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Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs:  reading, writing, and arithmetic.  In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and inter-personal skills.  We need schools that are developing these skills.
    —    Linda Darling-Hammond
Professor, Stanford University
Quoted by:  Joshua Davis
From his article:  “Free Thinkers
Appearing in:  Wired Magazine;  dtd:  November 2013
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On This Day In:
2021 Dragging
Maverick And Goose?
2020 I’m Just Being Skeptical
Setting My Feet Upon The Road
2019 We’re Eating Faster And Enjoying It Less
2018 Great Views
Day 8: One At A Time
2017 Trump Supporters Will Always Find An Excuse
2016 More Posts
2015 A Last Request
2014 It Matters
2013 And You Are?
2012 Not Too Late
2011 Persistence
2009 Health Care?

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Reading requires a loner’s temperament, a high tolerance for silence, and an unhealthy preference for the company of people who are imaginary or dead.
    —     David Samuels
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On This Day In:
2021 In Between
Summertime Memories
2020 A Poverty Of Attention In An Attention Economy
Don’t Forget
2019 Boxes
2018 Hoping For Better Come November
An Honest Binge
2017 Give And Keep
2016 No Change Here
2015 Campbell’s Law
2014 Dignified Values
2013 Unappreciated Skill
2012 Living Courage
2011 What’s Happening To Us?
2010 Toothbrush, Carbon and Monoxide
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

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WAY back when I was starting high school (just before the meteor killed most of the dinosaurs), I signed up for a social studies / current events class.  As our homework, we were expected to become familiar with current events by reading at least one “national” publication (as opposed to a local newspaper with national news).  My mom always tried to encourage our reading so she signed up for three (four actually):  Time Magazine, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report.  The fourth was more for herself and the whole family:  Life Magazine.
Thus began my (more or less) life-long subscription to Time Magazine…
We dropped the other two after the first year’s subscriptions ran out – but she kept me going on Time.  There was a brief lapse while I was in the military and in training, but I picked it back up when I got stationed in Germany for my last two years.  I was reading the “International / European” edition.  I didn’t realize there was a “different” version until after I’d already subscribed.  I just assumed everybody in the world got the same news – after all, our “national” version contained international and European news.  But of course, this was a completely different focus / emphasis and I – being the ugly American – resented I wasn’t getting as much American news.
Anyway, I kept it up when I got out and went to college and, in fact increased my subscriptions to include the Time / Life book series on “understanding computers”, the book series on history and civilization, the book series “Reading Program” – (kind of a mini-“Great Books”) secondary works of famous authors, and two music series: “Great Men of Music” (classical composers) and “Big Bands”.  I continued my weekly subscription when we moved to Liverpool and again upon returning to the Bay Area.
Now, however, my 50+ year relationship with Time has run its course.  My subscription ended towards the end of last summer (2021).  For whatever reason, they continued to send me issues until the end of January this year (2022), but I did not and will not be renewing my subscription.
There are three primary reasons for my non-renewal:  1)  As of five years ago, I retired and funds are getting tighter.  Now don’t get me wrong…  I can still “afford” the subscription.  I just choose to spend the limited discretionary funds on other things.  2)  the magazine has gone from a weekly to a every-other-week magazine.  They are under pressure to turn everything over to the internet and are apparently struggling to keep up staff, quality and quantity.  The practical effect was the weekly was getting thinner and thinner.  Their shift has “almost” restored the number of pages in any given issue, but it’s still only half as many pages of information.  And, 3)  the magazine has modified the typeface in their hard-copy.  I’m fairly confident they explained / justified their reasons for doing this in one of their editor columns, but frankly, it (the magazine) is just less appealing to look at now.  And so I’m moving on…
And just to make a long story (post) longer…  Why now?  If the subscription ended last year and the “bonus” issues back in January, why am I writing this (blog post) is the end of “Time“?
It’s purely personal.  I get the issue in the mail.  I take a quick glance to see if there’s anything I “NEED” to know about now.  I read that.  The issue then goes into my “throne” rack to be read cover to cover when I’m doing “something else”.  So, now, at the end of six months, I’m all caught up and “moving” to other things…
I am continuing my subscription to “Wired” magazine and I will be occasionally be posting quotes from that source.   I will miss the Red border and (regretfully) I’m sure my overall knowledge of current events will suffer / decline.
Back in the Principal’s Office of my high school, there was a framed question on the wall:  “Time is passing…  Are you?
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On This Day In:
2021 Best To Be Trained And Educated
The Great Relief
2020 Diversity And Uniqueness
2019 Ebb And Flow
2018 America: Paging #45
2017 Near By
2016 Maybe Someday
2015 How’s The Cow?
2014 Mind Made Up
2013 On Purpose
2012 The Dream
2011 What Could Be More Comfortable?

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A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.  It is a never failing spring in the desert.
    ―     Andrew Carnegie
[Found at one of the blogs I follow:  “I didn’t have my glasses on….
Located at:  https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/
The specific post is at:  https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2017/03/11/im-a-reflection-of-the-community-tupac-shakur/
Please visit the original blog / site if you have a minute…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 And Usually The Former
The Real Heir…
2020 The Doggie Dab
A Fork In The Road
2019 #LyingDonald’s Problem With The News And Truth
2018 Oh, Hell
2017 No Welcome Mat Here
2016 Making It Up
A Missed Beat
2015 We Are All Explorers
2014 Still Trying To Cope
2013 Dear Diary (A good chuckle!)
2012 Conveniently Sequential
2011 King’s Speech Number Four
Rational Probability

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Give me a room whose every nook is dedicated to a book.
    —    Robert Southey
[We recently had a neighbor drop in.  She had been discussing books with my wife and wanted to drop off one she had just finished and was recommending.  (Readers are the biggest “pushers” in the world.)  Anyway, the neighbor was saying she had far too many books and she needed to donate / give away some of them.  My wife chuckled.  The neighbor looked quizzical…  I opened the door to one of my rooms and she saw a wall of books / LP’s / CD’s approximately 18ft long and shelved from floor to ceiling (mostly books).  I said that’s only one of two rooms.  My wife thanked her and said she’ll be happy to borrow some books.    —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 One Month In: Learning To Play Guitar
Cause The Melody Keeps Haunting Me
2020 Working On My 2019 Tax Returns
2019 Three Beliefs
2018 He Found Them On-Line
2017 Maybe In A Future World
2016 Largely A Mystery
2015 Tools And Weapons
2014 Likes And Dislikes
2013 Pillars Of Learning
2012 Another JCoM Review
Move It
2011 Expected Value

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Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.
     ––     Susan Sontag
From:  “At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches
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On This Day In:
2020 Trying To Keep On Keeping On
Bending
2019 Ooops (Again)
2018 Two Start Up Front
2017 I Love America Because…
An Act Of God
And So It Came To Pass (Act Of God part 2)
2016 As Far From
2015 Rocky 7
Just Like Politics
2014 Game And Legend
“Scientific” Pride In Humanity
2013 Real Honor
Catching Up
2012 Thoughts And Communications
2011 But How Does Peter Feel?
2010 Name That Regret

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The Circle Of Fifths For Guitarists” (2017©)   —   book review
This review is for the first guitar book (non-song book category) which I have finished reading.  Hopefully, there will be many more in the future…
The book is written by:  Joseph Alexander and is part of a series of learning about music / guitar titled:  “Fundamental Changes“.  There is an associated website at:  www.fundamental-changes.com.  It also has associated Facebook and Instagram blah-blah-blah…
Background:
In January of this year (2021), I decided to teach myself to play guitar.  I’ve now purchased multiple guitars (acoustic and electric) and about a dozen books on learning music and learning how to play various genres of guitar.  I am trying to “find” my voice on both hardware and in music.  I am doing this (journey / vision-quest) “mostly” through YouTube, Wikipedia, Google and my local second hand bookstore.  I am averaging about one hour a day of hands-on practice and another couple of hours exploring genres, music theory, musicians / bands / songs, and hardware reviews.  Although I have (probably) over 300 hours of hands-on practice, I still consider myself to be a near complete-beginner guitarist.  I have watched multiple hours worth of videos on “The Circle of Fifths” and given this book is only a little over sixty pages of material, I’ve spent far more time watching videos than I actually spent reading this book.
Review:
Having said this, the questions remain:  is THIS a good book about the topic and would I recommend it to others?  The answer to both is:  “YES“.
First (good):  this is not a particularly easy topic to cover / explain.  I may feel this way simply because I’m such a beginner, but I’ve asked a few people who’ve “played” guitar in the past and they (mostly) said:  “Just learn some chords and play songs. Nobody is interested in theory.”  The problem is: I AM!!  Not only am I interested in guitar (as a physical instrument), I am also interested in it as a means of musical expression.  I seek to “Grok” guitar.  This means I have to learn the how’s and why’s of just about everything “guitar”.  Hence, my interest in the topic:  “The Circle of Fifths” (TCoF).
Alexander has written a very easy to read explanation of TCoF and I feel this book significantly increased the depth and breadth of my understanding of this music tool.  Obviously TCoF is a tool for all musicians and not limited to just use by guitarists.  Having said this, the author appropriately makes the effort to explain things from / for a guitarist’s point of view.  He defines words / terms when he first uses them, so ensuring the budding guitarist knows what he is talking about.  Alexander also takes the time to briefly explain some things beyond the scope of the book and cautions readers when a side topic is going to get deep.  Basically, he explains fundamental concepts clearly and then builds on the foundation to round out the reader’s understanding.
As mentioned earlier, there is an associated website with audio files which can be played to increase understanding by ear training and not simply expecting the reader to “understand” a point by reading about it.  This is a book about practical application of theory to music (sound).
Second (bad):  If that’s the good, what’s wrong?  Well, my copy came to me with every third page glued together.  Not consecutive pages, but facing pages and every other set:  two pages open, two pages glued, etc.  The glued spot was pretty uniform at about two inches in from the center / binding.  Most were only spots.  A few were lengths (a quarter inch to two inches) running from binding margin to the center of text.  A couple were the full height of the page as well as being over an inch in width.  Most could be pulled free.  Three of the sets completely shredded the opposite page – which meant you couldn’t read the back of that page either, even though it wasn’t glued.  Fortunately, the worst pages were at the extreme front and end of the book.  When contacted, the response was:  the books are printed and delivered by Amazon;  take it back to them and they’ll arrange to give you another.  If this was a hardbound book or more expensive, I would have done this.  Weighing the cost versus my time, I just decided to live with what I have.  And, after all, the book was still readable.  Although annoying in multiple locations, I could figure out the missing words from surrounding context.
Third (bad):  The book had a handful (less than five) of editing errors where either a word was dropped or an incorrect word was used.  Only one was so bad (impactful) that I had to go back and re-read adjoining text to ensure I knew what the author was saying instead of what it looked like he was saying.  I would add, I personally would NEVER buy this type of book in kindle format without having seen the complete book on whatever hardware version I owned.  There is too much valuable information easily accessible by laying out two pages and seeing them next to each other in a readable size / format.  In fairness, I am a “book” person, not an “ebook” person.  Of course, with kindle I wouldn’t have had the glue issue.
Final recommendation:  strong recommendation.  If you are interested in learning a bit about music theory, how chords and keys are built and how chords work together to create music, this is an excellent beginner’s resource.  Is it going to “vastly” improve MY music skills.  Not in the immediate future.  I’m not that good, yet.  But I’ll get there some day and I believe reading this book will have helped me get there sooner than if I’d not read it.  I will look for this author and series in my local used book stores where I can open and check the pages before I buy the book.
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On This Day In:
2020 Doctor’s Orders
Make That Seven Orders…
2019 Innocent
2018 Ripost
2017 Just Asking…
2016 And 4
How Tall Do You Stand?
2015 More Prejudice
2014 Say What?
2013 Daring Errors
2012 Are You Comfortable?
I Just Have To
In Flux
2011 True New
2010 A Job Well Started Is A Job Half Done
I See With My One Good Eye

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I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
    ––     Oscar Wilde
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On This Day In:
2020 The Spirit Of A Fighter, The Heart Of A Saint
Corporate Cults
2019 Most Hire
Just The Three Of Us
2018 Sounds Like #45’s White House
2017 Have We Started Winning Yet?
2016 Still Springy
2015 Well Concealed
2014 The History Of Warriors
2013 A Cult Of Ignorance
2012 Counting Valor
Understanding Faith
2011 I Can Hear You Now
2010 Inception

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What counts, in the long run, is not what you read;  it is what you sift through your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions that are aroused in you by your reading.  It is the ideas stirred in your own mind, the ideas which are a reflection of your own thinking, which make you an interesting person.
    —     Eleanor Roosevelt
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On This Day In:
2020 Role Reversal
Time To Defend The Constitution (Part I)
Time To Defend The Constitution (Part II)
2019 Right Or Wrong
2018 Open Doors
2017 When It Deserves It
2016 Expiation For Rest
2015 You’ll Get Through It
2014 A Special Kind Of Fall
2013 Very Rewarding
2012 MIB3 – The Team Is Closer Than Ever
Yet
2011 Little By Little

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I believe in the magic of books.  I believe that during certain periods in our lives we are drawn to particular books — whether it’s strolling down the aisles of a bookshop with no idea whatsoever of what it is that we want to read and suddenly finding the most perfect, most wonderfully suitable book staring us right in the face.  Unblinking.  Or a chance meeting with a stranger or friend who recommends a book we would never ordinarily reach for.  Books have the ability to find their own way into our lives.
    ―    Cecelia Ahern
[This quote is available at multiple locations on the web, but I originally found it as a post on one of the blogs I follow:  I didn’t have my glasses on….
The specific post is:  the magic of books.   Which can be found at:   https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2021/05/08/24719/
Please give the site a visit if you have some spare time.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 The Magnitude Of The Challenge
2019 Still Tearing, Still Being Rewarded
2018 Nothing More, Nothing Less
2017 Memorial Day – 2017
No Wonder I’m Smiling
2016 Thinking Science Fictional
2015 Dawn Is Coming
2014 Back When I Was A Firebrand
2013 Pen In Hand
Word Up!
2012 Disturbing
Trying To Keep Up
2011 Unreliable And Selective
2010 Adult-Onset Athlete

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2034: A Novel of the Next World War”  (2021©)  —  book review
The book subject to today’s review was written by Elliot Ackerman, James Stavridis Admiral USN (ret.).  Ackerman is a former White House Fellow and decorated Marine veteran.  Stavridis is, of course, best known as a four-star Admiral and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.  Ackerman is a working journalist / opinion writer and both are authors of multiple books.  That’s pretty much their bonafides for writing a “future – history” about world war / combat.
This novel is set thirteen years in the future.  Putin is still in charge of Russia.  The U.S. has a female President from an Independent party.  And, we don’t really know much about anyone else in charge around the world.  We know China is pushing its claims in the northern Pacific, yet Taiwan remains an independent “nation” state.  India has somehow “resolved” the Pakistan issue in its favor, but we don’t know what that means for either India or Pakistan.  NATO is in disarray without strong U.S. leadership.  And, finally, Iran has had some success against Israel.  What isn’t exactly made clear, except Iran has somehow “freed” the Golan Heights.
Background:  The first third of this book was published as a special “full dedicated issue” recently in Wired magazine, which I subscribe to.  I have read EVERY issue of the magazine since inception back in 1993.  The company I worked for back in 2000 had all of the back issues on a shelf and I would “borrow” them one at a time, read cover to cover and then bring them back.  As far as I know, no one else EVER read any of them, as once I was hired, I kept the current ones on my desk and no one ever asked for them.  Shortly before leaving the company, I got a personal subscription and have continued reading them for the last 20 years.  Anyway, Wired‘s issue left you hanging with the promise of a future novel publication in March 2021.  My review is of the full publication.  This book was one of two I received as a birthday present from my wife.
And,…  This book is about a military conflict between China and the United States.  Supposedly, China is an ascending world power and the U.S. is a descending / failing world power.  China stages a confrontation in order to demonstrate its military superiority – and the world slips into war.
Is the book interesting?  Informative?  Entertaining?  Accurate – technologically, politically or militarily?  Is it worth the time to read it?  To be honest, the magazine promised more than the book delivered.  The answer to all five of those questions is mostly so-so…
It is a fast read at barely over 300 pages.  The problem is there isn’t much there – there.  I don’t know how much (if any) current military capability Ackerman has access to.  It is a given (to me) that Stavridis would have had nearly unlimited access (pre-retirement anyway).  The problem is, of course, the book would have had to be submitted to and cleared through State and DOD before it was published and neither agencies (nor the authors) would have been inclined to offer much useful information in a novel.
With nothing but the most general capabilities described we get a lot of implausible “magic” technology under the guise of “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) which seems to work perfectly and then not at all.  We get very poor strategic decisions / action by the U.S.; we get some oversimplification of other technologies (overseas internet cabling);  side tracks by Russia and Iran, which seem to have been added to make the conflict global rather than China vs. U.S.;  and then we get a couple of miracles at the end by India to conclude the novel / war.  That pretty much covers the “informative and accuracy” portion of this review.
What about interesting and entertaining?  Again, so-so…  There are five main characters: female American Admiral, male American fighter pilot, male American (Indian immigrant) NSC advisor, male Iranian officer (he ends up with various ranks), and the main Chinese (half-American) Admiral.  The story is told from each of their viewpoints.  (Yes, there are also another handful of secondary but important characters, but this is really about the big five.)
The problem I had was the number of characters made for a long, deep story which developed each character to the point where you cared about them without giving away too much plot / ending.  Unfortunately, this book is neither long nor deep, which meant you almost cared, but not quite.  And, again unfortunately, it was almost entirely predictable and therefore, while I finished feeling entertained, I didn’t feel satisfied – emotionally or intellectually.
Then is it worth your time, then?  Yes!  It raises the interesting question if military technology is useful if it is subject to (can be negated by) a less expensive counter-measure.  In this case, the apparent answer is that if the elephant is blinded, it is still an elephant and not easily overwhelmed.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  This is not Tom Clancy or Sir John Hackett level political, military or strategy writing, but I did find it entertaining even if not informative or militarily consistent.  I’m grateful to have received it as a present, because I’d have waited for the paperback or a very reduced price before buying it myself.  So I got to read something almost literally hot off the presses…
Final disclaimer:  I purchased this book at normal / sale price and no compensation has been provided to me by anyone for my opinions in this review.
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On This Day In:
2020 First Buds
To Fly
2019 What If Nobody Believes Them Either
2018 It’s About Heart Not Skill
2017 Winning So Much I’m Already Tired Of It (Not)
2016 Punishing Red Binge
2015 Bits In The Soup
2014 More Beef, Less Bull
2013 Where Are Your Mountains
2012 Spherical Knowledge Of Hamsters
2011 Taking Stock Over Time

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Many scientists deeply involved in the exploration of the solar system (myself among them) were first turned in that direction by science fiction.  And the fact that some of that science fiction was not of the highest quality is irrelevant.  Ten-year-olds do not read the scientific literature.
    —   Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 Happy Thanksgiving (2019)
2018 And Smiles…
2017 Or Savor A Little Longer…
2016 Sometimes I Just Want To Smell The Flowers
2015 One Truth – Done Well
2014 Now In Imagination, On The Other Hand…
2013 No Plan, No Map
2012 Singing About Love
2011 The Awesome Power Of Truth

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Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.
      ―     Socrates
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On This Day In:
2019 #45 Is The Inverse
2018 A Message To The White House Press Corps
2017 Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
Binge, Binge, Binge
2016 Feeling Warm Yet?
Four Documentaries
2015 Just Like All The Others
2014 In My Own Vanity
2013 Filled With Words
2012 Lectio Auget Existentiae Meae
2011 Lied Lately?
2010 Born To Work At Faux News
Lost Again (Uh, Make That Still)
Qui Genus Humanum Ingenio Superavit
They’re Back… (Part 1)

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The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.
    ––    W. Somerset Maugham
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On This Day In:
2019 Not Enough
2018 One Thing We Do Know
2017 Preservation
2016 Going Back
2015 Just For Today
2014 Reaching For Destiny
2013 Still Just Passing Through
2012 Live Or Die
2011 On Secession
2010 A Rocky Weekend

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You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them.
     ––    Ray Bradbury
[You don’t have to revoke FCC licenses to destroy the Fourth Estate (a free press).  Just get people to believe legitimate news organizations are “Fake News”.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 A Defense Of Liberty
2018 And Blog To Word Up To The Universe
The Irony Of Greed
2017 Or Revisiting A Blog Site
2016 Alas, Too Often The Latter
2015 Either / Or
2014 Memorial Day – 2014
Perfection
2013 Memorial Day Video
Equal = Equal
2012 Congrats, Nephew!!
Doggie Vision Networks
The Flash: Omnibus
JLI: vol 1
Flash: Rebirth
Burning Images
What Do You Believe?
2011 Are We Still At War With The Poor?

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