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Messages - Wilshire

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1
Probably more likely its a generational tasks that will take ... generation. Like how for 100 years we've been 10-20, maybe 30-40 years away from viable fusion energy. Current estimates are the same today as they were in the in the 20's right? 10-20 years left says the people funding it, 30-40 years says the people working on it. Wouldn't you know it, 30-40 years is an entire career... that seems convenient.

I'm 100% for generational tasks Space, fusion, quantum computers, AI, whatever. The public, and people with money, are too short cited to handle real estimations of time. 100 years. 500 years. As long as people keep funding the hard stuff, its all good. I'm not holding my breath though every time some bloke says we're on the cusp of a revolutionary do-dad.

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Literature / Re: Fantasy recs for children, ages 8-12
« on: Today at 03:48:22 pm »
I've been reading fantasy since I discovered The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was about 9ish. I'll list out some of the stuff I can recall reading and enjoying. MSJ, you've given me a lot of great books to read, hopefully I can return the favor vicariously for your daughter ;) .

Narnia (Lewis) is for about that age. You can start with Lion, Witch, Wardrobe to get into it, then circle back and read chronologically (book 1 is Magician's Nephew IIRC)

Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix. Lots of magic, people use magic stones charged by sunlight and get magic creatures that take the place of their shadow. Book 1 is The Fall. I think there are 5 books?

Also Nix, Keys to the Kingdom, starts with Mister Monday. I got to old to finish them by the time they got out, but they are a little darker. 7 books maybe?

Series of Unfortunate Events is often cited as a good one for kids too, but I never read them. There's like 13 of these.

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Set in the real world, genius rich kid discovers Faeries live in a hidden world underground. Very fun for the imaginative child. There's probably 6 books now.

Larger books:
The Redwall Series (Brian Jaques) is wonderful fantasy with all the characters being animals. Good guys are usually things like mice and rabbits, the bad guys being rats and the like. Quite fun, and there's a lot of them so you can keep her busy with them. Can be read in any order, though starting with Redwall is probably a good idea as its the title of the series.

I think I read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman  around 12. Brilliant series, highely recommended. Gotta make sure to get some challenging ideas into the young ones, something to purge out Lewis ;) . Just 3 books, but themes are probably intense for a kid too young. Divorced parents, talks about death extensively in the third book, literally kills god at the end, Christian Church ends up being the Big Bad by the end, her mom is a psycopath... Maybe vet this one before you give it to her. Starts with The Golden Compass.
Actually, set in the same universe is a prequal series called The Book of Dust that begins with La Belle Sauvage. Only the first book is out, but it seemed pretty kid safe, though on the serious side.

Harry Potter is a perfect series to grow up with, which is why its so damn popular. I'd recommend giving her one a year, I think HP starts out as a 12 year old? Perfect :D . Your daughter can have a summer book for the next 8 years. The books get darker as time goes on, and they get larger, which basically means reading level increases a tad early on. Levels out after they first couple, so once she's 14ish she might want to blast through them all, which at that point is probably fine? No idea - I don't know how kids work lol. - Nevermind, you already mentioned this.

The Inheritance Cycle, starts with Eragon, by Christopher Paolini. Dragons! Who doesn't love dragons. Later books get a bit dark, and they are knockoff amalgamation of standard fantasy tropes, but reads great for kids.

The Legend of Drizzt is probably a bit too adult for now, maybe for later years. By RA Salvatore, there's a lot of fighting and action, magic etc., its published by Forgotten Realms so its essentially D&D in novel form. I probably started reading these when I was 14 and loved them until I discovered Bakker when I was about 18. I wouldn't say they are worth reading as an adult lol, as the writing is mediocre and the plots simple.

Edit:
Oh yeah, and get Calvin and Hobbes.  So much great vocabulary in there even as an adult, and its perfect for kids. Buy some used ones from ebay, there's a list of about 12 you can get that will get you every comic out there without overlap. Probably $5 each - no need to get them all at once though.

Added some more.

SciFi is also another option. Ender's Game might be a good place to start out, not sure what age though. 12? I read it as an adult, since I didn't get deep into scifi until much later.

The Giver, which has a series attached to it, is often required reading for 8th grade around here. I read it a few years prior, it might have been what got me into scifi.

I also have to say that probably the only non-fantasy book I can remember reading and enjoying as a kid was Where the Red Fern Grows. Its an incredible story about a boy and his dogs, and its the first book that made me cry.

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Literature / Re: YOU MUST TELL ME ... What else are you reading?
« on: November 16, 2018, 06:35:49 pm »
Random question, but are any of the Star Wars books worth reading?

4
Literature / Re: Yearly Targets 2018
« on: November 12, 2018, 12:57:06 pm »
The Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns 1) by Kevin J Anderson (40)
Anderson made his name by writing books in other people's universes, like Dune and starwars. This was his debut novel in his own universe, and it was really good. The setting was very generic, but the story ends up making up for it.  Definitely a fun read

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera 1) by Jim Buther(41)
This was an enjoyable read, much better opening to a series than Stormfront for Dresden Files. Its possible that this is because i like the more traditional fantasy setting more than urban fantasy. At any rate, it wasn't the best book ever, but there was something to it that makes me want to read more. I'll have to pick of the sequels some day. The world if full of mysteries and intrigue that would be fun to read about.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (42)
Wow. This was a great book, and mostly deserving to be  a Hugo/Nebula winner. I'm probably biased as it has a bunch of random things that touch my life within the pages. It starts as a book about a book, has bees in a position of importance, clockwork mechanisms and a watchmaker, and other things. Seems like a sporadic jumble, but they fall together nicely and Harkaway spun a great tale. Highly recommended for someone looking for a scifi set in present day.

Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre (43)
An above average book, but not by much. It had a unique story, post apocalypse earth scifi with some alien stuff thrown in, but it was such a short novel. Not a ton of time to flesh out characters, but it was still something of a heartwarming read. Not highly recommended, but it was still OK.


5
General Misc. / Re: Is anyone else blown away by this or is it just me?
« on: October 30, 2018, 04:25:19 pm »
Nothing conflicts with the idea that there was enough time though, so I don't see the argument. Sure it might not have been and god did it, etc., but there's no reason to suppose that.
Just like how people used to believe that Earth was unique in its "exact right distance" from the sun to have water. But now we know there are literally countless plants just like ours.
Or that earth was the center of the universe, solar system, whatever.

As you're kind of pointing out, consciousness might not be particularly useful. Spending a bunch of time thinking about how we work might ultimately just lead us to our own deaths. Evolution will have itself a good laugh ;) .

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Literature / Re: Yearly Targets 2018
« on: October 30, 2018, 03:10:37 pm »
Hey all

Seems like you are wracking up the totals. I have hardly read a thing recently so going to try and start recording what I have read, I'll do a count up and then give myself a reasonable total for the year.

Hope you are all ok?
Can't speak for other's but I've had a pretty great read, reading and otherwise. Hope all's well with you SR, long time no see.

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General Misc. / Re: Is anyone else blown away by this or is it just me?
« on: October 29, 2018, 02:05:32 pm »
Can evolution really account for all of this? Or maybe it just seems it couldn't due to my insufficient cognitive ability to imagine it could?

I don't see why not.  While the universe is unbelievably (literally) complex, we need not interface with that complexity to survive.  Because that is what we (and every other animal/living thing) does moment by moment.  Evolution provides us with the "shortest path" so to speak.  In reality, we aren't the pinnacle of that, we are the meandering, long-way-around tail-end opposite that just happens to "work better."  I put that in quotes because I don't know that it actually does work better, rather, we subjectively imagine that our lives are superior to that of bacteria, although I have no idea if we could or should know if that is true or not.

Evolution isn't accounting for anything any more than gravity accounts for how an object falls.
Its really easy to anthropomorphize evolution, or our own existence within it. But its just another thing we observe. Or, evolution "accounts" for it all because ... well that's the framework of all things. Things don't live outside of evolution.

Though maybe like classical physics gave way to quantum, maybe there's  something more fundamental than evolution at play. Then again, maybe I'm just saying that because I just finished reading one of sciborg2's articles about super-quantum mechanics lol.

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Philosophy & Science / Re: How Quantum Mechanics Could Be Even Weirder
« on: October 29, 2018, 01:37:23 pm »
I like The Atlantic. They do a pretty good job of presenting information beyond click-bait titles and four sentence 'articles', without going into peer-reviewed scientific journals territory which I don't have the time, interest, patience, or intellect to read.

But I still can't say I got a lot out of this particular one. Super-quantum? I suppose its no less likely than quantum is to classical (as the article points out), actually probably more likely, but its still confusing as fuck. Probably needs another 30 years of testing and refining before it can be disseminated in an understandable way to a layman like myself.

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General Misc. / Re: Is anyone else blown away by this or is it just me?
« on: October 29, 2018, 01:01:00 pm »
So why has evolution yielded this cognitive capability to some extent to all animals? Yes, evolving the capability to generate pictures from these atoms/molecules is key to survival - but why does life want to survive? And replicate? And ensure the survival of the species? This is far more fascinating than simply believing in a God ( for which I do ).
Re: evolution - its more like it takes way more processing power to see things at a resolution that would make distinct/separate pictures of each photon (or sound wave, whatever) hitting the receptor. Way easier to take a sample and guess about the rest. Its the path of least resistance.

Your other question seems to boil down to the standard "what is the meaning of life" question. Seems there's no way to answer that one for someone else. You likely answer that question with religion, or something regarding raising children. Nihilism guy says there isn't any meaning (though I'll never understand why those folks suffer themselves to live). Other folks sit on other fences. Its really impossible to convince one group of the other's perspective, which makes the question not particularly interesting to me.

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General Earwa / Re: Are we still on Moenghus Sr TTT?
« on: October 25, 2018, 03:31:44 pm »
that is, everything is God.
Heinlein said it best - "Thou art God." :)

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How do you know Ajokli tried to take over Kellhus at Mengedda? From what I recall, the glossary speaks about someone seeing Kellhus switch heads.

As per the Decapitants entry in the Glossary, Ajokli tried to manipulate a take-over of Kellhus' agency at Mengedda
So, an interpretation of the glossary. I expect some quoting is in order.

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General Earwa / Re: What is the Eärwan Soul?
« on: October 23, 2018, 04:36:51 pm »
Good stuff -

Soul here refers to the phenomenal experiencer that exists during one's time in the Inside right?

So is it then the impression of the body that the Spirit recreates in the afterlife due to its conditioning?


Welcome back sci :)

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First, yeah, as you point out 'two random ciphrangs' seems unlikely lol.
although it probably would be something that makes them unquestionably loyal (or bound) to Kellhus' will.
Like how he conquered Ajokli ;)

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Interesting thought that the Ciphrang had something specific about them that made them worth    Decapitating.

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A couple of ideas on why this might have been:

1. He knows too much.  As things turned out, Kellhus' experiments with the Daimos ended up being pretty important to the story.  So providing his perspective might have been too much a tip of the hat. 

2. Optics.  Of all Kellhus' atrocities, none were more concerning to his flock than his experiments with the Daimos.  The Decapitants in particular were hard to square with his role as Prophet.   So it might have made sense to keep Iyokus at arms' length.

Yeah I think your second point can work for sure, at least to explain his lack of presence during the strategy and councils and so forth (interesting, for example, how Iyokus doesn't even show up for moments like when the Believer-Kings gather or the Last Whelming -- I can't think of any reason off-hand other than what you suggest that would make sense for that).
I didn't notice that but it's a good point. Iyokus is intelligent and likely wouldn't have fallen for Kellhus' prophetic charms the same way others might have, and also he would've probably known more about his impending damnation than every other sorcerer except Kellhus himself.

And so he was shielded from the readers as well. Bakker does so love his secrets, and POV Iyokus or any other of the Diamoti may have given us too much direct information... Or something. At this point we have Kellhus POVs, but nothing to really corroborate with. Iyokus would have probably been the only one able to confirm or deny.

Also, where even the other schoolmen saw Kellhus as a god, and the Mandate a sovereign, the Diamos set those who could wield it apart, and Kellhus never actually summoned anything of particular interest. Could be that this particular skill was not enhanced by the Dunyain intellect. This makes Iyokus some kind of proof that Kellhus is just a human. Plenty of reasons to keep him far away.

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