Somewhere between a hashslinger and a gunslinger, Bourdain has stalked the mean kitchens of New York and other places fuelled by heinous quantities ofSomewhere between a hashslinger and a gunslinger, Bourdain has stalked the mean kitchens of New York and other places fuelled by heinous quantities of coke, heroin, weed, booze and gastronomic curiosity. A cavalcade of the doomed, deranged and dangerous populates this gonzo memoir written in a zippy, slangy style; unreliable freaks, demagogues, egoists, dopers, losers and sexually concupiscent maniacs swear, fuck, fight, lie, drink and snort their way through an account that marries Elizabeth David, Hunter S Thompson and Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London focussed through the wall-eyed perspective of the obsessive author's skewed consciousness and hard-earned street wisdom. But there are geniuses too, guys who can perform miracles with fish, meat, bread and garnishes, committed to the religion of Good Food, as well as hopeful but hopeless investors in restaurants that have less than a gelato in hell's chance of succeeding, eateries run by the mob, gun runners, thieves and bullies. These people are monsters, heroes and legends, and Bourdain shows them all in their complicated, hilarious, unnerving and outrageous humanity. But be warned: after reading Kitchen Confidential you may never want to eat out again. ...more
This is a typically well written and clear exposition of its subject by John Gribbin, one of our finest popular-science authors and a professional astThis is a typically well written and clear exposition of its subject by John Gribbin, one of our finest popular-science authors and a professional astronomer to boot. Einstein's Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity explains in everyday language how Einstein accounted for gravity's effects on spacetime summed up in an equation which is far less famous than the E=MC2 of his 'annus mirabilis' in 1905 (his Nobel Prize-winning paper on Brownian motion, his doctoral thesis for the University of Zurich on calculating the sizes of molecules and atoms suspended in a fluid, his paper on the photoelectic effect that explained black-body radiation and proved that light and matter behave in fundamentally the same ways, establishing the reality of light quanta, and the now famous paper on the Special Theory of relativity) but no less important: gμν (gee mu nu).
The possibility that the universe is curved had been posited earlier and independently by the mathematicians Riemann and Clifford. Minkowski had elaborated on the Special Theory, which applies to a notional flat spacetime, with his spacetime diagram, describing how a vector moves along its own timeline relative to constant spacetime. It is a pictorial representation of how inertial frames of reference in uniform motion relate to each other in the Special Theory. The General Theory goes much further by accounting for the acceleration in 4-dimensional curved spacetime of tensors (the non-Euclidean version of the vector). The difference is that the presence of matter creates the curvature of spacetime, and the tensors, of which there may be as many as 16, describe this curvature. Fortunately for the curious general reader, such as myself, who has no background in higher mathematics or cosmology, this is all laid out in a refreshingly straightforward scheme that requires no headache-inducing attempts to grasp equations. Indeed, it is almost tempting to wonder what is so terribly difficult about all this stuff about spacetime curvature, gravitational lensing and all the rest of it, so lucid is Gribbin's treatment of the material.
There is an illuminating though necessarily not comprehensive account of Einstein's personal life as it related to his work (after all, the book is about a specific aspect of his work, not a full-blown biography), enough to show the real human being behind the image of the secular saint and omniscient genius. It shows how Einstein's theories, brilliantly conceived though they are, did not emerge ex nihilo; his great predecessors such as Maxwell, Boltzmann, Planck, Minkowski, et al were working in a scientific culture that grows out of the ingenuity of many minds. However, the singular genius of Albert Einstein shines through. It has been said that the Special Theory would have been developed by somebody around that time if Einstein had not done so; but the General Theory could probably only have been produced by his uniquely fertile imagination. The book ends with an account of the scientific legacy of the General Theory (black holes, time dilation, wormholes, etc) and Einstein's final years.
This book is pitched at a level which the non-specialist can appreciate without being condescending or irritatingly chummy. It deals with complex ideas that have profoundly changed our understanding of the universe's structure and workings, ideas which will continue to affect humanity's future in ways we can only guess at. If you want to get Einstein's work, get this book....more
Scarp is mapped yet unmappable, ancient and venerable in its bedrock physicality yet beyond the cartographer’s ken. Scarp is Nick Papadimitriou, progeScarp is mapped yet unmappable, ancient and venerable in its bedrock physicality yet beyond the cartographer’s ken. Scarp is Nick Papadimitriou, progenitor of deep topography, and Nick Papadimitriou is Scarp. They interpenetrate each other, create and sustain each other’s reality and each other’s dream. Scarp the place is a secular locus of the mysterium, ungraspable by its seer as he trudges across its plains, traces its causeways and culverts, notes with a botanist’s rigour its flora and an animal lover’s gentleness its fauna, relates tales of local characters and their fortunes, inhabiting them like a psychedelicised dybbuk, uniting his consciousness with that of the earth and elements. Scarp the book is the testament of a unique and extraordinary mind that has created itself in the image of the numinous north London/Hertfordshire/Middlesex mindscape where it was formed, a book of visionary hope, a deconstruction and reintegration of its subject and its subject’s perambulating magus. Finally Scarp is a compelling and illuminating account of one man’s revelation of something beyond the senses, a unity of place and purpose. It is not quite like anything else I have ever read. Read it yourself and be transformed. ...more
It’s All Saints Day in Hell A, city of demons, and detectives Red Feather and Günn have to face their own demons while bringing down evildoers and copIt’s All Saints Day in Hell A, city of demons, and detectives Red Feather and Günn have to face their own demons while bringing down evildoers and coping with supernatural weirdness of mind-fucking proportions. Crime Rave is a police procedural/horror story with a difference, mashing up the influences of Ellroy, Chandler, King, Rowling and Rice with X-Files conspiracy and lashings of blood, entrails and humungous firepower. If this sounds like your cup of regenerated meat (there’s a hint there!) then you will thrill to Crime Rave. Unless you are scared of vaginas, that is....more