Your current reading list

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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Eiriksson » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:39 am

nowonmai wrote:Antietam will indeed be a wargasm. I'd love to see that place and personally would also pick out Fredericksburg and Beaver Dam Creek (Mechanicsville).


Fredericksburg is eye-opening. The hill the Union fought up is legitimately like a 40 degree angle. Fish in barrels would be harder to hit. Just incredible stuff.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Eiriksson » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:41 am

Imtiaz Gul, 'The Most Dangerous Place'.

Met him in Karachi, he gave me a tip on where to stay in Peshawar, and he knows his shit. Serious-minded guy, looking forward to getting into the book a bit further.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby suwon fish » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:51 am

Image

Trying to get a handle on some of my more "colourful" relatives...
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby roach coach » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:33 pm

Eiriksson wrote:Imtiaz Gul, 'The Most Dangerous Place'.

Met him in Karachi, he gave me a tip on where to stay in Peshawar, and he knows his shit. Serious-minded guy, looking forward to getting into the book a bit further.


I have that book and it's on my to-read list. I'm currently reading A High Price by Daniel Byman.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby friendlyskies » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm

Just finished Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks, he's the "celebrity psychiatrist" (for lack of a better term) who wrote the much more widely read "Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat."

http://www.amazon.com/Musicophilia-Tale ... 1400040817

The book covers several different cases of mental disorder/damage and how they affect the perception of music. Which sounds boring but is actually kind of cool. Each study has its own revelations, but what it comes down to is that music is perceived in vastly different ways by different people. Duh, right? But this pinpoints it.

People who lose some of their music processing ability because of a stroke (or whatever) compare it to losing depth perception, or going colorblind. Others can't recognize a tune if you change the key. And then there's the guy who got struck by lightening and started writing symphonies. It's not just psychology, either. They do all kinds of brain scans and crazy pharmaceuticals with the patients. So you really get a sense of how music is this transcendental, almost physical force in some people's lives, and just background noise to others, due to the brain and how it was trained early on. And how by altering the physical brain, you can manipulate a person's experience of music.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Q » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:24 pm

friendlyskies wrote:Just finished Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks, he's the "celebrity psychiatrist" (for lack of a better term) who wrote the much more widely read "Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat."

http://www.amazon.com/Musicophilia-Tale ... 1400040817

The book covers several different cases of mental disorder/damage and how they affect the perception of music. Which sounds boring but is actually kind of cool. Each study has its own revelations, but what it comes down to is that music is perceived in vastly different ways by different people. Duh, right? But this pinpoints it.

People who lose some of their music processing ability because of a stroke (or whatever) compare it to losing depth perception, or going colorblind. Others can't recognize a tune if you change the key. And then there's the guy who got struck by lightening and started writing symphonies. It's not just psychology, either. They do all kinds of brain scans and crazy pharmaceuticals with the patients. So you really get a sense of how music is this transcendental, almost physical force in some people's lives, and just background noise to others, due to the brain and how it was trained early on. And how by altering the physical brain, you can manipulate a person's experience of music.


I've always been curious about musical talent and drug use. Like, were the really great ones just naturally good, did tripping their balls off make them great, or did the drugs break some kind of barrier that allowed them to be great?

It's like me with my German and Spanish. Sober, I sound like a retard. But when I really tie one on, I'm pretty damn fluent. It's like the booze breaks down that mental barrier. Make any sense?
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby friendlyskies » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:20 pm

Um, the book doesn't really talk about illegal drugs, just pharmaceuticals. For instance, a professional musician getting massive doses of phenobarbitol starts hearing flattened notes in higher ranges.... or just loses the "emotional" content of the music, the reaction to a piece that had always affected them. But I'm sure, absolutely 100% sure, that psychoactive drugs affect the perception of music.

But as far as great musicians, it's clear that you need both components, nature and nurture. For instance, he studies several "musical families," where the gift has been passed down for generations. In one family, they all make fun of the middle daughter, who has been classically trained but still lacks an ear for the *feeling* in the music.... she can play a piece technically well, but can't intuit the emotional content. They joke that she can't tell "good" music from "bad" music.

But no matter how naturally talented you are, the key is exposure to music as early as possible. For instance, it's hypothesized that most babies are born with perfect pitch, but only a handful make it past puberty with the gift - in nontonal language environments. People raised with tonal languages, like Vietnamese and Mandarin, are much more likely to keep perfect pitch throughout their lives. And in a more general sense, people exposed to certain types of music early on will be geared to appreciate that type of music, and simpler arrangements, throughout their lives. But they might not be able to process more complex, varied structures. So someone raised with relatively simple Western symphonies won't be able to hear, much less process, more complex music, such as Latin dance. It becomes difficult to even distinguish between increasingly complex pieces, because your brain can't arrange all the different parts very efficiently. And some people can't recognize even the simplest songs, like Pop Goes the Weasel, because they lack any ability to put a tune together as a recognizable entity in their brain.

Learning instruments young is also required, because your brain delegates cells to the parts of the body you use most. So a virtuoso guitarist will have a much larger portion of his brain dedicated to his hands than, say, a trumpet player, or a nerd who just plays World of Warcraft. You can alter your brain in later life, for sure, but it's just not as easy. It's a cool book!
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Michael » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:41 pm

Monsoon by Robert Kaplan
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby diamondcutter13 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:35 pm

I continue to be amazed at how much good stuff is free online to be read. Re-reading some of Orwells stuff here:

http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Down_an ... ish/e_dopl
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby nowonmai » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:47 am

I first read Homage to Catalonia aged 10, tutored by an impossibly sophisticated sixth form girl, who was helping out the teacher for some reason. Because I read books like a human teleprinter I was assigned one to one for more adult stuff than the others were doing and she chose Homage to Catalonia, clever girl. We studied it and discussed it for a term. Looking back on it her insights, which seemed natural to me then, were remarkable for a person of her age. I can't remember her name so she will certainly never know the influence that quite trivial event in her life had on mine.

Here is a bit of the book that I specifically remember discussing with her one afternoon - as we sat in a classroom in England, a sixteen year old girl and a ten year old boy; talking about war, death, politics and the human condition.

"They laid me down again while somebody fetched a stretcher. As soon as I knew that the bullet had gone clean through my neck I took it for granted that I was done for. I had never heard of a man or an animal getting a bullet through the middle of the neck and surviving it. The blood was dribbling out of the comer of my mouth. ‘The artery's gone,’ I thought. I wondered how long you last when your carotid artery is cut; not many minutes, presumably. Everything was very blurry. There must have been about two minutes during which I assumed that I was killed. And that too was interesting — I mean it is interesting to know what your thoughts would be at such a time. My first thought, conventionally enough, was for my wife. My second was a violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, suits me so well. I had time to feel this very vividly. The stupid mischance infuriated me. The meaninglessness of it! To be bumped off, not even in battle, but in this stale comer of the trenches, thanks to a moment's carelessness! I thought, too, of the man who had shot me — wondered what he was like, whether he was a Spaniard or a foreigner, whether he knew he had got me, and so forth. I could not feel any resentment against him. I reflected that as he was a Fascist I would have killed him if I could, but that if he had been taken prisoner and brought before me at this moment I would merely have congratulated him on his good shooting. It may be, though, that if you were really dying your thoughts would be quite different."
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Caliban » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:10 am

nowonmai wrote:I first read Homage to Catalonia aged 10, tutored by an impossibly sophisticated sixth form girl ... Looking back on it her insights, which seemed natural to me then, were remarkable for a person of her age. I can't remember her name so she will certainly never know the influence that quite trivial event in her life had on mine.


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Re: Your current reading list

Postby michelle in alaska » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:37 am

Image
suwon fish, i remember reading this book and seeing the title, sparked my memory of another....



i read this book when it first came out and was really really surprised at how informative it was, laden with just simple facts. so obvious and simple in defining the profile of a predator.
this woman works with sexual predators/perps that are already imprisoned. in wisconsin. (Ed Gein, anybody?).
well. i'm heading back to working in this little venue again.
reading this book again reminds me that you can succinctly disseminate a heckofalot of info without alot of verbage. i obviously need lessons.

Image

http://www.amazon.com/Predators-Pedophiles-Rapists-Other-Offenders/dp/0465071732/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312964841&sr=1-1#_

btw, she has written a couple of fictional books based on her practice.
they're surprisingly really good. i'm happy to see she wrote something recently (2008)--but her older novels are good, also.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby michelle in alaska » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:26 am

and also, while we're on the subject: a link to the site of one very incredible attorney, author and human being: http://www.vachss.com/
his website is a font of info.
his newest:
Image
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby svizzerams » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:40 pm

I am reading these two for a course I am in:

Image

Image

Also reading for fun:

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and

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Last edited by svizzerams on Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby svizzerams » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:46 pm

suwon fish wrote:Image

Trying to get a handle on some of my more "colourful" relatives...



I own this one - I've met some of these people. Useful.
Joan of Arc went to battle with nothing
but the voices in her head
and a well-sharpened sword ~ Charlotte

...those without swords can still die upon them...

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