Saturday, November 29, 2014
28: Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking), Christian Rudder
27: Great True Spy Stories, Allen Dulles, ed.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
26: The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe, Stephen Hawking
In any case, this book could have done with some more editing. It's a popular scientific (very popular, no equation of any kind, no diagrams, no graphs) series of lectures (published before as The Cambridge Lectures: Life Works), and as a written work it's unfortunately repetitive. Not Hawking's best book.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Catching up: 19-25
- 19: The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival among America's Great White Sharks, Susan Casey
- First of all, what's with "America's" in the subtitle? Does it really matter where these sharks live *part* of their lives? Anyway. This is a journalist's tale of hanging out on the Farallon Islands with the shark and bird biologists there. It's bloody interesting, and it's a damn' shame she went about it so unscientifically and, more or less, ended up destroying the shark study program.
It made me want to go out and do biology in unpleasant conditions.
- 20: Zatopek: Les Années Mimoun, Marcel Couchaux
- French autobiographical comic about the author's father and Zatopek. Enjoyable.
- 21: How to Take a Chance, Darrell Huff and Irving Geis
- More How to Lie with Statistics, but not as good, I think. I didn't really learn anything, and I didn't enjoy it as much as the "original".
- 22: Paper Tangos, Julie Taylor
- There was an awful lot of fuzzy nonsense (the tango reflecting the Argentine revolution, blablablah, social anthropology, nonsense, nonsense, nonsense), but every now and then a good bit, like the on the cabeceo (page 38).
- 23: Conversations with Capote, Lawrence Grobel
- Fun. Truman truly was a jerk at times. I found it interesting to learn that a) he hated the casting for the Breakfast at Tiffany's film (including Hepburn), and b) there were talks of a remake with Jodie Foster as Holly Golightly.
Anyway, a very interesting book that I enjoyed tremendously.
- 24: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, Randall Munroe
- About half (?) was on the blog before. I don't know what to say. It's just more of the blog. Of course I enjoyed it.
- 25: The Man with the $100,000 Breasts and Other Gambling Stories, Michael Konik
- Oh, dear. I can't resist stupid gambling stories, no matter how poorly written. This is another hack who proudly proclaims on the inner flap that he writes for Cigar Aficionado and is the editor of Delta Air Lines's Sky magazine. God help us. Anyway, the writing is more or less the bland vomit you'd expect. I still managed to enjoy the stories.
Monday, June 16, 2014
18: Fast Tracks: The History of Distance Running, Raymond Krisse and Bill Squires
Sunday, June 01, 2014
17: Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
16: The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures about the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, Paul Davies
The time required for the collapse of the interior universe is on the order of the time A discussed in Sec. I, microseconds or less. This is disheartening. The possibility that we are living in a false vacuum has never been a cheering one to contemplate.Vacuum decay is the ultimate ecological catastrophe, ' in a new va- cuum there are new constants of nature, ' after va- cuum decay, not only is life as we know it impos- sible, so is chemistry as we know it. However, one could always draw stoic comfort from the possibility that perhaps in the course of time the new vacuum would sustain, if not life as we know it, at least some structures capable of knowing joy. This possibility has now been eliminated."This is disheartening"! "This possibility has now been eliminated"! This makes me happy.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
15: Richard Feynman: A Life in Science, John and Mary Gribbin
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
14: Just My Type: a Book about Fonts, Simon Garfield
13: Official Secret, Clayton Hutton
12: Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron's Memoir 1934-1969, Timme Rosenkrantz
And to Harry White goes the honor of coining a word that jives the world: jitterbug. Ed Swayzee held the trumpet seat next to Harry in Cab's band for years. Ed was known as "King Swayzee," a terrific soloist, as you can hear in quick bites on records with Chick Webb, Jelly Roll Morton ("Deep Creek"), and Cab Calloway. ("Weakness," Ed's own tune and arrangement, is a little gem.) The men were, as Harry put it, "boon coons," and naturally they shared their bottles, which they referred to as "jugs." Harry called all his intimate friends his jug-buddies. There was a pretty strong brew called King Kong—many called it Panther Piss—and it was strong enough to make strawberries grow. [...] Harry called it his "jitter juice" because he needed it every morning to cure his "shakes." [...] When very thirsty Harlem musicians form a friendship, they call each other "bug." That's what Harry called his closest friends. One morning, Harry had a solo spot in the Paramount Theater show with Cab. He had hidden his bottle behind a curtain in the wings, so he could take a steadying swig to front the band and play his first solo of the day. [...] When he got there, much to this consternation, the bottle had been taken away. In sheer panic, he shouted to Cab, on stage, "Keep playin', man! I can't find my jitter, bug! Where's my sauce? Get me my jitter, bug, or I can't play." Cab Calloway grabbed the words right out of Harry's mouth, insisting that Harry write a song titled "Jitterbug." He did, with Ed Swayzee. It scored a big hit at the Cotton Club. Already popular in Harlem, a new dance, the Lindy Hop (named in honor of Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic hop), was rechristened the Jitterbug.I'm sure Norma would not be happy to read that.