Three books up this time for review, those of you who peeked at the previous entry of the Reading List will no doubt be unsurprised by the titles.
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford
Eric, Terry Pratchett
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
Continue reading Book Reviews 2005 (29-31)
What I’ve read so far this year.
Highly recommended reads are bolded.
Continue reading Current Reading List 6/28/05
The Onion 2056
The Onion has been doing a “2056 edition” online recently. This entry above, reminds me of the song Big Yellow Taxi
Kathryn Cramer: What Kind of Insects Are Those Buffalo?
Via Kathryn Cramer, we learn of a webpage which, in discussing perception, talks about an African Tribe whose sense of depth and size perception is skewed by growing up in dense jungle.
This perceptive problem really works, I am told, on, say, drives on the Great Plains, where the flatness of the ground makes it difficult to judge sizes and distances to objects, since there are few frames of reference.
A creepy multimedia presentation of a possible future of our media industry.
I recall, vaguely, an SF story, whose name and author I cannot recall, where a time traveller from our time goes to the future, only to find a future somewhat like EPIC’s. Most people’s media content is filled with conjectures, trivia, gossip and no one pays attention to hard news anymore.
Making Light: “Things you’ve seen. Things you’ve, well–done.”
“Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report: �On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold�.On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.�
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) reads an FBI agent�s report, on conditions at Guantanamo Bay, into the minutes of the United States Senate
Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out – New York Times
Neal Stephenson, writing an editorial piece for the New York Times, recalls the first time he saw Star Wars…and uses it as a parable of our times.
He also reveals, about the movie itself:
Likewise, many have been underwhelmed by the performance of Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Only if you’ve seen the “Clone Wars” cartoons will you understand that Anakin is a seriously damaged veteran, a poster child for post-traumatic stress disorder. But since none of that background is actually supplied by the Episode III script, Mr. Christensen has been given an impossible acting task. He’s trying to swim in air.
Exactly. Having not read the ancillary material, I found the conversion of Anakin to be unrealistic and unconvincing.
Do read the whole thing, though.
APOD: 2005 June 16 – APOD Is Ten Years Old Today
Nasa’s wonderful Astronomy Picture of the Day turns ten years old today.
Happy Birthday, APOD!
The picture on the tenth anniversary date, by the way, is a photoshopped version of Vermeer’s “The Geographer”, replacing the singular titular character with the founders of APOD, Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.