Books

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Books

Science and Shakespeare

I had the privilege of seeing Hamlet last night at Shakespeare in the Park. I say the privilege because the production was as usual excellent. For those of you who don’t know, it is a New York tradition for the Public Theater to host plays by Shakespeare — usually two — over the summer free…

Keeping with my attempt to actually do book reviews, I have the first of what will hopefully be a continuing series. I am reviewing Stem Cell Century by UCLA Law Professor and Volokh Conspiracy contributor Russell Korobkin — with Stephen Munzer in some chapters. This book examines the legal, ethical and policy-related issues in stem…

…but how you give matters quite a lot, it would seem. Just in time for the season of giving (and, of course, drinking oneself silly on eggnog), I’d like to share my holiday reading list, which is coincidentally heavy on that subject (giving, not eggnog). Fortunately for me, it’s a loooong plane ride back and…

Adam Gopnik on Phillip K. Dick

The New Yorker has an exquisite article by Adam Gopnik on science fiction writer, Phillip K. Dick. Gopnik doesn’t pull punches; Dick was in many ways bat-shit crazy. He also had a genius for understanding that the future would likely be just as wrong — in the way that people in 60s tended to define…

I am as excited for the new Harry Potter book as everyone else. I mean, come on, you want to see the end of even a bad movie, right? But Jane Galt echoes something that I have been thinking for a long time about the series: Harry can be such a tool and his buddies…

A controversial portrait — possibly of the writer Jane Austen — was put up for auction at Christie’s yesterday. (Actually it failed to sell.) The controversy is over whether the picture is actually of her. (A photo of the portrait is to the right.) All of that is very interesting, but not nearly so interesting…

Kurt Vonnegut RIP

Kurt Vonnegut died this morning in Manhattan. He was 84. To hear him read an excerpt of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse Five, go to this interview at Salon. It’s my favorite part. From Slaughterhouse Five: Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: “Why me?” “That is a very Earthling thing to…

So I went to the book signing last night for the Best American Science Writing 2006, and it was really interesting so I want to plug this book. In attendance were Jesse Cohen, the series editor, as well as authors Paul Bloom, Dennis Overbye, and Johnathan Weiner. I haven’t had a chance to read the…

Lee Smolin Interview

Lee Smolin — author of The Trouble with Physics — was interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show (on WNYC) talking about string theory and why he thinks we shouldn’t change scientific standards because of experimental difficulties. A really interesting interview. You can listen here (it is a streaming mp3).