Books shelved under “Science”

70 reviews found

  1. Book cover for How to Argue With a Racist

    How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference

    by Adam Rutherford

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As a few other people on Goodreads have remarked, the subtitle of this book is more accurate than the title. How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference definitely discusses genetics as it relates to race. It is less useful if you’re looking for rhetorical tips on arguing with or debating racists or white supremacists. Adam Rutherford clearly and coherently lays out why such people are wrong…

  2. Book cover for To Explain the World

    To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science

    by Steven Weinberg

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    To Explain the World has been waiting for me on my shelf for a few years. The trouble with these vast, sweeping histories of science is that, as much as I love them, more acute pop science and pop history books always take priority. You want to teach me about vaccines? You want to talk to me about environmental racism? Hell yeah, I’m down. But unless you’re Bill Bryson, your hot take…

  3. Book cover for Come As You Are

    Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

    by Emily Nagoski

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life has been on my to-read list for a while (I blame Hannah Witton), but I finally bought it as a birthday present for a friend who shares my interest in these subjects. Emily Nagoski’s book is a comprehensive guide to how people with vulvas can become more comfortable and fulfilled in their sex lives. It’s a little bit science text, a…

  4. Book cover for The Reality Bubble

    The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions That Shape Our World

    by Ziya Tong

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I love reading science fiction, and you might expect me to open this review with an encomium of how science fiction helps us imagine a way into a better future. But no. One of the reasons I love science fiction is for how it asks us to truly confront our assumptions about the way things are, and whether that’s inevitable.

    So many science fiction stories involving artificial intelligence place that intelligence into humanoid or human-like…

  5. Book cover for A Terrible Thing to Waste

    A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind

    by Harriet A. Washington

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The common reaction to people seeing what I was reading with A Terrible Thing to Waste was, “Environmental racism? What’s that?” So I explained it to them, fairly succinctly I think, because it really isn’t that difficult of a concept. Indeed, when I mentioned that, historically, decisions about where to dump waste and where to build factories and how to zone cities or rent houses have disproportionately affected marginalized and racialized people, most of those…

  6. Book cover for The Hormone Diaries

    The Hormone Diaries: The Bloody Truth About Our Periods

    by Hannah Witton

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Just over two years ago I read and reviewed Hannah Witton’s first book, Doing It!: Let’s Talk About Sex. I loved seeing a YouTuber I respected and whose videos I so enjoyed meet with success in book form. With The Hormone Diaries: The Bloody Truth About Our Periods, Witton does it again. Based this time on a long-running series on her channel chronicling her journey of self-exploration by discontinuing her birth control pill,

  7. Book cover for The Glass Universe

    The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

    by Dava Sobel

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Dava Sobel does it again.

    I love learning about science, but you know what I might love even more? Learning how we know what we know about science. Take the stars, for example. How do we know what they're made of without ever visiting them? How can we possibly know how big, or massive, or far away, or hot they are? The fact we've managed to deduce such knowledge from the surface of this planet…

  8. Book cover for Wayfinding

    Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World

    by M.R. O'Connor

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This may not be the best book I read all year, but it is the best non-fiction book I’ve read so far in 2019, and any future non-fiction book this year is going to have to work hard to unseat this one. Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World snuck up on me. When I received my eARC from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press, I was anticipating a mildly interesting book…

  9. Book cover for Inferior

    Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—And the New Research That's Rewriting the Story

    by Angela Saini

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sometimes it seems like smug people like to point smugly to science to justify their smug opinions about their superiority. Alas, many of these people turn out to be men declaiming the natural inferiority of women. As much as some men would like you to believe it, however, “science” doesn’t prove that women are naturally inferior to men. As Angela Saini explains in her book of the same name, “science” backs up what many of…

  10. Book cover for Delusions of Gender

    Delusions of Gender

    by Cordelia Fine

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, and that’s just the way it is, right? Girls like nurturing toys and boys like toys that involve motion or action, and don’t even bother trying to change those habits—they’re ingrained at birth, yeah? Doubtless you’ve heard these and other stereotypes and claims about the biological origins of sex differences. In some cases, such as the pink/blue divide, you might already be aware of the history…

  11. Book cover for The Quantum Labyrinth

    The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality

    by Paul Halpern

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality is a history book masquerading as a physics book, and I like that. I’m just as interested in the history of science as I am in science itself. As the title implies, Paul Halpern focuses on the lives of Feynman and Wheeler, protégés who individually and collectively had their fingers on the pulse of physics for much of the twentieth century. Halpern…

  12. Book cover for The Universe in the Rearview Mirror

    The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality

    by Dave Goldberg

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    After finishing Lost in Math, I decided it was time to dive into a pop physics book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for a while now. It’s pure coincidence that The Universe in the Rearview Mirror also happens to be about the predominance of symmetry in theoretical physics. In Dave Goldberg’s case, however, he isn’t arguing about the philosophy behind this approach. He’s totally on board, and he’s here to explain to laypeople…

  13. Book cover for Lost in Math

    Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

    by Sabine Hossenfelder

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Is truth beauty and beauty, truth? It can be hard to tell.

    In Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, Sabine Hossenfelder argues that these two concepts are not equivalent. As the subtitle implies, Hossenfelder feels that theoretical physicists are too obsessed with creating “beautiful” theories, in the sense that the mathematics that underpins the theories (because these days, theories are basically math, even though, as Hossenfelder stresses, physics isn’t math) must be…

  14. Book cover for Atom Land

    Atom Land: A Guided Tour Through the Strange and Impossibly Small World of Particle Physics

    by Jon Butterworth

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Kara is still split on this one, folks. Atom Land: A Guided Tour Through the Strange (And Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics tries to teach us about … well, particle physics. Specifically, Jon Butterworth takes us on a tour of the different particles in the Standard Model of physics, explains the three fundamental forces that interact with them, and then expands our horizons by briefly touching on the frontiers of physics research. The subject…

  15. Book cover for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    by Rebecca Skloot

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Our science teachers do a remarkable job with what limited resources, time, and support they have in school today. However, one of the many areas in which public science education could be improved is the way in which we examine the hidden systems that power science itself, and the way these systems intersect with our society. Cell lines are a great example of this. We learn about biomedical research in school, about cells, about vaccines—but…

  16. Book cover for The Spinning Magnet

    The Spinning Magnet: The Force That Created the Modern World--and Could Destroy It

    by Alanna Mitchell

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of my most favourite episodes of the new Cosmos (because, honestly, they are all so good) is Episode 10: “The Electric Boy”, which focuses on the life and discoveries of Michael Faraday. In particular, the episode emphasizes how the invention of the dynamo and the electric motor spurred on a whole new technological revolution. The electric motor is just ubiquitous now, even more so than smarter digital electronics, and we take it for granted…

  17. Book cover for Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods

    Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods: Early Humans and the Origins of Religion

    by E. Fuller Torrey

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the benefits of deciding to request books from NetGalley is that it exposes me to more academic science writing than I might otherwise find. Thanks to Columbia University Press for letting me read this. I’m really fascinated by the study of religion, from a sociological and anthropological perspective. I love to learn about the history of religions, and also about how we know what we know. Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods looks at the…

  18. Book cover for The Science of Orphan Black

    The Science of Orphan Black: The Official Companion

    by Casey Griffin

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m not all that comfortable with our tendency these days to label or ask if a piece of media is “feminist”. I don’t think that’s the right way to be looking at or critiquing media. All media are ultimately creations of our society and therefore contain threads of the implicit biases within our society. Rather than trying to decide if something is or is not feminist, as a whole work, we should be critiquing it…

  19. Book cover for An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

    An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

    by Chris Hadfield

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Buckle up and make sure you’re wearing your g-suit, because this is one of those rare books that live up to all the hype. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth comes with ridiculously high expectations: it has a bunch of awards, and everyone gives it such glowing reviews. So, naturally, I tempered my excitement. As anyone who has read my reviews knows, I love space and science fiction. I welcomed the opportunity to read…

  20. Book cover for Paranoid Science

    Paranoid Science: The Christian Right's War on Reality

    by Antony Alumkal

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Hello, and in this instalment of “Ben continues to be behind on reviews and on NetGalley reviews in particular” we’re reviewing Paranoid Science: The Christian Right's War on Reality, by Antony Alumkal. I was drawn to this book in much the same way that other people are drawn to evangelical Christianity: the promise of answers. Of course, in this case, I was looking for answers as to why and how the Christian right continues…

  21. Book cover for The Physics of Everyday Things

    The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day

    by James Kakalios

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I really loved James Kakalios’ The Physics of Superheroes, so I jumped at the chance to get his new book, The Physics of Everyday Things, when it became available on NetGalley. The Physics of Superheroes was such an engaging way to look at physics! I was intrigued by this new concept, the idea that Kakalios would teach us physics while stepping through a single person’s ordinary daily activities. However, the tone and conceptual…

  22. Book cover for The Radium Girls

    The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

    by Kate Moore

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book makes one uncomfortable from the very start. Moore lists the ways in which American society embraced the use of radium at the turn of the century. They put it on and in practically everything. It glowed in the dark, after all! It was miraculous! Moore’s blithe list is just so jarring to a 21st-century reader who is aware of radioactivity and the dangers of radium. Yet it’s an effective way to establish the…

  23. Book cover for The Vaccine Race

    The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease

    by Meredith Wadman

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is what I knew about vaccines prior to reading this book:

    • Vaccines work by delivering a killed or live, but weakened, version of a virus into the body, stimulating the body’s immune system into producing antibodies without actually causing an infection.
    • Edward Jenner gets a lot of credit for using cowpox to vaccinate against smallpox, though he wasn’t the first to think about this.
    • Vaccines are responsible for preventing death, disability, and disfigurement due
  24. Book cover for Our Mathematical Universe

    Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

    by Max Tegmark

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Who doesn’t like a good controversy in their popular science books? What’s a philosophical theory about the nature of the universe if it doesn’t ruffle some feathers? No one wants to write a book and then have everyone turn around and shrug at you. That doesn’t sell! So it’s not really surprising that Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality is a controversial book by a somewhat controversial physicist. I received…

  25. Book cover for Hidden Figures

    Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

    by Margot Lee Shetterly

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    No, but seriously, did you expect anything less of a rating from me? This book is kickass. It is literally everything I have wanted in a science history book for a while.

    Hidden Figures details the lives and achievements of the Black women who worked first as computers, then as mathematicians and engineers, for NACA (the National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics) and its successor, NASA. Margot Lee Shetterly pulls back the curtain on an aspect…

  26. Book cover for Perv

    Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us

    by Jesse Bering

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Are you a perv? Of course you are, you pervy perv, you. At least, that’s the explicit (pun intended) promise in Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us. Jesse Bering grapples with that truism that the only normal is that there is no normal. He catalogues, comments upon, and otherwise investigates the various types of sexual behaviours that are or have previously been labelled as deviant. The purpose of this exposé (pun intended),…

  27. Book cover for How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

    How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

    by Chad Orzel

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Maybe a dog person would find Chad Orzel’s attempts to talk quantum mechanics in the language of a pet and her owner more endearing. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog is Yet Another Pop Sci look at quantum mechanics, albeit one from a more technical than, say, historical perspective. Orzel frames each chapter within a conversation with his dog, Emmy, grounded in the context of something a dog would do, like hunt bunnies or…

  28. Book cover for The Superhuman Mind

    The Superhuman Mind: How to Unleash Your Inner Genius

    by Berit Brogaard

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I confess I was sceptical about this one, despite the PhD author. A student lent this to me, though, and in addition to generally trying to keep an open mind, I like to take an interest in what students are reading. So while I probably wouldn’t have picked up The Superhuman Mind on my own, I gave it a try—and it was all right. The rhetoric was not as hyperbolic as I feared, and the…

  29. Book cover for Bonk

    Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

    by Mary Roach

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As I recently noted on Twitter, there is an uncomfortable amount of talk about inserting stuff into bodily orifices that shouldn’t be inserted there. This is not a book for the faint of heart.

    Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex is the third book in the #bangingbookclub, run by Hannah Witton, Leena Norms, and Lucy Moon. Check out the Twitter feed to see what everyone else is saying about Bonk and the…

  30. Book cover for The Measure of All Things

    The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World

    by Ken Alder

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    After a long spate of young adult novels, and in particular the very harrowing Asking for It, I needed a palate-cleanser. How much further can we get than a book about the expedition to define the metre?

    I take the metre for granted. It’s just there. I was aware, vaguely, of the various ways in which it has been defined, and I knew that the metric system came out of the French Revolution.…

  31. Book cover for Undeniable

    Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation

    by Bill Nye

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So let’s say you’re unsure on this whole evolution thing. You’ve got questions. But, for one reason or another, science never stuck with you in school. Maybe your classes (or teachers, sigh) were a bit on the boring side—lots of memorization and dull textbooks, and no explosions, no episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy on VHS on the bulky 27" CRT television wheeled out from the A/V cabinet (ahhh, those were the days). Or…

  32. Book cover for The Quantum Universe

    The Quantum Universe:

    by Brian Cox

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The universe is big. Mindbogglingly big. Our minds have trouble conceiving of the vastness of the universe, on either scales of time and space, or their unified presentation as spacetime. And the moment we think we might possibly be able to get used to this idea, it becomes apparent that the very foundations of our universe are small. So small, so tiny, that the energy required to probe these depths is nearly as impressively vast…

  33. Book cover for What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

    What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

    by Randall Munroe

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I don’t really need to review this, do I?

    Randall Munroe is the much-beloved writer and illustrator of the much-beloved webcomic xkcd. He puts his physics and robotics background to good use creating humorous situations based on science, mathematics, and nerd culture. He has since branched out with What If?, a weekly blog in which Munroe answers over-the-top questions by following the facts to whatever consequences they might lead.

    This is the book…

  34. Book cover for The Monkey's Voyage

    The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life

    by Alan de Queiroz

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So, there are monkeys in South America and in Africa. How did they get there? That’s essentially what Alan de Queiroz wants to answer in The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life, albeit in a roundabout way.

    If you’re a creationist, especially a young-Earth creationist, you don’t have to worry too much about this. The answer is “God did it!” (Or possibly, “God did it, praise Jesus!” if you are…

  35. Book cover for The Organized Mind

    The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight In The Age Of Information Overload

    by Daniel J. Levitin

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I first heard about this book when Daniel Levitin appeared on a Spark episode to talk about organization. I recommend you follow the link and listen to the interview; his examples are pretty much straight from the book, so it should give you a good idea of whether or not to read this. I mentioned the book to my friend Rebecca, because it seemed like she would be interested in it. Lo and behold, she…

  36. Book cover for The Age of Wonder

    The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

    by Richard Holmes

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    No matter how you slice it, the way we do science now is very different from the way we did science a few centuries ago, or even a single century ago. Or even a couple of decades ago. Just as the concept of science, itself a fairly recent term, has changed dramatically over the centuries, so too has the scientific method and the infrastructure through which we do science. Richard Holmes elects to analyze…

  37. Book cover for Pythagoras' Trousers

    Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics and the Gender Wars

    by Margaret Wertheim

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I want to start this review by inviting you to read my review of A Short History of Nearly Everything, so you can understand my feelings about science going into this book.

    If that’s tl;dr, then allow me to reiterate the main thrust of the review: science is fucking awesome. Got it?

    Margaret Wertheim would agree with me, but in Pythagoras’ Trousers she explores how the general absence of women from mainstream scientific…

  38. Book cover for The Art of Thinking Clearly

    The Art of Thinking Clearly

    by Rolf Dobelli

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book is the dead tree equivalent of a BuzzFeed post. Its title could be “I Got 99 Cognitive Biases But a Psychology Degree Ain’t One.” Or maybe not.

    Rolf Dobelli enumerates 99 thinking errors, or cognitive biases, in The Art of Thinking Clearly, dispensing as he does tips for leading a more rational, less error-prone life. Anyone who has done even the least amount of reading in this subject will recognize many of…

  39. Book cover for Deep Future

    Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years Of Life On Earth

    by Curt Stager

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’ve always held that the Sun is out to get us. Oh, sure, it plays the role of life-giver, showering the Earth in energy and heat necessary for life. Yet too much time in the Sun leaves us open to cancer. And in a little under five billion years, the Sun, in its senescence, will expand to engulf our planet. Before that happens, however, its expansion will have already scorched the surface and rendered the…

  40. Book cover for A Brief Guide to the Great Equations

    A Brief Guide to the Great Equations: The Hunt for Cosmic Beauty in Numbers

    by Robert P. Crease

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    To paraphrase Mr T, I pity the fool who doesn’t see the beauty of mathematics inherent in the world around us. As a teacher, I feel rather complicit at times in robbing children of the joy of mathematics. The systemic, industrial tone of education does not often lend itself well to the investigation and discovery that should be the cornerstone of maths; I find this particularly true in the UK, where standardized tests and levels…

  41. Book cover for A More Perfect Heaven

    A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionised the Cosmos

    by Dava Sobel

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I came across this book while browsing the science section in Waterstones, because that’s where they hide all the good mathematics books as well, and I was looking for an appropriate math book to give to a fellow math friend for her birthday. (I opted for Ian Stewart’s Hoard of Mathematical Treasures.) Having read Dava Sobel’s explication of John Harrison and the marine chronometer in Longitude, I snapped this up without a second…

  42. Book cover for Physics of the Impossible

    Physics of the Impossible

    by Michio Kaku

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was never promised a flying car.

    What I mean to say is that my generation was never the generation of flying cars. We grew up knowing better. It’s been seventy years since we started breaking open atomic nuclei to harness their incredible capacity for destruction and creation, and we are still sucking fossilized plants from the bowels of the Earth and lighting it on fire as fuel. My parents grew up watching men go…

  43. Book cover for The Universe Within

    The Universe Within

    by Neil Turok

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Certain things just make Canadian public broadcasting awesome, and the Massey Lectures are one shining example. For one week, since 1961, with a few exceptions, CBC radio has broadcast annual lectures on a topic from philosophy or culture by notable figures. These lectures now get published in book format. Douglas Coupland’s most recent novel, Player One, is an adaptation of the lectures he gave in 2010. Now Neil Turok, a noted physicist and current…

  44. Book cover for Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Thinking, Fast and Slow

    by Daniel Kahneman

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I kind of want to cut this book in half, praise the first part, and stick the second part in some corner to gather dust. Not that the second part is bad, mind you; the entire book is well-written and obviously the product of someone who knows their field. There’s just a lot of it. Thinking, Fast and Slow is kind of like a guest who shows up to your party and then dazzles everyone…

  45. Book cover for Knocking on Heaven's Door

    Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

    by Lisa Randall

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I love physics. I love that we know so much about physics, and that we still have so much left to learn! I love reading about how far we have come from Ptolemaic ideas of geocentricity to mapping the cosmic microwave background radiation itself. And don’t get me started about the Large Hadron Collider: 7 TeV? Really? Up to 14 TeV in the next few years? Various atrocious self-help books claim they’ll help you unlock…

  46. Book cover for The Faith Instinct

    The Faith Instinct: How Religlion Evolved and Why It Endures

    by Nicholas J. Wade

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Editor's note: Since I read this back in 2012, Wade has gone on to write more openly racist and eugenical books. For what it’s worth, I don’t think his views are so overtly on display in Before the Dawn. Nevertheless, as a result of his more recent writing, I do not recommend reading this book or any of Wade’s books. This review is preserved for posterity.

    There is a conciliatory tactic in the trenches…

  47. Book cover for The Map That Changed the World

    The Map That Changed the World: William Smith & the Birth of Modern Geology

    by Simon Winchester

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Rocks. They’re old.

    Thank you for reading my review.

    OK, I guess I’ll go into slightly more detail. In his phenomenal A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson devotes slightly less than a page to William Smith and the first geological map of Britain. This is likely a result of Bryson (or his editors) striving in vain to meet that promise of being “short”. Bryson promises us a more “comprehensive” account in The

  48. Book cover for Longitude

    Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

    by Dava Sobel

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I take GPS for granted. I don’t use it that much personally, because I don’t tend to go anywhere, but I’m sure all this technology I love to use makes use of GPS. Thanks to GPS, we can forget that calculating longitude without the help of a network of satellites is difficult and requires great mathematical and engineering expertise. GPS might not be great at giving directions, but that doesn’t mean you’re lost.

    In the…

  49. Book cover for The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace

    The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace: A History Of Space From Dante To The Internet

    by Margaret Wertheim

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Space is a difficult word to pin down. Colloquially, it probably conjures images of stars and supernovae, Jupiter and Saturn and Mars, and the shuttle hanging against the backdrop of clouds and the horn of Africa. It is—or was—the Space Age, when we were supposed to go forth and colonize the stars. It didn’t work out that way, but our association of the word with “not of Earth” continues. Space can also refer to a…

  50. Book cover for How We Decide

    How We Decide

    by Jonah Lehrer

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    N.B. September 2013: So apparently this book is a pile of plagiarism. This review is therefore preserved for posterity, but I no longer recommend this book.

    In my recent review of The Grand Design I went on about my love of science, particularly of physics. I’ll be honest: although biology is really, really cool, I also find it kind of gross. It’s full of squishy stuff, and it was my least favourite of the…