Monday, August 06, 2007

Reading Update

I am a little bored in this class. People are asking questions that I already know about. I'm hanging in there, but this was supposed to be a SAN concepts class. Since I have a net connection and I've already worked my way through my email and rss feed, I'd thought I'd do an update on my summer reading. Due to the fact that I was stuck, fuming waiting for my family in the Atlanta airport - which sucks, guys, damn it took a fuckall time to get my bags - I chewed through both the books I took with me to read on the trips to and from. I'd finished the one I mentioned a week and change ago. Also I finished yet another still because it was pretty light weight.

First up was that one that I mentioned was the book on byzantine military history. Haldon's take is very, very interesting. He walks you through the degradation of the military from the Late Roman times through the 9th century. Then he talks about the rebirth of the Byzantine military during the 10th century through the rebellions of the 11th century and then Manzikert and the downward spiral afterwards until the 4th Crusade. It is well worth the read if you're interested in Byzantine or Roman history.

I then went out and read a book on the KT Extinction. I got a little more of the politics of the asteroid vs vulcanism for the KT impact, but there was little more on the science aspect. While Dr Frankel is a PhD and all that, you can tell his day job is that of a populizer rather than a full time scientist. If you want something about the politics with a greater inclusiveness of the French PoV on the KT Boundary, read it. If you are looking for a new perspective on the KT Boundary for the science aspect...erm. Not so good. He is a dedicated impactist fwiw too. He seeks and tries to shoe horn in the impact is the driving reason for all mass extinctions and it doesn't fly. There was one bit of science that made my ears perk: a team of Indian paleontologists found sedimentry layers sandwiched between the flows of the Deccan Traps and they were full of dinosaur fossils. Considering that India was an island continent at the time, that means the Deccan Traps didn't even kill the dinos on the island of India! Ponder that one.

The next book I started was a history of the Cold War. I am a little disappointed with this one. It's not that this is a badly written book. It's not even a poorly informing book for most people. Unfortunately, I already knew almost all of what he included. There were moments of new information, but not a lot. If you were not really a history type or didn't grow up in the Cold War, you ought to start here if you want to do some reading, but if you are well enough read, this is a skip.

Finally, I had far too much fun with my politically kookie book. Oh, it was kookie alright. Right down whacko. Even down to oversize type that rendered what ought to have been 30 pages of type with pictures into 100 pages. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely more than sympathetic to the whole idea, but this guy just wrote a whacked out suggestion that we annex Mexico through force. Good gawd. The writing style found itself closest to a bad blogger rant than anything. It's really not worth paying the $25 that Amazon has as listed. I have to admit that I got a lot of laughs out of it though.

I am unsure what I'm going to read next. I think it'll be something paleo though. It might be Ward's new book. It really ought to be he treatise on ceratopsians and 'duck-bills' though. We'll see. I will figure it out after I get home. I am annoyed though: I don't have anything to read on the way home.

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