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About williamjm

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  • Birthday 04/29/1981

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  1. I finished Peter F. Hamilton's The Saints of Salvation. I thought it was a good ending to the trilogy. After having written so many space operas over the last 25 years Hamilton does sometimes end up repeating himself (semi-immortal tech billionaires seem to be a particular obsession) and there are times where that happened in this trilogy but he did manage to come up with a few fresh ideas in this book, particularly towards the end. After a good beginning in the first book I thought the second was a bit weaker, spending far too much time on a tedious subplot about London gang members but I thought the third book was much more focused on the interesting parts of the plot. It did have a strong finale and while it did tie up most of the main plot lines it didn't make the resolution of the story too neat. It was maybe a bit lacking in memorable characters, other than the Saints and Yirella the rest of the cast felt a bit bland. Overall I liked the trilogy although I do wonder if maybe Hamilton should try to do something that's not a space opera next for a bit of variety. Next up I'm going to read Emily St. John Mandel's The Glass Hotel. I agree it's usually a good approach not to know too much about a story in advance. I didn't know much about The Seven Deaths... beforehand but I did know about the key plot device. I did read his latest The Devil and the Dark Water a few weeks ago. I liked it, although not quite as much as The Seven Deaths. Again, it's a cleverly constructed murder mystery although this time it owes more to Conan Doyle than Christie.
  2. It's probably not going to help public understanding that the rules for the different tiers now aren't the same as the tiers before Lockdown 2 despite being called the same thing.
  3. Maybe not knowing anything about the premise would be the best way to read it, you probably then got the same surprised out of Day 2 that the protagonist did.
  4. The scene with Lee and Mrs Coulter was very good as well. Of course, Ruth Wilson has been good in pretty much every scene she's been in but I think it was Lin Manuel Miranda's best episode so far as well. I also liked the scene in the car where Lyra gets increasingly frantic as it accelerates away from Pan, in other circumstance leaving the alethiometer behind would be extremely careless but it makes sense that her entire focus would be on the risk of being separated from her daemon.
  5. It is easier for islands but Mongolia also had a strict quarantine and shut down almost all foreign travel and worked extremely well - their first recorded case of community transmission was only a couple of weeks ago. I think Taiwan are probably rightly obsessed by what is happening in China, particularly what is not being announced officially.
  6. A friend of mine lives in Taiwan (she's originally from Scotland). She's said that it's a surreal experience for her seeing the contrast between how normal her life has been in Taiwan this year and what her friends and family back home have been posting about. I think they may have some sort of mandatory mask wearing and temperature checks (she was surprised to hear they weren't being done in the UK) but other than that everything is pretty much open as usual. The only real limitation is that they can't really leave the country and return so had to scrap her plans to visit her family in Scotland over the summer. I do remember reading a while back that Taiwan put their first measures in place in December 2019 based on reports of a new respiratory disease in China which is impressively fast reactions.
  7. On the other hand, he does know where all the naughty people are who haven't been following the guidelines so he can avoid them.
  8. I liked the original a lot more than the sequel. While neither film took itself too seriously I thought the second film was getting a bit too ridiculous at times.
  9. I do wonder if maybe the reason the Admiral always dismisses the idea of trying to figure out cause of the Burn is that he already knows but it's classified. I think the self-sealing stem bolts were my favourite Easter egg.
  10. I thought this article was interesting about a 6-month long study of how long covid antibodies might last for.
  11. It's be a while since I read The Subtle Knife but I don't remember them either. I suspect we're not going to see them again in the TV series so it may just have been for that one scene. The casting has mostly been excellent in the series.
  12. It was an appropriate way for Hamilton to win the championship, it would have been a bit underwhelming if he'd done it by finishing 5th. A bit like Schumacher you can never really count him out no matter what position he is in (as long as the car is still running). Behind him some drivers had really good days and some had awful days. I don't know whether Bottas had anything wrong with the car but if not that's perhaps his worst performance. Verstappen looked like a possible favourite to win at one point but had an uncharacteristically scruffy drive. Stroll definitely had a race of two halves, serene until the pitstop but he went backwards quickly after that. Albon didn't do too badly but probably needed to do better given that this was the perfect opportunity to grab a podium. On the other hand, Perez must have done himself plenty of favours with a strong second place even if he only just held on at the end. It would be a bit of a travesty if he didn't have a drive next year.
  13. I think 150% effectiveness would be when it gives you the power to kill covid-19 as soon as it comes within 2 metres of you. I'd guess that the difference between 90% and 95% is probably well within the margin of error at this stage.
  14. I was watching Goldfinger a few days ago and during the scene where Goldfinger insists on trying to blatantly cheat Bond at golf just because he can it felt like the sort of thing Trump might well do.
  15. I watched Weathering With You. I thought Makoto Shinkai's previous film Your Name was excellent, I think this film had many of the same strengths although perhaps the plot wasn't quite as compelling. I felt the ending wasn't as strong as the rest of the film. Visually it looks stunning, and I thought it had a good soundtrack as well.
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