Nature of Man
… nothing that happens to Man is ever natural

18 April 2008, Friday

What I Tell You Three Times is True

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 21:32
“A person who does not read good books has no
advantage over the person who can’t read them.”
– Mark Twain

There’s this meme going around the “nearby” blogs - you write about something, usually answering a set of questions, and then you “pass along the challenge” to N bloggers around you. Talk about exponential meme growth. Here’s the ball Frostie passed me:

Name three books …
1. … you have read most recently.
2. … you have bought most recently.
3. … you would reread again.

1.1. Strangers in Paradise, a comic series by Terry Moore. It is hard to describe this, I think it is revolutionary in the way people are portrayed in a comic book - realistic to the last detail in both character and appearance. The topics swing from the mundane to the extraordinary, but all confined in a believable frame. It has sex in it, but it’s not about sex. It has relationships, but it’s not about relationships. It has conspiracies, but it’s not about conspiracies. I can’t describe it in any other way, but here’s what Gaiman has to say about it:

What most people don’t know about love, sex, and relations with other human beings would fill a book. Strangers in Paradise is that book. I have long suspected that what people did in private was much funnier than it ever was erotic. Terry Moore obviously thinks so too.

It has 106 issues, so technically I have met the requirements, but I’ll go on because I’ve read other interesting stuff as well :)

1.2. Freakonomics. It’s a book on how economic incentives affect everything around us, and how data mining can reflect trends and truths which are not visible in any other light. A sample from the book: What The Bagel Man Saw. Other topics include insider information on a crack cocaine gang (aka “If drug sellers are so rich, why do they live with their mothers”) and how legalizing abortion put a stop on crime in the US. (Wikipedia has more on the subject)

1.3. Spook Country by William Gibson. Every book from this man is a gem, this one is no exception.

2. I don’t buy many paper books lately, and I can’t remember three books I’ve bought last. One is “The Big Fat Kill” by Frank Miller (yes, a comic translated in Bulgarian), but I can’t name any other. Probably Pratchett or Bulgarian sci-fi.

3. I love rereading, and I have clear winners for doing so. One: Pratchett is an author who can never be read just once. I reread all his books, and there is always half a dozen of them I haven’t read since more than a year, so I can’t really tire of it. Two: Bujold’s Miles Vorkossigan series. I have read pieces of it when it was partially published in Bulgarian, then after having collected the entire Miles universe in English, I have read it twice. Give me a year and I’ll do it again, I love the little bugger and his ways of dealing with trouble. Third: the early books of Neal Stephenson. Zodiac and The Big U are for me much greater than his later books. I would read Cryptonomicon again, but his other books are too commertial or tiresome (I couldn’t reach even the midpoint of that crap about Newton). As a last third option ;) , I’ll point Douglas Adams, another very rereadable author whom I haven’t read since several years. Ahh, Had I but world enough, and time

I hereby pass the meme snowball to:
Lady Thistle
Firefox (Hey, how come you’re not in the sidebar? Fixed.)
and The Mountain King

8 April 2008, Tuesday

Vale Mundum, Codex Securitatis Incipitur

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 22:45

I have started another blog, Codex Securitatis in which to write about security and Latin. Because I mostly suck at Latin, so I’ll stick to the security part.

Please update your links/bookmarks if you’re interested in the security content, or sigh in relief if you aren’t.

(In case you wonder, “incipitur” should mean “is started”, “codex”, meaning book, is the closest to “blog” I could think of, “securitatis” is “of security”, and “vale mundum” is the ubiquitous “hello world”)

2 April 2008, Wednesday

The meme is stronger than the sword

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 16:04

“… Swift Death, I did but jest”

… and there are little more suited demonstrations than this account of a 1708 hoax (that’s way before the Internet, mind you), carried by (spoiler alert) Johnatan Swift (too late, you read it!).

Finally, [ John Partridge ] had succumbed to his fever at 7:05 PM—just four hours off the time predicted by Bickerstaff.

The news left London in a state of shock and wonder. At the same moment it had lost one of its oldest and most respected almanac writers, the city had gained what was surely the first indisputably genuine astrologer in history. The implications were staggering.

It’s likely that no one was as surprised to hear the news as John Partridge.

This is even better than the fake volcano erruption story!

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