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review 2017-10-24 17:21
Wayward Vols 1-4
Wayward Vol. 1: String Theory - Jim Zub,Jim Zub,Steve Cummings,John Rauch
Wayward Vol. 4: Threads and Portents - Jim Zub,Steven Cummings,Tamra Bonvillain

The Wayward series chronicles the adventures Rori when she goes to Japan to live her mother.  Rori’s parents are divorced, her father is Irish, and something has happened to drive her away from Ireland where she spent most of her life.  The culture shock she suffers is more “my Japanese isn’t all that good” which is a nice refreshing change.  She is of both and of neither culture.

 

                Rori soon finds that things in Japan are different.  She can see threads, and this leads her to meeting with Ayane, a cat girl (or cats who are a girl), and eventually Shirai and Niakido.  The four are teens who have a variety of unique powers, and they are being hunted by the Japanese powers of old, including Kitsune.  Rori’s mother is connected and in some way, and the first volume ends with an epic and from a story telling standing point, a very brave showdown. 

 

                The second and third volumes add more characters, including Ohara Emi and Inaba Kami (who is kitsune who is very cute but kick ass).  The team struggles with unfolding power, manipulation, and the question of what is right.

 

                Part of what makes Wayward so compelling is the very human nature of those who inhabit the story.  It isn’t just Rori and her companions, but their enemies as well – beings who are struggling just as much to keep alive.  Rori’s methods too are at times questionable.  One of the most heart wrenching sequences concerns Ohara who is trying to be both a dutiful daughter and a savior of society.

 

                In Wayward, Jim Zub and Co have presented not just a fable for modern society, but something more, something that examines not only multi-cultural issue but globalization    as well. 

 

                Seriously, you should read this.

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review 2017-10-14 21:30
Entangled Strings: "Theories of Everything" by Frank Close
Theories of Everything: Ideas in Profile - Frank Close
I’ve got a theory that the rules of the universe ARE created by people thinking up theories about it. Although due to elitism bias, i am yet to receive any funding for my groundbreaking “hypothesis.” Fucking scientist bastards, getting paid for thinking about stuff they think I can’t understand... what a scam.
 
I suspect that a lot of the hostility and rejection of science by people who can't understand it is because it makes them feel stupid. It is, after all, fundamental to understanding how the world works. Some people are scientists; some people are not, but know what science is; but some people not only don't understand science, but don't know that they don't know, because they can't even see it. This is a bit analogous to being able to read. Some can go into a library and read in a few languages, some only in one, others can know what books are but not be able to read, and some don't actually know what books are and feel stupid, so pretend that they either don't exist or are some sort of conspiracy against them, which makes them feel important. There are theories around which involved such complex mathematics only a handful of people in the entire world can understand them. Peer review not much use here and enter this new age of egg-heads trying to “out-complexify” each other.
 
 
If you're into Physics and Loop Quantum Gravity, read on.
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review 2017-09-29 00:34
Republic
Republic - Robin A.H. Waterfield,Plato

The writings of Plato have been one of the cornerstones of Western thought for two and a half millennia used for both secular and religious purposes, sometimes not as he intended.  Republic is one, if not the, most famous piece of Plato’s philosophical/political writings and the translation by Robin Waterfield for Oxford World’s Classics adds to the debate that surrounds it.

 

During a thorough 60+ page introduction to Plato’s text, Waterfield most significant translation is “morality” instead of “justice” for the Greek word dikaiosune because of the definition provided by Aristotle of the word.  With this word decision and with her discussion of Plato’s complete disregard to politics, Republic turns from a work of political theory into one of philosophy concerned about the improvement of an individual’s life and not that of a Greek polis.  Using the cultural terms and norms of his time, Plato sets out to express his belief that individuals can improve and better themselves outside the communal structure of Greek life.  This was a radical notion given that individualism—especially as we know it today—was not a part of respectable Greek political life, the individual’s life was bound up in the community and if they went off on their own it was dangerous to the civic order and with the relationship with the gods (the charge against Socrates).

 

While Plato’s overall thesis is thought-provoking, some of his supporting arguments via mathematics and his lack of details about how to improve one’s morality and thus goodness are detriments to Republic’s overall quality.  Although later individuals, in particular early Christian fathers, would supplement Plato with their own supporting evidence for those in the 21st Century these elements can be stumbling blocks.  Even though Waterfield’s translation provided to be very readable and her  notes beyond satisfactory, the constant flipping to the back of the book to read them and provide myself with the context to what she was saying while at the particular place in the text was somewhat unhelpful but footnotes at the bottom of the pages might have been worse.

 

Republic is one of the most significant pieces of Western literature and whether you approve of Waterfield’s translation or not, it is a very good was to look at a piece of text long-thought to mean one thing and see it as something completely different.

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review 2017-09-19 07:44
All Much Ado about Nothing: “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin
The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next - Lee Smolin

“The Weinberg-Salam model requires that the Higgs field exist and that it manifest itself as the new elementary particle called the Higgs boson, which carries the force associated with the Higgs field. Of all the predictions required by the unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces, only this one has not yet been verified.”

 

In “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin

 

 

Hello physicists and Lee Smolin in particular,

 

I can't say I agree with such a hard stance against string theory personally like Smolin does, but I’m what’s known as a stupid person, so it doesn’t really matter what I think. However, I do feel it is healthy for science to have people that challenge ideas from all sides. All this will do is galvanise people to work harder to provide evidence to prove or disprove any theory that tries to describe realty. Science thrives in areas of confliction.

 

Life is the memory of what happened before you died, i.e. we cannot extricate ourselves from the universe in any way shape or form, including our "objective," apparently repeatable theoretical notions. By definition, there is only one UNI-verse. If you want to call it a universe of multiverses or a multiverse of universes, or balls of string with no limits, no problem, but there is only one of everything that is and isn't. This assemblage of atoms, no different from any other atoms, called the human body, has a life and death, as do the stars; it also has an internal resonance we like to call the consciousness of self-awareness of existence. We all too often, de facto, accept that there is a universe outside our "selfs", our bodies, i.e. it’s just me, my-self, and I, and the universe that surrounds my body, as if there were a molecular separation of some sort. This starting point for science, i.e., this assumed separation from a universe that surrounds our (apparent) bodies is the first thing that has to go. By definition there is only one UNI-verse that includes Heisenberg, I, the photos and videos of flying objects that make apparently perfect right angle turns at thousands of miles per hour, which we casual observers are not able to identify, black holes, white holes, pink holes, blue holes, our memories, our records, not to mention everything else. It's all much ado about nothing. As someone else used to say, "This IS the cosmic drama," we are living at the interface of the Sun's outgoing light and the apparent incoming light from the universe that appears to surround the Sun. Ah, but, what if we live in a black hole and don't realize it? That would mean the night sky, which most of us consider to exist outside the sun would actually be all the light of the sun after doing a 180, except, and here's the kicker, daylight, i.e., the light of the sun that we experience as sunshine.

 

 

If you're into Physics and String Theory in particular, read on.

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review 2017-09-03 14:46
First Bingo Read!
Wayward Vol. 1: String Theory - Jim Zub,Jim Zub,Steve Cummings,John Rauch

This just goes to show how well those lists for work me, doesn't it?

 

Qualifies for  - Demons Square (uncalled, but read)

 

This graphic novel makes us of Japanese folklore, in particular folklore surronding demons and even includes a brief folklore overview at the end, describing various demons used in the story.

 

Rori is a young girl whose parents have divorced.  Her father is Irish, her mother is Japanese.  She was living with her father, apparently something major went down, and she goes to Japan to stay with the mother.  The conflict of being trapped between two cultures is done particularly well.  However, the reader should know that there are triggers, including cutting.  This is not a book for the young.

 

Rori discovers that she has magical abilites and mets up with three other teens who also have powers.  Then things start to get out of hand as demons close in because they want something.

 

The characters are interesting.  My only quibble is the kitsune who look more like wolves than like foxes.

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