April 10, 2014

Filed under: status — Jared @ 3:35 pm

April 4, 2014

Oryx and Crake

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:10 am

“Jimmy, look at it realistically. You can’t couple a minimum access to food with an expanding population indefinitely.Homo sapiens doesn’t seem able to cut himself off at the supply end. He’s one of the few species that doesn’t limit reproduction in the face of dwindling resources. In other words – and up to a point, of course – the less we eat, the more we fuck.”

“How do you account for that?” said Jimmy.

“Imagination,” said Crake. “Men can imagine their own deaths, they can see them coming, and the mere thought of impending death acts like an aphrodisiac. A dog or rabbit doesn’t behave like that. Take birds – in a lean season they cut down on the eggs, or they won’t mate at all. They put their energy into staying alive themselves until times get better. But human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else, some new version of themselves, and live on forever.”

“As a species, we’re doomed by hope then?”

“You could call it hope. That, or desperation.”

“But we’re doomed without hope, as well,” said Jimmy.

“Only as individuals,” said Crake cheerfully.

“Well, it sucks.”

“Jimmy, grow up.”

Crake wasn’t the first person who’d ever said that to Jimmy.

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

March 2, 2014

Filed under: Things I wish I'd said — Jared @ 1:13 pm

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that He hates all the same people you hate.”

Anne Lamott

Filed under: Things I wish I'd said — Jared @ 12:27 pm

“I’d be curious as to why democracy is failing too, but for the fact that I live in a plutocracy where millionaire representatives pay for their campaigns with the donations of millionaire kleptocrats in exchange for a quid pro quo of mutual self protection.”

src:  Bunny Ultramod, mefi

December 10, 2013

More Than Human

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 1:56 pm

So it was that Lone came to know himself; and like the handful of people who have done so before him he found, at this pinnacle, the rugged foot of a mountain.

Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human

November 11, 2013

Crossed the finish line!

Filed under: Killing time — Jared @ 4:58 pm

Finished Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold this morning and, with that out of the way, I’ve completed the entire 20th Century SF Novel section of the Locus All-Century Poll. Not sure if I should just move on to the Fantasy list (most of which I’ve read already) and get the entire Locus list out of the way, or move on to some other genre.


October 18, 2013

A close shave

Filed under: TIL — Jared @ 4:20 pm

So idle curiosity (and a pdf on shaving with a straight razor) led me to look up the “inventor” of the safety Razor, King C. Gillette.  It turns out he did nothing of the sort and his actual innovation was the “thin, inexpensive, disposable blade of stamped steel”. He’s also widely credited with the cheap razors\expensive blades business model but even that was something he copied from his competitors.

Interestingly enough though, Gillette was a dyed-in-the-wool Utopian Socialist, and wrote a few books on the subject. In The Human Drift, he asserted that all industry should be run by one corporation, owned by the people. He also thought that everyone in the US should live in a singular North American mega-city powered by Niagara Falls.

Gillette died almost penniless, having lost most of his fortune in the Great Depression.

September 16, 2013

Another Cyteen

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:35 am

Brains and sex fight each other to control your life, and thank God brains get a head start before sex comes along.

CJ Cherryh, Cyteen

September 12, 2013

The truth is out there

Filed under: Things I wish I'd said — Jared @ 12:12 pm

Comment of the day from a story about a 9/11 Truther:

A single foreign organisation has the proven capability to deliver *entirely undetected* billions of packages worldwide to hundreds of millions of building interiors, and all within a 24 hour period. Putting tens of thousands of fused explosives in a single building would take minutes at most, probably seconds.

The US military admits an organisation with this capability exists, even tracking them on occasion.

Rather than millions having to be “in on it”, only one man was responsible.

And a number of “helpers”.

And the reindeer of course.

September 10, 2013

Earth Abides

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 11:53 am

When once they stalked the deer, or crouched shivering in the mud for the flight of ducks to alight, or risked their lives on the crags after goats, or closed in with shouts upon a wild boar at bay –that was not work, though often the breath came hard, and the limbs were heavy. When the women bore and nursed children, or wandered in the woods for berries and mushrooms, or tended the fire at the entrance to the rock shelter – that was not work either. So also, when they sang and danced and made love, that was not play. By the singing and dancing the spirits of forest and water might be placated – a serious matter, though still one might enjoy the song and the dance. And as for the making of love, by that – and by the favour of the gods – the tribe was maintained.
So in the first years work and play mingled always, and there were not even the words for one against the other… But centuries flowed by and then more of them, and many things changed. Man invented civilization, and was inordinately proud of it. But in no way did civilization change life more than by sharpening the line between work and play, and at last that division came to be more important than the old one between sleeping and waking. Sleep came to be thought a kind of relaxation, and ‘sleeping on the job’ a heinous sin. The turning out of the light and the ringing of the alarm clock were not so much the symbols of man’s dual life as were the punching of the time clock and the blowing of the whistle. Men marched on picket lines and threw bricks and exploded dynamite to shift an hour from one classification to the other, and other men fought equally hard to prevent them. And always work became more laborious and odious, and play grew more artificial and febrile.

George R Stewart, Earth Abides

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