Free Thought

Apps are too much like 1990's CD-ROMs and not enough like the Web Open Access to Scientific Research Can Save Lives The OA Interviews: Harvard’s Stuart Shieber (Pay special note to the comment by Sandy Thatcher and the devastating fisking of it by Stuart Shieber. And by devastating, I mean dev. a. sta. ting.) Questioning Clay Shirky Shirky, Bady and For-Profit Higher Ed Unlikely Pairing? (liberal arts schools get into moocs) A New (Kind of) Scholarly Press (An open access university press) Can researchers protect their open data? Visualizing the Uniqueness, and Conformity, of Libraries (cool…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: The Economist. Ivory, Apes & Peacocks: Animals, Adventure and Discovery in the Wild Places of Africa by Alan Root Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen The Origins of Sex: A History of the First…
Another bunch of lists for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: The Atlantic Books of the Year 2012: The Top 5 and the Runners Up Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins by Ian Tattersall  CNNMoney Abundance: The future is better than you thinkby Peter Diamandis Inside Apple…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Kirlus Reviews: Current Affairs & Social Sciences, Biography, History, Science & Nature. Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Booklist Online Top 10 Science and Health Books. The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Financial Times Best Books of 2012. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change by Charles Duhigg The Particle at the End of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs and…
Ever imagined that an Xbox controller could help open a window into the nanoworld of groundbreaking physics? Well, check out the video above. Brookhaven scientist Ray Conley designed that one-of-a-kind machine to grow (through a technique called sputtering deposition) atomically precise lenses that can focus x-rays to within one billionth of one meter, revealing the internal nanoscale structure of materials such as electric vehicle fuel cells. When tweaking his recipe for these multilayer Laue lenses (MLL), Conley used to have to manually enter commands into a computer to move a crucial…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Amazon.ca Top 100 Editors' Picks. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't by Nate Silver Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Boing Boing Gift Guide. The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science by Matt Lamothe, Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski and David Macaulay Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks Illustrated Guide to Home…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: New York Times 100 Notable Books. Belzoni: The Giant Archaeologists Love to Hate by Ivor Noël Hume Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stot The Folly…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: The Globe and Mail 100. The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen R. Bown Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science and Evolution by David Rothenberg Turing’s Cathedral: The Origin of the Digital Universe by George Dyson…
College, Reinvented: The Finalists Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Is the death of newspapers the end of good citizenship? MOOCs and the Future of the University Survival of the Fittest in the New Music Industry The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever How Dead Is the Book Business? Beyond Literacy and Beyond ‘Beyond Literacy’ Conservatives and the Higher Ed 'Bubble' Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics, or What's Really Up With Automated Essay Scoring Our Napster is Udacity: Quality Doesn’t Beat Access University of the future: A thousand year old industry on the…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Brain Pickings. Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired by Till Roenneberg The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science by Matt Lamothe, Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Barnes & Noble Best Books 2012: Art, Architecture & Photography; Computer; Medical & Nursing; Professional & Education; . Life in Color: National Geographic Photographs by Annie Griffiths Turing's Cathedral: The Origins…
It is time. The season of lists begins again! Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that I can find around the web in various media outlets. From the beginning it's been a pretty popular service so I'm happy to continue it. For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and…
How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed is Ray Kurzweil's latest book. You may know of him as the author of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Kurzweil is a "futurist" and has a reputation as being one of the greatest thinkers of our age, as well as being One of the greatest hucksters of the age, depending on whom you ask. In his new book... Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even…
Blows against supersymmetry and facebook. Matthew Bailes continues ruminations at the Conversation - the general riff is on crowd sourcing and distributed computing, with a bit of bragging on The Beast they got down under. Ok, I'm, just jealous. I had not heard of Diaspora - be interesting to see if it can crowd out fb or other commercial social networks. The Raspberry Pi I had indeed heard of, and will be acquisitioning. My kids are so looking forward to have their own computers... ;-) But, what we really conclude, is that Matt needs to meet Charlie Stross for a quiet beer or three. On a…
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." -Niels Bohr What's going to happen next? It's perhaps the most important thing to know if we want to be prepared for practically anything in our lives. And without even thinking about it, most of us are actually very good at this in a huge number of aspects of our lives. For example... Image credit: Crazy Adventures in Parenting. I was hungry at work today, and I was prepared for it. Somehow, I knew that I was going to need food throughout the course of the day, and so I was prepared for it by bringing food from home. This…
In which I steal an analogy from Joe Emerson to explain the limits of quantum computing. ------------ As previously noted, a couple of weeks ago I went to Canada for the opening of the University of Waterloo's new Quantum Nano Center (their photo gallery includes one picture of me being interviewed, along with lots of more interesting pictures from the day). One of my events there was a panel discussion about the new center and what it will mean, which included me, Raymond Laflamme, the director of the Institute for Quantum Computing, and Mike Lazaridis, the founder of Research in Motion, who…
A slow liveblog of the conference. The New Frontiers in Astronomy and Comsology is having its awards conference at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The 20 odd winning researchers and research groups are presenting summaries of their proposed research, to be followed in a couple of years with another conference in Chicago where they will, hopefully, present their results. The high school and college essay winners are also here to receive their awards and schmooze with the random astroboffins. I plan to do my usual intermittent blogging of the presentations, time permitting. The list…