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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #3931
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Good for him. And good for his parents, too.
    I was frightened of the Loch Ness Monster when I was his age, because it seemed a little too nearby for comfort. My father's approach to the problem was to reason from the assumed characteristics of the monster - it's aquatic, it would need to walk a long way to get to our house, it had never been reported to attack a person and indeed was evidently shy of humans. I now understand the impulse of honesty that prevented him at that time from saying flatly, "It doesn't exist", and his substitution with a very reasonable argument that it wasn't the kind of monster that did monster things anyway, but what I took away from that conversation was, "Yeah, there's a monster loose in our country."

    (Mind you, I was absolutely terrified of Santa Claus, particularly because my parents were quite evidently lying about his nature in order to cover up something even more threatening than an old man in fancy dress breaking into your house at dead of night, for alleged motives that were both laughably implausible in conception and utterly impossible in execution.)

    Grant Hutchison
    I was, until maybe High School or so, terrified of the Yeti and related humanoid cryptids, and not nearly on as remotely logical terms as your fear. It didn’t matter whether I believed they actually existed (for most of that time I knew they didn’t), they were just as scary as simply literary/cinematic monsters, and it didn’t matter that I lived nowhere near where they were “supposed to” live— for a while when I was eight and nine, I got the idea in my mind that there was a Yeti in the upstairs hallway of our house and that if I didn’t run from the top of the stairs to my bedroom as fast as I could and slam the door, it would grab me. There certainly are a lot of books and movies where Yeti-like creatures attack people or at least spy on them creepily from the shadows, and I think I found the art of them as human-like but also clearly inhuman off-putting in an uncanny valley way in conjunction with all of these stories of them as malevolent (I didn’t find actual apes frightening).
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  2. #3932
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    My hometown is Louisville KY, and I was raised in Fern Creek, a southeast suburb not far from the Pope Lick railroad trestle where a monster or human maniac was rumored for decades to live. There was talk about him/it in my high school in the early 1970s. (A "lick" is a creek or small river with a salt outcropping, where deer and cattle come to lick. "Pope" was an early Louisville homesteader or other historical figure.) He was said to hang from the bridge and drop into open cars that drove beneath it.

    A play has recently been performed about the Pope Lick Monster, and at least one person has been killed walking out onto the one-track-wide trestle only to be hit by a train. No catwalk for escape. Wasn't sure if I believed in it, but it was lots of fun as long as you stayed off the trestle. The railroad and local cops take a dim view of anyone even getting close to the trestle now.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  3. #3933
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    Simon: "But monsters don't exist."

    Me: "No, they don't."

    Simon: "So why do people think they do?"

    Me: "Well, a lot of reasons. Some people want to. Some people have been fooled by other people who fake it. Some people just don't really understand the science."

    Simon: "But don't they know that monsters aren't real?"
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  4. #3934
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    Lately the only media I've been reading has been the internet, but I do have a few books crying for me on the shelves. Should go back and read at least one.

    On the topic of monsters, I think monsters turn into "regular animals" as soon as they are discovered and analyzed (e.g., gorillas, okapi, strange kinds of sharks, coelacanths). The internet offers a recent example: yeti are actually a rare species of bear in the Himalayas.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/...encing/546806/

    So, yeti exist... but they're bears. I love bears. Not chewing on my leg, but otherwise, yaay, bears.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  5. #3935
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    Sure, but the Loch Ness monster isn't going to turn out to be something. They've examined the lake every way you can imagine, and there's no monster in it. None was reported until 1933. Sasquatch? Not going to happen--and also pretty well a modern legend unconnected to any of the native legends around here. A lot of these are stories, be they modern (mostly) or ancient, with no real factual basis.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  6. #3936
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Sure, but the Loch Ness monster isn't going to turn out to be something. They've examined the lake every way you can imagine, and there's no monster in it. None was reported until 1933. Sasquatch? Not going to happen--and also pretty well a modern legend unconnected to any of the native legends around here. A lot of these are stories, be they modern (mostly) or ancient, with no real factual basis.
    Agree completely, but I said "discovered and analyzed." In the case of the yeti, fur and bone samples were available, found by locals and explorers. All were analyzed, and "bear" came back, except for a dog tooth (I think).

    Now, in the case of the sasquatch, stabilized film footage with the camera "immobilized" show the creature walking very much like a human wearing a costume.... which has been the open secret all along. Someone (well known in the special effects industry, I believe) had a very good outfit, and he had a friend film him. Instant monster, which turned into a regular (party) animal later. Have to look up the details; saw a great photo of the costume in a book, will have to find it again.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  7. #3937
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    It's not that the yeti "turned out" to be a bear - the yeti, as described, is a completely different entity from a bear, and the supposed tracks that have been photographed are definitely not bear tracks. What happened was that some physical evidence believed to come from a yeti turned out to come from a bear.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  8. #3938
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    Bigfoot, revealed. There is a photo of Landis in the costume with glasses and a hat. Looks sharp for a sasquatch.

    http://www.strangemag.com/landischambers.html
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    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  9. #3939
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    It's not that the yeti "turned out" to be a bear - the yeti, as described, is a completely different entity from a bear, and the supposed tracks that have been photographed are definitely not bear tracks. What happened was that some physical evidence believed to come from a yeti turned out to come from a bear.
    Yes, the monster is always different from anything we know, until we grab it. If it's new, like a giant coelacanth, we adopt it as "normal" and the monster vanishes. I don't have much faith myself in tracks in snow, as the snow erodes/melts and alters the shape of the print.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  10. #3940
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Yes, the monster is always different from anything we know, until we grab it. If it's new, like a giant coelacanth, we adopt it as "normal" and the monster vanishes. I don't have much faith myself in tracks in snow, as the snow erodes/melts and alters the shape of the print.
    My point was that the yeti has not vanished at all. The bear DNA evidence simply undermines a tiny bit of the purported yeti evidence (and does not address other purported evidence at all, like the apparently bipedal tracks). The yeti story cannot be replaced by a bear, because the yeti story in no way resembles a bear.

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  11. #3941
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Sure, but the Loch Ness monster isn't going to turn out to be something. They've examined the lake every way you can imagine, and there's no monster in it. None was reported until 1933.
    Back in the 60s, my father's honest reluctance to categorically deny the existence of a large lake creature is more explicable - we had a few photographs, a bit of film, a sonar signal, and a story of the thing moving about on land. The Loch Ness Phenomenon Investigation Bureau had just been set up with the intention of making the first systematic scientific investigation of the loch, and it was making the national TV news - which was the trigger for my childhood anxiety, and the first time I'd heard of this "monster".
    So given that we had a nationally famous naturalist, Peter Scott, on the television talking about the upcoming investigations, it would have been a little difficult for my father to categorically deny the possibility of some undiscovered creature in the loch - and I think at the time the jury really was still out.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  12. #3942
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    A book taught me to go with the hard evidence. Larry Kusche's The Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved came out in 1986 and has had one reprint, I think. It was written by an Arizona State U librarian who used interlibrary loan to get as much information as he could about each and every "missing" ship and plane and person connected with the Bermuda Triangle. The result was, some events never happened, some events were wildly blown out of proportion, and a lot of ships disappeared during severe weather like hurricanes. Some ships and places were later found as wreckage, sunk by mundane disasters. Rogue waves could have a part in this. A tiny number (less than half a dozen) of events remained unexplained, which happens--but dozens and dozens of events disappeared.

    In cryptozoology (and ufology, and Triangle-ology, and every REAL physical/biological science there is), hard evidence is all that really matters. I look at it like a criminal investigation. Do we have a body? If not, then what reliable evidence is there that would hold up in a real court to prove the existence of something? I believe there are honest cryptozoologists who really are trying to get at the truth of things. I do not envy them at all. Finding Nessie or a yeti seems to be harder than proving black holes exist (we did find Cygnus X-1, then the rest), when it shouldn't be.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  13. #3943
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Back in the 60s, my father's honest reluctance to categorically deny the existence of a large lake creature is more explicable - we had a few photographs, a bit of film, a sonar signal, and a story of the thing moving about on land. The Loch Ness Phenomenon Investigation Bureau had just been set up with the intention of making the first systematic scientific investigation of the loch, and it was making the national TV news - which was the trigger for my childhood anxiety, and the first time I'd heard of this "monster".
    So given that we had a nationally famous naturalist, Peter Scott, on the television talking about the upcoming investigations, it would have been a little difficult for my father to categorically deny the possibility of some undiscovered creature in the loch - and I think at the time the jury really was still out.

    Grant Hutchison
    It’s not clear how seriously they took it, but Mission Control did include an update on an expedition searching for Nessie in a rundown of news stories to the Apollo 11 crew. (Page 69 [year-appropriate!] of this mission transcript: https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/mis...s/AS11_TEC.PDF)

    A few years later, Scott’s proposed biological description was even published in Nature! Someone in the Earth Science Department at my undergrad had a printout of the article on his door: https://www.nature.com/articles/258466a0
    (Of course, it later turned out that the “head” photo was of a tree stump, which must have been a colossal embarrassment to the publishers: http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/sunken.html)

    As amusing (and relevant to one of my writing projects that deals with kaiju and is set in the early 70s) as this is to look back on now, these middle-quarters-of-the-century expeditions did have the very unfunny result of introducing invasive species to Loch Ness: https://zslpublications.onlinelibrar...1981.tb01502.x
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  14. #3944
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    A few years later, Scott’s proposed biological description was even published in Nature! Someone in the Earth Science Department at my undergrad had a printout of the article on his door: https://www.nature.com/articles/258466a0
    Nessiteras Rhombopteryx. Famously an anagram of Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  15. #3945
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Nessiteras Rhombopteryx. Famously an anagram of Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.

    Grant Hutchison
    I love that in the DVD special feature for Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster that tells the history of the legend, the narrator basically describes this in a “Who even notices that?” tone.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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  16. #3946
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    Stephen King's Under the Dome is kind of bloody. Penn and Teller should get parts in the movie.

  17. #3947
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    I am currently reading David Dalgleish's Skyborne series.
    I loved the first book; a wonderful - if brutal - introduction to an utterly new fantastic world.

    I'm currently into the second book of the series and I'm more than a little concerned. Not that it's bad writing; far from it - the characters are believable, relatable and honest. The story is excellent. It's just that Mr. Dalgleish decided to take it so dark, so harsh it's tough to read the next page - I don't want to know what happens next.
    An excellent series; I can't recommend it enough. It's just not light summertime reading.
    Cheers!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

  18. #3948
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    Hey, NorthernDevo! Good to see you.

    I've just started the Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin. The first book, The Fifth Season, jumps you right in a very developed world - this is no pulp fiction. I can usually power my way through a book this size in a couple of days (maybe more if the load at work and/or home is heavy), but I can tell this is going to take me at least a week to digest it all.

    CJSF
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    If you were incorrect
    A fact is just a fantasy
    Unless it can be checked
    Make a test
    Test it out"
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  19. #3949
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    I've just finished my second pass through the Discworld series, finishing with The Amazing Maurice, which I had put off, after reading all of Tiffany Aching together. I did, however, skip Pyramids and Small Gods because I didn't like them much the first time. I also went through the Bromeliad Trilogy in about three days.
    A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Only You Can Save The World but couldn't get into it so I stopped. I'm now re-reading Good Omens instead.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #3950
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    Richard Ellis’ Monsters of the Sea, inspired by our discussion on this thread a few weeks ago.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  21. #3951
    Now Red Mars , just finished a Brief History of Time by that guy in the wheelchair.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  22. #3952
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Now Red Mars...
    I'm just about to start Red Moon, which is KSR's latest novel. It'll be interesting to see what (if any) connection he makes to the Mars trilogy.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  23. #3953
    I know Andy Weir who wrote The Martian wrote a book about a colony on the moon called Artemis. Maybe the connection is once who wrote a book that take place on Mars you have to write on the Moon.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  24. #3954
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    I'm reading "The Hate U Give". My professor was trying to introduce it as a controversial book and how to have those dialogs with parents. I mentioned it to my wife and before she could answer, my 13 year old daughter told me she read it for ELA class a month or so ago. Controversy to some is not controversy to everyone, I guess.

    It is a good book, although I am going slightly crazy trying to figure out where Garden Heights is supposed to be.
    Solfe

  25. #3955
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Richard Ellis’ Monsters of the Sea, inspired by our discussion on this thread a few weeks ago.
    I finished Monsters of the Sea, it's pretty shocking to me how many basic-seeming things I learned about marine biology as a little kid reading everything I could find in the children's room at the library just a few years after the book was published (late 1990s) were things my parents could not have read about in books at the same age (early 1960s) because they hadn't been discovered yet-- scientists didn't know whales sung underwater, and whales weren't photographed in the wild underwater until the 1970s!

    And an interesting illustration of the further progress of science is that Ellis devotes a chapter to the idea that "globsters"-- unidentified masses of decayed organic tissue that periodically wash up on beaches-- might be the remains of giant octopodes, giving an overview of all the research on the subject up to his publication in 1994. With later DNA testing of preserved samples of these masses, they were determined to be whale blubber about ten years later-- something I remember reading about in Muse-- and Ellis, when interviewed by the press, respectfully accepted that his theory had been wrong. (And just a few months after that interview, his other prediction came true when the giant squid was photographed alive in the wild for the first time.) It would be interesting to see if there have been any updated versions of the book and, if so, what new information they include in comparison.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  26. #3956
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I finished Monsters of the Sea, it's pretty shocking to me how many basic-seeming things I learned about marine biology as a little kid reading everything I could find in the children's room at the library just a few years after the book was published (late 1990s) were things my parents could not have read about in books at the same age (early 1960s) because they hadn't been discovered yet-- scientists didn't know whales sung underwater, and whales weren't photographed in the wild underwater until the 1970s!
    My father, born today in 1921, flipping through one of my high school textbooks in 1977, said he was amazed at the things we were expected to learn that weren't known when he was young. One thing I remember from the grade 12 biology textbook was a table of the 64 codons and what amino acids, start/stop signals they represented. The table was half empty because it hadn't all been discovered yet.

  27. #3957
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    I have Ellis book as well. A real pleasure.

  28. #3958
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    Having a very hard time reading anything except the internet. I used to have books with me everywhere. What happened?

    I want to reread Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan, which was one of the best books ever. Wish me luck.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  29. #3959
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    My father, born today in 1921, flipping through one of my high school textbooks in 1977, said he was amazed at the things we were expected to learn that weren't known when he was young. One thing I remember from the grade 12 biology textbook was a table of the 64 codons and what amino acids, start/stop signals they represented. The table was half empty because it hadn't all been discovered yet.
    I'm sure this will make all of my elders on the forum laugh and mutter snide things, but I get SERIOUSLY WEIRDED OUT when I think about how I have professors who were the first generation of students to learn about plate tectonics at college because it was only fully accepted as a theory when they were in undergrad. We sent people into space before we figured out exactly why Africa and South America fit together like that!
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  30. #3960
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I'm sure this will make all of my elders on the forum laugh and mutter snide things, but I get SERIOUSLY WEIRDED OUT when I think about how I have professors who were the first generation of students to learn about plate tectonics at college because it was only fully accepted as a theory when they were in undergrad. We sent people into space before we figured out exactly why Africa and South America fit together like that!
    Now I am seriously weirded out.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

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