August 31, 2012

Just to point out the connection

Arctic ice is at it's smallest since the mid 1900s, continuing an escalating trend that climate scientists predicted; Romney--not the most timely of joke tellers--mocked commitments to slow climate change during the RNC. (Guardian's article on Arctic ice re-emphasized a connection for me, but I didn't like how they expressed it.) The conservatives' god-of-the-gaps move from "it's not happening" to "it's not caused by man" to "it's not caused primarily by man" to "it's too far along to fix" is no longer humorous. It's been know for a long time, and their mincing uncertainty in order to serve corporations puts the blame wholly on them.

posted by sstrader at 9:51 PM in Environmentalism | permalink

August 29, 2012

How they treat their own

"Fuck You, Tyrants!": Ron Paul Supporters Rebel On Convention Floor. And a description of how the RNC screwed Ron Paul from Redditor stevejobsatemyliver:

Well... really quick... you know when states vote in the primaries they're basically voting for who will fill the seats at the convention. If Candidate X wins, then the seats are filled with Candidate X Loyalists. As the primaries wind down and candidates drop out, they start throwing support (the seats they had gotten to date) to the lead candidate.

But Ron Paul did not fully endorse Romney. Meaning it was sort of a wild card as to who his delegates would vote for. To solve this the convention did two things:

1) The Party took Ron off the official convention ballot. Their rule had been that you had to win 5 states to be listed, and at the last minute they upped it to 8. Thus depriving Ron of any mention at the convention. (Ron Paul's message gains strength by getting publicity, so for them the convention robbed them of a big win here.)

2) The Party wouldn't let the Ron Paul loyalists sit down, and instead replaced them with Romney loyalists from Maine. Thus insuring that nobody would be doing anything that would distract from Romney's big night.

There's a debate going on in the Wikipedia talk page over whether this should be included. It was removed without comment (very bad form on an active subject) and not yet returned.

posted by sstrader at 9:04 PM in Politics | permalink

August 15, 2012

Three recent books

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace. Had this on my bookshelf for a while, and I'm not sure why I put off reading it. Like The Pale King, there were chapters I wanted to send to others because they were just that well written. And the names. My god, the names: Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman, Candy Mandible, Mindy Metalman, and of course Norman Bombardini (who plans on eating enough to eventually encompass all space in the universe (and who makes a grotesquely noble effort towards that goal)). Every few chapters could be studied as a Bach-like invention in writing styles and challenges, few being, for all the virtuosity, too challenging. Its inventiveness will have you smiling throughout.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. A year or so ago I'd read and loved his more recent novel Rainbows End, set in a remarkably believable near future. This was set in a future far distant, tens of thousands of years from now. The key conceit--of the many that are truly unique--is that species intelligence and natural laws can change across different zones in the galaxy. Higher level zones allow FTL travel; the highest contain intelligences comparable to gods. The book starts with a short prologue narrating the events--with the right mix of tech and tech-babble--of a high-level intelligence's take-over of an archaeological dig. The outcome, we're told in the first few pages, will destroy several species and last for centuries to come. Needless, there is a grandiosity to the drama.

vN by Madeline Ashby. In this now (50%) but have no idea why I downloaded it to my Kindle! [ updated 22 Mar 2015] Aha. It was based on a recommendation by Kameron Hurley. I must've heard a recommendation somewhere. Probably io9 again, although their last few months of recommendations have been poor. It's a cheap romp around a future where vNs (i.e. John von Neumann), built by an Xtian millenarian cult to look after those "left behind", struggle integrating with society. An unlikely premise but entertaining all the same.

Continue reading "Three recent books"
posted by sstrader at 7:41 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | tagged david foster wallace, io9 | permalink