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    Semper infra dignitatem PaloAltoCougar's Avatar
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    Iím finishing up Homo Deus and just getting into Leonardo Da Vinci (with Grant on deck), but I had to drop the somewhat heavy reading temporarily in favor of listening to Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House. The book will likely confirm everyoneís biases, regardless of what those are. Trump defenders will observe, correctly in this instance, that Trumpís critics are never objective and often unfair. Trumpís detractors will have their most negative suspicions about Trump and his inner circle confirmed.

    Critics of the book (mainly Trump supporters, beginning with Sarah Huckabee Sanders) have said itís an untrue and fabricated fantasy. Although no doubt there are some errors, it seems very accurate. Itís filled with loads of quotations from named sources and so many other details that could be easily refuted or contradicted, and yet, so far as I am aware, none have been. Indeed, there are so many direct quotes from Bannon alone that havenít been denied or refuted (by him or others) that it lends support to the veracity of the other sometimes surprising statements.

    Other than a detailed description by Ivanka about how her dad constructs his hair over a completely hairless dome (an lol moment which can be embarrassing if one is listening on earphones with others nearby), thereís not a great deal new about Trump. But one picks up a greater understanding of the changing and petty rivalries between the Bannon and Jarvanka factions, and why we should all be praying for the good health of Messrs. Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson. Although I still think heís a terrible person, Bannon comes off somewhat better than I expected. He's certainly more savvy politically than the inner Trump circle who are political dunces. Hope Hicks is a spineless sycophant who may be facing some legal problems due, among other things, to helping Trump on Air Force One to craft the utterly false explanation of the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians (although I felt sorry for her when, after explaining why she wanted to help Cory Lewandowski, an erstwhile lover, with his post-campaign career, Trump declared in the presence of others, ďWhy help him? Youíre the best piece of tail heíll ever have.Ē). And newsflash, Don Jr. comes off as a dope. I like that heís referred to as Fredo by Bannon and others still on the WH staff.

    I feel a little unclean for having listened to it, but itís been an entertaining experience.

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    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    I’m finishing up Homo Deus and just getting into Leonardo Da Vinci (with Grant on deck), but I had to drop the somewhat heavy reading temporarily in favor of listening to Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House. The book will likely confirm everyone’s biases, regardless of what those are. Trump defenders will observe, correctly in this instance, that Trump’s critics are never objective and often unfair. Trump’s detractors will have their most negative suspicions about Trump and his inner circle confirmed.

    Critics of the book (mainly Trump supporters, beginning with Sarah Huckabee Sanders) have said it’s an untrue and fabricated fantasy. Although no doubt there are some errors, it seems very accurate. It’s filled with loads of quotations from named sources and so many other details that could be easily refuted or contradicted, and yet, so far as I am aware, none have been. Indeed, there are so many direct quotes from Bannon alone that haven’t been denied or refuted (by him or others) that it lends support to the veracity of the other sometimes surprising statements.

    Other than a detailed description by Ivanka about how her dad constructs his hair over a completely hairless dome (an lol moment which can be embarrassing if one is listening on earphones with others nearby), there’s not a great deal new about Trump. But one picks up a greater understanding of the changing and petty rivalries between the Bannon and Jarvanka factions, and why we should all be praying for the good health of Messrs. Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson. Although I still think he’s a terrible person, Bannon comes off somewhat better than I expected. He's certainly more savvy politically than the inner Trump circle who are political dunces. Hope Hicks is a spineless sycophant who may be facing some legal problems due, among other things, to helping Trump on Air Force One to craft the utterly false explanation of the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians (although I felt sorry for her when, after explaining why she wanted to help Cory Lewandowski, an erstwhile lover, with his post-campaign career, Trump declared in the presence of others, “Why help him? You’re the best piece of tail he’ll ever have.”). And newsflash, Don Jr. comes off as a dope. I like that he’s referred to as Fredo by Bannon and others still on the WH staff.

    I feel a little unclean for having listened to it, but it’s been an entertaining experience.
    Sounds like a lot of fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    I’m finishing up Homo Deus and just getting into Leonardo Da Vinci (with Grant on deck), ...
    Chernow's Grant? I've heard great things about it. I got the DeVinci book with my B&N gift cards and I hope to start it this month.

    If you read fiction, I just finished a HF novel about the 4 yrs De Vinci and Michelangelo were in Florence at the same time (1501-1505), De Vinci painting the Mona Lisa (among other things) and Michelangelo sculpting his David.

    Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo by Stephanie Storey
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...oil-and-marble

    I thought it was a solid 4 star read.

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    Soul Plumber wuapinmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    Was ready player one any good? I've had it sitting unopened on my kindle for a couple of years.
    It's really fun. I was very proud of myself for figuring out a couple of things before the book told me. I, however, would've never found the Copper Key.
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    Where's Wallace? Surfah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    Was ready player one any good? I've had it sitting unopened on my kindle for a couple of years.
    Read it last week while on business out of town. Loved it. Been meaning to get to it for years and the trailer that recently released pushed me to finally do it. Fun and fast paced.
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    I finally finished the bio of Marin Luther I was reading - Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...-martin-luther

    I found it to be a slog to get through. While there was some interesting facts that I didn’t know, I felt the author goes way too deep into the weeds on theological matters. Some of this is necessary due to the nature of Luther’s work, but I think she went overboard on some matters. For example she spends more than 50 pages discussing the nature of the communion and the effect it had on the Reformation. Basically Luther kept the Catholic understating of the communion, while others adopted the dogma that the Body and Blood of Christ were not actually in the communion, but his only his spirit. The author also covers works v grace, where spiritual knowledge/practices come from (bible only v church tradition, church councils and the bible), the importance of clergy. There also quite a lot on his views of sex – he was in favor of it 

    All in all this has an academic feel to it (not surprising since the author is an Oxford Professor of Religion) and it a little dry.

    I'm starting Ken Follett's new HF novel tomorrow - A Column of Fire
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...om_search=true

    Its the third entry into in his series on Kingsbridge Cathedral and is set in the 1500s

    It's very popular at the library and I have a short turnaround time to get it read - probably most of the week end will be spent reading it
    Last edited by happyone; 01-18-2018 at 03:32 PM.

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    A veteran - whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to, "The United States of America ", for an amount of "up to and including my life - it's an honor."

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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyone View Post
    It's very popular at the library and I have a short turnaround time to get it read - probably most of the week end will be spent reading it
    Oh, please, you're not fooling anyone. You'll probably finish 3 books this weekend.

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    Board Bookworm happyone's Avatar
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    - it is 900 pages, I'll have to devote my entire weekend to it to avoid overdue charges
    Last edited by happyone; 01-18-2018 at 03:33 PM.

    I may be small, but I'm slow.

    A veteran - whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to, "The United States of America ", for an amount of "up to and including my life - it's an honor."

  9. #2139

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    Was ready player one any good? I've had it sitting unopened on my kindle for a couple of years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Surfah View Post
    Read it last week while on business out of town. Loved it. Been meaning to get to it for years and the trailer that recently released pushed me to finally do it. Fun and fast paced.
    Quote Originally Posted by wuapinmon View Post
    It's really fun. I was very proud of myself for figuring out a couple of things before the book told me. I, however, would've never found the Copper Key.
    This was my most recent audio book listen. I didn't like it near as much as you guys. It was ok (enjoyable overall), but ... I don't know ... it's basically the Neuschwanstein Castle of books. Also, the audio book is read by Whil Wheaton; I wonder how much my view is tangled up in not liking him as the reader.
    Last edited by pelagius; 01-18-2018 at 06:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pelagius View Post
    This was my most recent audio book listen. I didn't like it near as much as you guys. It was ok (enjoyable overall), but ... I don't know ... it's basically the Neuschwanstein Castle of books. Also, the audio book is read by Whil Wheaton; I wonder how much my view is tangled up in not liking him as the reader.
    I hated Will as the reader. Got the audiobook and them turned it off after a bit because he is so annoying. He reads Armada too.
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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Just finished Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, a historian from Israel. NYT bestseller that has been discussed here. SeattleUte referenced it a couple of times.

    I both loved and hated this book at the same time. It is a history of homo sapiens. Starts out with a great history of evolution, breaking down the various human species. There were five "human" species and homo sapiens were the only ones to survive (we probably wiped out the others, and there was some interbreeding). Then it gets into the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture then to the industrial revolution. Very interesting discussion of the development of money and how that changed everything.

    Overall, it was a fascinating overview of human history, but the book has some flaws. On on page he would write something that was deep and insightful and on the next page he would write something that makes your eyes roll. For example, he repeatedly claims that moral codes, religions, etc are all myths. At one point he states:

    “Any meaning that people prescribe to their lives is just a delusion.”
    Everything is molecules and biology and chance, and nature doesn't care about anything and nothing has any long-term meaning whatsoever. Then at the same time, he repeatedly hops up on a soapbox to condemn the way humans treat animals. He says the modern animal industry could be "the greatest crime in the history of the world".

    He also stated that scientists have proven that there is no human soul.

    Traditional roles for men and women such as fighting in wars, raising children, etc. have nothing to do with biology and are purely based on cultural myths.

    Rich people having nicer homes and living a nicer neighborhoods and getting better education is equivalent to racial discrimination.

    Sometimes I wonder if some of these things just sound goofy due to translation. A direct quote:

    “People everywhere have divided themselves into men and women, and almost everywhere man have gotten the better deal.”
    He also predicts that humans will be replaced by cyborgs in the next 100 years. Some merit to his hypothesis, but it is a real stretch overall.

    So this is the same guy that wrote Homo Deus. Some of you (PAC?) have read this. I have it in my queue on Audible, but now I am wondering if I want to bother with it.
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  12. #2142

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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    I hated Will as the reader. Got the audiobook and them turned it off after a bit because he is so annoying. He reads Armada too.
    I actually was ok with Will narrating, but you have to listen to him at 1.2 speed.

    Scott Brick is the only narrator that I hate with the fire of a thousand suns. Uggh, he is so awful.

  13. #2143

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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveCoug View Post
    I actually was ok with Will narrating, but you have to listen to him at 1.2 speed.
    I don't know ... I listened to it at 2.3x; he was still annoying.

  14. #2144

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    Quote Originally Posted by pelagius View Post
    I don't know ... I listened to it at 2.3x; he was still annoying.
    Ha.

    Also, Armada was so dumb. All y'all can just skip that one.

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    вот так штука CardiacCoug's Avatar
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    Of all the things to disagree with you highlight his point that throughout history it’s been better to be a man than a woman?That’s funny. That’s gotta be the least controversial thing in the whole book.

    And I’m sure you understand that “myth” isn’t perjorative. I liked the comparison of the myth of religion to the myth of the corporation. Just because it’s a myth doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial or even necessary for a civilized society.

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    Of all the things to disagree with you highlight his point that throughout history it’s been better to be a man than a woman?That’s funny. That’s gotta be the least controversial thing in the whole book.
    Huh? You didn't read my post carefully. I specifically said that that passage sounded goofy and speculated that it may have been due to translation (book was written in Hebrew). You don't think this sounds funny?

    “People everywhere have divided themselves into men and women..."

    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    And I’m sure you understand that “myth” isn’t perjorative. I liked the comparison of the myth of religion to the myth of the corporation. Just because it’s a myth doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial or even necessary for a civilized society.
    Absolutely. He made some good points about collective myths benefiting the human condition, but I thought he got carried away. A corporation is a myth? Yes, it is basically an agreement between humans and requires the capacity for abstract thought, but calling it a myth seems like a gimmick to me.

    Here is another thing about the book: Harari went on and on and on about how the forager (hunter/gatherer) period was like a garden of eden. Humans were happy, healthy, and balanced with the environment. Life was a big happy adventure. But he also stated that one feature of forager societies is that they routinely kill babies, children, old people, ill people, or anyone who is going to slow down the group. Infanticide and murder are just a part of life necessary for the tribe to survive. He argues that the advent of agriculture was bad because people lived boring lives and didn't get a balanced diet. But it also caused a population explosion because they no longer had to routinely murder family members. This idolization of forager life is made more baffling by his insistence that killing animals for food is evil.
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    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Huh? You didn't read my post carefully. I specifically said that that passage sounded goofy and speculated that it may have been due to translation (book was written in Hebrew). You don't think this sounds funny?

    ďPeople everywhere have divided themselves into men and women..."



    Absolutely. He made some good points about collective myths benefiting the human condition, but I thought he got carried away. A corporation is a myth? Yes, it is basically an agreement between humans and requires the capacity for abstract thought, but calling it a myth seems like a gimmick to me.

    Here is another thing about the book: Harari went on and on and on about how the forager (hunter/gatherer) period was like a garden of eden. Humans were happy, healthy, and balanced with the environment. Life was a big happy adventure. But he also stated that one feature of forager societies is that they routinely kill babies, children, old people, ill people, or anyone who is going to slow down the group. Infanticide and murder are just a part of life necessary for the tribe to survive. He argues that the advent of agriculture was bad because people lived boring lives and didn't get a balanced diet. But it also caused a population explosion because they no longer had to routinely murder family members. This idolization of forager life is made more baffling by his insistence that killing animals for food is evil.
    So you're upset about his lack of consistency?

    If consistency is the goal, maybe he prefers the forager era murders because those killings weren't necessarily to consume the flesh of the victim.

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    So you're upset about his lack of consistency?

    If consistency is the goal, maybe he prefers the forager era murders because those killings weren't necessarily to consume the flesh of the victim.
    Ok, you got me there. The forager era murders were because there wasnít enough wooly mammoth flesh to go around.
    Last edited by Jeff Lebowski; 01-20-2018 at 04:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Just finished Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, a historian from Israel. NYT bestseller that has been discussed here. SeattleUte referenced it a couple of times.

    I both loved and hated this book at the same time. It is a history of homo sapiens. Starts out with a great history of evolution, breaking down the various human species. There were five "human" species and homo sapiens were the only ones to survive (we probably wiped out the others, and there was some interbreeding). Then it gets into the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture then to the industrial revolution. Very interesting discussion of the development of money and how that changed everything.

    Overall, it was a fascinating overview of human history, but the book has some flaws. On on page he would write something that was deep and insightful and on the next page he would write something that makes your eyes roll. For example, he repeatedly claims that moral codes, religions, etc are all myths. At one point he states:



    Everything is molecules and biology and chance, and nature doesn't care about anything and nothing has any long-term meaning whatsoever. Then at the same time, he repeatedly hops up on a soapbox to condemn the way humans treat animals. He says the modern animal industry could be "the greatest crime in the history of the world".

    He also stated that scientists have proven that there is no human soul.

    Traditional roles for men and women such as fighting in wars, raising children, etc. have nothing to do with biology and are purely based on cultural myths.

    Rich people having nicer homes and living a nicer neighborhoods and getting better education is equivalent to racial discrimination.

    Sometimes I wonder if some of these things just sound goofy due to translation. A direct quote:



    He also predicts that humans will be replaced by cyborgs in the next 100 years. Some merit to his hypothesis, but it is a real stretch overall.

    So this is the same guy that wrote Homo Deus. Some of you (PAC?) have read this. I have it in my queue on Audible, but now I am wondering if I want to bother with it.
    I'm on chapter 12... drove to Astoria and back yesterday and it's a bit of a chore keeping up with it while driving. I did like that language was developed because people wanted to gossip to each other about other people in the band.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pelagius View Post
    Also, the audio book is read by Whil Wheaton; I wonder how much my view is tangled up in not liking him as the reader.
    Probably quite a lot. He's not a very likable adult.
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    Semper infra dignitatem PaloAltoCougar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Just finished Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, a historian from Israel. NYT bestseller that has been discussed here. SeattleUte referenced it a couple of times.
    ...

    So this is the same guy that wrote Homo Deus. Some of you (PAC?) have read this. I have it in my queue on Audible, but now I am wondering if I want to bother with it.
    The quick answer to your question is "Probably not." I liked Sapiens a lot, esp. the discussion of the three revolutions (cognitive, agricultural and scientific) that were turning points in the history of humankind. Homo Deus picks up where that book left off, and projects where the human race is heading given his belief that God was only a useful myth and that man, having essentially conquered (or at least having shown the ability to conquer) the three threats to human existence (war, famine and disease) is becoming god-like and what that means for the future.

    I liked the first part of the book better than the second half which became for me a bit tedious. On the last page, he summarizes his presentation with three points:

    1. Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms and life is data processing.
    2. Intellligence is decoupling from consciousness.
    3. Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves.
    He hopes (having spent the previous 400 pages explicating the foregoing) that three questions will stick in the reader's mind:

    1. Are organisms really just algorithms, and is life really just data processing?
    2. What's more valuable--intelifence or consciousness?
    3. What will happen to society, politics and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves.
    If the foregoing questions interest you, then read it, but I suspect you'll find your time better spent elsewhere. I found his prediction that humans will be replaced with, at best, a combination of machines and organisms, rather depressing. BTW, Da Vinci and Grant are both proving to be lengthier but more entertaining reads.
    Last edited by PaloAltoCougar; 01-22-2018 at 07:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    The quick answer to your question is "Probably not." I liked Sapiens a lot, esp. the discussion of the three revolutions (cognitive, agricultural and scientific) that were turning points in the history of humankind. Homo Deus picks up where that book left off, and projects where the human race is heading given his belief that God was only a useful myth and that man, having essentially conquered (or at least having shown the ability to conquer) the three threats to human existence (war, famine and disease) is becoming god-like and what that means for the future.

    I liked the first part of the book better than the second half which became for me a bit tedious. On the last page, he summarizes his presentation with three points:



    He hopes that (having spent the previous 400 pages explicating the foregoing, that three questions will stick in the reader's mind:


    If the foregoing questions interest you, then read it, but I suspect you'll find your time better spent elsewhere. I found his prediction that humans will be replaced with, at best, a combination of machines and organisms, rather depressing. BTW, Da Vinci and Grant are both proving to be lengthier but more entertaining reads.
    Thanks for the heads up. I'll pass.
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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    The quick answer to your question is "Probably not." I liked Sapiens a lot, esp. the discussion of the three revolutions (cognitive, agricultural and scientific) that were turning points in the history of humankind. Homo Deus picks up where that book left off, and projects where the human race is heading given his belief that God was only a useful myth and that man, having essentially conquered (or at least having shown the ability to conquer) the three threats to human existence (war, famine and disease) is becoming god-like and what that means for the future.

    I liked the first part of the book better than the second half which became for me a bit tedious. On the last page, he summarizes his presentation with three points:


    He hopes (having spent the previous 400 pages explicating the foregoing) that three questions will stick in the reader's mind:


    If the foregoing questions interest you, then read it, but I suspect you'll find your time better spent elsewhere. I found his prediction that humans will be replaced with, at best, a combination of machines and organisms, rather depressing. BTW, Da Vinci and Grant are both proving to be lengthier but more entertaining reads.
    Thanks. Yes, I liked the discussion of the three revolutions as well. And at times I thought Hurari could be incredibly insightful, as evidenced by the quote in this post:

    http://www.cougarstadium.com/showthr...=1#post1352772

    At the same time, his speculations on the future seemed dubious. For example, in discussing computer viruses, he said that all someone would have to do is program a computer virus to change itself and it would evolve and become unstoppable and take over the computer world. That really made me laugh. I don't think he has a clue how programming works. Made me wonder how far off he is on other topics. Nevertheless, predicting the future is incredibly hard and people always tend to overstate things. Where's my jet pack!
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  24. #2154
    𐐐𐐄𐐢𐐆𐐤𐐝 𐐓𐐅 𐐜 𐐢𐐃𐐡𐐔 Uncle Ted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post

    At the same time, his speculations on the future seemed dubious. For example, in discussing computer viruses, he said that all someone would have to do is program a computer virus to change itself and it would evolve and become unstoppable and take over the computer world. That really made me laugh. I don't think he has a clue how programming works. Made me wonder how far off he is on other topics. Nevertheless, predicting the future is incredibly hard and people always tend to overstate things. Where's my jet pack!
    LOL... I guess he has never heard of polymorphic computer viruses.

    Maybe he is thinking more along the lines of genetic programming. It seems that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is starting to get hot again. I guess everyone forgot how much money was wasted on it in previous attempts.
    "If there is one thing I am, it's always right." -Ted Nugent.
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    GIVE 'EM HELL, BRIGHAM!

  25. #2155
    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    National Book Critics Circle Award finalists announced today:

    FICTION:

    Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Riverhead)

    Alice McDermott, The Ninth Hour (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Knopf)

    Joan Silber, Improvement (Counterpoint)

    Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)


    NONFICTION:

    Jack Davis, Gulf: The Making of An American Sea (Liveright)

    Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Scribner)

    Masha Gessen, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead)

    Kapka Kassabova, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (Graywolf)

    Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment)

  26. #2156
    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelBlue View Post
    National Book Critics Circle Award finalists announced today:

    FICTION:

    Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Riverhead)

    Alice McDermott, The Ninth Hour (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Knopf)

    Joan Silber, Improvement (Counterpoint)

    Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)


    NONFICTION:

    Jack Davis, Gulf: The Making of An American Sea (Liveright)

    Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Scribner)

    Masha Gessen, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead)

    Kapka Kassabova, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (Graywolf)

    Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment)
    Very timely. I was just in the library looking for more books. Now I've got holds on three of the fiction books.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    "I think it was King Benjamin who said 'you sorry ass shitbags who have no skills that the market values also have an obligation to have the attitude that if one day you do in fact win the PowerBall Lottery that you will then impart of your substance to those without.'"
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  27. #2157
    Board Bookworm happyone's Avatar
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    I finished A Column of Fire

    Amazingly quick read for a 900+ page book (just over 3 days). It is basically the story Elizabeth I reign as told through the eyes of one of her (fictional) Intelligence Agents. The time frame is from 1558 (just before Elizabeth comes to the throne) to 1605 and the Gunpowder Plot against her successor, James I and VI. All the major events of Good Queen Bess' reign are in the novel - the various Catholic plot's to remove her, Mary, Queen of Scots imprisonment and eventual execution, the Spanish Armada, infiltration of Catholic Priests from Catholic States (mainly France) and the gov't reaction, English piracy in the Caribbean Sea etc are all plot points. In addition the politics of the French court and how the Catholic/Protestant divide affected them are all there. Many of the famous real life people make appearances - Elizabeth herself, many of her advisors including William and Robert Cecil, Francis Walsingham ( her spy master), Francis Drake, Mary Queen of Scots, Various French Kings and Queens, various members of the De Guise family (one of the elite families of France arch Catholic/Anti Protestant - according to Follett the author of many of the Anti Protestant programs in France including the St. Bartholomew Massacre.

    I enjoyed it. It's both a spy and an adventure novel along with some romance/sex thrown in. There is an uncomfortable (for me) rape/incest scene (local Earl rapes DIL, not particularly explicit but the theme...). Solid 4 stars on GR, If you read any Follett, you'll know what to expect. This is vintage Follett and I think better than some of his recent offerings

    Currently reading the book PAC recently finished, Walter Isaacson's bio of Leonardo da Vinci, titled amazingly enough Leonardo da Vinci

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...nardo-da-vinci
    Last edited by happyone; 01-30-2018 at 05:14 PM.

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  28. #2158
    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    Next up: Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow. Wish me luck.
    How did you like it, KL? I'm working through it now. Pynchon is up there with with Joyce when it comes to making me feel like an idiot. Sometimes I find myself re-reading a paragraph 3,4, 5 times.

  29. #2159
    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Just started listening today to The Ministry of Utmost Happiness read by the author. There's a lot I'm not catching because of her Indian accent and the names of people and locations. Hoping it gets easier to follow soon.
    "I think it was King Benjamin who said 'you sorry ass shitbags who have no skills that the market values also have an obligation to have the attitude that if one day you do in fact win the PowerBall Lottery that you will then impart of your substance to those without.'"
    - Goatnapper'96

  30. #2160
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    Just started listening today to The Ministry of Utmost Happiness read by the author. There's a lot I'm not catching because of her Indian accent and the names of people and locations. Hoping it gets easier to follow soon.
    Have that on the Kindle. Read about ten pages and then moved in to something else. I am generally reading three books at a time so this is not unusual, but I haven't gone back to it a few months. I may get there eventually.

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