I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Friday, August 29, 2008

the great pop-sci book project: my list

1. *Micrographia, Robert Hooke
2. *The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin
3. Never at Rest, Richard Westfall
4. *Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
5. Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney
6. The Devil's Doctor, Philip Ball
7. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes
8. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, Dennis Overbye
9. *Physics for Entertainment, Yakov Perelman
10. 1-2-3 Infinity, George Gamow
11. The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
12. Warmth Disperses, Time Passes, Hans Christian von Bayer
13. Alice in Quantumland, Robert Gilmore
14. Where Does the Weirdness Go? David Lindley
15. *A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
16. A Force of Nature, Richard Rhodes
17. Black Holes and Time Warps, Kip Thorne
18. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
19. Universal Foam, Sidney Perkowitz
20. Vermeer's Camera, Philip Steadman
21. The Code Book, Simon Singh
22. The Elements of Murder, John Emsley
23. Soul Made Flesh, Carl Zimmer
24. Time's Arrow, Martin Amis
25. The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson
26. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
27. Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
28. *The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, Lisa Jardine
29. A Matter of Degrees, Gino Segre
30. The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss
31. E=mc<2>, David Bodanis
32. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife
33. Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman
34. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, Janna Levin
35. Warped Passages, Lisa Randall
36. Apollo's Fire, Michael Sims
37. Flatland, Edward Abbott
38. *Fermat's Last Theorem, Amir Aczel
39. Stiff, Mary Roach
40. Astroturf, M.G. Lord
41. The Periodic Table, Primo Levi
42. Longitude, Dava Sobel
43. The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg
44. The Mummy Congress, Heather Pringle
45. The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio
46. Math and the Mona Lisa, Bulent Atalay
47. This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin
48. The Executioner's Current, Richard Moran
49. Krakatoa, Simon Winchester
50. Pythagorus' Trousers, Margaret Wertheim
51. Neuromancer, William Gibson
52. The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios
53. The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, Sandra Hempel
54. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Katrina Firlik
55. Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps, Peter Galison
56. *The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
57. *The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
58. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker
59. An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears
60. Consilience, E.O. Wilson
61. Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould
62. Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard
63. Fire in the Brain, Ronald K. Siegel
64. The Life of a Cell, Lewis Thomas
65. Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris
66. Storm World, Chris Mooney
67. The Carbon Age, Eric Roston
68. The Black Hole Wars, Leonard Susskind
69. Copenhagen, Michael Frayn
70. From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne
71. Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson
72. *Chaos, James Gleick
73. Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos
74. The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky
75. Subtle is the Lord, Abraham Pais

I would add to the list:

Paradigms Lost, John L. Casti

Here's a link back to the original post for this item-


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Comcast customer service chat

Here's a fairly laughable example of 'service' from Comcast.

Yes, you are reading that correctly: "Currently 209 in the queue"

At 10:09am on a Sunday.

As I type this sentence, it is 10:29am, and I am now down to 96 in the queue.

At this rate, I may receive excellent customer service before I am due to retire and move to Florida. But I may not. I'm already dreaming of the shuffleboard games and frothy glasses of metamucil.

Friday, August 01, 2008

To the RIAA, a Follow Up

About a year and a month ago, I decided to stop buying music which would give any of their profits to the RIAA. That meant either buying music used or buying artists whose labels were not members of the RIAA.

Well, in the last year I have purchased about 25 CDs from stores, and about as many online. Here's the list of what I bought online:

Agonised By Love
Daniel Johnston
Flogging Molly
Gabriela Benackova
Gogol Bordello (3)
Henry Phillips
Johnny Pearson And His London Orchestra
MC 900 Ft Jesus
Mocean Worker
Northern Cree
Opium Jukebox (3)
Prague Symphony Orchestra
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Cramps (2)
The Decemberists
The Lovemakers
The Pinker Tones
Various Artists

... one album each, unless followed by a number (2) in parentheses. So, that's roughly 50 albums, and a good portion of them were used. I'm sorry to deprive the artists of a profit just because they've hooked up with an RIAA label, I've even considered just sending $5 in an envelope to some of my favorites, but so far I haven't gotten around to it.

My original point was- the RIAA is throwing money and lawyers at internet radio, and to the detriment of internet radio, and by doing that, they're ticking off me, the end user.

Well let's look at the above list- if it were not for internet radio, I would not have known of eight of the above musicians and would never have purchased their music... eight bands out of twenty, or 1/3. That's about right for the rest of my purchases, so, that's no small amount of money. The RIAA hears when it's about money. Let's see if they notice my missing $147.08.