Friday Fun: Top 50 Programming Quotes of All Time

Ok, this is just plain hysterical. And insightful. And both insightfully hysterical and hysterically insightful.

Enjoy.

Here's a taste, read the whole thing for yourself.

50. "Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to build bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning."
- Rick Cook

38. "The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should therefore be regarded as a criminal offense."
- E.W. Dijkstra

17. "If McDonalds were run like a software company, one out of every hundred Big Macs would give you food poisoning, and the response would be, 'We're sorry, here's a coupon for two more.' "
- Mark Minasi

6. "The trouble with programmers is that you can never tell what a programmer is doing until it's too late."
- Seymour Cray

Best Science Books 2010: Toronto Star, Time, GalleyCat

Another bunch of lists for your reading, gift giving and collection development pleasure.

Toronto Star

  • The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant

Time

  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light by Jane Brox
  • You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier

GalleyCat

  • Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell
  • Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

Earlier entries in this year's list of lists can be found here and the 2009 summary post here.

Best Science Books 2010: io9

Another list for your reading, gift giving and collection development pleasure.

  • On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition by Charles Darwin with David Quammen
  • The Six-Cornered Snowflake by Johannes Kepler
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
  • Star Vistas: A Collection of Fine Art Astrophotography by Greg Parker and Noel Carboni
  • America In Space: NASA's First Fifty Years by Steven Dick, Robert Jacobs, Constance Moore, and Bertram Ulrich
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
  • Sizing up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective by J. Richard Gott and Robert J. Vanderbei
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart
  • Breaking the Time Barrier: The Race to Build the First Time Machine by Jenny Randles

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

Earlier entries in this year's list of lists can be found here and the 2009 summary post here.

Best Science Books 2010: Wichita Eagle, The Daily Beast, Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, The Express

Another bunch of lists for your reading, gift giving and collection development pleasure.


Wichita Eagle

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Daily Beast

  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel (and here)

  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

The Express

  • Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by Rachel Hewitt
  • Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Crashed Civilization and Changed the Way We Think About Nature by Richard Mabey

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

Earlier entries in this year's list of lists can be found here and the 2009 summary post here.

Best Science Books 2010: Kirkus Reviews

Another list for your reading, gift giving and collection development pleasure.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Plundered Planet: Why We Must--and How We Can--Manage Nature for Global Prosperity by Paul Collier
  • The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet by Heidi Cullen
  • Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats by Gwynne Dyer
  • Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It by Anna Lappe and Bill McKibben
  • Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben
  • The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth by Eric Pooley
  • The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment by Benjamin Ross and Steven Amter

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

Earlier entries in this year's list of lists can be found here and the 2009 summary post here.

Around the Web: Transliteracy & Libraries (or not), Loving the iPad, Scholarly Googlebombing and more

From the Archives: Two 2005 best science writing books

I have a whole pile of science-y book reviews on two of my older blogs, here and here. Both of those blogs have now been largely superseded by or merged into this one. So I'm going to be slowly moving the relevant reviews over here. I'll mostly be doing the posts one or two per weekend and I'll occasionally be merging two or more shorter reviews into one post here.

This one covers two books and is from March 7, 2006:

  • The Best American Science Writing 2005 by Alan Lightman, editor & Jesse Cohen, series editor
  • The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2005 by Jonathan Weiner, editor & Tim Folger, series editor
    =======

    These two book series are definitely self-recommending. If you like science, if you like good writing, if you have long boring commutes on buses or trains, you owe it to yourself to buy and read these books. Or, buy/suggest these books for your library and read them. Both these books have basically the same aim: to collect popular science and nature writing and present them to an interested public, hopefully from a wide and varied selection of sources. Also, they can easily function as a current awareness tool in the sciences -- you can use the books to spot trends, to keep abreast of recent developments in important areas, to monitor public reaction scientific controversies, disputes or cutting edge advances. So, good books for scitech librarians.

    Do these particular editions of their respective series meet these high expectations? Mostly, yes, with a few reservations.

    The Lightman books has a good selection of stories from a good selection of disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, genetics, information technology, medicine, some nature writing, a couple of profiles or memoir-type pieces. The particular highlights for me are Oliver Sacks' "Greetings from the Island of Stability" on discovering new elements and David Quammen's "Darwin or Not" which looks carefully at the arguments in favour of evolution and darwinism and definitely comes out on the side of reason and science. A significant lowlight in this collection? I can't for the life of me figure out what possessed Lightman to include the essay "On the Origins of the Mind" by David Berlinski. For those not in the know, Berlinski is a member of the Discovery Institute and therefore a card-carrying creationist. Coming right after the Quammen article in the table of contents, the Berlinski article completely undermines Quammen (and in a sense, the whole book). Where Quammen gives a rational, fact-based account of reality, Berlinski, when faced with unanswered questions about the origin and nature of human consciousness, says, "The rest is darkness, mystery and magic." It doesn't take too much intelligence to figure out that these are code-words for god -- if we don't know the answer, then there is no answer we can know, only supernatural intervention. Alan Lightman, what were you thinking?

    On average, the Weiner book is a bit better, with no articles I was really disappointed in. A good selection of topics (anthropology, aerospace, psychology, engineering and technology), if maybe a little heavy on medical reporting and book reviews. Real highlights for me are easy to spot: Natalie Angier's "My God Problem -- and Theirs" on the place of religion in public debate in science, Jared Diamond's "Twilight at Easter" on what we can learn from Easter Island and Jerome Groopman's "The Grief Industry" about how maybe people are a lot more resilient in the face of hardship than we give them credit for. This might be the one must-read from this book. Quibbles -- and really, my problems with this book really are just quibbles. First of all, there really isn't any nature writing, despite the presence of word in the title of the book. The Easter Island story is the closest. The second is that the editor needs to get out more. Of the 25 articles in the book, 13 were from The New Yorker, The New York Times or The New York Review of Books. Not to mention, one more has The New York Times in it's title ("The Homeless Hacker vs. The New York Times") and another has The New York Review of Books in the first sentence ("The Man or the Moment"). Not that it would be easy to choose which articles to leave out, but the narrowness of sources and points of view is a bit problematic for me.

    One more thing. Natalie Angier has an article in each of these collections and both are excellent. (From the Lightman book, I didn't mention "Scientist at Work: Jacqueline Barton," a terrific portrait of a female scientist.) To all you giants of the publishing industry out there in blogland, why doesn't this woman have at least a couple of essay collections already? She has to be one of the best science writers working today, probably the best without a published collection. What's taking so long?

    Lightman, Alan, ed. The Best American Science Writing 2005. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. 300pp.

    Weiner, Jonathan, ed. The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2005. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 304pp.

Friday Fun: Appliqued holiday sweaters and other hilarious librarian stereotypes

The Librarian's Guide to Etiquette is one of my favourite blogs -- always whimsical and cruel at the same time. Gentle and yet going for the jugular.

Basically, taking the piss out of the library profession since 2005.

Here's some favourite posts, recent and non-so-recent:

Sweaters, Holiday
A good librarian should have enough appliqued holiday sweaters so that he or she can wear a different one each day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. If you wear the same Rudolph sweater over and over, you may inadvertently subject your library coworkers to the condition known as festive fleece fatigue.

Conversation, Making
Librarians should limit themselves to one "cat story" per day to avoid the risk of becoming a bore around the library workplace. Also, once you are home, limit yourself to one "library story" per day to avoid becoming a bore to your cat.

Abstinence, Practising
Librarians should never have sex. The world can't handle it. Plus, your profession needs your resulting sexual frustration channeled towards the uniform placement of call number labels on book spines.

Provocative, Being
Be a library provocateur by making bold statements like

  • Library instruction doesn't work.
  • Library catalogs are obsolete.
  • Reference is dead.
  • Librarianship is not a science.
  • Google wins.

Be careful not to be too provocative, lest you run the risk of talking yourself out of your cushy job.

Signs, Making patrons read
Frustrated with patrons who won't read the signs you have hanging throughout your library? Here are some tips.....................

Well, you'll have to go over to the original post to see the punch lines for that one!

Geek Book Gift Guide

Although it is perilously close to way too late, but you do have time to rush down to an actual, honest-to-goodness bookstore (or perhaps get an ebook from an estore) and maybe pick up one of these titanic suggestions from Ethan Gilsdorf on Tor.com. All great stuff for the geek in your life.

Hint, hint.

Anyways, here's what Gilsdorg suggests with his descriptions at the original post:

Best Science Books 2010: Richard Nash & Joshua Kim

Another couple of lists for your reading, gift giving and collection development pleasure.

I've tended not to highlight individual people's blog lists or whatever that much here, just for the sake of my sanity and so as not to go too crazy with the number of posts, but I thought that these two list were very interesting from the point of view of understanding the impact of technology on education and publishing.

Between them, these are a couple of very good places to start reading about where the media/education industrial complex is headed, for good or ill.

I'll include every item on their two lists, not just the scitechy ones.

Richard Nash

  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky
  • Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone
  • The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 by David Edgerton
  • From Betamax to Blockbuster: Video Stores and the Invention of Movies on Video by Joshua M. Greenberg
  • The Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the 21st Century by John B. Thompson

Joshua Kim

  • The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
  • Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz
  • False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World by Alan Beattie
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Sonic Boom: A Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the New Global Economy by Gregg Easterbrook
  • I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted by Nick Bilton
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

Earlier entries in this year's list of lists can be found here and the 2009 summary post here.