Darwin, art and entanglement

It’s hard to beat a good book. I enjoy books but find reading from a computer monitor difficult. There’s something about words on paper.

Mind you, computers and the internet do provide a beautiful compliment to books. I have often found that after reading a book I can go on line and find other material by the same author. In some cases I can also find video and audio material – lectures given by the author, documentary programmes based on the author or book, and interviews from book tours.

Sometimes I actually find out about new books and authors from web sources and this encourages me to go out and get the book. Podcasts like The Brain Science Podcast have been invaluable sources of new reading material.

Recently I came across two interesting books discussed on theΒ  Blogging Heads podcast site. This usually has two people discussing a subject and is available as both video and audio. I don’t bother with most of them but these two were fascinating.

In The Artistic Animal John Horgan discusses the new book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution with its author Denis Dutton. One review of this book describes Dutton as an “aesthetic philosopher” who “sets out to do for art what Steven Pinker and others have done for psychology, language, and religion: consider it from a Darwinian standpoint.” Dutton’s contribution to this podcast was certainly fascinating and I look forward to reading his book.

In the other podcast, Entanglement untangled, Lousa Gilder and George Johnson discuss Louisa’s new book. Entitled The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn the book gives the story of quantum mechanics. She comes far closer to the present in her discussion than most histories do and also utilises an unusual creative tool for science histories – “constructed dialogues” between the scientists involved. These dialogues are based on papers, journals and letters.Β  Sounds fascinating and I will definitely look out for it.


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3 responses to “Darwin, art and entanglement

  1. Boo. Boo.

    Well, you said you enjoy them πŸ™‚

    (I know, I know. It’s terrible to exploit typos as opportunities for humour.)


  2. Bloody dumb spell check! I wonder if anyone has produced an intelligent spell check – it must be possible.


  3. Hope I didn’t wind you up the wrong way. I have a weird sense of humour sometimes.

    You’d need a language checker that had some gist of the meanings of words and that “enjoy” and “boo” don’t usually go together. It brings to mind the Prolog programming language, from my undergraduate days, where you could state logical propositions. Long story. Now if someone would give me a research grant…

    Back on topic, I know what you mean about reading from screens. I think part of it, for me at least, is that they relying on projecting light rather than working off reflected light. I always print out the more important papers and read them in print. I’m in the middle of printing some out to read later right now. Besides, I like to scribble ideas in the margins! (And around the sides and over the back if I need space… some of my papers look a mass of scribble by the time I’ve finished them.)

    I like the idea that one day someone will make electronic books that use reflected light the more closely resemble printed books, perhaps based on the plastic doping that MacDiarmid’s was thing.


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