Monthly Archives: August 2017

What I’ve been reading lately, part 23

The Enemy — Desmond Bagley

Bagley wrote about a dozen novels, all thrillers, and most of them excellent. They were written in the 70s and 80s, so they have dated in some respects — not least where then-cutting-edge technology is involved, but if you can overlook that they remain gripping and enjoyable.

The Enemy, alongside Running Blind and The Freedom Trap, is among the best of his books. (On the other hand, his last two novels, published posthumously, are the worst, and best avoided except for completion’s sake.)
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Apple: breaking things for no reason

My wife is one of the billions who have no interest in computers per se, but want to use them to do things — just as I have no interest in cars but want to use them to drive places. She’s just spent a solid 20 solid minutes trying to figure out how to export a video file from iDVD on her Mac, so she can upload it to YouTube. No dice.

So I stepped in, a professional programmer, wise in the ways of computers. I was ready to click a couple of menu items, File -> Export -> MP4, and save the day in 30 seconds. Twenty more minutes later, here I am.

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Consider a spherical, frictionless car of mass 1 …

A car of mass m drives at speed v towards a concrete wall. Its kinetic energy is ½ mv2, and all of that energy is dissipated when it hits the wall.

Now consider an identical car driving at speed 2v towards the same wall. Its kinetic energy is ½ m(2v)2 = ½ m4v2 = 2 mv— four times as much as the original car, since kinetic energy goes with the square of the velocity. I hope that up to this point, all this is uncontroversial.

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Judge Dredd (1995) vs. Dredd (2012)

As a long-time 2000 AD fan (I read it from Prog 1 and stayed with it for three or four years) I’ve been reading David Bishop and Karl Stock’s fascinating Thrill-Power Overload: 2000 AD — the first forty years [amazon.com, amazon.co.uk]. When I reached the section about the 1995 Judge Dredd film starring Sylvester “Rambo” Stallone, I was interested enough to watch it; and having seen that, I was interested to see the 2012 take starring Karl “Éomer” Urban.

So how do they measure up?

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