A few months ago, I read parts of “Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande” (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1937). I like cultural anthropology, and I much prefer descriptions of the creative ways that humans have constructed societies to the more “scientific” anthropology that now seems more prevalent, and so it’s not surprising that I found Evans-Pritchard’s … Continue reading Witchcraft, Guts, and Statistics
It’s time again to think back on my favorites of the books I read last year. (Links: the 2015 and 2016 posts.) Looking back at my notes, it’s striking how many of 2017’s books were awful; usually I have better luck. Awful Books The “abyssmal” category for fiction includes Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne (an inept … Continue reading Highs and lows: Books, 2017
As in 2015, I’ll write a quick post about my favorite books and movies that I read or watched in 2016. Like last year, there’s (almost) nothing in this list relevant to the blog’s usual themes of science and academia — I’ve got two posts on grant writing and teaching half-written, though, so we’ll be … Continue reading Books, books, and movies, 2016
A few years ago, after too many instances of starting a book and then realizing that I’d read it before, I began to keep a list of the books I’ve read, making a brief note in it each time I finish something. The list makes it easy to look back on what I’ve read in … Continue reading A random walk through bookshelves — books and movies 2015
I was sad to learn that Steven Vogel passed away yesterday. He was a giant in the field of biomechanics, and his books on the subject are brilliant, fascinating, and fun. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve run into who, like me, have found these books deeply inspirational. The first one I read … Continue reading In memoriam: Steven Vogel
I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Geometry of Design, by Kimberly Elam, which I found randomly on a shelf in our Art and Architecture library. The book has many great examples of design and composition, and thoughts on the wonders of golden rectangles, pentagrams, and other shapes. It devotes a few pages to this … Continue reading Konstructing a poster
I learned from a colleague today that recent astrophysical observations may provide another line of evidence for the existence of dark matter — the almost totally inert “stuff” that that, from indirect inferences, seems to make up most of the mass of the universe. Despite the fact that the nature of dark matter is considered … Continue reading Could dark matter be less boring than I thought?