Posts tagged with "Science"

Posted by Ultra Violet on 02/17/15
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One hundred thousand years ago, at least six distinct human species coexisted on this planet. So why has Homo sapiens come to be the sole heir of our biological heritage?
 
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is an amazing undertaking, covering the entire history of humans on Earth. Harari starts with our earliest evolutions and poses some interesting questions about why we ended up dominating the evolutionary landscape. Examining biological changes, social changes and the advent of technology, he explains what makes us so good at surviving.
 
The part of the book that I found most compelling was his analysis of the role of story and religion in our civilization. The idea that money, nations, religion, law and, in fact, most things that drive our society, are “fictions” that we have collectively developed over time to maintain order was fascinating. Harari goes on to speculate about our future evolutions and how we will almost certainly have a role in determining those changes.
 
Sapiens combines anthropology, sociology, history, economics and science to explain where we came from and where we are possibly heading.
 

Posted by meyoung on 12/22/15
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Margaret Atwood does it again in this interesting sociological experiment of a book. Set in the near future, we first meet Stan and Charmaine down on their luck. Stan has lost his job and the couple had to sell their house. While living in their car, Charmaine is attempting to keep things together by working odd hours at a seedy bar where she first sees a commercial that promises an experience that will lower the unemployment rate and promises a comfortable life – to come and live at Consilience. If selected, the applicants are guaranteed a steady job, a home, transportation, and the life they’ve been missing out on.
 
There’s a catch. There’s always a catch. In order to sustain the society at Consilience, every other month will be spent in a prison while your “Alternates” live in your home. Everything seems to be going according to plan. Charmaine and Stan both have jobs that fit their skill set, both earn money, both have adequate transportation, both contribute to the prison life, and both are happy – for the most part. When both Charmaine and Stan become independently obsessed with their Alternates, things start to spiral.
 
With an Atwood book you really can’t go wrong.

Posted by BARB W on 07/29/15
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In 2014, science fiction fans were delighted to experience the debut of a new film, Interstellar, helmed by Christopher Nolan. This brilliant and inventive film dared to challenge our astronomical awareness and broaden our scientific knowledge to include the known and the predicted.
 
The story of Interstellar is familiar to fans of space movies. The Earth is no longer able to sustain human life, so scientists are constructing a plan to use a wormhole that will transport them to a planet habitable by humans. What makes this story different is the remarkable scientific integrity of the information presented.
 
This is where The Science of Interstellar comes in. This extraordinary book, written with flair and determination by theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, attempts to elucidate the complexities of the universe and make the science of this movie accessible to all.
 
Kip Thorne was the scientific collaborator who Christopher Nolan relied on to take the story to the brink of what we know and then move one step beyond. Thorne introduces us to the foundations of physics while guiding us through a universe of black holes and gravitational anomalies. There is also a section devoted to extreme physics; the conjecture of what may be yet to come.
 
In addition to all this, we are privy to some humorous anecdotes about Thorne’s brush with the rich and famous of Hollywood. Take a voyage into The Science of Interstellar, it will be a journey you will not regret.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 01/14/15
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XKCD is 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' that has grown in popularity even with non-science types. It is sometimes too technical for me, but the iconic stick-figure drawings are always a delight and creator, Randall Munroe, manages to throw in enough easy ones to keep me interested.
 
XKCD has a section called, “What If?” to address crazy wonder questions. This book is a compilation of some of those questions and Munroe’s perfectly scientific answers along with some adorable stick-figure comics. Some of the pressing questions answered by this book are:
 
If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce?
What would happen if the moon went away?
What would happen if the Earth stopped turning but the atmosphere didn’t?
If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive?
 
And my personal favorite:
What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation? How long could I stay safely at the surface?
 
If you already follow “What If?” on the web, there are new questions in the book so it is still worth a read. It’s a fun one to read with curious older kids, too. They aren’t going to want to read the former NASA scientist’s answers in great detail, but they will enjoy the cartoons and a condensed version of the answer.
 

 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy