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A wilding

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Posts posted by A wilding

  1. 1 hour ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    Like the cunning English parking a bunch of wooden spitfires in a bunch of airfields during WWII

    Not to mention entire fake burning towns to confuse Geman night bombing. Which even, at one point, had their own anti aircraft defences, until it was discovered that this discouraged the Germans from attacking them.

  2. 2 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

    [Babel] really bothered me

    That does sum it up! I agree with your conclusions. And while as a British person I didn't want to make a point of it, of course the apparent implication in the book that all British opposition to slavery was purely on economic grounds is not true.

    I have now read The Poppy War. I thought it shallow in places and a bit rough round the edges, but again very powerfully written. However it is dark, and just gets darker. One of those books that make you wonder a bit about the author, though in this case they might be just getting catharsis after immersion in 20th century Chinese history. Though I understand that the sequels are even worse, I don't intend to read them.

  3. 2 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

    Interesting.  I just picked it up.  I abandoned the Poppy War halfway through because it was quite slow, and quite depressing. It was well-written though. 

    You can accuse the English of many vices (and I do), but inarticulacy is not one of them.  So I'll read that charge with interest.  

    I am now going to be starting on the Poppy War soon, so I can report my impressions of that.

    On the inarticulacy thing, I think it is probably just the American/English cultural divide. The old stereotype where the English think Americans incontinently express private emotions too much, and do so largely for effect rather than genuinely feeling them, while the Americans consider the English to be unemotional and repressed.

  4. 13 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

    BBC story says “Here is the full conversation, as recounted by Ms Fulani:” before it, unless there’s a different version.

    I was just checking and you are right. The bystander, one Mandu Reid, merely agreed that the transcript matched her recollection, and it had been racist and offensive. She was also quoted to this effect by the BBC.

    Edit and an interesting take from Mandu Reid here: basically she did not want Lady Hussey to resign, she would prefer some institutional change, rather than just sacrificing a scapegoat who was only a symptom of the problem.


  5. Been reading the latest book by R F Kuang (author of The Poppy War): Babel, or the Necessity of Violence.

    This is about the most autobiographic fantasy I have ever read. The author was obviously a driven first class linguistics student at Oxford with a serious love/hate attitude towards privileged Oxford academic life. They also appear to have faced racism, sexism and class snobbery (last time I noticed Oxford was indeed still infested with Boris Johnson's spiritual kin). And they apparently decided that most English are inarticulate, repressed, and unable to express their personal feelings.

    All this is in the book, transposed to an alternative 19th century and dialled up to the max. (Ritual public humiliation of students who fail their exams!) It is also an evisceration of British colonialism. The characterisation and evocation of a milieu are impressive and hooked me in, but the plot was a little weak. It is all powerfully written but felt like a polemic to me - I started skimming towards the end of the book. So mixed good and bad, but I would recommend it as worth a try.

  6. 1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

    If the EU blocks twitter… how big a hit is that to twitter?

    My guess: by the time the EU gets around to it (or alternatively to hit Twitter with a heavy fine), there won't be a Twitter left to ban, or at least not a Twitter with any significant presence in the EU. But if it had happened last month, they would have lost a significant number of users and advertising revenue.

  7. UK police are going to text 70000 victims of fraud and ask them to take some action to protect themselves that will be specified in the text. Apparently people will know that the texts are genuine because they will all be sent tomorrow and they will contain links to the Action Fraud website.

    I understand that they are communicating in this way because in many cases all they have is the phone numbers of the victims, but they really have not thought it through have they?


  8. Corrupt Eurosceptic Brexiteer ex MP, on the record for demanding that the UK scrap its adherence to European Human Rights legislation, is suing the UK government in the European Court of Human Rights for "damaging his good reputation", by not scrapping the Standards Commission when they caught him out in his corruption and recommended his suspension as an MP.


    Epic trolling!

  9. Just read Ian McDonald's Luna trilogy, Luna: New Moon, Luna Wolf Moon, and Luna: Moon Rising.

    As many have said, the strapline for this is "an SF ASoIaF set on the moon". Though there is something of The Godfather in there too. But there are also some interesting sidelights giving depth, for example Luna sports (mostly co-operative), Luna sexual mores, the technologies (never described in detail, but obviously carefully thought through by the author), and a form of lycanthropy driven by the phases of the Earth. And the books do a good job of hammering home just how hostile the Luna environment is, with a frequent refrain of it having "a thousand ways to kill you".

    Ultimately though I was not able to really believe in the society depicted, nor in some aspects of the plot, and the last book felt somewhat weaker, with the story rather petering out. But nonetheless these were page turners, and I enjoyed reading them.

  10. 8 hours ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

    Whoever decided that an AI should generate their social media promotions without a competent marketing zombie checking its work for a start. Maybe the programmer who forgot to add the "Kristallnacht=Nazi=bad" line of code to the algorithm? I'd start there.

    If I was a betting man then I would bet that the programmer was told by a corner cutting manager "of course we will have someone manually checking every promotion!" In fact there may well have been such a step in the process, only someone subsequently turned it off or removed it.

  11. 1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

    The second interesting thing is that Braverman lost her job when the breach of security was used as a reason to get rid of her over differences of opinion about immigration policy. It looks like the same thing is happening now, it’s just now it’s Labour and the media making all the effort.

    Though Braverman did lose her job immediately after the security breach came to light, which seems more than a coincidence! To me it feels more like she tried to spin being sacked for the security breach into a principled resignation over a policy disagreement.

    But I suppose if, since Johnson, breaching security is no longer a sacking offence, merely something that provides an way of sacking you if you are not wanted, that is still better then nothing. It provides at least some incentive for them to behave themselves. Though I personally think that the likes of Braverman genuinely seem to think that the rules do not apply to them and they can do whatever they want.

  12. 1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

    Hmm, I dunno about that. I think that "rationality" is the corrupting power of the Ring, if not literally, at least thematically. The instinct to use Power to do Good can be hacked and corrupted to serve an end that is very far from Good. That is, in fact, Sauron's great failing, after all. And that's Galadriel's test, that the way to her heart (and Gandalf's) for the Ring is by playing on their need to help and preserve. That is how they'd begin, too, before inevitably turning evil. To Tolkien, the causes and good desires are meaningless if it results in you having dominion of the kind the Ring provides. It steals will, imposes "order", controls. Whatever good cause you begin with, if that's what you need to do to get your way, you're evil.

    Yes, I agree with this. I was trying to make the point that she would genuinely be able to use the Ring, unlike, for example, Sam when he is tempted by it much later.

  13. 1 hour ago, Le Cygne said:

    I don't think she was quickly tempted by the ring in LOTR.

    In the books (and I think she's trying to show this in the movie, too), she laughs when Frodo offers her the ring, and seems to be trying to show him it would be wrong for her, or anyone, to take the ring:

    Personally I would not say that Galadriel is laughing at the very idea that the Ring would tempt her. And I think Frodo knows already it would be wrong for anyone to try to use it.

    I think that she is laughing because, while she had long thought that events would conspire to tempt her by bringing the ring within her grasp, she had not foreseen that last refinement - that Frodo would offer it to her freely. While at the same time she sees the fairness of his doing so, given she had herself earlier "tested Frodo's heart" as I think she puts it.

    But I do agree with @fionwe1987 that the test she faces is not so much to resist the corrupting power of the ring, in the way that various other characters need to. As with Gandalf, hers is a more rational test. She knows that she could master the Ring and then use it to save Lorien, which otherwise, as she explains to Frodo, is doomed, whatever the result of the War of the Ring.

  14. 5 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

    Considering how quickly she was tempted by the ring in LOTR

    That wouldn't be my take.

    Galadriel says that she had pondered for many years what she would do if the ring ever came within her grasp. I think that she had known for a long time that she was very likely to be exposed to the (enormous) temptation of taking and using it. So it was not really quick at all. The only thing that seemed to surprise her in any way was Frodo's offer to give it to her freely.

    Though she may have been taken aback at just how strong the temptation was when it came to the point. Certainly that seemed to be the take of the Peter Jackson films.


  15. 1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

    We’ll see how it goes, he’s inherited a pretty divided party and chaos could still ensue but he will calm the markets and probably just do a bunch of boring sensible things which might mean the chances of a general election soon will fall away 

    Make no mistake. As well as being competent, Sunak is a billionaire banker citizen of nowhere who is on the economic far right. He will spend the next 2 years not only carrying out as much of his agenda as possible, but also ensuring that it cannot be reversed later. I fear just how much permanent change he may impose on us before the next election.


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