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Old 09-24-2010, 10:16 AM   #661
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one of the problems with some schools is that they force the kids to read dry/subtle British literature before they are ready or way way above their reading level or interest, nipping the reading habit in the bud. What they should do is encourage comic reading and then transition to appropriate and relevent reading that captures their attention.

same goes for music. All kids should be put in rock or folk bands rather than orchestra..unless thats the preference.

same goes for math. All kids should start small businesses and attach $$$ to their numbers, and learn relevant math from that.

we put kids on a track for math research....yet 95% don't understand the destructive power of credit card interest. Sometimes I wonder if this is more organized than stupidity.
Same with art. Hand them a couple of cans of spray paint and turn them loose on the school walls.

Actually, I think these are excellent ideas. Focus on the reasons to learn, the joyfulness or usefulness, then worry about the skills. I think it would turn a number of our educational system problems around fairly quickly.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #662
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Same with art. Hand them a couple of cans of spray paint and turn them loose on the school walls.

Actually, I think these are excellent ideas. Focus on the reasons to learn, the joyfulness or usefulness, then worry about the skills. I think it would turn a number of our educational system problems around fairly quickly.
of course, we have to ask ourselves honestly, what is the purpose of education

sometimes I think a big part of it is to develop and test your capacity for putting up with authority, and BS...which are of course two essential skills for working in most organizations

the very last thing the system wants you to do is figure out how to make a living directly from the market/economy.

its all geared toward the slavery of the corporation or beaurocracy

most of the self made millionaires I have run into are nutbars who could not handle corporate life, and just stumbled on "direct capitalism" by accident, or out of naivete.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:13 PM   #663
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For September I read two Ruth Rendell books starting at the beginning of her Chief Inspector Wexford series. She's a British author and so has good command of the English language i.e. her books are well written. The first one I read was Simisola, about a missing young black woman. Has a discussion of race issues in Britain in the mid 1990's. It was a good read but the next one was better, Road Rage.

Road Rage is about environmentalists and their unhappiness with a new bypass route planned for a forested country area. Then some people are kidnapped while taking taxis. I'm not into just page-turners but this one has more then just suspense, going into the question of how much we all want and need modern conveniences. The suspense goes right up to the last few pages. I guessed some of the ending but not all.
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:30 PM   #664
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I just finished "Jan's Story" by CBS newsman Barry Petersen.
Amazon.com: Jan's Story: Love lost to the long goodbye of Alzheimer's (9781933016443): Barry Petersen: Books

The love of his life was his wife, Jan Chorlton, who was also in TV journalism. After some bizarre episodes she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. She was only 55.

The book is written on a very personal level, absolutely heartbreaking. I saw the story on CBS Sunday morning and knew I had to read the book.
Jan's Story: Love and Early-Onset Alzheimer's - CBS Sunday Morning - CBS News
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:50 PM   #665
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I've just funished "The Road To Serfdom" by F A Hayek - perhaps best described as Ayn Rand for adults.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:27 PM   #666
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I've just funished "The Road To Serfdom" by F A Hayek - perhaps best described as Ayn Rand for adults.
Interesting tidbit that. A used copy is on the way to my casa, I look forward to comparing notes.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:32 AM   #667
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Digital Printing Start-Up Guide by Harald Johnson and C. David Tolbie. Although dated (2004) I found it fascinating. Dealing with photography and inkjet printers it outlines possibilities I had never considered.

I finally understand ICC color profiles and why they're important to great photographic prints. With the printer profiled, one can get great photos from a pro printer without spending $2k+ on a printer.

Some things that I didn't know existed - one company makes a wood veneer thin enough to run through inkjet and laser printers. Another makes inkjet-printable decal sheets that will adhere to ceramics and glass. Lots of possibilities with this new stuff.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:49 PM   #668
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I just finished Dynamic Asset Allocation (subtitle: Modern Portfolio Theory Updated for the Smart Investor) by James Picerno. It's about financial research since the development of Modern Portfolio Theory, which tends to show that there is some degree of predictability in market movements, and hence some rational basis for moving into and out of different asset classes or changing the proportions of each in one's portfolio. There doesn't seem to be any simple way yet that an individual investor can put this into practice, neither a mutual fund nor guidelines for DIY, and it wouldn't necessarily be advantageous to do so. Suppose an investor had a time horizon of twenty years—even if the optimal dynamic allocation were correctly determined and used for each year (or other sub-period) the returns might be lower than a buy-hold-rebalance allocation over the whole twenty years. (I haven't yet managed to wrap my brain around how that could be the case, but if even proponents of the idea say it wouldn't necessarily beat buy & hold, I think I am willing to take their word for it.)

The one thing from the book that would be possible to put to practical use is a list of asset classes (out of a total of eighteen classes studied) that had consistently low correlations to other assets, including equities, over the period 1970-2004, from a 2007 paper "Emphasizing Low-Correlated Assets: The Volatility of Correlation" by William Coaker, in the journal of Financial Planning.
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"Natural Resources [commodities] have had the lowest average correlations—and the most consistently low correlations—to every asset in this study, including every category of stocks, bonds and alternatives", Coaker advises. "Hence, natural resources have provided more diversification benefit than every other asset in this study."
So what I take away from this book is to consider adding a dash of a commodities fund to my asset allocation.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:17 PM   #669
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I read

Amazon.com: The Vanishing Man eBook: R. Austin (Richard Austin) Freeman: Gateway,

a free Kindle book, on my iPod Touch. It was good, with wonderful writing. BTW, e-readers are fantastic for reading in a tent or in front of a campfire.

I just finished

Amazon.com: Sh*t My Dad Says (9780061992704): Justin Halpern: Gateway

which my daughter gave me for my birthday. It was funny, but not quite as good as I had expected. It's also very short.

Also finished the first short story in the collection:

Amazon.com: Ford County: Stories (9780553386813): John Grisham: Gateway

I'm amazed at how well Grisham can tell a story and keep you interested. Right from the first sentence, you are hooked:
"By the time the news of Bailey's accident spread through the rural settlement of Box Hill, there were several versions of how it happened."
But that first story ended up being extremely annoying and unsatisfying. I hope the others are better.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:31 PM   #670
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: Sh*t My Dad Says (9780061992704): Justin Halpern: Gateway

which my daughter gave me for my birthday. It was funny, but not quite as good as I had expected. It's also very short.

Also finished the first short story in the collection:

:

That was the funniest book I have ever read . I was laughing out loud reading it . They have a sitcom based on it now which is pretty funny .
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:36 PM   #671
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That was the funniest book I have ever read . I was laughing out loud reading it . They have a sitcom based on it now which is pretty funny .
I agree the book was great, but I'll stop there. The William Shatner sitcom is a total waste of airtime.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:36 PM   #672
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Reading To Rule the Waves-How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, by Arthur Herman.

This is one of those rare wonderful books by an excellent author which uses a specific window to illuminate world history and the people who made it. Some of that in-one-ear-and-out-the-other history of HS and university are finally becoming clear.

Also interesting details about financing of this development, about techniques and materials for forging gunnery, and how England made different gunnery and even ship choices from those made by Spain and Portugal.

Drake and Hawkins figured out that Spain relied very heavily on its silver shipments from Peru and Mexico to pay troops and mercenaries, to buy naval gunnery from Germany and Netherlands, and other immediate strategic needs; and that to interdict this shipping would put a big hurt on the Spanish empire. Food for thought, even today. Piracy was the easy answer, and as today in other parts of the world, governments jv'd with the pirates to achieve their complementary goals.

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Old 09-29-2010, 11:17 AM   #673
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I agree the book was great, but I'll stop there. The William Shatner sitcom is a total waste of airtime.
Right. I saw a clip of it on Craig Ferguson, and I couldn't see any relationship to the book. It wasn't even slightly funny.

Also, I'd say that 60% of the humor of the book comes from the use of the swear words (e.g. "Do people your age know how to comb their f*****g hair? It looks like two squirrels climbed on their head and started f*****g!"). You can't say that on TV.

I probably would have enjoyed the book more if I hadn't had such high expectations.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:28 AM   #674
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Just finished the second "The Girl Who..." book on my Kindle. It was even better than the first. It's interesting to get a(n indirect) glimpse into urban Swedish life. There versus here: more coffee drinking, more smoking, more walking, more computer hardware envy. Well, at last in the book...
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:35 AM   #675
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I think at least the coffee drinking is accurate. I never visit my Swedish friend that she doesn't give me several cups of strong coffee. Intersting factoid- Swedisn men are the world's biggest per capita consumers of snuff. Their version is called snus.

It doesn't sound as if Volvo driver should also be a dipper.

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Old 09-29-2010, 10:35 PM   #676
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Just finished the second "The Girl Who..." book on my Kindle. It was even better than the first. It's interesting to get a(n indirect) glimpse into urban Swedish life. There versus here: more coffee drinking, more smoking, more walking, more computer hardware envy. Well, at last in the book...
The third book gets very complicate but is just as enjoyable as the second book.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:30 AM   #677
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I enjoyed ...my dad says as well, I thought it was a great background to the short quotes I've been reading since Halpern started posting them. Very thin, though.

I also just got Ted Bell's latest, Warlord, but DH swiped it before I could get my hands on it. I've had to make do with a thrilling book on Boat Odors by Peggie Hall.

But hey: can you readers help me with a book puzzle? There was a book I got from the library a few years ago that was very very odd and I can't remember the author. For some reason I thought the title was Concrete Jungle, but I can't find a reference to a book by that title that fits the story.
Set in Britain, a man wrecks his car into a grass median strip below an elevated highway where the car cannot be seen by the speeding cars above. He breaks his leg in the crash. Two people who live in the median help him recover from his injuries: one a sometime prostitute who leaves the median periodically and the other a circus acrobat of some kind. The acrobat later is electrocuted while showing off for the man by swinging on power lines.
This was a nifty existential story about his reluctance to return to regular life even after his injuries are healed.
Does this ring a bell with anyone? It is driving me crazy!
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:02 AM   #678
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And as a follow-up, my local library (LOVE THEM) came through with this:
I believe the book you are looking for is Concrete Island by J. G. Ballard. Here's the official description from the publisher:

"On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament soon turns into horror as Maitland—a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe—realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory."
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:31 AM   #679
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Intersting factoid- Swedisn men are the world's biggest per capita consumers of snuff. Their version is called snus.



Ha
In my part of the country snuff is called (phonetically) snoose. My FIL and spouse worked on the great lakes and I swear every seaman I knew used the stuff. If I smell it, I immediately think of my Norwegian grandfather.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:21 PM   #680
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Just finished the second "The Girl Who..." book on my Kindle. It was even better than the first.
It was great and I highly recommend it. Now I am half-way through the third book ["...Hornet's Nest"] and I find it to be even better than the first two. I would guess that reading the three novels in order would probably greatly aid in following the plot lines, but that probably isn't actually necessary.

I would appreciate it if any of those folks who have read and enjoyed these novels could point me to any works of a similar nature.
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