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Old 04-02-2011, 11:54 PM   #881
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Boombustology, by Vikram Mansharamani. An extremely interesting book, though probably not one that could be used as a recipe for investing. It might well modify one's thinking about investments though.

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Old 04-05-2011, 08:04 PM   #882
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Just finished The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged) by Alexandre Dumas. Loved it. Great story about the limits of human justice. Loved keeping track of the multitude of characters.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:17 PM   #883
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My last book was Ann Rule's In the Still of the Night. It wasn't nearly as good as her early books. Now I'm almost done with JanKaron's In the Company of Others. I find her books very comfortable.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:12 AM   #884
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The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. Ridley has written well received books on evolution and genetics. This one is fascinating but controversial. He surveys human progress over the last 100,000 years or so from the viewpoint that markets, specialization and exchange have been the predominant drivers of progress. It is an interesting thesis and he marshals a lot of examples to demonstrate how it works. The down side (IMHO) is that the whole book reads like (in the opinion of an Amazon reviewer) "a 360 page newspaper op ed piece." While I was uncomfortable with some of the book, I share some of his controversial opinions, e.g., that opponents of GM foods are doing the poorest of the world a big disservice, that bio-fuels could potentially have a net negative impact on the poor and the environment, and that we can better address global warming through technology than draconian conservation. His discussion on climate change is particularly interesting and particularly controversial. He cites Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) statistics to argue that the impact of global warming will either be much smaller than many expect (because the scenarios rely on the 3rd world progressing rapidly to near western levels of energy use and affluence), or that the accompanying progress will enable the most heavily affected to adapt easier than anticipated, or more likely both. The climate change arguments run so contrary to conventional wisdom that they are worth discussing and debating. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to judge but I have long wondered whether the proponents of doom and gloom are about as accurate as other fear mongers from decades and centuries past. Ridley does a good job of laying out how often such predictions have gained currency and how universally they have been wrong. At any rate, I recommend checking this one out.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:02 AM   #885
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. Ridley has written well received books on evolution and genetics. This one is fascinating but controversial. He surveys human progress over the last 100,000 years or so from the viewpoint that markets, specialization and exchange have been the prodeominant drivers of progress. It is an interesting thesis and he marshals a lot of examples to demonstrate how it works. the down side (IMHO) is that the whole book reads like (in the opinion of an Amazon reviewer) "1 360 page newspaper op ed piece." While I was uncomfortable with some of the book, I share some of his controversial opinions, e.g., that opponents of GM foods are doing the poorest of the world a big disservice, that bio-fuels could potentially have a net negative impact on the poor and the environment, and that we can better address global warming through technology than draconian conservation. His discussion on climate change is particularly interesting and particularly controversial. He cites Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) statistics to argue that the impact of global warming will either be much smaller than many expect (because the scenarios rely on the 3rd world progressing rapidly to near western levels of energy use and affluence), or that the accompanying progress will enable the most heavily affected to adapt easier than anticipated, or more likely both. The climate change arguments run so contrary to conventional wisdom that they are worth discussing and debating. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to judge but I have long wondered whether the proponents of doom and gloom are about as accurate as other fear mongers from decades and centuries past. Ridley does a good job of laying out how often such predictions have gained currency and how universally they have been wrong. At any rate, I recommend checking this one out.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:28 PM   #886
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I am reading The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd. It is a great FBI crime novel that I cannot put down. I plan to get his nex novel Agent X.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:13 PM   #887
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I'm just finishing "Blood, Bones & Butter" the Inadvertent Education of a reluctant chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:20 PM   #888
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Whoops sent to fast, and I can't remember how to edit, but wanted all to know how much I enjoyed "Blood Bones and Butter" the writing was so smooth, the food descriptions mouthwatering and the memoir fascinating. Didn't want to finish it because I didn't want it to end.
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:15 PM   #889
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I just read "Rescue " by Anita Shreve . It was good . Sometimes her books are depressing but this was a good read .
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:56 PM   #890
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I just finished reading The Last Hero, by Terry Pratchett and beautifully illustrated by Paul Kidby. I find Terry Pratchett more entertaining than Douglas Adams ever managed to be.
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:52 AM   #891
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Beginning "Worth dying for" by Lee Child. IMO one of his best Reacher novels.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:29 AM   #892
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The 4% Universe: Dark matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality, by Richard Panek, is a must read for cosmology fans. Panek follows the efforts of a variety of top astronomers and physicists searching for evidence of the origins of the universe and its likely end from Penzias and Wilson finding the microwave background radiation almost half a century ago to the latest supernova evidence for an accelerating expansion. He actually makes the subject exciting as he follows the teams racing to gather the key observations. If the haunting Hubble Deep Field images of thousands of galaxies in a tiny, tiny sliver of space make your mind wander then this is your book.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:29 AM   #893
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Right now I'm reading Deep Simplicity by John Gribbin. This has encouraged me to go back to the college physics books and relearn some things from decades ago. I particularly like the way Gribbin describes the difficulty of calculating using classical mechanics the movement and behavior of even fairly simple systems. Then when we take into account that a cubic centimeter of air contains about 10^19 or 1 billion times 10 billion molecules we see that we don't really have to get into quantum mechanics to appreciate the complexity of our world. As Gribbin says it is mostly a matter of describing the starting state of a system and it's feedback process. Requires a lot of estimates right off the bat.

Now a question for Don or others. I've seen a few reviews for books dealing with cosmological subjects and here are some titles:
1) Fabric of the Cosmos (2005) - Brian Greene
2) Hidden Reality (2011) - Brian Greene
3) In Search of the Multiverse - John Gribbin
4) The 4% Universe - Panek (see Don's discussion above)
5) others? -- add yours

So which one to choose first or what order to read these or possibly other ones on cosmology? I still have my old copy of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:38 AM   #894
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
Right now I'm reading Deep Simplicity by John Gribbin. This has encouraged me to go back to the college physics books and relearn some things from decades ago. I particularly like the way Gribbin describes the difficulty of calculating using classical mechanics the movement and behavior of even fairly simple systems. Then when we take into account that a cubic centimeter of air contains about 10^19 or 1 billion times 10 billion molecules we see that we don't really have to get into quantum mechanics to appreciate the complexity of our world. As Gribbin says it is mostly a matter of describing the starting state of a system and it's feedback process. Requires a lot of estimates right off the bat.

Now a question for Don or others. I've seen a few reviews for books dealing with cosmological subjects and here are some titles:
1) Fabric of the Cosmos (2005) - Brian Greene
2) Hidden Reality (2011) - Brian Greene
3) In Search of the Multiverse - John Gribbin
4) The 4% Universe - Panek (see Don's discussion above)
5) others? -- add yours

So which one to choose first or what order to read these or possibly other ones on cosmology? I still have my old copy of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.
I loose track of what I have read. I definitely have not read Deep Simplicity but it isn't available from the library for now so it will have to wait. I don't think I have read Gribbins Multiverse so I put it on hold. But the cover looked familiar so maybe I already read it. The library doesn't keep records of what I checked out (privacy rights) so I can't look up my history

I definitely read and liked both Greene books. I lilked Fabric of the Cosmos enough that I bought it - which is unusual for me. But Hidden Reality covers some of the same ground and is up to date so I would recommend that. Greene is an excellent writer for lay audiences but also has a good science background -- you can't go wrong with him. The 4% Universe focuses on the obervational science that supports the big bang, inflation and acceleration. It is both a good read and a good way to understand why these concepts are so well accepted by the scientific community - the data show they are real. Greene's stuff (and Gribbins from the reviews) get deep into current theories that explain why the observational facts may have come to be (e.g. quantum fluctuations leading to our big bang and 10*500th more parallel universes. Greene also describes some of the quantum physics experiments that prove "spooky action at a distance." Some of the split beam experiments are down right unsettling. If I remember correctly Fabric of the Cosmos may go into more detail on some of that.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:53 AM   #895
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I loose track of what I have read. I definitely have not read Deep Simplicity but it isn't available from the library for now so it will have to wait. I don't think I have read Gribbins Multiverse so I put it on hold. But the cover looked familiar so maybe I already read it. The library doesn't keep records of what I checked out (privacy rights) so I can't look up my history

I definitely read and liked both Greene books. I lilked Fabric of the Cosmos enough that I bought it - which is unusual for me. But Hidden Reality covers some of the same ground and is up to date so I would recommend that. Greene is an excellent writer for lay audiences but also has a good science background -- you can't go wrong with him.
Hi Don, which would you go for first, Hidden Reality or The 4% Universe?

I actually bought Deep Simplicity as an "almost new" paperback copy at a very low price. Nice to be able to underline some passages. It goes into chaos theory which Gribbin admitted he personally came to late.

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Old 04-12-2011, 12:24 PM   #896
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Hi Don, which would you go for first, Hidden Reality or The 4% Universe?

I actually bought Deep Simplicity as an "almost new" paperback copy at a very low price. Nice to be able to underline some passages. It goes into chaos theory which Gribbin admitted he personally came to late.

Les
They are quite different so one doesn't lead to the other. I would choose based on what you are most interested in. Quantum effects, the multiverse, et al - Hidden Reality. General cosmic astrophysics (big bang, inflation, acceleration) - 4% Universe. The later is also less demanding. Greene isn't exactly hard but once in a while he explained some technical detail left me wondering huhn? So go 4% if you want to stat off in the easy reading category
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:54 PM   #897
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OK, good comments. Thanks! Still got to get through Gribbin first. Sometimes I get too distracted by all those great books out there. When I was young I worried about how to tackle the library. Now I worry about getting a decent foundation of knowledge and retention ... but the process is suppose to be fun so I go slooowly with this non-fiction stuff.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:10 AM   #898
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I just read The Great Gatsby for the first time last week.
An interesting read that holds insight into today's society as if it was written yesterday.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:45 AM   #899
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The Complaints, by Ian Rankin, is a pretty good detective story about a Glascow internal affairs cop who gets setup by ... (no more info without spoiling). Rankin, an Edgar Award winner, is new to me. I am putting some of his other novels on hold since I enjoyed this one and his others are better reviewed.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:00 AM   #900
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Amazon.com: The Blue Afternoon (9780679772606): William Boyd: Books

This starts out in 1930's LA with a young female architect who is visited by a man who claims to be her father. Then much of the book goes back in time to this man's past in the Philippines as a doctor during the war with the US. Finally it closes out in the 1930's. If you can deal with the jumping around you won't be disappointed. Everything comes together in the end. Oh, and there is romance + sex too .

I was debating with myself what to make of this book as I read it. But by the end decided it was an excellent read, 5 stars. Boyd is one of those very literate Englishmen that I admire and he's not stuffy. He doesn't spell everything out so you are left to think things through a bit.
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