1. 3

    My 2019 resolution is to reduce for-learning books and increase for-fun books. Here are some of the for-fun books on my list.

    • Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson
      • The Final Empire
      • The Well of Ascension
      • The Hero of Ages
    • Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan
      • The Eye of the World
    • The Axe, Donald Westlake
    • Le Comte de Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
    • Discworld, Terry Pratchet
      • The Colour of Magic
    • Pillards of the Earth, Ken Follet
    • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
    • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
      • The Hobbit
      • The Fellowship of the Ring
      • The Two Towers
      • The Return of the King
    • The Hand Maid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
    • Malazan, Steven Erickson

    In my for-learning list, I have a couple of history books and I’ll probably want to add a couple of books on satisfiability (probably Knuth’s) and database implementation.

    1. 2

      Nice list. If you haven’t already read it I’d also like to suggest the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Mistborn series but the Stormlight Archives is one of my favorite series.

      1. 1

        I was coming to say the same thing; the Stormlight Archives are so good! I found them prior to any other Sanderson books, so I’ll be going through Mistborn next, but I feel like these have set the bar really, really high.

      2. 1

        Since you seem to like a certain type of fantasy, may I suggest The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie? I’ve read most of the books on your list, and I thought Abercrombie’s First Law series was up there with the best of them. The audiobook was particularly well done.

        1. 1

          Looks like you want to try Terry Pratchett? I would not start with the first one. It is not as good as his later books.

          1. 1

            Mistborn is great, it was my introduction to Sanderson as well (and after reading them I binge-read the rest of his books). If you want to keep going with him after the original Mistborn trilogy, I’d recommend reading Warbreaker and then diving into the Stormlight Archives. As @qznc stated, I’d recommend starting with a different Pratchett book. What a friend got me to start with was Thud, which I absolutely loved. That being said, it looks like you’ve picked a great list! (Also, just in case you aren’t aware, Hitchhiker’s Guide is a series, as is Malazan)

            1. 1

              As @qznc stated, I’d recommend starting with a different Pratchett book. What a friend got me to start with was Thud, which I absolutely loved.

              There is also Good Omens. Which is what you would get if you were to cross a Terry Pratchett book & a Neil Gaiman book… probably because it is a Terry Pratchett & Gaiman book.

              1. 1

                I heard of Sanderson because of his videos on writing on Youtube and I figured I’d read what he wrote. Really enjoying Mistborn: The Final Empire at the moment. For Discworld, it came recommended by a colleague at work; is it okay if I don’t read them in order? For HHGG, it’s a re-read and Malazan is going to be an attempt at the series, we’ll see if I stick with it

            1. 5

              The module system is a strange beast indeed! It’s one of those things that when reading base level tutorials you think, “Yep that makes perfect sense!” …then you try and do something with it and get totally lost. But like the borrow checker, once it “clicks” it clicks! And you can see where the design decisions were made, and why.

              I think the combination of allowing the flexibility to use mod.rs and directories and inline mod { /* .. */ }s is great once it clicks…but can get overwhelming at first.

              Add to that the rules around use and pub use or mod and pub mod make it an extremely flexible system, but tough to grasp up front.

              1. 13

                This post is riddled with falsehoods and misapprehensions. Addressing it point by point:

                1. “A cap at 21M. … no one thinks it’s a good idea”. That’s a matter of opinion. Gold and precious metals served very effectively as a currency standard for hundreds or thousands of years and they have a similar attribute of limited supply. The economists who think this is a bad idea are the same people who support centralised control of currency. Bitcoin is all about creating a decentralised currency which removes centralised control - and Bitcoin’s algorithmic control of money supply is a direct result of that. So really this is about philosophical viewpoints rather than who’s right or wrong.

                2. (On why Ethereum’s blockchain is better than Bitcoin’s) Bitcoin is a moving target. It was the first of its kind and so it didn’t have some improvements that have been discovered since. Many of these will probably be added over time.

                3. This is false: “…made everyone waste bandwidth on downloading blockchain from scratch”. Most users have wallets which don’t need to download the blockchain at all (SPV and web based types). Only people with special use cases need to download the whole blockchain.

                4. This is also false: “He offered ‘new payment — new address’ as a rule”. It’s not a rule. You can certainly do it but it’s by no means a rule. The rest of this section is based on the false assumption that Bitcoin is anonymous. Bitcoin doesn’t claim to offer anonymity, only a weak kind of pseudonymity. You have to go to cryptocurrencies with an emphasis on privacy like zcash and monero for full anonymity.

                5. “He never defined clearly threat model of Bitcoin” is not related to the original claim “Satoshi was wrong” at all so this whole point is irrelevant. It just means he didn’t fully explore an aspect of it. Which isn’t surprising since it was totally new at the time and his writings pre-date most of the current implementation.

                6. Another false point: “there’s no clear strategy or way of resolution of conflicts”. Satoshi defined a scheme where multiple implementations could exist at the same time and compete for popularity where popularity is defined as accumulated hash rate. He said that the chain with the greatest proof of work was the true implementation and the technology supports exactly that mechanism for conflict resolution. What we’ve seen recently is a bunch of conflict but it is indeed being resolved by that exact mechanism.

                1. 7

                  A cap at 21M. … no one thinks it’s a good idea”. That’s a matter of opinion. Gold and precious metals served very effectively as a currency standard for hundreds or thousands of years and they have a similar attribute of limited supply.

                  The limited supply is a problem because there’s not enough to go around in a growing economy. You simply cannot remint all the coin all the time to keep the currency circulation large enough once you go industrialised. You need paper money for that.

                  As is bitcoin is not being used as a currency, it is being used as an ‘investment’ whereby people buy it hoping the price will go up. That’s not how currency is supposed to work.

                  1. 7

                    The limited supply is a problem because there’s not enough to go around in a growing economy.

                    Please explain what you believe to be the problem without using vague and easily misconflated concepts like “enough” and “go around”.

                    In case you’re speaking literally, there are 2.1*10^15 fungible units of Bitcoin (Satoshis). This is plenty for all humans on earth to represent their wealth. If the world switches to 100% bitcoin and we end up feeling the squeeze of a single Satoshi being a bit big, we can easily add more decimal places.

                    Currency isn’t “supposed to work” in any particular way unless you believe the teleological purpose of currency is to facilitate force-backed centralized control of economies. If a commodity is fungible, divisible, and easy to transport, it’s perfectly reasonable to use as a currency. People will autonomously choose media of exchange with good properties.

                    1. 3

                      The limited supply is a problem because there’s not enough to go around in a growing economy.

                      Bitcoin is divisible in an extremely easy manner. Not that I’m advocating for every human on the planet owning a whole Bitcoin, but one shoulnd’t think in those terms. What should be common is people holding MilliBitcoin (mBTC, or 0.001 BTC), or even MicroBitcoin (uBTC, or 0.000001 BTC). In these cases there is plenty to “go around.”

                      The primary reason 21M could be seen as bad is that it makes the currency deflationary (increases in value over time) vs inflationary (decreases in value over time) like standard fiat currency. Being deflationary in nature isn’t actually a problem so long as the deflation happens slowly and predictably. If Bitcoin were stable enough that the value only increased 1 or 2 percent a year, being deflationary wouldn’t be as big of an issue.

                      1. 2

                        “Not enough” is not a problem. You can simply move the comma. Do your accounting in millibitcoins or satoshis. While 1 Satoshi is currently the smallest unit, the software could be changed to split it even further if 1BTC is worth $1 million, for example.

                        Bitcoin price becomes more stable over time the more people own it. When Bitcoin is as pervasive as dollars, yen, or euros it will be equally stable.

                        1. 4

                          “Not enough” is not a problem. You can simply move the comma.

                          This is what economists call the “Quantity theory of money”, and empirical data shows that demand in most circumstances is more important than the money supply, and shows that especially with speculation, changes in the value of a commodity introduce feedback loops that cause instability.

                          Bitcoin price becomes more stable over time the more people own it.

                          Have you seen the graphs of price? There is no evidence that Bitcoin is becoming “more stable”, if anything, it’s as unstable as it was years ago as a proportion of its total value. I’m sorry but what you speak of is blind faith, not reality.

                          1. 2

                            The latest big dump of Bitcoin was $5000 down to $3000, which is 40% in 13 days. Back in 2015, you can find 40% dumps in a single day. Back in 2013, there is 40% up one day and 50% down the next.

                            For a comparison, in 2014 EURUSD fell 25% in 300 days.

                            1. 2

                              You were telling me about how the age of bitcoin fluctuation is over?

                      2. 2

                        The economists who think this is a bad idea are the same people who support centralised control of currency.

                        Deflation is generally considered bad. However, I was never convinced by the arguments. The basic argument is “why would you buy something if you can buy more later?” together with the assumption that increasing consume is good for the economy. Now, for technology we practically have deflation. Why would you buy a smartphone now, if you can buy a better one later?

                        Maybe on a larger scale? Do we prefer people own government bonds, stocks, and gold instead of money? Why?

                        Even larger? Will governments investments stop in a deflationary world? Will Apple stop producing because its cash reserves are good enough?

                      1. 1

                        It seems (NPI) the main complaint is coupling the public interface to the implementation, vice the actual problem abstraction. I would very much agree with the idea that the abstraction should model the problem and hide the implementation details. However, not being super familiar with seams in general it’s difficult for me to judge if this issue is causal to using seams or just something that can happen with any methodology.

                        1. 1

                          This is exciting, I keep hearing such great things about the Rust plugin. I really need to check this out!