Category Archives: Reading

Back Yard Eden

CATBEARD MANOR

10:00 AM, 85 degF, West Houston TX

Summer is coming to an end. Slowly but surely the days of sub-100 degF and 90+ humidity are numbered. The Mrs has spent most of the summer renovating our back porch after years of hiding inside. Take a look …

I am taking this week off on a “staycation” to get some much needed work done around the house. My new job gives me 6 weeks vacation so I might as well use it.

We are sitting on the back porch having a Starbucks treat. The Mrs is crocheting while I read THE HARLAN ELLISON COLLECTION – I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM first published in 1967. SciFi guy that I am and in my teens when it first came out, I strangely never read it although I knew of it and have frequently used the phrase when dealing with the frustrations of life.

Also enjoying an unlikely breakfast of Romaine lettuce as I endeavor to loose the 30 lbs I gained after going back to work over a year ago. I tend to be a social animal and find it all too easy to go to lunch.

We are in the shade on the south side of the house with a very nice breeze that come and goes. Small scattered clouds are drifting by over head.

In the short time I have been writing this, the temperature on my Apple Watch has risen to 87 with a predicted high of 93. But for now it is very pleasant.

Wishing you all an equally peaceful day …

cb

CATBEARD MANOR

Cryptonomicon


Order it from Amazon


Order it from Audible

I just finished listening to Cryptonomicon for the second time. Cryptonomicon, published in 1999, is eerily prescient of the technological developments since then. Written at the dawn of the Internet it presages digital banking, digital encryption, and global telecommunications.

Cryptonomicon is a fascinating mix of historical fiction, science fiction, and techno-thriller. It follows two timelines – one in World War II, the other present day. The World War Two timeline follows the exploits and adventures of real and fictional characters involved in formulating and breaking the Nazi and Nipponese codes used to send vital wartime communications. The present day timeline follows what one quickly learns are the descendants of the WWII cast of characters who are building a data crypt and associated digital infrastructure in the Phillipines and Sultanate of Kinkuta. The past and present are woven together in a fine tapestry.

Neal Stephenson is at his best in Cryptonomicon. It is filled with action, suspense, and humor. A good read and a better listen. This is a must-read book for devotees of Stephenson, WWII, cryptology, and the Internet. I give it four thumbs up.

Please … STOP BLOGGING

 

I … can’t … keep … up

Seriously, stop blogging. Just for a day or two. 

Please …

How did it get this bad?

It started simply enough. I decided to automatically follow anyone who liked or commented on any one of my posts. Then to make sure that I read them, I went to “Blogs I Follow” and made sure I got an email notification for every new post. I figured that anyone who liked or commented on one of my posts was a like-minded spirit and would be interesting to follow. More or less this turned out to be a correct assumption.

Others turned out not so much. Some had long, rambling (boring) tl;dr posts that I just couldn’t wade through. Some posted every minute of every day and flooded my email with posts. Some posted on topics that were of absolutely no interest to me. So for these I went back to “Blogs I Follow” and turned off email notification.

Now I was down to the blogs that were interesting. Your blogs. Your stories. Your cats. Your photos. Your news. Your ideas. Your humor. Your successes. Your fears. Your emotions. All of it good. All of it interesting.

  

Even as I write this, the email counter ratchets upward. Notifications are coming in faster than I can delete them. But I can’t just delete them. I have to look at them in order to delete them and then I read them and then I click on the link and go to the post and then I read the comments and by the time I’m done more notifications have come in. Even worse I may decide to reblog one. By the time I’m done, yet more notifications are in my mailbox.

  

I originally started this blog a few years ago as a venue for writing Fiction and autobiographical history. Then I started adding cat photos. Then reblogs of interesting posts and videos. Now I can’t even keep up with the blogs I follow.

 

 
(help…)
  

(please …)

  

How We’ll Live on Mars

In the same way we can draw a line from Wernher von Braun straight to Apollo 11, when a spaceship carrying astronauts lands on Mars in 2027, we may well be able to draw a line straight to Elon Musk—because that Mars lander will most likely have the SpaceX logo on it.

Musk is arguably the most visionary entrepreneur of our time. Seven years after he quit a PhD program in applied physics at Stanford University, he sold his share of PayPal and Zip2, companies he cofounded, giving him a reported net worth of $324 million. He rolled his money into Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a company he founded in 2002, then went on to cofound Tesla Motors, which is poised to revolutionize the automobile world. He is a devout environmentalist and proponent of solar energy—his Teslas can literally be driven on sunlight. In 2013, Musk proposed a unique high-speed transportation system in a vacuum tube called Hyperloop, which he put into the public domain. A Hyperloop tube running between Los Angeles and San Francisco could reduce travel time to thirty minutes.

Musk formed SpaceX just when it seemed as if NASA was slipping into irrelevance. Like von Braun, he is a transplant, in this case from South Africa and Canada. Musk, like von Braun, is a perfectionist who is convinced of his vision and determined to achieve it. And as with von Braun, no one seems to understand how serious Musk is when he says we must get to Mars. Against all advice and all odds, he has managed to do the impossible: find enough capital to finance Space Exploration Technologies and to keep it afloat and moving forward even when its first three rockets blew up. Along the way, he has raised a truly revolutionary question: Who needs NASA to get to Mars?

 
Excerpt From: Petranek, Stephen. “How We’ll Live on Mars.” TED Conferences LLC. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.

 
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/5DUPZ.l

Also available from Amazon and all of the usual sources.

  

 
I am currently reading … and listening … to this book (via Audible.com).

Happy Aniversary

To me …

  

Jack Reacher | Lee Child

My wife and I listened to the entire unabridged Jack Reacher series (in order) via Audible.com. The reader, Dick Hill, is excellent. The nice thing about Audible is that you can listen to your purchases on any and all of your devices. I don’t know what genre to classify the Jack Reacher series as … it is part detective story, part mystery, part action. Highly readable and/or easy to listen to. We lost many a night’s sleep due to the inability to wait for the next day to find out what happened next.

 
Jack Reacher Books Full-Length Novels in Order 

From http://leechildbooklist.com/jack-reacher-books-in-order

  1. Killing Floor
  2. Die Trying
  3. Tripwire
  4. Running Blind (also known as The Visitor in the UK)
  5. Echo Burning
  6. Without Fail
  7. Persuader
  8. The Enemy
  9. One Shot
  10. The Hard Way
  11. Bad Luck And Trouble
  12. Nothing To Lose
  13. Gone Tomorrow
  14. 61 Hours
  15. Worth Dying For
  16. The Affair
  17. A Wanted Man
  18. Never Go Back
  19. Personal
  20. Make Me