What'cha Readin'?

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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4481  Postby crazyfitter » Feb 24, 2020 9:30 pm

Just finished Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee. This is an in-depth account of the years 1860 to 1890 and as the blurb says - years of broken promises, disillusionment, war and massacre. I wouldn’t know where to start talking about it but I will mention a couple of things which resonate with me today.
At the start of each chapter Dee lists a few things that were happening in the world at the same time as this history to give a little context. I’ve always liked that in a history book and I learn that in January 1884 Russia abolished the Poll Tax, last relic of serfdom. If only Thatcher knew!

Also in the book Sitting Bull (he of Custer fame) joined Buffalo Bills Wild West Show in 1885 and toured American and Canadian cities. He gave most of his money away to the band of ragged hungry boys who would constantly surround him. He said he couldn’t understand how white men could be so unmindful of their own poor. ‘The white man knows how to make everything’ he said, ‘but he doesn’t know how to distribute it.’
He was invited to various ceremonies to give speeches which he did in his own language and received rapturous applause whenever he paused. What they didn’t know was that he had stood there and insulted everyone. ‘I hate all the white people’ he said ‘you are thieves and liars. You have taken away our land and made us outcasts’.
Got to like the man.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4482  Postby aufbahrung » Feb 24, 2020 9:46 pm

New Scientist, May 9th 2015. Can recommend this edition. Half the time it goes over my head.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4483  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 06, 2020 5:36 pm

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My 2year old twin granddaughters and their 4 year old sister recently bought me these books as a birthday present. I mean... wow...how could they know?
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4484  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 10, 2020 8:44 pm

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Tyson is a pleasant enough little book and easily read. You won’t find anything about astrophysics in it though. It’s a series of letters to him from various people inc children and the devout on the subject mostly of the cosmos and his replies to them. He also writes a letter to his long dead father, something that left me feeling a little embarrassed.

Moby attacked him for his tweet: A cow is a biological machine invented by humans to turn grass into steak. His reply included the point that there was no opinion in the tweet. Moby later apologised.

Also the tweet: In Walmart, America’s largest gun seller, you can buy an assault rifle. But company policy bans pop music with curse words. Again a storm of reaction and again it’s opinion neutral.

A right wing shock jock attacked him in his papers blog and he gave a blow by blow rebuttal. They became friends.

Anyway now for something entirely different.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4485  Postby felltoearth » Mar 11, 2020 12:11 pm

Image


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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4486  Postby Fallible » Mar 11, 2020 12:35 pm

I need no excuse, but I’ll take this one.
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4488  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 19, 2020 8:01 pm

felltoearth wrote:Image

I’m waiting for a virus that attacks barley and hops so we can all run out and buy lots of beer. No, hang on... I didn’t really mean that!


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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4489  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 20, 2020 10:18 pm

The Story of the British Isles by Neil Oliver is a lightweight history book centred on a look at 100 places in these islands. Like his TV shows, like Coast, he has a romantic, even hippyish way of writing. Try this from his introduction: “The coast is like the hem of a garment - fixing the whole against unravelling”. Total bullshit but a style that is easy on the brain I found.
One of the chapters deals with the Dover Boat, 3500years old and well preserved in the mud. Formed of 4oak planks sewn together with flexible willow it was 60ft long and 30 ft of it is in the Dover museum. But here he goes again: ”Just as there are places in the landscape that feel ‘thin’, where the divide between one world and the next seems slight........While I stood and crouched beside her, I swear I felt her makers ghosts close by.” Maybe it’s just me!
We have a chapter on Schiehallion and it’s roll in discovering the gravitational constant and therefore the weight of our planet. It’s a ’Munro’, that is a Scottish mountain over 3000ft high and one of 282. It stands alone and is a good conical shape so ideal to measure and find its volume. In 1772 The Royal Society sent a surveyor called Charles Mason ( he of Mason - Dixon fame) to measure it. The finished product was a map covered in dots representing height above sea level. To make sense of it the mathematician Charles Hutton joined up the dots of the same height and hey presto he invented the contour line which we are all familiar with. The man who did the experiment with the plumb line was the Astronomer Royal the Reverend Nevil Maskelyne and with Hutton calculated the weight of the Earth to be around Five million, million tons, which we now know to be very close to actual.
In his conclusion he calls the book his love letter to the British Isles and here he goes again: “The world needs the British Isles - even the idea of the British Isles. Our unique and civilised culture, formed during thousands of years of often painful history, is a light in the dark. But that light is guttering and failing. The last petals are trembling on the stem. Olympus is falling”.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4490  Postby don't get me started » Mar 21, 2020 3:01 am

:this:

Very nice review crazyfitter.

Good overview of the book, some illustrative quotes and your own take on the content and style.
Yeah, flowery prose can sometimes raise an eyebrow, bit if it helps the message sink in, doesn't constitute
the entirety of the text and maintains progressivity, I usually don't have too much of an issue.

I might put this one on the (already lengthy) list of books to get round to.
Cheers. :thumbup:
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4491  Postby Macdoc » Mar 21, 2020 6:16 am

This might be an excellent companion read.

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as would this

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Thoroughly enjoyed them both
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4492  Postby aufbahrung » Mar 21, 2020 8:38 am

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be back to reading soon as this flu clears up, hopefully.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4493  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 22, 2020 12:27 pm

That looks good aufbahrung, hope you get better soon.

Macdoc, they look good reads, I’ve looked at the reviews and have put them on my list, thanks.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4494  Postby UncertainSloth » Mar 22, 2020 12:58 pm

simon winchester is well worth getting into - he's written some really interesting stuff

the new mel gibson film, professor and the madman, is based on his book 'the surgeon of crowthorne'
i guess i could be a quiet hero
no one knows the good i've done

e
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4495  Postby UncertainSloth » Mar 22, 2020 12:59 pm

Macdoc wrote:This might be an excellent companion read.

Image



what did you think of this one? not one i've read yet
i guess i could be a quiet hero
no one knows the good i've done

e
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4496  Postby Macdoc » Mar 22, 2020 1:08 pm

Not as gripping as Scots ( what a premise )!!!!... but a narrower true story of an unsung hero treated badly ( and in part self inflicted ).
I learned a lot.
NYT review is thorough - eye watering pun aside.

https://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/05/book ... rneys.html
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4497  Postby aufbahrung » Mar 23, 2020 10:15 am

I'm over the cough. Back to reading snippets then cutting and pasting them here and there, saving my brain for the big issues.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4498  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 27, 2020 6:02 pm

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The title of the book is a little misleading. In all the years I’ve locked horns with racist colleagues I don’t think there’s much in the book which would have helped. The fact we are all ex- Africa and are quite recent cousins (I was surprised how recent) wouldn’t have fazed them at all. There’s a lot crammed into this little book: I never realised that genetics was so complicated. Adam pours scorn on the media ‘the gene for X has been discovered’:It hasn’t. X is governed by lots of genes, often with multiple uses acting in often sophisticated ways with other genes.

He’s cynical about all the companies offering to do a genetic profile and tell you where your ancestors come from even to the extent that African Americans can learn where in Africa they originate. They can’t, the mix of African genes makes it impossible. These companies rely mostly on their own databases ie. their other customers. It’s a great way to waste $99. He’s looked at far right websites like Stormfront and finds obsession with these companies. ‘I’m 100% white, I’m 99.99% white, I’ve got no Ashkenazim Jewish blood’. One guy even complained that he was only 61% white and a reply came that a drink was prepared that was 61% water and the rest potassium cyanide. ‘ drink it all up YOU ARE NOT WHITE’. There’s some real cesspits out there. I particularly liked Adams line, ‘Every Nazi has Jewish blood’.

He goes on to deal with pigmentation, IQ, sport, and modern subtle racism.

In the study of genetics an assumption of 25 to 30 years per generation is made so over a 500 year period we have 1,048,576 ancestors. By a thousand years we have 1,099,511,627,776 that is over a trillion and about 10 times more people than has ever existed. The paradox is revealed.

There’s a wealth of information in this book and I had no idea how to even start reviewing it so I waited a few days to see which bits stuck in my mind most and this is the result. I’ve also just been on Amazon and there’s some great reviews of this book which I’d recommend.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4499  Postby Fallible » Mar 27, 2020 6:59 pm

Thanks, crazyfitter. :thumbup:
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4500  Postby Macdoc » Mar 30, 2020 8:01 pm

Image

dive into the geo-politics... :popcorn:
Se how long I last. :coffee:
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