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Books, news, election


* I found word counts for the Bible: 593,000 OT, 181,000 NT. A novel is 60,000-120,000 words, usually, so the whole Bible is like 7-14 novels. Huh, though it was bigger.
* Recently read: Runaways, a Marvel comic about a group of superpowered runaway teens. Wikipedia points out a bunch of things I hadn't consciously noted as neat: no costumes or code names (they try, then stop), strong girl power (at one point the group is one guy, four girls, and the guy is *not* in charge.) Nico's magic is also an interesting steal for an RPG, it seems to be "cast any spell you want -- once".
* Rome and Jerusalem, Martin Goodman, about the lead up to and consequences of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and Roman and Jewish cultures. Summary of his version: it was all kind of a historical accident. Well, not all, the Zealot Jews were asking for it, especially when they murdered surrendered soldiers. But Imperial politics play a big role in his version: Vespasian wanted a quick glory, so had his son speed things up vs. waiting out a slow but sure siege; the destruction of the Temple was an accident, claimed as deliberate afterwards to not look like incompetent boobs and integrated into the triumph; anti-Jewish policies continued as most subsequent emperors apart from Nerva had reason to benefit from the glory of crushing the rebellious vassals, e.g. Trajan's father was part of the 70 AD campaign. And then there were more rebellions, leading to Hadrian building on the site of the Temple.
* Chalice, Robin McKinley, her latest novel. Classic form by her. Arguably another Beauty and the Beast twist but rather distant from the standard form. World has elements of Jo Walton's The King's Peace, lords magically connected to the land, but more elaborate. Also has an echo of her own Sunshine, with both Rae and Mirasol having unique versions of magic.
* Programming the Universe, Seth Lloyd, read at about the same time as the "Does the Universe Compute?" conference at IU, of which I went to the Lloyd and the Charles Bennett talks. I took notes, but maybe will describe some other time. Lloyd's theme is of the universe as a quantum computer, Bennett's was about information loss. I asked a question inspired by Psychohistorical Crisis which I think he resolved.

Non-election news:
* Sex slaves in the suburbs, either terrifying/depressing or hyped up, or both.
* Three strikes laws make criminals more violent after two strikes. That's so surprising! Wait, no it's not.
* The Economist's Democracy Index (pdf). Once again, Sweden leads the list.
* Somali girl stoned in a stadium for being raped.
* Christian Science Monitor to stop print publication. The CSM has unusual funding, so this may not be a harbinger for other newspapers yet.
* Overseer of military tribunals investigated for abuse of power
* Shin Bet head warns about right-wing settler violence in the occupied territories.
* Bush makes last-ditch efforts to trash the environment.

Election news and related
* The Economist endorses Obama.
* Crappy voting in St. Louis. Yay for partisan election officials.
* McCain panders to coal.
* A description of McCain rallies, plus Arlen Specter's coded language hoping for racism to carry the election.
* Ron Reagan Jr. endorses Obama.
* Arnold campaigns for McCain, jokes about Obama's body. That loses a lot of points with me, and Arnold has respect to lose.
* Student activism at Liberty U. Notable for a couple of quotes: "The expansion of the electoral franchise led to the growth of the
welfare state," (a poli sci prof), and "Ray is so random. I'm not. I do as I'm told. I'm really proper. Liberals are very indie, very emo, just very fun. When we go out, we put on button-downs and Sperrys. I think ahead. I'd rather dress like this now, because when I'm in law school this is how I'll be dressing. Liberals are like, 'Live, take a load off!' My friends at home say I have to be perfect 24 hours a day. It's just who I am."

She pauses. "I should recycle more."

(one of the GOP students.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
"Arnold campaigns for McCain, jokes about Obama's body." --Because clearly McCain is the picture of good health.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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