Sunday, May 04, 2014

2014 Books, Part II

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman - This book got me on a science kick that has lasted for months (also spurred by Cosmos). Arbesman studies scientometrics—measuring and analyzing scientific research—and The Half-Life of Facts is about the endless march of science and how knowledge changes over time. Interesting stuff. 5 stars

Agorafabulous! Dispatches from my Bedroom by Sara Benincasa - The catchy title and lovely cover photo drew my attention to this book. I think it's funny that someone with her name was once housebound ("been in casa", get it?). Overall it's a pretty enjoyable memoir about a topic that isn't overdone (drug addiction memoirists, I'm looking at you). Funny and thoughtful. 5 stars

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet by Neil deGrasse Tyson - I read this during the pre-Cosmos media rush when Tyson seemed to be everywhere. This book is a clear and entertaining history of the former planet and the uproar surrounding its reclassification (FWIW I agree with Tyson about Pluto's demoted status). Now that Cosmos is on, I have a huge man-crush on this guy. 5 stars

Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife - This book is about the power, misuse, and abuse of numerical data. I think there's too much about elections, clearly a personal interest of the author, but otherwise it's a good book. 4 stars


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