Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 192592 times)

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #285 on: December 31, 2016, 01:22:00 PM »
I haven't posted to this thread in months, but goodreads is displaying my year in books, so I thought I'd post a little update here.

I've had some disappointments since my last post in August: I started reading The Sinful Stars: Tales of the Fading Suns and I guess I'm just not that into space opera.  I put the book down in the middle of a story full of space nobles telling each other how awesome they were, and I don't think I'll be picking it up again.  I also started reading a collection of horror stories in October, 41 Strange, and almost immediately dropped it.  Terrible writing, apparently this collection won an award?  I don't understand how.

But most of the books I read in the past four months have been better, though.  Two stand outs were: Tadeusz Borowski's This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, a collection of short stories based on Borowski's experiences in Auschwitz and Dachau.  The subject matter is obviously quite difficult, but the quality of Borowski's writing ("spare, brutal prose", to quote another reveiwer) made it an excellent read.  And one of my other favourite reads of the year was Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man, about the fraudulent idea of "IQ" as a single, quantifiable, measure of human mental ability, with a short history of the origins of "IQ" testing (it was not originally meant to be a measure of "intelligence") and it's consequences, as well as a brief but informative history of earlier methods of measuring human "intelligence".  The copy I have is a revised edition published in response to The Bell Curve, a piece of scientific racism from the mid-nineties.  The truly terrible part of "IQ" and other such pseudo-scientific measures of human worth is that they all, inevitably, are used in support of racism, xenophobia and classism; and on that note, I'd like to end with this quote:

“We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.”
― Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
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Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #286 on: December 31, 2016, 08:29:42 PM »
At a young age I always thought IQ was at the very least elitist. Guess I was right.

TRNSHMN

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #287 on: January 07, 2017, 04:10:51 AM »
I feel the need to speak up for IQ. While it is not as the name would suggest a metric to measure a person's intelligence, nebulous and hard to pin down a concept that is. it is still a useful metric, especially when appraising developmental state and by extension disorders of it. It gives a rough idea of useful everyday abilities like pattern recognition, mathematical sense, spatial reasoning etc. as well as more subjective elements like vocabulary. This necessarily also means IQ tests need to be age and culture specific and also carefully investigated, because each test and each edition of those tests needs to be examined and experimented with to see how well they work. Not all IQ tests are equally well made or useful and it's always a good idea to be suspicious of any claims based on their results, but they have their uses.

More on topic, just picking up Hanging Tree as well. Hopefully it'll be worth the wait.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #288 on: January 07, 2017, 06:11:07 PM »
it is still a useful metric, especially when appraising developmental state and by extension disorders of it. It gives a rough idea of useful everyday abilities like pattern recognition, mathematical sense, spatial reasoning etc. as well as more subjective elements like vocabulary.

This is a description of the Binet Scale.  Alfred Binet developed a series of tests, and method of measuring of the results, for the French Ministry of Education to help them identify students who needed help.  Binet never called his tests "I.Q." tests, and cautioned against using his tests as a measure of inherent mental ability.  It was H.H. Goddard (an American eugenicist who believed that mental ability was wholly genetic) who brought Binet's system to the U.S. under the name "I.Q. Test" as a method to test immigrants (but only those who arrived third class) for "feeble-mindedness" and deport them. 
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Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #289 on: January 07, 2017, 06:56:17 PM »
Last book I finished was Black Orchid (Comic) by Neil Gaiman. Very good if you want inspiration for Unknown Armies and similar.

clockworkjoe

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #290 on: January 08, 2017, 03:04:06 AM »
Just read the first 2 volumes of the new printing of Blame! - it's an amazing sci-fi manga that is very Eclipse Phasey.

Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #291 on: January 09, 2017, 01:24:23 AM »

clockworkjoe

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #292 on: January 09, 2017, 01:45:07 AM »
yeah I saw it but I already have the print versions so I don't need the bundle.

Zombieneighbours

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #293 on: January 15, 2017, 05:18:06 PM »
Just finished predictably irrational.


And I am sort of out of stuff I want to read...

Considering where to go next...

In the mean time I am just sort making my way through some of the pathfinder tales books to keep myself from retreading old ground.

Zombieneighbours

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #294 on: January 15, 2017, 05:25:10 PM »
IQ and the medical model basically save my life.

I am very seriously dyslexic.

Having a metric like IQ that can be broken down internally, meant that educational psychologists where able to demonstrate that I was not just dumb.

Being able to say look there very significant difference between his actual IQ and the IQ he would have if his reading and writing skills sat at the same level as the rest of the elements that make up IQ.

That evidence  forced the local education authority to pay for special needs schooling, which is basically the only reason we can have this little chat.

IQ is a useful tool.   

Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #295 on: January 15, 2017, 06:08:18 PM »
Now that I think about it I probably have more of a problem with MENSA...

Reading a book about economics called Adapt. It's mainly about developing structures that allow for failure.

Alethea

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #296 on: January 16, 2017, 05:42:45 PM »
Finished rereading Ancillary Justice over the weekend. Probably not going to have a chance to start Ancillary Mercy until next week though.
Still working my way through The Real and the Unreal too.
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Zombieneighbours

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #297 on: January 18, 2017, 05:54:24 PM »
Finished rereading Ancillary Justice over the weekend. Probably not going to have a chance to start Ancillary Mercy until next week though.
Still working my way through The Real and the Unreal too.

I found Justice to be by far the strongest of the three.

I liked what Ann Leckie was trying to do in Sword and Mercy, but I felt that it was less well executed than in Justice.

constructacon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #298 on: February 07, 2017, 06:14:35 AM »
i just finished Warlock Holmes: a Study in Brimstone https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26150538-warlock-holmes---a-study-in-brimstone
it is a fantastic reworking of Sherlock Holmes as a warlock of some power. combine it with a few of the tales bordering on Mythos and it is great fodder for inspiration of all sorts 

clockworkjoe

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #299 on: February 10, 2017, 07:00:49 PM »
Reading the 37th Parallel, a book about a UFOlogist on his quest to find the truth.