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Which book are you reading now? Volume XIII

Discussion in 'Serial Thread Archives' started by Takhisis, Jan 6, 2019.

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  1. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Oh, good. That means that he can probably be trusted. It's those Oxbridge twits that you have to watch out for.
     
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  2. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I admit i had trouble trusting a scholar whose first name is tony. If it was anthonius it would give him more gravitas :shake:
     
  3. Takhisis

    Takhisis brown-haired beauty

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    Antonius. Without the h.

    Next up: Roots.
     
  4. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

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    I'll recommend The Wandering Inn one more time.

    It is up to $7000 a month on Patreon now to support the free story. :)
    If I was rich I'd support a lot more stuff on Patreon than just this one, sigh.
     
  5. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Wow. Maybe i should try writing for patreon supporters... With my luck, though, i wont be paid by anyone :D
     
  6. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Some novel title "Job" by Iirc ah loon joseph roth.
    Some friend lent it to me, but it is rather a long story and have lost interest. Moreover it is way too much about jewish people (the author was jewish too, and unlike with kafka it is something he never lets you forget).
    His language is good, but i cannot find any of the characters relatable. I mean...not even one loner? :)
     
  7. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    This arrived today:

    IMG_3159.JPG

    "Forestry" and "Venice" don't normally seem like they should go together but the Venetian mercantile empire existed because they could produce so may ships for war and trade, and after the construction of the Nuovo Arsenale they could make up to one ship every day. To do that, they needed lumber--a lot of it--and they needed to manage and cultivate it carefully over the decades and centuries.

    @peter grimes , I think you'll appreciate this. All about ships, forestry, and carpentry.
     
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  8. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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  9. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

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    I finished "The Egghead Republic" and concluded that it was one of the greatest German novels of the 20th century. Currently reading more Chekhov short stories and liking all of them better than "The Lady with the Dog", I think I am getting a feeling for his writing :)
     
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  10. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    That looks pretty interesting, but it's $50 on amazon.
     
  11. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    ah, the academic publishing market
     
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  12. tjs282

    tjs282 Socially isolated since 1975

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    Finished Authority and Acceptance (sequels to Annihilation, Jeff vanderMeer), and (as @hobbsyoyo promised), nothing was really resolved — or even very much explained. Which seems to have been kind of the point, but it was still an interesting ride.

    Having thus read half my Christmas-books, I moved onto my wife's: Not Quite Lost (Roz Morris), a fairly random sort-of travelogue mostly describing her various eccentric (UK) holiday venues — reminded me a bit of Bill Bryson's Notes From A Small Island, so not a bad thing. Also The Accidental Adventurer (Ben Fogle's sort-of autobio).

    Next up, back to the SF: a re-read of The Quantum Thief, in preparation for its 2 sequels...
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  13. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Didn't realize we had a new thread already. Oh well.

    Paul Feyerabend's Against Method (2010 edition, Verso) insists that in science, "anything goes". The contents of the chapters are summarized in a plain-language "analytic index" at the beginning. It rejects the consistency condition (new hypotheses must agree with accepted theories) and the autonomy principle (facts are independent of theories and their alternatives), and calls for counterinductive approaches where new theories clash with older ones. This is mainly illustrated through an investigation of how Galileo fought for an heliocentric worldview. The rest of the book is concerned with the idea of incommensurability (incompatibility of worldviews through suspension of principles) through various comparisons, most significantly of paratactic aggregates (supposedly the archaic view in which many things, even people, are assemblages of parts with equal intrinsic significance that enter into external relations) with the substance-appearance philosophy (as with Plato's Forms, where the sense world is not the full picture). The overall conclusion of the book is that science is not the only way to truth and that the strong enforcement of rules stifles progress. Feyerabend does not reject the scientific method, but insists that there are multiple such methods and they should be guided by humanistic principles that do not prefer one system of values to another.

    The book has some issues, potentially one of which is the time of writing. The first edition came out in 1975, and the next editions don't really change much. There is a section where the Communist Party of China is praised for emphasizing Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1950s. Before the Cultural Revolution. The book is also heavily physics-focused and mainly relies on Galileo's example, calling into question the generality of the principles espoused. Various field of genetics were able to flourish after all despite the lack of recent major revolutions in biology. This leads to the issue of the book acting like a mere extension of Kuhn's Revolutions, i.e. a closer investigation of the generation of new hypotheses that generate paradigm shifts. Feyerabend differs in some aspects (e.g. old theories not being overthrown), but he has nothing to offer regarding so-called normal science. The book does not even consider the technical and material aspects of conducting modern science. "Let a Hundred Theories Blossom", he says, while ignoring how hard it is to book time on expensive telescopes, light sources, and accelerators. There is nothing in the book to rule out pseudoscience like antivaxxers, climate denialism, or Time Cube. Feyerband is also fond of saying outrageous things like how scientists want to impose rules on society. Occasionally he contradicts himself, like how he complains about science in one chapter, treating it as a monolithic beast, and then emphasizes the diversity of the sciences in another. To his credit, Feyerabend admits the book wasn't conceived in a systematic way in the last chapter where he lists his various influences.

    Despite all that, it is a book definitely worth reading and analyzing. It has taught me the value of reading old scientific texts like that of Aristotle. What is old may become new again, as Galileo's example shows. Especially in physics, where it seems to be in crisis, as The Trouble with Physics illustrates, the text that introduced me to Herr Feyerabend.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  14. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Is physics in crisis? I thought that was psychology? I understand that we're sort of failing to advance physics with unifying theories but the field itself isn't in crisis. All over the world the amount of research being conducted is growing and countries and international consortium are building bigger and better instruments all the time. The methodologies aren't under attack either - as they are in psychology.
     
  15. Ferocitus

    Ferocitus Deity

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    Simon Winchester: The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World.
    It's not quite as engaging as "The Man Who Loved China", but still very good.
     
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  16. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Psychology doesnt have much reason to exist; psychiatry is the more prestigious and actually tied to medicine order. Psychology seems to attract mostly problematic people - and then there are the patients ( :) )
     
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  17. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    That's the crux of the problem, yes. That gaping chasm between general relativity and quantum mechanics remains after so many decades.
     
  18. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Stupid question, but does there have to be a theory that unifies general relativity and quantum mechanics?
     
  19. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Maybe the fear is that quantum may become its own order- like chemistry.
     
  20. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Yeah I don't see that as an inherent crisis. The field is very productive and is pushing forward even if a grand theory of everything remains outside of our grasp.
     
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