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Author Topic: wat books do you read  (Read 6682 times)
Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2008, 07:43:22 am »

I agree on Lovecraft, he's not a good writer, I couldn't sleep for a week after reading that story with two dead brothers coming back from dead though.

He was a deliberately bad prose writer though. I'm sure he could have elected to be better.

Haven't read his poetry.

It is good as a "starter". My very first books were ones from a collection my mom used to buy for me. "Pick your own adventure" was the collection title. They are regular books, but at some point the reader has to make a decision, like "if you want John Smith opening that door, jump to page 128". I used to read all the possibilities in one single day. Now I think about it that could be my first experience with "software".

I want to write a textbook like that some day.

Like I'll put down a difficult problem and write "If you feel the answer is x, turn to page 556. If you feel the answer is y, turn to page 237."

[page 556] "You are correct. Loser!"

[page 237] "You are wrong. Idiot!"

Amazing, The Masque of the Red Death is my favorite Poe story also. "Silence" was great too.

I didn't read Silence. Probably should.

Yeah, maybe some of them are sacred. but what I wanted to say is I really don't like some type of saying about how important is to read, how some books are a must for everybody, and how stupid people is if they watch tv instead reading books. I don't think that is necessarily true.

No it isn't necessarily true. But television lends itself to idiocy. The combination of highly visual + passive audience in television makes it really really easy to produce a lot of crap.

One difference I see between printed and electronic internet books is the hypertext thing. Of course, there is hypertext in a printed book (like quotes from another authors, footprints, etc) but is not so easy to follow them. In an internet book, you can easily get lost following links, and I can imagine the story about a guy trapped forever in an infinite referenced network.

What if he gets stuck at a vertex (page) with no edges (links) leading out? Smiley

* footnotes, btw

One "internet reading ability" could be the one needed to discern when is proper to follow a link, how much you have to read from the referenced page and when to come back to the original test, if that ever happens. I am putting in a side the ability of actually find what are you looking for, and differentiate pertinent information from garbage. Even when you can make mistakes with books, is more easy to find garbage in the net.

It is easy to find garbage on the Interwebs, but I see a fair amount of printed garbage as well. I think one of the utmost important goals of the public education system should be to teach students about logic and rhetoric. It doesn't matter whether you later go into a mathematical or humanities field, because propositional logic is common to both, although in somewhat different forms. If you don't attend higher education after secondary school, you'll still have a useful tool for looking at advertisements, politicians' speeches, etc. critically. There's absolutely no way to lose.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2008, 12:35:35 pm »

Quote
I want to write a textbook like that some day.

Like I'll put down a difficult problem and write "If you feel the answer is x, turn to page 556. If you feel the answer is y, turn to page 237."

[page 556] "You are correct. Loser!"

[page 237] "You are wrong. Idiot!"

HaHaHa. One structure I found in some detective novels, including "The name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco (great book) and one Borges story at least, "the man and the compass", is one criminal making fake clues, marks and enigmas. The detective follows them thinking how smart he is finding this secrets symbols in the crime scene, but he finally finds he is being fooled, the inductive reasoning sucks and there is no sense or order in the universe. Good material for this kind of book, where the reader can pick which clues to follow. I would make him to lose in all of them, he still can have fun finding new ways to lead the detective to death.

Quote
I think one of the utmost important goals of the public education system should be to teach students about logic and rhetoric. It doesn't matter whether you later go into a mathematical or humanities field, because propositional logic is common to both, although in somewhat different forms. If you don't attend higher education after secondary school, you'll still have a useful tool for looking at advertisements, politicians' speeches, etc. critically. There's absolutely no way to lose.

Exactly. Important decisions have been made in economics in my country lately. I have heard a lot of arguments in tv involving corrupcy acussations, political inclinations, etc etc, but none about economics.
There is applications of logic in literature as well, I like this one by Alejandro Dolina, from my memmory: "Two mans have born exactly at the same time. The astrology says they will have the same destiny. They finally fall in love of the same woman. They fight for her and one wins love and life, the other one is dead. Or astrology is a lie, or love and death are the same."
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kidd
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« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2008, 01:36:58 pm »

Gödel, Escher, Bach ,
  an Eternal Golden Braid

written by Douglas R. Hofstadter, is one of the most mind blowing books I've ever read.

From consciousness, to formal systems, relationships with art, and lots of
self-references, this book won't let you read another piece of text with your
old way of seeing letters and text in general.

I won't adventure myself to define it, as it's one of the most missunderstood
recent book, but its structure is really funny and mind-blowing.  Along the book
(talking about consciousness, and the limits of computational
self-understanding) it introduces lots of little games for the reader to
discover (yes, first you have to find out there's a game to play, and then try
to solve it).

Note that its title and subtitle, has the same initials, but in different,
that's one of first things that you see when you read it. Well,

Douglas deals with some of most famous paradoxes like russell's one

Any chapter is preceeded by a dialog between Aquile and the turtle (remember Zenon
paradox?), explaining in a funny and tricky way some of the contents of the
following chapter.  Every dialog refers to a mathematical concept, a Bach piece
and an Escher picture.

Now it's up to you to read it or not.

Oh, it's >900 pages, so it's not a book to take to the beach Wink

Unfortunately, the book is quite expensive, but for me, it's worth the price.

Not to say this post has a similar structure as one brief text in GEB called
'Contracrostipunctus'.
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blurymind
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« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2008, 07:46:32 am »

I could never understand the plot of Dune and didn't finish reading it.

H.P. Lovecraft wrote great stories but he was a (deliberately) terrible writer. Extremely turgid prose.

Regarding Dune, it took me three tries to finish it, but on the third try I not only finished it but really enjoyed it.  Regarding Lovecraft, I read his stories for the first time when I was in my early teens, so I didn't know how turgid the prose was; I only knew that the stories either kept me awake or gave me horrific nightmares.


i dont like dune quite as much as some of his other award winning books that are not that long and a lighter read- i mean "whipping star" and the "something about ant people,forgot its name,lol"

lovecraft is stylistically very simular to Poe. Tongue
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gacl
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« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2008, 07:57:05 am »

I have a pile of books that i haven't finished reading. Most i started a long time ago. Mostly related to my line of work:

Teaching Music In The Twenty-First Century
Music Lessons For Children With Special Needs
Music In Special Education
Manuel Pratique
Conducting Technique
Harmonic Practice In Tonal Music
The Complete Poetical Works Of Tennyson

And a bunch of sheet music for various instruments.

Why haven't i finished them? Well, dealing with a computer's quirks certainly takes some time. Although i've been visiting Slashdot a lot lately. Well, come September, no more computer!

I like Lovecraft, i read a book of collected stories many, many years ago but i'm not sure if i want to read more because of his _blatant racism_. I think it would color my reading.
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blurymind
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« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2008, 08:22:00 am »

i never thought that he was racist... hmm,maybe i  am forgetting something.. He does have many personal obsessions and i do find them amusing in a way, although  racism is a silly and wrong one
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2008, 08:55:16 am »

Well, it's true. From The Call of Cthulhu:

Quote
Examined at headquarters after a trip of intense strain and weariness, the prisoners all proved to be men of a very low, mixed-blooded, and mentally aberrant type. Most were seamen, and a sprinkling of Negroes and mulattoes, largely West Indians or Brava Portuguese from the Cape Verde Islands, gave a colouring of voodooism to the heterogeneous cult. But before many questions were asked, it became manifest that something far deeper and older than Negro fetishism was involved. Degraded and ignorant as they were, the creatures held with surprising consistency to the central idea of their loathsome faith.

Honestly, I could not give two s―ts about whether Lovecraft's stories were racist or not. Social justice doesn't concern me at all and, regardless, you may as well just enjoy the damn story. Mind you, Lovecraft was biased not only against non-whites but, specifically, non-Anglos. i.e., he disliked Dutch, Scandinavians, Arabs, Greeks and IIRC French―among many others―just as much as blacks. The only people portrayed in a positive light in his stories are people of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic background (including a doctor of Celt-Iberian extract). His biases could apply to me just as well.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 11:40:55 am by Epic Fail Guy » Logged

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gacl
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« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2008, 07:04:05 am »

Quote
He does have many personal obsessions and i do find them amusing in a way, although  racism is a silly and wrong one

He did write a poem called On The Creation Of Niggers:

"A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure, Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger."

Quote
Lovecraft was biased not only against non-whites but, specifically, non-Anglos

It's interesting that his wife was Jewish. Maybe that's why she divorced him. According to her, he made anti-Semitic remarks in her presence.
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exeterdad
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2008, 07:34:27 am »

He did write a poem called On The Creation Of Niggers:

"A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure, Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger."

Shocked
Yep! I would consider that racist. Wow!
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2008, 07:28:27 pm »

Yep! I would consider that racist. Wow!

Well it was the early 20th century; you can't expect particularly egalitarian views towards race from that period.

Has anyone had this experience in doing problems from a textbook?

  • Hm, interesting exercise.
  • My answer doesn't agree.
  • What did I do wrong?
  • I'm right.
  • Or maybe I didn't think hard enough.
  • Let me think about why the author is right.
  • He really can't be right.
  • I'll look at the Amazon reviews.
  • Yeah, he's definitely not right.
  • Time to put this book down.

I've done this with two books now, it's irritating.
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gacl
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« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2008, 07:03:13 am »

I do remember finding plenty of problems in college textbooks. From printing mistakes to arrogant authors that want to present their particular unpopular view as the accepted consensus. There are also the included CD-ROMs which have to be installed on a Windows machine. Most of the time the files themselves are common, like PDF or AVI, but they go to great lengths to prevent people from finding the files in the directories.

Back when i was working on my BS, in the required orchestration book there was an entire page missing. I e-mailed the company (Norton) about the problem and a couple of weeks later they sent me a brand new book! The good thing was that this was an _expensive_ book and now i could sell the copy and recoup some money. The bad news was that this was the _exact same book_! . . with the same missing page! I had to find an older edition to find that page. Thankfully the change between editions is minimal.

Gus
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2008, 07:08:52 am »

I remember finding important mistakes in the translations of some Greek books from the Gredos label. They are the most important Greek / Spanish bilingual books publishers. I mean important stuff for the interpretation of the author, like "essence" instead "substance" in Aristotle's Metaphysics.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2008, 11:24:33 am »

I do remember finding plenty of problems in college textbooks. From printing mistakes to arrogant authors that want to present their particular unpopular view as the accepted consensus.

I haven't run into that much, for obvious reasons. Most of the errors I have come across were provable factual inaccuracies, i.e., the 'view' presented at some point was not just unpopular but wrong, period.

There are also the included CD-ROMs which have to be installed on a Windows machine. Most of the time the files themselves are common, like PDF or AVI, but they go to great lengths to prevent people from finding the files in the directories.

'find' is your friend

find /mnt/cdrom/ -iname '*.pdf' -or -iname '*.avi', etc., very flexible

I remember finding important mistakes in the translations of some Greek books from the Gredos label. They are the most important Greek / Spanish bilingual books publishers. I mean important stuff for the interpretation of the author, like "essence" instead "substance" in Aristotle's Metaphysics.

I'm a noob at this kind of thing, what is the context? I want to see why the translation is wrong.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2008, 04:25:32 pm »

I'm a noob at this kind of thing, what is the context? I want to see why the translation is wrong.

Aristotle usually uses ousia in many senses. Sometimes to refer the concept, idea or eidos, of a particular thing, like what a thing has of universal and abstract. Other times, to refer the matter of a thing, as in chemistry. And finally the most commonly accepted as the main meaning, to refer both of them, that is a particular being, which is in Aristotle's thoughts some kind of complex, like matter with form. His hole metaphysics seems to be based in this use of ousia, a particular thing which exists by its own right. In this way he takes some distance from Plato, who thought the idea, universal , abstract and immutable, is the proper being. The particular things has no proper existence, only as a projected image of the immutable concept. My Latin knowledge is poor, but iirc the term essentia was invented by Latin speakers to translate Aristotle's to ti esti, something like "the what it is", because the Latin structure doesn't allow that kind of construction. It is an abstract noun derived from esse (to be), must be something like "beingness" in English, and it is usually used to denote the abstract part of a particular, the concept, the universal, the thing that does not change as opposed to the accidents or attributes, the being in Plato's sense and a long etc. depending on the philosophical preference of the writer. It takes only one aspect of Aristotle's uses of ousia and can be used sometimes, and sometimes it can't, depending on the context.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2008, 06:16:42 pm »

Well I'm familiar with the idea of eidos, mainly because it is essential to math, e.g., the ultimate reality behind the seven bridges of Königsberg problem is its graph, which is isomorphic to many other graphs that might have the same use in that context or not. But I haven't heard about ousia yet. I feel I'd have to read a lot more about Greek philosophy to understand what Aristotle really means.
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