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review 2018-12-15 22:06
Fear
Fear: Trump in the White House - Bob Woodward

This book is somehow simultaneously alarming and unsurprising. The latter, I suppose, must come from everything I have already read and heard about the inner (mis)workings of the Trump White House. One of the most fascinating things to come about when this book was poised to be released was Bob Woodward's published interview with Donald Trump. The opening of the book notes that Trump declined to be interviewed for it. In the interview, Trump initially claimed that no one had told him about the book, the whole time Woodward was attempting to set up an interview. Then during the course of the interview, it became clear that this was a lie. That captures so much of the way Trump operates.

 

In the interview, Trump claimed that the book was going to be flawed because it lacked his input. But Woodward is thorough and even-handed. Though I have to say, when the book ended, I thought, "Wait, that's <i>it</i>?" I'm not sure how I expected the book to conclude, but it felt as though it just stopped, and everything is so.... Unsettled. I guess that's one of the possible downsides of reporting on real life. I only hope there are still people in the White House averting disaster.

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review 2018-12-15 00:14
No gold stars awarded here
The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity - Byron Reese

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese could have been really good if only it wasn't riddled with so many grammatical errors. :'-( Repeated words, completely missing words, and words in the wrong order (was this down to the editor?) were liberally spread through the entire book which really took away from my enjoyment. I felt that what he was trying to accomplish with this book was interesting but I'm not entirely sure that he accomplished his goal (and he certainly needs to do a more thorough job of editing). This was less a purely scientific look at artificial intelligence and more a philosophical one about the nature of consciousness and if it's even remotely possible to duplicate it in a computer matrix. As with philosophical books, there were more questions raised than answers proposed. For all of the books on AI that I've read this one rests at the bottom and you'd be better served reading something along the lines of In Our Own Image by George Zarkadakis for a well-executed and researched work on the subject. Additionally, major points taken off for a lack of a bibliography. I have no idea how you can reference so many other people's work and then give them absolutely no credit. 2/10

 

What's Up Next: 5 Worlds Book 2: The Cobalt Prince by Alexis & Mark Siegel with illustrations by Boya Sun & Matt Rockefeller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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url 2018-12-12 13:36
From Pythagoras to Aristotle and Plato 4 elements Symbolism
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
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Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
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Mysticism or Magic

From Pythagoras to Aristotle and Plato 4 elements SymbolismWho we areSpiritualityPower of MindconsciousnessSymbols and Signsmeditation

 

Our journey from worshiping silence towards the worship of God’s names to Idol worship

by Nataša Pantović Nuit

It has all started and in its puzzling complexity ends with the worship of  (in Arabic the name for God is Alah) or divine,  its omnipresent Cosmic entity, in Taoism known as Tao, materialised through trinity of forces (in Hindhuism known as rajas, satwas and tamas) within four elements of Gaia: earth, water, sun, and air. In their wisdom Chinese philosophers and ancient sages, even managed to further refine them deviding the manifestations of earth into wood and metal, exploring the dance of five instead of four elements. Within the western worlds, inside the works of greatest philosophers, mystics and artists we find this wisdom sparkled knowledge.

mysticism or magic symbolism of four elements

 

 

Aristotle Plato Pythagoras

Within the scientific observations of different types of atoms at similar energy levels, the states with the similar behaviour patterns are called: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. The Ancient Greek system of Aristotle, a student of Plato attending the Plato’s Academy found in 387 BC in Athens, better known as the teacher, advisor, consultant of Alexander the Great who was the first one to travel to Egypt.

Source: artof4elements.com/entry/234/mysticism-or-magic
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review 2018-12-11 01:46
The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia - Michael Booth

This is basically the world’s longest magazine article. I kept reading because the author had a great idea for a book: we in the English-speaking world are always idealizing the Nordic countries, but we don’t actually know much about what it’s like to live there, nor do we visit them very often or learn their languages. So the author, a Brit married to a Dane and living in Copenhagen, proposed to travel around these countries and report on, as the bookjacket claims, “how they may not be as happy or as perfect as we assume.”

Which could have been great, if it weren’t so light and frivolous. Aside from giving a brief overview of the history of each of the five countries included (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland), chapters cover topics such as a visit to a sauna; a visit to Santa’s Village; traditionally-dressed revelers celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day; and a visit to a supposedly dangerous housing project occupied by Muslim immigrants in Malmö, which turns out to be pretty quiet and unremarkable when the author visits in the middle of the day and doesn’t actually talk to any immigrants other than the elderly Macedonian who heads the local mosque.

The book does briefly explore various issues – immigration, the rise of right-wing politics, high levels of taxation and government involvement in society, the causes of Iceland’s economic woes – mostly through talking to a small group of writers and professors who give rather fuzzy impressionistic answers. But he never does really get “behind the myth” in the way I expected. After his stroll through the housing project, he observes that its Swedish neighbors, said to resent the immigrants, “probably faced precisely the same problems as their immigrant neighbors in Herregården – poor education, few opportunities, little hope, and no money – yet each was fearful and resentful of the other.”

Wait. Stop the presses. This is it – this is “behind the myth.” Sweden isn’t supposed to have people, especially native-born ethnic Swedes, with “poor education, few opportunities, little hope, and no money.” Isn’t that the entire point of the welfare state? Isn’t that the heart of the “myth”? And yet Booth just keeps tripping blithely along, talking about views on immigration and even including a chapter entitled “Class” that turns out to be all about the weirdness of the Scandinavian monarchies. In another baffling omission, he observes that a Norwegian museum “featur[es] the usual Nordic tiptoeing around the subject of their oppressed indigenous minority,” then proceeds to describe the exhibit, note the Sami’s territory and numbers, and never mention them again. I checked the index just to make sure and yep, this is the only mention in the entire book. How you can think you’re writing a book about a region’s negative aspects and not include its generational poverty or oppressed indigenous minority, I have no idea. But on to Legoland!

The book is very focused on the author’s own experiences and observations, while some of his theories are just wacky. For instance, he theorizes that Finnish men drink too much because their country has a long history of foreign rule and military defeat, never mind that this does not appear to affect modern-day Finns in any way. He even writes about floating this theory to others, who all shoot it down, which doesn’t stop him from devoting a full two pages to defending it in the book.

Now sure, if you are looking for a lighthearted travelogue that will introduce you to a few cultural concepts, and fill you in on a bit of history and politics, this may be the book for you. I didn’t find it as funny as others did, perhaps because it relies heavily on pop culture references that don’t mean anything to me (“Swedish unemployment figures are about as reliable as Joan Collins’s age”). The book is just so long, without achieving any real depth, that at times I considered not even finishing it. I did learn some things from it, but I would have appreciated it more if it had been pared down and marketed as the lighthearted travelogue that it is.

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url 2018-12-10 16:06
In search of perfection
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Chanting Mantras with Best Chords - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Spiritual Symbols: With their Meanings (Alchemy of love mindfulness training) (Volume 8) - Nataša Pantović Nuit

In Search of Perfection within  in Mathematics

in search of perfection pi

Have you seen a film called π (Pi), written and directed by Darren Aronofsky in 1998. This 84 minutes master piece was filmed using the budget of only $68,000. The film explores exactly this search for a perfect number or sound, for the Name of God, it explores religion,  and our relationship to Universe with the most beautiful of all Sciences - Mathematics. The imperfect, irrational humanity vs our drive towards the perfection of mathematics, and our relationship to , synchronicity, Destiny.

Source: artof4elements.com/entry/214/in-search-of-perfection
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