What are you reading now?


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Postby Mennisco » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:35 am

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!


Only if you look at it?
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Postby az2004 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:15 am

paul bowles...his short stories...interesting insights into latin and north african cultures...

still, very relevant today
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Postby La_Spigola_Loca » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:31 am

Daisy wrote:I'm still trying to figure out how particles can interact at a distance instantaneously (aka the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox or quantum weirdness). Since this is faster than the speed of light there is cleary something strange here. String theory at work here? i have no idea if it can explain the phenomenon but it might be a way to get a handle on a string.


Whatever the nature of the interaction, it doesn't provide a way to send information faster than the speed of light, so many claim it doesn't really go against relativity. If a string is carrying the information before departing, then indeed there's no communication what so ever (the information is already there a priori), and then you might be right. But that's so theoretical and has nothing to build on, It's not really even worth thinking of. That's just ny opinion, though.
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Postby Mennisco » Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:33 pm

La_Spigola_Loca wrote:
Daisy wrote:I'm still trying to figure out how particles can interact at a distance instantaneously (aka the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox or quantum weirdness). Since this is faster than the speed of light there is cleary something strange here. String theory at work here? i have no idea if it can explain the phenomenon but it might be a way to get a handle on a string.


Whatever the nature of the interaction, it doesn't provide a way to send information faster than the speed of light, so many claim it doesn't really go against relativity. If a string is carrying the information before departing, then indeed there's no communication what so ever (the information is already there a priori), and then you might be right. But that's so theoretical and has nothing to build on, It's not really even worth thinking of. That's just ny opinion, though.


"The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." - Albert Einstein

Here we run into one of the ironic paradoxes of trying to "speak" of certain things, viz., inherent limitations of language. Not including mathematical notation, just human speech. Are past, present and future "happening" "simultaneously"? Prima facie it seems absurd to say "simultaneously" - which connotes "time" - or even "happening" - which begs the question "When?" - to speak of things which don't happen quite as we experience them? Perhaps Einstein crafted his famous quote with a deliberation which avoids the use of any words connoting "time" .

Is this a clumsy linguistic approximation of what Einstein means by the illusory nature of our perceptual experience of a seemingly linear progression through "time"?

Re: the photon problem, perhaps the "distance" and "time" involved is in some sense illusory too: If the universe is a holographic "organic" whole, then there is really no separation: all "separateness" is just as illusory as distinctions between yesterday, today and tomorrow. Or am I missing a subtle nuance which begs clarification/refinement?
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Postby gh » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:42 pm

So with Bryson out of the way I come to the next in my stack.... again.

And as I contemplate all 4.9lb of it, all 1393pp (not including indices) of it, I find myself wondering if I'll ever be able to wade through Stephen Jay Gould's The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory or if it'll sit unread for who knows how many more years.

Anybody here tackled it?
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Postby mike renfro » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:47 pm

gh wrote:So with Bryson out of the way I come to the next in my stack.... again.

And as I contemplate all 4.9lb of it, all 1393pp (not including indices) of it, I find myself wondering if I'll ever be able to wade through Stephen Jay Gould's The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory or if it'll sit unread for who knows how many more years.

Anybody here tackled it?


It got a good review in the Chron when it came out. If it's any consolation, I took some books to Edmonton in '01 , read them all execpt Ulyseses (yeah, that one). I'm about 3/4 through, but havn't picked it up in 4 years. And when we were shelving books down here, I came across Mary's copy of Finegan's Wake. Imagine the joy. Actually, I worked out way too late, that Joyce (at least the heavy duty Joyce) probably needs to be read aloud (which I hate).
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Postby paulthefan » Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:09 pm

gh wrote:And as I contemplate all 4.9lb of it, all 1393pp (not including indices) of it, I find myself wondering if I'll ever be able to wade through Stephen Jay Gould's The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory or if it'll sit unread for who knows how many more years.

Anybody here tackled it?



no but I read Niles Eldridges "time frames" a while back and it is good reading on punctuated equillibrium...... it was accessible to the nonbiologist and had lots of the nitty gritty that a paleontologist has to wade through, you get a real feel for the details and reasoning, you will come away with a deeper respect for the work, but would be a snore if you are not really interested in the topic.. It was an enjoyable read for me at the time.
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Postby bad hammy » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:25 pm

Got stiffdogg's book in the mail today. Should get around to it this weekend. Has a nice Deena Kastor plug on the back cover.
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Postby Daisy » Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:05 pm

gh wrote:Anybody here tackled it?

i know a group of evolutionary biologists who did it chapter by chapter. The consensus was it was heavy going and could have been a good deal thinner. And that's from people who understand the topic. Door stops were mentioned more than once.
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Postby bad hammy » Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:03 pm

OK, I finished off the History Lessons book. Suffice to say that the rest of the world has a different view of the US than we do, they are teaching their kids this viewpoint, and it oftentimes paints us in a bad light. No surprises there.
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Postby unclezadok » Sat Oct 14, 2006 2:57 pm

No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, and February House by Sherill Tippins.
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Postby Aiden » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:13 pm

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.

I know this is an old thread, but does anyone care to update?
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Postby gh » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:20 pm

unclezadok wrote:No Country for Old Men,,,,,,



whoa! do you look prescient, or what?!
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Postby AS » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:23 pm

unclezadok wrote:No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, and February House by Sherill Tippins.


I'm currently half way through McCarthy's "All the pretty Horses". "The Road" lead me there...
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Postby Per Andersen » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:58 pm

AS wrote:
unclezadok wrote:No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, and February House by Sherill Tippins.


I'm currently half way through McCarthy's "All the pretty Horses". "The Road" lead me there...

After that try "Blood Meridian" McCarthy does not get darker than that. Amazing book.
Hard to guess where he will go after "The Road"
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Postby gh » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:06 pm

Blood Meridian to be a Ridley Scott vehicle in '09

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0983189/
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Postby kuha » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:10 pm

Last 3 books read (as part of a long-term self-education program):
-Dermot Moran, "Introduction to Phenomenology"
-"The Cambridge Companion to Husserl"
-"The Cambridge Companion to Merleau-Ponty"

I'm obviously paying penance for awful sins in a former life; I find this stuff interesting.
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Postby Friar » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:13 pm

The first 20 pages or so of "Against all enemies" might have been the most exciting I've ever read. Unfortunately--for us-- they were true.

On a much lighter note "Always magic in the Air" was a great look at the Brill Building and the pre-British invasion pop music era.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jamese1045 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:28 pm

trig wrote:Okay, we had the thread on the number of hours read. But what exactly are you reading?

I am reading Rex Stout's "Death of a Doxy", a Nero Wolfe mystery and
the DK "World War I".

By the way, I had a good idea what it meant but I looked it up to be sure.


–noun . 1. an immoral woman; prostitute.
2. Archaic. a mistress.

[Origin: 1520–30; of obscure orig.]


LYING ON THE COUCH. Author Yalom's special insight into psychiatry from his own practice and his willingness to work over his own profession--but then, who is not?--make for a thoughtful, hilarious tale of analysts running afoul of their own analysands. Complex story with several plot lines running together via some very believeable kinky characters.

Just the "con game" plot line alone is worth the read.

jim
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Postby Kurt Francis » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:58 pm

Per Andersen wrote:I'm reading Philip Roth's "The Plot against America".

The premise is that Charles Lindberg runs for president as a Republican in 1940 and defeats FDR in a landslide. Dark days follow for America and especially for the Jews. Shades of Sinclair Lewis' "It can't happen here"

Not my favorite Roth book. ( I prefer "The Counterlife" , "American Pastoral" or "Sabbath's Theater") But still, good stuff.


C.A.L.'s name is spelled "Lindbergh", not "Lindberg". There was a famous WWII photographer by the name "Charles Lindberg". Neither one was related, of course.
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Postby gh » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:31 pm

Fateful Choices (10 Decisions That Changed The World, 1940-1941) by Ian Kershaw
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Postby Per Andersen » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:52 pm

gh wrote:Blood Meridian to be a Ridley Scott vehicle in '09

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0983189/

Glad to see it is Ridley Scott since Sam Peckinpah is no longer available.

The Coen brothers did an excellent job with "No country" but "Blood Meridian" is something else, much more challenging and complex.
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Postby Chetanji » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:38 am

Currently Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is in front of me.

This is not a book one reads. It is to be meditated on word by word.

Patañjali (Devanāgarī पतञ्जलि) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, a major work containing aphorisms on the philosophical aspects of mind and consciousness.

There are secrets within that if one cares can transcend mind and space. But they are not written, one must look deeper beyond the words and the secrets reveal themselves to those worthy.

Also daily chanting of the Sri Lalita Sahasranama - 1000 Names of the Divine in Sanskrit. It takes about 40 minutes to complete.

There is no future or past, there is only right now. Right now I am typing these letters to whoever will read this.
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Binge reading

Postby dr ngo » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:30 pm

Stuck in a hospital waiting room for 9 hours today while my wife underwent (successfully) an operation. Besides today's paper, and a couple of local rags, I finished up several books I'd started . . . threw them in my shoulder bag before leaving for the hospital. All recommended:

- Haven Kimmel, A Girl Named Zippy. Child's-eye view of growing up in small-town Indiana. Very funny!

- David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty Some Day {? - unsure of exact title, since I left it with my wife}. Also autobiographical and funny, but more gag-oriented (think Woody Allen, but gay) than the presumptively more "truthful" Kimmel.

- Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain. Speaking of gay. Very short - was originally a story in the New Yorker. Beautifully written.

- Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men. I'd actually finished this a few days ago, but remained puzzled as to exactly what happened, plot-wise, toward the end. Who was driving what car? Who killed whom? And re-reading left me very little the wiser; it seems to be deliberately, even perversely, ambiguous on these points. None of which affects the writing, which is remarkable, and the "philosophy," which is provocative.

And I had enough time left to start Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild, which will be tomorrow's (make that today's) book if they don't let my wife come home right away.

I haven't read so much in one day since I was in graduate school 35 years ago!

:?
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Postby 26mi235 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:09 pm

Daisy wrote:
Mennisco wrote:I'm reading "The Problem With Physics" by Lee Smolin. It's about the failure of String Theory to produce a single testable thought experiment despite dominating the direction research has taken in that field, for ~ 30 years.

What I want to know is, if there are ~ 10^500 potentially describable strings or dimensions, could we ever conceivably identify the one string describing this universe and test it out?

This one is maybe for Squackee or Daisy if they care to comment, of course anyone else who knows this stuff. I did some honours calculus and physics in university but I am a bit rusty and just digging in for a good read.

I'm banking on JRM to make a sensible observation.

I'm still trying to figure out how particles can interact at a distance instantaneously (aka the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox or quantum weirdness). Since this is faster than the speed of light there is cleary something strange here. String theory at work here? i have no idea if it can explain the phenomenon but it might be a way to get a handle on a string.

Buchanan, Mark , Light's Spooky Connections Set Distance Record , New Scientist, 28 June 1997, p 16.


I do not think quantum entanglement requires string theory.

I am reading (very slowly now that the math is hard for me) Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. Also a compendium of Steven Jay Gould (unfortunately, some of the earlier pieces are dated), and I recently finished reading Kenny Moore's book "Bowerman and the Men of Oregon".

Also reading (aloud) the last Harry Potter book with my daughter.
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Postby gh » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:14 am

If you want to speed the Potter, read this quickie version :-)

http://diogenes-sinope.blogspot.com/200 ... ilers.html
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Postby nevetsllim » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:28 am

Well at the moment, I am forced to read Jane Eyre for english literature at school. A little bit of my soul seems to die whenever I pick it up...

Also reading a book about Martina Navratilova and Chrs Evert's tennis rivalry and also ordered a book about Wolfgang Schmidt and the GDR but seem to have lost it...

Haven't read many books at all lately and must start doing so but I'm such a slow reader!
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Postby 26mi235 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:51 am

gh wrote:If you want to speed the Potter, read this quickie version :-)

http://diogenes-sinope.blogspot.com/200 ... ilers.html


I most definitely do NOT want to speed-read it. We started reading it aloud in the first book when it was at the very edge of her reading capability. Now she can read it no problem whatsoever. However, we have kept the tradition alive and it is a chance to be with her in a manner that will be rapidly diminishing soon now that she is in Middle School.

I have also been wondering some on the evolutionary reading - I get bogged down some (when I read Panda's Thumb etc several decades ago) and might be more interested in newer stuff (some really recent material seems to be coming out on the rate of evolutionary change in human mental capacity using just-developing techniques). Suggestions?
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Postby lonewolf » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:42 pm

For years, I have attended the local Library Book Fair and bought surplus books by the box, culling them later and returning to the library those in which I have absolutely no interest. Lots of no-keepers but also some gems, including current best sellers and classics. I try to read two or three of the keepers a week.

Last night, I dipped into my waiting-to-be-culled inventory and chanced on "Stained Glass" c 1972, by the recently deceased Wm F. Buckley, Jr.,a post WWII Cold War novel set in 1953 Germany,

I believe this is the first novel by Buckley I have read. I plowed through about half of it last night. The man does have a way with words, lots of words. I am a reasonably erudite person but I recommend If you plan to read him have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand.
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Postby marknhj » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:27 pm

lonewolf wrote:The man does have a way with words, lots of words. I am a reasonably erudite person but I recommend If you plan to read him have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand.


I've read many of Anthony Burgess' books. The same applies, impossible for me to read without a dictionary at hand.
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Postby gh » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:29 pm

lonewolf wrote:.....
I believe this is the first novel by Buckley I have read. I plowed through about half of it last night. The man does have a way with words, lots of words. I am a reasonably erudite person but I recommend If you plan to read him have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand.


The one I'm reading threw "benignant" at me last night.
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Postby Kevin Richardson » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:44 am

"The Physics of NASCAR". i picked it up for some beach reading in Miami, this past week. The author is a physics prof who developed an interest in the sport after catching a glimpse of a wreck during a race on television. She was curious about why one car seemed to slam into the wall for no obvious reason. That curiousity branched out into this book, which is a light, but intoxicating read. I give it two grease-covered thumbs up. :wink:
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Postby tandfman » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:02 am

gh wrote:The one I'm reading threw "benignant" at me last night.

Isn't that a kind of donut they sell a lot of in New Orleans? :)
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Postby gh » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:32 pm

William L. Shirer's Collapse Of The Third Republic just threw "tergiversation" at me (appearing soon in a T&FN near you!---perfect for the Reno goings-on, one suspects).
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Postby bad hammy » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:49 pm

gh wrote:Fateful Choices (10 Decisions That Changed The World, 1940-1941) by Ian Kershaw

Interesting, now that you bumped this thread. This is the book I am working on currently. Great info, a bit dry on the presentation.
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Postby Marlow » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:50 pm

Any one else read The Road, soon to be a movie? Very :(
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Postby marknhj » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:06 pm

Marlow wrote:Any one else read The Road, soon to be a movie? Very :(


Yep, I read it a few months ago. It's a very good book but not exactly upbeat....
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Postby AS » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:35 pm

Marlow wrote:Any one else read The Road, soon to be a movie? Very :(


Loved it... the book that is. Not overly confident that it will translate to film, as the unknowns of their surrounds and ambiguities of their circumstances are so central to the tale.

I have the same trepidation about the impending adaptation of Saramago' sBlindness.

What am I reading?

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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Postby gm » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:21 pm

I feel like a piker for reading Tom Clancy books... :lol:
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:53 pm

What Happened by Scott McClellan
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