(in addition to Darwin’s Doubt)
Further to “Retract that, sir, or face the consequences! Er, maybe”, “Gag order? Intelligent design? Will “design” stop being a swear word if we just keep using it?” and “Top ten stories of 2013 from science news media, here are some other lists found, with callouts of stuff we might prefer to lumps of coal or even cans of chocolate biscuits:
From Andrew Zimmerman Jones at About.com Physics
5. Time Reborn by Lee Smolin
… He argues for treating time as a physically “real” property of the universe and claims that the current approach to time within physics suffers from real conceptual problems which only add to the confusion existing within theoretical physics. This is a fascinating book and well worth the read, but I really can only recommend this to someone who is well-versed in the theoretical physics concepts involved. For the novice, it would be hard to distinguish Smolin’s intriguing speculations and philosophical concerns from claims made based on actual scientific evidence.
That sounds like a masterful way of saying, this is fun but don’t mistake it for science.
6. Beyond the God Particle by Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill
This book presents a detailed explanation of the Higgs boson, by the same author (Nobel laureate Leon Lederman) who coined the term “the god particle.” … As the title suggests, Lederman and Hill project into the future of physics, discussing the possible paths available for future high energy physics research, including the prospects for new particle accelerators, should the United States and other governments find it worthwhile to invest money in research in basic science … which, Lederman and Hill argue, is the only thing which has ever driven economic growth on a large scale.
Interesting argument. Is it true that investing in basic science is the only thing that has ever driven economic growth on a large scale?
From The Independent’s best Christmas books for 2013,
Of course, not all scientific writing focuses on the everyday, and in Lisa-ann Gershwin’s eye-opening book Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean (University of Chicago Press, £19.50), the subject matter is distinctly alien. Although the book is unmistakably aimed at academics it’s the jellyfish themselves that make it fascinating. Our overfishing and pollution of the ocean have created perfect conditions for mass jellyfish spawns and now these creatures, unchanged biologically for half a billion years, are staging a potentially deadly comeback.
The first item in New Scientist’s list is
Big Data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work and think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier
Everything, from where you are sitting right now to how kind you are, can be digitised and “datafied” thanks to cheaper storage, faster processing and better algorithms. And not just your data, but everyone’s. This is important for us all, but for science, it’s a revolution, argue the authors – and one that is coming our way soon.
If so, it’ll be interesting to see how materialist theory fares in a world where information so obviously rules. And expect the mother of all civil rights battles as granny faces off against Nanny.
Number nine in Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten is
… dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek investigates the tension between dinosaurs as scientific objects and pop culture icons as he introduces readers to the giant beasts in My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs. He questions what we’ve long held true about these creatures, as it’s only by piecing together the clues they left behind that we can begin to understand ourselves.
It sounds quite interesting, and we remember Switek from, for example, “Paleontologists chided for ancestor worship. ” Fact is, however, we would get on about the same with understanding ourselves if the dinosaurs had never existed,and the world had been run by reptiles instead.
And Happy New Year!