First, one on books, via Pearsall Helms:
You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451; which book do you want to be?
"The Logic of Scientific Discovery", by Karl Popper.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
No. What would be the point?
What are you currently reading?
"The Geometry of Schemes", by David Eisenbud and Joe Harris, and "The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Eighteenth Century", edited by P. J. Marshall.
The last book you bought is:
"The Geometry of Schemes", as mentioned above.
The last book you read is:
"The Recognitions", by William Gaddis.
Five books you would take to a desert island:
- "Gravitation", by Misner, Wheeler and Thorne. Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is extremely elegant, and while this book wouldn't be my first choice to learn it from, it's quirkily discursive style is much to my liking.
- "Algebra", by Serge Lang. Terse and dry, but no other single-volume textbook surveys as much material in so few pages.
- "Within a Budding Grove", by Marcel Proust. This is my favorite of all the parts of "Remembrace of Things Past", which I'd have selected if it didn't feel so much like cheating to call a 3,000 page epic a single book.
- "Microeconomic Theory", by Andreu Mas-Colell, Michael D. Whinston and Jerry R. Green. This is the ideal microeconomics book for the kind of person who finds more rigorous and abstract treatments of subjects easier to assimilate than those which go in for more handholding - if there's one thing I don't trust, it's "intuition".
- "Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits", by Michael Lynch and Bruce Walsh. You won't find a better one-volume introduction to quantitative trait genetics anywhere.
Who are you going to pass this stick to, and why?
Anyone reading this, because - why not?
And now for the other, via Micha Ghertner.
List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over.
- IRC/Instant Messaging: I've never done it, and I don't see why I'd want to when I can use email or reach for a phone.
- Alcohol: The odd beer or two is fine, but what fun is there in drinking so much you lose control of yourself or fall sick?
- "Friends" (TV Show): This isn't my Manhattan, and these aren't my kind of people.
- Science Fiction: Most of it is absolutely terrible, and if I'm going to indulge in schlock, I'd much rather go for the unpretentious kind being peddled in comic books - no great expectations means no disappointment.
- Baseball: The most boring "sport" known to man, as meaningful a way to pass the time as watching paint dry; every time I hear "How about them Yankees?", I feel like reaching out and slapping someone.
And here's where I do my bit to propagate the chain: being the friendly, sensitive egalitarian fellow that I am, I invite anyone who's interested to give this a try as well.