What are you reading now?


A place for the discussion of all things not closely related to the sport and its competitive side. (as always, locked for the duration of major international championship)

Postby tandfman » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:56 am

gh wrote:Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

Is reading it bad for one's blood pressure? :-)
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Postby lonewolf » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:17 pm

National Geographic, January 1918 issue devoted to the airwar in France.
The French were anxiously awaiting the arrival of "America's Air Fleet."

Subscription to NG was $2.00/year, which puts my (very) late father-in-law's wedding gift to his bride in 1916 of a $50 lifetime subscription, which she enjoyed for seventy years before willing the complete collection to me, in perspective.

Also, you could buy a new Dodge sedan for $1350 or roadster for $885, f.o.b. Detroit. NG subscription is now $34/year. At same percentage increase the sedan would now be $22,950 and the roadster $15,045.

I don't know if that is gooder or badder. Anybody bought any Dogge roadsters lately?
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Postby 26mi235 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:30 pm

A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)

Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]
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Postby gh » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:51 pm

tandfman wrote:
gh wrote:Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

Is reading it bad for one's blood pressure? :-)


Not if you take it with a grain of salt.
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Postby bambam » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:01 pm

Collider - about particle physics
Talent is Overrated (somewhat like Outliers)
Olympic Dreams - Beijing Olympics
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:33 am

The lead of Scott Ostler's column today:

<< I've been rethinking Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth.

I've always had Robinson as my No. 1 courageous pioneer, and Ruth as the athlete with whom I'd most like to have a beer. Obvious, right?

Wrongo!

Satchel Paige now tops both my lists, since reading "Satchel," by Larry Tye (Random House), the new and well-researched Paige biography....>>

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1A32SB.DTL
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Postby Mighty Favog » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:38 am

My Life In France, by Julia Child.
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:14 am

gh wrote:Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

A history of man's production of salt, which on the surface sounds dreadfully boring, I know, but it actually opens up a whole side of our back story (with interesting sidebars on gastronomy) that I hadn't realized.

I had no idea of the way wars have raged and empires have risen and fallen with salt as a major underpinning.

Remember the old dictum (Napoleon) of "an army travels on its stomach"? Living off the land rarely a complete option, so for thousands of years armies had to have preserved food and the only preservative known, basically, was salt. So if you didn't have a large and ongoing salt supply (and some countries, surprisingly enough, do not), then you can't keep a large army in the field.


And then there's the invention of gunpowder, which requires salt... you get the picture. (as did the Confederacy, too late)

At any rate, for anybody with an eye for history this should be a terrific read.


Sounds good to me, I'll have to get it.
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:22 am

26mi235 wrote:A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)

Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]


If you like Bell's book, here are some suggestions.
2 bios of Paul Erdos : My Brain is Open by Bruce Schechter and The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman.

Hilbert by Constance Reid. She has written other math bios but I think this one is the best.
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:33 am

jules wrote:
26mi235 wrote:A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)



Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]


If you like Bell's book, here are some suggestions.
2 bios of Paul Erdos : My Brain is Open by Bruce Schechter and The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman.

Hilbert by Constance Reid. She has written other math bios but I think this one is the best.


Yes, the Hoffman book on Erdos is a fine read. Erdos, was quite a character. His letters usually started with no greeting, just 'Let f(x) be a function...'

Also if you liked Hilbert, her companion piece Courant is a good read.
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:44 am

I don't have enough space on my shelves for any Hilbert.
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Postby TrainerPhil » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:47 am

Michael Connelly's Black Ice..........I like a good "whodoneit."

Waiting to dig into Dan Brown's latest. I suspect it will be an easy read and entertaining like his previous books...
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:49 am

You mean you have no Hilbert Space?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:05 am

gh wrote:I don't have enough space on my shelves for any Hilbert.


Good insider pun.
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Postby tandfman » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:28 am

Sailed right over most of our heads, I'm sure.
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:03 pm

There is a metric space that was invented by Hilbert and it is called a Hilbert Space. The undergrad math center at U of Oregon has a picture of Hilbert on the wall and is called Hilbert Space.

http://faculty.evansville.edu/ck6/bstud/hilbert.html

http://noether.uoregon.edu/~mathpeers/newsletter/mar04/
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:15 pm

and if I hadn't hung out with some real wingnuts in Eugene, I wouldn't have known that!
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:20 pm

gh wrote:and if I hadn't hung out with some real wingnuts in Eugene, I wouldn't have known that!


I will bet trig was one of those wingnuts!
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Postby Speedfirst » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:18 pm

The Bible
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Postby bambam » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:53 pm

jules wrote:There is a metric space that was invented by Hilbert and it is called a Hilbert Space. The undergrad math center at U of Oregon has a picture of Hilbert on the wall and is called Hilbert Space.

http://faculty.evansville.edu/ck6/bstud/hilbert.html

http://noether.uoregon.edu/~mathpeers/newsletter/mar04/


Similar great bumper stucker seen long time ago:

Heisenberg may have slept here.
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Postby Brian » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:17 pm

When times get periodically stressful, I cool down by reading for fun. Right now, I'm enjoying re-reading Kipling's "The Jungle Books."

Maybe the previous book I read--McDougall's "Born to Run"--has me in a back to basics mindset these days. :]
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Postby TNT » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:53 pm

The Bible, Warren Wiersbe's The Bible Exposition Commentary, and Moody Classic's The Apostolic Fathers. Getting ready to read Lutzer's One Minute After You Die.
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:41 pm

I just finished the last Harry Potter book. 2 years ago I heard some teens talking about it on Bart. I harbored a misconception for 2 years.
Now I am reading Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado.
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:55 pm

I only decided Harry Potter might be worth reading after sharing a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt a few years ago and the guy next to me was a 40-something computer nerd and he was reading it in the German version, so I decided it muust have some redeeming value.

Most certainly did. Have read them all twice now except the last, which I'll do before the movie comes out. (make that movies, plural; last book is going to be made into a pair of flicks, apparently)
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Postby Friar » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:04 pm

Losing Mum and Pup. About the William F. Buckleys. Kind of pathetic although not particularly surprising.

High: confessions of a drug smuggler.

Something in the Air (excerpt) I knew Dick Fosbury had a short career but not that short.
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Postby mike renfro » Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:28 pm

Last I read was "The Secret Speech" by Tom Rob Smith. It is a follow on to his first novel "Child 44". The protagonist is a MVD (then KGB) officer who got involved in solving murders (in the workers paradise, can't happen). Smith is a Brit, the books are pretty good. My next will be Joseph Kanon's new one, "Stardust". It takes place in Hollywood in the late 40s, early 50s during the the HUAC witch hunts. His 1st two were his strongest, IMO, Los Alamos & The Good German. The Prodigal Spy was okay, Alibi weak. Last chance Joe.

Oh, just remembered, one of Mary's tutees loaned her the new Dan Brown opus, "The Lost Symbol". I will probably read it, but I know how it will play out. The least likely suspect will turn out to be Dr Evil.
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Postby 26mi235 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:51 am

Conor Dary wrote:
jules wrote:
26mi235 wrote:A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)



Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]


If you like Bell's book, here are some suggestions.
2 bios of Paul Erdos : My Brain is Open by Bruce Schechter and The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman.

Hilbert by Constance Reid. She has written other math bios but I think this one is the best.


Yes, the Hoffman book on Erdos is a fine read. Erdos, was quite a character. His letters usually started with no greeting, just 'Let f(x) be a function...'

Also if you liked Hilbert, her companion piece Courant is a good read.


I have (and read) the Erdos book by Hoffman -- while we are on that topic, I think my number is 3, but it might be 4; I will have to talk with my wife, whose number is one better. [A friend/colleague's husband did the first 'real' proof (one that could be really verified) of the four color problem - he needed it as lemma for another result and did not trust the overly-long computer proof.]

The pun by gh was very good; maybe I will search out that Hilbert book.
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Postby jules » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:54 am

gh wrote:I only decided Harry Potter might be worth reading after sharing a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt a few years ago and the guy next to me was a 40-something computer nerd and he was reading it in the German version, so I decided it muust have some redeeming value.

Most certainly did. Have read them all twice now except the last, which I'll do before the movie comes out. (make that movies, plural; last book is going to be made into a pair of flicks, apparently)


I only read the Harry Potter books because of GH. Before talking to him I thought they were kids' books.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:00 am

they are.... big kids!
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Postby jules » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:03 am

gh wrote:they are.... big kids!


May we always be!
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Postby bambam » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:18 pm

26mi235 wrote:A friend/colleague's husband did the first 'real' proof (one that could be really verified) of the four color problem - he needed it as lemma for another result and did not trust the overly-long computer proof.


Good data, 26mi235. I was not aware that the four-color theorem had been proved in the "old way" rather than the poorly considered computer proof. Good to know.
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Postby jules » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:56 pm

Remember when Scientific American had an April 1st cover about the 4-color theorem?
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Postby Conor Dary » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:04 pm

bambam wrote:
26mi235 wrote:A friend/colleague's husband did the first 'real' proof (one that could be really verified) of the four color problem - he needed it as lemma for another result and did not trust the overly-long computer proof.


Good data, 26mi235. I was not aware that the four-color theorem had been proved in the "old way" rather than the poorly considered computer proof. Good to know.


I wasn't aware of that either. So that is 2 things I have learned on this thread. The other being that gh knows what a Hilbert Space is.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:24 pm

gh wouldn't know a Hilbert Space if he tried to park in it; like a parrot, I just know the words.
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Postby IanS_Liv » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:34 pm

gh wrote:gh wouldn't know a Hilbert Space if he tried to park in it; like a parrot, I just know the words.


Maybe you're more Dilbert Space?
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Postby richxx87 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:13 pm

gh wrote:What's a "DK"?


When I see DK, I think of Democratic Kampuchea, better known to most people as the Khmer Rouge... as well as the best band in history, the Dead Kennedys.

And to get back on topic, I'm reading The Subterraneans by JK.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:31 am

OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)
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Postby Pego » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:16 am

gh wrote:OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)


Encopresis and transfection are the only words above I am familiar with. No idea about the book.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:39 am

Pego wrote:
gh wrote:OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)


Encopresis and transfection are the only words above I am familiar with. No idea about the book.


Those are all pizza toppings in latin of course.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:39 am

For light reading, a few months ago I discovered the novels by John Sandford, centered around Twin Cities cop Lucas Davenport, who tracks down BAD, repeat BAD guys. Good stuff.

For knowledge reading, it is a constant array of non fiction history narratives. Too many to list here.
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