Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I found out about the book from a Vsauce video about light. It's a cool video, and also has two other books. I would recommend watching it. Micheal does a pretty good job of the explaining the theory.
This post is not about the book, per se. It's about what the book represents: a boring book about science. I just want to put it out there that I don't like all science books, and I only recommend ones that I think are really worth reading.
So, yeah. The Life of the Cosmos. I couldn't get through it. Don't read it.
I just want you to know that, if you are avoiding non-fiction books because you think they are too adult or not interesting or about boring things, you should just give them a chance. At least give Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension a try.
And, hey, even if you don't like that book, there are still lots of interesting non-fiction narrative books like Don't Look Behind You. I'll probably review some of those eventually. Maybe.
Sunday, March 08, 2015
Anyways, Expedition probably has the coolest alien world I've ever seen. That includes Snaiad, and you know how know how much I love OH WAIT YOU DON'T BECAUSE RAMJET STILL HASN'T MADE A SNAIAD BOOK.
Expedition probably has the coolest alien world I've ever seen. It's called Darwin IV (that's a four) and is a self-consistent planet with an odd ecology and a big ol' map. It's unique among alien worlds in that it doesn't try super hard to make the aliens look weird, they just kinda end up that way.
The story is about the author, Wayne Barlowe, who lives in the dying Earth of the 2300s. Most life on earth is dead, and humans have only survived because of their partnership with the Yma, a friendly alien race.
After receiving a mysterious picture of what appears to be an alien from the faster-than-light satellite on Darwin IV, the Yma and the humans prepare an expedition to the planet. The Yma choose Wayne Barlowe as one of the candidates for the expedition, because of his skill at drawing extinct Earth wildlife.
Barlowe is the artist of the crew. That's nice, because the reader isn't bogged down by the biology and geology of Darwin IV, and can just sit back and read Barlowe's stories about encountering these odd creatures.
The book is in six parts, each with a biome of sorts: Grasslands and Plains, Forest and Periphery, Amoebic Sea and Littoral Zone, Mountains, Tundra, and Air. Each of these sections as a few stories about Barlowe's adventures. Most of these adventures involve large wildlife and strange adaptations, and all are SUPER COOL.
I'm not really sure what else to say. Look, if you like what you heard so far, then read the book. It is super expensive, but I think it's worth it. This book. Is good.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
M is recruited (somewhat against her will) to be a student at Lawless, a school whose motto is "sow all the chaos!" (okay, technically it's "Infinitum Chaos Enim," but I've captured their spirit pretty well). Wait. Is it "sow" or "sew"? Sow. But how is it pronounced? Is it sow-like-in-bow or sow-like-in-pew? Wait... are they pronounced the same? that can't be right. Someone broke Google.
Lawless is a school for master criminals, similar to H.I.V.E. in that - wait. Have I never written a post about H.I.V.E.? I need to get on that.
Okay. No more irrelevant tangents allowed. Lawless is a super duper secret school for bad guys, with advanced technology and quirky teachers. M is just thrown into this school, despite the fact that she never even knew that (spoilers) her father was a world-renowned criminal, and her whole life she was groomed to follow his footsteps. I'm pretty sure that is revealed really early, but I don't want to chance it.
At Lawless, M has to make friends she can trust, lie relatively low, and figure out her teachers and mysterious roommate, Zara. And then this whole "heist" dealie shows up. Yeah... things blow up really quickly (mostly figuratively).
The only complaint I have with Lawless is that it is not very good at science. There are very few books that I will say are not good at science, even almost all fantasy and sci-fi, but that bit at the end.... I won't go into detail, but if you have taken Physics 101, you may cringe a bit.
Not that it wasn't cool. Because that was cool.
In conclusion, if you like spy books, high-stakes befriending, and a good mystery-unraveling, this is a good book for you.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Martin Rees' Just Six Numbers is about six numbers in physics and cosmology that don't need to be what they are. In other words, the universe would go on perfectly well with other values for these numbers. These numbers are, in order of appearance:
N: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000: The force of electromagnetism divided by the force of gravity.
ɛ (epsilon): 0.007: The amount of its energy hydrogen loses when converted into helium divided by the amount of energy in hydrogen.
Ω (omega): 0.3: The amount of matter in the universe divided by the amount of matter needed to stop expansion.
λ (lambda): 0.7: The amount of energy in empty space divided by the amount of energy needed to stop expansion.
Q: 0.00001: The energy needed to destroy a supercluster of galaxies divided by the energy of the matter in that supercluster.
D: 3: The number of large (probably infinite) spatial dimensions.
Tada! If that confused you, don't worry, it confused me too. In the book, Martin Rees goes into a lot more detail about the numbers, how we figured them out, and what it would mean if they were different. Really, this is a nerd book for nerds. Unlike Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, it's written for people who know at least a little science (for example: exponents, powers of ten, and the fact that matter is just condensed energy), instead of anyone who can count and has an open mind.
Still, if you know nothing about cosmology, this is a great book to start out with. I only knew about these things in the context of ordinary physics, and Just Six Numbers basically introduced me to the concept of cosmology.
Anyways, I have school tomorrow, so I'll wrap it up: Science. Numbers. The multiverse. Physics. Life. Thermonuclear explosion. Space. If any of these phrases interested you, you'll probably like this book.
I am out. Peace!