Iskaral Pust

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  1. April Reads: What, fool, are you reading?!?

    Finished volume 2 of Hinges Of History by Thomas Cahill, non-fiction history series. This one walks through the Old Testament, building a claim that the gradual development of monotheism, individualism and progressive time (rather than cyclical) was a profound sea-change in human mode of thought and perspective. Very well written again. A little too steeped in religiosity but I'll allow it. I'll read more of this series once I've taken a break. This series is much more about the history of culture and philosophy than history of events. It feels a bit similar to Luc Ferry.
  2. Bosch... Amazon Original

    I just watched the first two eps of S1. Pretty good, a bit cliche, but overall well done and a cut above the typical police procedural. The first (only?) major crime of S1 is really grim and horrible to contemplate. I just hope they don't dwell on it too much.
  3. Fargo 3: not until 2017

    There was a pretty strong link in the logic and phrasing used by David Thewlis. The Stasi interrogator says something like "These other things are stories, we're not here to talk about stories", referring to rational counterfactual evidence, and then Thewlis says "We are not talking about a loan, we are talking about an investment" , even though the money was contractually only a loan. In both cases, the menacing figure decides to ignore the counterfactual evidence and declare the Orwellian "truth", while the naif is nonplussed by the departure from rational argument.
  4. Football - #WengerOut

    Yes, and not a surprise either. It's surprising United got two wins against Chelsea and away to Burnley to make us rue our slip. If we don't keep messing up, our saving grace could be Utd vs City -- one of them has to drop points. It's still no better than 50:50 that we make top four, despite other sources touting better odds.
  5. Fargo 3: not until 2017

    Very good opening episode. I just watched it last night. I thought this thread would be much busier by now. First, I really liked the tone shift. It feels closer to S1. In S2, the scenes with Ed and Peggy kept the same zany Midwest humor atop an emerging descent into grim violence out of their depth, but the scenes with the crime family were too serious, too portentous, and drifted from that sense of crime whimsily intersecting with politeness and common sense. A lot of Fargo is really a comedy of manners, e.g. Ewan McGregor and side-kick having three different awkward conversations about money while maintaining the Midwest nice. And, harking back to S1, we have small-time sibling rivalry and resentment as initial catalyst for crime. The manipulative parolee (what's her name?) was excellent. Billy Bob Thornton was great in S1 and this time it feels like she and David Thewlis will (unrelated to each other) be the disrupter and the danger respectively. Pacing was good, humor restored, story was set up, characters all hit their marks, basically everything went well. I'm excited for the rest of the season.
  6. Is Revolution The Only Viable Solution?

    In the short term, that's certainly true. In the long term, we don't know yet. We've discussed before the potential effects of the robot revolution and there are positive and negative scenarios. I would not want to commit to a "lump of labor" fallacy too early. Even if robots can produce most goods and services, human-provided (unnecessary) goods or services could become luxury goods that would create sustainable employment. We'd basically be like a troop of chimps grooming each other all day amidst an environment of effortless food and shelter. Ennui could become the major social problem instead. In fact, for those of us in the educated socioeconomic elite (I mean the top 5%, not just the ultra wealthy 0.01%), it possibly already is.
  7. Is Revolution The Only Viable Solution?

    I have less and less confidence that we're all going to get on the same side. The problem is change: some people embrace change and happily learn new technologies, while some people inherently do not or even cannot. This tension has always existed and having both arguably conferred group survival benefits, but change happens now faster than ever before in human history. The chasm is now too wide. We are changing our environment faster than our evolution can keep up (not a great signal of long term species survival), and we've reached a tipping point in our societal balance. The minority best able to handle this change are now responsible for the majority of economic, artistic and cultural production, while the others tag along at the periphery. The left behind majority will need to be bribed and pandered to by the productive minority to maintain a peace, whether political or literal. And a listless, feckless majority resenting their dole will need a lot of pandering. Most unfortunately, the traits supporting success seem to be heritable to a large degree, somewhat nature (conservative vs progressive has shown to be partially innate) but mostly nurture. And the rate of change continues to accelerate. So the problem is only getting worse through concentration. Talk of liberals unleashing a revolution on the "fucktards" is laughable. Revolutions come from the starving/dispossessed majority against the disconnected elite minority. If there's any revolution in the offing, it will come from Trump nation, not the other way around.
  8. April Reads: What, fool, are you reading?!?

    I struggle too with the high praise for the Caine series. I read the first and thought it was ok, but nothing great. I started the second but the melodramatic emo angst within just a few pages made me drop it forever. It was like a caricature of "tough guy must be shown to experience intense personal pain/loss to motivate him to be even tougher". It felt like a cliche of a 1980s action movie hero. The central premise of world-shifting to blend a dystopian Running Man story with a traditional fantasy world is ok but nothing special -- even Hunger Games did it better. The writing, plot, characterization, etc just felt too cliched and overwrought.
  9. Is Revolution The Only Viable Solution?

    I agree. That OP could be interpreted as "can I justify autocratic rule by my political tribe because the others are too unreasonable?" Benevolent tyrants as a hypothetical concept are always in fashion somewhere. The practical reality tends to disappoint.
  10. Exercise and Fitness: sticking to resolutions

    Sorry 3CA about your injury. Terrible timing. No further exercise for me since Monday. Work is just crushingly busy these past couple of months, and will be until I have a successor confirmed for my old role. Hopefully back to the gym over the weekend.
  11. April Reads: What, fool, are you reading?!?

    I finished The Stars Are Legion, another good rec from these threads. It's a space opera that is significantly improved by some unusual world-building plus some intrigue maintained by an amnesiac primary POV. My only gripes would be that the world-building of the Legion is never expalained -- we never get the origin story or explanation -- and too much emo angst in general and from the secondary POV in particular, who is supposed to be a ruthlessly cold manipulator and politicker. If this expands to a series rather than a standalone, I doubt I would read further, even to satisfy my curiosity for the origin story. Now reading vol 2 of Hinges Of History non-fiction series by Thomas Cahill. I'm enjoying this one too. A great blend of top quality writing and insight.
  12. The agony of pedestrian walking patterns

    Especially true of revolving doors. You should approach from the right and exit to the right. Otherwise you are blocking oncoming flow. There needs to be a remedial class on revolving door etiquette at my office building.
  13. That seems like a lot for this story. I'm staying on the sidelines of this season. I'll binge watch it when it's finished if it actually improved on S2.
  14. Careerchat II

    It sounds like you should lead with your passion for the role and why you are so excited about it. Best of luck.
  15. Exercise and Fitness: sticking to resolutions

    Monday evening, I did some cardio to loosen up stiff muscles. I rowed 3x1km and did some cycling between each bout of rowing. My times were 3:45, 3:57 and 3:50. On the final 1km I was rowing at a pace of 1:40/500m for the first 650m and absolutely crushing it, and then I started gulping for breath and even seeing my vision darken slightly, so I backed way off the pace and got my breath back under control. No-one wants to be the guy who has a heart attack in the gym. I felt great afterward -- like the runner's high -- but obviously I had pushed a bit harder than intended for just loosening muscles. My wife just rolled her eyes because she knows I never do anything at a relaxed pace. I don't even sleep peacefully. Tuesday was a rest day. Hopefully back to the gym tonight.