• Most votes
  • Most comments
  • Newest
  • Activity
    1. I'm an audio engineer, and I spend many hours a day consuming music. I could talk your ear off about genres, sub-genres, vocal styles, rhythms, and exactly what combinations of those I really...

      I'm an audio engineer, and I spend many hours a day consuming music. I could talk your ear off about genres, sub-genres, vocal styles, rhythms, and exactly what combinations of those I really enjoy. Technology, recommendations, and websites like everynoise.com have really enhanced how accurate my recommendations are, and I'm constantly consuming music that I absolutely love.

      But when it comes to books... I'm so lost. Literature genres are like the equivalent of listing what instruments play on an album. Okay, this book is "sci-fi," so I know it's probably got futuristic technology, may be set in space, and could have some aliens. But that doesn't tell me anything about the writing style.

      I know enough to know that I can't go just by good reviews on sites like amazon. How do I learn to quantify what I enjoy and curate my recommendations more effectively?

      15 votes
    2. as in the title. Be it textbooks, bios or anything else. Somewhere I've heard that a couple of books in a given subject can give you quite a good understanding of it. It does not have to be a...

      as in the title. Be it textbooks, bios or anything else. Somewhere I've heard that a couple of books in a given subject can give you quite a good understanding of it.
      It does not have to be a niche either; I am interested in hearing about your favourite general psychology or biotechnology books just as well; I hope we can exchange recommendations about how to dive into a given field.

      For me, I'd say that to get a taste of Computer Science from the metal to high level concepts, I'd go with:

      • Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen et al. - for many it's bible of algorithms designs, I also enjoyed it very much (and I like to think that it was not only because of widespread aclaim)
      • CODE by Petzhold - for people who like to understand every part of the system they build; it goes through the process of building a computer, starting with logic gates and ending with fully working Turing machine.
      22 votes
    3. In 1977, Stephen King published a novel about a school shooting called Rage. It is somewhat infamous, as it has been connected to instances of real-life school shootings. King, in response,...

      In 1977, Stephen King published a novel about a school shooting called Rage. It is somewhat infamous, as it has been connected to instances of real-life school shootings. King, in response, allowed the story to fall out of print and has never reissued it. The novel has a lot in common with other YA stories and tropes: a disaffected protagonist, meddling/out of touch adults, and newfound social connection with peers. While the main character is undoubtedly disturbed, the novel feels somewhat uncritical (or potentially even supportive) of his actions.

      Certainly fiction is a space where authors are free to explore any point of view or theme they wish. The beauty of fiction is that it is limitless and consequence-free. No people are harmed in Rage because there are no people in it. Its characters are merely names and ideas--they are a fiction.

      Nevertheless, Rage addresses a real-world phenomenon, and the beauty of fiction is that it doesn't live as a lie. As Ursula K. Le Guin writes,

      "In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we're done with it, we may find - if it's a good novel - that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have changed a little..."

      We like fiction because it resonates with us, exposing us to themes that can affirm, shape, or challenge our mindsets.

      With this dichotomy in mind, I'm torn between whether authors should be free to explore anything they wish from the safety of make-believe, or whether they have a social responsibility because their words carry messages and ideas that directly impact lives. I'm not sure what to think, and I can come up with great arguments for both sides. What's your take? What social responsibilities do fiction authors have (if any)?

      20 votes
    4. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 ·...

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8 · Week #9

      14 votes
    5. Edit: #9, not #8; sorry for messing the title up. Would be glad if someone can fix it for me, I can't edit it apparently. Thanks a lot, Deimos, for fixing it up! What are you reading currently?...

      Edit: #9, not #8; sorry for messing the title up. Would be glad if someone can fix it for me, I can't edit it apparently. Thanks a lot, Deimos, for fixing it up!

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8

      12 votes
    6. I always say that most of the challenges we're facing today require deep thoughts, and the only way to get to that level is by reading. Podcasts, videos and articles are fine, but they don't give...

      I always say that most of the challenges we're facing today require deep thoughts, and the only way to get to that level is by reading. Podcasts, videos and articles are fine, but they don't give you the depth of a book.

      So since Christmas is almost here, I thought it would be interesting to give you a few books to get started (and I hope you recommend some books back!) By the way, I'm not going to recommend the latest books, but the books I think are timely for the situation we're living.

      1. 21 lessons for the 21st century. My favorite book of 2018. This is a must read.

      2. The filter bubble. Indispensable to understand the digital world we live in.

      3. Adcreep. If you want to get a wide picture of where advertising comes from and where it's going, this is a great book.

      4. Free will. Short book but I think it's fundamental to start acknowledging that we might not be the authors of our own thoughts.

      5. Conspiracy. Intriguing and entertaining book on how Peter Thiel took over Gawker media. I think this book is great to have a better picture of what goes on behind the scenes and understand power structures and communications processes.

      I hope you find this useful.

      Please, share your recommendations

      25 votes
    7. I was browsing a second hand bookshop the other day and I was rather excited as a Tolkien fan to find a first edition print of The Silmarillion from 1977. Unfortunately I did not have the money to...

      I was browsing a second hand bookshop the other day and I was rather excited as a Tolkien fan to find a first edition print of The Silmarillion from 1977. Unfortunately I did not have the money to purchase the book which was in rather decent condition but it got me thinking. What’s the oldest book you own personally, and how did it end up in your possession?

      12 votes
    8. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 ·...

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7

      17 votes
    9. I ask because I have several physical books that I would love to have digital copies of. Most of the services out there are destructive, so you lose the book when you send it in to scan. I'm fine...

      I ask because I have several physical books that I would love to have digital copies of.

      Most of the services out there are destructive, so you lose the book when you send it in to scan. I'm fine with this in theory, except for the fact that I'd hate to lose the physical book and have it replaced with a crappy digital copy. I've not had terribly great luck with my own attempts at OCR with documents (but I'm also not a professional).

      Additionally, some of the books I want to scan have extensive footnotes. The ideal would be that the book gets scanned and edited to have these footnotes hyperlinked in the resulting ebook, but I don't know if anyone offers that kind of service. I'd even be okay with the footnotes just being eliminated if it's too much trouble. What I don't want is them just being flowed into the main text of the document.

      There are a lot of different options out there, and I'm more than willing to pay for a good job. Has anyone used one of these services and can speak to their quality?

      7 votes
    10. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 ·...

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6

      11 votes
    11. I've started doing this amateurishly a few months ago, translating a novel slowly, and nowadays I'm thinking of going to a few publishers and asking for actual contracts. Currently, I'm using an...

      I've started doing this amateurishly a few months ago, translating a novel slowly, and nowadays I'm thinking of going to a few publishers and asking for actual contracts. Currently, I'm using an Org mode file in Emacs to do the translation, but I'm not sure that this is the most optimal way to do it. I was doing it using paper for a while, but editing and commenting is more flexible in Org mode. Yet it is also rather cumbersome the way I do it:

      <<pageNo.paragraphNo.sentenceNo>> Text, text text
      #
      some text with a comment
      # comment about the part between this comment and the above empty one
      more text, more text. <<...>> Another sentence
      

      I'm thinking of adding some code to make this a bit prettier, though.

      But are there anything that's better out there already. My preference hierarchy: Emacs mode, yayyy! > Open source app, that's fine > Proprietary app, shit! but better than nothing.

      I'm not sure if this should go under ~comp, ~tech or here (~books).

      8 votes
    12. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Notes: Do any one of you follow any literary magazines? How...

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.

      Notes: Do any one of you follow any literary magazines? How do you follow fresh pieces of literature, and grab hold of them "fresh out of the oven"?

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5

      22 votes
    13. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Notes: I've modified the title a bit, having it say "this...

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.

      Notes: I've modified the title a bit, having it say "this week" when it was never weekly (it's bi-weekly) was a bit weird.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4

      18 votes
    14. Hi there, I was curious if there exists a version of the Old and/or New Testament that provides historical context for the language and events. I'm thinking something like the New Oxford Annotated...

      Hi there,

      I was curious if there exists a version of the Old and/or New Testament that provides historical context for the language and events. I'm thinking something like the New Oxford Annotated Bible. However, the kicker is I want to listen to it as an audiobook. I'm not 100% sure what that experience would be like given that I believe most of the annotation occurs as footnotes, but I'm sure it could be done.

      I've been meaning to read the good book but never got around to it. I think it's a lot more likely to happen if it's an audiobook as that's how I consume most books at the moment.

      Does anyone know of something like that?

      6 votes
    15. What are for you the best modern whodunnit/criminal investigation books? I'm interested in books like Sherlock Holmes where there are clever deductions but also books where everybody knows who the...

      What are for you the best modern whodunnit/criminal investigation books? I'm interested in books like Sherlock Holmes where there are clever deductions but also books where everybody knows who the criminal is but they need to find evidence and the bad guy seems to always be two steps ahead (kind of like Daredevil season 3 with Wilson Fisk).

      10 votes