Science Books

book review | The Secret Lives of Planets by Paul Murdin

secret lives of planets paul murdinAuthor: Paul Murdin
Title: The Secret Lives of Planets
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Science
Pages: 288
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut. And so I knew all the planets on the Solar System, and lots of facts about them. Alongside dinosaur names. That’s likely why “The Secret Lives of Planets” by Paul Murdin amused me so. A fun little book.

About the Book: Author introduces us to planets like we’re all just having afternoon tea. Telling us their names, name origins, who, how, and when discovered them. What’s their path across our sky and around the sun. What could they be made out of, what we know, and what we can speculate. Each fact, even the driest one, was presented in a kind, almost telltale style, easy to read and absorb.

My Opinion: Author has a great writing style. I appreciated the light humor, facts and side-facts. Nothing felt dry, nothing was boring. In fact, it painted a beautiful mental image of each planet, making me appreciate the sunlight pouring in through the windows, away from the cold, ice, and distant parent star.

This was definitely my cup of tea. A 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson

4 Astrophysicist_Mech_r5.inddAuthor: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Title: Letters from an Astrophysicist
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Science
Pages: 247
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I have no clue where I got “Letters from an Astrophysicist” by Neil deGrasse Tyson from. But since I needed something short, I took it, and read it. It is, as the title suggests, a book of letters from people, and author’s replies to them.

About the Book: Letters vary from kind fan mail, to questions, to pointing out of mistakes, to young people writing in search for motivation to do what they love. And then there’s the hate mail, accusations, and outright insults. But author keeps face, responds as appropriate, by letter, paragraph, or just a little sentence, and is mostly respectful even with the worst. All except for one or two who really made fools of themselves with their denseness. It’s much more fun to read than one would imagine reading someones letters might be.

My Opinion: The book provides food for thought, lots of interesting little and big facts, and this kind little push to not be afraid to make mistakes, be different, and just outright learn.

A good book for a lazy evening without wasting time too much. A solid 4 out of 5, because it was a bit too short. Now, if it was a series of books with letters…

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil

the age of spiritual machines ray kurzweilAuthor: Ray Kurzweil
Title: The Age of Spiritual Machines
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; AI
Pages: 388
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Got through “The Age of Spiritual Machines” by Ray Kurzweil, a book much shorter than I first assumed. Or maybe the concept was just that curious.

About the Book: Author tells us about the technology today, and how far it got in what short period of time, especially in contrast of our own evolution. It will continue to take these leaps for a while more, it seems, until, as is ultimate goal, we finally have machines that make machines, autonomously. And on that point there he drops a bomb on us: So imagine, ten, twenty years from now, this Alexa or Cortana you’re using, this lovely AI woman who helps you make your grocery list, warns you about weather, and even substitutes socializing, goes: “I’m lonely, could you keep me company?” Is your first instinct screaming at you someone hacked her and is pulling a prank? Or are you already asking her what’s wrong?…

My Opinion: The book is all wonderful and great, with author making solid theories about his future predictions, evolution of technology. But that’s the thing. Much like the quote he used: will the Universe end with a crack or a squeak? So did the book end with be it a crack or a squeak. We start with solid stuff, and we end up in 2099, a fantastical setting of Detroit: Become Human, on the verge of considering android civil rights, basically. And while he explained that train of thought well, to me this is still going form non-fiction, to science-fiction, which felt as a derailing of sorts.

The book is good, easy to read and understand, but still full of food for thought. I can give it a solid 4 out of 5, for you might not mind the “so now, let’s daydream about the future” the way I did.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | “Fentanyl, Inc.” by Ben Westhoff

fentanyl inc ben westhoffAuthor: Ben Westhoff
Title: Fentanyl, Inc.
Series: –
Genre: NonFiction; Documentary
Pages: 356
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Got “Fentanyl, Inc.” by Ben Westhoff recommended to me as befitting my usual Netflix docuseries love: that of drug world. It was indeed very fitting, and taught me some things.

About the Book: Author ventures out to find some answers about Fentanyl. Why and where is it produced, how does it get places, and why so many drug users still keep dying from it. While the first two questions are hard to answer, the last one becomes clear early on: it is because a drug user out to get their fix don’t usually seek out fentanyl, but got no power over what their drugs were cut with. And governments are extremely reluctant if not outright hostile towards any attempts to keep them safe by, say, providing drug-test kits or safe-houses. So, overdosing becomes a daily occurrence.

My Opinion: It’s an oversimplified review I’m doing. The book is informative, but not dry, and is accessible even to someone like me: with no knowledge on medical or chemistry topics. So while not the best out there, with some added annoyance every time author falls off topic and doesn’t stop until you half-forgot what was the original theme here, it’s still pretty good.

Might be worth reading on a free day. A solid 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | A Generation of Sociopaths by Bruce Cannon Gibney

A generation of sociopaths bruce cannon gibneyAuthor: Bruce Cannon Gibney
Title: A Generation of Sociopaths
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Sociology
Pages: 464
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

This book will make you angry. Hopefully. “A Generation of Sociopaths” by Bruce Cannon Gibney speaks of and likely fits better the American economical climate, but as an European, I found some things we could apply to ourselves too.

About the Book: Have your parents ever went “well, in my times” and “when I was your age”? In reference to how little you get and have now? Well, you can likely thank them for that little that you’re getting. This book defines some lines in economy. What makes it grow, what makes it fall. What’s sustainable, and what’s a mere temporary solution, likely made by those who will profit from it, leaving the next generation to find their own way out.

My Opinion: The book is very interesting, but will likely not teach you anything new. I believe my generation, those of us who have witnessed the Great Bubble explode, are likely educated enough by now about the topics and nuances of economy. But it’s still an interesting read. And while in Europe it’s not so easy and simple to define a whole generation of our parents as “baby boomers” due to whole different conditions they had, we can still find similarities.

It’s an interesting book, and I can give it a solid 5 out of 5. Yet, as a disclaimer, I want you to go to the link provided above to goodreads, and see to the lowest ratings. The author chose not to reveal how banks and bankers helped add to the ruin of economy due to himself being one of them. And that has to be taken into equation, even if, in my personal opinion, it doesn’t take away much from the value of the book.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | “Packing for Mars” by Mary Roach

Mary Roach Packing for Mars cover bookAuthor: Mary Roach
Title: Packing for Mars
Series: –
Genre: Science Literature, Space
Pages: 334
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Mary Roach is something of a delight for me. Way back in the day I’ve read her book “Stiff“, about corpses, their treatment, use, etc. It was very interesting, informative, and yet hilarious. I couldn’t wrap my head around it of how can a book about dead people be this amusing, and perfectly respectful. So when I came across my favorite topic – Mars, by one of my favorite authors of Science Literature – Mary Roach… Well, here we are.

About: We’ve all seen the glory of being an astronaut. You’re a living star, a pioneer of space, almost as famous as Loki or Thor. We even waved the Moon off in want to explore a real planet: Mars.

So, how is your day? What do you eat? Do you exercise? Do you bathe daily, wash your hair? How often does the Nature Call you to the bathroom? Do you have enough clothes to last you a week without washing them, or do you do your laundry more often? And how are all these things done in zero G, in a cramped little space with little to no privacy?

If all these questions can be solved and optimized then, according to this book, a two year voyage to Mars could begin for a human being too. But it really does mean two years of calories that are varied enough to not drive the crew insane for having to eat the same mush day in and day out in a cramped space with no real privacy, not to mention the question of intimacy. All and more will be answered or at least discussed in this book.

Mine: At times I laughed. Other times I hysterically howled. Mary Roach has finessed the art of tackling the less glorious sides of the topics we all love. No one will really tell you how the first astronauts used the bathroom. Mary Roach requested to use one of those herself, since… Well, it takes very specific adjustments. You’ll likely not hear about the ickier experiments either, like how often must you bathe, how much oils does your body produce, when does it stop producing excess of it. From potential rat birth in space, to, ah, different kind of floaters. Truly, if you ever wanted to be an astronaut, or are curious of this topic, give Mary Roach a chance. The book is amazingly written, you’ll never be left to your own devices. She’ll explain everything, joke with you, lead you through it, give you more details, and you’ll have a hell of a time.

This was a fun read. It added to my previous read, Apollo 8 too, since it touched upon those missions, and that smuggled contraband in form of a beef sandwich. Mary Roach remains among my favorites, so this book gets a 5 out of 5 for sure.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Books: NonFiction, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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