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About D. Wayne Dworsky

D. Wayne Dworsky has been composing stories since he was nine years old. From his early twenties he has traveled all over the world in 23 countries and all 50 states in the US. He's hiked the Alpse, The Rockies, Adirondikes and The Catskills. In his quest to seek perfection in the cosmos, he's searched the Earth for the most amazing, exotic, beautiful and enduring truths through his science interests, which include geology, astronomy and mathematics. He's written over 100 professional book reviews, has authored more than 30 feature articles and podcasts an Internet radio talk show.

He savors an intense love of science with deep interests in the universe, astronomy, climate, Earth science and the cosmos. He assumes a similar interest in technology, logic and mathematics.

Now D. Wayne Dworsky enjoys the platforms that support his work in a monthly column, book reviews, feature articles and blogs.

He's climbed Grand Teton in Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1983, the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland in 1985 and most of the established technical rock climbing routes in the Shawangunks in New York State from 1982 to 1985.

Links to his Social Networks:

He has three books in print, which are available at: Barns & Noble and Bookmasters. Author's Spotlight features a book promotion of his literary work.

His blogs are located at: Alpha Centauri & Beyond. and Bloggers

Links to His Book Fairs:

Book Fair 2007and Book Fair 2006

Alpha Centauri & Beyond
Radio Talk Show:

In the new radio program he will host, Alpha Centauri & Beyond, which features his sidekick, Christine Avoine, he engages his listeners with exciting talk about science, science books, science fiction literature and science fiction movies.

Here is the link to
Alpha Centauri & Beyond
Radio Talk Show

His Life Motto:

"Live life by participating or it will pass you by." Too often we hear of people complaining and putting off doing things, making excuses and procrastinating. I say, get in the driver’s seat and take charge, control the reins, jump off your couch and swing into action, dive into the cockpit and pilot your life. It’s only your actions that propel you over the horizon and produce leave a legacy. Taking a passive stance in life just drops you at the rear of the crowd. Take charge, take an active part in the control tower and propel yourself forward. Remember, participate or life will pass you by.

Use the player below to listen to any of
the archived shows.
Listen to Internet Radio with D. Wayne Dworsky on Blog Talk Radio

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D. Wayne Dworsky's Book Reviews

Live life by participating or it will pass you by.

This site shows how D. Wayne Dworsky's vast travels and life-long explorations have contributed to the rich nature of his written work. Other areas of the site reveal his interest in aviation and fascinationn with science. Below, you can find over 100 book reviews written by D. Wayne Dworsky, published by Sacramento, San Francisco, Tulsa and City Book reviews. Any of these reviewed books may be purchased by clicking the associated link, Buy It at

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Feature Articles

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The Power of Habit
By Charles Duhigg
Nature & Science
373 Pages

A Deep Look Into Our Habits

Duhigg depicts a clever diagram to uncover why we do what we do. He does so by identifying a craving, which gives us a cue, which leads to a routine, reinforced by a reward. Using this ingenious paradigm, the truth about our habits unfolds.

The author suggests that by understanding the nature of habits, we can, as individuals as well as corporate entities, change a person’s will or create a societal movement. As advertisers, we can anticipate what people want before they know. Duhigg sees habit as a powerful tool to appreciate individual and group direction, giving the analyst a unique perspective.

Charles Duhigg has gotten around. He is currently an investigative reporter for the New York Times. He is a winner of several prestigious awards. He regularly contributes to This American Life, NPR, PBS’s News Hour and Frontline. He is a young man with a great future, driven to unravel some of the mysteries that surround us. The Power of Habit will open your eyes and clear the air—summer reading at its best.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The 4% Universe
By Richard Panek
Nature & Science
297 Pages

Where Is the Universe?

Richard Panek has gone on a quest to help understand the other 96% of the universe in his new book, The 4% Universe. The book reads like a novel, dramatic and casual. In addition to the many anecdotes sprinkled throughout the work, he pulls a zinger in Chapter 10. He invokes The Curse of the Bambino, the Boston Red Sox team that hadn’t won a World Series since 1918, having sold Babe Ruth the following year to the Yankees that cursed the club since. He used this analogy to illustrate how it is impossible to see dark matter using conventional means. Yet, you know it’s there. It’s only a matter of finding the right medium to discover its true existence.

What has been revealed from intense curiosity on the part of scientists is some weird things that appear to control the nature of matter and energy in the universe. These are respectively, dark matter and dark energy, both undetectable with conventional instrumentation. But, the author says, we are on the verge of discovering the right medium in which to “see” these phenomena.

He lists rather bizarre examples to glimpse some understanding of the mysterious and elusive aura of dark matter and dark energy to support how a vast universe can come into existence. One of the more comical is the citing of 10 to the 500th power, (That’s 10 with 500 zeros after it.), for the number of universes in our inflationary bubble, according to Quantum Theory.

Although the author babbles a little, okay, a lot, those babblings raise brows and invite us to reflect. It is a read that promises to load your mind with fresh ideas and renewed spirit. Don’t miss this one—it’s a winner!

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Peter Atkins
Nature & Science
200 Pages

It’s a Chemical Reaction!

The book is a little over-simplified. It bears a dazzling cover and an attractive interior design, but offers rather nebulous content. The content however is stocked with an intense treatment.

When most people hear the word reaction, the thought that comes to mind is people’s reactions. That is not what the book is about. The subtitle, The Private Life of Atoms, says it best and actually reveals the book’s purpose. The work is focused on chemical reactions and catalogues them according to categories. For example, it demonstrates several broad reaction categories: redox reactions, acid-base reactions, exothermic, etcetera. It’s not a bad book for uninitiated science buffs, but for more serious readers it’s more like a classroom textbook. It’s unfortunate because I think Peter Atkins has a story to tell. He only lacks a more exciting medium in which to tell it. This is not to cast a negative view of his hard work to put together a fascinating read. The book is an easy read, clarifying many chemical reaction details along the way. The highlight of the book, in Part III, illustrates how precipitations, corrosion and catalysis are brought together in more complex processes such as photosynthesis.

The author is a gifted writer, which is quite evident in his other books. The present work, however, is a simple dip in a familiar sea.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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How to Build a Time Machine
By Brian Clegg
Nature & Science
307 Pages

The Real Science of Time Travel

Here’s the book the science reading community’s been waiting for, How to Build a time Machine. Ever since H. G. Wells’ famous book, The Time Machine, made its appearance in 1895, the science community’s been grappling with the possibility of time travel. Even the celebrated Albert Einstein announced to the world early in his career, as a theoretical physicist, that time travel was theoretically possible.

Consistent with his brilliant observations of other great minds and their inquisitive nature, Brian Clegg expresses his interpretations of Einstein’s space-time and H. G. Wells’ speculations of moving through time. He captures the prospect of time travel in exquisite detail with comparable tenacity as those great thinkers. The resulting vision will tantalize your instinct.

Of course, one of the enormous problems of time travel involves running into paradoxes. When we start to consider moving backwards or forward through time, along with the fact that we already exist in another time frame, problems arise. In many situations they simply cannot be avoided. If you travel back in time and accidentally kill your mother, does that mean you were never born and therefore could not have traveled back in time in the first place? Or if we move into the future and do something we contemplate in time past, does that mean we must do what we contemplated from the past? Thinking about the way these paradoxes contradict common sense tends to make understanding such a simple idea very confusing. But the author does a marvelous job at ironing it all out.

Brian Clegg has distinguished himself as an accomplished visionary in theoretical science, having written extensively in several renowned publications. In the present work, he proposes an idea that others might shun, but takes on the task with vigor and purpose, making reading about new avenues in science worth exploring.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Amazing Science
By Jason Gibson
Nature & Science

An Amazing Adventure in Science

You will be dazzled by the light and clear presentation of science concepts that jump off this disc in an amazing way. Amazing Science is reminiscent of the classic 1950’s TV series, Mr. Wizard. For those old enough to remember, Ron Herbert hosted the Saturday morning program, which taught a lesson on science.

Jason Gibson has put together a unique perspective to teach young children important, basic science concepts in his newly released DVD series. The first disc of this two-disc, volume 1 series, consists of 12 experiments and the second one, 11 experiments, utilizing household items that any child can assemble. As children are encouraged to duplicate the experiments, they become engaged with science concepts from the start through hands-on participation. While the experiments teach scientific concepts, kids have fun putting them together.

The presentations are wholesome and inviting, detailing the elements utilized to carry out the experiments. The presentations are a little marred by hesitations and stuttering, punctuated by “you know’s.” However, children may not notice them and be more affected by the motivating style of the presenter. Although some of the presentations are rough, each lesson will motivate and help mold a malleable, young mind. I believe Amazing Science has an amazing future.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Perfectly Perilous Math
By Sean Connolly
Nature & Science
242 Pages

The Mathematical Puzzle Jungle

Here are 24 very readable and doable challenges, ideal for an unmotivated youngster. This book is jammed with adventure, the kinds of settings that stimulate kids’ minds. That’s the way to a kid’s brain—through fascinating stories, mysteries and adventures. If I were ten years old, I would find //Perfectly Perilous math// irresistible. The problems in the book actually dare kids, providing a reason to want to solve them.

We’ve come a long way from the days of boring tabular memorization and arbitrary problem solving technique paradigms. Consequently, Connolly has found a trail that leads directly into the minds of young people and taps their sensibilities with challenges that inspire, motivate and teach.

The problems presented in this colorful edition jump out and embrace the reader with excitement. The author also provides hints along the way that either deepen the mystery or stimulate more complex thought processes. Either way, Connolly takes you on a mental ride as thrilling as the roller coaster at Orlando Disney.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Daniel J. Fairbanks
Nature & Science
328 Pages

The Importance of Modern Evolutionary Processes

The author details evolution in a way that is refreshing and intellectually satisfying. The entire book is a menu of evidence organized by categorical domains. This approach gives the reader a special insight into the discoveries from recent and classical research that concern the nature of why we evolve, and puts to the test the rigor needed to gain understanding.

One area particularly inviting is the chapter on evolution of our health where a discussion and history of the evolutionary processes of HIV and AIDS ensues. The reader is enriched with the knowledge extracted from the research and set in an historical context so that the reader feels the sense of insight and continuity.

Professor Faibanks is a geneticist and multi-faceted visionary and scholar who has indulged his intellectual prowess in other, related areas. They extend the importance of the present volume in their own remarkably ways. He’s authored, Relics of Eden, The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA, and coauthored two others.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Darwin’s Devices
By John Long
Nature & Science
288 Pages

How Do Robots Evolve?

A hundred years ago many scholars still doubted the existence of Darwinian evolution. Yet, a few brave thinkers considered even more radical interpretations of our Earthly existence. And now many are treading on the very fabric of sentience. Long speculates on robotic—engineering evolvabots. He invites the reader into the stormy arena of the fine line between science and science fiction. By endeavoring to understand how robots might work, we are realizing what sentience means on a biological level as well. Long is trying to figure it all out. And he is on the right track.

He’s a long time expert on tinkering with robotics. Long is a biorobotics expert and professor of biology at Vasaar College. His two “pet” robots, Madeleine and Tadros, have helped to provide New York Times and Washing Post Press coverage. He and his colleagues have pioneered the emerging field of evolution biorobotics. In addition, he’s taught evolution on the Discovery Channell and the history Channel. He also runs research programs that endeavor to design, construct and evolve biorobots.

The book is rich. When you sink your teeth into its contents, you are enveloped in a world seldom seen in science. Even though it might seem a little scary, robotics is here to stay and Long is a driving force behind it. What we can expect from Long’s work is eye-opening information that may lay clues to behavior to extinct species and also pave the way for where we might be in the future. We can glean insight into evolution, “By letting robots play the game of life.” The author’s work is invaluable and very readable, stirring hours of stimulating, intellectual pleasure.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Bird Sense
By Tim Birkhead
Nature & Science
355 Pages

The Senses That Birds Use in a Life Hidden From Human View.

Describing the senses of birds provides an unusually informative insight into what it’s like to be the creature. According to Berkhead, birds have a special knack of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and otherwise feeling and sensing the stimuli in the environment. The author found birds’ visual processing is 10 times as fast as humans. The three types of vision allow birds, depending on whether predator or prey, to have evolved to deal with their predicament. Apparently, birds of prey need binocular vision, like humans, to be able to see depth, and calculate distances. Grazing birds that are often prey to birds and other animals evolved ways to keep up. They’ve developed eyes on the sides of their heads for a wider field not needing a field of depth. The birds eyes have additional devices, which enable richer vision, faster image processing and give predatory birds deadly precision.

Most animals can either see fine detail or can quickly spot a moving target. Birds appear to possess both with high visual acuity and intensely high processing power, like a camera on steroids. In addition, it appears as though some birds, as owls, are designed like sound receptors. Owls glide through the night air soundlessly, but acutely aware of rustling sounds that small mammals make in the woods. They clutch their prey with deadly talons before they even know it. Many large birds, such as Falcons have been known to catch their prey on the wing, while docile birds like ducks remain sharply aware of dangers from above with the senses nature has provided them.

Birds have to recognize calls, danger and prey animals. They have to persevere and struggle to survive, to endure flight to reach new breeding grounds or hunting grounds, or avoid becoming another bird’s lunch.

The author makes the reader feel invigorated by the constant flow of fresh, enlightening material, enriching the overall discussions under each topic. He does so utilizing long extensive resources, many long forgotten. Like The Private Lives of Birds by Bridget Stutchbury, Bird Sense is a special volume—a gem that should be recognized as the hallmark of bird studies.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Self Illusion
By Bruce Hood
Nature & Science
349 Pages

Identify of the Social Brain

Bruce Hood’s The Self Illusion is an eye-opener of vivid proportion. I’ve been dreaming of the day when some brilliant scientist will explore the brain in the manner that Hood has. He takes on the illusion concept, coupled with visual effects, and incorporates an inside look at such amazing constructs as free will and “Why You Can’t See Yourself in Reflection.” His is a divine province where the self illusion is brought to life, dramatically detailed so that we can get a glimpse, through the authors eye, at how perception really works.

The work is literate, showing intense language skill to reveal an image well worth reading about. His style is clear and his ideas are carefully drawn so that all the chapter elements are tightly woven together in the chapter content to fortify an insightful whole. The book takes the reader on a journey through the mind that explores how we conceive identity in the self in our lives.

Hood believes that our choices in life came at a cost. His discussions in Chapter 4, The Cost of Free Will, leads to the idea that we get used to behavior, like smoking, drug use or abusive sex. After reaching a comfort zone we reach out for a higher high. This sets the stage for what Hood sees as behavior. Hood describes a number of excellent examples within the obsessive-compulsive behavior paradigm. In addition, he calls upon many experts to discover the mechanisms that help define who we are and describe the various other elements that involve free will. Read the book and get a reward greater than what you can imagine.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Learning from the Octopus
By Rafe Sagarin
Nature & Science
294 Pages

Amazon Title: Secrets From Nature

At last, a voice rises from the depths of the vast bureaucratic doldrums to address the most pressing issues we face today. Security expert and ecologist, Rafe Sagarin, arrives with a unique perspective on what should be obvious about nature. He teaches us exactly how to use natural resources that have evolved by nature to combat changing and unpredictable world threats in his illuminating book, Learning from the Octopus. He shows how each natural system works in punctilious detail, previewing how we can save precious time, effort and money. He cleverly singles out the octopus for having won the grand prize for both camouflage and defensive strategies. Here is an animal worth studying and learning from.n, lawyer, author, professor and commentator, Gary Hart, presents a praising preface that brings this delightful and insightful book to life. The naturalist’s view of the world is so captivating that I wonder how long this untapped resource can be neglected. As Hart notes, the tide is changing. The enormous governmental waste patterns cannot be ignored forever. The greatest empires that ever ruled the Earth lay in ruins, reinforcing the urgent need for a change towards effective action.

The politician, lawyer, author, professor and commentator, Gary Hart, presents a praising preface that brings this delightful and insightful book to life. The naturalist’s view of the world is so captivating that I wonder how long this untapped resource can be neglected. As Hart notes, the tide is changing. The enormous governmental waste patterns cannot be ignored forever. The greatest empires that ever ruled the Earth lay in ruins, reinforcing the urgent need for a change towards effective action.

Sagarin’s emerging proposal of natural defense is featured on his road tour promotion from Tucson to Washington, San Francisco, Seattle and Silver Springs, MD. One of his biggest peeves is that despite access to high-tech security and nearly limitless resources, humans have a poor track record. US reaction to security threats amounts to nothing more than closing the barnyard door after the horse escapes. Millions of years of evolution have allowed issues of security in the natural world to be addressed in the most effective way. Animals are much more in-tuned to natural cycles and events than humans are, anticipating disasters long before they occur. Sagarin invites the reader to re-examine our ineffective bureaucratic maze and compare it to the much leaner, more efficient natural system used by the creatures of nature. He is completely aware of the natural rhythms and looks upon the simpler, cost-effective techniques that shelters animal life and keeps nature in balance.

We need more progressive thinkers like Sagarin to encourage us and guide us through a hostile world in the 21st Century. With the help of people like Sagarin, we can be led into the future with a sense of pride and security. Rafe Sargarin makes the mark and some—summer reading at its most enduring and enriching best.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

Please keep abreast of the review postings. There are still 35 to go. Thanks for reading.

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The Infinity Puzzle
By Frank Close
Nature & Science
420 Pages

Solving the Great Puzzle

Oxford University professor of physics, Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Exeter College, Oxford, Frank Close, demonstrates outstanding scholarly work in his new book, The Infinity Puzzle. While his thinking and writings broadens the general public’s awareness of physics, the author takes you on an in-depth look at the concept of order in nature from several points of view. He makes primary use of Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), linking other theories to it.

In a powerful discussion of how the weak forces and strong forces act within the QED providence, Close reveals a more spectacular picture. He uses several diagrams to sort out the essential elements that illustrate each theory and then shows their relationships. His enlightening reference among various theories to QED and how these forces interact as part of the infinity puzzle within them blaze a trail.

The quest for an orderly universe, pursued by several other prominent thinkers, has established a new order. Frank Close has inched closer than anyone else, resting on the laurels of some of the Twentieth Century’s most decorated thinkers, including the breakthroughs and support of Gerard ‘t Hooft, Peter Higgs, and James Bjorken. The deep character and high caliber of the author’s brilliance flows through his prose with effortless style. Even the temporary reprieve of references to common literary elements as Cheshire Cat, Cinderella and an ugly sister, and the Looking Glass does not distract the reader from Close’s more intimate, scientific tone.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Powering the Future
By Robert B. Laughlin
Nature & Science
223 Pages

How Much Time Have We Got?

"…unless the world rids itself of nuclear technology altogether…nuclear power will remain in the background, disavowed by elected governments but nonetheless standing by, ready to expand into the economic vacuum left as coal and oil retreat."

While politicians dazzle you with a promise of endless supplies of fossil fuel energy, Robert Laughlin lays out a sober outline of powering the future. The clock began winding down since the discovery of giant caches of crude oil, natural gas and coal. Now that the end of such caches nears Laughlin hopes to prepare the political arena for the wake-up call. This, he eloquently explains, is how we will rescue ourselves from the disaster that will follow from the last drops of oil, the final puff of gas and the end of the endless bricks of coal.

Already in the making are the many sources of renewable energy, including: solar, wind, bio-diesel, manure gas, and nuclear power. In addition, Laughlin sees how we can stave off energy starvation by investing in alternate fuel sources before the real crisis begins. These are in addition to the already huge investment many countries have made in nuclear energy plants. Laughlin feels that all sources of energy must be exploited in order for sovereignties to exist. Even though many of these ambitious programs are only in the formulary stages, he claims that we are heading in the right direction thanks to government-driven incentives and the feasibility of profit among private enterprises.

He seems to think that nuclear plants have the most promise. At the same time our concerns of disposal of spent nuclear waste disposals pile up, Laughlin sees how we can recycle it. Building scrubbing plants that will utilize the heat cast off by spent power modules can be used for steam powered plants to generate electricity.

Laughlin paints a picture of the golden age of energy. He reflects assuredly on the promise of a new age. An invigorating and inspiring read that will propel your thoughts to our future.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Drive and Curiosity
By Istvan Hargittai
Nature & Science
338 Pages

What Makes a Scientist a Scientist?

With humor and clever twists that invite the reader to discover his world, Hargittai reveals a careful examination of the drive and curiosity that underlie all that we do. He achieves this by examining the motivation behind some of the most outstanding ideas that have come forth from science in the twentieth century.

Hargittai talks about Drive and Curiosity as two separate things. He sites various thinkers to treat each concept with distinct separation. It is only after he develops the chapters that we see Drive and Curiosity as a united concept. He goes on to explain how Drive and Curiosity lead to the many wonderful scientific discoveries, including the double helix of the DNA strand.

Among these thinkers particular attention is focused on Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel laureate and discoverer of quasiencrystals; James D. Watson, the Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA; Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate remembered most for his work on the structure of proteins; Edward Teller, accomplished breakthroughs in understanding nuclear fusion; George Gamow, who devised the Big Bang Theory.

Here is a read that will cause you to reflect on what makes a scientist a scientist and discover unique things. It will grab your intellect and won’t let you go until you feel inspired about what science does in the modern world.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Death and Oil
By Brad Matsen
Nature & Science
203 Pages

Pushed to the Brink

The grisly business of extracting oil from the Earth in order to sustain our insatiable demand for its convenience exacts a rather steep price. Brad Matsen brilliantly reminds us how steep by the dramatic telling of Death & Oil, the true story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea. Here is a heart-wrenching drama you can never find in a fictional account.

Like many of his other books, Matsen’s style always reflects his love of the sea. You perceive his tone throughout the book. You get to know just how alive his spirit is as he attempts to unravel the entanglement of this disaster. Sadly, I can feel the pain he must have known with the penning of each word of the present work.

The plethora of selfishness and greed fuses with societal pursuits in a blind eye. As we read, we can smell the smoke, taste the fumes and feel overwhelmed by the urgency to flea. Yet, there is no place for those poor souls to run. Finally, a voice shouts out from the crowd, pleading with our sanity to at least listen.

Matsen unearths the true magnitude of the disaster, orchestrating the real story behind the inept corporate management that underlies this tragedy.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Quantum Universe
By Brian Cos & Jeff Forshaw
Nature & Science
256 Pages

Now You See It, Then You See It Again

Both Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw share a rare skill of taking on a complex topic and making it comprehensible. Brian Cox has risen to popularity in recent years by appearing as host in a number of TV documentaries on the Science channel in the US. His crisp but simple tone finds its way into his book, //The Quantum Universe.// Jeff Forshaw is no slouch either. He is professor of theoretical physics at the University of Manchester, England and a recipient of the Institute of Physics Maxwell Medal.

The book is a masterpiece of modern scientific thought, well worth the reader’s time and attention. Both authors recognize the weirdness of atomic behavior and endeavor to elucidate why it remains as important today as it did over a hundred years ago.

The book is an easy read despite its intense scientific underpinnings. Yet it offers the informed reader amazing insight and tender appreciation of our cosmos. The authors took the time and patience to carry out what they intended to show and did it with insight, style and intelligence. It also serves as an inspiration to visionary thinkers, making the nature of science totally accessible.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Glorious Golden Ratio
By Alfred S. Posamentier & Ingmar Lehmann
Nature & Science
256 Pages

An Iconic Treasure in Mathematics

When Alfred S. Posamentier speaks people listen. That’s because he enjoyed a long and rather distinguished career at City College in New York City as professor and dean of mathematics. He stands as one of the more prolific and eloquent writers of mathematical literature today. Ingmar Lehmann, another prolific writer, is a mathematics faculty member at Humboldt University in Berlin.

At last, Posamentier and Lehman have joined to tackle the subject of The Glorious Golden Ratio and put it in proper perspective. The golden ratio naturally springs forward from nature as the book suggests. Its first use goes back to ancient times and was admired for its aesthetic appeal in addition to its practical uses, including its widespread use in ancient architecture.

The authors define geometric properties in algebraic terms. In the segment ABC, where B is on AC, between A and C, AB is to BC as AC is to BC. Posamentier goes on to show how the golden ratio may be demonstrated in 16 geometric constructions.

The book is relatively easy to read, even though it is packed with derivations and mathematical proofs. Consequently, the work presents arguments from different points of view, further ennobling this majestic mathematical curiosity. The reader of mathematical literature will feel at home in Posamentier’s book. The work is sophisticated and serious, leaving the reader to reflect on the properties and nature of the iconic golden ratio.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The God Problem
By Howard Bloom
Nature & Science
708 Pages


The New Face of God

"The God Problem is the riddle of how you come to be."

The God Problem puts forward an amazing conjecture: suppose time, space and light speed were to exist? The God Problem’s premise suspends the reader in an animated state as though he or she rose to the heavens and was given the chance to play the role of God. Author Howard Bloom takes the everyday things and finds new meaning in them as though he turned everything on its head and shook out the loose change, providing us with a monetary sense of how everything works.

It’s a book that will swerve even the most convicted scientific conservative, causing him to rethink the new concept of God. The book stirs and remixes the readers’ thoughts and concerns, remaking what he might have thought as God.

Bloom exploits language and familiar settings in such a way so as to suspend us in a state of reflection. The book reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld Show—“an intriguing show about nothing,” but brilliantly conceived, constructed and thought out. He makes the reader feel as though he wandered into a wonderland, driven by the author’s insatiable and natural curiosity. Any reader who loved the classics of Henry Miller will love The God Problem.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Higgs The Invention & Discovery of the ‘God Particle’
By Jim Baggott
Nature & Science
277 Pages

God’s Back

With a foreword by Steven Weinberg and a prologue that addresses form and substance, Higgs discusses the invention and discovery of the ‘God Particle.’ In addition, the epilogue considers the construction of mass. With all this in mind, coupled with Einstein’s theory of relativity and Bohr’s theory of quantum mechanics, we enter the Higgs large Hedron Collider era. It promised to absolutely rock science to its foundation. And, it’s delivered.

Higgs is an impressive volume, clarifying details, making the concepts that have been in dispute for years finally lucid. Author, Tim Baggott, advances all the ideas relevant to Higgs. Among them, he shows how Sheldon Glashow applies the Yang—Mills field theory to the weak nuclear force. Steven Weinberg and Abdus Saluns use the Higgs mechanism to give mass to the W and Z particles. Murray Gell-mann and George Zweig invent quarks. Murray Gell-mann and Harold Fritzsch develop a theory of the strong force based on quark catcher. His books have been widely acclaimed.

Higgs drills deep under your skin, constantly ferreting out new vistas, easily escaping our eyes. Baggott brings these—and more—together to form a solid concept of the God Particle effort—read it.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Everything Under the Sun
By David Suzuki, Ian Hanington
Nature & Science
$ 24.95
282 Pages

Is There a Safe Haven in Our Blue World?

David Suzuki is a prolific author and participant in many public forums that support benevolent scientific pursuits. In his new book, Everything Under the Sun he packs a powerful punch. He proposes a unique way to perceive life. we live on a planet of diminishing returns. Consequently, the need for conservation and strategic environmental grooming has never been more urgent. Suzuki indicates that, "It’s time for a new economic paradigm."

The author unravels the complex economic and political system that threatens the platform on which we exist. From “Is carbon capture digging us into a hole?” and "Oily disasters," to “Government of the people, by the corporations and for the corporations,” and “Living la vide Locavore.” This last concern addresses the need to regiment local efforts such as small farming, energy production, etcetera. Although many of these are impractical on a global scale, consideration of diverting some efforts will pay large dividends in the future.

Everything Under the Sun is a neat, little book that drives an optimistic view of our world. New thinkers and visionaries should solute David Suzuki’s efforts to preomote a better life for humanity.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Are We getting Smarter?
By James R. Flynn
Nature & Science
310 Pages

Are You Smarter Than a High School Graduate?

"Are we getting smarter? If you mean 'Do our brains have more potential at conception than those of our ancestors?’ then we are not. If you mean 'Are we developing mental abilities that allow us to better deal with the complexity of the modern world, including problems of economic development?’ then we are."

The book is stuffed with terrific tables of data that detail and support various trends in different places and with respect to different peoples of the world. Flynn has assumed the role of caretaker of our intellectual direction. With a simple, but elegant style and a literate tone, the author portrays our destiny in eye-opening statistical analysis. Then, he delivers conclusions. A well-crafted sense of where we’re heading. The book drills deep under your skin, constantly ferreting out new vistas—read it!

Listening to the voices of other experts in the field, the “Flynn effect” is catching on. The work of Flynn seems to be stimulating similar interests in recent times. In the future we might look back upon these days as the golden age of intelligence.

James R. Flynn raises an important question in his new book, //Are We getting smarter?// The big question with the little word that most certainly resides in every reader is, why? This work gives us a glimpse at how and why mean IQ scores appear to have increased from the previous generation to the present. Flynn goes on to break down the various categories of gender and regional location as well as the subcategories of race, culture and nationality.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Barbara Nattersn-Horrowitz and Kathryn Bowers
Nature & Science
310 Pages

Listen to the Animals

Zobiquity reveals a hidden side of animal behavior few suspected ever existed. Most of the book is written in the first person narrative style with Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D., holding the reigns. The link between animal and human maladies is often seen as disparate sides of the same coin. During the course of exploring this book the reader finds that there’s much more common ground between human medicine and veterinary medicine than most of us ever thought possible. It is because, according to the authors, all animals (including humans) share common experiences in mating, eating, fear and anger. Exactly how each of us (or each of the animals) deals with it depends on the animal’s unique survival strategy.

The chapter devoted to fainting opens up understanding to an amazing adaptation strategy that works equally well for animals and humans. Among the biggest chapters, Chapter Four, Roar-gasms takes the reader by surprise. It establishes, in purely scientific terms, the extent to which human sexuality embraces the same characteristics as animal sexuality.

As human beings emerge into the 21st Century, we are realizing our true place in Earth’s biosphere. This book teaches us a great deal. Here is a collection of information that any scientist, physician, veterinarian or layman can find appealing and learn from. It’s a volume that bestows upon us insight and appreciation of our evolutionary past in pristine detail. The book reads like a best-selling novel, crisp and directed towards a serious goal with a tight grip on the theme. Read it!

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Locavore’s Dilemma
By Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu
Nature & Science
Pages 304

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

This book appears to describe the dichotomy of local vs. global food production and supply. On the one hand, the production of local food is very beneficial, (arguments provided). On the other hand, globalization and specialization is inescapable. The authors compare the many disenchanted factions with the SOLE food operation. We’re not talking about soul food. SOLE means: sustainable, organic, local, ethical. It’s way too much to serve on anyone’s argumentative plate, but authors, Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu, have penned a curious reflection on the world’s food supply. Although I don’t see this book as a revolution, as the theme indicates, the book compels me to think that a sound argument exists for a movement towards that end.

The five myths of locavorism make a case. While the myths serve to tear apart our scientific and technological bases as incredulous, impersonal and material, the locavore operation is impractical given the massive world population.

The book is filled with unresolved arguments. The globalization of the food supply has put the locavore generation in an awkward position. In order for a SOLE food movement to take root the entire globalization infrastructure would have to be replaced—a massive undertaking.

My main beef with the movement centers around our ever-expanding world population. If we can put a lid on that and reverse the growth rate to a diminishing population then the movement would make much more sense. The problem occurs not because locavoreism is undesirable, but because it quickly calls for an alternate environment—one which we don’t have. It’s the specialization of food service operations that run the globalization engine and the specialists who make it possible.

At times, it was hard to tell whether the authors were in favor of or against the localization movement. In a way the book lives up to its name since after reading this book, I cannot decide whether its premise supports the locavores or the technological specialists.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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From Here to Infinity
By Martin Rees
Nature & Science
160 Pages

Weathering the Twenty-First Century

Martin Rees takes a careful look at the political and scientific influences of bureaucratic and individual thinkers and the wisdom they might yield. He warns us about the pitfalls of science and technology if it falls into the wrong hands and whether we can survive the century.

His book is based on a series of BBC Reith Lectures, which were given in Britain in 2010. A member of the House of Lords and former president of the Royal Society, Martin Rees delivers an important message to the world. With a wide range of endorsements, including such distinguished thinkers as Stewart Brand and BBC Focus, Rees has assembled an urgent message for all of mankind.

His discussions are peppered with both optimism and pessimism. Science is a part of our culture, he contends. As such, the public eye has a responsibility to temper technological advances with common sense. He explores the vast number of ways this important message penetrates the media. He points out our vulnerability with the hand of a nurturing Nostradamus, placating our concerns with a warning. Every step the author takes releases a deeper sense of what’s at stake. If you want to see how it all fits together, read the book.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Destination Mars
By Rod Pyle
Nature & Science
348 Pages

A Mars Odyssey

Rod Pyle delivers an in-depth, clear recollection of the Mars’ topology, geology and its importance in the Solar System, including similarities it shares with Earth. Pyle provides an important, rich historical background back to Copernicus to appreciate the vitality of understanding Mars.

One of the more exciting avenues of a Mars exploration is passionately played out in the chapter that involves Dr. Norman Horowitz: Looking for life. In it, “follow the water” is echoed. The book addresses the excitement of exploring Mars from the earliest fly-bys, the first Mariner missions to the Viking’s Search for Life (Chapter 10), to Global Surveyor, the Pathfinder and Mars Rovers The discussion of A Mars Odyssey becomes a reality when we consider the two-year window that continues to fund our curiosity. “Mars and Earth have elliptical orbits, one inside the other...” Consequently, every two years this situation creates a convenient launch window, making the opportunity for a manned exploration of this planet possible. It appears that everything in this book seems to support this notion. It’s just a matter of time, and money, before the mission of the millennium happens.

Our human perception of Mars is clearly trumpeted throughout the book, giving us an insider’s view. Although it’s hard to find a new niche in Mars literature, Pyle has assembled a comprehensive picture and argues in favor of a close-up, human encounter with the red planet. The middle of the book features 24 high-resolution photographic images that greatly embrace the book’s content and lends a pictorial essay to the text.

Rod Pyle’s done an equally impressive job in each of his other titles that involve the cosmos, such as Destination Moon and Mission to the Moon. His History Channel credits are equally impressive. Perhaps we will enjoy his future insights of the Solar System exploration. Still, looking for that faint glimmer of life, Pyle compiles a unique collection of data obtained from the many unmanned missions to date. Now, he infers, we are ready to name Mars as a destination.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Zoo Story
By Thomas French
Nature & Science
304 Pages

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Zoo

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Thomas French, does not let the reader down. He takes you on a mental safari, detailing the twists and turns of his quest from the African Savannah and forests of Panama to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Along the way you get to know the animals and those who care for them. You also get to know about the arguments for and opposed to animal captivity. For some it’s a sanctuary—for others, a prison.

No matter how you regard those who take sides, no doubt Thomas French has clarified the air and got to the heart of the dilemma with insight and compassion. He talks about the animal world with the curiosity of a child, the regard of a scientist and the narration of a writer.

The book is packed with anecdotes that lead you one-way and then another. He builds a sustainable argument in favor of zoos, yet he respects the freedom wild animals need. It is a thoughtful look at how we regard the natural world.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Quantum Leaps
By Jeremy Bernstein
Nature & Science
240 Pages

A Quantum View Just Over the Horizon

Endowed with a rich writing tone, Jeremy Bernstein takes the reader on a ride to existentialism. The work is as much a scientific reflection as it is a book of mysticism. Jeremy Bernstein sees the world, from the vantage point of Quantum Theory, through the eyes of those whose research evoke such images as the CERN Collider (See my review, Collider by Paul Halpern.) and the Dalai Lama. He quotes big names extracting colossal ideas, leaving the reader with a larger number of questions than when he started.

The elusive titles of his chapters stimulate the imagination to surrender its doodles, which, in turn, take us to the exhilarating edge of original thinking. The author gives us a sense of the origins and ongoing debates that Quantum Mechanics has stirred in the Twentieth Century.

Be prepared to reflect often on the issues raised in this volume and the possibility that you will reread the book.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Case for Mars
By Robert Zubrin
Nature & Science
383 Pages

Mars, Are We Going?

Mars has been on everybody’s mind lately. Can we afford to go? Can we afford not to go? Here is the book we’ve been desperately waiting for. It builds on the book, Packing for mars by Mary Roach. (See my review of it at Sacramento Book Review.) The book is based on his original book by the same title, 15 years earlier. It was endorsed by a distinguished collection of astronauts, scientists and writers, including Buzz Aldrin, the late Arthur C. Clark and the late Carl Sagon.

In the 1990 movie, Total Recall, based on a sci-fi by Philip K. Dick, the author depicts a corrupt society built on Mars. Just like The Case for Pluto by Alan Boyle (See my review of it, also in Sacramento Book Review), author Robert Zubrin paints a glossy picture of the red rock with all the justification of a mission in The Case for Mars. Zubrin believes there is yet room for a Mars exploration, replete with building a base on Mars, the Colonization of Mars and Terraforming of Mars. He then begins to speculate on his vision of the significance of the Martian frontier. I think Mars’ time has come and Zubrin has put it right in a brilliant, intense read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By James A. Shapiro
Nature & Science
253 Pages

Symbiogenesis and Epigenetics: Where Have I Heard Those Before?

Although we see a myriad of new books on Evolution, finally, one has a twist worth exploring. In his attempt to modernize the concept, the author has introduced new fields to explore within the standard evolutionary context. These include, symbiogenesis and epigenetics, new attempts at explaining natural selection. He is eager to explain evolution not only in terms of the classical geneticists, but also in terms of gene splicing, evolution of the cell and the complexity of misfits. He does this in a richly toned literary style that reaches out to fundamental concepts that support some of the greatest ideas in biochemistry.

The book is intensely scientific and should be read with a lot of time. But the author is true to his task by deriving his ideas from substantial scientific knowledge. For those not so scientifically inclined, the author has included a comprehensive, 25 page glossary, 64 pages of references that cover 1,162 citations, as well as a generous 13 page index for cross referencing.

The reader may want to reread many of the passages, particularly those pertaining to highly technical biological structures quite necessary to a fuller understanding of the author’s main premise. In all, the book is 253 pages of powerful information and remains a must read for serious readers of science non-fiction.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Richard B. Alley
Nature & Science
479 Pages

A Handbook for the Operators’ Manual

Although there are currently 20 books in print that bear the title, Earth, Richard B. Alley tries to make a fresh point in his new book Earth. In addition to the many publications out there on the subject, Alley contributes nothing especially new. However, his wide spread knowledge and close connection to the documentaries on PBS makes it a must read. The book’s comprehensive scope provides broad appeal for anyone pro or con in climate change. The book doesn’t scold mankind for having languished in the midst of the petroleum era, but offers ways in which we can see the error of our ways and provide hope in stabilizing destructive elements from the past.

The reader is compensated for his quest to devour the conceptual language within the volume. While the text drifts in and out of anecdotal episodes to discuss and break down the complex of information that Alley puts forward, he does so in a realistic way, bringing the entire environment into the picture so that the reader can readily observe cause and effect and judge the state of affairs for him or herself. I particularly loved, Put It Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine. It’s good fall reading and keeps you up to date on cable TV’s most popular arena.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Ronald G. Havelock
Nature & Science
$ 28.00
Pages 363

Hope for the World Through a Positive Approach

Be prepared to be taken on an amazing ride filled with eye-opening detail that will change the way you view the world. Here is an upbeat, optimistic view of the world. Not only does Havelock see hope for man, but he reveals just how this brave, new world will unfold. He does this in a dazzling style that drives the foundation of his beliefs.

He sees the world through what he describes as six fundamental forces. He explains how our knowledge grows by referring to basic learning paradigms, making use of simple diagrams and observations. His thesis outlines the importance of six laws. In Part One, consisting of the first three chapters, he develops the case for progress. Part Two sets the stage for the six laws. Part Three establishes the argument for where the laws are taking us. The six forward function laws: 1) animal learning, 2) externalizing learning, 3) social connections, 4) knowledge platform, 5) scientific problem solving and 6) modern global diffusion.

With a positive outlook on life and the world, he describes in eloquent English just how the world can be saved. He does this without condescending remarks or a preachy attitude. His is a work that will endure and set realistic goals for the benefit of mankind.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Hidden Reality
By Brian Greene
Nature & Science
$ 29.95
370 Pages

Amazon Title: Which Otherverse?

Although theories of the cosmos over the years have remained elusive, Brian Green has found a way to legitimize them all and offer a collective understanding of the cosmos in his new book, The Hidden Reality. Here, he uncovers the latest speculation and affirmation of the concepts in his subtitle, Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.

The author has touched on the most sensitive chords of thought on the ever-expanding ideas connected with String Theory. He examines these topics in the most clever and intriguing way, uncovering all the connections for the layman and scientist alike. He does so with witty insight, and crystallizing important connections for the layman. Looking at cosmology through Greene’s eyes is like seeing the universe in high definition for the first time.

The Hidden Reality attempts to define what it is that we have come to understand within the limits of our 3-dimentional, fishbowl existence. If other universes are barely connected to what we think of as reality by the flimsy idea of a string, then we must know what it feels like to be a fish out of water. Reading this book is tantamount to reading a clever mystery.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth
By Mark Hertsgaard
Nature & Science
339 Pages

Global Warming as Seen Through the Eyes of a Father

Whenever I open a book based on scientific research and review of the literature, I don’t want to feel distracted by sentimental references. It seems Mark Hertsgaard directed his thesis to his daughter, Chiara. If I wanted to read such a book, I would not have looked in the science and nature category. Although the title embraces the prospect of global warming over the next fifty years, the inside message does a feeble job to support his contentions.

This is not to say that the book is poorly written or lacks in concrete science, but it does so in drawn-out speculations about what might be. The author needs to draw a line in the sand and then cross it to show its dangers. After 100 pages, the reader begins to feel Hertsgaard’s passion, but it’s marred with tangential examples.

The book offers entertainment as it exploits every aspect of the subject and is punctuated with rather clever quotes from literature to enhance his deeper message. Over all, the book is 3.5 stars, but the importance of the subject and the resources with which the author exploits to show his audience what he believes, I am persuaded to lean to 4 stars.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Aids: Taking a long-Term View
By The AIDS 2031 Consortium
Nature & Science
145 Pages

Where is AIDS going now?

The trouble with new books on AIDS is that they don’t tell about anything new. All the research has been revealed and clarified many times over. I have counted 14 new books on alone! So why this new book? First, it’s put out by The aids2031 Consortium, which hopes to shed light on the long-term view. Although many think that the AIDS epidemic has peaked, the consortium reveals that the drama is still unfolding.

Because of the insidious nature of this decease, people are still very concerned about the impact and direction AIDS. Still, much hope is bolstered by the many who participate in the long-term care, maintenance, research and hope for a cure. This problem has also opened the door to understanding the nature of our immune systems. This has led to the discovery of other deceases similar to AIDS that affect other animals.

The book is no slouch when it comes to documentation. Maps and many other illustrations throughout the book help to show how the pandemic is constantly evolving. Although small, this fact-filled edition is packed with important information that is easy to understand and clarifies many questions and enjoys the status as a powerful reference.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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How Intelligence Happens
By John Duncan
Nature & Science
256 Pages

The Evolution of Our Intelligence

John Duncan recognizes how order is born out of what seems to be chaos. It is through curiosity and study that we find order in chaos. He describes the essence of how things are and why they are that way as a machine—the thing to study. There, we must seek out the regularity within the machine.

Then the author surprises us by delving deeper into understanding how it is that our sense of logic emerges from our sense of perception. It is rather like getting into a gripping novel, and then, just when we get our minds in-tuned with what drives us into the story, the plot thickens.

Duncan’s arguments make a great case for Gestalt Theory and Mental Set. With these tools described in layman terms he reveals How Intelligence Happens. The book is an invigorating read, giving the reader a chance to reflect on how the principles Duncan poses reflect on what we perceive as thinkers. It’s an easy and invigorating read. It’s winter reading at its best.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Paul Halpern
Nature & Science
260 Pages

From the Four Fundamental Forces
to the Brink of the Theory of Everything

A book that shows you the way slowly, flanked by three separate introductory segments is poised for demystifying those cursory preliminaries. Paul Halpern’s new book, Collider, The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles, promises to entice the reader with captivating insight

The book is fortified with an inviting preface, “The Fate of the Large Hadron Collider and the Future of High-Energy Physics,” followed by a mesmerizing prologue, entitled “Journey to the Heart of the Large Hadron Collider.” The opening is topped off with an intense introduction: “The Machinery of Perfection.”

The main difference between fiction and non fiction is that while fiction develops and thickens the plot, non-fiction reveals the purpose and makes you feel that you’ve learned something worthwhile. And Collider does it all in good taste and style.

He begins by sorting out the secrets of creation. He moves on to the quest for a theory of everything and ends up striking gold and smashing successes. In his explanatory efforts he discusses the four fundamental forces and how they work. And he concludes by speculating about microscopic black holes and the future of high-energy physics. A book that brings the reader to the brink of understanding.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Once Before time: A Whole Story of the Universe
By Martin Bojowald
Nature & Science
275 Pages

The Battle to Combine Quantum Mechanics
with Relativity to Create a Theory of Everything

With a brilliant literary style and a refreshing quest for clarity, Martin Bojowald, in his new book, Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe, takes you on an exuberant ride of mental calisthenics and never allows you to rest. You feel his deep passion for science throughout the reading—as though he found his way into your mind and endeavors to challenge your own mental programming. One of the most brain-stimulating books I’ve encountered in years.

While his book discusses the big bang and what it means, the larger question is, did something come before it and if so, what was it? He first examines the main arena of theoretical physics—an opportunity to find the kind of inconsistencies to control an argument. Such a way of thinking opens the doors to speculation—a rather fundamental tool of theoretical physics. These are the directions of his position, to acknowledge the wide gulf between the two worlds—the very large and very small.

He considers the importance of the theory of Quantum Mechanics, which is the fundamental tool to describe matter in the universe, and General Relativity to explain gravity, space and time. He is attempting to find a place for the relatively new area of concern: quantum gravity, which remains extremely complex in mathematical terms.

The book hopes to establish a first-hand report of the relevant research that is making an effort to combine the two seemingly disparate theories. He draws the analogy of the first stages of assembling a jigsaw puzzle, where the picture is starting to take form, but we are not quite sure what it is.

Although this book allows the joys of mental stimulation to thrive, it invigorates the spirit of curiosity to reconsider some of the deepest and most haunting speculations of all: what’s it all about.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Future of Water
By Steve Maxwell
Nature & Science
165 Pages

The Last Drop

Although lots of authors have examined the condition of Earth’s resources, he Future of Water is one of the more immediate concerns. While a number of agencies in the Southwest, especially in California, have reported dwindling water resources, no one has stepped forward to address future needs. By the time the Colorado River reaches the Rio Grand, hardly anything is left. The dwindling water supply is due to tremendous development in recent years. The author takes an in-depth look at how this situation has come about and considers its remedies.

The book features a significant effort that ushers in a new era, one that aims to make the world a better place by better understanding nature’s goals. The author examines the nature of the water business and develops a picture of what’s to come. Although that picture seems bleak, the author paves the way to overcome the danger of water shortages.

A fantastic summer reading experience that will not only enrich and enlighten the casual reader, but won’t disappoint those with stronger scientific interests.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Strange New Worlds
By Ray Jayawardhana
Nature & Science
255 Pages

Brave New Worlds

The significance of the work may be summed up in the first chapter, Quest for Other Worlds. Ray Jawawardhana is on a guest to find habitable planets with the hope that one of them will harbor life. The author examines every way to find new planets and maybe alien life, too. He stimulates the reader with new insight, providing new hope in the final chapter, Signs of Life. Although Jawardhana is a new kid on the block, having written only one other book, his work is packed with vitality, shedding a fresh perspective on the search for habitable worlds.

Strange New Worlds is right on target. It boasts a volume of endorsements from distinguished writers, including Jim Tarter, director of the Center for SETI research. Jawardhana’s Strange New Worlds is in line with other planet-finder type works, but is unique in that it combines the possibility of planet finding with finding life. Soon, Jawaardhana promises, we will find habitable worlds or perhaps realize that none are out there. Either way, we are living in a splendid time, a time of exploration and learning about the cosmos. An eye-opening read. <

br>By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Private Lives of Birds
By Bridget Stutchbury


The Secret Life of a Bird Researcher

Quote: “Birds are highly social, and their social needs are at least as important as their physical needs.”

Birds have been highly regarded by man. From earliest times, folks have gazed up at the sky to watch these majestic creatures in flight, admiring their ability to float aloft effortlessly. This observation must be what drives people like Bridget Stutchbury to study birds. She stalks them, living among them, studying them in surprisingly fine detail. She observes their mating habits, parenting skills, social behavior, tool usage and nest building techniques.

She also listens to birds with a sympathetic ear for their well being, taking note that humans continue to challenge them with increasing pressure every year. The author demonstrates a strong need to share her love of birds by having composed her wonderful book, The Secret Lives of Birds.

To document her book accurately, Stutchbury was persistent. Considering birds’ range and variations in size, she relied upon extensive knowledge and enduring patience. The book focuses on eight specific attributes: mating, selecting mates, parenting, nest-building, territory defense, bird cities, migration, adaptation strategy. In her epilogue she explains that birds have adapted to human encroachment by changing their habits.

Loaded with crystal clear HD photography and exquisitely crafted in a rich, articulate style, she delivers a book readers easily learn from.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Evolution of Childhood
By Melvin Konner


How Does Childhood Evolve?

This book is not a weekend read. An elaborate 17-page introduction starts this book in motion. The book proper begins on page 37 and even so, it still provides some 720 pages of content above and beyond the front matter and a prodigious prologue. This is not to demerit the book at all. Konner’s work was clearly meant for the reflective reader. The reader is plunged into a deep chasm of human interactions, in all their complexities and far-reaching social implications.

What is this author trying to say? About human evolution? About the evolution of childhood? He makes a profound point about two rather important areas of concern: the growth of language in Chapter 9, and the growth of sex and gender differences as described in Chapter 10. These two characteristics clearly distinguish Homo sapiens from other, higher mammals.

Compared to other mammals, humans have the longest maturation process. Is this a survival strategy or a hindrance and makes the species vulnerable? Perhaps the greatest distinction that separates human evolution from other mammals’ is their vast capacity to acquire language and culture. It would appear, then, that humans need this long maturation period for such things as enculturation and language.

The book is incredibly well researched with 159 pages of references and an index of 22 pages. If you plan to read this book through, take a little each day and savor the delights it bestows. Well worth the read.

QUOTE: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Packing for Mars
By Mary Roach


A Bold New Step for a Mars Mission

Packing for Mars is an engaging book. It clarifies just what a trip to Mars means. Mary Roach explains this by allowing the contents to fall upon the human aspect of space travel. She refers to it as, “The curious science of life in the void.” Through a powerful resource of information, she engages the reader with a continuous reference to human functioning in space.

Just as I envisioned a lunar base as a staging site for a Mars launch, Roach embraced the idea in an effort to validate a 2030’s Mars date. She lists a broad measure of choices to enable a Mars mission to even be considered. Aside from obvious biological needs, the sheer volume of supplies that are required is staggering. At the heart is a host of recycling plans.

The planners figured out how to desalinate urine and remove offensive chemicals, making a palatable beverage. This necessitated the need to consider recycling the enormous amounts of solid bio waste. It could be dehydrated, sterilized and then re-hydrated, providing solid foodstuffs, it was argued. But this process raised more eyebrows than originally thought and promptly abandoned in favor of a more practical solution—sending dehydrated food ahead of the mission on unmanned flights.

The book is rich with ideas that include everything imaginable in order to carry out such a journey. Although I salute Mary Roach for having examined every possible angle, I was annoyed with by the use of such remarks as “One furry step for mankind” and “Houston, we have a fungus,” to portray her vision of humor. These served only to distract the reader from her main message. Otherwise, the book is well worth a read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Absolutely Small
By Michael D. Fayer


More Than a Passing Interest in Scientific Sustenance

Finally, someone caught up with the importance of explaining Quantum Theory in layman’s terms. We live in a technological society that is infinitely dependent upon science. No longer are average people huddling in the dark ages, snickering in the presence of mathematical reasoning. Show us the light!

One of the high lights to understanding what it’s all about involves the photon—that strange particle that is neither a physical entity (in the sense of atoms) nor is it a pure energy unit, which would have indirect measurement. Instead, the photon shows properties of both states, invoking wave theory. This adds an extra dimension to understanding the nature of things. But author, Michael D. Fayer, Ph. D., clarifies this and sheds light on otherwise hidden connections of how things work in nature.

Over all, Fayer does a marvelous job at uniting the various aspects of matter and energy so that the reader, including the layman, has a road map to the make-up of the universe and its workings. Consequently, we are enlightened to the deeper meaning of small—Absolutely Small.

It’s not a casual read. But for those with more than a passing interest in scientific sustenance, the book is well worth the read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Essential Engineer
By Henry Petroski


Science and Engineering

Petroski aims to clarify the difference between science and engineering. He professes that, “Engineering and medicine are more like each other than like science.” The book’s subtitle, Why Science Alone Will not Solve Our Global Problems, focuses Petroski’s conviction, drawing upon the support of some of the most creative scientific minds of the 20th Century, including Albert Einstein.

One of the main problems of technological rescue, Petroski purports, is the high cost of technology. He points out how the Europeans are way ahead of the US in the race for renewable energy. The reason for their success is the high cost of petrol-based fuel. When the cost of petrol-energy exceeds renewable energy, technology will grow in that direction.

Petroski explains in clear English how our engineering will garner a new way to harness the vast technology already within our grasp. His ideas bridge the once clear gulf between science and engineering. Engineering has shifted away from mere scientific application. The new technology, he claims, emerges from the amalgamation of different areas. If need is the mother of invention, then technology is the godfather of engineering. The author sees the day when technology will fill niches and support our ingenuity to fabricate a more efficient world.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Climate Crisis
By David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf


Impacting the World

Ever since Al Gore rose to the occasion, the world has been sitting by waiting anxiously for the definitive treatise on climate change. Both university professors, David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf have boldly compiled the issues and concerns in the brave new world of The Climate Crisis.

The authors have attempted to summarize and assess the scientific literature that has been amassed since the late 1970’s. in their account, they back track to provide a perspective based on What We Knew and When We Knew It. They are eager to investigate charges that led up to the present time. Reflecting on the issues of the polar ice sheets and permafrost areas of the world, they address popular opinion as well as opinion shifts. Next, they examine the impact of climate change on the oceans and weather.

Looking at the past, they hold hope for the future, suggesting ways in which nature may cope with climatic change. Finally, we are led into the delicate balance of energy consumption and the effect of greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuels. The authors conclude with concern over world climate policy and whether it will result in conflict or unprecedented global cooperation. A vital read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Curious Folks Ask
By Sherry Seethaler


A Light-Hearted Touch of Information

Curious Folks Ask is about a collection of 162 Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Mysteries. Sherry Seethaler whets our appetite for delicious morsels of useful information.

I must admit that the surprising answers to our many concerns seem to open up a wave of information gathering. Perhaps this book is the beginning of a new style of literature that answers questions that address our concerns in life. She focuses in on particular concerns, such as whether one can catch the common cold by exposure to the cold. I was fascinated with why we yawn and sneeze just to mention a few. She does a knockout job addressing medical concerns. She provides intriguing information from mononucleosis to AIDS. She even allows the concerns of old wives tails to challenge modern scientific thought.

It is a book worth reading and will serve as a reference for really deep discussions. I am sure that Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy champion would love to read them. With a format of easy to follow examples and clear and scientific explanations, I highly recommend this book for both background information as well as an entertaining weekend.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Joe Haldeman
292 Pages


Starbound, the second of a trilogy, is based on a desperate attempt to confront the aliens called Other on a distant world since they nearly destroyed Earth in the first book. After a 6 ½ year trek across the cosmos, they return home to find that they emerge 50 years in the future. This second book sets the stage for the third with the build up of the human arsenal to combat the omnipotent Other.

This book is written in the spirit of old-fashion science fiction, except that the plot is a little stilted. The novel, aside from suffering weak characterization, is broken up in an odd way, making it rather trying to keep up with the passage of time and who did what. Overlooking these, the pace does move the story along and the reader feels rewarded with a fresh perspective on the bigger picture.

Joe Haldeman shows promise as a top science fiction writer even though //Starbound// is not his best. Since this book does entertain, what it lacks in depth is made up for with what it delivers in pace. While it struggles to make the 100 best list, I do recommend it as a fast read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Giant Molecules
By Walter Gratzer
254 Pages


The Giants Have Come to Town

Many reviewers will choose to focus on one or more of the various aspects of the book that Walter Gratzer has put forward. Gratzer has garnered a new category of 21st Century scientists. The author reveals technological advances in synthetic structures and showcases their importance. The basis of all the giant molecules is the carbon atom. Everything is based upon the marvelous way in which the bonds are formed with various other elements and compounds. By his exhaustive study, we glimpse through a window into a fantastic building block of matter.

During the 1950’s, the introduction of polymers blazed a trail to study synthetic structures that opened a new way to look at organic chemistry. Gratzer lays the groundwork for his discussion in the first seven chapters.

He builds a case for giant molecules in the last chapter. The most far-reaching consideration surfaced in developing carbon fibres. Among these, carbon chains bond to form parallel structures creating sheets of molecules, much stronger than steel and considerably lighter. They can be built upon almost indefinitely. The study of carbon filaments, the latest development, sets the stage to make remarkable devices, super strong materials that may replace aircraft aluminum and anything else where lightweight strength is essential. A wonderful compilation of scientific thought.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Galileo's Dream
By Kim Stanley Robinson
Science Fiction
544 Pages


Walking Amidst the Cosmos

Galileo encounters a stranger, who introduces him to a glass apparatus that he later uses to fashion into a telescope. The stranger brings him to the future, where he walks the surface of Jupiter’s moons and finds himself involved in a complex development. In the past, Galileo struggles with superstitions and religious beliefs. Confounded by it all, he faces his own demise for his beliefs. Robinson shows the real Galileo with all his faults and limitations and how he deals them.

Galileo’s Dream has been referred to as a cross genre novel—part science fiction, part history. This is nothing new. In the last 20 years, many novels have begun to share genres with science fiction. Among them, Sign of the Anasazi, You’ve Got Murder, both sci-fi mysteries, etcetera, have appeared. The Da Vinci Code is an historical fiction. Although no one argues with that, a good argument can be made for the entertainment angle. It is intriguing.

For science enthusiasts, it is a revelation of the great Galileo, but for those who long for science fiction, 544 pages remains a little daunting. Still, Robinson delivers extraordinary insight with excavating detail. If you have the time, it’s worth the read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Down to the Wire
By David W. Orr
261 Pages


Leadership Emergency

Orr provides an eye-opening case for the selfish role government plays. Only now have we matured enough to realize the great havoc we raise on a planet doomed by our indulgence and failure to heed nature’s warning. We must assume responsibility of planet maintenance. It is crucial we do this—not for our political pride or correctness, but for our very existence.

What Is to Be Done? (Chapter 8) Orr calls upon leaders to lead the world into balance with nature to curtail a catastrophe from global warming. He outlines the political manifestation of the problem and proposes five challenges. Each involves the willingness of leaders to refrain from selfish pride and acknowledge that a problem exists. We are not talking about hundreds of thousands, as was the case of the Indonesian tsunami that killed 230,000, we are talking about hundreds of millions of people worldwide in low-lying cities. Still, many policy makers sit on the sidelines and pretend it will all go away.

I praise people like David Orr, who are brave enough to lay it all out in clear English: wake up, people! We are out of time. Down to the Wire is a book everyone must read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Blood Cross
By Faith Hunter
321 Pages


A New-Fashion Heroin

Jane is an American Indian shape-shifter gun for hire. She hunts rogue vampires, which gets her into all kinds of awkward situations. Some of these involve romantic entanglements. Her best friend, Molly, brings two children into the mix, further complicating the situation.

In her confrontations with the head master Vamp, Leo blames Jane for his death. Another character, Hunter, helps broaden the fantasy world. Jane has a lot of close calls in a dangerous realm, but always comes out on top.

We see that Faith Hunter writes with excitement and enthusiasm, eager to pull in as many character traits as she can. In some ways, it makes the reading smooth and fast. In others, it tries to pull together too many threads and make you wonder what she wants to echo in her voice. It vaguely reminds me of the Harrison Ford Indiana Jones series. Although her story is fresh, it’s a little too busy for my taste.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Seven Pillars of Creation
By William P. Brown
Science & Nature
334 Pages


The Bible, Science and Creation—A Bold New Look

What a pleasant surprise to find a work that is not afraid to speak to us. This book represents a monumental task of research and demonstrates a bold statement about creation. The book features a vast 54-page list of references, notes and 20-page bibliography, in addition to a superb 14-page index.

The author encompasses inter-related arguments from the Bible and represents them with the fabric of the cosmos, (Chapter 9) in which he puts forward the idea that, “All creation has an instinct for renewal,” a quotation of Tertullian. (See Brown’s notes.) His research is seated in biblical as well as scientific literature. The work is not easy reading. It is literate, bold and brave and hopes to gather ideas from different funds of knowledge to give credence to and appreciation of our incomprehensibly vast cosmos, both in the literal sense as well as the spiritual.

The book boasts both a biblical reference and scientific understanding—a challenge for the informed reader. This cornucopia of human knowledge is an incisive read for discerning thinkers.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Pythagorean Theorem
By Alfred S. Posamentier
Science & Nature
294 Pages


What the Euclidian Predecessor knew

I’m a little surprised to see Dr. Posamentier driven down a well-paved road. Perhaps he has something new to show us. As compared to his previous publications, Posamentier continues to deliver a depth of insight. His work is nothing short of comprehensive and remains the most standard work to represent Pythagorian thought in a modern era.

He provides treatment of Pythagorus with numeric proofs, algebraic and geometric. He also shows how equivalent relations form Pathagorus’ theorem. Perhaps, the most poignant area involves the famous trigonometric identity, Sin² θ + Cos² θ = 1, derived from the distance formula, which is also Pythagorian in nature. One of these trigonometric concerns leads to the invaluable triangle-area calculations of ½ xySin θ in the Cartesian plane. The Pythagorian Theorem is also a special case of the law of Cosines as illustrated by a²+b²- 2abCos θ= c².

Although Posamentier has nothing new to uncover, he sheds light in the gray areas of familiar topics in Pythagorian geometry. As one might recall from the history of mathematics, Pythagorus understands counting through his marvelous use of geometric numbers. Posamentier seeks a similar path, tempered with a Pythagorian view. A dynamic read for stimulating your brain.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Here’s Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos
By Alex Bellos
Science & Nature
298 Pages


The Elements Provides no Shortcut

Euclid is often referred to as the father of geometry. His life’s work, called the Elements, remains the foundation of modern geometry. Indeed, it was Pythagorus, who predates Euclid by some 200 years, who set the stage. We can see this in the way that Euclid proceeds, beginning with arguments of simple definitions, such as what is a point, a line and a plane. He elaborates by arguing that such statements in nature exist that cannot be proved by reasoning, such as a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. He describes the essence of these self-evident concepts as postulates. From these and a wealth of definitions of geometric form, flows the basis of the Euclidian postulation system.

This is what we are taught in school. So, what is Alex Bellos really trying to say? Here’s Looking at Euclid is an attempt to examine ancient writings to see how Euclid fits in. We are impressed by the similarities certain ancient concepts share with regard to number formation and geometric form. Consequently, mathematics may not originate from divine thinking.

Nature is the backbone of modern thinking. Just as Leonardo de Vinci looked at birds to learn how to fly and creatures to explore movement, Euclid must have been inspired by what nature bestows. Bellos goes on a quest to examine the origin of mathematical thinking by examining the relics of the past. And he does a rather divine job.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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From Eternity to Here
By Sean Carroll
Science & Nature
438 Pages


A Time for Reason

I was blown away having read From Eternity to Here. Here is an aoristic stroll through eternity from the perspective of a theoretical physicist. Unlike Time by Eva Hoffman, From Eternity to Here is an exhilarating journey through time, “The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time,” says Sean Carroll.

Sean Carroll propels the reader through a sensuous ride through time. He takes you on a sojourn through time, from experience and the universe, through Einstein’s universe, and entropy, to the multiverse. He gives us his gift of insight by delving into such far-reaching ideas that explore matter, gravity and the cosmos. His is a world of stunning clarity; a quiescent moment in the universe to ponder our existence. His book invigorates the mind and leaves us in a state of awe. Don’t read another thing until you read this enduring testimony of reality.

"These new temporal arenas allows us to understand how it seems that the way we experience time has also changed with time." Eva Hoffman

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Bill McKibbben
Science & Nature
253 Pages


A Brave New World: Our Precious Sphere

Quote: “Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.”

Mckibben tries to warn us that not only is the planet heading for disaster, but he knew it 25 years ago and has taken strides to announce it to the world. Although he paints a grim picture of our future, he paints an even grimmer picture of what we have to do to change it. It’s not so much that we’ll perish, but like we need to put ourselves on a diet before we grow too lazy to get out of bed.

Like others of recent times in the twenty-first century, Bill McKibben is making a clear case. We’re just out of time. He shows case after countless case of how the world is changing and makes a convincing argument that we are causing it.

The most powerful element of the book is its readability. He blasts everything from industry to land conservation to overpopulation, to make a most indelible point.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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How It Ends
By Chris Impey
Nature & Science
352 Pages


Does It Have to?

It’s rather scary to think that everything we understand in reality will some day end. Chris Impey demonstrates how everything in the universe will eventually wind itself down and end with an intense examination of everything that matters. He essentially proposes that everything is born, grows to maturity, withers and dies. Everything from living things to inanimate objects, like space rocks, planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies, eventually pass away. In effect, the whole shebang will end.

Ironically, Chris Impey’s How It Ends is really a quest to discover where we are going. Impey does this consistently by exploring the lives of larger structures such as the Fate of species, Beyond Natural Selection, The Web of Life, Threats to the Biosphere, Living in the Solar System, the Sun’s Demise, Our Galactic Habitat and finally, How the Universe Ends.

We are immediately shaken by the reality that Impey bestows through his work. Yet, our eyes are opened to the vague concerns we all foster in the back of our minds. Of course, the amount of time involved for nature to carry out her demise is daunting to comprehend. But scientists are grappling with ever more unsettling ideas than things phasing out. Impey concludes that even though life may seem distressing, it’s still great to know that we are alive.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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From My Mama’s Kitchen
By Johnny Tan
135 Pages


The Amazing Moms Have Found a Home

In this rather touching sojourn into the realm of motherly love, Johnny Tan, a Malaysian born writer, adopted at birth, brings the warmth of love into print. During his adaptation to western life, he encounters eight other women who altered his life by their words of wisdom. He describes his “Nine moms.” From his spiritual moms to his regional moms, he embraces a very different aura of personal well-being of health, wealth and love. From My Mama’s Kitchen is flavored with words of wisdom and recipes from the kitchen. In addition, this memoir pays tribute to moms all over the world by honoring them.

The book features food for the soul and 30 recipes for living, Coming to a Full Circle, My Moms and Their Wisdom,” and concluding with nine sumptuous food recipes. He describes his work as, “A keepsake,” which enjoys the endorsement of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers. The book is a refreshing distraction from our busy lives and reminds us what is truly important in life. It is easy reading and a fun book. The book is actually part of a larger project that encompasses the same topic. Read it and feel enriched.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Deep Blue Home
By Julia Whitty
Science & Nature
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
245 Pages

Finding Our Way in the Vast Ocean

I found that the author, Julia Whitty, pictures herself in her new book, Deep Blue Home more as an invader than a visitor. And she’s right. Her stint to observe nature really close up has its drawbacks, particularly when the investigator is out of her natural environment. Yet, the ocean is huge, far greater than anyone can envision. I must admire Julia Whitty’s guts to get the job done though. You have to get your hands dirty if you want to discover how the engine works. She offers a unique perspective on how the world works by observing it through the medium of the sea. Few of us can fully appreciate the diversity and fragility of our ocean environments, which many of us take for granted, from a comfortable office or home setting.

Although her chapter titles are sometimes misleading, her arguments are right on target, revealing to the reader the vast complexity of the submerged world that remains hidden from average folks. She uncovers the very nature of the ocean’s workings, however. This book is not a superficial read. One need reflect on how this unveiling connects you to the rest of the world on dry land. Read it.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Decoding Relaity
By Vlatko Vedral
Science & Nature
Oxford University Press
229 Pages

Bits and Pieces

A new kid on the block with a fresh idea of what it’s all about wakes up the book world. On the quantum level, information appears to have no meaning, appearing as simple units of decision. Yet, the whole modern society is based on that very fact—i.e. computer-machines language. It all stems from “bits and pieces.”

He begins to assemble an argument for the bases of our technological reality, pointing out that our soft tissues operate based on more machine-line processes behind the scenes. Even so, we are a composite always achieving a state of which the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

Although his style is punchy with a prologue followed by three major parts being some 12 chapters and ending quite aptly with an epilogue. In all, a neat package, which mimics the machinery of reality. The book is a wonderful acknowledgement of reality’s complexity, giving us a neat rendering of what it ought to be. The author must be commended for his treatment of such an illusive topic. An invigorating read. I see great promise for this talented and modern new thinker.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light
By Jane Brox
Science & Nature
Houghton Miflin
368 Pages

A Bright New Look at Light

After reading //Brilliant// you’ll never take life for granted again. From the great blackout of 1965 to the many “brown-outs” of recent times, Brilliant illuminates the dark areas since the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The author, Jane Brox, has composed an enlightened look into the evolution of artificial light. The book is written in an easy reading style with lively language and interesting anecdotes that entertain as well as inform the reader.

One of the most inviting prologues I have ever read lures you into the her book. Brox covers it all, from the first lanterns at sea, to gas light and the emergence of the incandescent electric lamp. She remarks that during wartime some parts of Europe returned to old light. London endured a self-induced blackout to evade enemy bombardment. Even New York prepared itself to avoid becoming a target. All this makes us aware of how artificial light can cast an ugly shadow and forces us to consider its use with care.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Dale Purves
Nature & Science

Not Using Them Would Be Unthinkable

The author revisits many familiar vehicles to understand how we think. He discusses nerve cells versus brain systems. In his discussions, he takes a deep look at the roots of how we perceive reality with 13 chapters covering everything from neurobiology to perceiving geometry and motion, providing us a clue of how brains seem to work.

Dale Purves challenges the reader by providing the most remarkable insight to rather puzzling questions. The book is flavored with tempting, thought-provoking color illustrations. The work recognizes the readers academic limitations in a respectful way by providing an extensive glossary suggested readings, and a comprehensive index.

Although the work appears a little convoluted, it yields tremendous insight if the reader is patient enough to re-read certain passages and refer back to other portions of the text in order to connect the points the author makes. I can assure that the reader will not be disappointed if he or she is persistent in seeking important background to a better understanding of how we think.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Case for Pluto
By Alan Boyle
Science & Nature
258 Pages

A Home for Pluto

With a fresh style and a clear voice, Alan Boyle addresses //The Case for Pluto.// Ever since the search for a planet between Mars and Jupiter led to the discovery of the asteroid belt, the hunt for a planet at the edge of the solar system not only led to the discovery of Clyde Tombaugh’s Pluto, but also to the now well-known Kuiper Belt and the lesser known Ort Cloud.

Several efforts have aimed to demote Pluto to dwarf planet status, leading to one of the biggest controversies astronomy has seen since astronomers tried to capture images of stars hiding behind the sun during a solar eclipse as predicted by Einstein. A number of planet demystifiers have come to the aid of the planet degradation era, some with torches held high and some with lynch knots.

The main problem is that Pluto has enjoyed popularity. Boyle puts up a good battlefront for the case for Pluto, considering every angle and leaving no scientific mind undisturbed. What the scientific community could agree upon was that Pluto was both a planet and not a planet at the same time. The solution was to reclassify, hoping to quell the problem. A must read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Dreaming the Biosphere: The Theater of All Possibilities
By Rebecca Reider
University of New Mexico Press
Science & Nature
258 Pages

A Dream Home for the Future

With reverence and pizzazz, Rebecca Reider has unveiled //Dreaming the Biosphere//. Based upon a concept first developed by Sir Thomas More in 1516, known as Utopia, The Biosphere is a breath of fresh air. Far from Utopia, the Biosphere hoped to bring about a new way to view surviving on a planet troubled with uncertainty. She also poses a broader question that addresses what we need to do once we leave earth, raising deep concerns about colonization outside of our blue sphere.

Instead of a pile of chapters, Reider combs through four “acts:” Seeds, Genesis, Pioneering, The Reset Button and an epilogue, in which she explores the multi-faceted sterility of Dreaming the Biosphere. She does not pretend to exhibit her work in anything but a human experiment. In so doing, she has accumulated a chronicle of dedication to the task of discovering just what constitutes our living sphere and how we can live in it, ensuring our intense interest in further development.

Her book is an inspiration, a canvass to build upon for those bold enough to undertake the effort and research to better understand our living environment and a reflection on the human need to understand our world.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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A Good Talk
By DanielMenaker
Hachette/twelve Publishing
Science & Nature
230 Pages

A Good Talk Escapes the Prose

Since pre-civilization people have told stories and related new ideas. They talked. How can we mark this accomplishment among humans? While the author agrees with one scalar that gossip may have begun as a hands-free grooming practice among primates, he manages to bury important concepts by allowing his arguments to sit too loose.

With only seven chapters, the author attempts to define, categorize, discern and derive the concept of talk in a palatable way. Unfortunately, this organization is missing. I found many of the so-called humorous anecdotes rather stilted and not so funny. In Chapter One, he uses a forkhead box protein P2 diagram to remind the reader not to forget the mutated gene for language skills; perhaps he meant it in jest. He proceeds to make use of arbitrary expressions to mull over a point.

The book is loaded to the brink with name-dropping, the kind of prose that forces you to stop reading in order to incorporate the importance of the mention of a particular person. These cause the author to stray too far from his point. It’s not that the book does not have something important to say, it’s just that it could have been said better.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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By Eva Hoffman
Big Ideas/Small Books/Picador Imprint
Science & Nature
214 Pages

A Temporal Problem Identified

Eva Hoffman’s well-crafted and tantalizing prose posits a new mode of thinking in the area of temporal studies. Her book is an attempt to link every aspect of life to the inescapable grip of time. She determines human temporality by how humans live by the clock. Her rich testament to those concerns encompasses four specific areas: Time and the Body; Time and the Mind; Time and Culture; and Time in Our Time.

She peeks beneath the obvious to reveal hidden temporal relationships that animals experience. This raises some rather curious questions of time realization. She explains that, “Elephants live seven times longer than mice and an elephant’s heart beat is seven times slower. Does that mean that mice feel that they live as long?”

She refers the Hayflick limit that explains the limitation on cells’ ability to replicate. The implication is that we are deemed finite by nature. Time in Our Time discusses the way time allocation has changed. The author observes how home time is now more closely aligned with work time. These new temporal arenas allows us to understand how it seems that the way we experience time has also changed with time. A terrific read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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How We Live & Why We Die
By Lewis Wolpert
Science & Nature
180 Pages
US Publisher


The Basis of Life

The base of all life is the cell, of which all living things are composed. Cell study enables scientists to understand How We Live & Why We Die. Cells are amazingly adapted to gather proteins, enzymes and other molecular structures, which provide the building blocks and energy of life. Cells also provide the written instructions of how to build the organism, from their DNA.

Like a nail-biting mystery, the author unravels the secrets locked up in the cell. He reveals the grand contribution of Gregor Mendel and other great scientists who helped develop the theories that explains how life works. Many of these have given rise to new ways to study diseases and understand in a more profound way, the meaning of life itself.

Sensitive to the bases of all life, Wolpert goes on to explain how we become human, how we reproduce, how we move, think and feel, how we grow and why we age, how we survive, how cancer strikes, how deceases are caused and the origin of life. Although he explains his points from the perspective of a scientist, he succeeds in his use of very readable language and draws clear conclusions. A mind-expanding read.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Ask the Animals
By Bruce R. Coston
Science & Nature
Price: $18.95
214 Pages

A Brave New Look at Our Dearest Companions

Ask the Animals is a compilation of stories. The author draws upon his more than twenty years practicing veterinarian medicine. The book started as a collection of articles that appeared in Bryce Mountain Courier, a monthly newspaper.

He foreshadows the drama with an illustrious introduction. He paints a graphic picture of the heartbreak of an elder man having to put his dear pet down. He lovingly expresses the plight of a vet faced with the heart-wrenching dilemma of dragging a destitute, elderly man through expensive treatment or yielding to charity to extend the life of an old and feeble, dieing pet.

With 38 chapters, Bruce Coston slowly develops the common thread to this compilation. The first 50 pages outline his background. The End and the Beginning marks a turning point. Here, his passion begins to breathe and grow, cataloging some rather moving anecdotes.

He tells his stories with fervent tear-jerking details. It’s a courageous and gut-wrenching account of man’s mammalian companions. It’s a punctilious glimpse into the lives of the creatures we love most dearly—our pets. This memoir is a reflection on what makes us human. It’s a must read for anyone who cares about the lives of animals.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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A Spiral of Echoes
By Barbara M. Hodges and Maggie Pucillo
306 Pages
Coastal Dunes Publishing

A Rediscovery

After Isabelle discovers her husband’s death and his latest lover, she withdraws, and goes on a quest to find herself on her own terms. Despite badgering from her friends, she treks back to her beloved Baja, Mexico to escape the hectic life of her past to rejoin and reconnect with her original love—weaving and nature. Then, as the story advances, the reader is in for a treat. A ghost and a handsome volcanologist distract Isabelle.

The two authors have coordinated an introspection seldom seen. Theirs is a study of a woman’s escape from the tradition of roles to find her inner self. She gradually learns the importance of time passage, allowing her feelings to connect with the ocean and animals around her. The authors share a brilliant glimpse of the inner thoughts of a woman discouraged by those close to her, while inspired by a rediscovery of her connection with nature.

Although Maggie Pucillo appears to be new on the scene, Barbara M. Hodges has penned five other novels, each focusing on a different literary approach. With a flowing vocabulary, the authors enjoy a style that pulls the reader into the prose and doesn’t let go.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Weather’s Greatest Mysteries Solved!
By Randy Cerveny
328 Pages
Prometheus Books
Science & Nature

The Mystery in His Mysteries

If you relied on weather forecasts 50 years ago, you’d be laughed into oblivion. Times have changed! Randy Cerveny has composed a monumental work entitled, //Weather’s Greatest mysteries Solved!// His work has addressed some of the most challenging mysteries on record, and endeavored to reconcile what appears to be miracles.

In each of 20 chapters of the book, he unravels the mystery that surrounds a unique historical event. Starting with Chapter 1, he raises the question, what is a weather mystery? He tries to ascribe certain meteorological events and climate changes as the basis for a weather mystery. In these pages, he asks questions such as, why did the Mayan civilization disappear? What created the Great American dust Bowl of the1930’s? And many others. His answers? Weather. He explains that weather plays the major role in shaping conditions that trigger dynamic climatologically events. In Chapter 22, the final chapter, he exposes seven solutions.

His sense of organization and clarity are worth noting. In defining each historical event and carefully observing the facts, he deduces how a weather paradigm accounts for the bizarre chain of developments. He exploits a colorful and informative linguistic style, emphasizing the important role historical perspective plays.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Whole Death Catalogue—A Lively Guide to the Bitter End
By Harold Schechter
304 Pages
Ballantine Books
Science & Nature

Is Death Nessary?

The Whole Death Catalogue“…is designed to provide practical information on a wide range of mortuary-related matters…” is an entertaining wonderland of data, quotes, anecdotes and whimsical expressions that truly entertain. After a dazzling introduction, the reader ventures through an eye opening journey into the strange realm of death. It starts with an innocuous question, Is Death Necessary? By contrast, in Life Ascending, Nick Lane argues a similar concept. “Death,” he says. “…is programmed into the very fabric of life.”

Unlike many books that pose more questions than answers, //The Whole Death Catalogue// provides many avenues to ponder. The “Death Anxiety Scale” in chapter 1 is particularly titillating, reminding us of our vulnerabilities and the anxiety we face whenever the thought comes to mind. Though riddled with clichés, the content is witty, entertaining and ebullient with informative details. This amazing content is packed in only seven chapters and a brief introduction. These include: Death, general expression of everything related to death; Be Prepared, what to know to prepare for the big event; Funeral Facts, or all you wanted to know; Grave Matters, amusing anecdotes about graveyards; Cremation, Cryonics, and Other Postmortem Possibilities, self-explanatory; Loss and Hope, a serious reflection, and; Death Can Be Fun! death’s amusements.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Universe-Order Without Design
By Carlos I. Calle
304 Pages
Prometheus Books
Science and Nature

Order without God

The author of The Universe raised a significant question concerning the nature of the universe in his subtitle. While other reviewers have examined his evidence, taking the position that it contradicts a case for //order without design,// I believe that Calle has succeeded in making his case. He acknowledges the revelation in theoretical physics, cosmology, Big Bang Theory and the expansion of the universe, making the case that order in the universe prevails whether or not God is present.

Although his review of the literature is comprehensive and accurate, he only tiptoes through the vast jungle of fragile ideas that support his notion of order without design. Even though he pleads a strong case for believing that such order does indeed exist, he refuses to yield to divine intervention.

I think that Calle allows himself the luxury to explore every avenue. Working his way through the literature, the reader feels enlightened because the author draws upon the ideas of the greatest thinkers to drive the most significant ideas. It is a good read filled with many ways to challenge your own thoughts. I highly recommend the work for those who do not seek absolute answers to a nebulous question.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Red Squad
By E. M. Broner
Pantheon Books
214 Pages
Popular Fiction

We Are Not Alone

The book was an eye opener. We are brought to bear witness to the horrifying fact that we are being looked at all the time. The book reminded me of the 1973 yarn, American Graffiti, a trek through memoirs of the 1950’s. Unlike the ’73 flick, the lavish cars and life style did not surface. Instead, the book shows how a bunch of students and professors of the 1960’s coasted along their merry way executing the outrageous things that occupied people in those wild days only to find out years later that their antics had come back to haunt them. Light on plot, this character-driven tale is told by the strength of its broad range of characters, from a married man called “the farmer,” to a black professor, a gay poet and Bernstein who wanted to start anew in the promise land of Israel.

It tries to be entertaining, and is to some degree, but it becomes too nebulous and unfocussed for me. I suppose that it tries to associate each event with a report. I found it a little overbearing.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Hornet Plus Three
By Bob Fish
288 Pages
Creative Minds Press (imprint of Beagle Bay, Inc.)

A Prominent Place in Recent History

Bob Fish, a Trustee and Apollo curator for the USS Hornet Museum, meticulously researched and accurately traced an account of the recovery of Apollo 11 astronauts. Although many ships played roles, none was more significant than the Hornet, commanded by Captain Seiberlich. A double page display features an aerial view of the Hornet sitting in Pier Bravo at Pearl Harbor in 1969.

Department of Defense supported the Space Recovery Program. It wasn’t always a picture perfect recovery process. Every branch of the armed forces took part in recoveries, from the US Air Force to the U.S. Navy. Before the Apollo Project, Mercury and Gemini provided the grounds for practice, which would prove vital to the safety of the Apollo crew. By the time live astronauts took the stage, all the props had to be tested. With the Apollo astronauts returning from the moon, issues of contamination loomed. A Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) was set up to scour the men for microorganisms.

The Epilogue records the various dialogues of the chief astronauts including Neal Armstrong, and includes key speeches of Presidents John F. Kennedy, who encouraged space flight and Richard M. Nixon, who enjoyed the privilege of congratulating the returning astronauts.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Mission to the Moon
By Alan Dyer
Science & Nature
80 Pages
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Aiming for the Moon

The loftiest pursuit in the history of exploration began with the Apollo Space Program. We are dazzled by the famous Saturn V Rocket, space modules and recoveries. The book boasts an abundance of pictures of every kind of moon lander, rocket engines, astronauts and space paraphernalia.

This wonderful pictorial collection of lunar missions and preparation remind us of our audacity to boldly voyage to forbidding places as the moon and back. Author, Alan Dyer sets a mood for the multitude of technological achievements in the wake of the many mishaps that led up to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, which revealed the now immortal quote, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The book features 200 crisp photos illustrating an era of daring courage and the haunting horror of defeat, reminding us of the risks and rewards of space travel. An Apollo chronology provides a window into each of the 11 Apollo flights. Even the near disaster of Apollo 13 was captioned by the French newspapers: “Apollo: C’est tres Grave.” Don’t forget to see the DVD and poster. Before the book ends, a comprehensive glossary greets us, clarifying all those cool scientific terms.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Mathematics in Ten Lessons
By Jerry P. King
394 Pages
Prometheus Books

The Grand Tour of Pure, Blissful Logic

Perry P. King surprises the reader by enlightenment during a ten-lesson marathon beginning with fundamental of logical operators, through number theory, on to probability and calculus. There’s something for the taste of any mathematical palate. He illustrates pi and e (the natural logarithm), which enjoy special status. Not only are they true, irrational numbers, aside from the square roots of primes, Ferdinand Lindemann and Charles Hermite proved pi and e, respectfully, are transcendental.

It’s remarkable when a mathematician illustrates pi by drawing on sequences that calculate an approximation. It’s even more prodigious when he shows how to calculate e. Unlike pi, which can be explained by comparing the circumference to the diameter of a circle (pi=c/d), e is the limit of the sequence (1+1/n) to the nth power as n approaches infinity. A mouthful!

Mathematics is full of paradoxical arguments, too. He lists and explains six of the more famous ones. The author also tells the story of 10 year-old Carl Friedrich Gauss, who single-handedly solved the sum of a sequence problem by realizing multiple pairs within the scope of elementary school, shocking his teacher.

Philosophically, King succeeds to take you on “The Grand Tour.” Quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.)

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Life Ascending
By Nick Lane
344 Pages
181 Words
W.W. Norton & Company
Science and Nature

The Price of Immortality

We are immediately enlightened by Nick Lane’s brilliant and unique observation of ordinary science in order to derive a fresh perspective in an enriching and entertaining intellectual medium. His style is as lavish as it is clear. Life Ascending is not merely a collection of informative anecdotes, but sets a standard for similar books. His insights are not unlike those offered by Michio Kaku, the late Carl Sagan, et al., and share their enthusiasm.

The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution explains the questions we ask from the origin of life through sex, movement and finally consciousness and death. According to Lane, “Death…is programmed into the very fabric of life.” Such extraordinary reflections embody the mark of a passion for life that sets him apart from others. A fascinating journey into the largest questions that man has asked awaits the reader.

His is an offering that satisfies the soul and embraces life as a vessel of knowledge. I admire his gifts and respect his patience in unlocking the subtle secrets of the universe. I want to see more thinkers like Nick Lane.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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Whole Earth Discipline
By Stewart Brand
Penguin Books/a Viking Adult Imprint
Science & Nature
354 Pages

A Breath of Fresh Air

While many make a lot of noise about the green movement, Stewart Brand makes a bold statement that simply cannot be ignored. His discussion about the world’s carrying capacity is disturbingly fascinating and right on target. He points to a rather scary scenario for various systems reaching their capacity threshold and changing forever and forever changing the landscape on earth. He sees millions of species lost, large landlocked ice shelves sliding into the ocean, increasing water levels by 16 feet or more.

Stewart Brand has orchestrated a diverse approach to understand the environmental predicament we find ourselves in. He accomplishes this with a unique and resourceful embodiment of knowledge reaching out to a distinguished group of thinkers who have established authority in their own realm. Together, Brand points the way to understanding. We must become benevolent ecosystem engineers. We must be like earthworms, terra forming the planet for its future sustainability. We must be like the birds and the bees, pollinating the earth for prosperity.

His work is a breath of fresh air. If we are to enjoy that air in future generations, we better wake up and see what we have done and find ways to fix it.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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K2 Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain
By Ed Viesturs and David Roberts
Crown Publishing
Sports & Outdoors
342 Pages

A Perilous Pursuit

Ed Viesturs brings K2 to life in his monumental book,//K2 Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain.// No doubt, the ascent of the world’s second tallest mountain must be a triumph that boggles the imagination. According to Viesturs, there is a big price to pay to bask in the horror of conquering K2.

The contents, which includes 7 chapters, covers: 1) The Motivator, 2) Decision, 3) Breakthrough, 4) The Great Mystery, 5) Brotherhood, 6) The Price of Conquest and 7) The dangerous Summer. Within these, he chronicles the six most dangerous seasons in the mountain’s history from 1938 to 2008. He walks us through all the danger zones with brilliant, clear language complemented with dazzling photographic images. The breath-taking vistas, captured in photography throughout the book, only add to the descriptive details this work enjoys. Clear sketches of the mountain’s majesty adorn the content on both ends of the book, adding to the depth of the imagery created by his account of the adventure of a lifetime.

Rich with adventure, the author entertains the reader with awe. He draws upon adventures of the greatest climbers such as Rheinhold Messner, Edmund Hillary and countless others to embroider his tale.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Pretend Wife
By Bridget Asher
274 Pages
Bantam Book
Modern Literature and Fiction

How Could She Know?

The Pretend Wife skips along in a light-hearted first person narrative from Gwen’s point of view. While Peter is off talking to someone from work, Gwen stood on line in an ice cream shop when Elliot Hull, an old peer from college, shows up. Gwen could never see it coming. Elliot began to charm his way into her life, even inviting himself to her party in the presence of her husband on his return, with his approval. Then, she went on to paint herself into a corner by letting Elliot fit right in.

Motivated by guilt and shame, he began to make claims that would ease the burden of a dieing mother and fulfill the missing elements of his life. He persuades her to assume the most challenging and distasteful masquerade of her life.

This little tale forces us to re-examine the roles that we play with our spousal relationships and helps us re-evaluate our lives and understand our predicaments. Although the author, Bridget Asher, takes desultory account of little details that drive this narrow-plotted yarn, she manages to find a way to weave a plot that deserves to be told. I would not call this the great American novel, but it is certainly entertaining and worth reading.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Nature of Technology
By W. Brian Arthur
256 Pages
Free Press/Simon & Schuster
Science and Nature

The Evolution of Technology

Arthur clarifies what is and what is not technology in his new book, The Nature of Technology. He orchestrated three definitions guiding the reader through the maze of technological jibber. He cleverly shows these relationships with a deep understanding of the background in which technology is enmeshed, exploiting every available device that arises from the desire to improve upon existing technology to crystallize it as a functional unit of study. Striving to enlighten and stimulate our concerns by reminding us how the advance of technology directs society, the writer proposes inventiveness and shows how use of technology actually drives itself.

The book calls for the need to study technology, setting it apart from other science and maintaining its classification within a scientific framework. The author appreciates that technology operates under the veil of science and believes many think it is less important than science itself. Yet, we are plagued by our dependence every time we pick up a new gadget.

Although a little wordy, making the reader’s mind wonder, Arthur’s extensive knowledge is right on target. We are reminded that we stand at the crossroads of a major milestone and will witness a world-changing amalgamation of our inter-related technologies. Arthur has compiled a rich collection of components that justify his definitions to work in a changing world.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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The Day We Found the Universe
By Marcia Bartusiak
368 Pages
Pantheon Books
Science and Nature

Just How Big Is This Universe?

We are led through an intimate wonderland of familiar faces representing the greatest thinkers of the cosmos. Pulling on the loose threads of early players, Bartusiak has created a platform from which we can see the farthest reaches of what we can observe, justifying what she researched while balancing precariously on the shoulders of giants. She leads us to believe that during each stage of discovery, the pioneers could not possibly have seen the larger picture. Only theorists who looked beyond their imagination could perceive that the grandest of schemes was even grander than even the giants knew.

Many people think that the greatest discoveries came from a magnificent awe, a sudden revelation that something magic pervaded the night sky. That’s not how it came to be. It was the work of countless unknowns, charting and logging data for years and looking at the sky nightly. The culmination of the greatest investigators of the twentieth century directed us to think that the universe was grander than we could ever imagine. Viewing through the new 100-inch Lick Observatory telescope in the early part of the century, our first glimpse at Andromeda was vague and fuzzy, only hinting at what it might be. Observers in those days referred to galaxies as nebulae not knowing what else to call them. Other exotic real estate such as quasars, neutron stars, and black holes were not in the picture at all.

By 1995, when the space telescope named after the late Edwin Hubble, placated the theoretical physicists and haunted others, it began to validate theories by dazzling discoveries and awakening a fresh view of proposals made three-quarters of a century ago. The enormous scale of the universe could not have been imagined in the early days. It would be a full revelation to discover hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. The Day We Found the Universe is a long one. It is a day that encompasses the twentieth century.

The author has uncovered the magnitude of the enormity of the universe by summoning these great minds together in a single volume and identifying them as leaders of the movement confirming we have indeed found the universe.

By D. Wayne Dworsky

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