What'cha Readin'?

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What'cha Readin'?

#1  Postby Wiðercora » Feb 25, 2010 3:17 pm

A forum just ain't a forum until there's a 'What Are You Reading?' thread...

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Prof. Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth
If the unemployed learned to be better managers they would be visibly better off, and I fancy it would not be long before the dole was docked correspondingly.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#2  Postby Aern Rakesh » Feb 25, 2010 3:25 pm

The book of Atrus. I'm a Myst fan, and this is the first in the trilogy. I'm reading it as I'm playing Myst Online: Uru Live.

I'm a 61 year old geek. (Well, kind of, don't ask me to explain anything technical...)
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#3  Postby newolder » Feb 25, 2010 4:17 pm

"The Greatest Show On Earth" by some guy named Richard Dawkins. :whistle:
Geometric forgetting gives me loops. - Nima A-H
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4  Postby HughMcB » Feb 25, 2010 4:21 pm

Universe in a Nutshell!

(although I haven't picked it up in days after all the mayhem!)
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#5  Postby Stephen » Feb 25, 2010 4:29 pm

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works
Dan Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea
John Fowles' The Magus
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#6  Postby LIFE » Feb 25, 2010 4:33 pm

Stephen wrote:Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works
Dan Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea
John Fowles' The Magus


4 books at the same time?
The Feynman book is on my list too but it's a looooooooooooong list...
"If you think education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance" - Derek Bok
"Words that make questions may not be questions at all" - Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#7  Postby Stephen » Feb 25, 2010 4:40 pm

Yeah, I like to jump from book to book and sometimes I don't pick up one of them for a few days. I was reading Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe too but I got a little bogged down in it and read where somebody called string theory "speculative bollocks" over at RDF so I kinda stopped reading that one. Hehe.... (by the way, we need that little "hehe" snickering emoticon here, the one they have at rationalia).

Oh, and the Feynman book is great. It really makes me smile, that man was so vibrant and wonderful and full of life. It's such a great read, very inspiring. Here, I will reproduce one short chapter that's really great. Just a little funny story:

(by the way, it's funnier if you speak the "Italian" aloud)

Latin or Italian?
by Richard Feynman

There was an Italian radio station in Brooklyn, and as a boy I used to listen to it all the time. I LOVed the ROLLing SOUNds going over me, as if I was in the ocean, and the waves weren't very high. I used to sit there and have the water come over me, in this BEAUtiful iTALian. In the Italian programs there was always some kind of family situation where there were discussions and arguments between the mother and father:

High voice: "Nio teco TIEto capeto TUtto..."

Loud, low voice: "DRO tone pala TUtto!!" (with hand slapping).

It was great! So I learned to make all these emotions: I could cry; I could laugh; all this stuff. Italian is a lovely language.

There were a number of Italian people living near us in New York. Once while I was riding my bicycle, some Italian truck driver got upset at me, leaned out of his truck, and, gesturing, yelled something like, "Me aRRUcha LAMpe etta TIche!"

I felt like a crapper. What did he say to me? What should I yell back?

So I asked an Italian friend of mine at school, and he said, "Just say, 'A te! A te!'—which means 'The same to you! The same to you!'"

I thought it was a great idea. I would say "A te! A te!" back-gesturing, of course. Then, as I gained confidence, I developed my abilities further. I would be riding my bicycle, and some lady would be driving in her car and get in the way, and I'd say, "PUzzia a la maLOche!"—and she'd shrink! Some terrible Italian boy had cursed a terrible curse at her!

It was not so easy to recognize it as fake Italian. Once, when I was at Princeton, as I was going into the parking lot at Palmer Laboratory on my bicycle, somebody got in the way. My habit was always the same: I gesture to the guy, "oREzze caBONca MIche!", slapping the back of one hand against the other.

And way up on the other side of a long area of grass, there's an Italian gardner putting in some plants. He stops, waves, and shouts happily, "REzza ma LIa!"

I call back, "RONte BALta!", returning the greeting. He didn't know I didn't know, and I didn't know what he said, and he didn't know what I said. But it was OK! It was great! It works! After all, when they hear the intonation, they recognize it immediately as Italian—maybe it's Milano instead of Romano, what the hell. But he's an iTALian! So it's just great. But you have to have absolute confidence. Keep right on going, and nothing will happen.

One time I came home from college for a vacation, and my sister was sort of unhappy, almost crying: her Girl Scouts were having a father-daughter banquet, but our father was out on the road, selling uniforms. So I said I would take her, being the brother (I'm nine years older, so it wasn't so crazy).

When we got there, I sat among the fathers for a while, but soon became sick of them. All these fathers bring their daughters to this nice little banquet, and all they talked about was the stock market—they don't know how to talk to their own children, much less their children's friends.

During the banquet the girls entertained us by doing little skits, reciting poetry, and so on. Then all of a sudden they bring out this funny-looking apronlike thing, with a hole at the top to put your head through. The girls announce that the fathers are now going to entertain them.

So each father has to get up and stick his head through and say something—one guy recites "Mary Had a Little Lamb"—and they don't know what to do. I didn't know what to do either, but by the time I got up there, I told them that I was going to recite a little poem, and I'm sorry that it's not in English, but I'm sure they will appreciate it anyway:

A TUZZO LANTO
-Poici di Pare
TANto SAca TULna TI, na PUta TUchi PUti TI la.
RUNto CAta CHANto CHANta MANto CHI la TI da.
YALta CAra SULda MI la CHAta PIcha PIno TIto BRALda
pe te CHIna nana CHUNda lala CHINda lala CHUNda!
RONto piti CA le, a TANto CHINto quinta LALda
O la TINta dalla LALta, YENta PUcha lalla TALta!

I do this for three or four stanzas, going through all the emotions that I heard on Italian radio, and the kids are unraveled, rolling in the aisles, laughing with happiness.

After the banquet was over, the scoutmaster and a schoolteacher came over and told me they had been discussing my poem. One of them thought it was Italian, and the other thought it was Latin. The schoolteacher asks, "Which one of us is right?"

I said, "You'll have to go ask the girls—they understood what language it was right away."
Last edited by Stephen on Feb 25, 2010 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#8  Postby stijndeloose » Feb 25, 2010 4:41 pm

Coyne's "Why Evolution Is True". For the 2nd time. I put RD's "Climbing Mount Deplorable" aside for a while.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#9  Postby RPizzle » Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

I heard it was good, but never read it. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World"
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#10  Postby stijndeloose » Feb 25, 2010 5:00 pm

RPizzle wrote:I heard it was good, but never read it. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World"


TDHW is EXCELLENT. It's BRILLIANT! I would recommend it to theists anytime, and a lot more warmly than TGD.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#11  Postby Shaker » Feb 25, 2010 5:01 pm

This week I are mostly reading (fiction) Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series - still fondly remembered from school) - and (non-fiction) Trotsky's Marxism by Duncan Hallas, for something light and fluffy.
To be boosted by an illusion is not to live better than to live in harmony with the truth ... these refusals to part with a decayed illusion are really an infection to the mind. - George Santayana
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#12  Postby RPizzle » Feb 25, 2010 5:04 pm

stijndeloose wrote:
RPizzle wrote:I heard it was good, but never read it. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World"


TDHW is EXCELLENT. It's BRILLIANT! I would recommend it to theists anytime, and a lot more warmly than TGD.


Yeah, I've seen it recommended to theists on a regular basis, so I figured that I should check it out. It would be nice to have something to recommend to them that is so well received.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#13  Postby Stephen » Feb 25, 2010 5:05 pm

RPizzle wrote:I heard it was good, but never read it. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World"


I read some of it but felt like it was intended for people more ignorant than myself. Well written, and I love Sagan, but the warmth of it is at the expense of the humor I also like to see in such a book. In any case I'm not suggesting that you're ignorant or anything, I just found the book to retread a lot of stuff I'd already spent a good deal of time reading and thinking about, just in a less caustic way, so I got kind of bored with it.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#14  Postby RPizzle » Feb 25, 2010 5:14 pm

Stephen wrote:
RPizzle wrote:I heard it was good, but never read it. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World"


I read some of it but felt like it was intended for people more ignorant than myself. Well written, and I love Sagan, but the warmth of it is at the expense of the humor I also like to see in such a book. In any case I'm not suggesting that you're ignorant or anything, I just found the book to retread a lot of stuff I'd already spent a good deal of time reading and thinking about, just in a less caustic way, so I got kind of bored with it.


Living where I do, I run into people all the time who don't know a thing about evolution or science. I figured it would be good to have something to recommend to people who aren't necessarily educated in the sciences. However, before I recommend it to anyone, I'll have to give it a good read.

I'm just a university student, so there are probably plenty of things for me to learn in that book. Even if I only learned his knack as a communicator of science, I'd be happy.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#15  Postby Stephen » Feb 25, 2010 5:22 pm

RPizzle wrote:
Stephen wrote:
RPizzle wrote:I heard it was good, but never read it. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World"


I read some of it but felt like it was intended for people more ignorant than myself. Well written, and I love Sagan, but the warmth of it is at the expense of the humor I also like to see in such a book. In any case I'm not suggesting that you're ignorant or anything, I just found the book to retread a lot of stuff I'd already spent a good deal of time reading and thinking about, just in a less caustic way, so I got kind of bored with it.


Living where I do, I run into people all the time who don't know a thing about evolution or science. I figured it would be good to have something to recommend to people who aren't necessarily educated in the sciences. However, before I recommend it to anyone, I'll have to give it a good read.

I'm just a university student, so there are probably plenty of things for me to learn in that book. Even if I only learned his knack as a communicator of science, I'd be happy.


LOL

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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#16  Postby RPizzle » Feb 25, 2010 5:23 pm

Central PA is called Pennsyltucky. I think that explains it concisely.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#17  Postby I'm With Stupid » Feb 25, 2010 5:26 pm

I'm reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. It kinda suits me because it's one of those books you can easily read in sections (I think a lot of it is comprised of his articles anyway). I like Ben though, he's a funny bloke.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#18  Postby SPMaximus » Feb 25, 2010 5:30 pm

I ordered 'The God Delusion' on Sunday... it will arrive in 1-2 days, I kind of regret it now because I have no desire to read it anymore, at least not for a while :puke:
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#19  Postby Shaker » Feb 25, 2010 5:53 pm

SPMaximus wrote:I ordered 'The God Delusion' on Sunday... it will arrive in 1-2 days, I kind of regret it now because I have no desire to read it anymore, at least not for a while :puke:

I think I know just what you mean there Image
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#20  Postby crank » Feb 25, 2010 6:17 pm

Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang by Steinhardt and Turok. It's about their alternative to The Big Bang, Cali mentions their work often, but then references real physics papers, might as well be Sanskrit, oh well.
“When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat.”
-George Carlin, who died 2008. Ha, now we have human centipedes running the place
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