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Category Archives: Science

Thoughts on various scientific items stumbled across; a critic’s take on new discoveries; a civilian’s view of what it might mean.

review: Imagine

by Rob Friesel

In Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer presents a series of experimental findings and narratives, and draws them together into an optimistic thesis on creativity and innovation. But there are two books here: there’s the successful book, the book where Lehrer is a capable wordsmith with a knack for describing and synthesizing these scientific findings […]

Quiet

by Rob Friesel

When you read Susan Cain’s Quiet, you must remind yourself of a few things: This not introverts versus extroverts;1 she is not villainizing extroverts; she is not out to glorify introverts and introversion; and if it seems like she is making unsubtle generalizations, it’s because she has targeted a lay audience. With this in mind, […]

How the Universe Got Its Spots

by Rob Friesel

You might have come across Janna Levin’s How the Universe Got Its Spots the same way that I did—by seeing it show up in io9’s “20 Science Books Every Scifi Fan (and Writer) Should Read”, or some such similar list of “must read” science books. Of Levin’s book, io9’s Annalee Newitz writes: Levin is a […]

The Trouble with Physics

by Rob Friesel

I first came across The Trouble with Physics after reading The Elegant Universe and receiving this comment which pointed me to this review. I had closed the covers of The Elegant Universe feeling invigorated about physics generally1 but sour on string theory specifically. Simply put, for as elegant as string theorists claim that string theory […]

the runner’s diet: where’s the beef?

by Rob Friesel

I just finished reading Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run1—which is a great read and a great2 book.  The book has been tremendously popular and has reached many people3, and there are tons of reviews out there, many of them with the same glowing endorsements and focusing on the same synopsis of the book: …an epic […]

The Elegant Universe

by Rob Friesel

AN INTRODUCTION BY WAY OF HYPERBOLIC SENTIMENT: The Elegant Universe is “The Bible” of superstring theory1. I close the covers of The Elegant Universe with powerfully mixed feelings. On the one hand, Brian Greene gives us a lucidly-written layman’s-terms explanation for high-concept modern physics, providing an excellent survey of 20th century science and painting a […]

The Moral Animal

by Rob Friesel

First and foremost: an uncritical read of this book will leave you feeling cynical and a bit cheated. It ranks up there with E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology and Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene1. It would be very easy to find yourself getting defensive about the material presented in here; especially if you believe humans to be some special exception […]