Quotes


My book library have been updated. First, the latest installment of Steven Erikson’s epic fantasy series, The Bonehunters. I am, as I suspect many others, slightly in awe of Erikson. Extremely complex. Extremely well written. Extremely good stuff.

The second update is the classic The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman. This is really good stuff, and anyone aspiring to design software, be it GUI or API’s, really, really should read it. I picked it up after reading an interview with Ken Arnold over at Artima.com:

Taste is a very personal thing. There is no textbook. When people ask me about books on object design, the books I hand them have nothing to do with object design per se. I commonly recommend The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald Norman. This book promotes focusing on usability in the design of doors, teapots, and faucets – everyday things. If you do that for objects, you’ll have the idea.

Oh yes, Ken Arnold as in:

State is hell.

Or:

Every program has at least one bug and can be shortened by at least one instruction — from which, by induction, it is evident that every program can be reduced to one instruction that does not work.

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Tonight the firebird will rise from the ashes, spring will come again and the son be reborn. Funky stuff. Although, as folk tales go, the execution of Christ seems rather unimpressive. And illogical too, I mean, how on earth is that supposed to save us? And lets see, Jesus gets one day of torment and one day of death and then he’s up to heaven and then it’s wine and virgins all day again. On the other hand, Judas who acts out Gods divine plan, gets to take his life in remorse and then spend eternity in hell. And I’m supposed to pity Jesus and revile Judas? Yeah, right.

Doesn’t seem very profound does it?

Even Frankensteins monster managed to rise from the dead. Certainly gods have been doing it all the time. And will mot likely continue to do so for a while yet. Here, for example, is what Mr Wednesday learnt, swinging from the tree:

“I know a charm that can cure pain and sickness, and lift the grief from the heart of the grieving.
   “I know a charm that will heal with a touch.
   “I know a charm turn aside the weapon of any enemy.
   “I know another charm to free myself from all bonds and locks.
   “A fifth charm: I can catch an arrow in flight and take no harm from it.
   “A sixth: spells sent to hurt me will only hurt the sender.
   “A seventh charm I know: I can quench a fire simply by looking at it.
   “An eight: if any man hates me, I can win his frindship.
   “A ninth: I can sing the wind to sleep and calm a storm for long enough to bring a ship to shore.
   “These were the first nine charms I learned. Nine night I hung on the base tree, my side pierced with a spear’s point. I swayed and blew in the cold winds and the hot winds, without food, without water, a sacrifice of myself to myself, and the worlds opened before me.
   “For a tenth charm, I learned to dispel witches. to spin them around in the skies so that they will never find their way back to their own door again.
   “An eleventh: if I sing it when a battle rages it can take the warriors through the tumult unscathed and unhurt, and bring them safely back to their hearths and their homes.
   “A twelfth charm I know: if I see a hanged man I can bring him down from the gallows to whisper to us all he remembers.
   “A thirteenth: if I sprinkle water on a childs head, that child will not fall in battle.
   “A fourteenth. I know the names of all the gods. Every damned one of them.
   “A fifteenth: I have a dream of power, of glory, and of wisdom, and I can make people believe my dreams.
   “A sixteenth charm I know: if I need love I can turn the mind and heart of any woman.
   “A seventeenth, that no woman I want will ever want another.
   “And I know an eighteenth charm, and that charm is the greatest of all, and that charm I can tell to no man, for a secret that no one knows but you is the most powerful secret there can ever be.”

By way of Pratchetts The Thruth: Enbunned.

I admit to being a little slow today. Mainly on account of ending last night with two Chimay’s and another beer I can’t really remember but that was equally strong. Quite stupid actually.

Anyway, here’s the word of the day, by way of Jonathan Stroud: Rubbishness. And a brilliant word it is.

Again from Going Postal. The book is stock full of stealth philosofy. Here’s a conversation which should be of interest to any moderate theists:

“Alright, alright, I really didn’t want to go into this, but it’s against my religion,” said Moist, who’d had time to think. “We’re forbidden to have any image made of us. It removes part of the soul, you know.”
“And you believe that?” said Sacharissa. “Really?”
“Er, no. No. Of course not. Not as such. But… but you can’t treat religion as a sort of buffet, can you? I mean, you can’t say yes please, I’ll have some of the Celestial Paradise and a helping of te Divine Plan but go easy on the kneeling and none of the Prohibition of Images, they give me wind. It’s table d’hôte or nothing, otherwise… welll it would be silly.”

Oh, hell. I was going to resume posting with a summary of my week in Val Thorens. But… The world has a way of fucking you up. Seriously.

So here’s a lyric instead, courtesy of Iron Maiden (Smith/Dickinson):

Kill for gain or shoot to maim
But we don’t need a reason
To Golden Goose is on the loose
And never out of season
Some blackened pride still burns inside
This shell of bloody treason
Here’s my gun for a barrel of fun
For the love of living death

The killer’s breed or the Demon’s seed,
The glamour, the fortune, the pain,
Go to war again, blood is freedom’s stain
But don’t you pray for my soul anymore.

2 minutes to midnight,
The hands that treaten doom.
2 minutes to midnight,
To kill the unborn in the womb.

The blind men shout “Let the creatures out
We’ll show the unbeliverers.”
The napalm screams of human flames
Of a prime time Belsen feast … yeah!
As the reasons for the carnage cut their meat and lick the gravy
We oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies.

The killer’s breed or the Demon’s seed,
The glamour, the fortune, the pain,
Go to war again, blood is freedom’s stain
But don’t you pray for my soul anymore.

2 minutes to midnight,
The hands that treaten doom.
2 minutes to midnight,
To kill the unborn in the womb.

The body bags and little rags of children torn in two
And the jellied brains of those who remain to put the finger right on you
As the madmen play on words and make us all dance to their song
To the tune of starving millions to make a better kind of gun.

The killer’s breed or the Demon’s seed,
The glamour, the fortune, the pain,
Go to war again, blood is freedom’s stain
But don’t you pray for my soul anymore.

2 minutes to midnight,
The hands that treaten doom.
2 minutes to midnight,
To kill the unborn in the womb.

Midnight
Midnight
Midnight
It’s all night

Midnight
Midnight
Midnight
It’s all night

On the subject of the bible, and improvements thereof:

You and I both know that it would take us five minutes to produce a book that offers a more coherent and compassionate morality than the Bible does. Did I say five minutes? Five seconds–just tear out Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Exodus, and 2 Samuel from the Old Testament, and 2 Thessalonians and Revelation from the New Testament. The book would be mightily improved. Would it then be the most profound book we have on morality (or cosmology, biology, psychology, etc.)? Not by a long shot. But it would be a much better book than it is at present.

He is speaking to Andrew Sullivan in a “blogalogue”, which you will find here. At the time of this post, they’re not finished but so far Mr. Harris is doing good. Go read it.

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