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Science Books Media Book Reviews

Acts Of The Apostles 104

Back from his stint in juvenile detention, it's hemos with a review of John F. Sundman's technothriller Acts of the Apostles. And you don't even have to buy it until you're hooked. (Read more to find out why.)
Acts of the Apostles
author John F. Sundman
pages 400
publisher Rosalita Associates
rating 8/10
reviewer hemos
ISBN 192975213X
summary Fast-paced, impossible-odds story with a grasp of modern technology.
The path that Acts of the Apostles took to get to me is an interesting path to start with -- and that should have been an indication to me what the book would be like.

Rob noticed this guy at April's Geek Pride Festival in Boston. The guy in question was obviously trying to reach Rob and talk to him, but was having a hard time getting there. (CT:I think John and I suffer from the same problem: We're both pretty shy, and this was a really crowded place) When he did finally reach Rob, he gave him the book, asking him to read it -- or pass it on to me for reading.

That's very similar to the opening of the book, in which the book's protagonist has a computer disk dumped into his world, after enduring some interesting testing times. From there, the thriller develops ranging the world, encompassing favorites like nanotechnology gone bad, mind control, multinational corporate intrigue, computer chip design, seances, and running from the law.

The book is purportedly about Gulf War Syndrome and its causes, but that's only the starting point: The plot itself is believable, for a thriller. I've described it to friends as "What Tom Clancy would write if he were smart." The plot devices, the characters and topics are all very familiar to the geek audience, and it's quite refreshing to read a book that understands the mindset its audience will have.

There a few drawbacks to the book -- as the author's bio states, this is Sundman's first book, and that is readily apparent. While it's well written, there are sections of the book that feel stilted and artificial, and portions of the dialogue feel unnatural. But in light of it being a first novel, I think these are forgivable. Lastly, the story line suffers from some too-familar devices, including the overused theme of an evil multinational corporation as bogeyman.

I salute the publisher and author for their decision to put the first 13 chapters online. Acts of the Apostles comprises 7 "books" with 62 total chapters, so the online chapters give you a very good feeling for the book. I will also say that the writing and story get better as the plot unfolds, something worth keeping in mind while reading the initial section of the book. One of the more amusing parts of the book's Web site is the section regarding John's travels. I would imagine he's quite a guy.

Summary: Good book. It's easy to pick up after being away from for a while, but good enough that you'll want to read it straight through. Support small publishing and purchase this book from fatbrain. With summer coming up, and a bit more free time, this is a good book to keep around to read during kernel compiles.

You can also grab the book from Softpro.

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Acts of the Apostles

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  • The article is quite interesting. Not knowing more
    about the subject than the claims of that article
    and what little of the popular media fanfare has
    trickled down to me (I try to avoid the news
    whenever possible, but inevitably some gets
    through)...I really can't comment farther. what if GWS doesn't exist?
    The book is fiction. In the book, it does exist.
    In the book ANYTHING can exist. If the author
    decides that Elves exist in his book, then guess
    what? In the book, elves exist.

    Whether or not GWS exists...thats a completely
    seprate issue. Its long been known that soldiers
    tend to become guinea pigs during wartime. (its
    not like they have much of a choice, refusing
    to go where they are told or be injected with
    this or that isn't much of a good option for them)
    So many things are certainly possible.

    Its also not like our government has any qualms
    about covering up dirty laundry either.

    None of that of course proves that GWS exists...
    just that its not impossible. Also you call these
    people decievers and liars. Is it not possible
    that they actually believe what they are claiming?
    (I am an atheist...I see people going around
    claiming that some God or other exists...that
    doesn't mean i think they are liars, they are just
    wrong IMNSHO)

    So in any I said, its a book. The
    real world existance or non-existance of GWS
    is a complete non-issue in this context.
  • By agreeing that you will find it much nicer and easier to read, you eliminate the possibility that you will not. You no longer have a choice.


  • Someone may have already pointed this link out, but here it is anyway
    BBC: Vaccines linked to Gulf War Syndrome []

    On the subject of lipomas being a related symptom of Gulf War syndrome, well lipomas are found in people from the age of puberty to old age []. Most often they take a year or more to grow into a size thats noticeable. So I wouldn't think that lipomas would be directly linked to Gulf War syndrome if the patient had them while in the Gulf. If they started getting a bunch of them later, well then mabye. Lipomas are actually pretty common and I know a few people who have them, even a doctor I know has them. They're usually never a problem and they're usually not noticable. You have to grab the surrounding tissue and move it around to feel 'em. Mabye you where removing those big ugly nasty ones they show in those photos. I definetly say something was amiss if you saw lots of soldiers with huge lipomas. Just mabye not Gulf War syndrome.

    Personally, I have an uneducated guess that these symptoms are related to getting multiple vaccinations at once, stressing the immune system - and some people's bodies just react poorly to that. Do I have any proof? No. Just a guess.

  • The problem is how do you get an unbiased person to review it? Since the dominate religion in our cultur is based on it, it is hard to be unbiased. It was hard enough for me to take greek mythology, and nobody has belived it in a thousand years or so. (With some exception I suppose, but not a significant number)

    We are clouded by out culture. When I read a new book by an unknown author I can expect the reviewers are honest. When the culture has knowlege of the book things are different. The Phantom Menance is a perfect example, those I know who have seen it tell me that it was a good movie, but because of our culture people expected too much of it. The orginial Star Wars really wasn't much better (Though they tend to agree it was better), but our perspectives are different, we went into Star Wars not expecting as much as we got, so we set the level higher.

    I can give a simple review: a long book, that gets tough going. The book is orginized out of order, and no attempt was made to make it easy to tell which events came first. Mixed in with prophsies of doom against cultures that nobody remembers outside of this book are wonderful short stories.

    Everyone should read the bible. As a christian I say that with the hope that you would convert (or grow stronger in faith), but even if you are an athiest. The bible has had a great impact on our culture, and you should know about it. I took Greek mythology in college for the same reason, it has an impact on our culture. Someone once said that 50% of all references in [western] litature comes from the bible, and 30% from greek [and roman] mythology. A significant part came from Shakesphere, but he based off of the eariler works himself. If you don't understand orginal you won't get the reference. Besides, it is fun to laugh at authors who don't understand that which they make reference to.

    Now if there was just time to do all the reading I want to do as a geek.

  • It was a small college town and it was heavily wooded. I know it was stupid but when you are partially drunk you don't think right. It was a big enough party that they had other fish to fry so that also played a role. Given the situation it wasn't just luck. Let me just say it was meant more to be a joke. Unfortuantely I was taken too seriously. If you are actually trying to avoid the police you will almost always get caught. It is ok to run from campus security though.

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • In the bookdealers world, the larger, better quality paperbacks are called "trades" and, yes, they normally sell for a higher price than the more cheaply made paperbacks.
  • >>"What Tom Clancy would write if he were smart."

    >"if he were a geek" is better, Tom Clancy's smarter than most people I've ever read."

    Sounds like that's what Hemos would have written if he were smart.

    Sorry...couldn't resist.
  • Thus be it clear that the seed of Adam hath at best a very limited capacity for the salvation of even straightforward dissent among the congregation. How then goeth it forth to solve the mikkel more difficult and subtle problem of reconciling freedom with works? Works present circumcised advantages of the flesh, whereas freedom is a doctrine that meaneth different things unto all nations, and its loss is easily sealed up by Belial and unseemly speech.

  • The laws of supply and demand being what they are, Sterling commands that kind of price because <i>Schizmatrix</i> is 1.) a great, mind-bending book, and 2.) very hard to find in any other form. The price of those larger paperbacks has less to do with the quality of the paper than the fact that the title is no longer in print as a standard trade paperback. I believe two kinds of books get that treatment: older books with strong demand by fans of the author who are willing to pay more, and new work by critically acclaimed authors who have demand from serious readers and academics, but not enough popular appeal to make a hardcover profitable or to merit space on the softcover racks of smaller bookstores. I think the only reason they make the books larger is to counter the pscychological reaction of feeling ripped off for paying higher prices for paperbacks when most are standardized at between 5 and 7 dollars.
  • the /. geniuses moderated it a 5...yes very insightful! let me see what kind of creative math i can come up with for a 5...surgical technologist??? what is that the guy who flips the light switch on? lol - this guy is obviously a politician since they are the only people i know who can come up with bogus statistics like that

    yo moderator! did you pass junior high math?moderate this crap down please

  • > Well, knock it the hell off. If I want your
    > posts to look like that, I'll make my browser
    > skinnier. You're just wasting space.
    > Do slashdot a favor and stop inserting line
    > breaks at the end of each line or just GO AWAY.

    Can't help it. I am a vi user. Use vi for editing code, use vi for editing email. I habitually line break as I am comming to the edge of the screen.

    Its a pretty ingrained habbit. I can try to stop, but it just doesn't work very well. Now....if the slashdot text entry box was a bit bigger, it would not be so bad. Its not my fault that the text area is only 50 cols wide. Would be much nicer if it was 80x24.

    You have any idea how often I see a mistake and want to go back to change it, and instincivly hit the escape key? or x when I want to delete a char?

    There....hows that. A post without the line breaks. Much easier to just put them in though.
  • As someone who has also "been there," I agree that there is more to this story than what we are told.

    I was prodded with many, many needles before I was shipped off to the Gulf. I fortunately only spent about 2.5 weeks there, in Saudi Arabia. 3 days after I got there, Saddam threw in the towel.

    About a month after I got back, I got mono. Then I got strep throat. Then the mono returned. Then I felt like crap with no energy for about 3 months. Then the mono came back.

    I had a sore throat every day for 7 months. Does that sound normal to you? Previous to the vaccinations and so-called "flu shots" that the military requires you to "volunteer" for, I never got sick. I hadn't had a cold in almost 3 years. I lived in Southern California, so it sure wasn't the weather.

    Now, several years later, I no longer get "flu shots." I no longer get anti-CBR (chemical-biological-radioactive) vaccines.

    Oddly enough, I don't get sick much anymore.

    Gulf War syndrome is a crime perpetrated by our own against our own.

  • It also helps to remember the fact that
    he/she was dealing with a population who
    knew they could get the lumps/bumps dealt
    with for free and with little hassle.

    Contrast that with the real world where
    going to the doctor involves insurance
    hassles and time hassles that can easily
    prevent someone from dealing with something
    like a probably benign cyst.
  • Yeah, down to the rhyme of "bomb" with "mom".
  • []

    Nope, good 'ol Kali. Back in the old days when it was just a DOS application, before they put in all that fancy Windows stuff. I used to use it constantly for Descent, used it intermittently for Descent 2, and haven't used it since.
  • Don't do that in NYC, or you'll end up shot. Our cops are as lazy as any other town's, but shooting runners is apparently approved by our pols... especially if you're (a) old, (b) of African descent, or (c) mentally ill.

  • Do we have any resident (quasi) lawyers to educate the herd on this act? It's mentioned in the book in a rather sinister context...

  • The main home page of the book's site [] also links to a work called Cheap Complex Devices [] , edited by a person with the same first and last name (John Compton Sundman), and purports to be a pair of computer-generated novels, the first of which (The Bonehead Computer Museum) is described in the introduction [] with a plot and characters that are the same as Acts. Both this work and Acts share very similar cover art. I smell a hoax, or at least something very fishy.


  • I'm confused. Is he saying there is going to be 6 more books in the series? It looks like you can only order one 360 page book.
  • Watching? shoot, i've been living it....hehe.

    Seriously though, the gov't has all the tech your money can buy, I'll have to check this book to see if he covers any of it. Clancy got interro^H^Hviewed for his interestingly accurate knowledge about nuke subs, maybe this author knows somethin' too...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    friend of a friend read ACTS OF THE APOSTLES and pointed me to it online a few weeks ago... never would have bought it without reading the chapters, because the cover just isn't that great (yes, I know it's self-published, but still...)and though you get the name once you read it, I couldn't tell what it was supposed to be. Anyway, it's a great book. The line about "what Clancy would write if he were smart" is right on the money. Sundman gets the whole tech thing in all its fun and weird complications in a way few people do, including conventionally published bozos. Check it out -- and then tell me who you think the villains are supposed to be...
  • First sentence of the book:

    "Todd Griffith was going to debug Kali or die trying."

    Heh, my first thought was of the time I spent so many years ago trying to get Descent working through Kali across a Compuserve connection... :)
  • ...BZZZZ...fallacy alert! You would need to compare the number of excisions done on your ship to a population comparable in age, ethnic composition, etc AND availability of free surgery and time off. "Try to look for factors that are unlike in statistical samples (101)".

    It's my understanding that Vet group lobbyists, grant-seeking Govt doctors and grandstanding politicians aside...the data on the number and type of illnesses among the Gulf War population pretty much matches any other 18-25 group NOT in the Gulf. Unless of course we want to just use andecdotes and sound bites, then by all means, lets' get us a fine 'ol conspeericy, damn gummint anyway!!

    Why, when someone who has a direct financial windfall at stake testifies or lobbies for something, do we not use the same skepticism we bring to bear on Government and corporate claims?

    "The Anti-Conspiracy League-Debunking bullshit paranoia!"

  • Considering that people have been fighting in wars for the last few thousand years without ill effects...

    The folks at Narcotics Anonymous [] might be able to help you. Good luck kicking your crack habit.

  • that might be a reasonable price, depending on the format of the book. for example, my oversized copy of bruce sterling's "schizmatrix plus" was about $15, paperback. but i wouldn't pay that price for a standard-sized trade paperback. the difference with a larger book like that, is that the font is generally larger and easier to read, and the paper is much higher quality... the book will last longer. so it's worth more.
  • Wouldn't tired be the best way to go to jail? I mean, what else ya gonna do there besides sleep?

  • at Bennington. He's a real nice guy, gave out a bunch of copies of his book, and used to work for SUN.

    As I understand it, it's self published, Rosalita Publishing is his creation and named after their dog. I kept on telling him to get it reviewed on slashdot, hopefully now he won't starve to death :)
  • Actually, I'm reasonably sure that the "Net Force" series of books is just like the "Op Force" series: Clancy wrote none of them, only lending his name to the series for marketing purposes and perhaps acting as a consultant. I believe all these books are written by others. Clancy has posted to Usenet saying as much.
  • Tim,

    I would appreciate it if you would not foul these forums with your inane crap. Some of us are very serious programmers, like myself, and I need this place to share my brilliant ideas with the IT leaders of tomorrow. I would hope that, out of respect for my accomplishements and success, that you would discontinue posting in such a manner.

    Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss this matter further, or if you are interested in becoming a beta test for one of my awesome new games in development. I would be more than happy to let you take a shot at the latest title, "Murder on Sixth Street" and then I'll kick your wimpy ass in deathmath!




  • The reason you can do that is because I hacked in the site and put that code in there. Hurry up, they'll figure it out sooner or later. Probably later.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2000 @08:15AM (#1060844)
    first, let me say that i've also read this book.

    i notice that a lot of the comments here involve one of the issues that i had while reading the book: that, in a science fiction/conspiricy novel set in something very similar to the modern day, it's hard to keep separate where the real world setting is supposed to end and where the fictional parts begin. so in this case, while some parts are clearly slighly-modified fact (using the gulf war syndrome example, the fact that the syndrome was reported and its existence and cause questioned and/or denied), and others clearly fiction (the particulars about the cause of gulf war syndrome in the book), there is a third set (such as the assertion that there really is a coverup) which.... well, it's not clear whether they're supposed to be fact or fiction. in these cases, if the particular part is something you don't believe is true in the real world, you'll probably have a negative reaction, while, if the world were more (or entirely) fictional, you'd just accept it as something which happened the the book and go on.

    i feel that i should mention this because there are some politics in the book (which you can probably guess from the kaczynski reference) which, while i certainly think are interesting, i don't really agree with overall. as such, i found myself hesitant to recommend the book to others, since i didn't want to advocate the 'message' that may or may not be present in the book.

    anyway. that all having been said, it is a really good read, especially for anyone in the tech industry (and if you're in the boston-area tech industry, then doubly so). and it's published by a small publisher and has a good view of copyright and distribution (which are politics i do agree with). so, overall, with the previously mentioned reservations, i'd also recommend the book.

    (too lazy to even create a slashdot account, much less log in)
  • If you would like, I could whip up a little plug-in that automatically re-formats his posts for you. Would on take me about 10-15 minutes, max. Hell, I have half of it coded in my head while I sit here typing. Gitch.


  • I just got a 10% discount right now ordering that book!

  • what ARE the real numbers? From your comments about not holding the clinic every day, I'll assume that "150 total" is right. That makes the percentage 6.25%. So your question about "look around you" becomes "Have 1/16 of the 22 year-olds you know had surgery in the past 6 months?"

    Could be. I don't know 16 22 year-olds, let alone the hundreds needed to make this a scientific question. But I do know that whenever I had anything done (especially something disgusting or embarassing) I didn't shout it from the rooftops. In any case, your numbers don't sound all that anomalous by themselves to this layman.
    Have Exchange users? Want to run Linux? Can't afford OpenMail?
  • on the whole, i would agree with you. you make a valid point, especially considering the availability (and quality =) of schizmatrix specifically. However, I think your last statement is a little pessimistic. I'd like to think that a larger, value added paperback actually is worth more than a conventional trade paperback. But I'm willing to consider the hypothesis that this is just wishful thinking on my part. ^_^
  • It also helps to remember the fact that he/she was dealing with a population who knew they could get the lumps/bumps dealt with for free and with little hassle.

    I wish that were the've obviously never had to deal with military doctors before.

  • That's a good thing. I really liked a lot of Clancy novels, except...

    I read one of the Net Force books (the first one?) and was so disappointed with it. It didn't make any sense, and its relevance to today's Internet was extremely stretched.

    To those that didn't read it (or others), don't. It involved some sort of "virtual" Internet that involved physically "traveling" around. There were physical analogs to every aspect that the author knew about the Internet (few, luckily).

    Maybe I'm being overly harsh, but there are few enough intelligent books about the Internet (without Stephenson there'd be almost none!) without drivel like this.

  • Sounds like you (and Homer) need to read it. The Bible, for the most part, is not preachy at all. Mostly, it's a bunch of stories. In fact, there are whole books that don't even mention God, Sin, or anything else we would call "religious".

    Incidentally, that last throws the Fundies into a real snit. Which i think is good for them.


  • Suggestion: start with John. Follow that up with Romans (Romans is, admittedly, preachy -- but I don't know of another book that gives as good of an introduction to "Life, the universe, and everything". After that, I would probably recommend the other gospels, followed by genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy, 1 + 2Judges, 1+2 Samuel, 1+2 Kings. Then, a coupl,e more epistles, including James and 1Peter. After that, probably Isaih, Daniel, and Revelation. At that point, you pretty much covered the whole thing :) Enjoy.


  • by hypergeek ( 125182 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @01:12PM (#1060853)
    This author is creating a dangerous precedent which will threaten Intellectual Property!

    If people can read books for free, all authors will starve!

    And what's this "library" I keep hearing about?

  • they are charging $15 for a softcover 400 page a little steep...didn't check shipping yet...although I suppose it is a new release but still...I complain but I'll probably still buy it hehe =)

    My Home: Apartment6 []
  • The problem with the argument that people have been fighting in wars for thousands of years without these symptoms is that we haven't had the same technology for thousands of years. There could very easily be some chemical (or combination of chemicals, or vaccine, or whatever) used at some point in the Persian Gulf War that had not been used in a war before, and therefor would not have caused symptoms in the people fighting those wars.

    I'm not going to argue for or against the reality of GWS. However, arguments like yours do absolutly nothing to further your point, since you're basically comparing apples and oranges.

  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @05:46AM (#1060856) Homepage
    and running from the law

    Don't ever run from the law. . . You'll only end up going to jail tired.

  • by wrenling ( 99679 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @05:48AM (#1060857)
    A friend of mine had actually pointed me to the online chapters a few days ago.. and my copy is already on order.

    In a way, I wish I kinda hadn't peeked yet, though, because the way he builds the story is terrific, and I am half-afraid of losing the pacing. Not to mention the HUGE delay (TWO DAYS!) in being able to read more.

    My suggestion: If Hemos' review is good enough to get you interested in buying it, buy it blind, and then read it from beginning to end.
  • >"What Tom Clancy would write if he were smart."
    "if he were a geek" is better, Tom Clancy's smarter than most people I've ever read.

    >a book that understands the mindset its audience will have.
    How can a book understand the mindset it's audience will have? If I buy this book, it will be directed to me, but every book I buy my g/f eventually reads, this book may not appeal to her. So it didn't understand the mindset of it's entire audience. Of course I understand what was meant, it is nice to see books written for geeks, but the book may not have been written to do that.

    BTW> I'm sure other books have been available where you can read the first few chapters online for free before, but has there ever been an option to download the rest of the book for a nominal fee?

    Devil Ducky
  • I had to buy this book after I read the online chapters. I wasn't disapointed. As an avid reader of Tom Clancy and Dale Brown and other techno-thrillers, I totally recommend this book to any one with like taste. This guy must have talked to Bill Joy!
  • by Pentagram ( 40862 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @05:49AM (#1060860) Homepage
    When I saw the title, I thought Hemos was reviewing the Bible or something. Made me look twice, anyway.

  • someone is taking advantage of the new economies available to publishers of short-run books. Hopefully we'll see more audience-specified works in the future.


    Here are my Microsoft [] and AICN [] parodies, where are yours?

  • Other recent science articles have identified physiological changes in GWS victims. Given that, it's awfully hard to dismiss it as "no such thing". (That is, if you're being honest.) Umm, I don't believe there's no such thing as GWS, but it should be pointed out that placeboes can cause physiological changes in people. Given that, your evidence, although not completely insignificant, isn't terribly convincing either...


  • Just read the first chapter, sounds great.

    But the price is a bit steep, especially once you consider shipping it to Europe.

    This sort of thing is just right for an eBook IMHO.

    My Webcam []
  • I saw this guy at the geek pride festival and I looked at his book. from the back cover, I couldn't tell if his book was a novel or a very complicated essay on a very confusing conspiracy theory. I guessed it was the latter, and I was scared. :) thankfully it turns out it was the former. Now, I wish I had picked up a copy. Of course at Geek Pride I was in such a state of Ferret Shock, and caffiene overdose that I didn't have the attention span to really figure out what his book was about. (wow those free hyper caffienated coffee beans sure pack a wallop when you eat a handful at a time..woooo)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "What Tom Clancy would write if he were smart." Hey now! Clancy is one of my favorite authors, just because he goes with the military themes instead of computers doesn't make him less intelligent. The first few NetForce books were okay, but it's obvious that his partner wrote most of the rest.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am more interesed in knowing the details of Hemos's stint in juvenile detention.
  • In the Introduction [] the author quotes "Industrial Society and Its Future," better known as the Unabomber Manifesto, but credits the author as "Ted Kaczynsky"....

    I believe it's spelled Kaczynski, at least that's the way the court documents read....

    In The United States District Court
    For The Eastern District of California

    United States of America,
    Theodore John Kaczynski
    aka "FC"

    But that's a small caveat, hopefully the publisher will catch that before it goes into the next printing.

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • See http://news2 752355.stm []. An excerpt:
    Vaccines have been implicated as a potential cause of ill health in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War by an expert study.

    The researchers found a link between ill health and multiple vaccinations - but only in military personal who had received their vaccinations during deployment.

    Other recent science articles have identified physiological changes in GWS victims. Given that, it's awfully hard to dismiss it as "no such thing". (That is, if you're being honest.)
    This post made from 100% post-consumer recycled magnetic
  • that example doesn't quite work, though. You can run from the cops when all they are trying to do is make you run (i.e. vacate the premises). Write a happy little virus or something though, and they'll come by and say hello. You can't run from satellites...
  • I found this book to be a very good read-- the manner in which it ties together Gulf War Syndrome, nanontechnology and software design is most amusing. I was particularly interested in his descriptions of hardware design and debugging.

    I'm not sure if Sundman is writing from first hand experience, but it would seem to me that several of the comapanies mentined in the book are rather thinly veiled parodies of existant companies. Digital MicroSystems seems very similar to DEC, for instance.

    Oh, and the title-- "Acts of the Apostles" has little of nothing to do with religion and everything to do with megalomania.
  • Seems to me those two words don't go together in the same paragraph.

    Regardless, good luck to him, when my book got reviewed here I say a spike at Amazon.

  • remember can't out run a radio guys were just plain stupid lucky
  • "...we typically did 2 or 3 of those per day. I would say, over the 6-month duration of the "cruise", that we performed roughly 150 benign mass excisions."

    6 months * 30 days/month = 180 days. If you did 150 total, that's less than 1 per day.

    But let's give you the benefit of the doubt: Maybe you worked only 5 days/week. That's 6 months * 20 days/month = 120 days. Just over 1 excision/day.

    So which is it? 1 per day or "2 or 3"?

    Let's take it from another angle. 16% of 2400 is 384. But wait, you said you did 150 excisions. Can one person receive less than one excision?

    Your numbers just don't add up and your "statistical" methods are pretty weak (are the 22-year-olds on your ship a random sample? how about comparing data from other ships/wars?, etc).
    Have Exchange users? Want to run Linux? Can't afford OpenMail?
  • Yeah, supposedly, when Hunt for Red October came out, the CIA knocked on his door and said "who leaked you this information". He had actually figured out a lot of the capabilities of US subs from published sources (who's contracting with whom, what tests are done, published specs, etc.).

    Pretty impressive.
  • i am pretty sure the '-ski' suffix is masculine and '-sky' is feminine. i could be wrong though.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @08:34AM (#1060877)
    Did anyone notice the subtlety of Hemos' presentation:
    And you don't even have to buy it until you're hooked. (
    Read more to find out why.)

  • Sounds like you (and Homer) need to read it. The Bible, for the most part, is not preachy at all. Mostly, it's a bunch of stories.

    I started reading it, not too far past Genesis I got stuck on pages and pages of begats.

    I'll have to retry it sometime, maybe I'll put it on the Palm I'm getting.

    Oh yeah, don't spoil it for me and tell me how it ends.

  • I'd wondered what had happened to you. You got a life!!! Wow!!! Now, come back to the dark side ;-)

    Anyhoo, as a troll-by-association (I'm TBA! Wheee!!!), I'll agree that the Knots guy was boring (though I like Don Knots himself), and the grits/first post/"lookat meeee! ima troooolll!!!" is lame. You were better at actual trolling than I'll ever be (thus I don't try and stick with my wacky fun surrealism thingie!) So while it's good to have a life, and be busy, I KNOW you're going to get bored eventually . . . just make sure you post the URLS :-)
  • by sansbury ( 97480 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @10:42AM (#1060880)
    the story line suffers from some too-familar devices, including the overused theme of an evil multinational corporation as bogeyman.


  • When I first found the 'trolltalk' sid, I thought it was the coolest thing, but after a while, it became kind of redundant. Your troll was ether obvious, or so subtle that it was no different from a normal post.

    Eh, what? A truly good troll should be either so subtle that it appears like a normal post or really obvious a la 80md's recent masterpiece. Either way as long as it generates outrage it's all good. []

    Well, it was that, and the fact that we were being associated by people sans-clue with all the 'hot grits' posters and stuff. What was really annoying were the people who would do the same thing, over and over again. Like the guy who kept linking to that don knots story over and over again.

    So you were put off by terminology? I don't really care that most /.ers call spam trolls, and I don't really do it for anyone else's gratification, although the inchfan is a way of sharing the fruits of your labours with the other trolls :) I'm not really bothered if people know I troll, after all it's just a variation on the game that /. is anyway...

    I also decided I was spending way to much of my time on slashdot...

    There's no way at all I can argue with that sentiment :)

  • The introduction to CCD is extremely surreal. Are we to believe that this is a factual preface, or part of the story? I suspect the later is the case.

    Nonetheless, as you point out, Bonehead is most certainly the same story as Acts, so how can he
    resell the first story as part of the second? Or perhaps he emphasises Bees more in CCD, using Acts only as a contrast.

    Is Sundman on slashdot? Does he care to answer exactly how CCD superceeds Acts?
  • Go to and read the introduction to Cheap Complex Devices. Then read at least the first chapter of Acts of the Apostles. Or reverse the order of these steps. Does not the summary of The Bonehead Computer Museum seem eerily or suspiciously closely matching to that of Acts of the Apostles? This makes me more interested in each book, but also suspicious of the validity of Cheap Complex Devices. A quick search turns up no results for the Hofstadter Prize other than this very page.
  • Uh, I thought it was Shiva, not Kali.

  • it is like somebooks that have many "books" in one (for example Willa Cather's My Antonia). these "books" are like giant chapters
  • Get 'em real interested and you'll run right into them....

    [true story] A college contemporary flew to Australia and then back by way of Guam, the Phillipines, and Hawaii. He sent several, um... ill-advised postcards to (then) President Ford, one from each stop - ominous stuff about the ghost of the Vietnam War coming home for revenge.

    The Secret Service was waiting on his doorstep when he arrived home. (Daddy had money though, so he was allowed to check into a mental hospital for three months rather than being prosecuted.)

  • How many other middle-aged retired insurance salesmen have created multi-million dollar publishing empires through their hard work, in-depth research, and good writing?

    Slash dot is not falling into the classic-guilty-white-male trap of deriding those that are successful, are they?

    Oh, wait, Bill Gates.


    ps. Tom still writes well, read "Debt of Honor".
  • Dijjy-Mike? Duplicon? Why can't he say Sun and Xerox? It is not against the law. Coupland did it in Microserfs.

    What a pain in the ass.

  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @06:15AM (#1060889) Homepage Journal
    Whatever you do don't put "cdidisc" in for the discount code or whatever they call it that would be wrong because you don't work for so don't do that it will get you free shipping and stuff but that would be wrong.
  • Could somebody elaborate on this?
  • Is the author the guy who was sitting right inside the Castle doors at Geekpride?

    If it's the same guy, he handed me the book, almost in a used car salesman kind of way, and pretty much watched me as I read the back.

    Kind of strange, I felt bad handing the book back to him.

  • That wasn't aimed at Hemos, it was aimed at the person who cut on Hemos and myself. Moderators should follow the damned threads and read what they are moderating before assuming that I'm making a crack at someone. Particularly if it says... ironically enough "Re:"
  • Geesh... Come up with your own title. The "Acts of the Apostles" was originally published about 54 A.D. From the review, it's hard to imagine what this book could possibly have in common with the "Acts of the Apostles".


  • by snicker ( 7648 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @06:17AM (#1060894) Homepage Journal
    I think my favorite thing about this book that I haven't started reading yet is that if you read it online you agree to:

    Feel free to read, save, print, copy and share among your friends in the format as it appears here on screen. When you purchase the printed book, you will find the format much nicer and easier to read.
    By proceeding, you are agreeing to these terms.

    If I don't find it easier to read do I have to... I don't know, give it back?!

  • Stands for Quality Paperback. Usually go for between $13-18 each. Larger than the standard paperback, still massmarket. Better binding, and usually better covers (usually not glossy). Better paper (not so pulp-y). Kinda silly compared to a $6 paperback, but it is a higher quality book, and usually you get more "literary" fiction (which I happen to be into).

    Not having seen the book, I can't say if that's the deal, but given the price, that would be my guess. Hit the local bookstore and ask.
  • When I first found the 'trolltalk' sid, I thought it was the coolest thing, but after a while, it became kind of redundant. Your troll was ether obvious, or so subtle that it was no different from a normal post.

    Although, I think my favorite troll ever was a post saying that RMS was a money grubbing whore, and that ESR was a great person :) That got some good response.

    Well, it was that, and the fact that we were being associated by people sans-clue with all the 'hot grits' posters and stuff. What was really annoying were the people who would do the same thing, over and over again. Like the guy who kept linking to that don knots story over and over again.

    I also decided I was spending way to much of my time on slashdot...

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday May 19, 2000 @06:23AM (#1060897) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I'd be more worried about a book that had sufficient brain capacity to understand anything! If the publishers are that far along in bio-tech, AI and Genetic Engineering, I'd be very careful about going within a hundred miles of the book. Who knows what else the book can do? Or what evil schemes lurk beneath it's dustcover brow, once it understands the minds of its audience.
  • by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @07:31AM (#1060898)
    I don't understand the fuss the reviewer makes about web-available sample chapters. Baen Books [] has been doing that for over a year now. In fact, Jim Baen has gone even farther with what he calls "Webscriptions." For $10/month, you can download full, copy-edited HTML copies of what he's publishing that month. That works out to $2.50 a novel, which is *CHEAP*. I've been stuffing the HTML into my Palm Vx and carrying them around to read.
  • A character in the Harry Potter books offers the excellent advice, "Never trust anything intelligent when you can't see where it keeps its brain."
  • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Friday May 19, 2000 @07:40AM (#1060900) Homepage
    Use the code 2000CELEBRATE and you will get 10% rebate. They are doing this to celebrate a new new piece of software they put together.
  • Don't ever run from the law. . . You'll only end up going to jail tired.

    Well it all depends. I was a runner in college (still am) and my freshman year the police came and busted up a party that I was at with some of the other guys on the team. They were checking the ID's of everyone who had alcholohol and becuase all of us were under 21, we went out the back only to find some cops their too. We took off running and those out of shape cops didn't have a chance and we got back to campus safe and sound. So some times you can run from the law =)

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • Oh yeah, don't spoil it for me and tell me how it ends.

    It turns out that Rosebud was his sled.

  • It's just I'm reminded of those trolls that take advantage of the fact that /. counts characters instead of lines when determining where it should put the Read the rest of this comment.

    Not for long maybe. Read this [] E-mail I got back from Rob about this very subject. Hopefully it'll be in place soon :)

  • You can't run from satellites...

    He, he... Sounds as if you've been watching Enemy of the state [] :-)

  • It turns out that Rosebud was his sled.

    Oh, I was afraid that it would be that he was dead, killed by the psychotic ex patient.

  • I know there are people who won't catch on to things like that. But is it really worth trolling them?

    Of course it is, I mean if they fall for a statement like that they deserve a bit of a wind up. Notice that a) I didn't feed this troll and b) they still fell for it even with this thread here about how it is a troll. It's obviously not that bad a troll is it?

    But I do see that it may be unreasonable for one person to spoil a potential troll through his overdeveloped sanctimoniousitude. Also I am decidedly against metatrolling. Therefore I shall not mark trolls of any kind in the future (even through moderation). Enjoy.

    Excellent, after all the true test of a troll is how well it can do unaided - we've all had trolls at 5 before thanks to some deft moderator manipulation :)

  • The story had potential, but it started sucking at the end of chapter one, and the whole thing is very badly written. This is essentially mediocre trash literature.
  • Yes. He was the one sitting at the table with lots of protest signs saying things like "What evil lurks in the dark labs of MIT?"

    I was among the GPF volunteers who were there almost all day. A few of us were in charge of the spacewalk (aka bouncy cage), and had a constant view of Mr. Sundman.

    We were afraid for a while that he was some raving net.kook who had managed to get in early and snag the closest table to the door.

    I think it took us nine hours to conclude that he wasn't serious. When one of us decided to buy his book and see what it was about, he handed it over with a smile and insisted "It's all true!"

    He was kind enough to take over watching the bouncy cage for us when we decided to leave for the evening.

    I myself had scored a copy of his book the night before at the swap meet, in exchange for a disco CD.

    (Mmm. That was a good time.)
  • Old comment but...hey...

    Its actually NOT ALL from habitual vi use...its
    habitual use of editors in text screens and email.

    I learned, years ago, to hit enter before the end
    of the line, why? quoting.

    It was said (and as I found out later, really is)
    to be very annoying when a person writes an entire
    paragraph with no line breaks, because their
    editor line wraps.

    Also I have used vi and other programs on broken
    terminals that will line wrap...but go all crazy
    and nuts if they do (ie in vi it would line wrap
    in such a way that the cursor position on the
    screen was out of sync with where vi thought the
    cursor was....made writting code fun)

    On the "I hate vi"...well I love it :) especially
    vim. Its sweet! The vi I know and love with good
    searching and syntax highlighting!

    Gives me wood just thinking about it.
  • I read a statistic somewhere that something like 300 TONS of depleted uranium (used in ammunition) was dumped on Iraq. That's a lot of low-level radioactive dust, if you ask me. However, there are a lot of metals that are carcinogenic when vaporized. So any number of things that get blown up, vaporized, shredded, and kicked up in the wind could lead to nasty effects on humans.

    The people of Vieques in Puerto Rico have known for years that just being around exploded munitions increases health risks in any population: repiratory problems, high rates of cancer, infant mortality rates and so forth are MUCH higher (according to gov't studies). And the Navy said that their bombing/naval bombardment practice range has nothing to do with it. "No conclusive linkage," I believe their words were to the Senate Committee on Armed Forces, back in November (okay I watch C-SPAN a lot). The only reason why the Governor, US Representative, and Legislative Minority Leader of Puerto Rico didn't get through to the Chairman (Sen. John Warner of Virginia) that *ALL* Puerto Ricans really wanted the range shut down is because John Warner is a belligerant, grumpy, senile uber-conservative pisshead. That's about as eloquent as I'll get about him.

    Anyway, the Gulf War. Right. The "Gulf Turkey-Shoot" is more like it. The US violated no less than 19 Geneva conventions when involved with that little blood-for-oil feud. So I'm not surprised if a couple of internationally-banned chemical compounds (not used directly as weapons, of course) got into the lungs and bloodstreams of our own soldiers.

  • Um. You may mean 1st and 2nd Chronicles as there is only one Judges. carlos
  • 'In fact, there are whole books that don't even mention God, Sin, or anything else we would call "religious".

    Incidentally, that last throws the Fundies into a real snit. Which i think is good for them.'

    I'd probably consider myself a fundamentalist, but I don't have a problem with your statement. It happens to be true.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2000 @06:32AM (#1060915)

    As an ex-Navy surgical technologist who served onboard a ship off the coast of Mogadishu, Somalia, about 5 years ago, I disagree with your statements.

    Since that was in 1994, many of the men (there were two women pilots onboard, but otherwise it was exclusively male) were stationed in the Middle East for Desert Storm. Part of our daily routine was to operate a "lumps and bumps" clinic, where we operated on and removed various lipomas, sebacious cysts, etc. on sailors and Marines who wanted to be rid of them. While I don't have any official numbers, we typically did 2 or 3 of those per day. I would say, over the 6-month duration of the "cruise", that we performed roughly 150 benign mass excisions.

    Now, think about the math on that one. There were approximately 2400 men onboard the ship, and we performed surgery on about 16% of them. That means that during that one particular 6-month period, 16% of the otherwise healthy men of an average age of, say, 22, had growths that bothered them to the point that they wanted them removed.

    Look around your class/office/hangouts. How many of your 22-year-old friends have had surgery in the last 6 months? A full one-sixth of them? Personally, I feel that the numbers would be pretty statistically significant. I don't have any hard numbers to compare the number of surgeries on Desert Storm personnel versus those who weren't there, and can't compare that to the percentages in the general population of the ship, but don't you find that a little strange? I do.

    Flame away, but as someone who spent a bit of time living and working with Gulf War veterans, I firmly believe that there's more to the story than the government is telling us.

Loose bits sink chips.