Kevin->Write(thoughts, browser, time)

void Kevin::Write(char *thoughts, char *browser, int time) allows an object of the Kevin class to create printed english text. The function opens a blogger account (automatically associated with the particular Kevin object) using the web browser resouce identified by browser, and while time > 0 and interrupts are disabled, uses blogger to translate thoughts into text.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


Monthly Post

In lieu of offering any reasonable/interesting/helpful information about what I've been up to here in the Gateway to the West, because that sort of bores me, here is a list of books that I've read/am reading in the past three weeks.

Eon, Greg Bear: Lousy sci-fi about a big space rock that flies into orbit from the future...only it's from an alternate future, where humans have evolved into several different classes of...zzzzzz. Terrible characters, obtuse writing. Returned without finishing; books like this are why fiction is such a crapshoot that it's a waste of time.

A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge - Better Sci-fi. Plausible physics and socializtion schemes for human interstellar travel. Interesting slavery undertones regarding an underdeveloped world of intelligent spider-things. Finished in three days or so.

Red Planet, Kim Stanley Robinson: Great Sci-fi, about the evolution of the colonization of Mars from a largely scientific effort at first to a commercial big-business exploitation of its resources similar to Earth today. Couldn't put it down.

Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche: Very difficult, can only motivate myself to read a few pages at a time. Anything poetry-like is very hard for me, but this is poetry with a purpose so I'm dealing. I'll let you know what I think of the arguments when I'm more than fifteen pages in.

Crashing the Party, Ralph Nader: A detailed account of his 2000 presidential run. The man is smart, and he can write, and he's totally right about just about everything he says...he just isn't enough of a people person to get elected to anything. Even if he somehow had a major party behind him, he talks about how he can't stand photo opportunities, because they're artificial and manipulative, for example. Of course they are; they're about proving that you're a regular guy, because people like to vote for regular guys more than they like to vote for people with good policies(see: the current administration). Until Ralph understands this, he can't even get elected to City Council. Halfway done, enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Fatherland, Robert Harris: Alternate history detective story set in 1965 Berlin after the Nazis won WWII. The most interesting thing about it is how the Holocaust is totally buried in the West, and the Nazis have erected memorials to Stalin's horrible slaughter of his people. The main American character in the story is totally unknowing and uncaring about the Holocaust, but very sympathetic and bothered by Stalin's murdering of at least twenty million Russians(which actually happened, and is pretty much the reverse of actual American feelings on the subject). History is written by the winners, and Stalin won so we don't hear so much about his atrocities.

Stories from the Last Frontier, ed. Boris Fishman: Excellent collection of short stories set in Eastern Europe and Russia after the fall of communism. Several of them are very powerful and all of them offered me perspective on a dangerous and alien world that I don't consider in my everyday.

Consilience, E.O. Wilson: Humorous attempt by world-famous biologist to argue that there really is a unified scientific theory, and that we just haven't found it yet. Bigoted towards the humanities on every page. He seems to think that psychology will be rolled into biology which will be rolled into chemistry which will be rolled into physics(which will be rolled into math?). I.e., Long live the Enlightenment! The sciences will not scale so nicely and there are some lines that will not blur...there are books to be written (and I'm sure they have been)countering him, but read it anyway for a laugh.

Classical Music 101, Fred Plotkin: Just like what it sounds. I got it because I wanted to know where to start listening, and because it's pretty hilarious in places. Seriously devotes a whole chapter (twenty-six pages) to attending a symphonic performance, part of which is devoted to proper coughing technique, I kid you not. Argues that the only proper way to listen to music is in an engaged manner, focusing on its effect, but I think it's just as valid to feel the music in the background and let it wash over you without concentration. Also, this is notable because there is not a critical word in the whole book. Every composer is wonderful, every performer is top-notch. Valuable and amusing at the same time.

I have no TV and no internet...I'm thinking about keeping it that way, except for basketball season. Cheers!


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