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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. OK, I've Googled and checked the name in different languages and still don't get it: @A Horse Named Stranger, why do you call Belarus, Belarusk? Am I missing an obvious pun?
  2. Detecting AI: Think it could be quite difficult to do given that AI doesn't copy text. It builds content based on likelihood, so follows patterns. Which sounds to me a lot like how humans write. I've got my job history stored on my CV and on LinkedIn. If I was less lazy I'd also have recorded details about what those jobs in involved. Given that material, then with some careful formulation of the task, I guess you could get a decent supporting statement out of ChatGPT.
  3. Think part of the sense that the WWDITS seasons come around fast is that they hit the USA in summer, and the UK in late autumn. I mostly end up catching up on it during the Christmas break. They feel more present for more of the year than if the broadcasters would do the sensible thing and release it everywhere at the same time.
  4. Has anyone read Andrew Caldecott's Rotherweird books? My library service has all of them. I remember Waterstones pushing them heavily a few years ago, and the covers are certainly beautiful, but I can't recall seeing them mentioned with praise or otherwise here. I mean, I guess I could just read them myself and make up my own mind... Wait. Nah. ETA: Finished the audiobook of Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self by Andrea Wulf. I enjoyed it deeply, though didn't feel it was quite as effective as her 2015 biography of Alexander von Humboldt. It kicks off in 1793 with Karoline Böhmer widowed, pregnant out of wedlock, and imprisoned at Burg Königstein for her support for the French army and Mainz Jacobins, and finishes with the Battle of Jena in 1806. In between, we follow the lives, disputes, liaisons and squabbles of the loose gang of philosophers and poets who for a time came together in Jena, for a while the leading liberal university town at the dog-end of the Holy Roman Empire. So we meet Goethe, a voice from an older and more measured generation, as well as the Schlegel brothers, the von Humboldt brothers, Novalis, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Schiller. There is no one central character, but the heart of the book is probably owned by the translator and salonnière Karoline Michaelis-Böhmer-Schlegel-Schelling. Wulf wants to convince you of her subjects importance – of the significance of their work – but often the work pales in comparison to their loud, busy lives, even if the insecurity and touchiness of their feuds is absolutely reminiscent of 21st century digital communities. (Friedrich Schlegel wrote a negative crit of Schiller. Schiller never spoke to him again, and froze out his brother for good measure). There are some wonderful fragments that I expect will stay with me, often bits more of social history than literature. In the epilogue, Wulf describes how inconvenient the ladies of Weimar found it when Goethe finally married his lower-class mistress: they would be obliged to invite her to their entertainments at the same time as her famous husband. Smelling salts all round. Johanna Schopenhauer was an exception: "If Goethe gives her his name, we can surely give her a cup of tea." I wanted it to go on and not to end, and I think that's one of the best things you can say of a book.
  5. dog-days

    Board Issues 4

    I got caught by this today. Was quite relieved to get home and find I could log in and post after spending part of the afternoon wondering if I'd logged into the board while sleep-walking and got myself banned.
  6. As I was ostensibly shelving some books in a library some years ago, I came across a collection of photographs of remote mining communities in mid-twentieth century South Wales. A lot of it was quite shocking. Much more raw than anything I'd seen on the Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru's flickr archive. Unfortunately I didn't make a note of the details or photographer. [Abe Simpson voice] Though that reminds me... my favourite photography collection was put together from the work of Werner Kissling, a German photographer active in the Hebrides in the first half of the twentieth century.
  7. Indeed, though sadly no room for a Marshal Zhukov/Jason Isaacs type character in this latest one.
  8. Saw something on the BBC about Wagner troops being pardoned and being able to choose (or not) to sign contracts with the MoD. How that will play in reality I've no idea. But I'm not sure I'd be that thrilled with Pirgozhin now if I was a Wagner Merc.
  9. Mate, it's all just AI. They faked it all on Adobe Firefly.
  10. If so, it would have been without Putin's permission.
  11. In the tweet about concessions that @Derfel Cadarn linked to on page one, it mentioned amnesty for Wagner mercs and their possible return to Africa. Imagine Putin wants to see them all dead at the bottom of a pit at this point. Whatever happens, I can't see them continuing as a fighting force in the Ukraine War. That at least should be of some help to Ukraine, even though it won't be decisive as Russia will continue to send men into the meat grinder.
  12. It's hard to imagine the kind of personality that ends up as the commander of a private army not trying to call Lukashenko/Putin's bluff. Unless Prigozhin's so egotistical/blind that he really thinks he can survive his retreat for more than a few weeks?
  13. I was thinking about starting a third thread so we could have a trium[vir]ate. ETA: Back on topic. It seemed to me that surprise and speed were the big advantages of the Wagner group's move. There've been reports of bulldozers tearing up roads to slow their progress to Moscow.
  14. WTF. eta: Prigozhin must know he's going to fall out of a window in short order. Though Putin likely won't even try and hang that much of a veil over the assassination. What on earth could motivate him to turn back now? If he was worried by the likelihood of Wagner being wiped out down to the last man, he'd never have seized Rostov in the first place.
  15. Yes, similar. I enjoyed Ninth House, but found the sequel fell short. But not so badly short that I won't be there for Book 3!
  16. Like most of the post but this is bullshit. Women don't have a superior fashion sense to men, any more than they have a second sight that helps them locate dirt on dishes or a psychic bond with the vacuum cleaner. Women (in general, with plenty of exceptions) dress more elaborately than men and spend more time thinking about what they wear and how they look because they know that's what's expected/required of them. Men are also perfectly capable of learning to dress themselves to gain societal approval, if it wasn't considered unmanly to do so and something that should be left to women.
  17. At least it looks as if the passengers weren't suffocated after days waiting for rescue. The RL conversations I've had about it have been uncomfortable – tending to trail off into a pause and thoughts of what they might be suffering.
  18. Congrats, Starkess! So glad you've got something. And 200 job apps, bloody hell. I wrote one at the weekend and that was enough!
  19. DNA of Pompeian eruption victim sequenced
  20. That design really sounds criminal – a bleak echo of the design problems that led to so many people dying in 1912. And in this case there had already been near-disasters, and nothing was done!
  21. I think some people find it harder to fake confidence than others. Anyone who values truth but also has low self-esteem is going to struggle. Not that it's bad advice; more that in the line 'just fake it' the 'just' is out of place. More like 'stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, and fake it'. This is from someone who used to get up at 5am to run through workshop presentations three times before breakfast to make sure I'd sound sufficiently confident in the real thing.
  22. TBH, it makes me roll my eyes a little. Oh look some more oppressed peasants being eaten by the local supernatural entity. Oh look some more cod-Viking-Highlanders with eighteenth century love song Fear a' Bhàta getting the ooey-ooey synth treatment on repeat in the background. I think I'm probably spending too long being a completist and doing side-quests and should press on with the main quest to see if it gets better.
  23. Just not feeling the love for the writing/characterisation in The Witcher 3. There's more of it than in Skyrim/Fallout 3, but except for a few side-quests, none of it is particularly good: more like a grimy, plodding Tough Guide to Fantasyland with one of the genre's most boring heroes as the central character. It's the beauty of the scenery and the exploration that keeps me playing.
  24. Would be interested to read your thoughts on GGK if you have time!
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