Archive for: December, 2011

Best Science Books 2011: Sean M. Carroll / Cosmic Variance

Dec 23 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Last-Minute Shopping List by Sean Carroll on Cosmic Variance.

  • Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World by Lisa Randall
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
  • Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer
  • The Infinity Puzzle: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe by Frank Close
  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch.
  • Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen
  • The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions by Alex Rosenberg
  • About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang by Adam Frank
  • The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Joshua Kim / Technology and Learning

Dec 22 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: The Technology and Learning blog by Joshua Kim.

  • The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin
  • Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay
  • Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser
  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
  • The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories by Frank Rose
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman
  • Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn by Cathy N. Davidson

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

One response so far

Best Science Books 2011: Kirkus Reviews

Dec 21 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Kirkus Reviews.

  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch
  • Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth by Curt Stager
  • First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth by Marc Kaufman
  • Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet by Tim F. Flannery
  • Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard
  • In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy
  • The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks
  • The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937 by David Welky
  • The Body Politic: The Battle Over Science in America by Jonathan D. Moreno
  • Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life by Martin Meredith
    <li>Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All by Paul A. Offit

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Boston Globe

Dec 20 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Science, Non-Fiction.

  • Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  • Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis by Cynthia Barnett
  • For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey through the Wonders of Physics by Walter Lewin, with Warren Goldstein
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
  • John James Audubon's Journal of 1826: The Voyage to the Birds of America by John James Audubon
  • Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe by Roger Penrose
  • Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku
  • The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian
  • Plastic: A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel
  • Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America by Christopher Turner
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Marginal Revolution

Dec 19 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Marginal Revolution Very Best Books, Best General Non-Fiction.

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined by Stephen Pinker
  • Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl
  • The Origins of AIDS by Jacques Pepin
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Marketplace, Chicago Sun-Times, Twin Cities StarTribune, New York Magazine

Dec 18 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following:

American Public Media Marketplace Best Business Books

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

Chicago Sun-Times Best Bet Holiday Gift Books

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Twin Cities StarTribune Holiday books roundup: Nonfiction

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors


New York Magazine The Year in Books

  • The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa by Duana Fullwiley
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: The Economist

Dec 16 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: The Economist Books of the Year.

  • The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet by David Victor
  • The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch
  • Revolutions that Made the Earth by Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson
  • The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
  • Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier by Edward Glaeser

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Friday Fun: How to argue with a scientist

Dec 16 2011 Published by under academia, culture of science, friday fun

OK, the blog post in question isn't actually that funny. But the title is. And, it's really worth reading for the seriously intentioned message it contains.

How to argue with a scientist: A guide.

I notice it all the time- on Facebook, in the comments of a science blog, over family gatherings, or listening to a radio talk show. Someone, maybe you, is patiently trying to explain how vaccines cause autism, perhaps, or why so-called "anthropogenic" global warming is really just due to sunspots or some other natural cycle. Perhaps you are doing pretty well at first, making use of passionate, heart-felt rhetoric and well-timed anecdotes. People are nodding their heads in agreement, and perhaps you're even changing someone's mind.

And then a scientist joins the discussion.

The conversation tends to devolve from here, turning into a debate and (often) ultimately a debacle. Scientists are notoriously difficult to argue with- for one, they're so sure they're right! This is true of most people, though- and it's probably true of you. What makes it especially frustrating to argue with a scientist is the jargon they use; if you don't speak their language, you're probably not going to change their mind.

I have created this handy guide to arguing with a scientist precisely for people like you! I've collected the most commonly used phrases and translated them into everyday English, so that the next time you argue with a scientist, you'll not only better understand their arguments, but you might learn how to make yours better, too.

Buy me a drink at the next conference you see me at and I'll tell you my tales of emabarassing woe. Let's just say "organic salt" was involved.

Anyways, here's some points on how to argue with a scientist. Or more precisely, how scientists argue, so you'll at least be able to figure out why the whole discussion has gone pear-shaped:

  • Sample size: ...Scientists talk about sample size in arguments all the time, to convince you that they have more "data" (evidence) to support their claim than you do. For example, if you say that there is one study that proves that global warming is natural, but the scientist cites 10,038 studies, their n = 10,038 and yours = 1. You're definitely going to need a bigger sample size to win this argument!
  • Anecdotal evidence:...In fact, your anecdote isn't even as good as a sample size of 1 in this case, because the anecdote is a story, and not a scientific study (remember, each study tends to have a lot of subjects, so really your sample size is closer to 0.001). Anecdotes are messy- they aren't set up like proper experiments, with regulations and control groups.
  • "That's not scientific!"...Things like how much you love your cat or whether the Flying Spaghetti Monster made the universe are not quantifiable, because they can't be measured. Therefore, they are not scientific.
  • Consensus:...The reason scientists generally reach consensus with other scientists (and not, say, your UFO abudction group) is because other scientists also use the Scientific Method, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and are informed by some of the basic principles I've explained above.

Anyways, read the whole thing. It's a terrific article and well worth your time. It may even save you some grief during the upcoming holiday period.

And if anyone is brave enough, please share your "arguing with a scientist" disasters in the comments -- from both sides of the scientist/civilian divide.

2 responses so far

Best Science Books 2011: Physics World

Dec 15 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Physics World Top 10 books of 2011.

  • Engineering Animals: How Life Works by Mark Denny, Alan McFadzean
  • Measure of the Earth: the Enlightenment Expedition that Reshaped the World by Larrie Ferreiro
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
  • Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists and Cinema by David Kirby
  • Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science by Lawrence Krauss
  • Rising Force: the Magic of Magnetic Levitation by James Livingston
  • Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet
  • The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek
  • Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss
  • Hindsight and Popular Astronomy by Alan Whiting

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Globe and Mail Gift Books

Dec 14 2011 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

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

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Globe and Mail Gift Books.

  • A History of The World in 100 Weapons by Chris McNabb
  • Voyages: To The New World and Beyond by Gordon Miller
  • Explorers: The Most Exciting Voyages of Discovery - From the African Expeditions to the Lunar Landing by Andrea De Porti
  • The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics by Clifford A. Pickover
  • Animal Life: Secrets of the Animal World Revealed by Charlotte Uhlenbroek
  • Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants: Identification and Cultivation of Over 3,000 Tropical Plants by Ahmed Fayaz
  • Deceptive Beauties: The World of Wild Orchids by Christian Ziegler
  • Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest by David Hall
  • Science: The Definitive Visual Guide edited by Adam Hart-Davis
  • Violent Earth: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Mudslides, Tsunamis by Robert Dinwiddie et al
  • The Book of the Wind: The Representation of the Invisible by Alessandro Nova
  • Atlas of Oceans by John Farndon
  • Frozen Planet: A World Beyond Imagination by Alastair Fothergill and Vanessa Berlowitz
  • Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build by Peter Goodfellow
  • Auroras: Fire in the Sky by Dan Bortolotti, photos by Yuichi Takasaka
  • The Human Body Close-Up by John Clancy
  • The Natural World Close-Up by Giles Sparrow
  • The Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass by Wade Davis
  • The Roof at the Bottom of the World: Discovering the Transantarctic Mountains by Edmund Stump

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.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

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