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Old 01-23-2015, 06:04 AM   #201
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Quantum Manjit Kumar is a brilliant history of the discussions debates between Einstein Bohr Pauli etc etc.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:20 PM   #202
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter. Garnered the Pulitzer Prize and deserved it (unlike some works). Came out in 1963, I think, and has never lost relevance. Helpful to Americans but also especially to foreigner trash that think they understand America but do not.

John von Newmann, by Norman Macrae [a former editor of Economist]. Johnny was a hoot, and to boot; he saved the world.
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Old 04-07-2015, 04:06 PM   #203
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Book "Gems" for SMP

I'm suuure it's been mentioned here, but I just started "Rare Earth" by Peter Ward. seems like it's gonna be a slog as it's written in a college textbook style but that's what I signed up for so I'll get through it.

mostly bought it bc 'Where is Everybody' by Stephen Webb jump started my interest in such matters and after making seemingly solid conclusions supporting a massive amount of intelligent life, his final comments suggested otherwise.

haven't gotten very far into Rare Earth yet, but have scanned each chapter (yeah I'm one of THOSE guys) and it has me excited to get through.

the other book I got with it is, "The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel" by Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch.

this is basically 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" of time travel. it's definitely a comedy, but with lots of science sprinkled in.

probably most of SMP would scoff at Rare Earth for being too simplistic or out of date, and at Time Traveler bc it's not a science book so much as a well-written hilarious book with the occasional dumbed-down relativity explanation.

for example: in chapter one, they explain the special theory of relativity in a way I've never read before and could easily explain to non-nerds (proud nerd here): Einstein is on a light speed bullet train going past a tower clock. the light from the tower clock would never catch him so it seemingly wouldn't move, but if he were wearing a wrist watch time would still be moving to him. basically the main plot of Interstellar, but it was put in a way that was easy for a dummy like me to get.

however, also in chapter one, the ratio of special relativity mentions to bad 'Einstein married his cousin' jokes ran about 2:5 by my arbitrary count.

I'll learn more from Rare Earth but tbh will finish that much after the Time Traveler's Guide bc it has potential to be legitimately awesome. the authors are funny and working just enough time traveling paradoxes in to make me feel like I'm learning something and not just reading a comedy.

***again note, these books probably aren't relevant to most SMPers' interests. I've been mostly lurking your fine forum and figured I'd add two books to this thread in case there are any dummies like me wanting to dip their toe into the water. in which case, the first book you should buy is, "If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life" by Stephen Webb"...favorote book I've ever read maybe***
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:11 PM   #204
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

I have not read the following book (see quote below) but it has garnered excellent recommendations and seconds from a number of people in the Lounge. Thus I think a SMP recommendation is in order also.

Originally Posted by Enrique View Post
I am almost done with How not to be wrong: The power of mathematical thinking by Jordan Ellenberg. I've read a lot of books about mathematics aimed at a general audience and this might be the best. It explains some difficult mathematics concepts in a fantastic way. The books seems a bit more focused on statistics than mathematics, and I like it a lot. He mixes in really nice stories from other sciences and literature (the author, a mathematics professor at the university of Wisconsin has also written fiction). Perhaps my favorite chapter is where he talks about correlation between two variables (Galton's ellipse). Beautifully written and full of powerful ideas.
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:46 PM   #205
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

The Boy Who Loved Math... A really good children's book about Paul Erdos.
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:19 PM   #206
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Best i have read by far was Goffman.

Presentation of self in everyday life
Behaviour in Public Places

Im actually amazed by this, how is it even possible to write the things he writes? I dont see it.
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:43 PM   #207
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Originally Posted by aflametotheground View Post
Best i have read by far was Goffman.

Presentation of self in everyday life
Behaviour in Public Places

Im actually amazed by this, how is it even possible to write the things he writes? I dont see it.
+1 to this, it's almost like,

[autistic social perception]:[normal perception] :: [normal perception]:[Goffman's perspicacity]
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:19 PM   #208
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Greeeat thread. Nothing to add, but I've made a long long list that's I'll probably not be able to get through. Excited about whatever I do read though.

Any books from the past year or so that could be added as well?
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