I lost 2-4 hours of sleep each night finishing this, reading until my eyes blurred, which took three nights. I'm probably about as interested as possiI lost 2-4 hours of sleep each night finishing this, reading until my eyes blurred, which took three nights. I'm probably about as interested as possible in the subject matter, the rise of the punk movement in the Bay Area, for someone who knows next to nothing about it.
My brother is in the Who's Who section in the back, a fixture on the local punk scene for two decades now. I've always wondered if I would have ended up in the punk scene myself if I had grown up here (where I was born) as well. Long story. I now go to underground punk shows occasionally, and went to more back in the 90s when I first moved here so I had some familiarity with some of the venues which helped.
In the end I was disappointed they spent so much time focusing on the bands that went to the major labels in the Green Day period, since I was never a fan of any of them. It was still fascinating though. I came out of it with some respect for bands like Green Day, although I still don't like the music. The band that seemed to be most up my alley given my own musical background (Chapel Hill, NC indie rock in the 90s) was Flipper. I really wish I could have seen Flipper at The Farm.
Thanks to youtube I was able to put together a soundtrack as I read. What an age we live in.
I do wish the format was played with a bit more. Maybe using slightly different fonts or colors for different people. I was also constantly wishing this was in some sort of digital format so I could search back quickly. It would have been nice to include some clever infographics as well. Things like a timeline, or bands-mentioned listing band members, or a map of places mentioned....more
Not as powerful as Falling Man, but a beautiful story. I thought it was very David Lynch and I'm glad it was so short because I think I'm going to rerNot as powerful as Falling Man, but a beautiful story. I thought it was very David Lynch and I'm glad it was so short because I think I'm going to reread it after letting it digest a bit.
Caveat: I'm a total DeLillo fanboy. I think I've read every word he's published except for two of his plays....more
This is a pretty neat book and got me excited about trying some fermentation. There's something deliciously nerdy and compellingly simple about just pThis is a pretty neat book and got me excited about trying some fermentation. There's something deliciously nerdy and compellingly simple about just putting a bunch of stuff in a container and letting it ferment for a week or more.
I started a batch of sauerkraut within a day or two of starting the book and really enjoyed the whole process. I think I used too much salt, but am looking forward to trying a new batch soon. Also it has prompted me to sign up for a Miso class next month.
I checked this book out from the library but I think I will just buy a copy. ...more
Early on I expected to give this 3 stars but it seemed unfair to not give it 4. Wainer writes well, is witty, is unafraid to throw in some formulas anEarly on I expected to give this 3 stars but it seemed unfair to not give it 4. Wainer writes well, is witty, is unafraid to throw in some formulas and seems to go just the right distance in both breadth and depth to create a popular book about statistical displays. It covers theory, history and plenty of applications of the tools found in the Science of Uncertainty. I think for most people that want to brush up a bit on statistics, this would be an excellent book with which to start. The focus is on exploration of data via graphics (charts, etc) and examines the benefits and pitfalls of the visualization approaches.
I think the most amazing thing I'll remember from this book though is that the Charles Minard's chart of Napolean's winter attack on Russia (made famous in tech circles by Tufte) was created when the man was near the end of his life, at age 88. He had been doing similar charts for decades, but he put everything he learned into that one and created what is widely known as The Greatest Chart of All Time, his masterpiece, at the end of his career....more
The breathless storytelling of this amazing book cautioned me to take everything with a grain of salt but I was wildly entertained and my thinking funThe breathless storytelling of this amazing book cautioned me to take everything with a grain of salt but I was wildly entertained and my thinking fundamentally altered. The bulk is an exploration of the characters of the ultra-running world, including a tribe in Mexico known as the Running People. Characters who are totally nuts and incredibly sane at the same time, for the same reasons. This gets you wobbly and in position for the end of the book which knocks you down with a wallop of science.
The gist is that running shoes, with their heel cushions, are a complete disaster and the primary reason we have running injuries. We evolved to run; also we evolved to run barefoot or close to it. I'm a believer. Within two days of finishing the book I went out and purchased a pair of Vibram KSO 'five fingers' (I've taken to calling them 'go-toes' since 'go' is 5 in Japanese) and they felt great to run in.
I got my copy of this book because a friend was so inspired by it, he bought several copies to give out. I feel like doing the same.
I'm giving it 4 instead of 5 stars just because I do prefer a little less breathless style of storytelling. I agree with another reviewer who said it felt more like a really long magazine article than a book. But that didn't stop me from reading it every chance I could until I finished it....more
This was probably the best organizing format of any mathematics book I've read so far. The idea is to take one subject and trace its development via tThis was probably the best organizing format of any mathematics book I've read so far. The idea is to take one subject and trace its development via the actual publications that advanced (or in the case of Peter Tait, derailed) our understanding of the matter. The publications were pared down to the most critical sections and usually explained somewhat before they were introduced in order to prepare the reader to grasp the new concepts.
It was so well done that it was hard not to give it five stars, but I can think of at least one way it could have been better. The authors made a choice to adhere closely to historical accuracy at the expense of clarity. They chose to present the extracts with the original terminology intact often requiring some explanation as the terminologies switched often between papers. A five star book would have standardized the terms and left the historical accuracy to the appendices. I also would have appreciated some sample problems to work out at the end of each chapter to help hone my understanding of the new material.
In the end however, it is still a great book. It was entertaining and educational. They kept things from getting too dry with plenty of biographical material. Perhaps the subject matter was particularly suited for this type of treatment in a popular book, being tied strongly to visual perception and concepts used in puzzles, but I would love to see other mathematical subjects similarly treated.
This book seems to belong in its own genre: philosophy-thriller. It starts out so strong in the fisrt few hundred pages that I can hardly read it at tThis book seems to belong in its own genre: philosophy-thriller. It starts out so strong in the fisrt few hundred pages that I can hardly read it at times because I get too excited. I'd probably give it 4.5 stars, but I'm going to drop it to 4 since I can't do halves and I found the middle section of the book to drag a bit.
I'd love to go into details about it but I won't out of respect for those who have not read it. Why doesn't goodreads have a [spoiler][/spoiler] tag that will hide portions of reviews from people who haven't already put the book in their 'read' shelf? It seems so obvious....more
Probably the best biology book I've read. Since it is targeted at AI engineers such that each examination of a biological system is followed by engineProbably the best biology book I've read. Since it is targeted at AI engineers such that each examination of a biological system is followed by engineering applications, it uses a systems-oriented explanatory approach which I found easier to follow than the usual biologist-targeted text. The section on the immune system was fascinating! It is hard to imagine another book on this subject that could cover the breadth and depth any better. I need to check it out one more time to finish the last two sections, but I've read enough to heartily recommend it to any comsci people who are looking for broad yet detailed survey of this space....more
While I don't feel I can claim anything close to truly grasping the concepts of mathematical symmetry after reading this book, I do feel I now understWhile I don't feel I can claim anything close to truly grasping the concepts of mathematical symmetry after reading this book, I do feel I now understand the general structure of various forms of mathematics and how the built upon each other in order to reach the point we are at now. Specifically the point wherein the concepts of symmetry and group theory are being exploited by our most advanced scientists to understand our universe at a quantum level. This books starts at the beginning with the first mathematicians and meanders through time following them as they develop from simple geometry to number theory and algebra up into complex numbers, quarternions on to group theory, Lie groups, topology and more.
This is a book for a general audience, so there is plenty of biographical content on the mathematicians which I sometimes found interesting but I often rushed through these sections as I found myself much more interested in trying to understand the math (although I should say that the lives of many famous mathematicians are more interesting that one might suppose). If there is a real shortcoming to this book it is the author's stated goal of including as few diagrams as possible (based on a publishing industry maxim that each diagram in a popular mathematics book decreases sales by a certain amount). I'm a visual person and often wanted to see concepts expressed graphically.
This book has certainly whetted my appetite for a deeper exploration of many of the mathematical concepts it reviewed! While dancing on an art car one night at Burning Man this year (where I spent a week finishing the book) I watched a grid of lasers mounted on our vehicle shine out on the dancing crowd below. The lasers were undergoing a rotational transformation driven by our dancing which sparked nearly an hour of trying to retrace my way through what I had learned in the book. I wasn't able to do it very well, and I'm a bit torn now between rereading it to see if the concepts settle in more firmly the second time or looking into finding individual books on the subjects (hopefully with plenty of diagrams and exercises)....more
Imagine Andy Rooney of 60 minutes as a 1933 Japanese man lamenting the loss of traditional identity, but more eloquent and with the meandering deep foImagine Andy Rooney of 60 minutes as a 1933 Japanese man lamenting the loss of traditional identity, but more eloquent and with the meandering deep focus of a sativa infused historian and you have this. It is a quick read and I highly recommend it. The full text of In Praise of Shadows is available online but get a copy from the library so you can at least feel the paper as he's cursing your iPad from the grave....more