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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. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Buddhism_Is_True

    Great book so far, I enjoyed the author's book "The Moral Animal" very much and this is his version of what to do about the knowledge he realized in his earlier analyzes (namely that we are programmed to be kinda f-ed up)
     
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  2. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Just finished End Games in Bourdeaux by Allan Massie, the last of his quartet about a French policeman in occupied France during World War II. Very dark and gloomy, not exactly a happy ending, but good.
     
  3. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

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    Not a real book, but I am enjoying this free Chinese story about Mechs.
    Good translation quality.
    A somewhat silly popcorn action story that has some design themes thrown in.

    The Mech Touch by Exlor
    https://m.wuxiaworld.co/The-Mech-Touch/1281656.html
     
  4. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    Finally finished this. 5.5/10. Show version was so much better.
     
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  5. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    I like them all through 6. After that they were a real chore and not worth it until the very end of the 8th.
    I doubt I will want to read any new ones, but my curiosity will probably get the better of me.
     
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  6. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    I am currently reading Antisocial by Andrew Marantz. Official synopsis:

    "From a rising star at The New Yorker, a deeply immersive chronicle of how the optimistic entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley set out to create a free and democratic internet–and how the cynical propagandists of the alt-right exploited that freedom to propel the extreme into the mainstream."

    I'm about, eh, 8% through? It's very long-winded. About the length of an Expanse novel. When it's revealed in the "story" that Andrew worked/works for the New Yorker, my immediate response was, "Yeah, I can tell." Just a whole lot of unnecessary info. I don't need to know that some alt-right girl's dog is being potty-trained. The superfluous info is on brand for articles but for a lengthy book... I can see it getting old real fast.

    I'll keep reading, with the hope that it'll get to the point eventually. This is my first real foray into nonfiction reading outside of work and academia and I would rather it not be disappointing.
     
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  7. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I don't think this is a logical statement. (The web was chaotic in the first era. No one asked for companies like FB, google or youtube to emerge and there seems to be no reason to think they appeared out of some will to have "freedom and democracy" either. They aren't sustained due to the 'alt-right'; every extreme view (indeed, every view) potentially can be promoted).
     
  8. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    It's not. It's a bait and switch. He immediately goes on to say it's a lie, just a means of avoiding responsibility, in the first few pages of the book itself.

    Not a particularly clever way of doing it, but it jumps into the rise of the alt-right right after that so I guess it doesn't actually matter.
     
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  9. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I read a review of that book recently:
    https://thebaffler.com/capital-offenses/mods-oconnor
     
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  10. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

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    up yours.
    I think it was in the Clown Car thread that I posted how former figures of the Bush administration have slowly colonised the upper echelons of the Facebook megacorp. Not that Mark Zuckerberg was anything other than a sleazy scumbag in his own right, but the site's being handled by a bunch of neocons and it's not a coincidence that they've explicitly decided to allow the GOP to post fake news and fake political ads there.
     
  11. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I am not sure if Facebook is sustainable if it refuses ads like that, though. Unlike Twitter, Facebook gives a lot of space to post stuff, so one has to suppose that average byte/user is a lot higher than Twitter. Couple that with the fact that Twitter clearly has won the 'news' battle against FB, and you leave FB with a not really viable future unless it can rely on some revenue.
    I am not sure if the average FB user even pays for anything. Eg I have only once paid for an ad and I have been using FB for half a decade, for work/article announcements...
     
  12. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Even using the widest interpretation of what is political I doubt political advertising is a big proportion of income for them. What they are courting is influence IMO.
     
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  13. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Finished Joseph Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, the Harper Perennial Modern Thought edition with an introduction by Thomas McGraw. This intro gives an overview of the author's life, the book's outline, and the impact of the book. The book itself begins with an overview of Marxist theory. This is followed by an analysis of capitalism where he declares it won't survive, due to political rather than economic factors. In this section is the famous concept of "Creative Destruction", the continuous change in capitalism caused by new products and processes. The next section is a (satirical) analysis of how socialism can work. Schumpeter then analyzes democracy, identifying a "classical doctrine" based on rational utilitarianism that identifies a common good based on the will of the people. This is contrasted with a more cynical alternative doctrine based on democracy fundamentally being about competing for votes and Parliaments installing/removing governments, with elections more important than decisions. The section on democracy ends with an examination of its relationship with socialism, declaring that they are compatible in the most ideal of conditions. The last section is a historical sketch of socialist parties from the 19th century to the World Wars, ending with a chapter written in 1946 on the future.

    Honestly, I'm not impressed by Joe Schmoe's amateur sociology and historiography. He makes a lot of claims that he doesn't provide citations for, such as the capitalist classes being composed of the most meritorious of society. There's also this smug attitude when writing about his intellectual opponents, even when he ends up unknowingly using their ideas he has condemned (e.g. saying Marx's contention that capitalism will self-destruct is wrong, then coming to that same conclusion anyway). And of course there's the usual neoliberal talking points like how corporate profits are good (because they're just investment to grow the economy). But even the "big" idea he's famous for, Creative Destruction, is empty. It's just innovation, which has been happening since the emergence of civilization! I kept waiting for where Schumpeter addresses how CD is unique to capitalism, but it never came.
     
  14. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

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    up yours.
    You kept reading after that? I admire your perseverance.
     
  15. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    You have to know a position before you can properly disagree with it.

    Anyway, curiosity led me to a PDF of The Peaceful Pill eHandbook by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart. The proper online version has videos in addition to the pictures. This (in)famous text is about suicide methods that meet the main 3 primary criteria of reliability, peacefulness, and availability. Secondary criteria are also evaluated such as legality and safety to others. The mainly chemical methods are analyzed with details such as brands, testimonies, and even syntheses for some. In addition to methods, the book also looks at organizations that provide euthanasia and other considerations such as leaving a will.
     
  16. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

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    up yours.
    This is my philosophy as well, but not everybody has such a stronk stomach.
     
  17. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    What Editors Do by Peter Ginna. A passable book about the editorial process. It claims to be for a modern audience post-Amazon but I found much of the language to still be antiquated. Most of the book is dedicated towards old-timey trade publishing and most of the contributors shared the editor's decades-old experience and perspective. They're experienced veterans, certainly, but there is also a rather strong sense of resistance to the new way things are done, even in traditional publishing. There are a couple chapters done well, and they also happen to be done by editors I personally know. Obviously, I have impeccable taste in colleagues.

    The book was recommended to me and it was highlighted in my library app, so I figured it was time to give it a read. But honestly, I don't think it's that useful for modern editors or aspiring authors.
     
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  18. Bugfatty300

    Bugfatty300 Buddha Squirrel

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    Lately I've become mildly obsessed with finding and reading the most esoteric and strange articles in Victorian-era Nature journals.

    But my favorite so far is a morbid RI lecture from transcript from 1894 that starts with: "The effects of small projectiles when driven at high velocity through tissues of the brain have always excited the deepest of interests for obvious reasons."

    Eat your heart out JFK Kevin Costner.
     
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  19. local_hero

    local_hero Prince

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    Just finished Ett system så magnifikt att det bländar by Amanda Svensson. Released this year, I don't think it has an English title, but it would be something like: A system so magnificient that it dazzles. I think the title played on love/family. Or that life is haphazard, or that the universe exist by chance? Her style of writing was entertaining, but I'm unsure if I followed the story all the way through. :crazyeye:

    It was the first novel I finished in years (besides an occasional crime novel, but are those "real" literature..?). And I struggled to finish it, I prefer to play games, watch tv-shows etc to reading. Sadly I must add, I wish I wanted to read books more often. A general problem of mine is that I'm so choosy I struggle to find new books, tv-shows, films - whatever - that I want to invest myself in. I stay with something I know that I like (eg +5000 hours of Civ 5, +2000 of civ 6, lots of hours on the Advance Wars series). I'm proud I finished the book!
     
  20. cardgame

    cardgame Obsessively Opposed to the Typical

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    Hodgman also has a standup comedy special!
     
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