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review 2017-04-24 10:46
I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That - Ben Goldacre

A collection of his favourite newspaper articles.  I enjoyed them, they're collected by theme.

 

I listened to this on Playaway (honestly love this format) and it's part narrated by the author and by Jot Davies. The author reads the beginning and the end and Jot takes the middle, major portion.  It was well read and interesting. Ben is opinionated and this comes forward, I may disagree with some of his opinions but overall I found it well-balanced and food for thought.

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text 2016-01-02 00:22
Year in Books: 2015
Flex - Ferrett Steinmetz
The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England - Dan Jones
The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi
Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan
Planetfall - Emma Newman
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients - Ben Goldacre
Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist's Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing - Valerie L. Winslow
A Murder of Mages: A Novel of the Maradaine Constabulary - Marshall Ryan Maresca
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Nine - Lauren Beukes,Joe Abercrombie,Rachel Swirsky,K.J. Parker,Paolo Bacigalupi,Jonathan Strahan
The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug - Thomas Hager

 

Goodreads Page here.

Books: 148

Pages: 51,091

 

My Top 10

Planetfall - Emma Newman 

Planetfall - Emma Newman 

Heartrending.

Review

 

The Demon Under the Microscope  - Thomas Hager 

The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug - Thomas Hager 

The history of antibiotics: fascinating, heartbreaking, and mostly new to me.

Review

 

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan 

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan 

Noir scifi at its best.

Review

 

Flex - Ferrett Steinmetz 

Flex - Ferrett Steinmetz 

The most entertaining and imaginative urban fantasy I read this year.

Review

 

The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi 

The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi 

One of the few hard scifi novels I absolutely adored.

Review

 

Bad Pharma - Ben Goldacre 

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients - Ben Goldacre 

Powerful and well-documented. I need to write a review of this one.

 

A Murder of Mages - Marshall Ryan Maresca 

A Murder of Mages: A Novel of the Maradaine Constabulary - Marshall Ryan Maresca 

A new author I'll definitely be following. Light, entertaining, and tons of fun.

Review

 

The Plantagenets - Dan Jones 

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England - Dan Jones 

Easily one of the most entertaining history books I read this year. The Plantagenets were all crazy.

Review

 

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist's Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing - Valerie L. Winslow 

Perhaps the best art manual I've encountered. I bought the physical book.

Review

 

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Nine - ed. Jonathan Strahan 

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Nine - Lauren Beukes,Joe Abercrombie,Rachel Swirsky,K.J. Parker,Paolo Bacigalupi,Jonathan Strahan 

I love these collections, and this is one of the best.

Review

 

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/4490040
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review 2015-09-08 07:15
"Corporations run our culture, and they riddle it with bullshit.”
Bad Science - Ben Goldacre

Bad Science

by Ben Goldacre

 

“I spend a lot of time talking to people who disagree with me - I would go so far as to say that it's my favourite leisure activity.”

 

I'm an avid fan of More or Less, the popular statistics radio programme on BBC Radio, and I always enjoy Ben Goldacre's appearances on the show. At one point, I remember Tim Hartford introducing him as something like "the perennially angry Guardian columnist," to which Goldacre responded, "I am not perennially angry!" or similar. He got quite heated about it, much to everyone's amusement.

 

But Bad Science makes it clear, in the most entertaining way possible, why he's always angry. Homeopathy, alternative medicine, vitamins, fad nutrition, cosmetics, the MMR scare, the South African government's refusal to espouse antiretrovirals... he covers all of them, provides plenty of hard data, and eloquently and entertainingly discusses both the problems with the science and the potential dangers with the way they're advertised. I really enjoyed the book. My only complaint--and it's pretty minor--is that Goldacre's commentary can be a little patronising; he studiously avoids what he terms the "tedious" technical details, warns the reader of any impending math, and at one point goes into a diatribe that seems to assume the reader is an MMR scare believer. He also shies away from using probability, preferring natural frequencies, because he considers probability both unnatural and unnaturally difficult, but given that UK weather didn't start using probability until 2011, I guess it's a cultural thing.

 

Even though I guess I knew a lot of the substance in the abstract, this book was still an eye-opener for me. I knew the claims of the vitamin industry were questionable, but I had no idea how many studies actually disputed the common wisdom. (By the way, did you know that the "beta carotene is good for your eyesight" thing was a myth propagated by the British during WWII? They claimed their pilots' aim was due to a high-carrot diet, not to, say, radar.) I had no idea of the tragedy of Matthias Rath's influence on the South African government and the millions of lives lost because of it. I had never heard of Brain Gym, and I hope to never hear of it again. (By the way, Dr Goldacre, will you please go after Lumosity? Their ads drive me nuts.) He details the media mayhem surrounding the MMR-vaccine-causes-autism saga. He eviscerates, in an entirely fact-based discussion, the claims about homeopathy and other alternative medicines. My favourite part was when he bought a "certified professional membership" to the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, the same august institution claimed by a famous nutritionist, for his dead cat:

"I mean, I don't sign my dead cat up to bogus professional organizations for the good of my health, you know. It may sound disproportionate to suggest that I will continue to point out these obfuscations for as long as they are made, but I will, because to me there is a strange fascination in tracking their true extent."

 

I think Goldacre has isolated the core problem with this popular anti-science: it trains the populous to trust white-lab-coated authority figures, not facts. It teaches us not to question, but to blindly believe. And that is the true tragedy of Bad Science.

And now on to Bad Pharma...

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review 2015-06-16 00:00
Bad Pharma
Bad Pharma - Ben Goldacre We don't regulate our drugs and the drug companies enough and insist on ensuring that data about the edges of results, I begin to wonder if the drug companies had previous seen the side-effects I suffered with a blood pressure medication and if I could have avoided hundreds of euro in specialist fees in discovering this MYSELF!

Interesting look at how drug companies present their goods and how the love of money is indeed the root of many evils.
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url 2015-01-21 15:11
Ten Books for Skeptics
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark - Ann Druyan,Carl Sagan
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine - Simon Singh,Edzard Ernst
On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not - Robert A. Burton
Killing Us Softly: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine - Paul A. Offit
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths - Michael Shermer
Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear by Gardner, Dan (2009) Paperback - Dan Gardner
Bad Science - Ben Goldacre
Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine - R. Barker Bausell
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
The Cure for Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness, and Happiness - Timothy Caulfield

This list needed to be updated, slightly.

 

1 The Demon-Haunted World – Science as a Candle in the Dark (keep) 

2 Trick or Treatment (keep) 

3 On Being Certain (keep)

4 Killing Us Softly: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine instead of Autism’s False Prophets

5 Believing Brain instead of Why People Believe Weird Things

6 Risk by Dan Gardner (keep) 

7 Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (not sure)

8 Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell (not sure)

9 The Cure for Everything (keep)

10 Thinking, Fast and Slow (keep) 

 

 

Any suggestion? 

 

Leave a comment. 

 

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