What are you reading now?


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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:41 pm

mamo wrote:And don't forget "Death In Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park" by Lee Whittlesey. With boiling geysers and pools, Yellowstone has its share of enticing dangers. One example, the guy who followed his dog into a near-boiling pool (to save it) and of course we know what happened.


Thanks! I will have to find that. Also there is the annual Accidents in Mountaineering published by the American Alpine Club.

PS. Just ordered the book on Amazon.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mamo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:52 pm

One of my favorite books is "Touching The Void" about Joe Simpson and Simon Yates and their amazing mountaineering experience in the Andes in 1985. Simon had to cut the rappelling rope to avoid death with Joe, and that's only one climax to the true story. Joe's other books are awesome too, as are Simon's. There was even a great BBC docu featuring Joe and Simon years later.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:57 pm

mamo wrote:One of my favorite books is "Touching The Void" about Joe Simpson and Simon Yates and their amazing mountaineering experience in the Andes in 1985. Simon had to cut the rappelling rope to avoid death with Joe, and that's only one climax to the true story. Joe's other books are awesome too, as are Simon's. There was even a great BBC docu featuring Joe and Simon years later.


Yes, it is a great book. Never saw the movie though.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:41 pm

top-of-the-headlines death-by-mountain story:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1COHL4.DTL
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:08 pm

Race of A Lifetime: How Obama Won the Whitehouse

very interesting
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:32 pm

For you mathematicians out there I just finished an interesting book called Perfect Rigor the story of a Russian mathematician who solved the Poincarie Conjecture. Anyways, besides the fact the guy turned down a million dollars for solving the prize, it is a fascinating look at mathematical competitions.

In the US the big college mathematical competition is the Putnam exam. I took it once and got 5 points of 120 and beat over half the entrants.

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Rigor-Mat ... 885&sr=8-1
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Friar » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:54 pm

Something in the air says after Beamon's WR jump, he went into a "Cataplectic seizure."
Plus 2ft. to a pr can do that.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:41 pm

Conor Dary wrote:For you mathematicians out there I just finished an interesting book called Perfect Rigor the story of a Russian mathematician who solved the Poincarie Conjecture. Anyways, besides the fact the guy turned down a million dollars for solving the prize, it is a fascinating look at mathematical competitions.

In the US the big college mathematical competition is the Putnam exam. I took it once and got 5 points of 120 and beat over half the entrants.

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Rigor-Mat ... 885&sr=8-1


Took the Putnam once - think I got a 2 1/2. Didn't beat half the entrants

Just finished reading Quantum, pretty good read about the history of quantum mechanics and its development.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby rasb » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:24 pm

Haven't started it yet, but just received "The Book of Awesome" from my daughter for Father's Day - sound like fun...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:10 pm

Just finished the 6 books that comprise the prequel to Dune, as written by Frank Herbert's son and another scifi dude. They don't write half as well as dad did, but still compelling enough to make me launch into Dune itself for what I'd guess is about the 40th time. IMHO, unquestionably the greatest scifi novel ever written, with second place so far behind (yes, including Asimov's Foundation stuff) I'm not even sure w hat it is.
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Re:

Postby jamese1045 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:16 pm

gm wrote:Re: string theory...
I'll ask the neighbor's cat. That damn thing seems to play with string all the time in the yard!

:? That would be Mr. Schroedinger's kitty, dang thing! Oh well, that's neither here nor there, but I really enjoy Mr. Hawking's BLACK HOLES AND BABY UNIVERSES, and Other Essays. I like the simplicity of these essays, I like his plain sense of humor, and i like that he shows respect for religion AND science. And I like that he recognizes the really higher science---music, and Mozart.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:56 pm

History of Caldwell County, MO, c 1884, the county from which my grandfather migrated in the 1880s to homestead in Gove County, western Kansas where he and a brother "proved up" on 640 acres each. My grandfather returned to Missouri, married my grandmother and when the Kiowa-Comanche reservation was opened to settlement in 1902, homsteaded again the farm on which I was born in Kiowa County, Oklahoma. The brother stayed behind in Kansas and farmed the 1280 acres, from which he refused to evacute when the area was a WWII bombing and strafing range, until his death in 1945. This book was among his meagre effects.
I learned that my paternal great-grandfather was born in Chester Co, England in 1817. I only knew that he had migrated through North Carolina and Kentucky before settling in 1842 in Caldwell County, which was first settled in 1831. Although only 25 years old, he was elected and repeatedly re-elected County Probate Judge. Apparently a legal degree was not a strict requirement for a judge on the frontier.
Amazingly, in the 1890s, when he was over 70 years old, he sold his Missouri farm and homesteaded in Washita County, Oklahoma.
Well, I thought it was interesting. Sorry.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:59 am

I find it interesting that there's a Washita County in Oklahoma. I'm assuming this is yet another variant of the school Ouachita Baptist in Arkansas, and Wichita in Kansas. A native-American word with multiple frontier spellings?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:49 am

The tribe is the Wichita. The "mountains" and river in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas are the Ouachitas, the spelling influenced, no doubt, by the Louisiana Purchase from France. The river in western Oklahoma, scene of a memorable massacre of Indians, is the Washita.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:53 am

bambam wrote:
Took the Putnam once - think I got a 2 1/2. Didn't beat half the entrants


The year I took it back in the 70's the median score was zero.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:01 am

lonewolf wrote:The tribe is the Wichita. The "mountains" and river in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas are the Ouachitas, the spelling influenced, no doubt, by the Louisiana Purchase from France. The river in western Oklahoma, scene of a memorable massacre of Indians, is the Washita.


how did we ever live without google? Original word means "good hunting grounds"
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:31 pm

gh wrote:
lonewolf wrote:The tribe is the Wichita. The "mountains" and river in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas are the Ouachitas, the spelling influenced, no doubt, by the Louisiana Purchase from France. The river in western Oklahoma, scene of a memorable massacre of Indians, is the Washita.


how did we ever live without google? Original word means "good hunting grounds"


Hey? What google?
That was from my declining personal memory bank and, No, I was not at the 1868 Battle of the Washita.
Forgot to mention the intrusive granite "mountains" in SW Oklahoma are also the Wichitas. Wichita, Ks was where the Union sympathizing tribe was forced to relocate during the Civil War, after which they returned to SW Oklahoma. The main tribe at the Battle of the Washita was the Cheyenne/Arapahoe, the Kiowa having already removed to the reservation at Fort Cobb.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:59 pm

Conor Dary wrote:For you mathematicians out there I just finished an interesting book called Perfect Rigor the story of a Russian mathematician who solved the Poincarie Conjecture. Anyways, besides the fact the guy turned down a million dollars for solving the prize, it is a fascinating look at mathematical competitions.

In the US the big college mathematical competition is the Putnam exam. I took it once and got 5 points of 120 and beat over half the entrants.

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Rigor-Mat ... 885&sr=8-1


I read this one and liked it.

The Poincare Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe [Bargain Price] [Paperback]
Donal O'Shea 4.2 out of 5 star. It was written earlier but after the proof had been vetted etc, about 2006, so it has the solution aspects etc.

I am now reading a biography of Max Born (picked it up quickly at closing and thought it was one on Bohr, but that can wait another day, as there was more about Born that I did not know:
Nancy Thorndike Greenspan, "The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born" (Basic Books, 2005) ISBN 0-7382-0693-8. Grandfather of Olivia Newton-John (yes, that one).

Soon I will read about the 'Martians' - the Hungarians who emigrated to the US, including John von Neumann.

Again, this is the most interesting thread to me, at least in the 'Things not T&F', I really appreciate all the comments by many posters. Also, to amend an earlier post, my E number is four (much easier to get, not three (my wife's number), but mainly by luck.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Pego » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:05 am

Many moons ago I read a book by Robert Jongk "Brighter than a thousand suns", IMO a very readable history of the first couple of generations of nuclear physicists.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:06 am

lonewolf wrote:I learned that my paternal great-grandfather was born in Chester Co, England in 1817.

Is that Chester, England, as in the other side of the Atlantic from the USA? That's interesting to me because that's where I was born. It's also only 25 miles away from where I live now. The local record office is very good.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:19 am

Has anyone read Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy? The first is the Golden Compass (Northern Lights in the UK). I just finished the whole trilogy and its a great read and thought provoking. It's a combination of ideas in theology, philosophy and physics. Lots of different characters from various universes, plenty of mythology and a lot of action.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:33 pm

IanS_Liv wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I learned that my paternal great-grandfather was born in Chester Co, England in 1817.

Is that Chester, England, as in the other side of the Atlantic from the USA? That's interesting to me because that's where I was born. It's also only 25 miles away from where I live now. The local record office is very good.

Yep, that Chester, England. I assume. I have not looked it up on a map so don't know in what part of England it is located. I will pm his name to you, maybe you can look it up if convenient and you are so inclined.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:55 pm

I've been to Chester. It is over near North Wales. Nice town.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:46 pm

I Google Earthed it. Charming town and much bigger than I envisioned. The area is believed to have been first occupied in the ninth century. I don't know how much it has changed since 1817 or what prompted my ancestor to leave there but the wilds of NW MIssouri in 1842 and even wilder SW Oklahoma in 1880 must have been quite a contrast.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:02 pm

Daisy wrote:Has anyone read Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy? The first is the Golden Compass (Northern Lights in the UK). I just finished the whole trilogy and its a great read and thought provoking. It's a combination of ideas in theology, philosophy and physics. Lots of different characters from various universes, plenty of mythology and a lot of action.


There was an '07 movie The Golden Compass based on this. I found it delightful escapist fantasy, but the regs on IMDB who had read the books pretty much trashed it for going off-topic a bit. I gather it's not too faithful to the book, other than in basic premise.

Polar bears as gladiators? Love it.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:05 pm

gh wrote:There was an '07 movie The Golden Compass based on this. I found it delightful escapist fantasy

I have not seen the film but the escapism is part of the delight of the book too.

I started reading it as I thought it might be good for my son, but it is not really a kids book, despite the marketing.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:29 pm

lonewolf wrote:I Google Earthed it. Charming town and much bigger than I envisioned. The area is believed to have been first occupied in the ninth century. I don't know how much it has changed since 1817 or what prompted my ancestor to leave there but the wilds of NW MIssouri in 1842 and even wilder SW Oklahoma in 1880 must have been quite a contrast.


Ninth century? It's an old Roman city, occupied since the late 1st century AD, built to keep my ancestors the Britons at bay in Wales. The original Roman stone walls are there, although rebuilt and repaired by the Victorians.

I don't know about Chester in 1817, although the layout of the city hasn't changed except to build proper roads. The countryside that surrounds Chester, well, the only way I can describe it is that it's very much like The Shire as depicted in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films. Even more so in 1817. How that contrasts with NW Missouri or SW Oklahoma I can't imagine. Less bison, for one thing. Squackee would like it - it has lots of cheese.

On topic - are His Dark Materials really worth reading? All I know is that they got the Vatican's proverbial knickers in a twist. Which is always good, and they're escapist, which I like. Are they anti-God or anti-religion? (There's a difference). Or have I got it completely wrong?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:46 am

IanS_Liv wrote:Are they anti-God or anti-religion? (There's a difference). Or have I got it completely wrong?

It is not particularly anti-God or anti-religion but organised religion definitely comes across badly. It is a new perspective based on recycling old ideas into a great story.

Having said that, there is one particular thing in the third book that would have really pissed off the vatican. But I think they are being over sensitive, it is a fictitious church in a fictitious universe that had a fictitious doctrine. I think they should be more worried about their real history rather than a misrepresentation of their doctrine.

It is definitely worth reading.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:47 am

IanS_Liv wrote:[Ninth century? It's an old Roman city, occupied since the late 1st century AD, built to keep my ancestors the Britons at bay in Wales. The original Roman stone walls are there, although rebuilt and repaired by the Victorians.

You are right, of course. my imperfect mental retention of my quick Google research. :oops:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:58 pm

lonewolf wrote:
IanS_Liv wrote:Ninth century? It's an old Roman city, occupied since the late 1st century AD, built to keep my ancestors the Britons at bay in Wales. The original Roman stone walls are there, although rebuilt and repaired by the Victorians.

You are right, of course. my imperfect mental retention of my quick Google research. :oops:

Oh dear. I hope I didn't come over as harsh. Probably over-proud of the town where I was born. :oops:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mike renfro » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:23 pm

Boston Noir. A collection of short stories edited (one written) by Dennis Lehane. The first two were pretty good. I/we have a bunch of junk novels from the library. Latest output of J Patterson & Nelson DeMille (although DeMille is a cut above junk, not quite LeCarre, but not that bad a writer). They still don't have the new Alan Furst. He's pretty good.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jules » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:28 pm

I just finished "Goodbye To All That" an autobiography by Robert Graves. Most of it takes place in the trenches in WWI. It was a very enjoyable read. Now I'm reading a Nero Wolfe. Yesterday I walked past a book store with an outside table of books. On it was "The Regulars" by Roald Dahl. The cover says it's about the British spy ring in wartime Washington. I bought it and will read it next.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:17 pm

jules wrote:I just finished "Goodbye To All That" an autobiography by Robert Graves. Most of it takes place in the trenches in WWI. It was a very enjoyable read. Now I'm reading a Nero Wolfe. Yesterday I walked past a book store with an outside table of books. On it was "The Regulars" by Roald Dahl. The cover says it's about the British spy ring in wartime Washington. I bought it and will read it next.


I read Goodbye years ago. I agree, an excellent book.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:40 pm

Next on my list of books I think I 'should' read is The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, because recently there was a version for the stage put on in town. And, after a visit today, I feel I ought to read George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby dukehjsteve » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:14 pm

I've read just about every book Martin Gilbert has written about WW I and WW II, and about Winston Churchill. Now I am reading his latest, " Churchill and America."
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby DrJay » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:11 pm

Plowing through "A Peace to End All Peace," by David Fromkin. A thorough and well-written history of Britain's involvement in the Middle East in the years from 1914 to 1922, and how that led to the lines in the sand and the conflicts that persist to this day.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:07 pm

While it has been about two years since I read it, I am reminded today upon the passing of Daniel Schorr that his autobiography was an absolutely wonderful read.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:37 pm

My Father's Dragon trilogy by Ruth Stiles Gannet. A fun read but definitely a kids book. If you have kids, or grand kids this one is a must. Another in this category is Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:38 pm

Completed on a couple recent long flights:

Massimo Pigluicci, "Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk" (2010); a genuinely good book, more serious than it's title might suggest, written by a philosopher; a rich and thought-provoking study of what science is (and isn't) and all the fascinating shades of grey in between.

Bart D. Ehrman, "Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them)" (2009); also good; a quick introduction to an immensely complex and fascinating subject: the historical nature of both Christianity and the Bible. The author emphasizes that what he covers is utterly common knowledge in (serious) seminary programs, but remains either unknown, ignored, or actively resisted by a large portion of the American religious public. A reader comes away with the feeling that the gap between knowledge and faith can be something on the order of a conceptual Grand Canyon.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:34 pm

kuha wrote:Massimo Pigluicci, "Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk" (2010); a genuinely good book, more serious than it's title might suggest, written by a philosopher

I was just about to write that he is a botanist, not a philosopher. But a quick look made me realise that as a faculty member he must have taken courses in philosophy and he has now morphed into a fully fledged philosopher.
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