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Durakken
2012-Oct-03, 06:03 PM
So I just got done with "reading" (listening to an audiobook) this book. It's an awesome book.
I think every highschooler should be forced to read it. Why aren't they? It helpfully explains science better than all the Highschool science I've been part of.

Also, as great as it is... I find it interesting that I cannot find a pirated version of the following 2 books. Is it because people respect it so much or that people don't like it... or that I suck at finding it? lol. Just an interesting note. Ignore the fact I pirate all these books because I don't like reading, have a lot of time, and can't afford $30 for every book I want to read. Again, it's just an interesting note.

danscope
2012-Oct-03, 06:39 PM
You didn't mention the title of the book :)

Durakken
2012-Oct-03, 06:53 PM
The title of the book is the title of the topic, The Science of Discworld.

grapes
2012-Oct-03, 07:00 PM
Yes, Durrakken, is it The Colour of Magic? That was the first one, of 39, according to wiki ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld ).

ETA: OK, the three Science of Discworld books, written with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, not any of the 39.

agingjb
2012-Oct-03, 07:10 PM
Yes, I'd recommend all three in the Science of Discworld series. (I notice that they seem to be more readily available from amazon.co.uk than amazon.com).

Durakken
2012-Oct-03, 07:10 PM
Yes, Durrakken, is it The Colour of Magic? That was the first one, of 39, according to wiki ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld ).

...
......
That makes no sense to say...

Discworld is a series of books by Terry Pratchett that take place in an alternate fantasy world... It has something like 39 books in the series, but there are other books that are not in the series but talk of the Discworld. The Science of Discworld is a book, it has 3 books in the series, that tells a tale where the Wizards of Discworld have magiced up "roundworld" or rather, our world, and the book examines things as seen through eyes of a Discworld wizard more or less, but not completely. It's an extremely well done book in my opinion and should be read as a part of science education in general as it does get you in the mindset of how to think, more or less, about science and how science education works.

If you haven't read it, go pick it up and read it! If you have... don't you think it should be a required reading thing for Highschoolers?

Durakken
2012-Oct-03, 07:21 PM
Yes, I'd recommend all three in the Science of Discworld series. (I notice that they seem to be more readily available from amazon.co.uk than amazon.com).

It's simple to get it from Audible, but I'm not paying $30, or even $10... I know sounds a bit [cheap], but I'm not paying outrageous prices for so little media. It sounds like I'm complaining and whatever when you compare it to 1 hour long things or some other nonsense and you try to pretend that this is going to last a month, but for me this last 1 day and $15 buys me netflix and all like that and each of those series takes far more to create than an audiobook, and take less bandwidth in general to DL, so I call [shenanigans] on the whole as to why that's why they are 3x as expensive as a Blu-Ray, and twice as expensive as all off netflix, 3x as expensive as all of hulu, and 3 or 4x as much as Amazon's video catalog.

I'm just amazed that I can't find a pirated copy (the audio file) of it anywhere out there, but that's besides the point lol... I'll eventually find it, or give in and buy the dang thing or go to a library and see if they have it.

Gillianren
2012-Oct-03, 08:24 PM
Yeah, check your library before expecting sympathy that you can't find an illegal copy.

And, yes, it's a great book--series of books--though I'm not sure that I quite think it should be required reading. Not all kids would respond to the Discworld bits.

Durakken
2012-Oct-03, 08:59 PM
Yeah, check your library before expecting sympathy that you can't find an illegal copy.

And, yes, it's a great book--series of books--though I'm not sure that I quite think it should be required reading. Not all kids would respond to the Discworld bits.

lol I'm just grumbling and find it interesting that I can't find it. It's just odd, but that's besides the point...


I think it does a fine job of adequately discussing discworld while speaking to real sciences and making it interesting. It is true that not all people would respond but that's the same of anything and the book itself makes a good implied case for why things should be taught through story telling rather than the drab nonsense that teachers do. All teachers should probably read this as well and if it is part of required reading it means teachers would likely pick up on it too after a while and start teaching better... or at least that's what we can tell ourselves!

schlaugh
2012-Oct-03, 10:52 PM
I didn't know the books existed but stumbled upon them in a bookstore in Birmingham while working on a project there. I enjoyed the books quite a lot and have re-read them at least once. I especially liked the idea that a good definition of a human is a creature who tells stories, and that stories make up a great deal of our cultures, history, religion...and yes, science (and here I'm thinking of "lies we tell to children").

Durakken
2012-Oct-04, 06:59 AM
I didn't know the books existed but stumbled upon them in a bookstore in Birmingham while working on a project there. I enjoyed the books quite a lot and have re-read them at least once. I especially liked the idea that a good definition of a human is a creature who tells stories, and that stories make up a great deal of our cultures, history, religion...and yes, science (and here I'm thinking of "lies we tell to children").

I'm up to book 10 and I've read the first of the Science of Discworld books. I really got interested in them due to a quote out of the in that Science of Discworld book that I just got around to reading. I've been trying to watch the video versions after I "read" the books and I have to say that the books are 10 times better, not just because of the inability to accurately show Discworld, but because the commentary and descriptions are just impossible to do in video format, but I still want more movies too! lol.

It's a shame that Tolkien is considered in such high regards when you compare it to this series. While I applaud the work of Tolkien in creating the languages and somewhat the history of his world in the end his books are terribly written and there are only what? 5 books in all? And it's a shame that schools are so backward and decide to teach only the "classics" instead of teaching things that are more relevant and concurrent to the readers world that would actually interest them in those subjects. Not to take anything away from Dickens and Twain, but in the end I find it a bit startling that no school has jumped on this series for it's educational value or it's historical value as it is likely to be considered one of the great works of writers simply for how many books are in the series.

Gillianren
2012-Oct-04, 07:04 AM
I think the witch books might be an interesting way to teach why we learn Shakespeare; you don't have to know all the Shakespearean references to think those books are funny, but it's true that they reward you for doing so. Honestly, much as Sir Terry himself honours Tolkien, I think his books are more interesting and more clever.

Durakken
2012-Oct-04, 07:29 AM
I think the witch books might be an interesting way to teach why we learn Shakespeare; you don't have to know all the Shakespearean references to think those books are funny, but it's true that they reward you for doing so. Honestly, much as Sir Terry himself honours Tolkien, I think his books are more interesting and more clever.

It would perhaps inspire people to read it of their own accord... I've yet to have ever read Shakespeare... I have no idea how that happened. I get plenty of the references but I'm sure I'm missing some. The stories alone are worth the read, but all the references and parodies of our world would be a really great place to start to teach any subject. Imagine going into a class about ancient egypt and being told to read "The Pyramids" That would set the tone of the class and give everyone a common ground. Or I'd love to go into a mythology class about Homer and the Odyssey and told to read Eric lol.

slang
2012-Oct-04, 11:01 PM
Yes, I'd recommend all three in the Science of Discworld series. (I notice that they seem to be more readily available from amazon.co.uk than amazon.com).

I'd go even further than that, I'd recommend any Discworld novel. I don't know any Shakespeare, so I must have missed every reference, but I don't feel left out at all. There's just so much fun in pretty much every novel.. Parodies on the Fantasy genre, parodies on real world history, punning (or play on words) everywhere, great, over the top characters. Like a cowardly wizard who doesn't know a single spell, but still you almost have to love the character.

ETA: and I still feel sad for having had to remove my Gaspode quote from my sig to make room for rule links

Durakken
2012-Oct-05, 01:16 PM
i wish there was a Language version of the Science of Discworld as all the grammar rules are largely inconsequential and Dictionaries are completely misunderstood as the definitive source of definitions and nothing can override them. I'd love to see Pratchett take on that subject... maybe he does, but haven't reached it yet.

Gillianren
2012-Oct-05, 06:15 PM
Well, I can tell you right now that he'd disagree with that statement.

Durakken
2012-Oct-05, 08:03 PM
i wish there was a Language version of the Science of Discworld as all the grammar rules are largely inconsequential and Dictionaries are completely misunderstood as the definitive source of definitions and nothing can override them. I'd love to see Pratchett take on that subject... maybe he does, but haven't reached it yet.


Well, I can tell you right now that he'd disagree with that statement.

When I say that grammar is inconsequential I mean, "proper grammar." It is unimportant whether you know and use the various grammar rules which in terms of english are really traditional suggestions based on Shakespeare's stage directions. What important is that you communicate accurately and use grammar to make people understand correctly in the way you want them to understand.

If you mean in what I said about the dictionary. I don't see how any educated person could disagree. Dictionaries are not definitive definitions of words. They are semi-definitive guides to what the general populous believe a word to mean. Words in philosophy, science, and a few other areas have definitive meanings that do not change based on popular use and they are the words that are most likely to show up defined wrong in a dictionary.

grapes
2012-Oct-05, 08:08 PM
A Pratchett For Grammar would be good then :)

Gillianren
2012-Oct-05, 08:56 PM
When I say that grammar is inconsequential I mean, "proper grammar." It is unimportant whether you know and use the various grammar rules which in terms of english are really traditional suggestions based on Shakespeare's stage directions. What important is that you communicate accurately and use grammar to make people understand correctly in the way you want them to understand.

Can I suggest that you maybe learn the history of grammar before you try to argue against it? For one thing, Terry Pratchett's sentences are almost always exquisitely crafted, almost always obeying the rules of grammar that you're so disparaging. Yes, some of the rules are unnecessary, but a lot of them are vital.


If you mean in what I said about the dictionary. I don't see how any educated person could disagree. Dictionaries are not definitive definitions of words. They are semi-definitive guides to what the general populous believe a word to mean. Words in philosophy, science, and a few other areas have definitive meanings that do not change based on popular use and they are the words that are most likely to show up defined wrong in a dictionary.

"Populace." And you might want to learn more about dictionaries, too.

Strange
2012-Oct-05, 09:02 PM
the various grammar rules which in terms of english are really traditional suggestions based on Shakespeare's stage directions.

That is so utterly bonkers, I love it. You couldn't make it up.

Durakken
2012-Oct-05, 09:19 PM
Can I suggest that you maybe learn the history of grammar before you try to argue against it? For one thing, Terry Pratchett's sentences are almost always exquisitely crafted, almost always obeying the rules of grammar that you're so disparaging. Yes, some of the rules are unnecessary, but a lot of them are vital.


That's a non sequitur... Obviously some rules are important and when effectively used and read they are great, but what is important is not the rules like schools try to force you to believe, but rather the reasoning behind why a comma goes there or this goes like that. I'm not disparaging the rules as you say. I'm disparaging the dolts who think mindlessly following them makes you you a good or bad writer.

As to whether or not Pratchett's sentences have proper grammar or not... I have no clue. I don't read. I listen as I prefer that method of taking in books, but even if they are, as they seem to be, that praise likely doesn't all fall to him. A lot of writers don't know the first thing about grammar and let their editors take care of it.

And then there is also the general idea with any artform and skill that you should learn the rules so that you can more effectively break them.

In other words I'm not against Grammar so much as I am against Pedants who latch on to grammar. Although this sorta' makes me a pedant so meh.



"Populace." And you might want to learn more about dictionaries, too.

If you think I'm wrong then you are the one who needs to learn about dictionaries. Thanks for the correction btw, even though it is obviously passive aggressive in nature.

Gillianren
2012-Oct-05, 11:02 PM
Now, you've shown that you need to learn what editors do. If a book ignores all the rules of grammar, it won't be accepted for publication, because no one will get through reading it.

Durakken
2012-Oct-06, 08:01 AM
Now, you've shown that you need to learn what editors do. If a book ignores all the rules of grammar, it won't be accepted for publication, because no one will get through reading it.

Is it really necessary for me to point out that I didn't say that. For a freelance writer you sure don't know how to read.

grapes
2012-Oct-06, 11:21 AM
As to whether or not Pratchett's sentences have proper grammar or not... I have no clue. I don't read.
Not reading should not be an impediment, grammar doesn't include spelling and punctuation (though grammar books often do have sections that cover such things).

Strange
2012-Oct-06, 01:21 PM
As to whether or not Pratchett's sentences have proper grammar or not... I have no clue.

Well, they clearly do or you would find it hard to understand and forever be asking yourself things like "he am?"

I would say that all grammar is a set of rules that all users of the language know, although they may vary in details such as which preposition to use in a particular place, etc. There are, however, a lot of what some linguists refer to as "zombie rules", which are rules that someone made up based on how they thought language should be used rather than how it is used by most people, or good writers, or whatever standard you want. Zombie rules are things like not ending a sentence with a preposition, not splitting an infinitive (1), and so on. There is no reason for them and many people ignore them in speech and even in careful writing. They often come about because someone thought they were not "logical" (2) or "you can't do that in Latin" (3).

(1) English doesn't even have an infinitive that can be split. The form that is referred to as the infinitive is just the uninflected form of the verb with the preposition "to".

(2) Language isn't logical, so that is rarely a good argument.

(3) You can't apply the rules of one language to another. And English isn't even a Romance language.

No doubt, many people will disagree with which rules are "real" rules of standard English and which are zombie rules. (I'm pretty sure Gillian disagrees with me on many of them, for example.) It also depends on what dialect of English you speak, how formal you are being, etc.

Gillianren
2012-Oct-06, 05:42 PM
Well, and Gillian is far less of a stickler than her reputation. (Leaving aside momentary jaunts into the third person, of course!) However, I am a prescriptivist by nature. The rules matter. You can also tell when other people think so because of how their prose hangs together. Terry Pratchett--and I've heard him speak in person, too, and he speaks just as clearly as he writes--knows the rules and obeys the ones that are important, which is most of them.

mike alexander
2012-Oct-06, 06:09 PM
Besides, there is greater satisfaction in breaking rules deliberately than by mere chance.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Oct-07, 08:43 AM
I'd go even further than that, I'd recommend any Discworld novel. I don't know any Shakespeare, so I must have missed every reference, but I don't feel left out at all.
Wyrd Sisters is basically Hamlet and Macbeth mixed together with a gallery of extras inspired by other plays, plus a playwright whose attitude towards rewriting makes him rather like Shakespeare.
Lords and Ladies have the plain country working men setting up a play as is done in A Midsommer's Night while the elves of the book are paraphrasing the fairies from that play, but adjusted to be closer to the 'real' folklore elves.
Those are the obvious examples, while both books are good in their own right, they're better when you know the material parodied.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Oct-07, 12:17 PM
As for Pratchett's opinion on grammar he's on record (on AFP) that he consider good grammar knowledge crucial for an author.
It's one of the basic tools of the craft, for an author to refuse to learn grammar is like a carpenter who refuses to learn how to use a saw.
It's still possible to get the work done, but the result is likely to be rubbish.

slang
2012-Oct-07, 08:51 PM
Wyrd Sisters is basically Hamlet and Macbeth mixed together with a gallery of extras inspired by other plays, plus a playwright whose attitude towards rewriting makes him rather like Shakespeare.
Lords and Ladies have the plain country working men setting up a play as is done in A Midsommer's Night while the elves of the book are paraphrasing the fairies from that play, but adjusted to be closer to the 'real' folklore elves.
Those are the obvious examples, while both books are good in their own right, they're better when you know the material parodied.

Thanks, and very true for the other books as well. I guess I should hit gutenberg.org and get me some Shakespeare.