Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book deals including Paul Offit and Doris Kearns Goodwin!

You may remember that last May, I reviewed Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong by Paul Offit, and around the same time, interviewed him. My original post and a link to the interview are here. It is an excellent book, and the kindle version is now on sale for $1.99, so now’s your chance to find out bout the seven cases of science going badly wrong!

You might also want to check out Walter Tevis Sci-Fi Novels: The Man Who Fell to Earth, Mockingbird, The Steps of the Sun

Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams is also available for two bucks.

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin is a must read, and cheap in Kindle form right now.

Kepler Space Ship Death Imminent

The Kepler Space Ship, is this, via NASA:

The centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants. The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water might exist on the surface of the planet.

The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.

I heard something rather mind blowing about the hunt for planets elsewhere, and I’ve not followed up on it. Apparently, every single one of the one thousand or so plantery systems that have been found follow a similar pattern, except for our. The large planets (like Jupiter) are close to the sun, the smaller Earth-like planets are farther out, beyond the Goldilocks Zone. In other words, rather than the plethora of planetary systems signaling a high probability of life elsewhere, it may in fact turn out that the Earth-like scenario is very rare.

The Drake Equation now looks like this, if true: Continue reading Kepler Space Ship Death Imminent

Terrorist Bombers Caught!

The terrorists who bombed a Bloomington Minnesota Mosque last year have been caught. See the headlines:

Huh. No headline.

Well, anyway, it happened, and it is a strange, Coen Brothers-esque story, and people on my Facebook page are figuring it out. Bottom line: Trump people blew up the mosque to send the Muslims a message and make them want to leave the country.

First, the basic story, from today’s Star Tribune: Continue reading Terrorist Bombers Caught!

Something is Rotten in South Minneapolis

I like to think of myself as part South Minneapolitan. This is because I lived there for several years and adopted it as my community. A large part of me would prefer to live there than any other part of the Twin Cities.

So, I write this post with sadness as well as anger, because the fundamental core of society and politics in South Minneapolis — intelligent politics of inclusion and caring — have been sullied by stupid, selfish, and craven politics.

This is a complicated mess, and it will require some background for those not in the know about our local esoteric political system. If you already know everything about SD62 and recent events there, skip right to the big block of quote down below, and ignore my preface. Continue reading Something is Rotten in South Minneapolis

Cheap Book Alert: Lyndon Johnson by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I’ve previously suggested Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin as an excellent, and in some ways very very different, biography of Lyndon Johnson. As I then noted, I’ve been reading about, shall we say, other, presidents. Not a lot, just a little, for sanity’s sake.

Anyway, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream is currently available in Kindle format for 2.99, which is a great deal on a top notch book. I assume this is for a limited time.

And, as long as I’m pointing out one cheap book, have a look at this:

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error