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url 2015-12-30 04:24
The Best Science Books of 2015
On the Move: A Life - Oliver Sacks
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe - Lisa Randall
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer - Sydney Padua
The Blue Whale - Jenni Desmond
The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time by Jimena Canales (26-May-2015) Hardcover - Jimena Canales
What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman (2015-10-06) - John Brockman;
Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future - Lauren Redniss

The best of science books in 2015.


1. On the move by Oliver Sacks. 


Missed him so much. My favorite writer on matter of the brain because it is so accessible. 



2. The invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. 


Haven't come across this one and it sounds interesting. 


3. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall 


Sound cool. 


4. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Pauda 


Cool graphics. 




5. The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond 


Another blue book. Nice. 



6. The Physicist & the Philosopher by Jimena Canales


Another good one. 





7. What to think about machines that think by John Brockman 



Another good annual book on the latest trend of science topic. 


Bonus. Thunders and Lightning by Lauren Redniss. 


Picture book. 


I have not read any of them, but would read Oliver Sacks and John Brockman ones next year. 

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review 2015-07-05 00:00
The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time
The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time - Jimena Canales Einstein's block universe takes Time out of the universe. Time after Einstein can be said to be an illusion, time is that which exist so that everything doesn't happen at once. Henri Bergson, probably the most famous 20th century philosopher that most people have never heard of, but almost everyone has heard of his arguments ('elan vital', 'creative evolution', 'intuitive time'), wanted to put man and his intuitive understanding of time back into the center stage of the universe.

If I were to write a movie where the protagonist was going to time travel, I would have her reading a copy of this book. Time is not what most of us think it is and by seeing if from the perspective of these two great minds adds to my appreciation for the nuances involved.

I have a hard time finding new books in science or philosophy which are not just a rehash of other recent books that I have already read. This author manages to talk about her subject matter in a surprisingly refreshing manner. She gives the reader the connections and the nuances involved in the story. Einstein did make the 'original sin' (his words) of entwining the absolute speed of light with a physical clock. That is the ultimate problem that Bergson has with Einstein, the physical understanding of time with the universe's understanding of Time. Einstein (and as science always does) will mix the concrete (empirical) with the abstract (intellectual) and develops a theory about reality.

The author draws the connection with Bergson's view point to Husserl's Phenomenology, to Heidegger's Being (Daisen), and to the start of the Existentialists. I did not realize, for example, that Heidegger's 'Being and Time' was such a strong reaction against Einstein. That Heidegger wanted to put the 'becoming' back into the world from the being of being (Daisen) because Time (that's 'time' with a capital 'T") was being taken out of the world.

The book not only equally considers the science and the philosophy at the period under consideration it also gives a subtle discussion about the nature of science. Copernicus makes the sun the center of the solar system, but does that mean it's only that because it makes the mathematics easier to play with or is it really that way. Einstein takes out a universal time by taking out simultaneity and replacing it with the speed of light as a constant and a physical clock (and the equivalence principle, where inertia mass is equivalent to heavy mass, but the author seldom talks about gravity).

Einstein never accepted quantum physics even though he is one of its principal creators because of his discovery of the photoelectric effect and Brownian motion. His General Theory is based on continuity. Bergson's approach is more discrete thus more attuned with quantum physics. The author points out how in some ways the science of quantum physics started going towards Bergson.

I really appreciate an accessible book that takes me way beyond the current popular science and philosophy books and not just a rehash of things I already know, and therefore I would recommend this book for those who love the intersection between science and philosophy and like to be challenged with a story that has not already been told in such depth.
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text 2014-07-17 16:45
The Choice
The Choice - Lynne Ewing

I read this over a week ago I think... I don't know why it took me so long to get to writing this review.

This book focuses on Jimena. I really liked it in that it was pretty action packed, and the playing with time was pretty fun. For the first time, the ending of the book threw me for a loop and has me highly anticipating the next book to see what happens.

And now for the venting portion...
These girls are so easily distracted, especially by boys. It's really annoying. They are in the middle of life and death situations ready to battle or trying to decide what to do, then a boy shows up and they all scatter and flirt and forget about the important stuff.

Conversations always seem extremely short and they always leave shortly after arriving anywhere. I've also noticed that they avoid responsibility and never plan things out. They show up to do battle with the evil person and they wear skimpy little outfits with high heel shoes. Then they complain later when they are running and have to run barefoot. 

It's definitely a preteen series. I can't imagine very many high school students relating or enjoying these books all that much. 

I still enjoy the Greek Mythology to their powers, and the books are definitely improving. Short little fun read.

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