Monthly Archives: July 2010

Recent Reading, and Reawakening

It’s been far too long since this space has been active, though you’ve heard that sad tale before. The best I can do for tonight is list some recent reading and provide shallow commentary. Much of my free time has gone into teaching Astronomy, and the rest into developing the hobby of astrophotography. I’ve still maintained a reading schedule, but without much reflection on content.

After completing Durant’s Age of Faith this spring, I read some minor fiction and then moved into a reading of an old textbook, The Use of Force, which is a large collection of essays regarding foreign policy, culminating in the Cold War tactics of the 1980s. This reading was mostly of historical interest, bringing out tidbits such as the dreadnought arms race prior to WW1, and some fascinating history of the development and very slow adoption of technology in armed forces. It also pointed out my lack of knowledge of the Cold War era.

I also read a history of Spain, though that was largely forgettable – the book itself was too superficial, and written to long ago to cover the Fall of Franco.

More recently, I read most of “Conceptual Foundations of Scientific Thought” by Marx Wartofsky. This work was of some interest, though the author focused on pragmatic interpretations of the philosophy of science, with an emphasis on linguistics. Eventually I stopped reading at the final section dealing with “modern physics” as it was sure to become intolerably painful.

I’ve also read through a few science fiction works, including Stranger in a Strange Land, which has been entertaining up until the final parts of the story, and the Mote in Gods Eye pair of books by Pournelle, which were a bit more entertaining.

One obscure book I just read this weekend was “Glide Path” by Arthur C Clarke. Not quite an SF story, this is a fictionalized account of the development of ground tracking radar in WW2. Mildly interesting, but really only for real nerds. Not much of a plot, nor character development.

I am planning to return to the Objectivist canon next, though I’m currently entertaining myself with Dashiel Hammett.

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