Farmer in the Sky

[Amazon Link]

Whoa. As I type, Amazon's prices for the paperback of Farmer in the Sky is "from $24.57". For that, I'd demand it be read to me in person by Gal Gadot.

Kindle version is just $6.99, though. That's OK. You can also get it as part of a four-novel hardcover anthology "from $6.43", but I assume that's a SF Book Club edition that might be falling apart.

My version cost me a cool 50¢, published 50 years ago. Couldn't find a pic at Amazon, though.

Anyway, one more book down in my "Rereading Heinlein" project. (And thirty-three to go.) It's a surprisingly dark juvenile, originally published in 1950. You can think of it as Little House on a Jovian Moon. The narrator is Bill Lermer, a teenage Californian; he and his father, a widower, decide to apply to be the first massive wave of immigrants to a terraforming-in-process Ganymede.

And it's a darn fine yarn. Bill and his dad have all sorts of crises, adventures, and setbacks. Heinlein skillfully builds his count-the-rivets world using a minimal amount of handwaving magic technology. I think you could—and Heinlein probably did—sketch out a floorplan of the Mayflower, the ship that transports the colonists from Earth orbit to Ganymede orbit. ("And right down here is the magic engine in which mass is converted efficiently to kinetic energy.")

Along the way, Bill grows from a semi-petulant kid into a mature human being. Heinlein does this with show-don't-tell prose. Bill is—literally—a Boy Scout, and gets to implement most, if not all, of the twelve tenets of Boy Scout Law. (Heinlein, of course, would be weak on the "reverent".)

I haven't read the book for fifty years, but it holds up pretty well. For all the advanced space tech, everybody still uses slide rules and wire recorders. There's a final adventure that is kind of a machina ex deum, but I didn't care.

URLs du Jour

2018-08-03

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 10:16 is pretty straightforward. It's the usual good/bad distinction, but the two halves match up well:

    16 The wages of the righteous is life,
        but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.

    … but we've seen this at least a couple times before; examples here and here.


  • I am a huge fan of Arthur C. Brooks, and he brings his wisdom and humor to the undeserving New York Times: Need a Politics Cleanse? Go Ahead and Treat Yourself.

    What to do? Start with a politics cleanse: For two weeks — maybe over your August vacation — resolve not to read, watch or listen to anything about politics. Don’t discuss politics with anyone. When you find yourself thinking about politics, distract yourself with something else. (I listen to Bach cantatas, but that’s not for everybody.) This is hard to do, of course, but not impossible. You just have to plan ahead and stand firm. Think of it as ideological veganism. On the one hand, your friends will think you’re a little wacky. On the other hand, you’ll feel superior to them.

    Since I'm retired, I'm on vacation 24x7. So I'd need to fix this somewhat. Could I go (for example) two weeks without reading or writing anything political? Hm.


  • The Free Beacon reports on a press release from Arkansas senator Tom Cotton: ‘One Hopes Google Will Put Its Corporate Principles and America First, Ahead of Chinese Cash’.

    "Google said it wouldn’t bow to Beijing’s censorship, and it should stick to its word, especially now that it’s canceled its partnership with our military. Google claims to value freedom and one hopes Google will put its corporate principles and America first, ahead of Chinese cash," Cotton said in a statement.

    I don't think Cotton, as a powerful politician, should tell Google how to conduct its business. But that's a lost cause in today's Senate: every senator thinks they're expert in telling businesses how to conduct their operations.

    That said, however, he's right: Google shouldn't aid China's dictatorship in its efforts to provide only government-approved content to its citizenry.


  • Ann Althouse has some fun with a Drudge headline about proposals to rename Austin, Texas.

    AUSTIN, TX CONSIDERS NAME CHANGE TO SHED LEGACY.

    I think "Shed Legacy" would be a pretty good name for any city. Anne makes the case for Madison, WI. (Madison was another slave-owner, so there's that.)


  • Or we could just get an increasingly dictatorship-fond Internet company to do the dirty work for us, as related in this Slashdot tale: As Google Maps Renames Neighborhoods, Residents Fume.

    For decades, the district south of downtown and alongside San Francisco Bay here was known as either Rincon Hill, South Beach or South of Market. This spring, it was suddenly rebranded on Google Maps to a name few had heard: the East Cut. The peculiar moniker immediately spread digitally, from hotel sites to dating apps to Uber, which all use Google's map data. The name soon spilled over into the physical world, too. Real-estate listings beckoned prospective tenants to the East Cut. And news organizations referred to the vicinity by that term.

    A fuming resident is quoted.


  • We continue to see fallout from the Progressive effort to hijack New Hampshire's demographic woes into service of "diversity". And LFOD is invoked, because it always is: NH Demographics: Diversity A 'Challenge'.

    Governor Chris Sununu recently created an Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion that examine demographics and other issues. Sununu last month approved new laws outlawing gender discrimination and gay conversion therapy.

    "If we really want to be the Live Free or Die State, we must ensure that New Hampshire is a place where every person, regardless of their background, has an equal and full opportunity to pursue their dreams and to make a better life for themselves and their families," Sununu said in a statement at the time.

    No question; and yet it always comes down to classifying people by trivial differences in their DNA.


  • And a Maine TV station got Rudy Giuliani to sit still for a few words while he was endorsing a Congressional candidate for (my) district, NH-01, Eddie Edwards:

    Giuliani says with Edwards’ support for the president, and his “live free or die” values of a conservative, he would be the perfect man for the job.

    “He believes in low taxes, he believes in limited government,” Giuliani said. “He's a supporter of the “America First” agenda of President Trump. He believes that the trade and all the issues that affected America have to be straightened out so that we at least have a level playing field.”

    The "level playing field" is a common misleading metaphor used by protectionists. Eddie might get my vote (I'm still registered Republican) but he'll have to do better than sling tired rhetoric.