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Profile for Russell Sturmey > Reviews

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Content by Russell Sturmey
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Reviews Written by
Russell Sturmey (Mississauga, Ontario Canada)

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Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything
Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything
by Dan Falk
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read on a challenging subject, March 29 2004
This book is a very easy read for even those who are non-scientists but are interested in the history of science. This book focuses mostly on cosmology and particle physics and the attempts made by scientists to unite the two areas with one theory ... the Theory of Everything.
Right now the two biggest theories in physics are Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, which deals with gravity and big things (i.e: galaxies and stars), and the Quantum Theory, which deals with small things (i.e: atoms and quarks). The poblem is that the two of them don't mesh, they don't play well together.
Falk's book is an overview of the history leading to these two discoveries, and the search for a theory that will explain these two theories in one framework.
Very easy read, very informative, highly recommended.

Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
by Michael J. Behe
Edition: Paperback
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre writing and bad science, Feb. 9 2004
Mediocre writing with bad science must be what lies in Darwin's Black Box.
The chapters about scientific principles presented in chapters 3-7 are very basic science. This is explained in the beginning, the author didn't want to distance too many non-scientists. As a scientist I found this sections very boring (although chapter 7 is a good read).
The conclusions are that certain biochemical systems are far too complex for evolution to have created them gradually. Fair enough. The author also states that biochemistry is a relatively new science but he then complains that there is little work done of the subject of biochemical evolution. Not really fair enough. Since biochemistry is a new science the logical thing is to figure out how stuff works, then figure out how it came to be. Putting the cart before the horse is silly.
My biggest objection was everything *after* chapter 7. The author has just concluded that science hasn't been able to explain how certain biochemical systems evolve. This leads him to the unescapeable conclusion that life must be the product of a designer. Sorry, run that by me again. Since something isn't explainable or has yet to be explained, the conclusion is something else that is equally unexplainable. Bad science. Unbelieveably bad science. That's like me saying that I don't understand how the engine in my car works. Therefore it *must* be magic.
If you're going to write a science book and propose a theory, show me some proof. Don't rely on your proof being the lack of somebody else's proof.
I have read other conspiracy-science books before (i.e: Inventing the AIDS virus by Peter Duesberg). I go into them with an open mind. Duesberg's book in particular is what good writing and good science can do. Behe's book didn't fool me for a second. Mediocre writing can be covered up by using a good editor, but bad science will always be bad science.

The Selfish Gene
The Selfish Gene
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic, Jan. 29 2004
This review is from: The Selfish Gene (Paperback)
An incredible book. Very readable by anybody with or without a science background. All ideas are explained using analogies to help with understanding.
Although I found some of the ideas a little bit dated (the book was originally published in 1976), the overall message is very rewarding.

The Explorer's Guide to Algonquin Park
The Explorer's Guide to Algonquin Park
by Michael Runtz
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 5.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good summary of Algonquin park, Jan. 19 2004
This provides you with a very good overview of places to visit inside the park. It includes all areas: the Highway 60 corridor, the north and the east sides of the park.
The book goes into details of good places to visit for scenic views, or viewing wildlife, or having a picnic. This is a good book to bring with you when you visit the Park.
What stopped me from giving this book 5-stars was that most of the information available in the book is also available on the internet. I was hoping to learn of secret trails, or places to visit that the average tourist doesn't know about. There were a couple of places I never knew existed, but not as much as I had hoped for.
The book is a good guide to take with you to the park to remind you of interesting places.

Ishmael: A Novel
Ishmael: A Novel
by Daniel Quinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.65
98 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing., Jan. 18 2004
This review is from: Ishmael: A Novel (Paperback)
A very good read. Some chapters flow like an Alberta clipper, others slow you down to contemplate the ideas presented.
The subtitle 'An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit' does more than state the journey travelled by the unnamed narrator. It is also a journey the reader takes.
A truly mind blowing read that provokes ideas in expanded contexts, and expanded timelines. Environmentalism is not just a modern problem caused by modern society; the roots of our current predicament were planted at the dawn of society.
Highly recommended.

The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
by Robert Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.18
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.74

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book but it loses steam., Jan. 18 2004
One of the best books written on Darwinism in recent years. Although not as ground breaking as when it was originally published, it is still a very good summary of current research.
The book provides great insight into the human brain and sheds light on why we behave the way we do. Although some may view the first section as sexist, you need to leave your prejudices at the door. There are some unpleasant ideas presented, and although they may, at first, rub you the wrong way, upon contemplation they make a lot of sense.
The first three sections (Sex, Romance & Love; Social Cement; Social Strife) are all well written and it is interesting how the author returns to the personal life of Charles Darwin to explain the main ideas and to put them into context.
The fourth and final section (Morals of the Story) is where the book loses steam. It becomes more abstract and it seems that authour, at times, is stretching to make his point. He may be correct in some of his ideas, but I found the final section more philosophical and preachy than the previous sections which relied more on science.
A great book that thouroughly deserves a 5-star rating. A must for your science library.

Calculating God
Calculating God
by Robert J. Sawyer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but off-balance, Dec 17 2003
The characters in 'Calculating God' are the best part of the book. All scenes involving Jericho (the human) and Hollus (the alien) are well written and very interesting. In fact all chapters revolving around the alien cultures were interesting and at some points mind-expanding.
The plot as a whole, however, seemed off-balance and ill-planned. Plot devices seem to come flying out of left-field with little or no build-up ... particularly the last five-or-so chapters. If you can get over that and you don't mind being manipulated a little, you will enjoy this book for the characters.

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