the best popular rendition of string theory and supersymmetry i've read (leagues better than kaku's hyperspace) etc, though most definitely pop scienc...morethe best popular rendition of string theory and supersymmetry i've read (leagues better than kaku's hyperspace) etc, though most definitely pop science. probably best to read this along with some anti-string material, e.g. smolin.(less)
i've bought this guy's beautiful poster twice (http://periodictable.com/Posters/Post...); you can see it in my atlanta condo's technical bay (http://n...morei've bought this guy's beautiful poster twice (http://periodictable.com/Posters/Post...); you can see it in my atlanta condo's technical bay (http://nick-black.com/dankwiki/index....). so, when i saw this sitting around at google, i picked it up and read it through. the pictures and printing are stunning, and it's one of the most perfect coffee tables i've ever seen. i deduct two stars, however, due to wasting a quarter of every recto page on highly repetitive graphics, redundant in and of themselves (if you're going to do a pigeonhole representation of electron positions, you don't also need do a pictorial s-d-p-f representation, which latter isn't even meaningful in the first place, argh). i like the spectral display for each element, but including actual wavelengths along with color would have been nice. common compounds of each element could have occupied some of this space much more effectively. there's a very heavy emphasis on metallurgy and mechanical engineering in the way-too-short writeups. most elements' nomenclature is explained, but not all. if you wanted to know that carbon* derives its named from latin carbo (coal), you'll have to look elsewhere.
i was really surprised that certain basic weirdnesses of the Table (increases of atomic number corresponding to decreases in mass, the science behind state transitions, which are the least/most for any number of properties, etc.).
the bibliography is unspeakably wretched, and no citations are supplied. you're buying this for the pictures, plain and simple.
it turns out the author works at wolfram research, take that for whatever it's worth, if anything (if the words A New Kind of Science mean nothing to you, just ignore this).
overall, a beautiful book with much less impressive text, though i dig enjoy his constant vituperation regarding incandescent light bulbs.
* note that he does bother to explain that, e.g., europium is named after europe, which i'd rather hope one could figure out, or is in any case less than a question of "carbon" which i suppose one could think meant "good car" or something. either way i don't think anyone so stupid is reading about europium.(less)
lots of fun. Malacca-Max will likely be my favorite new word for a few weeks. my big question after reading this: what's keeping someone, say me, from...morelots of fun. Malacca-Max will likely be my favorite new word for a few weeks. my big question after reading this: what's keeping someone, say me, from building nuclear-powered megabulk carriers of truly tremendous draft, using them as motherships, driving them outside of economic exclusion zones to avoid all the hogwash nonsense nuclear regulation, and linking up with fast oil-burners for final portside delivery? you don't want cranes on your oilburners due to weight imbalance problems, but you're not gonna have a weight imbalance on a ship a mile long. this would be a great little nuclear renaissance! i'd love to see it done. The character of Malcom (sic) McLean was a great pleasure and inspiration.
i like how you can replace 'shipping container' with 'hoo-ha' in this title and it not only still works, but would probably sell more copies. ahhh, the joys of pop science! or pop engineering(?) as the case may be.(less)
apparently cobol is, as expected and understood, totally crappy unless being discussed in the context of grace hopper, because anything associated wit...moreapparently cobol is, as expected and understood, totally crappy unless being discussed in the context of grace hopper, because anything associated with history's most overrated-for-sociological-purposes programmer couldn't be bad. this book read like the first "research paper" i ever had to write, back in 8th grade on zelda fitzgerald of all things, when i sat there with a bunch of quotes on index cards and tried to figure out how to weave them into crap prose.(less)
this would have been awesome when I was eight years old or so. not sure how i feel about female science journalists after reading this -- was there re...morethis would have been awesome when I was eight years old or so. not sure how i feel about female science journalists after reading this -- was there really a need to tell me "genera" is plural for "genus"? or to make simpering, silly little comments about squid sex? or Dragon Ball references? take that shit to a middle school classroom, please. i prefer In Search of the Giant Squid for teuthologic pop science and Boyle's Cephalopods as a textbook.(less)
one problem was that i thought this was published recently (ie, 2008 or later), and was thus stunned by its out-of-date assessments of, say, Sag A* or...moreone problem was that i thought this was published recently (ie, 2008 or later), and was thus stunned by its out-of-date assessments of, say, Sag A* or Λ/Ω_Λ or gamma ray bursters. the superstring/multiverse stuff is thrown in pretty arbitrarily, and developed to no further than a Kaku level of complexity. the mandelbrot set is referenced towards the end in what seems a perverse quest for keyword search satisfaction and reads like a sixteen year old's journal entry fresh off reading some crichton. this just doesn't cut it if you've done any serious reading in astrophysics and cosmology, sorry.
as a pop science book, i give it two stars. it gets another one for amazingly obscure epigraphs heading each chapter, and a deliciously snarky attitude regarding 20th century astrophysics. in particular, his commentary on the COBE effort, refusing to even mention Smoot's name, perfectly captures the vituperative attitude my astrophysicist crew seems to harbor towards 2006's vainglorious Nobel Laureate.
Manny, your recommendation has failed me. It shall not be forgotten. ------ Manny's review was very enticing, though I'm rapidly approaching the point in my life where reading yet another pop cosmology book will cause me to collapse in on my own gravity, and not even light will be capable of escaping my volume hrmmrmph.(less)
austin bookpeople meeting 2011-04-20 --- i find the HeLa notation kind of annoying because i inevitably read it as RaLa (from the radioactive lanthanum...moreaustin bookpeople meeting 2011-04-20 --- i find the HeLa notation kind of annoying because i inevitably read it as RaLa (from the radioactive lanthanum experiments) or NaLa (sodium lanthanum, a chemical of no use whatsoever AFAIK, and actually more likely NaLA (sodium laurate)). anyway.(less)
Unsure where, when or how I acquired this. The autism chapters were awesome; the others, not so much. Both painter stories, especially, drove me to te...moreUnsure where, when or how I acquired this. The autism chapters were awesome; the others, not so much. Both painter stories, especially, drove me to tears of boredom.(less)
Read first in 2003, as supplementary material to CS3251 (Networking I). Three stars worth of harmless, chipper history, and an extra star for a great...moreRead first in 2003, as supplementary material to CS3251 (Networking I). Three stars worth of harmless, chipper history, and an extra star for a great title. Much better than Hafner's other well-known book, "Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier," which is to be avoided. Really good material about BBN, the IMP's (I remember quoting this book in 2008 regarding the original 56kbps AT&T leased lines between the Honeywell DDP-316s, and impressing the hell out of an older coworker), Baran's work on packet switching, and the emergence of the IETF.(less)
Hyperliterate, scientifically savvy, a hot-boiled detective novel spinning along axes of surgery, chemical and radiative therapy, molecular biology, bioinformatics, immunology, epidemiology and supercomputing -- there's a little bit here for every NT (and if you aren't NT*, then to hell with ya!). Suffers noticeably from a lack of editorial quality control -- several passages are repeated almost word-for-word (why does this happen so often in high-grade pop science? what's up with the lack of good, scientifically-literate editors?), and insufficient detail -- the book would have benefited from entire extra chapters detailing pathway-based drug discovery, the physics and mathematics of random mutation (a quick nod is paid to Schrodinger's What is Life, of which I fully approve), the use of statistical and combinatorial analyses in drug discovery, etc. Then again, less technically-minded readers are probably thankful for these lacunae. Overall, I'd have appreciated more focus on the past 20 years of oncological research, rooted as they are more deeply in the hard sciences of molecular biology and targeted pharmocology; cancer treatment has, until quite recently, been a story of observation-driven research, which (no matter how complete the collection or analysis of data points) is (and must remain) both fundamentally less effective and less interesting than the ineluctable march of theory.
Then again, one of Mukherjee's major points is that "cancer" is a collection of protean, complex, multifaceted things, evolution in situ possessing its own elegance and beauty, a noble and almost clever opponent. So often thought hovering on the brink of defeat, it has always managed to elude its pursuers, and perhaps the proliferation of pathways hints that protein folding and recombinance will form no more a panacea than did adjuvant radiotherapy forty years ago.
warning, the following are personal conjectures of a precocious computer scientist: The evolution, for instance, of repressed metastasis suppressors or disabled anti-oncogenes coding for "undruggable" proteins -- those lacking differentiated bonding sites along the cell membrane (see breast and ovarian cancer's infamous HER2/neu, so efficaciously targeted by Herceptin, for a counterexample), or deeply interwoven with non-renewable, inaccessible host material (eg meningioma, gliosarcoma) -- would require wholly new avenues of treatment (hence the sprezzaturic gamma knife -- "from the rain of the cobalt, O Lord, deliver us". Hence the radiolabeled polyethylene glycol-coated hexadecylcyanoacrylate nanospheres, in all their evanescent busting of the blood-brain barrier -- and in all their depositive despair). Cancer's accelerated evolution suggests convergence of mortality toward such rough beasts. Pathway-oriented research is critical.
Anyway! This is a pretty goddamn good book. I recommend it.
a major failure for multiple reasons. i'll try to review this on the plane today. --- loved the neal stephenson foreward, more in fact than most things...morea major failure for multiple reasons. i'll try to review this on the plane today. --- loved the neal stephenson foreward, more in fact than most things neal stephenson's written (and more than most forewards, for that matter). --- New edition just came out...ought go ahead and grab a copy, methinks.(less)
Kinda shrill about the technology, but Eric Drexler's vision (as ripped off from Richard Feynman's famous "Plenty of Room at the Bottom" lecture) is b...moreKinda shrill about the technology, but Eric Drexler's vision (as ripped off from Richard Feynman's famous "Plenty of Room at the Bottom" lecture) is becoming a reality.
pretty interesting! i'm not sure how i feel about this -- i don't read much sci-fi, so elements of the style were quite grating. also, what was up wit...morepretty interesting! i'm not sure how i feel about this -- i don't read much sci-fi, so elements of the style were quite grating. also, what was up with the liquidgoo on the warehouse roof? i loved a few of the lines, though: "nothing could have lived up to four thousand years of waiting, except perhaps an original theorem." also, gotta love the reference to Thorne+Wheeler's Gravitation at the end. --- Supposedly "the hardest science fiction ever written," I'll freely admit that I'm reading this mainly to sit around afterwards and congratulate myself on how fucking smart I am, and because I've spent all afternoon rereading the papers of mad German computer scientist/physicist Jürgen Schmidhuber and some Freeman Dyson and am feeling the old digital physics monkey on my back (I still think I might one day reinvest myself in said field, once I've set supercomputer design on its head). We'll see how it goes; I'm not a big scifi fan by any means.
"Not great literature in the classic sense, but there's a lot of intriguing speculation here. The would-be reader should be warned, though: you will not fully appreciate this book unless you've made significant progress toward a degree in physics or a related field! (You could also get away with just reading a lot of pop science, provided you've read enough to be familiar with ideas like decoherence and superselection.) This truly is the hardest SF I've read."
"Woosh. That was the sound of this book going right over my head. I love hard sci-fi, don't get me wrong. I've read plenty of layman's books on quantum physics and consider myself reasonably well-informed on science in general. Still, large chunks of "Schild's Ladder" were basically gibberish to me, and the book was actually somewhat of a chore to get through. I haven't had that experience in a long time."
hehe, we'll see! Manny, I'm kind of surprised you haven't tackled Egan...(less)
tons of fun ----- it's that most wonderful time of the year, when we read pop science and run loooooooong simulations and are full of good cheer! ----- Im...moretons of fun ----- it's that most wonderful time of the year, when we read pop science and run loooooooong simulations and are full of good cheer! ----- Impulse acquisition from Borders, 2008-04-08(less)