Archive for: November, 2012

Best Science Books 2012: Barnes & Noble

Nov 20 2012 Published by under best science books 2012, 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 2012 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Barnes & Noble Best Books 2012: Art, Architecture & Photography; Computer; Medical & Nursing; Professional & Education; .

  • Life in Color: National Geographic Photographs by Annie Griffiths
  • Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
  • God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

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 most of my lists from Largehearted Boy.

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 or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or maybe even something else from the today's list.

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Around the Web: What makes academic library patrons tick, The ascendance of expertise and more

Nov 19 2012 Published by under around the web

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Best Science Books 2012: Amazon

Nov 19 2012 Published by under best science books 2012, science books

It is time. The season of lists begins again!

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 I can find around the web in various media outlets.

From the beginning it's been a pretty popular service so I'm happy to continue it.

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.

Last year's winner, significantly ahead of the competition, was Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs. The year before it was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in a blowout. I'm not sure if there's a similarly positioned book this year, but only time -- and a bunch of lists -- will tell.

In any case, the summary post for 2011 books is here and all the posts for 2011 can be found here.

As it often the case, first up is the Amazon.com Editors' lists. Includes the main list and a few from subsidiary lists like Politics & Social Sciences and Science & Math.

  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't by Nate Silver
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt
  • Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are by Sebastian Seung
  • The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
  • The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Steven H. Strogatz
  • The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans by John Marzluff and Tony Angell
  • Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Jenkins Sheldrick
  • The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall
  • What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz
  • Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth by DK Publishing

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 most of my lists from Largehearted Boy.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or maybe even something else from the today's list.

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Around the Web: The Fallacy of Digital Natives, Beats vs obsessions, Data-gathering apps and more

Nov 14 2012 Published by under around the web

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Current/Future State of Higher Education: Week 6: Distributed Research & new models of inquiry !

Nov 13 2012 Published by under acad lib future, academia, cfhe12, education, librarianship

Yes, I've fallen behind a bit on my MOOC due to conferences and other general insanity, but after doing the last week this week I vow to catch up a bit retroactively and do weeks 3, 4 & 5.

My weeks 1 and 2 posts are here and here.

Distributed Research: new models of inquiry (Nov 12- 18)
Introduction - Week Six

Distributed research, or more generally, open science, reflect the next logical progression of the internet’s influence on higher education. Early 2000’s saw the development of open content. Since 2008, teaching in open online courses has gained prominence. Distributed research labs and open science represent the next stage of development of openness in education.

Developing the knowledge of a discipline is a complex process. Currently, new ideas are developed and shared through peer review and peer publications. This process takes time. Years of research are followed by a long cycle of formal peer review and publication. It is not unusual for articles, after they’ve been written, to take 2+ years to be published. During this process, conference presentations and interactions with peers may open new discoveries to critique and review. Even then, discoveries require long periods of work in isolation (or in small labs) followed by publication years later. Responses to those publications, through other researchers validating results and building on the initial research, can take an additional multi-year cycle. Research that is shared early, iteratively, and with engagement through blogs and social media can benefit from the benefit from the small contributions of many (or, in the language of open source software, with many eyeballs, “all bugs are shallow”).

Readings & Resources - Week Six

Michael Nielsen, Open Science TEDxWaterloo video 16:36

Principles of Open Science from Science Commons (pdf)

Michael Nielsen, The Future of Science

Martin Weller, The Digital Scholar

In particular, read the chapter on researchers and new technology

Example of a distributed research lab: http://www.distributedlab.net/


Activities - Week Six

As we conclude this course, reflect on the topics covered and the implications on the future of education. While bold proclamations have been issued by pundits regarding dramatic disruptions to higher education, change in complex fields is multifaceted. Many of the innovations considered - such as MOOCs - appear to add a layer to higher education, rather than replace the entire system of research, service, teaching, and scholarship. As you consider the future of education, reflect on what an integrated system of universities might look like when some components, such as teaching and learning, are distributed and online and other components, such as curriculum and testing, are handled by corporate partners.

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Recent Presentations: Getting Your Science Online and Evaluating Information

As I mentioned way back on October 22nd, I was kindly invited to give a talk at the Brock University Physics Department as part of their seminar series. The talk was on Getting Your Science Online, a topic that I'm somewhat familiar with! Since it was coincidentally Open Access Week, I did kind of an A-Z of online science starting with the various open movements: access, data and notebooks. From there I did a quick tour of the whys and wherefores of blogs and Twitter.

There was a good turnout of faculty and grad students with lots of great questions and feedback, some more skeptical that others but definitely stimulating and, I hope, worthwhile.

Here are the slides:

Thanks again to Thad Haroun and the Brock Physics Department for inviting me!

And the other notable presentation was just yesterday, part of my intervention in a section of one of York's science-for-non-science-majors courses, Natural Science 1700 Computers, Information and Society. The prof, Dov Lungu, and I collaborated on a three-part Information Literacy section for the course. In my three one-hour sessions I covered some of the basics of surviving the information needs of university life and in the second part, a fairly typical library session on how to find resources for the class. The third part was a bit more interesting in that Dov gave me free reign to talk about evaluating information online, pretty well any way I wanted.

I wouldn't normally bother to share my course materials here on the blog, but I rather like the presentation I used and I thought it went over fairly well. The various ridiculous examples I used worked well to spark a bit of discussion in quite a large class.

As usual, I appreciate any feedback.

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Around the Web: Profs with tattoos, Supporting an open definition of Digital Humanities and more

Nov 07 2012 Published by under around the web

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