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Joined 2 years, 1 month ago

paranoia, ya, l'environnement, sapphic romance, possibly not in that order. can't speak french™ but pretend to flip through the odd french book


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commented on Le monde sans fin by Christophe Blain

Le monde sans fin (Hardcover, French language, 2021, Dargaud) 4 stars

La rencontre entre un auteur majeur de la bande dessinée et un éminent spécialiste des …

This looks to be an engagingly told overview of environment and industry in BD form. All of the copy being handwritten made it slow going for me, with French being a very, very distant second language. I ended up flipping through it and couldn't review it fairly.

Practical Doomsday (Paperback, 2022, No Starch Press, Incorporated) 3 stars

As a leading security engineer, Michal Zalewski has spent his career methodically anticipating and planning …

Informative, but argumentative

3 stars

I learned a good deal from this book - I'm no prepper but I live in an area prone to earthquakes and power and water problems. Some of the advice here is eye-opening (e.g., 'don't store emergency water in flimsy store-bought gallon jugs'). My main issue is that whenever the author mentions another group of humans, he's doing so to take potshots - at the CDC, at other preppers, at CB and ham radio operators, just to name the most recent three. The narrative becomes 'only I know what I'm talking about' and then I go looking for receipts. Footnotes are thin on the ground and often support these group snarks.

So if you know something, you can learn often-important nuances. But if you don't know it, taking his word as authoritative is difficult.

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Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics (2019, Yale University Press) 3 stars

The question of how falling cats land on their feet has long intrigued humans. In …

Physics 2, Felines 1

3 stars

Less a view of falling cats through a science lens, this is more of a survey science course seen through cat eyes. Most of the sciences are touched on: Newtonian physics, darkroom chemistry, anatomy and physiology, quantum mechanics. There's a tremendous amount of history; my eyes glazed over from all the Important Old White Guys. It's worth flipping through if you like science, particularly if you like cats. It's a less compelling read if you just wanted to understand the cat trick.

Secret New Orleans (Paperback, 2017, Jonglez Publishing) 3 stars

"Houses built to resemble riverboats, the finest business hall in the world, a meteorite in …

Same quirky, different quirks

3 stars

There are others in this Secret series that I've liked much better (such as L.A.), but that could be more about the subject than the author. The most compelling tidbit for me was Banksy's Umbrella Girl, but that stencil has been vandalized since this book was published.

Because Internet (Paperback, 2020, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message …

Fun, open-minded, mind-opening

4 stars

A great, breezy read on internet language history and culture, from stopping people SHOUTING ON USENET to the lolcat bible. With an important message: Language isn't static; it's not passed down from elders to children, but grown collectively, with each generation taking it in a new direction. This is not corruption. It's evolution.

Wordslut (Hardcover, 2019, Harper Wave) 5 stars

The word "bitch" conjures many images for many people but is most often meant to …

Ace slut-shaming shaming

5 stars

Read this for a history of The Man holding women down with a dictionary; an explanation of vocal fry and upspeak, the roles they fill in female communication, and how vilifying them is part of a hate as old as time; the many grammatical roles that an f-bomb can play; why gay guys often sound gay but lesbians don't sound 'lesbian'; and the word 'slut'. A lot. Just read it.

Edit: I originally rated Wordslut at four stars, but on reflection, its combination of outrage and history, delivered with disarming humor, sets a bar that should be considered the gold standard, not the silver standard.