Posts Tagged With: science

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 | “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

science | “All That Remains” by Sue Black

1Author: Sue Black
Title: All That Remains
Series: –
Genre: Science, Memoir
Pages: 368
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’m surprised and a little bit ashamed that I’ve not heard of this author before, or at least I don’t recall. This was a very curious read of a very intelligent person, an amazing woman, and her job.

About: The book presents a handful of various cases with information on them available in public domains. Sue Black chose these as the most memorable to her, and proceeds telling us about it, of what happened, why it happened if it’s know, what exactly was done, how it was solved, and so on. There’s always this personal touch to every story, vividly painted surroundings, respectful jokes, and tales of adventures. And the cases themselves range from kidnappings, dismembering, mass murder, war, or mass death due to natural disasters.

Mine: The information provided will never be dry or left unexplained. You don’t have to have any knowledge prior to read this, for I certainly don’t. Author is very meticulous, but very human too, so it’s always very interesting to read what she has to say, her insight, and details of cases too. I was glad to read of her views, the science behind it, and I’m just in general glad I got to reading this.

If I get my hands on any more works by Sue Black, I am absolutely reading it. This one gets 5 out of 5 and I very much so recommend to those who aren’t made uncomfortable by death. It’s okay if you are, though. We’ve all the right to our feelings.

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

Dr. Bill Bass – Beyond the Body Farm

95092Have you ever heard of Body Farm? If you ever watched series Bones, you likely did. And this book here, “Beyond the Body Farm” is written by Dr. Bill Bass (ISBN 0060875291; 282p.; Goodreads), creator of one of the very first such farms.

What is this body farm, you ask? Well, if you ever considered donating your body to science, and I dare being so brave as to say yes, please do, no matter how gruesome some things they might do to you post mortem might be, imagine the mark in science you could leave, instead of a mount in the ground. But if you had considered it anyway, without me kindly prompting you here, body farm is where one could end up. Bodies there are kept in various conditions for decomposition research purposes. Basically the “what happens if…” corpse edition. And what’s this macabre thing for, you then ask? Dr Bill will tell you all about it. How little it takes to learn so much about the life a body was leading!

Small things, things as the filling in your tooth, can identify you. Your skull can tell them what race, and possibly what sex you were, what was your approximate age. Any possible oddities or less common traits you had, might assure your family – it is truly you.

The book is very interesting, and I jutted down pages worth of notes. The author is not dry, he jokes, he even teases. Say, he tells us about the C.S.I. fans, and how series, and reality are pretty damn different, especially when it comes to time everything takes. But then adds: at least they taught people to not mess with the crime scene, in case of contamination, but rather wait for experts to roll in. I must give this book a 5 out of 5, it’s only fair.

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

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