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I enjoyed it a great deal. Shades of HFT. Thus, notorious characters like Bugsy Siegel enter into a book about statistics as gambling becomes a major revenue source replacing the loss of alcohol. So Thorp moved onto roulette and the stock market. Which sounds a bit paradoxical. And the risk of buying warrants can be offset just buy buying or selling short just some of the underlying stock.

Thorp made money off warrants, and then published the strategy for increasing the credibility of his new hedge fund, and moved onto convertible bonds by applying similar reasoning: the bond should have a certain value which reflects the probability that the stock will spike high enough to make the built-in option worth exercising, and since stocks should follow a random walk, all you need to know is the variance… inventing Black-Scholes. In one amusing anecdote, Black-Scholes used their pricing model to spot a particularly mispriced warrant; then the company changed the terms of the warrants, wiping out the warrant holders and Black-Scholes, in a way that insiders had known was coming and sold all their warrants.

Thorp returned to trading eventually, and in terms of his lifetime performance:. In May Thorp reported that his investments had grown at an average 20 percent annual return with 6 percent standard deviation over The Thorps recently endowed a chair at the University of California at Irvine mathematics department. The gift consists of one million dollars to be invested entirely in stocks, with the university limited to withdrawing only 2 percent a year. The fund is expected to compound exponentially in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Ultimately, Thorp hopes, it will fund the most richly endowed university chair in the world, and will help draw exceptional mathematical talent to UC Irvine. What is a little remarkable to me is how well Shannon did financially by 3 early venture capital investments, and how little Shannon contributed intellectually after his information theory paper; I had always somehow assumed that Claude Shannon, a genius who had offhandedly made a major contribution to genetics simply because his advisor forced him to work on genetics, and had created fully-formed information theory, had died in the s or something, because how else would such a genius have not made further major contributions?

But no! Shannon died in ! Poundstone explains that Shannon was simply too unambitious and perfectionist to work hard on any big topics or write up and publish properly any of his findings! One of the more depressing demonstrations that raw genius is not enough. One downside is that despite the involvement of Jimmy Savage, Poundstone never mentions the connections to subjective Bayesianism, personal interpretations of probability, or Thompson sampling.

Popper delivers a whirlwind tour of almost all dramatis personae in the rise of Bitcoin over the past 5 years. He seems to have gotten access to and interviewed everyone, from the early coders to especially all the late-entering business and entrepreneur types and the incestuous Silicon Valley VC community. I had no idea! The description of growth can feel like just a chaos of events, one after another. Here are some corrections I noticed in material touching on particular interests of mine, the DNMs and Satoshi: The nine-page PDF attached to the e-mail made it clear that Satoshi was deeply versed in all the previous efforts to create a self-sustaining digital money.

But Satoshi put all these earlier innovations together to create a system that was quite unlike anything that had come before it. Further, it did not compare or contrast Bitcoin in any meaningful way with all the previous work on digital currency like the whole universe of techniques and approaches based on Chaumian blinding. The Internal Revenue Service agent who finally identified Ross did so by searching on Google through old posts on the Bitcoin forum.

They did help snag baronsyntax, but the actual cause was the FBI finding the Iceland server thanks, presumably, to Tarbell hacking it , which had a VPN IP hardwired and had a clearnet backup server in Pennsylvania, both of which led back to Ross in San Francisco. Most bizarrely, Nick altered the dates on his postings about bit gold to make it appear as though they had been published after Bitcoin was released, rather than before…. Most bizarrely, Nick altered the dates: the dates that Nick later put on the posts are at the top of each post.

But the URL addresses of the posts still show the original posting date. Nothing bizarre about it. This is too high and was a mistake in that version of the paper. So as far as your analysis can tell, a 5-star seller just vanished overnight. Freenode banned open proxies, Bitcoin only gained proxy support in the later version 0. I looked into the one person I was able to link to that address, but unfortunately neither he nor any of his relatives or friends on Facebook look remotely like possible Satoshi candidates, so for non-state actors, that is a dead end.

Full disclosure: Popper offered a free copy of Digital Gold to me pre-publication to review, but I wound up not accepting because he was offering a physical book rather than an ebook. The Playboy interview II , ed. Barry G. Golson: pages of dense challenging interviews with 23 famous people Each interview takes a good 20 pages, and these are not small pages, either, but hefty small font pages.

Particularly memorable was this exchange:. Just what did you mean by that? Almost all of the interviews are worth reading and include good tidbits I wish I could excerpt from my print copy, but overall, I would say the best interviews were: Dali, Shelton, Haley, Arledge, Shockley, and Koch. The case-studies are in chronological order and primarily WWII-oriented:. Why then are spec-ops not doomed to failure? The commandos sting the elephant and flee before the giant feet can smash them into paste.

The parallels with computer security and cyberattacks is clear: a hack can take months or years to research and craft, but when triggered, it can attack and finish within seconds or minutes, far outspeeding the merely human defenders. The case-studies themselves are interesting. McRaven was able to interview a number of people involved in the case-studies as well as visit the locations to see them for himself. Deception plays surprisingly little role in most of the operations considering its outsized role in the public imagination the St Nazaire raid ship briefly pretended to be German; Gran Sasso brought along an Italian general in the gliders to confuse the Italians; Operation Entebbe likewise involved the commandos pretending to be locals until they reached the building with the hostages, apparently successfully confusing the terrorists inside.

A skim of the Libgen EPUB version suggests that you might be better off with that edition although it appears to drop the photos entirely! Gossipy, detailed, a vivid look inside the industry. Long out of print, I read the online scan 2. Book 2 is especially full of alarming chemical stories. I suspect that some of the anecdotes have been polished up a bit over the years, but as Samuel Johnson once said, a man is not under oath in such matters.

But when Gergel says that he made methyl iodide in an un-air-conditioned building in the summertime in South Carolina, and describes in vivid detail the symptoms of being poisoned by it, I believe every word. He must have added a pound to his weight in sheer methyl groups. By modern standards, another shocking feature of the book is the treatment of chemical waste.

With family and friends and no outside capital he founded Columbia Organic Chemicals, a specialty chemical supplier specialising in halocarbons but, operating on a shoestring, willing to make almost anything a customer was ready to purchase even Max drew the line, however, when the silver-tongued director of the Naval Research Laboratory tried to persuade him to make pentaborane.

The narrative is as rambling and entertaining as one imagines sharing a couple or a couple dozen drinks with Max at an American Chemical Society meeting would have been. But when DuPont placed an order for allene in gallon quantities, this posed a problem… All of this was in the days before the EPA, OSHA, and the rest of the suffocating blanket of soft despotism descended upon entrepreneurial ventures in the United States that actually did things and made stuff. The flexibility and ingenuity which allowed Gergel not only to compete with the titans of the chemical industry but become a valued supplier to them is precisely what is extinguished by intrusive regulation, which accounts for why sclerotic dinosaurs are so comfortable with it.

Fascinating account of a Gilded Age titan much worse known than Carnegie. His charming but scheming wandering bigamist con-artist father reminds me of my old observation that a lot of very successful people seem to be high but not too high on the psychopathy continuum and have had difficult or abusive childhoods; while we tend to think of psychopathy as all negative, aspects of it, like its heritability, are consistent with it being a lifecycle strategy under balancing selection, indicating advantages to the social skills, fearlessness etc.

The benign end of psychopathy may give us great leaders and businessmen and heroes like firefighters. Why did he do it? I checked, but while there are 2 or 3 existing oil-themed board games, they either are about off-shore drilling or take a much more abstracted macroeconomics point of view. Indeed, some of his favored projects like the deworming of the American South have echoes in modern EA projects - deworming being a particular focus of GiveWell! Rockefeller was a complex man trying to be simple: he knew many of the criticisms of him were true but tried to delude himself to the end; he was a devout Baptist, who was intelligent and worldly enough to see the problems there and how the wicked flourished; he loved homeopathy, but his funding of medical research and the Flexner Report would kill the last shreds of legitimacy it had.

The philanthropy transitions into an account of Rockefeller Junior, as he is entrusted with it, who emerges as diligent and effective, but not the man his father was. The strategy of the rich, putting all their eggs into 1 or 2 baskets, is hopelessly fragile and a hostage to the slightest bit of bad luck. Consider the Kennedys! I have to wonder. Live by the sword, die by the sword. If dry academic humor is not your thing, you probably already know from reading descriptions that you should not read this book, so I can address fellow aficionados.


Still, that leaves half the volume as successes, interesting and amusing. One has to wonder what Lem would have made of FanFiction. There are its great competitors, Hedonica and the Truelife Corporation. This is a theory of the Great Silence which is far from idiotic and quite interesting as a hard SF premise. Poetry back then was srs bsns. But the effects would linger. It is, however, not a good introduction to court poetry and is probably best read by those who are already somewhat familiar with the events surrounding the poem sequence!

The commentaries look thorough to me and do a good job of explaining how the sequence of poems is not a jumble of poems which happen to be organized by topic, but a sequence, linked together by theme and progression. But I think it still does Teika justice. Some samples: pg A quasi-police description of the events leading up to, then long preceding, an honor-killing of one Santiago.

The style strikes me as vastly simpler and less magically-realistic than The Autumn of the Patriarch , and much shorter. Borges would approve. This uncertainty renders the story sinister by the end - did the village conspire to kill Santiago? A nice example of cunctation: the mayor stop in to check on a dominos match so and is too late to take away the murder-weapons. How much is Angela responsible for failing to respect the charade of virginity and deliberately sabotaging her marriage?

She is ultimately punished by the deliciously cruel method of returning 20 years of love-letters, unopened. And so on. The villagers know their stories must terminate in the death of the victim, and in the stories they confabulate, he must be invisible to have performed the actions ascribed to him. Our daily conduct, dominated then by so many linear habits, had suddenly begun to spin around a single common anxiety. Aura Villeros, the midwife who had helped bring three generations into the world, suffered a spasm of the bladder when she heard the news and to the day of her death had to use a catheter in order to urinate.

I am reminded of an old story: One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row, if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging.

Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. Everything has been brought to light, it seems, but nothing has been enlightened. By the end, the death has been foretold but remains unknown. Existence is best-seen as a rewrite of Earth , and Earth was a sprawling futurological serious novel which was trying to both world-build by including countless perspectives and quotes and discussions and terms but also put them into context to build a overarching thesis.

Brin has had a few new ideas since Earth like the smart-mob. The book is huge, but a good deal of the bulk is fat and self-indulgent: 1. One must sift a lot of sand. This leads to the severe problem, in a repeated first contact novel, that none of the aliens were remotely alien, and the humans all seemed pretty similar to each other too. Brin also has a very weird attitude towards what he calls extropianism but most people these days just call transhumanism. But by the time the story is set, the caloric restriction question will be settled: the primate studies will be finished, the human CRers will be dead, and the underlying biochemistry or lack thereof will have been elucidated.

I was a little awe-struck when he has his mouthpiece badmouth cryonics, after saying it worked and there had been revivals? WTF indeed. This attitude could be called schizophrenic. Throughout the novel, Brin seems to struggle with the fundamental problem posed by Vinge: how does he keep the story human given his belief in progress and his basic acceptance of the Strong AI thesis? He never comes up with a good answers, but blatantly hand-waves them away: an emulated rat brain goes critical and escapes into the Internet? There are even more AIs pervading the world, controlling countless key functions?

Manuscript, First Edition

Well, uh - nothing happens because I insinuate something about parents and children and them being grateful! Humans can barely be grateful, ever. Humanity is a few decades away from a general nanofactory assembler in his story and thousands of crystal probes come to visit? On a purely factual basis, I have relatively little to fault Miller for. After writing this review, I asked Miller about this and he said no one had yet.

Excerpts: - intro-ch3 - ch - ch9 - ch - ch13 - ch - ch We were received by a man in his forties with a thick mustache that covered his teeth when he spoke. We sat down in the guest room in front of the television. I gathered that the man lived alone. He went into the kitchen and came back with a bottle of arak. He opened it and poured a glass. My brother told him to pour one for me too. We sat in silence, and the man and I watched a soccer match between two local teams, while my brother stared into a small fish tank.

How could they be in water and not drink? He threw him to the ground, squatted on his chest, and pinned his arms down under his knees. How can fish drink salt water? Answer, you son of a bitch! Answer, shit-for-brains! I never would understand what the man had to do with my brother.

The bumps were about to break my ribs, and only dust kicked up by the truck crept in through the holes in the barrel. The barrel stank like the dead cats on the neighborhood trash heap. Maybe it was the souls of his victims that drove him into the ravine, maybe it was my own evil soul, or maybe it was the soul that preordained everything that is ephemeral and mysterious in this transitory world. Seven barrels lay in the darkness at the bottom of the cliff like sleeping animals. The pickup had overturned after my uncle tried to take a second rocky bend in the hill.

The barrels rolled down into the ravine with the truck. I spent the night unconscious inside the barrel. In the first hours of morning the rays of sunlight pierced the holes in the barrel, like lifelines extended to a drowning man.

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My mouth was full of blood and my hands were trembling. I was in pain and frightened. I started to observe the rays of the sun as they crisscrossed confusingly in the barrel. I wanted to escape the chaos that had played havoc with my consciousness. I felt as if I had smoked a ton of marijuana: a fish coming to its senses in a sardine tin, a dead worm in an abandoned well, a putrid fetus with crushed bones in a womb the shape of a barrel. Then my mind fixed on another image: my brother sinking to the bottom of the septic tank and me diving after him. The bleating sounded faint at first, as though a choir was practicing.

One goat started and then another joined in, then all the goats together, as if they had found the right key. The rays of the sun moved and fell right in my eye. I pissed in my pants inside that barrel, appalled at the cruelty of the world to which I was returning. The goatherd called out to his flock, and one of the goats butted the barrel. Given such a enigmatic style, unsurprisingly some of the stories worked much better for me than others in particular, when he strays into clearer political commentary, the stories seem to get weaker.

Savage Continent is a fascinating book on the bloody aftermath of WWII as the destruction wound down, the lingering consequences of anarchy worked themselves out in the sudden peace, and people tried to find a new equilibrium, punishing collaborators and finishing the ethnic cleansings.

Presumably after liberation, things were cleaned up quickly and calmly and a few years later our historical memory turns to the start of the Cold War. An example of the fluffiness I have in mind is an old movie I watched in August, Three Coins in the Fountain , a romantic comedy set in post-war Rome, where while there is still poverty and recovery from the war, things are basically OK. The end of WWII left much business unfinished: Wages of Destruction covers in detail the slave labor forces drawn from conquered Europe which worked in Germany up until defeat, and the parlous food situation of Germany and Europe at large - so what happened after?

With all these victorious horny occupation forces? With the slave laborers, and the Jews, and the guerrillas or partisans or thieves or black-marketeers? How were morals slowly restored after being corrupted by the exigencies of war and the struggle for survival, and what was seen as now possible after the Holocaust?

The answers are rarely pretty, but Lowe gives a synoptic view.

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Without the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see how one might resort to deep states, alliances with the Mafia, and so on. An enlightening and timely book. I end by discussing aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis. Dude, WTF? An engaging biography of Francis Galton, heavy with the many amusing Galton anecdotes we all know a sober analysis of the inefficacy of prayer which drew furious attack; recording people fidgeting during lectures or average attractiveness of women on the street; constructing devices to keep himself awake.

Gillham helps in that respect, although in general his statistical explanations are poor enough and confused enough that I wondered if he understood the issues at all. I assumed he was a historian, but looking up his biography, he apparently is even a geneticist, so he really ought to be able to do better. One is probably better off looking to Stigler for accounts of things like the Quincunx. Still, I think I have to give Gillham credit for being as fair as he was in , and it overall is an excellent biography. Areas too impoverished, dried, or indefensible would not develop, and would be bypassed.

The occasional revolts or invasions could be swiftly suppressed by the nearest legion marched or sailed into place. Thus, the Empire could enjoy a small cheap but invincible military and steady expansion into rich lands, with the borders eventually stabilizing at their outer limits of cost-benefit, and the golden age of the Empire. Far from being amusing anecdotes of ancient legalistic squabbling, the vassals were critical for freeing up legions and a necessary transition phase. He is good enough to make a number of specific predictions… pretty much all of which are wrong.

Congress remains a province of lawyers, and no one gets wealthy in the military until they take the revolving door , and further that his loosely defined Bonapartism is inevitable although I do not recognize Clinton, Bush, or Obama as being very Bonaparte-like figures. These statements were published in , well after such events as the Battle of Midway June The rest are simply embarrassing. Always a problem with authors discussing deception. I read the trilogy in basically one sitting after reading the interesting opening to The Black Company on Tor.

While admittedly the black castle is more than a little contrived the Dominator foresaw his defeat and this was the only countermeasure? Book 3, The White Rose , sees it all fall apart. But the rebellion is a tawdry little affair, and the plot unengaging. The final alliance is too easily accomplished. The new Taken are only names. On top of that, the finale is almost anti-climactic: they dismantle the defenses and neutralize the Dominator using the Rose, and bury him more thoroughly.

I had come to expect more from Cook. The world of phages is more than a little scary. The material is presented engagingly - the vocabulary is a bit specialized but explained as it goes, and one can at least follow many of the articles. The illustrations are worth looking at. I have to note the genomes: phages are such genetic minimalists that a functional overview of the gene-regions of phages are presented before each one, and they are sometimes barely a page. The statistics and anecdotes are fairly horrifying, and the sheer profusion drills in how widespread the famine was.

But for me, the most fascinating part of Tombstone was how the vast Chinese government hierarchy rippled policies and misinformation up and down it - how the local cadres tried to bow to the demands they were hearing from higher up, how the higher ups took the falsified statistics and claims often at face value, and how the highest officials in Beijing seem almost childishly helpless as they stagger between skepticism of reports given them and unthinking acceptance of positive results. What is surprising is how effective the Chinese government was in maintaining control despite these severe systemic problems.

How could so many millions starve to death, and no province rise up in rebellion? How could the revolts be so small scale, when the abuses were so bad and the death tolls large fractions of entire local populations? How did emigration not overwhelm any checks set up? Jisheng is at pains to show that the Communist propaganda worked and the people were not uniformly cynical about the regime like the Russians at the end of the USSR were: many officials sacrificed their careers or lives for their people, high officials are routinely shocked when they return to their home villages, and throughout we see people who are in all seriousness convinced that all the faults stem from local or midlevel officials and if only they can get word to the Emperor in Beijing all will be made well.

Curiously, for all the complaints about Pact being unbearably grim, the world itself is much more optimistically constructed - as one character says, humanity has been winning in contrast to the nigh-inevitable defeat of humanity in Worm. The start of the plot itself is well-enough described officially: Blake Thorburn was driven away from home and family by a vicious fight over inheritance, returning only for a deathbed visit with the grandmother who set it in motion. Well, it has a much faster start than Worm, the world-building takes what is usually authorial fiat and regulates it a bit so the action matters, some scenes are fantastic who could not enjoy the chapter about Blake negotiating a contract with the demon Pazu?

And demon lawyers are intrinsically funny.

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Overall: good but not as great as Worm. So this filled in a lot of holes for me. Power starts with the Western discovery of psychedelics and LSD, giving an engaging potted history of the period to focus on the late Alexander Shulgin. Here Drugs 2. Disclosure: Mike Power has interviewed or quoted me on several occasions about the dark net markets, and gave me a free PDF of Drugs 2. But it was so hard to read because of publisher watermarking, that I downloaded a better copy from Libgen and read that instead.

I was interested primarily in his comments on China, and was surprised the extent to which he fixates on French literature especially for someone who wrote in English. Because of the goodness, I must overlook the bad. I have little interest in French politics of the s or, much the same thing, its novelists and those essays were excruciatingly dull to me. Hilarious, eye for details, incessant curiosity, good at tracking down bogus stories and rumors. Roach comes up with all the best quotes and stories, seems to have talked to everyone and done everything. I laughed many times reading the book.

One chapter was a revelation for me in explaining why early science fiction often postulated space driving people insane. Reading all the checks and modifications and details, one is boggled that we made it to the Moon, much less we be musing a Mars mission. I compiled some excerpts from most of the chapters: - chapters - 3 - - - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - - endnotes. To a lesser extent, I was interested in the treacherous subordinate.

I read it in two sittings because I wanted to see what happened.


Of obscure origins, Buson is one of the more popular post-Basho haiku poets, along with Kobayashi Issa. But where Issa is known for his idiosyncrasy and sympathetic focus on animals, Buson is much more traditional and tried to live up to the ideal of the bunjin or Chinese-like literary gentleman who has mastered all the arts of the brush in a refined and almost distant style. The discussion of his haiga likewise goes well beyond the usual superficialities and presentation of one or two photos, as Crowley comments in detail on how exactly the haiku and painting are supposed to combine into something more than their sum, and on the extremely obscure Chinese allusions Buson is prone to as a proper bunjin.

Needless to say, this will only be of value to those already interested in haiku and its history. Mixed feelings. On the one hand, Dyson digs up all sorts of quotable lines and anecdotes and biographical details, many genuinely new to me. I enjoyed those greatly. For these I give it 4 stars. Instead, countless pages are taken up with detailed technical information that is simultaneously in depth and also poorly explained. I repeatedly got the feeling that Dyson is indulging in that common temptation, allocating material based on how much effort it took to find, not what would inform the reader - he went through a lot of work documenting MANIAC and the rest of us must enjoy suffer the fruits of it.

The repeated analogies to search engines and modern computing come off very poorly search engines are analogue? For those reasons and others, this will never get 5 stars from me, and if there were a 3. Was it worthwhile? Not really. The Bicamerals themselves are something of a disappointment compared to the invention of the Scramblers or vampires.

The ending is opaque and knotty, but I think with some thought and review of terminology it becomes clear: the Bicamerals and emergent AIs have completed their plan in which the hijacked fungus is incubated in the protagonist to upgrade baseline humans to vampire-like entities sans the vampire weaknesses and without consciousness , which will be able to go toe to toe with the God-like alien invader. So, not a waste of time and probably pretty impressive to people unacquainted with Watts, but below B , some of the Rifter books, and the better short stories. Everything ketamine WP , Erowid.

My own interest in ketamine is curiosity about the peculiar immediate anti-depressant effects it seems to have even with non-psychedelic use, but while depression is occasionally mentioned as a risk factor for ketamine abuse or outcome of abuse, it seems all the most relevant research must have been done after this was published in Still, an interesting and excellent overview of a niche topic, and well worth reading for more in-depth coverage after reading an overview like the Wikipedia article.

As Hanson says, the classic style is a good way to lie or deceive as it encourages one to strip away details and qualifiers to maintain the smoothness of passages. If one likes the classic style or has need of it, I could not name a better text. The authors may not be the greatest classic stylists ever, but they are the best in discussing it while often embodying it. The book is split up into 3 parts, laying out the general attitude and evolution of classic style, then providing a few dozen short examples of the classic style vs other styles with some critical examination noting the careful choice of language to produce striking sentences or pointing out how classic style would be disastrous in some contexts , and finally a list of writing exercises to help one learn this particular style.

Then, when one knows the lay of the land, read the full book, where the tangents will not distract. I learned a great deal from this book about Google, which put some of my own experiences with Google products in context. I wondered reading it how deep the resemblances go: the protagonist starts off much like Carmack did. RP1 takes the latter tack, but it at least executes well.

Many near-future SF fiction fail to achieve even a contemporary feel; many authors aim for 10 years in the future, but with the lack of smartphones and video and apps, wind up achieving a feel 10 years in the past. Eventually you get used to it and even a narrated game of Pac-man becomes gripping.


They engage in a virtual courtship, things get funny and romantic, until suddenly things take a most puzzling and mysterious turn. And also teens mooning over their cellphones! If Hadamard comes to no hard and fast conclusions, but merely raises many interesting points and criticizes a number of theories, we can hardly hold that against him, as we can do little better and so it becomes our failing, not his. I read the Internet Archive scan. But so it goes. Cleckley scatters through this book constant fascinating anecdotes and remarks, some so outrageous or remarkable that one would assume he made them up if he were writing on some other topic.

Sadly, Cleckley is not nearly as dated as one would hope after reading something like pages detailing the endless wake of destruction, fraud, violence, deception, manipulation, and criminality: his basic conclusion that there are no effective treatments for psychopathy, and all previous attempts have been expensive failures, seems to remain true. Indeed, some attempts at treatment have backfired and resulted in even more crime being committed by subjects. Summary: I like her stuff. I was curious how the book version would go, since I had already read all of the online ones of course. These comic essays were written for scrolling web browsers, and it shows in the awkwardness of the pagination and book display form.

Book: 4 stars. The exploding car with Philby wearing a fox cape and escaping with a minor injury while everyone else died? I was shocked. A Shropshire Lad 8. This consistency meant that when I read the parodies quoted on Wikipedia , I found them very funny. Overall, a good collection. No second exposure, no second chance.

For amateurs and professionals alike this requires relying on the Force. Particularly since many of his subjects are wild birds and stealthy wolves. After finishing looking through it, I could not disagree too much. It is one of the best photo books I have seen. The subject matter is much less profound and terrifying than Suns , but the general quality is higher.

But so it seems. It is a very short novel, almost more of an overgrown short story or novella - which makes sense since Fitzgerald had become wealthy on his short stories, as bizarre as that may sound these days - and I was not too impressed at the end; but it was so short I thought I might as well give it a fair shake by reading it a second time, and the second read was much more enjoyable.

Now that I knew the framework, it was much easier to note the similarities with The Count of Monte Cristo , one of my favorite plots, and notice the symbolism and foreshadowing scattered throughout. The swimming pool was something I had totally missed on the first read, and the extent to which Daisy rather than Tom should be considered the bad guy or at least causally responsible. I enjoyed the book a lot; McGrayne has a good eye for the amusing details, and she conveys at least some of the intuition although some graphs or examples would have helped the reader - I liked the flipping coin illustrations in Dasivia Bayesian Data Analysis.

A long account of a short life. While Kanigel goes overboard in his novelistic scene-setting and psychologizing, one cannot say he does not try to set the scene for one and go beyond a bare recitations of events to the actual feel and texture of life in various places or of various persons; particularly noteworthy is his attempts to explain at least a little of the actual math which made Ramanujan worth a biography, beyond his romantic story, and here I think Kanigel does a really good job for the layman. He apparently routinely makes factual mistakes; Brad DeLong apparently identified 50 in chapter 12 just to make that point.

Emphasizing the rather ideological bent of the book is his very thin skin as exhibited in response to online criticism like on Crooked Timber. Elegiac, enlightening, sympathetic. The Metropolitan Man is an 80k-word novel following Lex Luthor as he realizes and then grapples with the threat Superman poses to the human race now that I think about it, it is like Worm in this respect. But to some extent it leaves me cold - difficult to pin down what, but I think the writing may simply be too precise, dry, bloodless to really let me be absorbed by the story.

People, look at the Arab Spring. Did it yield any caliphates, say? Anarchistic self-governing communes? Self-governing city-states? Hanseatic Leagues? Or look at official rhetoric in places like China. Look at the gradual and continuing expansion of capitalism and democracy as the defaults for every country. Fukuyama was right. There are no credible alternatives to the capitalist liberal democracy paradigm.

Many of his points and observations ring true, but Hoffer is fond of using only a few isolated examples to prove his points, and of affirming paradoxes; but the problem with each is that they are not as reliable as they may seem, and the general detachment from statistics and economics and demographics undermines my confidence in any of his claims.

He cites Tocqueville approvingly on the lack of coherence of the narrative of the French Revolution with the observed facts that the French had never had it better than before the Revolution - but how can I then have any confidence in any of his narratives? Pluses included no more Taken popping up, we saw very little of Goblin or One-eye, and soap-operatic twist at the end aside, the overall plot has built up nicely. His Cycle is a convincing paradigm.

The book comes up often in Wolfe discussions of An Evil Guest , I noticed there was a copy on library. Very long, not a little tedious although in places the detail reaches tour de forces, like the early discussion of German war on the Eastern front. Desensitized by the end. Bailyn was more or less as Moldbug described , and the quotes from the pamphlets fairly convincing.

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