File Size: 2927 KB
Print Length: 692 pages
Publisher: Transworld Digital (January 23, 2010)
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
End up being prepared though to being overwhelmed because there is a lot of information in this book, with references to other works. This specific book is best read in sections allowing some time to think about what you have discovered; and I'm sure you are going to learn at least a few things.
I highly recommend this guide to anyone who would like to determine what an amazing place our earth is and life that exists on it., Excellent, highly readable short history of science. I didn't think it could be done but Bryson is a wonderfully understandable writer. Finest part was seeing how venal and frequently whacko scientists can be, yet they can produce great things almost despite themselves. That is both disturbing and reassuring, and it reminds one that greatness is where you find it, sometimes in very distasteful places. Best take-home: scientific " fact" is simply the current majority viewpoint of scientists as reported by the press, and nothing more considerable or reliable than that. We always know much less than we think we do, and it is essential to keep in mind it, especially when reading the current party line on food, health and medicine., This specific book, in accordance with just about everything Bill Bryson writes, is absolutely wonderful. It is an entertaining romp through, well, just about everything, as the title suggests. It is a plants in pots history of science, mainly, which describes the way you have studied this planet of ours and some of the astonishing conclusions that can be drawn from that examine. Bryson's prose style is fluid and wickedly humorous. To cite just a two examples:
"Smith's revelation regarding strata increased the moral awkwardness concerning extinctions. To commence with, it confirmed that Lord had wiped out creatures not occasionally but frequently. This made Him seem not so much reckless as peculiarly hostile.... Lord, it appeared, hadn't wanted to distract or alarm Moses with news of earlier, irrelevant extinctions. "
"We are each so atomically numerous and thus vigorously recycled at death that a important amount of our atoms - up to a billion for each and every of us, it has been suggested - probably once belonged to William shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Mozart, and any other historical figure you care to name. (The personages have to be historical, apparently, as it takes the atoms some decades to become thoroughly redistributed; however much you might wish it, you are not yet one with Elvis Presley. )"
This specific book is chock-full of homages to famous scientists and many who were less lauded. There are several wild theories (and bad science) discussed, but always created with surprising examples:
"When you stay in a chair, you are not actually sitting down there, but levitating above it at a height of one angstrom (a hundred millionth of a centimetre), your electrons as well as electrons implacably opposed to any closer intimacy. "
Placing the human being species within the circumstance of the history of our planet, Bryson does finish on a sobering note:
"Most of what has existed on Earth has remaining behind no record at all.... It is a curious fact that on Earth species death is, in the most textual sense, a way of life.... 99. 99 per cent of most species that have ever lived are no longer with us. `To an initial approximation, ' as David Raup of the University of Chicago wants to say, `all varieties are extinct. ' Regarding complex organisms, the average lifespan of a varieties is just about four mil years - roughly about where we are now. "
A new thoroughly enjoyable and revitalizing book which does not pretend to be technological, but is far more about scientists and how they have got altered the way we look at, and live in, our world., Some components aren't quite as fascinating as others, and there is even the very occasional, small mis-statement of reality (Don't take the thing about glass flowing down on the centuries as gospel, because it's not). But taken as a whole: This book is GREAT. It's so good, I, like many people, immediately read it another time and took notes on all the stuff I found super-fascinating. Bryson not only gives the directly dope on the nature of the universe and life's history in it, he offers you a lot of compelling human interest tales on the folks who made the major discoveries and how they came about (Let me just say: Many, many scientists are at least as strange, vain, vindictive, stubborn, unethical, or crazy as people in general. And many, often times, the chief roadblock in the way of scientific progress has been the united front of a face-palmingly hidebound technological establishment). I love anecdotal stuff, and Bryson's selling of the chain of events that led to the publication of Newton's "Prinicipia" (involving a forty-shilling bet, the astronomer Edmond Halley, and a worst-selling book called "The Historical past Of Fishes") is, to me, worth the price of the book all by itself. And that's just one of dozens and dozens of fascinating tales. By the time you finish this book, you almost can't fail to have an improved picture of certain aspects of the universe (like, for example, how mind-blowingly big it really is), as well as an improved understanding of how even the greatest scientists and thinkers can be, at times, spectacularly mistaken. Is it a perfect book? No. But the only people I WOULDN'T recommend it to are people who just have no interest whatsoever in science or technological history., I found the style breezy and very interesting. It was a great summary of a wide range of things of interest that any knowledgeable person should have at minimum a passing awareness! Really enjoyable and thought invoking., Awesome book. I wish i had read this book in high institution. I may have turned out there to be a completely different person. The creator has a talent for making areas of examine that I previously thought incomprehensible seem like just another step forward.
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