Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

March 17, 2023

The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack

Filed under: Science — Tags: , — Randolph @ 2:01 pm

This book explores a number of different scenarios for the end of the universe. Each is a current theory and Dr. Mack goes into non-mathematical explanations for how and why it would happen.

The book is enlightening and enjoyable.

October 6, 2022

The Higgs Boson and Beyond

Filed under: Science — Tags: — Randolph @ 3:12 pm

September 16, 2022

The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann, PhD.

Filed under: Science — Tags: — Randolph @ 5:32 pm

July 25, 2022

Supersymmetry: Unveiling the Ultimate Laws of Nature by Gordon Kane

Filed under: Science — Tags: — Randolph @ 11:27 am

This is a light-weight book on particle physics with no math, touching on elements of quantum chromodynamics. It starts with basics of quantum mechanics and a basic introduction to Feynman diagrams. It discusses basic mechanics of the standard model, why it needs extensions and how we can get there. Dr. Kane goes into the capabilities of different colliders and their different technologies, then dives into supersymmetry particles, the search for the Higgs particle and string theory.

In spite of the topic, it is a fairly easy read, written well and is interesting, written at a good level for anyone interested in the material but not extremely versed in the science itself.

Dr. Kane is a professor at the U. of Michigan, director emeritus at the Leinweber Institute for Theoretical Physics and is a leader in string theory.

January 26, 2021

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Filed under: Science — Tags: — Randolph @ 4:12 pm

This books doesn’t seem up to his normal standards, but still is interesting and insightful. It isn’t so much about interacting with strangers but about the assumptions we make when dealing with strangers. It also delves into the damage such assumptions can cause when dealing with people are cultures we aren’t familiar with. It goes into many case studies about people in different situations where seemingly innocent assumptions lead to grave errors, some of these involve drunkenness and sexual assault.

The stories include some of national interest and how government organizations can be deceived through these same assumptions, some involving the FBI and CIA dealing with spying.

Malcolm Gladwell seems to wander at times and the book feels a bit disconnected. There are no suggestions for improvement, he offers no guidelines. Just warnings and stories. Still, the book is interesting and enjoyable.

November 2, 2018

Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier edited by Travis Langley

Filed under: Science — Tags: — Randolph @ 3:57 pm

Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier edited by Travis Langley

This is a collection of short papers on common subjects in psychology. It uses Star Treck characters and events to provide examples and explain concepts. Each paper is written by different experts in the field paired with someone more experienced in writing to the common man. Editing is done well, as each paper has a similar style, making the collection feel coherent.

I found the book both interesting and easy to read. The use of Star Trek to drive ideas home makes it easy to understand and (hopefully) remember.

The book is part of a series, Psychology of Popular Culture. I plan to read more of this series.

June 2, 2017

Heart of the Machine by Richard Yonck

Filed under: Science,Technical — Randolph @ 2:34 pm

Heart of the Machine by Richard Yonck

Computers and robots that can respond to us on an emotional level are already among us, although at a primitive level. This books explores the logical extensions of that technology, looking at the good and the bad. The technology is not waiting for a moral analysis, nor even public awareness. It is being rolled out to benefit whichever company develops it.

Over the next couple of decades, these technologies will become part of our everyday lives. From the handheld assistants that can respond to the needs of our moods to salesbots that can exploit your weaknesses in order to make a sale. And there will be the inevitable exploit from hackers seeking to take advantage of weaknesses, ignorance, or just software bugs.

Each chapter begins with a short scenario that demonstrates use of some aspect of the technology. Then he delves into that technology and take the reader into new ideas and new frontiers.

Overall, I found the book enlightening. Not only is it a good read, I encourage people to read it just to prepare themselves for the future. Whether his ideas will come to fruition, or some other variants, it is already on its way.

June 21, 2015

The Wave Watcher’s Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Filed under: Science — Randolph @ 7:59 pm

The Wave Watcher's Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Gavin Pretor-Pinney discusses waves of many variety from a scientific perspective. Unlike most science books, this one is very readable. His prose is almost poetic at times, I found myself rereading a few sections for the imagery, not the science. And there wasn’t one metaphor – unless I just missed it.

The book is completely devoid of math. Still, it discusses details in a number of fields that help you to understand different phenomena. He starts and ends with ocean waves. He covers what drives them from their birth, what sustains them, and what give them their differing appearances and sizes. Different chapters discuss sound waves, supersonic flight, shock waves, light waves and more. In giving examples of different effects, he finds interesting trivia to fill the book.

One of the first things I noticed was that there is some italic text next to some paragraphs, partially indented into the text block. It seems to be fairly random at times, yet makes sense with respect to the paragraphs after having read it. My guess is that it would provide a memory assist when trying to either recall portions of the book or looking for a passage.

Overall, the book is very enjoyable and a moderately fast read. You don’t have to be a science nerd to enjoy it. If you are a science nerd, the lack of equations won’t be missed.

May 25, 2015

Three Roads To Quantum Gravity by Lee Smolin

Filed under: Science — Randolph @ 11:21 am

Three Roads To Quantum Gravity by Lee Smolin

This book provides an introduction to quantum gravity aimed at the general public. It provides three different approaches to quantum gravity, doing a decent job of discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each. The author discusses black holes and multiple universes in the journey.

His approach to each subject is historical, tracing development of key idea and briefly mentioning the people involved.

Overall the book is interesting and a rather light read. Although it is aimed at the general public, it is probably a little light for the people who would be interested in reading it.

January 4, 2015

Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang — Rewriting Cosmic History by Paul J. Steinhardt, Neil Turok

Filed under: Philosophy,Science — Randolph @ 8:29 pm

Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang -- Rewriting Cosmic History by Paul J. Steinhardt, Neil Turok

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