Silo series Book 3

[Amazon Link]

So this completes the reading mini-project I set for myself when I read Hugh Howey's Wool back in 2015: to read the remaining members of the trilogy. Number two was Shift, which I read back in August 2017. Overall, I liked Wool a lot, Shift not so much, and Dust even less. But it was a worthy effort. As always, what follows could be considered spoilerish.

Another lesson: don't let too much time elapse between reading books in a strongly plot-connected series; I found myself wondering: Um, who are these people again, and what did they do in the previous books? I eventually remembered enough to make sense out of the plot here.

Basically: inhabitants of the silos have come to a dim realization of their reality. They're buried in deep Georgian soil, the outside world might be uninhabitable (or it might not), the folks running the show are only slightly more aware of the situation, and the real (cartoonish) bad guy has no compunctions whatsoever about mass murder.

As we open, the inhabitants of Silo 18, led by the intrepid Juliet, are using their newly-discovered driller to tunnel over to Silo 17. This isn't easy, and there's plenty of opposition. And (as we know) Silo 18's population is far from saintlike. And (as we also know) if Silo 1 gets wind of these doings, they'll wipe out both 17 and 18. So everything's fraught with danger, physical and mental despair, and also sentimentality. (A significant subplot: a cute kid loses her puppy—conveniently named "Puppy"—and gets involved with some nasty people instead.)

The problem I had with Shift is more-than-slightly magnified here: too many words to support a thin plot and characters.

URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link]

  • There's more orality in Proverbs 12:22:

    22 The Lord detests lying lips,
        but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

    Unlike the Proverbialist, I can't claim to know the mind of the Lord. But in my 34-second Google research, I found a site claiming an interestingly significant correlation: The Most Swear-Prone US States Are Also The Most Trustworthy. It's from a site calling itself "IFLScience", and you can probably guess what the "IFL" initials stand for, and why they might have a pro-swearing bias.

    Apparently, most people think those that swear and curse and turn their air blue on a regular basis are untrustworthy. This always seemed like a strange connection to make, as if swearing somehow is equivalent to spouting prevarications. I hate to think what people subscribing to this theory think of our own site.

    Evidence is beginning to surface, however, that the very opposite is true, and that sweary types are actually often more honest than their courteous counterparts. Now, a brand new study set to be published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science seems to back up this point – while revealing where the most curse-prone (and thereby honest) people in the US are.

    Spoiler for my fellow Granite Staters: New Hampshire seems to be smack in the middle on both "State Integrity" and "State profanity rate". Dammit!

    I'm not sure where the Lord comes down on trustworthy people who swear a lot. It's a trade-off between Commandments 2 and 8.

  • Investors Business Daily reveals Some Inconvenient Truths About Recycling.

    It has become an article of faith in the U.S. that recycling is a good thing. But evidence is piling up that recycling is a waste of time and money, and a bit of a fraud.

    The New York Times recently reported that, unknown to most families who spend hours separating garbage into little recycling bins, much of the stuff ends up in a landfill anyway.

    John Tierney was all over this back in 1996, also (somewhat surprisingly) in the NYT: Recycling Is Garbage.

    Mandatory recycling programs aren't good for posterity. They offer mainly short-term benefits to a few groups -- politicians, public relations consultants, environmental organizations, waste-handling corporations -- while diverting money from genuine social and environmental problems. Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources.

    Again: that's from 1996.

    It's an unshakeable tenet of secular religion for some, though. So, like mindless automatons, we'll continue to dutifully dump our cardboard, glass, paper, plastic, and cans into the single-stream dumpster at the transfer station for the foreseeable future.

  • At NRO, Kevin D. Williamson asks the musical question: Can We Talk? The URL reveals the thesis: a bigger threat than "fake news" to our civic discourse is oversimplification. Unsurprisingly, this plays into the hands of progressive activists.

    KDW's launching pad is a recent LATimes column by Nicholas Goldberg pronouncing Fox News "a danger to this country". (All you need to know about Goldberg: "MSNBC" does not appear in his column.)

    Another way of putting this is that the unstated task of cable-news journalism on the Fox/MSNBC model — along with practically all political talk radio, 99.44 percent of social media, and a great deal of inferior writing about politics — is transmuting intellectual complexity into moral simplicity. Even that isn’t quite right: The moral simplicity offered by the “Everybody Who Disagrees with Me Is Hitler” school of analysis is a false simplicity — simplicity for the truly simple, as opposed to what Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. described as “the simplicity on the far side of complexity.”

    Also featured, a quote from Paul Valéry: "Everything simple is false. Everything complex is unusable." And a Sharknado 2 reference. You'll want to read the whole thing.

  • And our Google LFOD alert rang multiple times for stories like this: Gov. Sununu Says Transgender Discrimination Runs Contrary to 'Live Free or Die' Motto.

    Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, signed bills Friday to protect transgender people from discrimination and ban therapies that seek to change the sexual orientation of minors.

    Uh huh. Because nothing says "Live Free or Die" more than banning stuff.