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Everything posted by Psychophant

  1. A Street Artist I have seen in different Italian cities. These photos are spread through a period of four years. The Chronology is newer first. Modena Modena Bologna Bologna Modena Modena Firenze Sienna Sienna Pisa Firenze Firenze
  2. I will shamelessly make this thread mine... You could see our home there... Annecy Rotonda, Palladio Bologna
  3. The Delaney I was thinking of was The Fall of the Towers. At the end of the day I went with Murakami's short stories. He really rubs the spot. And before I finished the Abercrombie. I could have done without the last 100 pages. And without the Hero Ex Machina.
  4. Wonders of this age. I received Infomocracy today with my yearly Murakami dose (Men without women and Killing Commendatore). I still have the Ack Ack Macaque omnibus in the to read pile, while I am trapped in the middle of Vance's Madouc (reread, but still a pleasure) and Abercrombie's Best served Cold. I am also plodding through Glantz' Operation Barbarrossa, but that is a longterm project. I am not sure yet what to do... Probably I should finish at least Abercrombie's, but he has killed or maimed the only characters I liked, so it is starting to feel like a chore.
  5. Thinking back, the only books that had me really impressed in the last years is Hannu Rajaniemi's Jean Le Flambeur series, though they are not for everyone. They highlight how difficult it is to see posthumans from a human perspective. Quantum Thief is the first and easiest of the three, so if it does not click, the others are worse. The kind of book (I had a similar experience with Borges and Samuel Delaney) where I could not really explain what it is about, only feelings and sensations, in this case that this is how the future may taste.
  6. Interesting times at work, in the middle of an automotive industry meltdown in Europe. NDA'd to hell, so hard to say much, but between the fake diesel concern (not that burning oil products is a good thing, but diesel+urea is clearly better than gasoline), the semi-fake Brexit closures (using Brexit as the excuse to close facilities in UK), we are in the middle of discussions about building a new plant abroad to supply the tire industry. So traveling and learning about weird foreign customs. And how actual business deals are inextricably linked to excessive alcohol consumption, and usually too
  7. Not much recent Sci Fi lately. History, mostly, and older Sci Fi and fantasy, mixed with rereads. I did not particularly enjoy Ninefox Gambit, so I probably will not bother with the following books, and that is probably the only recent Sci Fi book I have read last year.. Doing a slow marathon run of Jack Vance, the only one of the classic period I can still reread, probably because it is fantasy anyway. Gnomon could be considered Sci Fi, but you already read it. I will probably follow the advices people are proposing you, as I need some new writers. The old ones are n
  8. Happy New Year to all. This year I have traveled a lot, (56 plane trips, and also both train and car trips) for work. And more than usual, for pleasure. That means there is a lot to do at home and in the office, and less time to visit here. My online presence, except Linkedin, has practically disappeared. I expect things are better personally this year, even if globally they may become worse. A looming crisis has that effect. A new WG book usually helps to bring us together, so I hope we can all see the publication, delayed though it may be.
  9. Some Random. And some empowerment
  10. The real problem is that it does not seem likely the employment situation will improve soon, if ever. Jobs with hard entry requirements still receive many candidates for one post, and not so stringent jobs get so many candidates that the salary is driven almost underground. Manufacturing and extraction, that are still one salary per family jobb, have moved in most cases to countries were a fair wage is well below poverty level in the First World. Service economy just means McJobs for everybody, because the sad thing is that is still a good salary for 90% of the world. Looking from
  11. Reamde was my less favorite Stephenson, till I got Seveneves. He has been relegated out of the hardcover club. It does not really mean I only but hardcovers, as I usually prefer the airport paperbacks, but that I will usually buy it as soon as I can, no matter what other people say. Most people in the club are dead, but there are a few living ones. Less than used to be. Murakami, Gibson, Mieville, Swanwick, Martin, Wolfe, Cook, a couple Spanish authors, (Antonio Muñoz Molina and Javier Marías). Stross and Stephenson were kicked out a few years ago. I am sure there are others that do not publis
  12. I think I have all the "early" Keegan works, Face of battle, Mask of Command, Six armies in Normandy, the Price of Admiralty... I have been a wargame buff for forty years, so the books tend to pile up. He had a big influence in seeing the humans behind the wars, and listening to both sides of the story, when possible, though other writers like JFC Fuller were doing it already in the 1920s. It took me a while to realize that most war memories are terribly suspect, and often contain more fiction than truth. October starts quite dry, presenting the prehistory of 1917, but it condense
  13. I wonder if some fan is so desperate to get the delayed manuscript of Agency that they are willing to use black hat tactics. Alternatively, someone values so much his futuristic abilities that they need to see what will be the next cool item before it hits the shelves, virtual or otherwise.
  14. Having been in a short while to Liege and Eindhoven, I got in the train station Antony Beevor's Arnhem, depite detesting Crete, the last book of his I have read. It is a battle that really interest me, highly constrained in space and resources, and a strange mix of atrocities and politeness. And the big casualty were the thousands of dutch who died of malnutrition the following winter. Despite its claims the German sources are weak and little used, so we have the typical allied view that all German tanks are Tigers and all guns are 88s. Well written, I already knew about the tactical and str
  15. For work reasons I have attended several seminars and fora on the future of automobiles, mainly focused on the tire aspect, as that is the part we are concerned with, and most people refuse to make predictions after 2030-2035. There are two big problems for predictions, oil prices with all the fracking/shale gas/renewable energies, as the interplay of decreasing supply and decreasing demand make price prediction a nightmare. Then the holy grial of safe high density batteries that is not clear when (if) it can be ready to outcompete gas as an energy source, in thermodynamic terms, even with the
  16. Mixed reading. The last (maybe really the last, as he is quite old) Wolfe, "The Borrowed Man". Typical Wolfe, showing an apparently functional disfunctional future. As usual with him, there are several layers of meaning, with an untrustworthy narrator, indirect worldbuilding, and understated slavery. Seems like an inflated short story, so a good idea but too long and slow in the middle, and too many cardboard characters. Two P.G. Wodehouse books, "Something Fresh" and "Uneasy Money". Easy reading, mapping the elusive British humour. The problem is that he writes great scenes, but t
  17. I am amazed that she asked. Though she may know you too well and just enjoys seeing your head explode. My best friend in my teenage years just contacted me after ten years. We did not break, we just drifted apart, distance, work, family. Last time I met his kids when they were toddlers and now the one in the middle is starting at our University, as it is one of the few in Spain with a Veterinary school. No social media, so it will be the old fashioned "meet up and drink a bucket of beer" and update on what has happened the last ten years.
  18. Sorry to hear of the parents problems, and best wishes. It is an unfortunate fact that this is something that crops up often after a certain age. In our friend circle we had first a marriage epidemy, then baptisms, and now we are in our 50s we start with the family funerals, several a year. In 10 years we should start with marriages again (children) and maybe some funerals of our own. I am fortunate to still have mine (82 and 81) healthy and able to live on their own, supporting each other. But if one fails, the other will probably be unable to hold on. My mother in l
  19. Maybe it is location, and my own personal politics (becoming more conservative s I age), but I do not see them as too exemplary. This will be long, as I am in a boring telcon. Varoufakis, after he broke with his party, has become almost a professional lecturer and talk show guest, mainly against the kind of EU-skepticism that is shared both left and right. He has the right ideas, as national politics are derailing the EU project, so German interests crush Greece while saving Spain, just to minimize the financial sector losses. But he is now effectively rootless, so he has no real s
  20. We had several volunteers willing to travel with the container, to make sure it arrives. However we most likely will ship it to China and then take it by truck, even with the lproblems at the China-Mongolia border. It is a concrete setting accelerator, used in the big automated drilling machines. These machines spray liquid concrete right after the drilling section is made to make sure loose earth and other material does not fall over the machine. That means it has to set in less than 30 seconds. It does not need to hold much, just make sure it just does not collapse for a day or so that the a
  21. The biggest problem is we are only three people doing sales, for a sales volume over 90 M€, and we are selling in aound 70 countries. So what we do is less conventional sales and more cat wranglers, as we have some thirty agents/distributors, all wanting to sell in some other geographic area besides theirs, and also with some customers wishing to jump their local agent, expecting a better price. That is what I have today, a big dutch group that consider themselves important enough to deal directly and not through our Benelux agent. They may even be right, but they did it in secret while our ag
  22. Aida normally is not one of my favorites, either, but the setting, having10.000 people around, and a good performance made me forgive the hard seating for four hours. Getting back home in a high speed train. Driving 600 km after sleeping three hours (we finally made it to the hotel at 4 am, and we had a meeting 100 km away in the middle of notrhing that happens to be one of the biggest methionine and vitamin production units in the world. Then a cattle exhibition in Brittany, some good food, and another midnight flight, this time deliberate. Meanwhile our Egyptian agent was asking
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