Urbin Report

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

If you haven't read this...

...take the time to read Neal Stephenson's book Cryptonomicon.

Here are some quotes from it:

The only other thing he notices about them,before he gives up and slinks back into the cargo hold, is that they are fucking armed to the teeth. Like they were expecting to have to kill twenty or thirty people on their way from the airplane to the latrine and back. Bobby Shaftoe has met a few of these paranoid types during his tour, and he doesn't like them very much. That whole mindset reminds him too much of Guadalcanal.

He finds a place on the floor next to the body of PFC Gerald Hottand and stretches out. The teeny revolver in his waistband makes it impossible for him to lie on his back, so he takes it out and pockets it. This only transfers the center of discomfort to the Marine Raider stiletto holstered invisibly between his shoulder blades. He realizes that he is going to have to curl up on his side,which doesn't work because on one side he has a standard-issue Colt semiautomatic,which he doesn't trust, and on the other, his own six-shooter from home,which he does. So he has to find places to stash those, along with the various ammo clips, speedloaders, and maintenance supplies that go with them. The V-44 "Gung Ho" jungle-clearing, coconut-splitting, and Nip-decapitating knife,strapped to the outside of his lower leg,also has to be removed, as does the derringer that he keeps on the other leg for balance. The only thing that stays with him are the grenades in his front pockets, since he doesn't plan to lie down on his stomach.


and

"Randy was forever telling people, without rancor, that they here full of shit. That was the only way to get anything done in hacking. No on took it personally."


and

"Avi's nannies have the souls of war-hardened Soviet paratroopers in the bodies of nubile eighteen-year-old girls."


and

How many slums will we bulldoze to build the Information superhighway? The Information Superhighway is just a fucking metaphor! Give me a break!


and

"That time in Seattle - during the lawsuit - was a fucking nightmare. I came out of it dead broke, without a house, without anything except a girlfriend and a knowledge of UNIX."
"Well, that's something," Avi says. "Normally those two are mutually exclusive."


and

"To translate it into UNIX system administration terms ... the post-modern, politically correct atheists were like people who had suddenly found themselves in charge of a big and unfathomably complex computer system (viz. society) with no documentation or instructions of any kind, and so whose only way to keep the thing running was to invent and enforce certain rules with a kind of neo-Puritanical rigor, because they were at a loss to deal with any deviations from what they saw as the norm. Whereas people who were wired into a church were like UNIX system administrators who, while they might not understand everything, at least had some documentation, some FAQs and How-tos and README files, providing some guidance on what to do when things got out of whack. They were, in other words, capable of displaying adaptability."