Category Archives: Science and technology

Bewilderment

In Richard Powers’ latest novel, Bewilderment, astrobiologist Theo Byrne is a single father struggling to raise his nine-year-old son Robin. Robin himself struggles with emotional turmoil for which there’s no clear diagnosis. “So far the votes are two Asperger’s, one probable … Continue reading

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What We Owe The Future

“Future people count. There could be a lot of them. We can make their lives go better.” That’s the central idea of What We Owe The Future, a provocative book by William MacAskill who’s an associate professor of philosophy at … Continue reading

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Life Is Simple

Ever heard of Occam’s razor? It’s the principle that says the simplest explanation that fits the facts is most likely the correct one. It’s formally stated as “entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” Or informally as “keep it simple, … Continue reading

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How the World Really Works

Global climate change is an unprecedented challenge for the world.  To meet the challenge, we need to make unprecedented changes in the ways we live, work, produce, and consume.   In a new book called How the World Really Works: … Continue reading

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When We Cease to Understand the World

When We Cease to Understand the World is a book about ideas that defy comprehension told in a way that defies categorization. It’s written by Benjamin Labatut, a Chilean writer born in Rotterdam in 1980. This is his third book, … Continue reading

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The Fabric of Civilization

What are you wearing right now right next to your skin? Do you prefer clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton, wool, or silk?  Maybe you don’t mind synthetics like polyester. If you’re about to start a workout, you might … Continue reading

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Nonfiction November Week 4: Stranger Than Fiction

Nonfiction November is zooming by. It’s now week 4, and this week we’re hosted by Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks: “This week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that *almost* don’t seem real. A sports biography involving overcoming … Continue reading

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Rationality

I loved Steven Pinker’s previous book, Enlightenment Now, which I reviewed here. There were parts of it that made me want to jump up and cheer. So I was eager to read his latest, Rationality: What It Is, Why It … Continue reading

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Calling Bullshit

I knew I was going to like Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World right from the opening paragraph: “The world is awash in bullshit, and we’re drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted … Continue reading

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Livewired

Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain left me feeling both awed and comforted by the astonishing capabilities of the human brain. Consider this: Your brain can listen to music, learn to play the violin, read sheet music, translate … Continue reading

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