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View Full Version : Just read Death From the Skies and craving more.



Shinyscience
2009-May-31, 07:21 AM
Would really appreciate some suggestions on what else to read that is of similar nature. I read through death from the skies in a couple days and wish it was double the length.

thanks

nauthiz
2009-May-31, 02:24 PM
I'm in the middle of Confessions of an Alien Hunter right now, and am finding it similarly enjoyable.

Shinyscience
2009-May-31, 04:41 PM
Cool thanks, just added it to my list for the library. Any suggestions related to science, space, astronomy, physics(any type), are welcome :D

If I have read the site extensively is Bad Astronomy the book worth reading still? or is it the information on the site in book form?

PraedSt
2009-May-31, 04:52 PM
Well there's always the classic- Cosmos by Carl Sagan. But you've probably read it. And if you like Natural History, anything by Attenborough.

Shinyscience
2009-May-31, 06:35 PM
I haven't actually read it, but i have seen all the television episodes of cosmos, similar content I assume?

Gillianren
2009-May-31, 06:51 PM
If I have read the site extensively is Bad Astronomy the book worth reading still? or is it the information on the site in book form?

There's some overlap, but not as much as you might think. It's definitely worth checking out.

Shinyscience
2009-May-31, 07:52 PM
alright bad astronomy is on the list then

PraedSt
2009-May-31, 07:55 PM
I haven't actually read it, but i have seen all the television episodes of cosmos, similar content I assume?Yes, similar. Goes into more detail though, as books do. :)

Shinyscience
2009-Jun-01, 12:09 AM
Anyone have any opinions on these? after some googling these seem to come up a lot.

A Short History of Nearly Everything -Bill Bryson
Singularity is Near -Ray Kurzweil
13 Things That Don't Make Sense -Michael Brooks
The Black Hole War -Leonard Susskind
The Drunkard's Walk -Leonard Mlodinow
How to Survive a Robot Uprising -Daniel H Wilson

nauthiz
2009-Jun-01, 03:22 AM
I've read A Short History of Nearly Everything. It was very good. It isn't doesn't really go very deep into the science. Instead there's a lot of focus on the actual people involved and the 'human interest' stories behind a lot of great discoveries. It made for very amusing reading - Bryson had a lot of fun with the tendency for many of the world's great scientists to have quirky personalities.

It seemed like much of the content was lifted straight out of James Burke's Connections series. Not in a plagiarism sort of way, mind, more that I suspect that Bryson's book was heavily inspired by Burke's work - if you like one, then you'll probably get a kick out of the other as well.

thoth II
2009-Jun-02, 11:00 PM
My favorite is Carl Sagan's "The Cosmic Connection". He waxes poetic at the prime of his career..kind of like someone else we know...Phil

R.A.F.
2009-Jun-07, 04:56 PM
Would really appreciate some suggestions on what else to read that is of similar nature.

I've found that Phil's writing is somewhat similiar to the late Isaac Asimov's science essay books as he was particularly interested in astronomy. :)

Although some of the essays have become a little "dated", they still make for good reading.

Chip
2009-Jun-08, 01:54 AM
After Phil Plait's "Death from the Skies" I'd recommend "Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries" by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Like Phil Plait, Neil deGrasse Tyson is an excellent, imaginative writer and it is interesting when they both approach somewhat similar themes.

Shinyscience
2009-Jun-09, 01:30 AM
Definitely adding to my list, I see him a lot on tv doing interviews and he seems like the kind of person who's writing will be enjoyable to read.


Just finished 13 things that don't make sense.

Was pretty good, some of them were a little expected but others were a nice surprise and the amount of detail devoted to each was good.

Shinyscience
2009-Jun-24, 08:45 AM
Read the drunkard's walk which was really interesting and makes me look at a lot of things differently.

then I started reading the Black Hole War and a day and a half later I finished it... I can't remember a book I have been more engrossed in.

I am getting The Cosmic Landscape next but am wondering where I go from here.

I want to start learning about theoretical physics more in depth.

Gillianren
2009-Jun-24, 05:04 PM
Can I just say how cool it is to learn firsthand that Phil has inspired someone with a fascination in the field and a desire to learn more?

Shinyscience
2009-Jun-24, 11:30 PM
Most of my life I have always been interested in this kind of stuff but lately especially after how much I enjoyed Phil's book and the way it was able to explain things I have been way more excited about it then ever before.

Gonna make a new thread about this in off-topic since this has strayed quite a bit from the original book

longhaircowboy
2009-Jul-24, 09:07 PM
If your not read up on physics then The Black Hole War -Leonard Susskind might not be your cup of tea. It relates his war with Hawking over some very deep thinking on physics and the split between the "stringers" and the "quantums". I found it interesting but not for the average joe.

jdavisabc
2009-Jul-28, 09:40 PM
Ooh a book :O

Is it full of 'science' from this site?

Oh, don't worry then.

bellaboo
2009-Sep-17, 09:44 PM
i was reading the book this morning and i off-handedly asked my 12yo son if he knew the diff betw a meteorite, meteoroid -- he did and told me. i asked if he knew what "terminal velocity" meant and he did and told me.

then i read him a couple of the incidents in the beginning of the book where someone was actually hit with a meteorite. he took the book away from me on his way out of the door to catch the bus, "i want to start reading that."

(well, i actually ordered it for him)

this afternoon he came home from school today excitedly rattling off facts left and right. he said, "that book is super coolio"

so i just wanted to say thank you and let phil know that he has a couple of new fans.

i did notice one little thing which is a bit of a quibble -- phil starts lots of sentences with "and" and "but". that's a big grammatical no-no.

i actually do the same thing all the time myself online and in emails, but i wouldn't do it in a novel :)

Gillianren
2009-Sep-17, 11:05 PM
i did notice one little thing which is a bit of a quibble -- phil starts lots of sentences with "and" and "but". that's a big grammatical no-no.

i actually do the same thing all the time myself online and in emails, but i wouldn't do it in a novel :)

Welcome aboard! Read the rules and stay awhile.

First, Phil's book is very much not a novel.

Second, using "and" and "but" to start a sentence is not something you should do all the time, which is why teachers tell you that you shouldn't do it, but it is acceptable sometimes.

Third . . . I will refrain from commenting about the irony of grammatical correction in your post.

Fazor
2009-Sep-18, 08:44 PM
Second, using "and" and "but" to start a sentence is not something you should do all the time, which is why teachers tell you that you shouldn't do it, but it is acceptable sometimes.

I'll second this statement, as I have a tendency to use that construction a lot. Not 'a lot' as in every third sentence or anything. That's a 'no-no'. But I can use it occasionally, as I just did.

And yes, many teachers will tell you you can not do it. In a way, they're right. In a more accurate way, they're wrong.

I was actually placed in a lower-tier English class going into college because the essay on my placement exam used "And" or "But" to start three sentences out of four pages of writing. When I explained to the head of the English department that I know that rule, but also know that you can break that rule in certain situations, she agreed to place me in the higher classes. (Don't fret Gillian, not *much* higher, just not remedial ;) ). It did sort of annoy me that the head of the English department would base their placement on three leading conjunctions, then without any protest reverse that decision because she knew they were used correctly. Oh well.

bellaboo
2009-Oct-01, 03:51 AM
Welcome aboard! Read the rules and stay awhile.

First, Phil's book is very much not a novel.

Second, using "and" and "but" to start a sentence is not something you should do all the time, which is why teachers tell you that you shouldn't do it, but it is acceptable sometimes.

Third . . . I will refrain from commenting about the irony of grammatical correction in your post.

beginning sentences with conjunctive words is indeed a major grammatical
No No unless it's for artistic effect. (ie - quoting a character)

my non-use of capitalization is obviously intentional - it's not a simple grammatical error -- AND (shrug) i wouldn't do it if i were writing a book (novel or otherwise)

i also wouldn't use " -- " as much as i do.

i'm not writing a book - i'm writing an online comment.

all that said -- my son didn't actually finish this book likely due to overload of other school work. maybe he'll come back to it someday.

fwiw - i did point out to him that it's grammatically improper to start sentences with and / but.

Gillianren
2009-Oct-01, 04:40 AM
beginning sentences with conjunctive words is indeed a major grammatical
No No unless it's for artistic effect. (ie - quoting a character)

No. It isn't.

ToSeek
2009-Oct-03, 04:28 AM
There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with And, but this prohibition has been cheerfully ignored by standard authors from Anglo-Saxon times onwards. An initial And is a useful aid to writers as the narrative continues.

from The New Fowler's Modern English Usage
edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996.
Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.

I think it's an excellent way of making your thoughts flow on paper, though I probably rely on it to excess.

GalaxyGal
2010-Jan-04, 02:09 AM
I'm new to BAUT and so glad to have found this thread. A required science elective to complete a business degree introduced me to astronomy. Consider me hooked.

Having just completed "Bad Astronomy", "Death from the Skies" and almost through Sagan's "The "Demon Haunted World", I wasn't sure where to go next. Thanks to your posts, now I do.

Thank you!

Apogee
2010-Jan-10, 02:01 AM
Would really appreciate some suggestions on what else to read that is of similar nature. I read through death from the skies in a couple days and wish it was double the length.

thanks

Different subject matter, but very good reading with regard to their respective topics:

In Search of the Double Helix
In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality
both are by John Gribben.

hhEb09'1
2010-Jan-10, 02:23 AM
Just don't read The Jupiter Effect :)

ElectricUniverse
2010-Nov-25, 03:59 PM
Well, the most intellectually stimulating book I've ever read (and I've re-read it a dozen times since I discovered catastrophism theories in 1975) is Worlds In Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky. So despite the rolling of the eyes and the hails of derisive laughter that will inevitably come after I post this, if you find it in the bargain bin at the used bookstore, it's a great read. Not to say much of his conclusions were valid, and it's quite dated with a 1st printed date of 1950, but it is fascinating reading while you're on the john....

Gillianren
2010-Nov-26, 08:09 PM
I've got plenty of other fiction to read, thanks.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Nov-27, 12:38 AM
After Phil Plait's "Death from the Skies" I'd recommend "Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries" by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Like Phil Plait, Neil deGrasse Tyson is an excellent, imaginative writer and it is interesting when they both approach somewhat similar themes.

I liked them both, but Phil and Neil have very different styles. Some time ago I reviewed both those books here (http://theodorakis.net/2009/10/28/book-reviews-end-of-the-universe/).

Since someone asked, I also recommend Mlodinow's Drunkard's Walk.

Nick

EDG
2010-Nov-28, 03:28 AM
I've got plenty of other fiction to read, thanks.

If nothing else, Worlds In Collision is a good exercise for recognising non-scientific arguments and finding their flaws. As such, I would say that it's excellent training and required reading for anyone who likes to think of themselves as a skeptic.

And frankly, it is a fun read. I knew it made no scientific sense, but it still paints a rather wild picture of its version of history (that frankly isn't that much crazier than the myths that it is based on) and it's amusing to read.

ElectricUniverse
2010-Nov-29, 05:41 AM
Well, if you read my post more carefully, I wasn't suggesting that you believe Velikovsky's conclusions, since, as you said, they are based mostly on his interpretation of ancient myth. I was just saying that it is very stimulating subject material that he handles in like manner to Plait's Death in the Skies, and that is much more interesting than most of the "what-if" doomsday books that have littered the lanscape since World's in Collision was published 60 years ago. I don't think you would argue with me on that, since it is a personal opinion I am stating here.

Gillianren
2010-Nov-29, 06:14 PM
Well, if you read my post more carefully, I wasn't suggesting that you believe Velikovsky's conclusions, since, as you said, they are based mostly on his interpretation of ancient myth. I was just saying that it is very stimulating subject material that he handles in like manner to Plait's Death in the Skies, and that is much more interesting than most of the "what-if" doomsday books that have littered the lanscape since World's in Collision was published 60 years ago. I don't think you would argue with me on that, since it is a personal opinion I am stating here.

It's perfectly acceptable to disagree with someone's opinion, and I'll tell you why I do. The fact is, there are people who take it just as seriously as Death From the Skies! It may be an interesting experiment in critical thinking, but I don't think silly misinterpretation of things is stimulating. I'd find it irritating beyond words. It wasn't meant as "what-if." It was This Is What Happened.