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.

April 23, 2013

The Vision Revolution by Mark Changizi

Filed under: Science — Randolph @ 4:37 pm

The Vision Revolution by Mark Changizi

Mark Changizi is proposing a new origin of vision and how we see. It moves the emphasis from food to socializing. He proposes that vision provides us with six super powers: telepathy, x-ray vision, future vision, and spirit reading. Cool, huh? Ok, they are really a bit more mundane than that, especially since we use them on a regular basis.

In more ordinary terms, we have telepathy from our ability to read each other. Our color vision has its greatest response range around the areas of our skin involving blood flow. We can tell the oxygenation levels and blood volume by subtle changes in skin color. These changes correspond to health and basic brain activity.

We have x-ray vision by virtue of our binocular vision. When we have a leafy environment close to us, our brain combines two images from our eyes and is able to remove the leaves from our view. He argues that animals from leavy environments are more likely to have forward-facing eyes, and that animals larger than the size of leaves and grasses are also more likely to have forward-facing eyes.

In a similar vein he explains future vision and spirit reading. In all cases, you understand why this ability is special, and why it is also ordinary. He backs his theory up well with data and interesting trivial.

He also uses his theory to explain a variety of visual illusions. These are primarily related to our future vision. He makes very good arguments and demonstrates a number of different classes of illusion.

The book is fascinating and a very good read for anyone interested in vision, physiology, or psychology.

April 16, 2013

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

Filed under: Steampunk — Tags: , — Randolph @ 6:18 pm

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

The Bookman is different from any novel I’ve read. I’d call it steampunk, with a twist. It is an adventure novel with many twists done in a masterful fashion. It has an array of characters, known and new, that fit into a well-told story. The story weaves pirates, androids (automatons), aliens, and revolutionaries into an intricate story. It is set in history with many characters, both real and fictional, including kings and queens, Mycroft Holmes, Moriarty, Gilgamesh, Jules Verne, and others. It involves lands that are familiar, but somehow different. We recognize many place names, but they’ve been altered to fit a new history.

The story follows Orphan, a youth coming of age, who didn’t know his parents. He is raised by Gilgamesh, and finds himself being played as a pawn in a giant power struggle. When his love is killed by an exploding book, he becomes involved in his own struggle to get her back, entangling him with a robotic terrorist, lizards from space, and pirates. But nothing is quite what it seems.

I found the pace of the book masterful. It moves quickly, with just the right amount of slow pacing to provide contrast and let things settle. Most of the characters appear for a few pages, then disappear. The plot is unclear. Every chapter or two, we learn more, it all makes sense, then it changes again.

The writing is good, too. Orhan’s love, Lucy is studying whales in the Thames. The whales become a symbol of their love, and becomes a harbinger event to come. The author often uses unusual adjectives that provide an otherworldly feel for characters and events, yet seem quite natural.

I would encourage you to read this one if you enjoy adventure books or like something a bit out of the ordinary. Your creative mind will thank you.

Powered by WordPress