Via LaRosa, July 26, 2013

I often check out books from the library. Presently I hold library cards for five Bay Area counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, Contra Costa, and Alameda County (Oakland Library system.)

I decided that I should share what I my ravenous brain is presently consuming.

Mark Twain, Autobiographical Writings, Edited by R. Kent Rasmussen

I have only read 30 pages in so far. I read the preface the forward and the biographic history. Then I read Twain’s description of his autobiographical aim:

I intend that this biography shall become a model for all future autobiographies when it is published, after my death, and I also intend that it shall be read and admired a good many centuries because of its form and method…

By the time I got through page 2 I had enjoyed many giggles and a belly laugh. I think this is going to be fun!

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom; A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Some of my pipedreams have included time “to brush up on my Shakespeare.” Actually, never got to take any of the courses in Shakespeare that I yearned to take in college, so I am entering this project with beginner’s mind.

I am about 200 pages into Bloom’s book. You could say my mind is boggled by his brilliance and productivity. Same thing with Twain. It’s a harmonious combination.

The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. Joseph Stiglitz

Mr. Stiglitz is one of the most educated and experienced international political economy critics alive. He headed the World Bank and later denounced its practices, which increased poverty and also the contents of the pocketbooks of the wealthy, where they use it mainly to keep track of who’s ahead in the money game.

Still not cracked yet. More later.

Joseph Eugene StiglitzForMemRSFBA (born February 9, 1943) is an American economist and a professor atColumbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, and is a former member, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.[1][2] He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom he calls “free market fundamentalists“), and some international institutions like theInternational Monetary Fund and the World Bank.


The signal and the noise: why so many predictions fail–and some don’t. Nate Silver

Everyone should read this book. It’s an easier read than one might think. I learned the meaning of the phrase “rational bias.” The less reputation you have the less you have to lose by taking a big risk when you make a prediction.

That explains why those TV preachers find it so easy to take big risks with cockamamie prophecies and pronouncements that So-and-so is being punished for someone else’s perceived wrongdoing. *Snort* -.ed

Nathaniel Read “Nate” Silver (born January 13, 1978) is an American statisticiansabermetricianpsephologist, andwriter. Silver first gained public recognition for developing PECOTA,[3] a system for forecasting the performance and career development of Major League Baseball players, which he sold to and then managed for Baseball Prospectus from 2003 to 2009.[4]

In 2007, writing under the pseudonym “Poblano”, Silver began to publish analyses and predictions related to the 2008 United States presidential election. At first this work appeared on the political blog Daily Kos, but in March 2008 Silver established his own website, FiveThirtyEight.com. By summer of that year, after he revealed his identity to his readers, he began to appear as an electoral and political analyst in national print, online, and cable news media.

The accuracy of his November 2008 presidential election predictions — he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states — won Silver further attention and commendation. The only state he missed was Indiana, which went for Barack Obama by one percentage point. He correctly predicted the winner of all 35 U.S. Senate races that year.

In April 2009, he was named one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People by Time.[5]

Off Armageddon Reef. David Weber

I read lots of sci-fi when I am not under work pressure. Right now I think that this book is turgid and lacks imagination. The premise: most of humanity has been wiped out by the superior alien race because the SAR tracked human activity with electronic markers.

These people have been hidden on a small planet. The only life they know is one dominated by supreme beings called angels. The angels are just the people’s human overseers.

I think I am ready to turn it back in.

Last and Best!

Reamde, Neal Stephenson

Stephenson is the genius who wrote Cryptonomicon. Crypto is a cult favorite amongst analytic geeks who like to play with numbers and programs. I found out what happened to the great genius Alan Turing in that book. It broke my heart.

You will fall in love with all of the characters living inside that novel that spans the cryptonomic and military history of WWII into the Computer Age. I had a half-smile on my face the whole time I read it. I got a copy at the used book store and I will keep it always.

Reamde is the name of a virus that someone used to steal electronic information purchased by a really bad man to use for really bad purposes. Kidnappings, jihadists, uncharted flights over the pole, you name it, it’s got it. The characters of all genders are well-rounded and charming in their own way.

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