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Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 621757 times)

madjo

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Reply #40 on: February 23, 2007, 02:16:36 PM
do you like the book, or is it making you miserable? 
I like the way it's written, but the picture it paints is making me a little bit depressed.
Mind you I'm only halfway, and I know that it's fiction, but it seems sooo close to reality at times. :)



Startrekwiki

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Reply #41 on: February 23, 2007, 02:27:19 PM
I've actually completed Sabriel... I recommend it. But, what is the name of the writer who dismissed Global Warming?



SFEley

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Reply #42 on: February 23, 2007, 03:17:05 PM
I've actually completed Sabriel... I recommend it. But, what is the name of the writer who dismissed Global Warming?

That would be Michael Crichton.  I am told that he argues against global warming in State of Fear, claiming that scientific evidence is weak (it isn't) and that the current concern over it is just another Hollywood fad.  He also gave a lecture at CalTech titled "Aliens Cause Global Warming," equating 'consensus science' with belief in UFOs.

This annoys the crap out of me -- not so much that he expressed his opinion, but that he's being treated as an expert by so many people, testifying before committees, etc.  Crichton is not a scientist.  He is a doctor, and in my opinion he wrote one damn good medical SF thriller (The Andromeda Strain) before he realized he could make up anything he ever needed.

And that's fine.  I don't mind science fiction writers making things up.  The field would be pretty damn boring if they didn't.  But treating science fiction writers as scientists, with real-world expertise, on the virtue of stuff they've made up, is dangerous.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Startrekwiki

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Reply #43 on: February 23, 2007, 08:48:00 PM
Yes. Actually, I think he was sued by people like the CBC. I hear, from word of mouth, that is. But, I believe that people like him have only the right of free speech protecting them from being jailed. I mean, what is he talking about? I don't quite know. Allegedly, his book is a real drag, too.



Reap3r

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Reply #44 on: February 23, 2007, 11:33:31 PM
That would be Michael Crichton.  I am told that he argues against global warming in State of Fear, claiming that scientific evidence is weak (it isn't) and that the current concern over it is just another Hollywood fad.

I don't think it should be a discussion about whether or not global warming is happening, but whether or not it's actually a problem. Is it a bad thing, are we just coming out of an ice age, or is it something else? At the moment, I don't think it's a bad thing; but that's because of some of the talks I've had with my dad, not my personal knowledge on the subject. I may do some reading about the facts, but I never know if I'll actually remember to.

Thinking? I've never heard of that. Is it some kind of food? Please tell me it tastes better than those sick pop tarts filled with meat. You know, Hot Pockets. What, thinking isn't a food? Well then, what is it? Does it have to be built. I hate building things. JUST TELL ME NOW! O look, a bird.


Startrekwiki

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Reply #45 on: February 23, 2007, 11:36:52 PM
It's a bad thing, but I think that it's not yet completely imminent yet. We're getting there, but slowly. This could also be a story. The days before complete destruction of the Ozone layer.



SFEley

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Reply #46 on: February 24, 2007, 12:14:47 AM
I don't think it should be a discussion about whether or not global warming is happening, but whether or not it's actually a problem. Is it a bad thing, are we just coming out of an ice age, or is it something else? At the moment, I don't think it's a bad thing; but that's because of some of the talks I've had with my dad, not my personal knowledge on the subject. I may do some reading about the facts, but I never know if I'll actually remember to.

It's Pascal's Wager with more evidence.  There can never be absolute certainty about the future, but there are enough signs that the rational course is to assume we're bound for Hell and do whatever we feasibly can to stop it.

Worst case if it isn't a problem and we treat it like it is?  We spend a shitload of money, and make a number of sacrifices in personal lifestyle, to clean up the environment and extend our fossil fuel supply.

Worst case if it is a problem and we treat it like it isn't?  Sea level rises 10 to 20 feet, the failure of the Gulf Stream freezes Western Europe, ecosystems are disrupted globally, hundreds of millions may die.  That is an extreme case, but a scientifically plausible one.

The reason it's Pascal's Wager is because we have to choose now.  By the time we get to find out whether we were right or not, it's far too late to choose.

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Startrekwiki

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Reply #47 on: February 24, 2007, 12:21:20 AM
I don't think it should be a discussion about whether or not global warming is happening, but whether or not it's actually a problem. Is it a bad thing, are we just coming out of an ice age, or is it something else? At the moment, I don't think it's a bad thing; but that's because of some of the talks I've had with my dad, not my personal knowledge on the subject. I may do some reading about the facts, but I never know if I'll actually remember to.

It's Pascal's Wager with more evidence.  There can never be absolute certainty about the future, but there are enough signs that the rational course is to assume we're bound for Hell and do whatever we feasibly can to stop it.

Worst case if it isn't a problem and we treat it like it is?  We spend a shitload of money, and make a number of sacrifices in personal lifestyle, to clean up the environment and extend our fossil fuel supply.

Worst case if it is a problem and we treat it like it isn't?  Sea level rises 10 to 20 feet, the failure of the Gulf Stream freezes Western Europe, ecosystems are disrupted globally, hundreds of millions may die.  That is an extreme case, but a scientifically plausible one.

The reason it's Pascal's Wager is because we have to choose now.  By the time we get to find out whether we were right or not, it's far too late to choose.

This isn't new news: Al Gore said it, and many other "Save the Earth" pilgrims. They have good ideas, and we should follow them. It's too bad that no-one actually has the self-control to do anything about this.



Reap3r

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Reply #48 on: February 24, 2007, 01:17:57 AM
I've done a little searching and everything I saw was about negative effects, and none of them talking about what the actual possibilities are.
It's a bad thing, but I think that it's not yet completely imminent yet. We're getting there, but slowly. This could also be a story. The days before complete destruction of the Ozone layer.
What if the extra water molecules due to a warmer planet are able to replace the ozone layer? I'm not saying I have any proof of this being even possible. It is simply one of many possiblity that should be discussed. There is no way anyone will ever figure out what will actually happen unless they discuss all the possiblities and look at it without the bias of "The world will be destroyed if we don't stop global warming"(I know that most people aren't saying that). I think we should be warming up. The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago.
It's Pascal's Wager with more evidence.  There can never be absolute certainty about the future, but there are enough signs that the rational course is to assume we're bound for Hell and do whatever we feasibly can to stop it.
I agree that we should assume the worst, but we could be missing something that could be found if we stopped assuming our assumptions are right, and try to discover if our assumptions are right.

Thinking? I've never heard of that. Is it some kind of food? Please tell me it tastes better than those sick pop tarts filled with meat. You know, Hot Pockets. What, thinking isn't a food? Well then, what is it? Does it have to be built. I hate building things. JUST TELL ME NOW! O look, a bird.


Startrekwiki

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Reply #49 on: February 24, 2007, 01:21:27 AM
I think that we should assume the worst. But not just the worst, we should also assume that we need to stop or slow the global warming.



SFEley

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Reply #50 on: February 24, 2007, 01:38:02 AM
I agree that we should assume the worst, but we could be missing something that could be found if we stopped assuming our assumptions are right, and try to discover if our assumptions are right.

You do realize that there's a hell of a lot of work going on in that right now, right?  Scientists are doing science.  For the last few years it was difficult in the U.S. because the Bush administration had a policy of making life very difficult for publicly funded science on global warming, but it has been happening.

Really.  No one's just assuming it'll happen.  There's actual math, and it's being improved on all the time.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Startrekwiki

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Reply #51 on: February 24, 2007, 01:49:47 AM
Oh, No. I'm not saying that nothings happening, but, for example, Canada, where I live, is WAY below Kyoto standards. I mean, this is a very big issue, and I also think that things are happening quickly, but the whole problem is that we have to figure out a way to work being green into life as we know it. What I mean, is,

- Shutting off the lights
- Not wasting materials and resources in general
- ets.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows what I mean. Basically, take what you need, or otherwise what will not waste. I'm not saying that one should turn to extremes, but little things, such as carpooling, and un-plugging your laptop when it's charged, then plugging it in again when it needs to be re-charged. Or something like that.

We also need to look into stuff like having different energy efficient habits, and giving that old Windows 2000 to your uncle's kid, who wants a computer.  I hate when people tell me how to live. No, these are just suggestions.
Another to add, that can slightly be applicable: keep your laptop screenlight down low, until you actually need it to be higher for one reason or another. I do, espetially when listening to Sudopod ;)



Reap3r

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Reply #52 on: February 24, 2007, 03:30:06 AM
I agree that we should assume the worst, but we could be missing something that could be found if we stopped assuming our assumptions are right, and try to discover if our assumptions are right.

You do realize that there's a hell of a lot of work going on in that right now, right?  Scientists are doing science.  For the last few years it was difficult in the U.S. because the Bush administration had a policy of making life very difficult for publicly funded science on global warming, but it has been happening.

Really.  No one's just assuming it'll happen.  There's actual math, and it's being improved on all the time.

Sorry, I typed without thinking there, and no i can't redeem my statement. That's the price I pay for putting myself out there. I'm going to be wrong sometime.

Thinking? I've never heard of that. Is it some kind of food? Please tell me it tastes better than those sick pop tarts filled with meat. You know, Hot Pockets. What, thinking isn't a food? Well then, what is it? Does it have to be built. I hate building things. JUST TELL ME NOW! O look, a bird.


Russell Nash

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Reply #53 on: February 28, 2007, 08:09:39 PM
I'm reading three books right now.
1) The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
2) The Swarm
3) A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong

On my to be read pile I have three books
1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series.
3) I forget the exact name of the third, but it's book one of a three part history of the Third Reich.

Update
Finished The Swarm it got insanely stupid. It's also the book, I complained about in the Pet Peeves thread.

I gave back the History of the Third Reich. I just don't get enough time to read to slog (sp?) through that.

I started reading the first Discworld book. I'm about 80 pages or so in (They just started the inn-sewer-rents fire) and it's a lot of fun.




Heradel

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Reply #54 on: February 28, 2007, 08:36:05 PM
The next few books I'm going to read are:

1. The World is Flat (v2.0), Thomas Friedman
2. Sandman, Neil Gaiman
3. The Earthsea books, Ursula Le Guin
4. 300, Frank Miller

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


jrderego

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Reply #55 on: February 28, 2007, 09:06:48 PM
I am reading off-genre during my writing vacation.

I've read "The Devil Wears Prada" by Laura Weisenberger.

Hated it.

I am currently reading "The Sand Pebbles" by Richard McKenna and it is fantastic. Set in 1925 China the crew of the US Gunboat San Pablo deals with the transition of China from country controlled by warlords to a modern nationalist state.

On tap I have "Nevermore" by Harold Schechter (E.A. Poe and P.T. Barnum solve a series of murders). Schechter is the undisputed master of grisly true-crime non-fiction. I've read a half dozen or so of his books and I can't wait to get into his fiction. Had to get it from the library though as it's out of print in all formats.

Finally, "The Ruins" by Scott Smith. Recommended by a friend, I have no idea what the hell this one is about.

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Talia

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Reply #56 on: March 01, 2007, 09:11:34 PM
I just finished 'Possible Side Effects' by Augusten Burroughs. I highly recommend his stuff, the guy's incredibly observant and scathingly witty. Next up is 'Chainfire' by Terry Goodkind.  And I badly need to get my hands on a copy of 'Fragile Things.'  I have several more books lying around the apartment in various stages of being read, but I don't know when or if I'll get to those.

I'll probably give Jim Butcher's books another shot at some point soon since he'll be a guest at I-Con and I might want to see him speak.



madjo

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Reply #57 on: March 05, 2007, 10:43:23 AM
I started reading the first Discworld book. I'm about 80 pages or so in (They just started the inn-sewer-rents fire) and it's a lot of fun.
Say hi to Twoflower for me. :)

I've just finished Wintersmith by T. Pratchett, I really loved that story.
Now I have to find another good book to pick up, but given my enormous stack of books-to-be-read that won't be a problem.



Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #58 on: March 05, 2007, 03:02:18 PM
Oh, No. I'm not saying that nothings happening, but, for example, Canada, where I live, is WAY below Kyoto standards. I mean, this is a very big issue, and I also think that things are happening quickly, but the whole problem is that we have to figure out a way to work being green into life as we know it. What I mean, is,

- Shutting off the lights
- Not wasting materials and resources in general
- ets.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows what I mean. Basically, take what you need, or otherwise what will not waste. I'm not saying that one should turn to extremes, but little things, such as carpooling, and un-plugging your laptop when it's charged, then plugging it in again when it needs to be re-charged. Or something like that.

We also need to look into stuff like having different energy efficient habits, and giving that old Windows 2000 to your uncle's kid, who wants a computer.  I hate when people tell me how to live. No, these are just suggestions.
Another to add, that can slightly be applicable: keep your laptop screenlight down low, until you actually need it to be higher for one reason or another. I do, espetially when listening to Sudopod ;)

(It must be my week to jump in on "controversy threads"!)

It always seemed like common sense to me that more pollution = a Very Bad Thing.  However, until I saw Al Gore's movie, I didn't really know much about the science behind it.  Now I talk about it, and my friends pooh-pooh the whole thing as some kind of publicity stunt, and cite Crichton as some kind of "common sense authority" on the matter.  The gist of their arguments -- no matter how they phrase it -- seems to come down to, "Al Gore isn't a scientist, he's just using his platform to try to run for President.  Crichton and 1% of the scientific community (paid for by the world's leading polluters) have much more credibility in my book that he does."

But if you look at the correlation between CO2 in the atmosphere, and world-wide temperatures, combined with all of the predicted weather effects, you can't deny that something needs to change pretty quickly.  Bio-fuels won't do it, because they still pump CO2 into the air; no one "silver bullet" technology can do it.  But there are:
* new solar technologies coming online - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deployment_of_solar_power_to_energy_grids new solar technologies)
* wind power is beginning to overcome "NIMBY" obstacles - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Large_scale
* and even nuclear is safer now - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_Bed_Reactor

Well, it's safer, at least, than the prolonged use of fossil fuels.  (As one commentary I heard on NPR put it, "At least with nuclear waste, you know where it is; waste from fossil fuels goes everywhere."  Not comforting, but something to consider.)

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ClintMemo

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Reply #59 on: March 05, 2007, 04:57:20 PM
Maybe someone should start a "little things you can do to be greener" thread.

Recently, I (well, me and my family) did two things:
1) I replaced nearly all of my light bulbs with CF light bulbs.  It wasn't cheap, but what I save in electricity will pay for it in about six months, IIRC.  And the less electricity I use, the less coal gets burned.
2) I stopped buying little bottles of water.  We used to go through about a case a week. They all went into my recycle bin, but as many times as I saw or heard about garbage men throwing the recycle into the garbage truck and saying to complainers "we'll sort it out later,"  I began to wonder how many of those bottles ended up in landfills.

Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.