The much celebrated Voltaire (1694-1778) is illustrious today for a single, superlative book: Candide. Yet not only did he spawn some 2 000 now rather neglected stories, plays, essays, & poems, all while schmoozing his endless roll of powerful friends with over 20 000 letters. He enjoyed a rare & impressive second chance at life, indeed almost a second… Read More ›
History of Science & Tech
Lynch, Martin. Mining in World History. London: Reaktion Books, 2002. ISBN 978-1861891730. Historical narrative of mining & metallurgy from Renaissance to our age, illuminating its vast political, economic, & technological ramifications. Thoughtful, informative, reads like a novel. I give ****/5. * (Webfront photo caption & credit… Read More ›
Anyone interested in Europe’s continued intellectual & technological development should pause before 3 exceptional higher education initiatives here in 2012. All are conspicuous for their bizarre but not unconvincing blend of radical vigour with stodgy traditionalist caution. 2 are American (cited for inspiration), the last is British. 1) New York City’s “game-changing” tech… Read More ›
Doxiadis, Apostolos, & Christos H Papadimitriou. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth. London: Bloomsbury, 2009. ISBN 978-0747597209. Heroized tale of British logician Bertrand Russell & his youthful quest for mathematical certainty. Remarkable. I give ****/5.
Gleick, James. Isaac Newton. Paperback ed. London: Harper Perennial, 2004. ISBN 978-0007163182. The essentials about Isaac Newton, last of the great magicians, early Enlightenment man. Ordered, entertaining, but short on the math. I give ***/5.
Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand. New York, NY: Random House, 2007. ISBN 978-1844138517. Exciting, well grounded, yet to some extent self-evident analysis of the new internet-based economics of distributing immaterial goods. My rating:… Read More ›
Bergson, Henri. L’évolution créatrice. Quadrige Grands Textes. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2007 (1907). ISBN 978-2130562726. This philosophical masterwork is a map of life itself, in its interlocked, continuously forward-thrusting nature. Radically pioneering & influential in its day, now attracting fresh interest. I rate it *****/5.