Friday, April 3, 2015

A peak into This Changes Everything and The Fifth Elephant

Better - I only missed half a month this time. I am still alive. I have been totally buried in grading (actually I still am). I am still working my way though Discworld, so I am reading, I just haven't had time to do much blogging.

Anyhow -  for Book Beginnings on Friday - here are a couple of books that I have right now. In nonfiction I have just gotten my hands on a copy of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein.

A voice came over the intercom: would the passengers of Flight 3935, scheduled to depart Washington, D.C., for Charleston, South Carolina, kindly collect their carry-on luggage and get off the plane. 

They went down the stairs and gathered on the hot tarmac. There they saw something unusual: the wheels of the US Airways jet had sunk into the black pavement as if it were wet cement. The wheels were lodged so deep, in fact, that the truck that came to tow the plane away couldn't pry it loose. The airline had hoped that without the added weight of the flight's thirty-five passengers, the aircraft would be light enough to pull. It wasn't. Someone posted a picture: "Why is my flight cancelled? Because DC is so damn hot that our plane sank 4" into the pavement."

So, you need to see this, right ? I sure had to.

Holy cow!  That is amazing! (source of image)

And from Discworld, I am on The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett ...
They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle. 

They say that the elephants, being such huge beasts, have bones of rock and iron, and nerves of gold for better conductivity over long distances. 

They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split the continents and raise the mountains. 

No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical point: When millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, but there is no one to hear it, does it  - philosophically speaking - make a noise ? 

For The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice here is a bit from around page 56 of This Changes Everything ...

Put a little more simply: for more than two decades, we kicked the can down the road. During that time, we also expanded the road from a two-lane carbon-spewing highway to a six-lane superhighway. That feat was accomplished in large part thanks to the radical and aggressive vision that called for the creation of a single global economy based on the rules of free market fundamentalism, the very rules incubated in the right-wing think tanks now at the forefront of climate change denial. There is a certain irony at work: it is the success of their own revolution that makes revolutionary levels of transformation to the market system now our best hope of avoiding climate chaos. 

Now - levity is definitely called for at this point, so from page 56 of The Fifth Elephant ...

"... I hate it when you get too many clues, it makes it so damn hard to solve anything." 

He threw the screwdriver down. By sheer luck, it hit the floorboards tip first and stood there shuddering. 

"I'm going home," he said. "We'll find out what this is all about when it starts to smell." 

Vimes spend the following morning trying to learn about two foreign countries. One of them turned out to be called Ankh-Morpork. 

Ɯberwald was easy. It was five or six times bigger than the whole of the Sto Plains, and stretched all the way up to the Hub. It was mostly so thickly forested, so creased by little mountain ranges and beset by rivers, that it was largely unmapped. It was mostly unexplored, too.* The people who lived there had other things on their mind, and the people from outside who came to explore went into the forests and never came out again. 

*At least, by proper explorers. Just living there doesn't count.

Just for some context here, Vimes has lived in Ankh-Morpork his entire life.

Happy Friday! 


  1. I'm not sure I want to know what going to start smelling. Is it in a literal or figurative sense? Check out my Friday 56!

  2. Both of these books may be a little too heavy for me right now.

  3. Imagine it being so hot to sink a plane in the pavement. Incredible!
    Love your Pratchett choice too!
    Happy Easter weekend!


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