What are you reading?

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I like the way you've been using the word "trepidation" lately.
 
Well it's an intellectual minefield online added to another factor it's best I caveat the odd post where I'm not 100%

Though for you to mark it means I might have overused it. I think twice or even three times in the space of a week maybe, lol.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well it's an intellectual minefield online added to another factor it's best I caveat the odd post where I'm not 100%
Yes, that's a sensible attitude. I just like the way you've chosen to express it. It probably wouldn't have occurred to me.
Though for you to mark it means I might have overused it. I think twice or even three times in the space of a week maybe, lol.
I've seen two instances of you using it (including this last one).
 
By the way, I thought it rather astute of you to pick up on my arguably subtle meaning in the politics thread. I realize you skillfully toed the line of partiality and was not at all favouring my position yet to clock the meaning was rather good.

I think you'd do quite well in political debate, though I think you're sane enough to not get involved and I don't blame you.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
By the way, I thought it rather astute of you to pick up on my arguably subtle meaning in the politics thread. I realize you skillfully toed the line of partiality and was not at all favouring my position yet to clock the meaning was rather good.
Ah, well, I don't know; it seemed fairly obvious to me to be honest. But thanks.
I think you'd do quite well in political debate
I'm not sure about that. In addition to the fact that I don't know much about politics, I don't even think I'm especially good at any sort of debate — except perhaps debates about grammar, where you can often support your argument with relatively objective evidence.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I realize there can be some objective evidence for political statements, too, but it's often more open to subjective, ideological, emotional interpretation; and, also, it's often about conjecture as to what will happen if such and such political line is followed (e.g. "What will be the effect of Brexit on British economy?").

Now, it wouldn't be fair to say that there isn't any room for subjective interpretation in grammatical matters, too. And people sometimes get almost as emotional about it as about politics. :p
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Norman Ohler, Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich

Plot summary : In the early 30s in Germany methamphetamine and heroin were more accesible than coffee.
Goering was a morphine junkie; Hitler posed as role-model (no smoking, no coffee, no meat etc.) but secretly he ran on a combo of barbiturates, opiates, cocaine, heroin and morphine.
Before a speech, Adolph liked to hit a coctail of cocaine, hormones and strychnine.
German officers , socialites and NSDAP officials liked to snuff cocaine from time to time. Wehrmacht dispached 35 million pills of Pervitin [=methamphetamine] to frontline troops in France. Soldiers were given chocolade laced with meth - "Panzerschokolade" . Until the end of WWII almost 200 million tablets of Pervitin were dispatched to Wehrmacht, Waffen SS, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine. Uboot crews, Stuka pilots, Gestapo and SS Einzatsgruppen were known for meth abuse.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
*Pervitin ... and *Wehrmacht.
Pervitin is essentially Crystal Meth. People believe that's how German troops sustained the Blitzkrieg. (Quite likely)
 

Hemo Rusticus

Low-life Scumbag
Я недавно читал Достоевского Бесов, в которой мой самый любимый персонаж Алексей Нилыч (cf. L nil) Кириллов.
 

Hemo Rusticus

Low-life Scumbag
Lysandra

Как дела в Петрограде?
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Tom Phillips, Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up, 2019

Plot summary: Ignorance is painful; ignorance among rulers is fatal . Most valuable asset is common sense. Cold War Communism was a living proof of Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Score : 8/10 .
When Chairman Mao’s communists took power in China in late 1949, the country was in the grip of a medical crisis. Infectious diseases, from cholera to plague to malaria, were running rife. If Mao’s goal of rapidly transforming the country from a largely agrarian nation only a few decades out of feudalism into a modern industrial powerhouse were to be met, something would have to be done.

Some of the solutions were obvious and sensible—mass vaccination programs, improved sanitation, that sort of thing. The problems started when Mao decided to focus on blaming animals for the country’s woes.

Mosquitoes spread malaria, rats spread plague; that much was pretty undeniable. And so a nationwide plan to reduce their numbers was hatched. Unfortunately, Mao didn’t stop there. If it had just been a Two Pests campaign, then things might have worked out okay. But Mao decided (without bothering to do anything like, you know, ask experts their opinion or anything) to add in two other species, as well. Flies were to be wiped out, on the grounds that flies are annoying. And the fourth pest? Sparrows.
The problem with sparrows, the thinking went, was that they ate grain. A single sparrow could eat as much as 4.5 kilograms of grain every single year—grain that could be used instead to feed the people of China. They did the math and determined that 60,000 extra people could be fed for every million sparrows that were eliminated. Who could argue with that?
The Four Pests campaign began in 1958, and it was a remarkable effort. A countrywide poster campaign demanded that every citizen, from the youngest to the oldest, do their duty and kill the shit out of as many animals as possible. “Birds,” it was declared, “are public animals of capitalism.” The people were armed with everything from flyswatters to rifles, with schoolchildren being trained in how to shoot down as many sparrows as possible. Jubilant sparrow-hating crowds took to the streets waving flags as they joined battle with the birds. Sparrows’ nests were destroyed and their eggs smashed, while citizens banging pots and pans would drive them from trees so they could never rest until, exhausted, they fell dead from the sky. In Shanghai alone, it was estimated that almost 200,000 sparrows died on the first day of hostilities. “No warrior shall be withdrawn,” the People’s Daily wrote, “until the battle is won.”
The battle was, indeed, won. In terms of achieving its stated goals, it was a triumph—an overwhelming victory for humanity against the forces of small animals. In total, the Four Pests campaign is estimated to have killed 1.5 billion rats, 11 million kilograms of mosquitoes, 100 million kilograms of flies...and a billion sparrows.
Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent what the problem with this was: those billion sparrows hadn’t just been eating grain. They’d also been eating insects. In particular, they ate locusts.
Suddenly freed from the constraints of a billion predators keeping their numbers down, the locusts of China celebrated like it was New Year every day. Unlike sparrows—who’d eat a bit of grain here and there—the locusts tore through the crops of China in vast, relentless devouring clouds. In 1959, an actual expert (ornithologist Tso-hsin Cheng, who had been trying to warn people how bad an idea this all was) was finally listened to, and sparrows were replaced on the list of official pests-we-want-to-kill by bedbugs. But by then it was too late; you can’t just replace a billion sparrows on a whim once you’ve wiped them out.
 
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Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
Just finished Minucius Felix's Octavius, one of the earliest Latin apologies for Christianity. I have not been converted but it was a fun read. Might start the Historia Augusta soon.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Gretchen Angelo, Liberté
 
Pepys was put down at its final stretch a week or so ago, partly because I don't want it to end, and Gibbon opens up again.

Hoping to visit the former's library in Cambridge for a day in the coming year and locate some of the books he so fondly and untowardly alludes to in his diary.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Book VI of Aulus Gellius' Noctes Atticae and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
 
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