Archive for Google translation

the calculating stars [book review]

Posted in Books, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2021 by xi'an

This fist sounded like an interesting attempt at alternate history, when a massive meteor strike obliterating the Washington DC region in 1952 forced the World to change shift towards space exploration and the eventual evacuation of Earth. The story is told from a computer (or computress) viewpoint, who is a wunderkid, a mathematician, a physicist, a war (WASP) pilot, and more, with a strong will and an independent mind, hoping to become a female astronaut. If the setting reminds you of Hidden figures, a (great) movie about the true story of NASA black female mathematicians, it is no surprise and I wonder how much inspiration the author got from these historical facts, if not from the 2016 book itself. Despite receiving many awards, like the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards!, The Calculating Stars is somewhat of a disappointment to me, because of the highly single-minded perspective,  where everything (related to solving the forecast extinction) seems to happen with a small group of people, because of the confusion between a mathematician and someone who can do complex arithmetics by head, to the near-perfection of the central character, who can also hotwire a car, because of the anachronisms, incl. the prescience that the asteroid crash was going to cause a deadly rise of temperatures when the dinosaur extinction was not yet linked with a similar event, because of a rosy depiction of the World uniting towards racing against the Great Extinction, and, cherry on the pie, because French sentences found throughout the book mostly make no sense as literal translations of English sentences!

“Elle va le faire mais Dieu sait ce qu’elle va parler.” [She’s going to do it but God knows what she’s going to say.]

“Il est l’ordre naturel je pense (…) Il n’y a rien de naturel.” [It’s the natural order of things I think (…) Nothing is natural.]

“Ce ne fut pas une explosion ou nous aurions senti.” [It wasn’t a blast or else we would have felt.]

Drogue : sortir du tout-répressif [reposted]

Posted in Books, Kids, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2020 by xi'an

[Here is an editorial (my take at a Google translation) from Le Monde about the installment last week of a fixed fine of €200 for drug possession. Introduced in 2018 by the French Parliament, it is presented by the French government as a way to fight drug-trafficking (and its far reaching consequences in the (de)structuration of some suburbs) by turning consumers into de facto accomplices. Which I find counterproductive and irrational as prohibition never works and ultimately benefits criminals. Drug legalisation or at least drug decriminalisation, adopted in many other countries, would be much more beneficial. Disclaimer #1: I am not supporting the use of drugs, except tea of course. Disclaimer #2: I do not agree with the entirety of the editorial below.]

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