The Art of Risk
They say, ‘no pain, no gain.’ Kayt Sukel, author of This Is Your Brain on Sex, elaborates on risk management in her new book, The Art of Risk. The book incorporates every aspect of risk in four parts: Now and Then, Natural-Born Risk-Takers, Making the Most of Risk and Risk, Now and Future.
Sukel is a prolific writer and appears to be fascinated about topics relating to how the human brain works. She indeed opens up areas of thought that involve our tendencies to determine the degrees of risk people are willing to take. She begins by defining the parameters of risk. Then she examines them within the brain function, genes, gender and age. Once the reader permeates himself or herself with Sukel’s way of thinking, she uncovers areas of deeper thought about what we are willing to do.
The book is carefully planned and well constructed. Readers are in for an enlightening treat. Kayt Sukel is well represented. Her essays and articles have appeared in Atlantic Monthly, the New Scientist, USA Today, the Washington Post, Islands, Parenting, the Bark Pacific Standard, Proto, American Baby and Scientific American Mind.
National Geographic Society
Human Ecology: How Nature and Culture Shape Our World
Fredeerick Steiner is an accomplished dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas. He has amassed a dazzling collection of books with Earth-directed themes. With a background of city planner and landscape architecture, Steiner assembled a comprehensive voice in human ecology that deserves recognition. In How Nature and Culture Shape Our World, Steiner assembles a landscape worthy of our attention.
This book straddles the nape between nature and culture and the ecological setting that envelops our world. While the book beckons, the prose is slow, deriving little steam from the myriad of details that are woven into the text. Although the work is quite literate and comprehensive, I would say that the readers who relish all the background to the arguments that support human ecology theory, they are in for a treat. Not all feel that way, but it is a consideration to evaluate the merit of a book devoted to such a subject. Also, we find that Steiner leads us through a tangle of discoveries that underlie our nature and culture.
If you don’t mind the sidetracking and intensity of justification, then here is a book that the reader can delve into to find its depths.
The Science of Shame: And Its Treatment
This is an intriguing and thought-provoking little book about the little voice in our heads that whispers (or shouts) that we are just not good enough _ the voice of shame. Shame, according to the author, is different from guilt, in that guilt is a feeling of wrongness about something one has done whereas shame feels that way about who one intrinsically is. Shame begins in infancy, even pre-verbally, when some trauma or abuse from a trusted caregiver leads a child to feel that they are not good enough to have the love and care they require but lack. However, compassion-based therapy, which helps explore patients’ childhood trauma, can bring healing and wholeness.
There is much to ponder in this book. Readers will appreciate the knowledgeable but accessible writing style that avoids jargon while staying firmly rooted in good science. It is easy to understand, but relatively little is said about the treatment aspect. This is understandable, as the author’s point is to convince a therapist audience that shame is not treatable through common behavioral modification therapies, but for lay readers it leaves one feeling rather hopeless that anyone can escape shame’s irrational but controlling mandates.
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.
Unified Field Theory
In Phil Bouchard’s new book, Unified Field Theory Finite, he describes a concept that appears to overthrow a theory of one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of the twentieth century. He argues that the general theory of relativity (as distinct from the special theory of relativity, which does not involve gravity) contains pitfalls and makes it less than perfect to explain the space-time continuum including gravity. He brings into play intense integral expressions that tend to bind certain aspects of relativity. He proceeds to introduce his own mathematical expressions without regard to their derivation. These tend to crowd out the verbal points he tries to make.
Bouchard describes the famous concept of relativity of simultaneity, which involves two separate events that may appear to occur simultaneously to one observer, but not to another. I would have liked to have seen a discussion of mass-energy equivalence given by the famous equation: E=mc2.
While Bouchard does include the Lorentz Transformations in his introductory argument, I would have savored other, even more profound mathematical approaches to help solidify Bouchard’s position. His view in his comparative expressions that account for time differentials lacks something. Also, Albert Einstein waited for nearly half a century for the opportunity to prove the general theory. I wonder what sort of empirical demonstration Bouchard had in mind that would reveal the truth behind the Unified Field Theory?
Although I would be challenged to testify to the authenticity of many of these complex, integral calculus expressions, it appears to be mathematical overkill. Also noted, eight books in a bibliography of this magnitude tends to be a little skimpy. In addition, it would seem that the work would take a certain amount of verbiage to sustain arguments. A more sophisticated, verbal argument, even though failed, would have raised my appreciation of the effort.
I think that Bouchard is very serious in his pursuit of truth with respect to Einsteinian thinking. He believes that there are various loopholes in relativity that he can patch by redirecting certain elements of his argument to favor the new one he wishes to introduce. He appears to take a serious look at dark energy, which, in itself, is a fascinating topic of discussion, but it bears no reference to relativity because it was not even a concept in 1905.
Many of the “proofs” of fallibility of relativity rest on vague variables that, in themselves, don’t mean too much. An example is found in 3.7, Test of the Invariance of c. I would have preferred to see an outside reference to support this contention. As it turns out, only five citations were noted.
Even though Bouchard does not hold any advanced degrees or certificates from prestigious universities, the author posed an interesting consideration. I found the book entertaining, but lacking in its mathematical predilection. Despite this, I was actually very impressed with his discussion of the Schwsarzschild radius, also known as the black hole radius. He provides several, relatively simple equations to help define it. His system of diagrams and mathematical testimony give some of his arguments credence. Perhaps some outside criticism from a scholarly source might help this author see the light at light speed.
The Ark’s Cargo: For the Love of Animals
Ark’s Cargo is a very in-depth and dear portrayal of a veterinarian’s route in achieving the peak of his animal dreams. This memoir and quasi travelogue is full of professional anecdotes and personal bonding experiences coupled with household responsibility and self-realization. Dr. Buisch pays extremely close attention to spirituality and expresses again and again his thankfulness to God because “you can be assured that amazing things can and will be accomplished” as such is the case of his heartwarming book and noble cause. Readers are privy to an array of intimate moments with the author, such as his education pathways, jobs post-veterinary school, unusual but fascinating career trainings henceforward, his marriage proposal and wedding, and ultimately, his assortment of global work assignments (some including his family unit and other successes shared alone).
Filled with zealous travel information and landmark history, Ark’s Cargo is rich with industry details, for example, about livestock, disease eradication programs, semen collection and quarantine stations, testing and health inspections, laboratory protocols and support, and more. We even explore life on a cargo ship as a fellow crew member escorting cattle across the North Atlantic, which renders the “scene from the biblical story of the flood that came shortly after Noah finished the building of his ark” and thus, marks the vast significance and weight of this ambitious title and the meaningful sequence of events. Most certainly a charming snapshot of the fruition of a creature-loving, fun-loving, adventure-seeking and policy-driven individual with a memorable journey to match, Dr. Buisch has the grasp of what it takes to measure and optimize performance in such a demanding and hands-on field, especially cultivating the personality and emotional response to contest with it.
Though Buisch remains modest and casual in his dialogue, with a great balance of technical language and the easy-to-read, he does not lose erudition for the sake of a showy culture. Ark’s Cargo is truly instructive and educational about veterinary passion and scientific task implementation, worship and duty, more so, the responsibility and exposure to “preserve the multitude of resources God has given us to enjoy” by honoring the rescue and recovery of animal inhabitants in its different milieus.