logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: science-general
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-05-25 08:01
The Equations of Life by Charles S. Cockell
The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution - Charles S. Cockell

TITLE:  The Equations of Life: The Hidden Rules Shaping Evolution

 

AUTHOR:  Charles S. Cockell

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2019

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:   9781786493040

_____________________________

DESCRIPTION:

"A groundbreaking new view on the theory of evolution, arguing that life develops in predictable ways.
We are all familiar with the popular idea of strange alien life wildly different from life on earth inhabiting other planets. Maybe it's made of silicon! Maybe it has wheels! Or maybe it doesn't. In The Equations of Life, biologist Charles S. Cockell makes the forceful argument that the laws of physics narrowly constrain how life can evolve, making evolution's outcomes predictable. If we were to find on a distant planet something very much like a lady bug eating something like an aphid, we shouldn't be surprised. The forms of life are guided by a limited set of rules, and as a result, there is a narrow set of solutions to the challenges of existence.
A remarkable scientific contribution breathing new life into Darwin's theory of evolution, The Equations of Life makes a radical argument about what life can--and can't--be.
"

 

_____________________________

REVIEW:

 

In The Equations of Life, Cockell demonstrates that biology is dependent on, and thus constrained by, physics.  The book starts off examining the social life of ants, moves on to studying how all the basic anatomy units and habits of a ladybug are constructed in accordance with the laws of physics, to the movement of moles through soil, birds through the air,  and why animals don't have wheels or propellers.  Cockell also examines why life is cellular, the various properties of cells and their particular building blocks (lipid membranes, DNA/RNA, amino acids, respiration, enzymatic reactions, the molecules and also atoms of life), why water is the solvent for life rather than something else (benzene? ammonia?), and if life can be based on something other than carbon.  A few equations are thrown in to demonstrate a concept but there is nothing difficult to understand in this book.  A fascinating perspective on evolution and physics written in an engaging manner.

 

PS:  I love this cover.  All those delicious equations, molecular structures and mathematical formulae etc.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-03-09 10:47
The Vital Question by Nick Lane
The Vital Question - Nick Lane

TITLE:  The Vital Question:  Why Is Life the Way It Is?

 

AUTHOR:  Nick Lane

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2016

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9781781250372

_____________________________________

 

BLURB:

“There’s a black hole at the heart of biology:  we do not know why life is the way it is.  Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth, and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death – but why?

 

In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades.  The answer, he argues, lies in energy:  how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt.  In unravelling these scientific enigmas and making sense of life’s quirks, Lane’s explanation provides a solution to life’s vital question:  why are we as we are, indeed, why are we here at all?”

______________________________________

REVIEW:

 

This is a nicely written science book for intelligent people.  No interviews or fashion commentary.  Lane examines the fundamental requirement of life, namely energy.  The starts off with examining what life and living is and then takes a look at how (and where) the first cells possibly evolved.  Many hypotheses are examined, discarded or elaborated upon.  Lane also takes cell evolution further by examining the evolution of complex cells, why most eukaryotes have two different sexes, how cells die, what powers a cell, and a host of other interesting goodies.  There is a fair amount of physics, biochemistry and chemistry in this book, along with several illustrations and diagrams.  Lane tends to be a bit repetitive, but with a complex subject like this, it probably helps to recap previous points.  This is a fascinating book that makes a great addition to his previous book Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-02-10 11:56
Zombie Science by Jonathan Wells
Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution - Jonathan Wells

TITLE:  Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution

 

AUTHOR:  Jonathan Wells

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2019

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ASIN: B06Y398ML7

________________________

DESCRIPTION:

In 2000, biologist Jonathan Wells took the science world by storm with Icons of Evolution, a book showing how biology textbooks routinely promote Darwinism using bogus evidence—icons of evolution like Ernst Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings and peppered moths glued to tree trunks. Critics of the book complained that Wells had merely gathered up a handful of innocent textbook errors and blown them out of proportion. Now, in Zombie Science, Wells asks a simple question: If the icons of evolution were just innocent textbook errors, why do so many of them still persist? Science has enriched our lives and led to countless discoveries. But now, Wells argues, it’s being corrupted. Empirical science is devolving into zombie science, shuffling along unfazed by opposing evidence. Discredited icons of evolution rise from the dead while more icons—equally bogus—join their ranks. Like a B horror movie, they just keep coming! Zombies are make believe, but zombie science is real—and it threatens not just science, but our whole culture. Is there a solution? Wells is sure of it, and points the way.

_______________________________

COMMENT:

 

Interesting. Provides food for thought and more stuff to research.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-01 09:40
The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard
The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time and Beyond - Christophe Galfard

TITLE:  The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond

 

AUTHOR:  Christophe Galfard

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2016

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9781447284109

_________________________

DESCRIPTION:

 

"Imagine if The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a real hand book...

Internationally renowned physicist and bestselling author Christophe Galfard takes us on a wonder-filled journey through the past, present and future of the universe – all from the comfort of a sofa.

The Universe in Your Hand explores some of the most profound and amazing ideas of our times – Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, Time Travel, Parallel Realities and Multiple Universe – with the promise that you'll only need one equation: the fabled E = mc²

Written from the cutting edge of today's technology, including the latest research on gravitational waves, The Universe in Your Hand is the perfect primer for anyone curious about our extraordinary universe.
"

_______________________

REVIEW:

 

I'm a bit uncertain on how to rate, or even review, this book.  On the one hand, the explanations of physics, quantum mechanics, general relativity, astrophysics, cosmology, gravity, etc are pretty good and, most importantly, understandable without requiring a physics degree.*  On the other hand, the imaginary adventurous travels (i.e. thought experiments) to such things as the inside of atoms and the cosmos in general just didn't really work for me, though I did eventually get used to it.  Maybe this sort of thing works better for people who have pictures and movies pop up in their heads when they read books, but that simply isn't me.  Otherwise, an interesting introductiory book that makes mind-bending subjects not so complicated, while managing to be entertaining at the same time.

 

~~~~

*Except String Theory.  I think you need to have ingested a substantial quantity of magic mushrooms for that to make any sense.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-09-13 08:35
Boom! by Bob Berman
Boom!: The Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, and Earthly Mayhem that Shook our Universe - Bob Berman
Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Universe - Bob Berman

TITLE:  Boom!: The Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, and Earthly Mayhem that Shook our Universe [Paperback]

 

ALTERNATE TITLE:  Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Universe [Hardcover]

 

AUTHOR: Bob Berman

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9781786075970

_________________________

DESCRIPTION:

"Looking at the night sky, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all quiet up there in space. But you’d be wrong. Extreme events are forever unfolding: galaxies explode, cosmic debris hurtles through the heavens and our own Milky Way is on a collision course with the giant Andromeda galaxy.

 

Mayhem moulded the cosmos, shaped life on Earth and at times threatened to end it. With an enduring sense of wonder, through cataclysms great and small, Bob Berman presents a destructive history of our universe."

 

________________________

REVIEW:

 

Boom! is a popular science book for people who know nothing about the cosmos.  Berman's focus is on galactic "catastrophes" (e.g. supernovas and colliding galaxies), with a minor detour into Earth specific and man-made catastrophes (e.g. the Great Oxygen Event and the Chernobyl nuclear accident).  The chapters are generally short, somewhat interesting, and rather superficial in contents; the writing style informal and "popular".  An easy read for an uninformed adult or something interesting to give to a teenager as a gift.

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?