Category Archives: Other

Cheap Book: Brief History of Time, Arthur Clarke,

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking for $2.99

A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.

Rama II by Arthur Clark and Gentry Lee for two bucks.

Years after the first encounter with a mysterious alien spacecraft in Rendezvous With Rama, a second spaceship enters the solar system—and a team of Earth’s most accomplished scientists and cosmonauts is sent to intercept it.

The human crew is no stranger to Raman culture and technology. But Rama II offers surprises not encountered on the first ship—surprises that could turn out to be deadly. Set against a backdrop of economic crisis that threatens all human settlements throughout the solar system, Rama II tells the story of an advanced scientific team dealing with the unexpected both on an enigmatic alien spacecraft and within their own psyches.

Science Cafe in Minneapolis!

Year ago two things were true. First, there were a lot of science or science and art cafes or related events, getting regular citizens and scientists, or some combination of scientists and artists, together for an evening. These sorts of events have become less common in the Twin Cities.

The second thing that was true is that my great friend Lynn Fellman, was always around in the Twin Cities and the two of us would do a lot of things together, along with others such as Mike Haubrich or Ira Flatow (I’m sure you’ve heard of Mike, he and I do a podcast together), in the science and art and science meets art area.

But the science and art cafes have gone away (partly because the mover and shaker in that area, Shanai Matteson, who ran most of the Cafe Scientique, is now doing different and even more amazing things, and Lynn moved out east.

But now Lynn is back, with a great project that you should to go! (I wisely got my tickets before telling you all!)

Science Cafe! A special event for the public
The Genome Writers Guild presents our second annual Science Cafe
Thursday, July 19th – 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
McNamara Alumni Center on the U of M campus

In the midst of our annual three-day scientific conference, the Genome Writers Guild reserves one evening for the public. We invite science communicators to explain and inspire curiosity about genome engineering and synthetic biology.

Scientists attending the conference will be in the audience with you. Together we’ll ask questions and get insights on the powerful new genome writing and editing tools. Invite your family, friends, neighbors, and especially young people to this unique event for a lively conversation about building a better future for humanity through genome engineering.

Register for the Science Cafe
Adults: $15 per person Register here
Admission is free for humans 18 years old and younger. Register here
Registration includes two drink tickets. Please bring your I.D.

Science Cafe speakers
7:00 pm – Dr. David Odde: is a professor in the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Department at the University of Minnesota. Read about the predictive models for cell behavior that his lab builds for more effective therapies.

7:15 pm – Lynn Fellman: is an artist who writes, illustrates and tells stories about the wonder and beauty in our genomes. See examples of her work at

7:30 pm Keynote – Dr. Ellen Jorgensen: is passionate about increasing science literacy of molecular and synthetic biology. She developed the community lab “Genspace” in Brooklyn, NY winning awards for outstanding informal science education for adults and young people. She also founded Biotech Without Borders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. Check out her Ted Talk “What you need to know about CRISPR”.

Getting there: Directions and parking information
Venue: The McNamara Alumni Center is located in the heart of the University of Minnesota campus on 200 Oak St. South East, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Parking is available in an adjacent ramp connected by tunnel to the Alumni Center. The ramp entrance is on University Avenue.
Light Rail: Take the Green Line and get off at East Bank Station. The Alumni Center is a five minute walk from East Bank Station.

Book Deals

Cheap in Kindle format right now:

Robert Heinlein’s Expanded Universe: Volume One

Heinlein personally selected each story or essay for inclusion in this collection, which is ordered chronologically, starting with his first sale in 1939 of “Life-Line” to Astounding (for seventy dollars).This remarkable collection highlights the development of Heinlein’s writing style and his philosophy on life throughout his career.

More importantly, this collection is as close to an autobiography as anything Heinlein wrote during his life. Heinlein was an extremely private person who never wrote much about himself. In this exclusive collection, he offers forewords to most of his stories and essays (and an occasional afterword), giving readers a rare glimpse into the inner mind of the master.

Expanded Universe is a must-have for any Heinlein enthusiast and any fan of science fiction.

Get Call for the Dead: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels Book 1) if you feel like starting (or restarting) the Smiley Series, a story about happier times when Russian Spies were Russian Spies, and so were the British Spies. It is the first in the Smiley series.

A few cheap books and one cheep book

First, the cheep book. Just a book note, I’ll be reviewing this, but it looks great:

Birds and Their Feathers by Britta Teckentrup, author of Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book and The Egg.

Hailed as “a magnificent volume that offers hours of lingering pleasure… fertile ground for conversation and imagination,” (Midwest Book Review) Britta Teckentrup’s The Egg introduced children to one of nature’s most perfect creations. Now, employing the same earth-tone coloring and delicate illustrations that have made her an enormously popular children’s author, Teckentrup turns her gaze to the endlessly fascinating feather. What are they made of? Why do birds have so many of them? How do they help birds fly? And what other purpose do they serve? By providing accessible answers to these and other questions, this delightful book introduces young readers to the wonders of “plumology,” while also drawing them in with enchanting illustrations. An exquisitely rendered fusion of art and science, this marvelous book satisfies young readers’ natural curiosity about the world around them.

And now the cheap books, covering several different topics, but all held in common by one feature: Cheap in Kindle edition right now:

Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon

Accidental Medical Discoveries: How Tenacity and Pure Dumb Luck Changed the World

Minecraft: The Island: An Official Minecraft Novel

Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Weeds (cheap books)

Last years some time I found myself hanging in the Longville, Minnesota library. So I randomly picked a book off a random shelf, read the first ten pages, and got very interested in the story. The book was The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West by Jeff Guinn. It is the story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, The Clantons and the McLaurys. But it is also the story of bison hunting, cattle herding, the evolution of party politics, white-native relations in the Southwest, the history of the Texas Rangers, silver mining, and a bunch of other stuff. It was very edifying. I note here that The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West is on Kindle for four bucks. I bought a used paperback for about five bucks.

Then there’s this other book, about a similar topic, but with an entirely different perspective and plot. Continue reading Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Weeds (cheap books)

Little Big Man Cat’s Pajamas

One of my favorite movies of all time is Little Big Man. If you have not seen it, you should, it is truly magical. Of course, sometimes the magic works, sometimes ….

Anyway, go see it. I’ve had the book sitting here for a while and I’ve not read it yet, but it is very near the top of the pile. Meanwhile I just discovered it is available cheap in Kindle form: Little Big Man: A Novel.

And, while we are at it, Bradbury’s The Cat’s Pajamas: Stories is also cheap.

Cheap Book Notes

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong is now on Kindle for $2.99. I’ve seen it on Kindle for $1.99, told you about it, and maybe you bought it then. But if you didn’t,

Since we are on the topic of cheap books, here’s another one of interest, a book I read years ago and liked so I assume you will like too. Robert Massie produced a number of what I think are pretty good historical biographies, and one of them is Peter the Great: His Life and World. This book was published quite a while back, so maybe revisionism in history has made it less relevant, but I’ thinking not. Anyway, it is $2.99 in Kindle form, so for pretty cheap you can learn about the Russian Czar who collected and bred giants and dwarfs, made significant advances in dental torture, spent many a lazy Sunday afternoon personally carrying out beheading on behalf of the government, stole to the low countries to secretly learn how to make boats, and who brought Russia into the modern era.

Massie also wrote Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War, and The Romanovs: the Final Chapter, so you can get your fill of British White Culture History but all very well written.

What you might not know is that Massie was originally drawn into this historical foray because his own son was born with hemophilia, as was Czar Nichols’s son. Massie and his significant other wrote about this in two books: Journey and A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilience. The son, Bob Massie, is a social justice and climate change activist of note, and at the moment is is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts. I have no idea what the gubinitorial field looks like in the Bay State right now, but Massie is pretty impressive. (Added: OK, I just looked at the field, and they are all impressive.)

Also, as long as I’ve got your attention, right NOW and maybe for a very limited time you can get any of these iOS apps for free.