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Full title Asimov On Numbers [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Mathematics and science
Publication year 1978
ISBN 0-671-82134-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 275
Synopsis

This is a collection of essays by Asimov on numbers and mathematics. It discusses how we got the concept of zero (from India via the Arabs), exponents, factorials, aleph numbers (there are actually different kinds of infinities), pi, imaginary numbers, huge numbers (like googol, but that doesn't even scratch the surface), the metric system (yum), and a host of other stuff. It also has an essay on animals and their sizes.

Review

As with most essay collections from Asimov, this one is a sure-fire good read. Asimov explains in detail (but not too painful detail) a lot of difficult mathematics, step by careful step. Unlike a lot of his other collections, this one feels a little miscellaneous, but that doesn't at all detract from its quality.

Images Back of Asimov On Numbers.Spine of Asimov On Numbers.Front of Asimov On Numbers.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • Part I NUMBERS AND COUNTING
    • 1. Nothing Counts
    • 2. One, Ten, Buckle My Shoe
    • 3. Exclamation Point!
    • 4. T-Formation
    • 5. Varieties of the Infinite
  • Part II NUMBERS AND MATHEMATICS
    • 6. A Piece of Pi
    • 7. Tools of the Trade
    • 8. The Imaginary That Isn't
  • Part III NUMBERS AND MEASUREMENT
    • 9. Forget It!
    • 10. Pre-fixing It Up
  • Part IV NUMBERS AND THE CALENDAR
    • 11. The Days of Our Years
    • 12. Begin at the Beginning
  • Part V NUMBERS AND BIOLOGY
    • 13. That's About the Size of It
  • Part VI NUMBERS AND ASTRONOMY
    • 14. The Proton-Reckoner
  • Part VII NUMBERS AND THE EARTH
    • 15. Water, Water, Everywhere—
    • 16. Up and Down the Earth
    • 17. The Isles of Earth
Full title Deception Point [permalink]
Language English
Author Dan Brown (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 2001
ISBN 0-671-02738-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 558
Synopsis

NASA discovers a meteoric rock under the Milne Ice Shelf which contains a fossil, and the story centers around this remarkable find. Involved in their own ways are a senator, a senator's daughter, a senator's aide, the U.S. President, and several organizations.

Images Back of Deception Point.Spine of Deception Point.Front of Deception Point.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Author's Note
  • Prologue
  • [133 unnamed chapters]
  • Epilogue
Full title What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty [permalink]
Language English
Authors John Brockman (editor) and Ian McEwan (foreword)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Anthology and essay
Publication year 2005
ISBN 978-1-4165-2261-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 266
Synopsis

This book is a collection of very small essays by a bunch of leading scientists, philosophers, writers, and intellectuals on the title question. The topics range from artificial intelligence to consciousness to epistemology (and a lot in between).

Review

This was an immensely satisfying read. You get a lot of perspective just reading the speculations of these people. I highly recommend this book!

Images Back of What We Believe But Cannot Prove.Spine of What We Believe But Cannot Prove.Front of What We Believe But Cannot Prove.
Full title Look to Windward [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Culture (7/11)
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 2000
ISBN 0-7434-2192-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 483
Synopsis

During one of the most violent skirmishes in the Culture-Idiran War, a binary star system is blown up, and as the light from that event reaches the Orbital Masaq', the renowned composer Mahrai Ziller (an alien, a Chelgrian) is slated to conduct his latest masterpiece in coincidence with it. Meanwhile, another Chelgrian, the Major Quilan, is tasked with a mission (and a cover-story for that mission) whose objectives are unknown to him but which are gradually revealed (both to him and the reader).

Review

As this is a Culture novel I could almost have recommended it without reading it, and the verdict after having read it is still the same. This is an excellent story, one of political intrigue, love lost, secret missions, espionage, and huge sceneries. I particularly enjoyed the light-hearted chapters about Uagen Zlepe and 974 Praf, the former a human-turned-simian scholar (and an all-around twitchy and funny character), the latter a pterodactyl-like sentient creature and Zlepe's companion (also pretty incompetent and funny because of that). Their extremely serendipitous doings and fallings (don't ask) did much to lighten the otherwise heavy mood.

Images Back of Look to Windward.Spine of Look to Windward.Front of Look to Windward.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • 1 The Light of Ancient Mistakes
  • 2 Winter Storm
  • 3 Infra Dawn
  • 4 Scorched Ground
  • Airsphere
  • 5 A Very Attractive System
  • 6 Resistance Is Character-Forming
  • 7 Peer Group
  • 8 The Retreat at Cadracet
  • Dirigible
  • The Memory of Running
  • 9 Pylon Country
  • 10 The Seastacks of Youmier
  • 11 Absence of Gravitas
  • 12 A Defeat of Echoes
  • Flight
  • 13 Some Ways of Dying
  • 14 Returning to Leave, Recalling Forgetting
  • 15 A Certain Loss of Control
  • 16 Expiring Light
  • Space, Time
  • Closure
  • Epilogue

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