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Cover for Syndrome


Some may com­plain about the sci­ence in the book and they would be right. I will com­plain about some­thing else: the plot and the writ­ing.

Not on­ly is the plot fu­eled by co­in­ci­dence in a scale that would make any­one no­tice (ex­am­ples? the jour­nal­ist is the son of the bad guy bil­lion­aire *and* the old flame of the ar­chi­tec­t/­ex­per­i­men­tal sub­ject who is the sis­ter of the bad guys's CFO kind of co­in­ci­dences).

There is al­so the ran­dom de­tailed de­scrip­tion of things that don't mat­ter in the least, but al­so make no sense. Here's the de­crip­tion of Alan the door­man:

"When Ally and Knickers walked into her lobby, Alan, the morning doorman, was there, just arrived, tuning
his blond acoustic guitar.
Watching over her condominium building was his day job, but writing a musical for Off Broadway (about
Billy the Kid) was his dream. He was a tall, gaunt guy with a mane of red hair he kept tied back in a ponytail
while he was in uniform and on duty. Everybody in the building was rooting for him to get his show mounted,
and he routinely declared that he and his partner were this close to getting backers. "We're gonna have the
next Rent, so you'd better invest now" was how he put it. Alan had the good cheer of a perpetual optimist and
he needed it, given the odds he was up against."

Then he pats the dog and exchanges two phrases with the protagonist.

I marvel at the idea of a doorman that's allowed to play guitar on the lobby on working hours. With this introduction you may wonder what role Alan plays in the plot. Well, let me quote the only other mention of Alan in the whole book. It comes very near the end.

"The condominium no longer had a doorman. In hopes of trimming costs, the condo board had sent out a secret
ballot on the subject. By a narrow margin the owners had voted to dispense with that particular frill. Although
she missed Alan and his early morning optimism about his Off-Broadway hopes, she realized the economy
was probably timely. "

I rest my case. The plot is just lazy, the science is contrived, and the writing lame. Not a good book.

Charla: aplicaciones extensibles con PyQt

Span­ish on­ly, since it's about a video in span­ish ;-)

Acá es­tá, gra­cias a la gente de Junín, un video de mi char­la "Apli­ca­ciones ex­ten­si­bles us­an­do PyQt", en la que in­ten­to mostrar co­mo de­sar­rol­lar una apli­cación con PyQt y yap­sy.

No es una char­la con la que es­té muy con­tento. La otra sal­ió mejor, pero no se filmó, así que quedará so­lo en la memo­ria de los cu­a­tro gatos lo­cos que es­tábamos ahí ;-)

El resto de las char­las: http://un­no­

The market is down because... [sound of shaking magic 8-ball]

Let me share with you a piece from Mon­ey Cen­tral, but I am not pick­ing on them, you can find the same crap on ev­ery news­pa­per or TV chan­nel's fi­nan­cial sec­tion:

The push to dump stocks came in re­sponse to news that ar­tillery fire was ex­changed overnight be­tween North Ko­rea and South Ko­re­a. Though ten­sion be­tween the two na­tions has been per­sis­ten­t, the lat­est episode marks a dra­mat­ic es­ca­la­tion of the tone be­tween them.

That de­vel­op­ment added to the dis­tress of mar­ket par­tic­i­pants, who have long held con­cern for the frag­ile state of fi­nances among coun­tries in the Eu­ro­pean Union pe­riph­ery. Even Ire­land re­mains a point of wor­ry as it has yet to com­plete­ly struc­ture a bailout pack­age and im­ple­ment aus­ter­i­ty mea­sures.

Dis­tress and un­cer­tain­ty moved many in­to the rel­a­tive safe­ty of the dol­lar, which was up 1.3% against com­pet­ing cur­ren­cies at the close of trade. The ad­vance marked its big­gest one-­day bounce in a month and put the cur­ren­cy at its best lev­el in al­most two month­s.

But my ti­tle is a lie, these guys are not look­ing at a mag­ic 8-bal­l. What they are look­ing at is the rest of the news­pa­per. Let me share the recipe:

  1. See if the mar­ket is up or down.

  2. Up? Then look at the news and check for good news.

    1. What? No im­­­por­­­tant god news? Awe­­­some! Then fig­ure out how some­thing that looks bad is ac­­­tu­al­­­ly good. That's a gold­en chance to be de­­­clared in­­­sight­­­ful.

    2. Good news? Bin­­­go, that's why the mar­ket is up.

  3. Down? Look at the news and check for bad news.

    1. Bad news? Ok, that's why.

    2. No big bad news? Great! Then some­thing that's good needs to be de­scribed as "caus­ing un­cer­­­tain­­­ty"

In the re­al world, the busi­ness an­a­lysts have on­ly the fog­gi­est no­tion of why the mar­kets move as they do. In fac­t, if they had a no­tion, the mar­ket wouldbe pre­dictable. If it were pre­dictable, then savvy in­vestors would beat the mar­ket.

And that does­n't hap­pen.


Cover for Veracity


Imag­ine a book writ­ten com­plete­ly from the point of view of a mis­an­thrope. Now imag­ine said mis­an­thrope is prone to sopho­moric men­tal ram­blings. Add some en­dear­ing fea­tures such as be­liev­ing he is smarter than any­one else. Add a lot of oth­er var­ied mis­an­thropes as char­ac­ter­s. Now make them com­plete­ly uni­di­men­sion­al, so you can de­fine each of them in one line ("On­ni is nice and makes mu­sic"). Put those char­ac­ters in a brief, not very in­ter­est­ing jour­ney where not much hap­pens ex­cept that they are all de­struc­tive mo­ron­s.

Now, take those in­gre­di­ents and use them to write a book. That book is Ve­rac­i­ty by Mark La­vo­ra­to.

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