A nice beginning overview of where they’re going and philosophy of the book. Makes the subject sound beautiful and wondrous, though they do use the word ‘miraculous’ which is overstepping a bit in almost any math book whose history is over a century old.
Their opening motivation for why complex instead of just real:
However, everything changes drastically if we make a natural, but misleadingly simple-looking assumption on that it is differentiable in the complex sense. This condition is called holomorphicity, and it shapes most of the theory discussed in this book.
We shall start our study with some general characteristic properties of holomorphic functions, which are subsumed by three rather miraculous facts:
- Contour integration: If is holomorphic in , then for appropriate closed paths in
- Regularity: If is holomorphic, then is indefinitely differentiable.
- Analytic continuation: If and are holomorphic functions in which are equal in an arbitrarily small disc in , then everywhere in .
This far into both books, I think I’m enjoying the elegance of Stein/Shakarchi better than Ahlfors.
Official release date: November 1, 2016
09/14/16: downloaded a review copy via NetGalley
The story of human evolution has fascinated us like no other: we seem to have an insatiable curiosity about who we are and where we have come from. Yet studying the “stones and bones” skirts around what is perhaps the realest, and most relatable, story of human evolution – the social and cognitive changes that gave rise to modern humans.
In Human Evolution: Our Brains and Behavior, Robin Dunbar appeals to the human aspects of every reader, as subjects of mating, friendship, and community are discussed from an evolutionary psychology perspective. With a table of contents ranging from prehistoric times to modern days, Human Evolution focuses on an aspect of evolution that has typically been overshadowed by the archaeological record: the biological, neurological, and genetic changes that occurred with each “transition” in the evolutionary narrative. Dunbar’s interdisciplinary approach – inspired by his background as both an anthropologist and accomplished psychologist – brings the reader into all aspects of the evolutionary process, which he describes as the “jigsaw puzzle” of evolution that he and the reader will help solve. In doing so, the book carefully maps out each stage of the evolutionary process, from anatomical changes such as bipedalism and increase in brain size, to cognitive and behavioral changes, such as the ability to cook, laugh, and use language to form communities through religion and story-telling. Most importantly and interestingly, Dunbar hypothesizes the order in which these evolutionary changes occurred-conclusions that are reached with the “time budget model” theory that Dunbar himself coined. As definitive as the “stones and bones” are for the hard dates of archaeological evidence, this book explores far more complex psychological questions that require a degree of intellectual speculation: What does it really mean to be human (as opposed to being an ape), and how did we come to be that way?
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Mcdonald does an excellent job of introducing the reader to a particular flavor of Brazilian culture which presages the pace of the plot. As a reader I felt nearly as frustrated with the pace of life and the style of culture (which heavily parallels the plot) as Fletch must have in his own evolving situation. This treatment makes me identify with I.M. much more closely than I might have otherwise, so kudos to Mcdonald for that.
As it turns out the woman Fletch initially dodges because he says she’ll think he killed her husband is Joan Stanwyk. She’s had him tracked down so that she can confront him about her husband’s death as well as a large amount of money that has gone missing. Seemingly only minutes later, Joan disappears just before Carnival and there isn’t much Fletch can do to find her. I had hoped for more mystery on this front, but the solution is wrapped up in a few scant pages right at the end.
There’s some great description and depiction of the Brazilian culture and the piece feels like a reasonable travelogue in some sense. Sadly it means it’s a bit thin on plot. Things start off with a nice bang, but then plod along for most of the book before things begin to pick up again in the last quarter of the book. There was so much more that Mcdonald could have done with the plot. Joan Stanwyk tracking down Fletch for a confrontation, Fletch and the Tap Dancers disposing of a friend’s body in a scene that presaged the entire plot of the film Weekend at Bernie’s (1989), the detective portion relating to who killed Junio all those years ago… Instead Mcdonald seemingly lets all the plot points work themselves out without any real work from our protagonist who just floats along through the culture. However, I will give him huge points from an artistic standpoint as he’s done a great job instilling a particular pace and cultural way of life into the text in such a manner that it really seems natural and satisfying that things work out the way they do.
Yet, in the end ultimately I’m conflicted as I’d have preferred more Fletchness, but I find it to have been enjoyable–at least it was better than Fletch, Too which still sits poorly with me.
I am left a bit adrift at the end with respect to the Tap Dancers who were so pivotal to most of the plot. What happened to the promised trip back to the brothel? Somehow they just seem to drift out of the plot.
Why wasn’t there better development of a romantic interest?
I don’t recall if this or something else set things in motion from a cultural standpoint, but as I recall the mid-80s, this would have ridden at the forefront of the zeitgeist of Brazillian culture in North America with several other books, television shows, and even movies which featured Brazil and even capoeira at the time.
- 8/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
- 09/05/16 marked as: currently reading
- 09/05/16 14.0% “An interesting start with a nice dash of the cultural part of what it means to be a Brazilian to set the stage of what is to come in the book. The reader is nicely made to feel the cultural clash of American and Brazilian along with the frustration Fletch surely feels.”
- 09/09/16 34.0%
- 09/10/16 61.0% “The plot seems to have slowed down significantly since the opening, but is just finally getting moving again.”
- 9/13/16 71%
- 09/16/16 100%
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
“You have not heard of queima de arquivo?”
“It means ‘burn the record'” Marilia said.
“It means ‘cover up,'” Laura said. “It is the Brazilian way of life. That is why we are so free.”
—Loc 65 & 68: One of the motivating concepts within the book and an interesting life philosophy. There are dozens of appearances of the word burn throughout the book.
“Half your diet should be carbohydrates.”
“You’re reading about diets?”
—Loc 266: I find it interesting that this discussion predates some serious anti-carb literature that appears in the culture about a decade or more hence.
“Anyone can make up a story and say it is the past.”
“Have you ever been paralysed?”
Toninho’s big brow eyes swelled. “I have the wisdom to know that one day I will be.”
—Loc 462: An interesting life philosophy
“É preciso terno?”
Such was a tourist joke. In Brazil a suit was never necessary.
Fletch gathered in the stern line. “Not in the S.S. Coitus Interruptus.”
Colombo, a sparkling clean tearoom noted for its great pastry
—Loc 1958: Who can resist a pastry reference?
The sound is overpowering. It is perhaps the maximum sound the earth and sky can accept without cracking, without breaking into fragments to move with it before dissipating into dust.
—Loc 2287: Mcdonald does a really good job describing the music of Brazil throughout. I particularly liked this passage.
…cheering on the biggest and most amazing human spectacle in the world except war.
—Loc 2426: a nice description of Carnival; apparently one so apt that he uses it multiple times.
Then he remembered his other ear had slipped into the personality of a tomato.
—Loc 2560: great description of an ear after a brutal fight
“Fletch, you always seem to be someplace you’re not supposed to be, doing something you’re not supposed to be doing.”
“Got any other news for me?”
—Loc 2684: Quintessential Fletch description and rejoinder
Fletch had come back to life. He was in a closed coffin.
—Loc 2939: A great pair of sentences just by themselves, but they also have a nice parallelism to where Fletch is within relation to the plot at the time.
(a waitress to Fletch) “Have an accident?”
“No, thanks. Just had one.”
—Loc 2979: Witty dialogue
“I was worried about you. I’ve been stood up for dinner before, often, but seldom for breakfast.”
“Not very nice of me.”
“It’s okay. I had breakfast anyway.”
—Loc 2986: Witty dialogue
“I mean, everyone needs a vacation from life. Don’t you agree?”
“A vacation from reality.”
“She fell out of her cradle. She’s enjoying a few moments crawling around the floor.”
—Loc 3097: great description of a grown woman
“I learned some things.”
“I’d love to know what.”
“Oh, that the past asserts itself. That the dead can walk.” Fletch thought of the small carved stone frog that had been under his bed. “That the absence of symbols can mean as much as their presence.”
Edgar Arthur Tharp, Junior
—Loc 3106: Fletch indicates that this artist will be part of his future purpose; The name reappears in Confess, Fletch as a tangential part of the plot.
- the sails luffed
- calunga doll
- bateria of drums
Traditional network television programming has always followed the same script: executives approve a pilot, order a trial number of episodes, and broadcast them, expecting viewers to watch a given show on their television sets at the same time every week. But then came Netflix's House of Cards. Netflix gauged the show's potential from data it had gathered about subscribers' preferences, ordered two seasons without seeing a pilot, and uploaded the first thirteen episodes all at once for viewers to watch whenever they wanted on the devices of their choice. In this book, Michael Smith and Rahul Telang, experts on entertainment analytics, show how the success of House of Cards upended the film and TV industries -- and how companies like Amazon and Apple are changing the rules in other entertainment industries, notably publishing and music. We're living through a period of unprecedented technological disruption in the entertainment industries. Just about everything is affected: pricing, production, distribution, piracy. Smith and Telang discuss niche products and the long tail, product differentiation, price discrimination, and incentives for users not to steal content. To survive and succeed, businesses have to adapt rapidly and creatively. Smith and Telang explain how. How can companies discover who their customers are, what they want, and how much they are willing to pay for it? Data. The entertainment industries, must learn to play a little "moneyball." The bottom line: follow the data.
So far this is maybe even better than I remember it.