Archive for: December, 2014

Reading Diary: Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things by Carlos Bueno

Dec 24 2014 Published by under book review, computer science, science books

Carlos Bueno's new book, Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things, is another example of how to create a fun and informative books for kids that is both entertaining and engaging. While not without some faults, it does a great job of using character and story to convey serious ideas about computer science in an accessible way.

The premise of the story is that our plucky heroine, Lauren Ipsum, or Laurie, gets lost in the forest after an argument with her parents and somehow finds her way into the mysterious alternate reality Userland. In order to find her way home, she has to solve a bunch of puzzles and figure out a path back to her own city. She encounters a wide range of quirky characters and situations, all of which the author uses to explain real concepts in computer science. And not the kind of computer science that's associated with programming or websites or operating systems and gadgets. Bueno definitely aims at explaining the deeper underlying concepts of computing, like travelling salesmen, problem solving, upper and lower bounds, recursion, networks, binary searching, algorithms, brute force, heuristics, Mandelbroccoli and all the rest. One feature I really appreciated is a Field Guide/Glossary at the end which Bueno is more explicit about what concepts he's trying to get across in each chapter as well as providing a more detailed explanation.

And Bueno mostly does a great job of using the framing narrative to elucidate the concepts largely by making Laurie jump through a bunch of plot hoops.

And there's fun stuff here too for the grown up computer scientist who'll catch a lot of jokey references to jargon and personalities in computing, such as the towers of Hanoi, the source of Lauren's name and so many others.

Above I did say mostly and there are a few weaknesses in the book. At times I felt Bueno was trying to cram too many concepts into too short a space, seeming to speed up as the book went along. The integration of Lauren's story with the computing content started out extremely well but the plot and characterization seemed to take more of a backseat to the concepts with each passing chapter. Probably the characterization and plot momentum needed to stay stronger -- the spoonful of sugar to help the computing conceptual medicine go down, as I've said so many times in reference to science-themed children's books and graphic novels. Miran Lipovaca's illustrations are wonderful, but they could have been used more to illustrate how the plot points related to the concepts. Which leads me to believe that maybe a graphic novel treatment of this material would also have been an interesting project. Who knows, maybe that's the next step!

But those are minor quibbles. Overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a gift for any child in your life, especially the girls. It's probably most appropriate for kids starting at about 8 or 9, but many both younger and older will find much to enjoy. Any school library should definitely get this book as should education libraries at post-secondary institutions. The book is deep and serious "under the hood" so just about anyone of any age that wants to learn about computing will find much to enjoy and learn here. Perhaps some further reading at the end would have been appreciated.

Bueno, Carlos. Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things. San Francisco: No Starch, 2015. 192pp. ISBN: 978-1-59327-574-7

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Best Science Books 2014: Science Friday

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 Scifri – The Best Science Books of 2014.

  • The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis by Arthur Allen
  • On Immunity: An Innoculation by Eula Biss
  • The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
  • Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self by Jennifer Ouellette
  • The Coming Swarm: DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet by Molly Sauter
  • Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
  • Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth by Anthony D. Barnosky
  • Oxygen: A Four Billion Year History by Donald E. Canfield
  • How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg
  • The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures by Christine Kenneally
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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: Wired

Dec 18 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 Wired: The Best Science Books We Read in 2014.

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • The Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature's Gems by Patrice Bouchard
  • Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science Is Creating a New Generation of Superathletes--and What We Can Learn from Them by Mark McClusky
  • Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty by Vikram Chandra
  • Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  • Great Myths of the Brain by Christian Jarrett
  • Spineless by Susan Middleton
  • Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen
  • The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi
  • Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
  • Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves by Laurel Braitman
  • The Public Domain Review: Selected Essays, 2011-2013

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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: The Guardian

Dec 17 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 The Guardian Best Books of the Year Science, Biography, City Books, Nature, Science.

  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Innovators by Walter Isaacson
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 24
  • Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh
  • Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford
  • The Passenger Pigeon by Errol Fuller
  • A Message from Martha: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and its Relevance Today by Mark Avery
  • A Sparrowhawk's Lament: How British Breeding Birds of Prey Are Faring by David Cobham and Bruce Pearson
  • Urban Peregrines by Ed Drewitt
  • The Birds of London by Andrew Self
  • Grey Daggers and Minotaurs in Greenwich Park: Memories of a London Schoolboy Naturalist in the 1940s by John F. Burton and Susan England
  • Nature in Towns and Cities by David Goode
  • Herbaceous by Paul Evans
  • Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet by by Mark Cocker
  • My Year with Hares by Martin Hayward Smith
  • Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field by John Lewis Stempel
  • Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Insects of Britain and Ireland by Paul D. Brock
  • A History of Birdwatching in 100 Objects by David Callahan
  • Shrewdunnit: The Nature Files by Conor Mark Jameson
  • Savannah Diaries by Brian Jackman
  • Handbook of the Mammals of the World - Volume 4: Sea Mammals Edited by Don E. Wilson, Russell A. Mittermeier
  • HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines by Josep del Hoyo, Nigel J. Collar, David A. Christie, Andrew Elliott, Lincoln D. C. Fishpool
  • The World of Birds by Jonathan Elphick
  • Cold Blood by Richard Kerridge
  • H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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.)

One response so far

Reading Diary: Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada by Elizabeth May

For those that don't know, Elizabeth May is the leader of the Green Party of Canada and one of only two Greens in the Canadian Parliament -- and the only one elected as a Green. As such, you would expect that she would be a strong advocate for democracy and the environment, willing to stand up to the current Conservative government of Stephen Harper and tell it like it is.

In her latest book, Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada, she does just that in an entertaining and inspiring amalgamation of memoir and manifesto.

This is an amazing book, sarcastic and hopeful but still witty and smart and sharp and inspiring. This is a book that instantly sprints to the top of my list of best books of 2014. While not quite a science book, I like to think of it as a "let's pay attention to science" public policy book, kind of like the recent This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (a book I'm in the middle of and will review soon).

The book really has three main narrative strains. First of all, a rather brief recounting of May's life and career, from growing up in the States to moving to the Maritimes as a teen all the way through her work in various NGOs and to the present as leader of the Greens. The second thread is a clear-eyed, honest and rather bleak presentation of the facts about the climate crisis that we face, how dire it is and how urgent it is for us all to start acting rather than talking. And yes, she does have some ideas for how to act.

The third and perhaps most important narrative brings those two together and in great detail explicates exactly how the Harper government is failing us all. The the attacks on science and the environment to the census and the various proroguings and other assaults on democracy, May lays it all out in plain, accessible language. But not pulling any punches by any means. This is a rather short book, only 200 or so pages, so she really hits the high points and tells the stories that need to be told quickly and efficiently.

One of the areas she highlights most effectively is how parliament has become increasingly nasty, dysfunctional and hyper-partisan under Harper, even compared to the Mulroney government where she worked as a time as an aide to the Minister of the Environment. So she knows whereof she speaks. The lack of collaboration among the parties, the petty slights and major ad hominem attacks that are part of the perpetual election campaign all figure into it. And quite a depressing story it is.

But Elizabeth May is nothing if not hopeful and optimistic, if cautiously. And that comes out in every page. She brings a lot of wit and sarcastic humour to the tales she tells, but never in a mean or unkind way. She obviously knows where a lot of bodies are buried and has taken part in a lot of personal conversations with members of all parties where they have bared their souls.

But exposing those confidences isn't the point. Telling the larger story is.

And she does that wonderfully. I recommend this book without hesitation for all Canadians. Buy it for everyone you know on our holiday lists. This is a must for virtually any Canadian library, public or academic, that collects in politics or any branch of public policy, especially around science or the environment. Beyond Canada's borders, any library that is interested in collecting on the environment or public policy should probably also consider this book for it's general coverage of climate issues and it's inspiring story of the life of an activist.

Elizabeth May is a wonderful writer. And since her book is so sharp, witty and biting, with so many zingers, I thought I'd share a few.

In some ways, Stephen Harper may have done us a favour. We have been knocked out of complacency as he held up a mirror to our collective face, and taunted us "This is what you really look like." (p. 6)

This is a book about how to fix what is wrong, rescue democracy from hyper-partisan politics and put Canada, and the world, on the path to a secure, post-carbon economy. (p. 7)

Public relations spin developed by Big Carbon started trumping science in the United States under George W. The same thing did not begin to happen in Canada until a public relations spin master manipulator arrived at 24 Sussex Drive (p. 55)

At every COP since Stephen Harper became Canada's Prime Minister, Canada has received the Colossal Fossil. That's quite the statement when one considers that, until 2008, his competition for Colossal Fossil was George W. Bush. (p. 56)

If the debate of the twentieth century was the relationship between the economy and humanity, the debate of the twenty-first century is the relationship between the economy and the planet. (p. 76)

Somehow I convinced myself that a political leader who told the truth all the time, even if it meant defending people in other political parties, might just be the wild card that restored public faith in Canadian politics. (p. 88)

Protecting the environment through the steady and time-worn methods of building a case, launching a campaign, getting public support, and persuading people in power to change gad plans into good ones had become a Monty Python sketch. It was a Dead Parrot. (p. 92)

As part of my activities in the school environment club, I bought every paperback I could [of Limits to Growth] and maintained a lending library for activists in one corner of the science lab where we tested the pH levels of various detergents. (p. 130-131)

Global supplies of coal are so enormous that counting on coal scarcity to reduce greenhouse gases is a bet we can make on a dead planet. (p. 132)

The new public relations industry makeover has mysteriously decided that anyone who calls bitumen-rich soils "tar sands" is being disrespectful to Alberta. The politically correct term is "oil sands." I don't want to be disrespectful to anyone, so I call them oil sands. Given that bitumen is neither tar nor oil, I decided to use whatever term offends the fewest Albertans. (p. 134)

No one in the environmental movement would ever have predicted that Chretien's environmental record would make us nostalgic for Brian Mulroney. (p. 142)

Our job is to move government from the problem side of the ledger to the solution side. (p. 160)

To watch Question Period on television is enough to make most people want to change the channel. I see school groups come into the house only to have teachers shepherd their young charges out of the chamber as MPs descend into behavior no teacher would allow in the classroom. (p. 168-169)

The outward appearance of a functional cabinet government supported by a non-partisan civil service is being maintained, but the reality is that nothing is normal. It reminds me of the movie I ever saw: Invasion of the Body Snatchers...Ottawa is experiencing metaphorical alien invasion. Environment Canada may look like Environment Canada, but it's not. It's a pod department. (p. 174)

We need to encourage all MPs to speak up, to speak their minds, and to stop accepting the tyranny of whiz kids and spin doctors who ply their craft in all the other parties...[the whiz kids] have their place: during elections. Once a political campaign is over, they should be working in ad agencies or consulting firms, or even as baristas to improve their people skills. (p. 201)

Ok, more than a few.

And before I forget. Elizabeth May for Prime Minister. This is what compassionate, visionary leadership looks like.

May, Elizabeth. Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada. Vancouver: Greystone, 2014. 214pp. ISBN-13: 978-1771640312

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Best Science Books 2014: NBC News

Dec 09 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 NBC News Brainy Reads: Top Science and Tech Books of 2014.

  • The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson
  • The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities by Caleb Scharf
  • Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
  • Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe by Alan Hirshfeld
  • The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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.)

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2014: The Washington Post

Dec 08 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 lists are The Washington Post ten best books of 2014 and 50 notable works of nonfiction.

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal by Tom Shroder
  • The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution by Jonathan Eig
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter
  • How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg
  • How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides
  • Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr
  • What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It by Adam Tanner
  • War of the Whales: A True Story by Joshua Horwitz

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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.)

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2014: Physics World

Dec 05 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 Physics World Top physics books for 2014.

  • Wizards, Aliens and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction by Charles L Adler
  • Serving the Reich: the Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler by Philip Ball
  • Five Billion Years of Solitude: the Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings
  • Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters by Kate Brown
  • Smashing Physics: Inside the World’s Biggest Experiment by Jon Butterworth
  • Sonic Wonderland: a Scientific Odyssey of Sound by Trevor Cox
  • The Perfect Theory: a Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity by Pedro G Ferreira
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
  • Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian by A. Douglas Stone
  • Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of Laki, the Volcano that Turned Eighteenth-century Europe Dark by Jeff Kanipe

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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.)

One response so far

Best Science Books 2014: Library Journal

Dec 04 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 Library Journal Best Books of 2014.

  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku
  • The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life by Alan de Queiroz
  • Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
  • Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World by Amir Alexander
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides
  • No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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.)

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2014: New York Times 100 Notable Books

Dec 03 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 New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014.

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty by Vikram Chandra
  • The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us by Diane Ackerman
  • The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures by Christine Kenneally
  • On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein

And check out my previous 2014 lists here!

Many of the lists I use use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(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.)

No responses yet

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