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  Friday, August 23, 2002


Will Rogers. "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." [Quotes of the Day]

8:35:50 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Lily Tomlin. "We're all in this alone." [Quotes of the Day]
8:35:37 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Vacation goals met

So, a week at Lake Tahoe didn't exactly leave me relaxed--I knew how much work was waiting for me back home--but at least I accomplished some of my goals.

I read:

  • The Fellowship of the Ring, along with most of the essays in QPB's companion book. I think I have to agree with some of Tolkien's detractors: the book's overwritten, far too high on the dialog:action ratio. In contrast, I think the film does a much better job of story-telling.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe. Now I get some of the in-jokes and sly references I missed over the years. 42?
  • Voodoo Science, by Robert Parks, an explication of some of what's gone wrong in science over the last few years, especially the cold-fusion fiasco. Michael Schermer does a better job of addressing the attraction of junk science in Why People Believe Weird Things, but this is a worthy companion.
  • Linus Torvalds' Just For Fun. Linus' laid-back, pragmatic style contrasts with Stallman's self-important preaching. I respect RMS for his contributions, and adherance to a polar position--sometimes it's useful to have someone holding a stable position against which to measure the opposition. But Linux has proved much more successful than GNU.
  • The recommended first 100 pages of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles MacKay's prescient treatise on what made the dot-com madness not only predictable, but old news. The books was written in 1841--no, that's no typo--and provides excruciating details on the French Mississippi Scheme, the British South Sea Bubble, and the Dutch Tulipomania. The most remarkable insights in the book come when MacKay states that these bouts of "irrational exuberance" result solely from unmitigated greed; and when he notes that businessmen taken in by the madness suddenly believed that "2+2=5"--that the old rules no longer applied.

And frankly, right now I'd much rather be reading more books than struggling with my current workload.


7:32:19 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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