhere within the course of a few weeks.  They made it appear that the great hopes of the masses were bound up with those names. And so they made those names more popular than any man of real ability could ever hope to be in a long lifetime. All this was done, despite the fact that such names were utterly unknown and indeed had never been heard of even up to a month before the Press publicly emblazoned them.  At the same time old and tried figures in the political and other spheres of life quickly faded from the public memory and were forgotten as if they were dead, though still healthy and in the enjoyment of their full viguour.  Or sometimes such men were so vilely abused that it looked as if their names would soon stand as permanent symbols of the worst kind of baseness.  In order to estimate properly the really pernicious influence which the Press can exercise one had to study this infamous Jewish method whereby honourable and decent people were besmirched with mud and filth, in the form of low abuse and slander, from hundreds and hundreds of quarters simultaneously, as if commanded by some magic formula.

These highway robbers would grab at anything which might serve their evil ends.

They would poke their noses into the most intimate family affairs and would not rest until they had sniffed out some petty item which could be used to destroy the reputation of their victim.  But if the result of all this sniffing should be that nothing derogatory was discovered in the private or public life of the victim, they continued to hurl abuse at him, in the belief that some of their animadversions would stick even though refuted a thousand times.  In most cases it finally turned out impossible for the victim to continue his defence, because the accuser worked together with so many accomplices that his slanders were re-echoed interminably.  But these slanderers would never own that they were acting from motives which influence the common run of humanity or are understood by them.  Oh, no.  The scoundrel who defamed his contemporaries in this villainous way would crown himself with a halo of heroic probity fashioned of unctuous phraseology and twaddle about his 'duties as a journalist' and other mouldy nonsense of that kind.  When these cuttle-fishes gathered together in large shoals at meetings and congresses they would give out a lot of slimy talk about a special kind of honour which they called the professional honour of the journalist.  Then the assembled species would bow their respects to one another. 

These are the kind of beings that fabricate more than two-thirds of what is called public opinion, from the foam of which the parliamentary Aphrodite eventually arises.

Several volumes would be needed if one were to give an adequate account of the whole procedure and fully describe all its hollow fallacies.  But if we pass over the details and look at the product itself while it is in operation I think this alone will be sufficient to open the eyes of even the most innocent and credulous person, so that he may recognize the absurdity of this institution by looking at it objectively. ...

- which all rather coincidentally seems to indicate that The Führer was apparently sitting in Cell 9 writing about the producers of what we today have labelled "Fake news".

My conclusion: Mein Kampf is worth a read as it may have perceptive, real educational and historical value - and maybe news media organisations have for years appreciated this fact and been using it as a textbook tutorial for honing their "reporting methods".

Utterly amazing. Read dis book!    :Thmbsup:
#BlownAway

Arizona Hot

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #977 on: September 29, 2018, 07:01 PM »


Dumped:


This book is available from Amazon for (Kindle $12.99), (paper $9.91) here.  Panzer, what was your opinion of it?

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #978 on: September 30, 2018, 07:19 AM »
I've been powering through a recent C++ book to get myself up to speed on the new stuff in C++14 through C++17 that I have not been keeping up with.
Screenshot - 9_30_2018 , 7_16_22 AM.png
https://www.amazon.c...egoire/dp/1119421306

"Professional C++" by Marc Gregoire, 1184 pages.

There's a lot to like in the new C++ stuff, but the language is definitely showing it's age..

I think perhaps a standalone slim book on just recent additions to the language would be a bit more useful, so I'm keeping my eye open for that.  This fellow is good: https://www.bfilipek.com/

YannickDa

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #979 on: October 03, 2018, 04:15 PM »
I've heard that "Mein Kampf" is a mandatory read for israeli students aiming to integrate "Mossad".

This is what i'm reading now :



From the Brainsturbator blog :

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America by HUGH Wilford. This is certainly one of the best books I've read, period. Wilford takes on an insanely ambitious and important subject that's been obscured by secrecy and history. He does it great justice and the writing itself is amazingly good. Once the premise and reality is established, Wilford kicks things into high gear, providing hundreds of pages of eye-opening connections that will change the way you think about the past six decades of US popular culture. It is a source of great amusement to me that so few self-proclaimed "conspiracy theorists" have even heard of this book, because their paranoia pales by comparison to what Wilford is laying out in abundantly documented detail here.

Dirhael

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #980 on: October 12, 2018, 08:30 AM »
Just finished the latest entry in the fantastic "Murderbot Diaries" by Martha Wells. Exit Strategy is the 4th and final novella in the series (a full length novel is planned sometime in the future), and every one of them have been a great read. "Murderbot" is quite possibly the best main character I've ever spent time with in a SF book.



Full series over at GoodReads
Registered nurse by day, hobby programmer by night.

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #981 on: October 25, 2018, 12:35 PM »
Continuing with the works of Cliffor D. Simak today I started on
The Werewolf Principle

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #982 on: November 13, 2018, 05:03 AM »


Dumped:


This book is available from Amazon for (Kindle $12.99), (paper $9.91) here.  Panzer, what was your opinion of it?

Not my cup of tea. But maybe you are going to like it, who knows ...

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #983 on: November 13, 2018, 05:04 AM »




Dumped:


wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #984 on: December 07, 2018, 12:10 AM »
deadhouse.jpg

Deadhouse Gates

Again, I stumbled at the beginning- the shifting of most of the characters to ones that were less significant in the first book threw me.  With a different focus, I had to discover most of the focus characters and experienced the same slogging pace at the beginning as the first in the series. But armed with my experiences from that novel, I kept at it, and as I began to get the feel for the characters, the book grabbed me.

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #985 on: December 12, 2018, 07:55 AM »
Judgement Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living a Better Life
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Flatland
Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success

Dumped:
A Study In Scarlet Women
Cradle of the Deep 2
Navigating the Stars

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #986 on: December 12, 2018, 09:45 AM »
Just finished Red War

red_war.jpg

And that finishes my reading challenge for the year.  I started out strong, but other factors bogged me down making what I thought was a slam dunk questionable at times.


panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #987 on: January 07, 2019, 04:47 AM »


Dumped:


MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #988 on: January 08, 2019, 09:16 AM »
Continuing with Richard D. Simak, I just completed Time and Again.

I will start Time is the Simplest Thing today.

I have a thing for time travel stories.  :)


panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #989 on: January 28, 2019, 08:19 AM »


Dumped:


rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #990 on: March 05, 2019, 05:39 PM »
Catherine Fisher's Chronoptika Quartet; YA time-travel.  Vivid, energetic, engrossing, bleak.  None of the main characters are really sympathetic, but you understand what drives them.
Catherine Fisher writes: I have always thought the idea of Time Travel fascinating, full of paradox and speculation and opportunities for adventure.

If you had the power to change previous events to bring back someone that you loved, would you do it, even if it changed the world? In Venn I wanted to invent a man so deep in guilt that he has lost the ability to care about anyone else.

Into this dilemma I wanted to mix all the old folklore: the wintry isolated house, the dark wood, the beautiful, deadly Shee and their ageless, changeless land; the eccentric inventor, the opium dens and alleys of Victorian London.

I wanted a story full of variety and mystery. And above all, enjoyment.
TheObsidianMirror.jpgTheBoxOfRedBrocade.jpg
TheDoorInTheMoon.jpgTheSpeedOfDarkness.jpg
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 04:55 PM by rjbull »

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #991 on: March 09, 2019, 08:02 AM »
I am still working through Clifford D. Simak.  Currently Earth for Inspiration, one of a series of collections of his short works.

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #992 on: April 19, 2019, 10:23 PM »
Principles of Economics by Mankiw
https://www.amazon.c...Mankiw/dp/128516587X
Screenshot - 4_19_2019 , 10_22_18 PM.png

Each page makes sense, but when I close the book and look around I still find it hard to understand how anyone is making any money.

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #993 on: April 25, 2019, 03:23 PM »
I am still devouring the novels of Clifford D. Simak.  It seems with the digital books they are playing the "region game" they play with DVDs.  Novels like Cosmic Engineers can be purchased in Australia but not in the USA.  Really annoying.  This is forcing me prematurely into the short stories.  Bummer!

holt

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #994 on: May 26, 2019, 08:43 PM »
Thunderhead by Keith Laumer

To navigate the page; scroll 'up' to upper right corner gives Back, Next, and Table of Contents; scroll 'down' to lower right corner gives Back, Next, and Framed (which I got lost clicking on and had to click on browser 'back' to get back where I knew where I was). The story consists of 35 one-page 'chapters'. 
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo' (2012))
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 09:37 PM by holt »

irkregent

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #995 on: May 29, 2019, 08:53 PM »
I am working through two books right now.

The first is a technical book about programming, likely the best I have ever read on the topic:
The Pragmatic Programmer, 20th Anniversary Edition, by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt
I read the first edition not long after it was released, and every time I go through it I glean something that I need to implement in my work.

The second is my "just for fun" book:
Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America, by Bruce Weber
I quite enjoy reading accounts of bike touring, especially those across the USA, and this is yet another.  Though this one has more biographical content than is usually the case, I am enjoying it.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 07:47 AM by wraith808, Reason: Corrected URLs »

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #996 on: June 26, 2019, 09:08 PM »
I've started reading an incredible book, The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph Henrich
Screenshot - 6_26_2019 , 8_58_24 PM.png

It's a science book meant for lay readers, full of fascinating anecdotes.

I've only just started it, but it's compelling and important.  It makes a pretty convincing case that the secret to human evolution is not that we evolved to be smarter or better at tools or language, as some have theorized, but rather that our species has evolved to become, essentially, machines specialized for passing on culture.  It's our skill and obsession at passing on cultural information and knowledge, rather than some qualitatively different level of intelligence, that makes us so special and so successful.  And that seen from this light, many otherwise odd behaviors and tendencies make more sense.

Very thought-provoking stuff, and completely accessible with no background knowledge required.  Highly recommended.

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #997 on: June 30, 2019, 03:11 AM »
@mouser: Thanks for the reference to The Secrets of Our Success (click to get to free download).
I'm familiar with that book, but the thoughts it contains aren't necessarily new or likely to give us an epiphany unless our historical perspective is narrow. Indeed, I thought it was an old hat hypothesis  - I mean, I was taught - and thought I understood - that the only real current human evolution that was taking place was in cultural developments (not that you'd necessarily know it from observation of current MSM reporting). For example, as per Hitler's thoughts in Mein Kampf, above, where - in modern Western cultures - the manipulative MSM are predictably and perpetually trying to control the narrative and tell us how to think and what to think, forcing our collective cognitive gestalt onto their chosen propaganda, whereupon the availability heuristic takes over and we have no time/inclination to look behind the green curtain, and so the propaganda becomes a perception of reality in our minds. It would be unlikely that this wasn't shaping the cultural gestalt to a greater (rather than a lesser) extent.

Why do we fall for this? Well, as Dr W. Edwards Deming put it:
Why are we all so damn stupid?
- i.e., we can't help it. The reason seems to be that our paradigms and perceptions of reality and especially our thinking are filtered through a primitive ego-centric mechanism that is hard to disassociate our thinking from, in a sort of intellectual deadlock, and the smarter the individual (IQ), the more secure the deadlock and the harder it becomes to be objective (De Bono in the book Teaching Thinking). The Vedic philosophers of 3,000 years ago knew about this and called it ahamkara - a state of illusion in the mind, which is perceived to be reality and is connected to the concept of the Self and the survival of the ego. The concept of ahamkara can be found in Hinduism today - as part of the lower (physical) mind below the Buddhi intellect.

So where does developmental cultural evolution likely stem from? What is the key? Arguably from developmental dissonance/stress within a society and its ancient and modern philosophy (and now science) helping us to seek answers.
Interestingly, the excellent (IMHO) SF movie "I Am Mother" (2019) explores this very point, amongst others. I had to stay alert whilst watching it though, as it drip-feeds little clues for the observant to figure out what's actually going on.

However, philosophy seems to be the key: (my emphasis)
Genuine philosophical thought, depending upon original individual insights, arose in many cultures roughly contemporaneously. Karl Jaspers termed the intense period of philosophical development beginning around the 7th century and concluding around the 3rd century BCE an Axial Age in human thought. - per Ancient Philosophy.
I used to feel pretty pessimistic about humanity's forward evolutionary progress, as otherwise "democratic" nations leading the way often seemed to be (especially in the US or Europe, for example) in a near-perpetual state of unrest driven by internecine divisive and antithetical religio-political ideologies intent on destruction/suppression of "the other" - leading to implicit brown-shirting, political correctness, de-platforming and oxygen starvation against "incorrect" thinking and the loss of freedom of thought and speech and ultimately self-destruction of the democracy. In the US for example - the torchbearer for freedom and democracy - think Univ. of Berkely (that bastion of free speech) and where organised riots and apparently complicit administrators shut down freedom of speech, and a US presidential candidate who divisively publicly labelled the voters (potentially half the plebiscite) of their opponent as "a basket of deplorables", or some such, and people apparently still cannot safely walk in a public place in the US wearing the "wrong" sort of hat. In Europe, the Mother of Democracy - the British Parliament - has passed laws limiting freedom of speech - i.e., loosely-defined "wrong" or "incorrect" speech - and on the world stage, the manipulative Google and Facebook seem to be opportunistically encouraging yet more government intervention and regulation of freedoms for self-serving purposes as they attempt to externalise the cost of and their responsibility for mitigating harms to cultures and societies arising directly and indirectly from the delivery of their services (situation normal for a corporate psychopath, which always seeks to externalise the costs of its environmental footprint). Singly and together, these things represent a seemingly remorseless  onslaught on privacy and freedom. I could go on, but you get the idea.
As I said separately to someone else on this forum, the old name for that is fascism (totalitarianism), and the free world had had enough of it and ended up fighting 3 dreadful wars to keep itself and future generations free of it in the '40s. The blood of hundreds of thousands of US and other Allied Forces soldiers still fertilises huge swathes of French land (Allied casualties of war with the Germans/Nazis), and in the Pacific (US casualties of war with the Japanese), for example. We don't need to repeat that.
However, from reading a book from the '80s I saw reason for becoming more positive about the outlook of our cultural evolution, as the potential for forward and developmental cultural evolution was hypothesised in the SRI report, "Changing Images of Man" (download link of OCRed document in the public domain).
It's a study in systems science and world order.
      ...An image may be appropriate for one phase in the development of a society, but once that stage is accomplished, the use of the image as a continuing guide to action will likely create more problems than it solves. (Figure 1 illustrates, in a highly simplified way that will be further developed in Chapter 3, the interaction between "changing images of man" and a changing society.) While earlier societies' most difficult problems arose from natural disasters such as pestilence, famine, and floods (due to an inability to manipulate the human's environment and ourselves in unprecedented ways, and from our failure to ensure wise exercising of these "Faustian" powers-as Spengler termed the term).
      Science, technology, and economics have made possible really significant strides toward achieving such basic human goals as physical safety and security, material comfort, and better health. ...
      pp 4 - 6, Changing Images of Man - SRI report
The SRI report provides a hypothetical semi-sinusoidal model in a diagram and which intriguingly effectively suggests that cultural and social outcomes could be a de facto weighted average of individual desires (in the minds of people). If so, a freedom-negative outcome that most people dislike - e.g., having been pulled into that state by (say) a dictatorship - can't persist over time and will be pushed into an upwards development, through some form of dynamic change (e.g., activism, revolution).
One wave was the force given by the image in the minds of Man as to what the direction of Man's purpose, etc. could/should be, and the other was the force of direction imposed on Man in those societies, by prevailing socio-political standards/forces.
The suggestion was that these two forces alternately pushed and pulled each other apart in a cyclical fashion, and that when they were furthest apart the force to come together became strongest, so they came together and crossed over in a form of over-compensation or drag, exchanging the role of leadership in the alternating push-pull effect. It was a very hopeful model really, but it did offer a fit with history and explained how, for example, periods of tyranny could/would be overcome (e.g., the ending of the oppressive and totalitarian Nazi National Socialist regime in WW2) and society would develop/progress until it met the next period of tyranny, and so on. A model of history repeating, I suppose.

20_584x392_8B536D50.pngWhat books are you reading?

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #998 on: July 02, 2019, 09:41 PM »
@mouser:
I wrote above:
...I thought it was an old hat hypothesis  - I mean, I was taught - and thought I understood - that the only real current human evolution that was taking place was in cultural developments...
I usually try to substantiate what I write with examples, but I couldn't find my old lecture notes as I lost them in a fire. However, after scratching my head a bit and using duckduckgo, I eventually managed to come up with this:
The very concept of progress — of the continual betterment of the human condition through the application of science and the spread of freedom — was a product of the European Enlightenment, as Kishore Mahbubani reminds us. These thinkers were among the first to advance the idea that humanity’s problems are soluble, and that we are not condemned to misery and misfortune. The spectacular progress that ensued, first for the West and then increasingly also for the rest, was a matter not of historical necessity, but of diligent human effort and struggle. Pessimism is not just factually wrong, it is also harmful because it undermines our confidence in our ability to bring about further progress. The best argument that progress is possible is that it has been achieved in the past.
– Maarten Boudry

Boudry is a modern philosopher and a very amusing skeptic, but I reckon he makes the above point very well.
Mind you, I do think that some evolutionary cultural developments can turn out to be backward steps or dead-ends, but overall it's probably a sort of "2 steps forward, 1 step backwards" kind of cultural progress, like climbing up a sandhill or scoria-covered mountainside.

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #999 on: August 01, 2019, 08:46 AM »
Recursion by Blake Crouch. 

An interesting take on time travel.  When someone goes into the past to change the future, when the time comes for the nullified event to happen, then people who originally experienced it remember it.  This can be unpleasant if the thing you remember is burning to death, drowning, being blown up, buried alive etc..

It is also a love story.

Also I am nearly finished with another Blake Crouch novel Dark Matter.  Rather than time travel the protagonist searches through parallel worlds trying to get back to the one he was expelled from.