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4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Raising St... · 1 reply · +18 points

It's good that the kids made it out of that alive, but it got me thinking about how real-world safety procedures get made.

I have a friend who works in construction with heavy machinery, so naturally there's a lot of safety procedures, ranging from the obvious to the why do we have to do that.
He noticed that two very similar machines had very different safety guidelines (one was practically a small novel, the other a pamphlet). When he asked about the discrepancy, we was told "That's because that type of machine hasn't killed anyone. Yet."
It really hammered home the fact that safety rules are almost always written after the event they were really needed for. Most safety rules are written in blood, so Pratchett seriously toned it down by just writing this one in bruises instead.

It also got me to like Harry a lot more when Moist is ranting at him, probably expecting to fight about the cost of proper safety, but Harry is just thinking of his grand-kids and just instantly agrees to whatever they need.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Raising St... · 0 replies · +7 points

He's used that before, in a non-DW book [spoilers for non-DW books that I'm still hoping are going to go on the MR schedule]:
Vg'f gur gbja Oynpxohel vf gjvaarq jvgu va gur Wbuaal Znkjryy gevybtl.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Raising St... · 1 reply · +15 points

A reminder that Pratchett worked as a press officer for three nuclear power stations, and probably had his share of reporters asking just how safe these power stations were really, and what about the rumours of workers growing extra heads or glowing in the dark and whatever else we just made up on the spot?

I'm also reminded of the brilliant misinformation campaign Rincewind waged in Interesting Times, as some journalists are only too happy to print a denial that there's any danger, particularly if it can go into detail about just what there's absolutely no danger of, and how bad it would be if it happened which of course it won't because it's perfectly safe.

Simmnel's response that there is danger involved, but they know about it and are keeping it under control just doesn't follow the script these journalists want their stories to follow.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Raising St... · 0 replies · +18 points

I liked the mention of Urn's aborted Moving Turtle tank from Small Gods. Certain people have known about steam power for a while, but they didn't see a benefit in shouting about it. It was probably for the best that it got buried and Urn was too embarrassed to go back to it, but once an ideas been had, someone else will just have it later on.

I feel like this kind of echoes the real world development of the steam engine we covered in the Science of Discworld books; it wasn't one visionary genius who invented the whole thing, it was a culmination of ideas.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Scienc... · 1 reply · +7 points

Cover time!
Only two this time (that I could find, at least):
The UK version, art by Paul Kidby:

The Other Version (I presume the US), art by someone else I don't know:

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Scienc... · 2 replies · +12 points

My favourite memory of the LHC Black Hole Panic that the media did their very best to drum up was an 'expert' on a talk show.
He said that there was a possibility the the LHC could create a black hole, and a possibility that it couldn't. That meant it was a 50% chance!

Bear in mind that this was a morning talk show, not a serious program that strives for accuracy in all things. Despite this, the presenter just gave him this looong look that practically screamed 'We're on air, I'm not allowed to shout at you and demand you learn how probability works', then just moved to talking to someone else and didn't acknowledge the guy again for the rest of the segment. In an earlier age, I could imagine one of those vaudeville hooks coming in from off camera to yank the guy out of there.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +4 points

Even Pratchett confirmed that. One of the times he got an award for literature he pointed out that it was for fantasy, so it didn't count.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 1 reply · +15 points

Do we have a Might be about to die? category?
Gravid Rust - Known to be in hiding/exile in XXXX, where Lord Vetinari has enquired about the large numbers of venomous spiders...

While Vetinari's logic about not being able to punish people for breaking laws before the laws were made is sound (and as such he couldn't send the Watch after him, and utilising the services of the Assassin's Guild may not be a welcome move politically), I do think that Gravid may meet with an 'accident'. Such a shame.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 9 replies · +14 points

We've already seen most of these covers, but just for traditions sake:

There aren't too many varieties that I can find, especially since this hasn't been out long enough to need re-releases.
I think it even managed to avoid the Painfully Dull Editions!

This is the UK release, by Paul Kidby:

As far as I can tell this was actually used in the US as well, which is a nice change.

Then there's this aberration, presumably releasing this holiday season on PS1:

For comparison, I offer an in-game shot from Discworld Noir, released on PC/PS1 in 1999, and looked dated at the time:

This cover was made in 2011.

I think it was the German editions that stuck soup adverts in the middle of the books as well, wasn't it? I don't see a lot of respect from them towards authors.

And the Collectors Edition:

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 1 reply · +15 points

I keep going back and forth on Willikins killing Stratford. On the one hand it kinda feels like the narrative is trying to have its cake and eat it, upholding the need for arresting bad people to be judged rather than taking the law in your own hands, but still having the bad guy get killed.
On the other hand, we already got that ending with Carcer at the end of Night Watch (I think we can safely assume he hanged), and Vimes did make the point earlier about how Stratford was lucky to be facing him and not Willikins, and explained the differences between them, so it's not like this came out of nowhere.

Stratford was given all the information he needed to know how this would turn out, and he still chose it.