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Old 01-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #1221
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Rule 34, by Charles Stross. http://www.amazon.com/Rule-34-Charle.../dp/0441020348

The title comes from this: http://xkcd.com/305/
Yeah.

The story is a near-future techno thriller, very well written, set in the authors home of Edinburgh, Scotland. The story touched on some fun stuff, more than enough to keep the old monkey mind thoroughly confused, including:
- Application of modern management methods to organized crime
- Modern AI theory (no HAL 9000 nonsense), including hazards of insufficiently parameterized utility functions
- A novel solution to a national debt problem.

Oh, cautionary notes... The story is, like a previous work with the same protagonist, "Halting State", written in the second person. The story also involves some bizarre sex, and so isn't appropriate for children or some young adults. Then again, if you looked at the origin of the title, above, you probably have some idea of what you're getting into.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:31 PM   #1222
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Thanks. I put a hold on the ePub at the library.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:41 PM   #1223
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Just got back into reading novels; I read a lot of tech manuals being employed as an IT person. Recent titiles:

1. The Ancient Alien Question, A new inquiry into the existance, evdence, and influence of ancient vistiors (Just starting this one)
2. The Mahabharata, Codex Ancient Aliens (Just starting this one too)
3. Twilight of the Gods, The Mayan Calendar and the Return of the Extraterrestrials
4. Signs of the Gods?
5. History is Wrong
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:40 PM   #1224
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I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I really enjoyed reading it. I told my DH that it was a good thing that I was not a Black person living in the early 60's, because I would have probably been dead. It is hard to believe that those attitudes were so pervasive in the 60's. I still don't know why everyone, everywhere just can't get along.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:53 AM   #1225
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Almost finished with Sketching Light: an Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash by Joe McNally. A photographer with 30+ years behind the lens(es) he writes not only of f/stops, ISOs and apertures, but also of the interaction between the photographer and the subject of the photo.

Treat your subject with dignity and respect, and they will often, but not always, bust their butt to produce a well done collaborative image.

If your subject treats you poorly, in a funny section titled "Don't Mess with the Photog" he describes how he got in a good jab at the Soviet Union for doing him wrong in Life magazine. A picture very often is worth a thousand words.

The guy's a pro, and it shows in the effort he makes to bring back a terrific product for the client.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:44 PM   #1226
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William Johnstone's Mountain Man series. Old fashioned western with a bit of a twist.

William W. Johnstone's MOUNTAIN MAN Series Titles At The Ridiculous Book Store
Which of the books is the best?
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:55 PM   #1227
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I finally finished the Steve Jobs book. I found it very interesting, both the technical history and his personal story.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:58 PM   #1228
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The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen, by Thomas Caplan is an OK, "stop the bad guys from getting a nuke" thriller. I picked it up at the library based on the glowing introduction from Bill Clinton. Its not bad but Clinton must be a family friend or something to give it this strong a push.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:37 AM   #1229
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Stumbled on a 2002 book called Black Mass, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill that chronicles Whitey Bulger's criminal history and conspiracy with FBI agents. It is a bit dense but a fascinating look at Government gone amok.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:29 PM   #1230
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I stumbled across a small book-- almost a pamphlet-- that's way outside my comfort zone. Very good read.

The non-profit that oversees fundraising for the USS ARIZONA Memorial is pretty profitable. For that reason, and some other strange reason lost in the sands of state & national politics, it also handles the fundraising for Kalaupapa National Historical Park. So I asked spouse for something to read about that community.

The book is "Olivia: My Life of Exile in Kalaupapa". It's the journal of Olivia Robello Breitha, who was born in 1916. She wrote the book in 1988 yet it's in a number of libraries and it's still sold on Amazon. She put out a video in the 1990s, but I think she's passed on.

Olivia was diagnosed with Hansen's disease at the age of 18. For the next three years she was essentially quarantined to an Oahu hospital under the era's public health laws. There was not an effective treatment for Hansen's disease at that time, but there was the same fear & prejudice that we've seen when 1980s HIV/AIDS was first spreading. Same as 1940s/1950s polio epidemics. Probably the same as the Great Influenza and yellow fever epidemics. Only in this case, Hansen's is for life. Fear of contagion was rampant.

When she left her hospital quarantine one too many times (to visit family or to watch a movie), she was sent to Kalaupapa. It's thought that Hawaiians were exiled there before Western contact, and this practice continued with all Hawaii residents in the 18th-20th centuries. Even with the "rule of law" and "civil rights", someone diagnosed with Hansen's disease during the Roosevelt administration could still be taken into custody by "bounty hunters" and forcibly sent to the hospital... if the community didn't ostracize and exile them first. Of course the direct descendant of that era's attitude was the WWII internment camp.

Even in the 1930s Kalapupapa was an unpleasant and authoritarian place. Nobody protested against the excesses of the public-health laws or advocated for patient's rights. An effective treatment wasn't developed until WWII's sulfa drugs, and even that didn't resolve all the symptoms.

Yes, there are still a few Kalaupapa residents living there, even though their Hansen's symptoms have been in remission for decades. Other former residents have moved back out into the community, although there's not as much support for them there as at Kalaupapa. There's actually a bookstore in the park selling memorial merchandise (and this book). The bookstore's employees use a legal pad instead of the Internet-ready cash register. Their bone-degraded twisted hands can't operate a keyboard very easily, and Kalaupapa does not have reliable Internet access. They actually fax over their legal-pad "transaction log" once a week to the Pearl Harbor staff to enter into the inventory system.

Olivia never completed more than a sixth-grade education, but she writes very well and has been thinking about the issues for a long time. It's a chilling book, and it reveals a side of Hawaii that I've never known. If you've been to Hawaii's happy places then it's worth a read. If you've never been here... then I'd probably hold off reading it until after your first visit.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:10 PM   #1231
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Just finished 'Where the Hell is Matt' written by the guy who danced badly around the world and was sponsored by Stride gum to do so. The book includes anecdotal stories associated with each of the places he went in his last You Tube video. It's available as an e-book.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:20 PM   #1232
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I'm currently reading "A Golf Story", the history of Bobby Jones, Augusta National and The Masters Golf Tournament.

Damn, do I love that place and tournament!
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:36 PM   #1233
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Just finished:

Marley and Me

and I highly recommend it. It will make you wish you had a dog and be thankful that you don't at the same time. I haven't seen the movie.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:57 PM   #1234
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Just finished:

Marley and Me

and I highly recommend it. It will make you wish you had a dog and be thankful that you don't at the same time. I haven't seen the movie.
The movie is charming.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:34 PM   #1235
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Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell. It is the sixth book in The Saxon Tales saga written about England in King Alfred's era and the struggles to unite England under one king. Great historical fiction, no romantic version of midieval England in these stories. A terrific read if you enjoy this genre. I read the book in about two days, and now must wait for the seventh novel to be published. In the meantime, I'm off to read Sharpe's Tiger, also by Cornwell.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:40 AM   #1236
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Read The Five People you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom. It's an imaginative story of what happened to an old man who died and awakened in the afterlife where he learns that heaven is a place where your earthly life is explained to you by 5 people who were in it. Meeting these 5 people helped him to cross over, answer all the queries he always asked about his life, learning to forgive and face his earthly fears and prepare himself for a lifetime in heaven. I wonder who will be the 5 people for me to meet in heaven.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:47 AM   #1237
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Just finished 'Where the Hell is Matt' written by the guy who danced badly around the world and was sponsored by Stride gum to do so. The book includes anecdotal stories associated with each of the places he went in his last You Tube video. It's available as an e-book.
I loved it! Got it signed by Matt with a personal note to my husband. That video is one of DH's favorite things.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:49 AM   #1238
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Someone gave us a beautifully illustrated copy of Michener's The Watermen (1979) and I really enjoyed the stories.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:33 PM   #1239
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Just finished:

Marley and Me

and I highly recommend it. It will make you wish you had a dog and be thankful that you don't at the same time. I haven't seen the movie.
I really liked the book.
I could not warm up to the movie enough to finish watching it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:45 PM   #1240
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Oh god, Marley and Me. No way I could watch the movie. The book was a tear jerker. However, I happened to read, at the same time, a book that makes Marley and Me look like last week's lunch. It is called Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote, and anyone who loves their dog should read it. I think his approach to interacting with his dog was just fantastic, while I couldn't help but think that Marley was a "practice kid" for the family and just fodder for his writing campaign. Merle was everything to Ted, and it showed. I consider Merle's Door as one of the most influential books I've EVER read.
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