The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day
If you like science, particularly physics, The Physics of Everyday Things will give you weeks of fascinating reading and information. James Kakalios is an excellent writer and provides easy-to-read text and a few sketches to help you understand the concepts under discussion. His book organization is also fascinating: he has an imaginary person starting his day by waking up to his smartphone alarm (here Kakalios discusses the physics of smartphones and his grandmother’s pendulum clock). Then the man smells the coffee that’s brewing in the kitchen thanks to his programmed coffee maker (and again Kakalios discusses the physics of timers, toasters, and the many things that are part of our morning rituals). Kakalios goes through the daily routine of the person, chapter by chapter, while he drives to the city, visits his doctor, goes to the airport to check in for his flight to a business meeting, gives a presentation, and checks into his hotel. Kakalios also has small-font notes below many pages that further explain things like GPS relying on thirty-two US satellites (used by the rest of the world except China). The text runs like that, and his information is awesome throughout.
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
Travel through three different centuries to find several remarkable women with true grit who helped to advance scientific knowledge in their distinctive areas of expertise. Written in exquisite verse form by the skilled children’s literature writer Jeannine Atkins, three authentic individuals are rendered within a fictionalized background to portray their significant achievements. The book strongly emphasizes the determination, perseverance, and fortitude of these remarkable personalities who fostered their childhood preferences into mature research endeavors despite the prevalent attitude of ignoring and devaluing females in the prevailing man’s world. From the 18th century, the painter Maria Merian revealed the life cycle of insects and exposed the mystery of metamorphosis. From a similarly impoverished background in the 19th century, Mary Anning fortuitously chiseled out patterned rock layers that later were identified as fossil records, transforming her into a leading paleontologist. And the more recent 19th century astronomer Maria Mitchell started out working in Nantucket with her map-maker father and was entranced by the night sky and the secrets revealed through the telescope. The Miss Mitchell comet is named for this intrepid woman who first discovered and described its path. The message engendered by this poetically painted history of woman scientists from the past is that youths should follow their passion and that women are well able to succeed.
The New Science of Consciousness: Exploring the Complexity of Brain, Mind, and Self
During the time of Sigmond Freud brain function was only thought of in many simplistic terms. Today, a substantial dynamic exists to encompass a much deeper and more thorough understanding of how the complex working processes work. Paul L. Nunez explains these deeper processes in a comprehensible manner in his new book The New Science of Consciousness. The book explains the complexity of brain, mind, and self. It also examines the research on brain function and the meaning of reality, aiming for a new science of what it means to be conscious.
The author explores much of the discussion that includes states of mind, signatures of consciousness, rhythms of the brain, synchrony, and coherence and resonance, and it’s all sorted out in networks of the brain. Nunez has opened up a new spectrum of examination. This view of largely unexplored body regions gives new hope to understanding the nature of the human mind.
Paul Nunez is a professor at Tulane University. He’s authored several books, showing special interest in reality. The book is chock full of scientific exploration that is easy for the reader to grasp.
Embracing the Wild in Your Dog
Bryan Bailey wants you to know that you do not own a dog. Domesticated Wolf is the term he uses throughout the book, and one that he believes would lead a lot more people to appreciate, train, and have more productive relationships with their dogs. He is not wrong on this account. Genetically speaking, wolves are genetically identical to your Pomeranian. Humans nearest relative, the Chimpanzee, only shares 98% of their genes. Dogs have only been domesticated by humans in the last ten thousand years wolves have been present on earth for 750,000.
Bailey certainly has the chops to make these claims. As a professional dog trainer, ex police K9 officer, amateur dogsled runner, and someone who has had more face-to-face experiences with wild wolves then all but a few naturalists he speaks from a vast body of experience.
He believes that most accidents come from human mistakes. Dogs are not furry humans. We spend millions every year to give them special treats, dress them up, give them toys and entertainment. There is a booming industry to cater to dog owners and their pets. And many restaurants and hotels these days sell themselves with their facilities to cater to dogs.
Dogs do not understand human language, motives and they have their own set of motives and desire. It is by understanding these motives and desires that we can begin to understand these animals to try and train our perception of human in furry suit dogs is a flawed theory, as any owner who has found their dog happily wagging their tails while the garbage is all over the kitchen floor will attest to. Dogs have a certain level of aggression in them which will never be bred out. They have one tool to deal with conflict attack or submit. They don’t understand human morals, and cannot fathom what we desire. They are dogs or as Bailey would put it, Domesticated wolves.
Bailey’s answer is discipline. Obedience is required is his mantra, repeated throughout the book. He cites natural wolf pecking orders where alpha wolves pin down and threaten, possibly even hurt (though rarely kill) rivals and lesser wolves as the natural teaching order. Dogs understand the binary dominate/submit paradigm, and their acting out is due to them being unsure in the pecking order.
Bailey shines when he draws from his own experiences. In one chapter, he describes how he is hired by a woman who has a rescue pit bull. This dog, subjected to abuse and taught that other dogs were rivals for years, and she wanted him to train him to socialize with her other dogs. He refused, and was saddened, yet unsurprised when later he found out that the dog attacked and injured the lady and her dog.
I am reminded of the book The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Both books are in-depth studies of dogs, and do not lay claim to being training manuals. But unlike that book, which strived to maintain an impartial observation stance, Embracing the Wild uses this as a chance to rail against the things that Bailey objects to. Positive-enforcement trainers, PETA, no-kill shelters, breeders, even the softening of the American people all get shots as the purveyors of the untruths that cause these issues. Nature isn’t kind. She kills any wolf that doesn’t get along with the pack. We should do the same, so he reasons.
Curiously absent from the book is anyone who has raised wolves. You would think that someone who is making the claim that dogs are wolves would go to the obvious source of evidence. The problem is that wolves are very different then dogs. Dogs are the only species aside from our own who recognize what pointing is. Dogs accept other animals into their ‘pack’. Dogs make exceptions to their hierarchies, and recognize children as something different then other humans. Wolves do none of these things, and people who raise them quickly realize that trying to keep them indoors results in many more challenges and destruction, and it’s far easier to keep them penned outside. While they may be genetically identical, the process of domestication has made dogs into something very different.
Bailey is correct on not trying to treat dogs like humans. He is very right in recognizing that different breeds represent different challenges. He is correct when saying that fighting against dogs instinctive behavior, like jumping or digging or chasing, is counter-productive. This book is a wealth of insight from a vastly experienced dog trainer. While not a training manual, when setting out to train your own puppy pal or furbaby, this is a valuable book to help you to perhaps understand why your dog loves your kids, but goes berserk when the neighbor boy shows up.
Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping
Can anyone write a 350 page book on camping? It seems author Dan White could in Under the Stars. The book is almost entirely text with an occasional small illustration of historic camping photos and simple sketches of people he is writing about. The book is not so much about camping (and is certainly not a camping guide with checklists, warnings, and advice), but rather a book in which camping, nature, and wilderness are the central focus of many, many stories that happened to White while camping and hiking. The stories (and White’s writing) are humorous, though the humor often appears somewhat forced and not to everyone’s taste, such as trying to rent a car with a long-expired driver’s license in Montreal. Each episode is in a chapter – rather long chapters – like his camping trip in the Adirondacks, a full thirty pages of text. Obviously, White’s writing is rather verbose and many readers are likely to lose interest trying to follow the stories. The chapters are filled with historic musings of camping, wilderness, and significant eighteen-century characters as well as colorful characters of wilderness guides and fishing guides in White’s life. Extensive chapter-by-chapter notes close the book.
First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life
First Sight is not a cryptic title that connotes a spooky collection of all things psychic and paranormal. On the contrary, it reflects a title to a theory developed by Carpenter, which proposes that there is more normalcy to the psychic experience than one may expect. The reality is that the psychic experience, or psi, goes on all the time. Better defined as “the ability to affect physical events without touching them,” psi works through the unconscious processes and are actually our first sight our first contact with the world, and where information is first gathered. Using the First Sight model that consists of two assertions about human nature and the structure of the mind, and the thirteen corollaries that explain those assertions, Carpenter presents to readers, as he states, “a revolutionary understanding of how each of us fits within the world and how we are put together within ourselves.”
Determined “to learn whether or not the stuff of parapsychology (psi) is real and if it is, how it works,” clinical psychologist and parapsychologist James C. Carpenter addresses a plethora of questions and draws from core findings of parapsychology and contemporary psychology research to get the necessary answers to back up his arguments. One key argument is that psi plays an active role in our memory, our perception, our motivation, and our creativity. To better understand how psi works, Carpenter explains that psi is divided into two parts, psychokinesis (the expression of psi information) and extrasensory perception (ESP, or the impression of psi information). Carpenter gives a practical application of that description through a simple example of a visual perception, run backward in sequence, of how psi works within every experience:
D. I see X (an attributed understanding of an experience), and I think about it.
C. Just prior to that, I experience a collection of sensations that I attempt to construe.
B. Just prior to that, sensations register subliminally.
A. Just prior to that, an extrasensory anticipation of the event (and/or a psychokinetic elicitation of the event) initiates the perceptual process.
While there is a major assumption held universally by parapsychologists, as well as critics, that “psi is a matter of unusual conscious experiences (such as precognition, clairvoyance, and telepathy),” Carpenter is careful to point out that the First Sight model specifically spells out that psi events are NOT about conscious and anomalous experiences, nor is psi a set of abilities or traits (like many psychics will claim). But rather its focus is on unconscious experiences. This is not to say that those conscious experiences are invalid. Rather people, as Carpenter states, ” who are prone to having many psychic experiences and who have some degree of control over their production would be expected to have a general intention to gain knowledge…and this intention should be relatively congruent at both a conscious and unconscious level and be consistent over time.”
Scientifically minded readers will quickly gravitate to First Sight. Carpenter’s thorough and technical analysis on a paradoxical topic sheds refreshing enlightenment not only in the field of parapsychology, but also a clearer understanding of the psychic experience in our daily lives.