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
The General Theory of Information: Origin of Truth and Hope
This is an inspirational piece. The expressions are a little repetitious, but they stimulate reflections on concepts we take for granted. The book is broken down into short episodes, instead of more lengthy chapters, hoping to capture alluring concepts and cataloguing them accordingly. In each, a different aspect of separability and non- separability, as well as nonlocal and nonlocality are discussed with respect to various mindsets. These are to make sense out of the universe in terms of reality, taking into account the various theories that deal with either the smallness of the universe, quantum theory or the largeness, relativity theory.
The authors of the book recognize Claude E. Shannon as the founder of information theory. His original work involved mathematic models for storing and compressing information data. The theory’s primary application is in information transmission in data processing. The book’s approach to explaining the dynamic processes of information is rather mathematically consistent. This is because the different aspects of information transition are categorized and born into a syllogistic environment allowing logical deduction in addition to algorithmic methods. The theory of information as it appears in this book, however, proposes to unlock the secrets of reality.
Some of the more important considerations include speed of light, space, time, and gravity. At the speed of light, time and space equal zero. Presumably, this would imply that time and space would cease to exist in realms where particles move at the speed of light. This indicates that there is no space-time and no gravity on the subatomic level since the electrons are moving at light speed. According to the theory, the nature of information becomes blurred.
The subtle leaps in sub-atomic particles, where an electron leaps from one orbital zone to another is one of the areas addressed by General Information Theory. According to quantum theory, the electron vanishes from one orbital plane to another, either higher or lower. We know this much: if higher, it absorbs energy; if lower, it gives up energy. Either way, energy is exchanged. But how is the information about the electron’s location revealed? This has been a mystery. When an electron leaps from one orbital zone to another, according to quantum theory, the electron vanishes and then reappears as though by magic. Even though we know there is an energy change proportional to its location, how do we know the information about this action? At last, the General Theory of Information promises to unlock the secret.
The premise of the book explains why information exists in two forms: local and nonlocal. The theory in the book is an attempt to explain how information transforms from one state to another. This is based on Einstein’s special theory of relativity. At the speed of light, the book says, time and space don’t exist. Consequently, on the quantum level, this occurrence is common.
Although the future of information theory needs more refining, the book proposes significant advances that will stimulate profound insights of the workings of nature and in general how we think as human beings. The read will, at the very least, broaden our scope of an idea that at one time served only as a practical tool.
My Butterfly Collection / On The Wings of the Butterfly
My Butterfly Collection is a beautiful, large trade paperback, unfortunately for a rather tiny readership. Author Stevanne Auerbach collected a huge amount of information on her favorite subject and passion, butterflies. Much of the text was written by her, but eight contributors added extensive essays as well, and also a number of artists and photographers. This is an ecological call for attention and help to save our planet from further damage. Butterflies and their demise are indicator of the planet’s health. Many species are already extinct, and many more are on the brink of extinction due to destruction of their habits and use of pesticides. The book is filled with quotes, tales, stories, philosophy, poetry and fantasy. Only a serious lepidopterist would find the book of interest. There are many beautiful drawings, paintings, and photographs most of butterflies, but no labels (at the end of the book, a few photographs are identified). Auerbach describes the life cycle and habitats of several butterflies in fine details, lists the many threatened butterflies both domestic and worldwide; she has extensive lists of plants that attract them; her butterfly design collection; butterflies in the many languages; suggested butterfly activities, and so on.
Maria’s Duck Tales: Wildlife Stories From My Garden
Maria Daddino is entranced with nature, all its flora and fauna, and she writes enchantingly of her impressions of and encounters with the residents and transients of her wildlife habitat home along Penataquit Creek of Long Island. As if reading pages from her personal diary, each of the thirteen essays detailing the antics of the ducks, geese, and swans that arouse her care and curiosity both amuse and beguile the reader. Tales about Peeper and Patches, twin ducklings with opposite personalities, endear the heart as their survival tactics are recounted. Liaisons between ducks are followed and their fidelity commands her admiration. At times Daddino gushes with love and sympathy for her menagerie of critters whom she affectionately names according to the impression they make on her … the duck Grace named for her beauty, another named Robert whose personality was like her son’s, and Jack because he was like a jumping jack.
While cared for with TLC, ducks which imprinted on this garden naturalist were always returned to their family and natural setting as soon as rehabilitation permitted, and scrupulously observed from a distance. Not only is the avian behavior naturally reported, the personalities and foibles are delightfully described. There are brief glances at other habitat residents such as opossums, squirrels, the elegant fish eagle or osprey, and the elusive red fox. Charming miniature color illustrations enhance the text. While the stories appear to emotionally anthropomorphize the creatures, these vignettes serve to make animal behavior accessible to the public. If ever I am to return to Earth in another form, I cannot think of a more idyllic place to be than as a Muscovy duck in Maria Daddino’s garden.
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.
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.