Archive for: November, 2014

Best Science Books 2014: Amazon.ca Editors' Best Books

Nov 27 2014 Published by under best science books 2014, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

And here we are in 2014!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list includes Best Books of the Year & Best Canadian Books of the Year.

  • On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
  • Kitten Clone: Inside Alcatel-Lucent by Douglas Coupland
  • Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project last year and never got around to the end of year summary. The last few years I ended up featuring dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

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Best Science Books 2014: Amazon.com Top 100 Editors Picks

Nov 26 2014 Published by under best science books 2014, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

And here we are in 2014!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is 2014 Best Books of the Year: The Top 100 in Print Format.

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel
  • War of the Whales: A True Story by J. Horwitz
  • No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
  • The Oldest Living Things in the World by Rachel Sussman
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
  • Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder
  • Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness by Neil Swidey
  • Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson
  • Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Pääbo

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project last year and never got around to the end of year summary. The last few years I ended up featuring dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

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Best Science Books 2014: Globe and Mail 100

Nov 25 2014 Published by under best science books 2014, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

And here we are in 2014!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

The first list I'll be highlighting this year is the Globe and Mail's Globe 100.

  • The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
  • Circling the Midnight Sun: Culture and Change in the Invisible Arctic by James Raffan
  • The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor
  • Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Christian Rudde
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • On Immunity: An Innoculation by Eula Biss

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project last year and never got around to the end of year summary. The last few years I ended up featuring dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

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Around the ScholComm Web: Science Journals Have Passed Their Expiration Date, A Decade of Google Scholar and more

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Around the Apocalyptic Web: Against productivity, How to escape the age of mediocrity and more

Nov 14 2014 Published by under acad lib future, around the web

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Music Mondays: Gaga, Bennett, Bowie & Blue: The jazz conversation continues

Nov 10 2014 Published by under around the web, music

The fallout of the Great Sonny Rollins Jazz Satire Blowup of 2014 is still reverberating through the jazz community, prompting new uproars and bouncing off a surprising number of new jazz eruptions in the wider culture. Definitely interesting times to be a jazz fan, if not always for the right reasons.

Some cool stuff going on, see links below.

  • Tony Bennett teams up with Lady Gaga, of all people, to put out a duets album
  • David Bowie teams up with Maria Schneider on a song for his new greatest hits package
  • Annie Lennox doesn't team up with any famous jazz people for her new jazz standards album
  • The band Mostly Other People Do the Killing recorded a note-for-note recreation of Kind of Blue, to much consternation and comment.
  • Flying Lotus getting some attention for playing jazzy electronic music
  • Whiplash, a new movie about a young jazz drummer and his abusive teacher, is released to much comment
  • New John Coltrane & Bill Frisell releases that not everyone loved
  • Steve Coleman was name a McArthur Fellow!
  • Jazz is the Worst, twitter and blog.
  • And various other assorted bits and bobs

Who says jazz is dead? Seems like the conversation is still alive, the music is still popping up in the public consciousness, if not always in good ways, but it's there, making an impact, surprising, delighting and provoking people in new and unexpected ways.

And here's the continuing story of jazz, culture and jazz culture in 2014. Not comprehensive in its treatment as many of the recordings mentioned aboe have been extensively reviewed, but I tried to get a representative sample. There's lots to dig into.
 

 

As usual, if I've missed or forgotten anything, please let me know.

Of all of this recent stuff, in my opinion the David Bowie's Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) is by far the best pop/jazz collision, beating Gaga/Bennett and Annie Lennox quite handily. And of recent jazz recordings that I've encountered, the one that has impressed me the most is Canadian Molly Johnson's Because of Billy, her take on a bunch of Billie Holiday songs.

The next jazz-related project I'm thinking of is to perhaps pull together a bunch of the jazz is dead/jazz is not dead writings from the past decade or so and gather them together.

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Cool linky stuff for science undergrads (13): The rise of astrostatistics

Nov 05 2014 Published by under around the web, ugrad links

I have a son who's currently a third year physics undergrad and another son who's in first year philosophy. As you can imagine, I may occasionally pass along a link or two to them pointing to stuff on the web I think they might find particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps other undergrad students might find those links interesting or useful as well. Hence, this series of posts here on the blog.

Since I'm a science librarian, the items I've chosen are mostly geared towards science undergrads (hence, the title of the series), but I hope many of them will be of broader interest.

The previous posts in this series are: 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

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