Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Between Shades of Gray

28 June, 2017

Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray

“When the rest of the world finds out what the Soviets are doing, they will put an end to all of this.”  

A story of a young girl, trying to survive, during WW2, when the Soviets sent her and her family to Siberia. I’m glad I read it. It is a good read, a quick read. I am also glad that I read while the sun was shining, and not during the gloom of winter.

I recommend.

 

 

 

Under a Graveyard Sky

9 June, 2017

Love the title of John Ringo’s Under a Graveyard Sky.

Zombie book, so it had that in it’s favor. It was entertainment. I will agree with someone who said “as if Tom Clancy wrote a zombie apocalypse”. Well crafted, well researched. A bit politically condescending at times, and I notice because I don’t really agree with his politics, LOL. The good guys are saints, the liberals are fools. And all that training you did with your kids and their guns pay off.

It is a amusing that the commander is sending his 15 year old daughter into combat, and doesn’t seem that worried about it. Maybe I’m a wimp, but I worry when I send my kids across the street to check the mail. But maybe in a zombie apocalypse you realize that we are already dead, and the only chance we have is by being fearless.

They live on boats for months, but somehow don’t run out of food…or toilet paper.

One important lesson from the book, after missions, they would have an immediate debrief, what went wrong? what can we do better?  Nothing personal, all could bring up points, all were listened to. Every team should do that. But I bet, many cases, after a game most folks either want to point fingers after a loss, or bask in the glory after a win. (I recently learned the German generals during WW1 were great at sharing lessons learned with their colleagues.)

 

Walk Two Moons

14 May, 2017

finished up the family book club book, Sharon Creech’s “Walk Two Moons”

I had to pause reading it, because I didn’t feel like crying at a restaurant, just saying.

There was a sentence that I liked, I shared with MrG and he liked it too: “We walked through the tiny living room into the miniature kitchen and upstairs into my father’s pint-sized bedroom and on into my pocket-sized bedroom and into the wee bathroom.”

A good book.

Weapons of Math Destruction

28 March, 2017

Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy

by Cathy O’Neil, Ph.D   (in math)

Good book, cheesy title.

 

One of the things I like to remind people, professional sports uses data to make choices in hiring. And they fail often. They have data on how fast, how far, how strong, we have video of the players performing the very job that we want them to do. And still, we get Darko getting picked above Wade or Bosh. We get  Richard Sherman being picked in the fifth round, Tom Brady getting picked in the sixth round.  O’Neil doesn’t mention this, but does talk about how companies will use proxy data to make predictions, such as “Do you have good credit?” for employee applications, or “Are you a good student?” for insurance rates.

She talks about feedback loops, such as sending more cops to “high crime areas”, where, they find more criminal activity, and thus need to send more cops. And often the crimes are minor, such as public drunkenness, or jaywalking. She asks, what if we had a “zero-tolerance strategy in finance. They would arrest people for even the slightest infraction, whether it was chiseling investors on 401ks, providing misleading guidance, or committing petty frauds. Perhaps SWAT teams would descend on Greenwich, Connecticut. They would go undercover in the taverns around Chicago’s Mercantile Exchange.”  (I recently heard, “in poor neighborhoods kids are getting arrested for marijuana and underage drinking, things that happen every Friday night in a frat.”)

I learned of the “Flutie effect”. Exciting football game, Flutie makes a great pass to win, more attention to the school, more applicants, leads to lower acceptance rate, which leads to more prestige, which raises ratings of the school as “better”.

 

The Death Defying Pepper Roux

17 March, 2017

Well, that was a comedic yarn. Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Death Defying Pepper Roux.

 

The One and Only Ivan

11 March, 2017

When I was a child in South Tacoma, we would sometimes go to the B&I. I saw Ivan. He didn’t seem happy in a small grey cage.

Just finished reading Katherine Applegate’s The One & Only Ivan to the childrens. It was a pleasure to read, well written, time well spent with my childrens. And, even though a “kid’s” book, dealt with weighty themes like cages, freedom, family, death, fear, animal cruelty, economic stress…and if you were paying attention hints of divorce, poverty, alcoholism too.

I recommend reading it.

Infomocracy

6 March, 2017

just finished Malka Older’s Infomocracy

I might have enjoyed it more before the recent election.

 

 

Antarctica: A Very Short Introduction

18 February, 2017

pretty good…or should I say standard for the high quality I’ve come to expect from the Very Short Introduction series.

I was hoping a bit more for the biology of Antarctica, but was educated about the geo-politics. It is kinda amazing the world is taking the “lets all just get along, and not trash this place” attitude. Kinda. Sorta.

The Star of Kazan

15 February, 2017

Finished Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. A fairy tale set in early 20th Century Vienna.

There was a section, where Annika cooks the Christmas carp…and I want to eat it. Great descriptions of cooking.

Also, a good description of music in a scene.

 

Bog Child – Siobhan Dowd

6 February, 2017

Just finished Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd.

Good story, I enjoyed it. I recommend.

 

(For realism: there was a scene, where academics started loudly arguing amongst themselves, that I have actually witnessed in real life.)