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Soh Kam Yung Locked account

sohkamyung@bookwyrm.social

Joined 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Exploring one universe at a time. Interested in #Nature, #Photography, #NaturePhotography, #Science, #ScienceFiction, #Physics, #Engineering.

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How to Invent Everything (Paperback, 2019, Riverhead Books) 4 stars

The only book you need if you're going back in time

What would you do …

Having gone back in time, now create a civilization so you can rebuild your time machine, and repeat. :-)

4 stars

A fun book that uses the premise of a time traveller stranded in the past and having to make the best of things by starting off humanity on the path of civilization. The means of doing this is by bypassing the trial and errors that humanity went through and going straight to the solutions needed to set up a working modern civilization.

The book starts off with tips for the stranded time traveller to find out where and when he might be. Assuming the traveller is lucky and ends up in a certain time period where modern man was around, but civilization hasn't been established yet, the book goes on with the basis of setting up a civilization, namely getting a spoken and written language, a 'rational' system of numbers and establishing the scientific method.

Farming is then introduced so that people's basis calorie needs are satisfied and can devote …

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2020 (EBook, 2019, Spilogale, Inc.) 3 stars

An okay issue of F&SF

3 stars

An okay issue, with interesting stories by Essa Hansen, Matthew Hughes, Alex Irvine, Albert E. Cowdrey and Auston Habershaw.

  • "Save, Salve, Shelter" by Essa Hansen: in this future, environmental disaster has happened and what remains of humanity is leaving for Mars. Collectors are tasked with collecting DNA samples from animals that still survive to take with them. But one collector wants to do more and bring the animals to Mars. As ship after ship rejects her, she makes one last desperate move for her animals, not seemingly aware of the changes happening to her charges.

  • "Air of the Overworld" by Matthew Hughes: a wizard subjects a henchman to strange experiments that may have to do with sending him to another plane of existence (the Overworld) to collect materials for him. Becoming aware of the dangers this endeavour might do to him, he plans to escape with the help of an …

Blue (EBook, 2021, The Experiment) 4 stars

A globe-trotting quest to find blue in the natural world—and to understand our collective obsession …

A fascination with the colour blue

4 stars

An interesting book that looks at the author's fascination with the colour blue. He travels the world, talking to scientists and others, and gives a look at various aspects of blue: from objects with the colour to how we look at and react to blue.

  • "Stones" looks at how blue appears in stones and combinations of minerals. Lapis lazuli is known to be blue since ancient times and used for decorations. The Egyptians eventually figured out how to make Egyptian blue tiles. By grinding, heating and combining lapis lazuli with other substances, ultramarine blue was produced, a colour more valuable than its weight in gold. The act of alchemy would produce the next blue substance, Prussian blue. In modern days, a vivid blue would be accidentally created: YInMn Blue. And maybe one day, the mineral ringwoodlite that makes up much of the mantle is the earth could give another way …

Blue (EBook, 2021, The Experiment) 4 stars

A globe-trotting quest to find blue in the natural world—and to understand our collective obsession …

"Animals" looks at how animals use blue. Besides pigment, animals produce blue through the careful creation of structures that mainly reflect blue light. Harder to explain was why animals use blue, or colours in general. It was initially thought that colour was used just for camouflage. Later on, the idea that colours are used as a warning signal emerged. Then came the idea that colour is also used as a signal for fitness in mate selection. Unfortunately, humans preferences and desires for blue animals have driven some species to the edge of extinction.

Blue (EBook, 2021, The Experiment) 4 stars

A globe-trotting quest to find blue in the natural world—and to understand our collective obsession …

"Speaking" looks at how language affects how we refer to blue. Gladstone once had a theory that ancient Greeks couldn't perceive blue to explain why the word for blue is not used. But further studies would show that it is an effect of how language develops words for colours instead. Other studies works show that in a small way, having words to refer to different shades of blue can have an effect on whether people can more easily see shakes and shades of blue in experiments.

Blue (EBook, 2021, The Experiment) 4 stars

A globe-trotting quest to find blue in the natural world—and to understand our collective obsession …

Plants looks at how plants produce blue. From the mystery of why plants are green, the author then shows the challenges of producing blue flowers in plants. People in the past (and chemistry researchers today) have looked at pigments produced by plants to colour clothes and food. While red and yellow pigments are common, pigments for blue are rare and highly sought after. Producing a blue rose is also a target that is yet to succeed (although blue chrysanthemums have been produced). In the past, indigo was a popular blue dye, but now artificial dyes are common.

Blue (EBook, 2021, The Experiment) 4 stars

A globe-trotting quest to find blue in the natural world—and to understand our collective obsession …

Seeing looks at how we see colour, especially blue. Starting with the electromagnetic spectrum of visible light, he goes into the fine cells in eyes that let us see colour and why we see colour better than other mammals, but worse than birds and insects. He then shows how other cells in the eye are affected by blue light (even blind people), which is why blue light may set our daily rhythms, hence the movement to reduce blue light at night. A look at colour illusions (like the infamous blue dress image) are given. A brief look at the philosophical question of why we 'see' blue is also given.

Change Is the Only Constant (EBook, 2019, Running Press) 4 stars

The next book from Ben Orlin, the popular math blogger and author of the underground …

A layman's look at Calculus, with Bad Drawings

4 stars

An interesting book consisting of fascinating stories about calculus. This is definitely not a calculus textbook but if you ever want to know what calculus was, what it is used for and some interesting facts and stories involving calculus, then this would be a book to read.

There are too many chapters to give a chapter by chapter summary. But the book is divided into two sections based on the two main mathematical parts that make up calculus.

The first section covers "Differentiation" and the derivative, or the idea that a derivate is an 'instantaneous change' in an object, be it time, position, and so on. It builds on that by using the example of Newton considering the moon constantly falling towards the earth sideways. Based on how much it 'falls' as it moves to remain in orbit around the earth, its speed can be calculated. The derivative is also …

Beasts Before Us (EBook, 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing) 5 stars

For most of us, the story of mammal evolution starts after the asteroid impact that …

A good book that gives a modern view of the origins and evolution of mammals

5 stars

A good and informative book about the evolution of mammals, from their beginnings to the present day. The author shows that mammals never evolved from reptiles, but instead evolved alongside them. While mammals were small and easily overlooked during the age of the dinosaurs, that did not mean they were restricted: in fact, she shows that mammals kept evolving and filling ecological niches at that time, before they began to take on bigger challenges after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

Her descriptions of the fieldwork done in the past and today to form the modern picture of the evolution of mammals is fascinating. She also points out the colonialism, racism and sexism that was rife in palaeontology, that she and others are now changing, getting more women and local people involved in palaeontological research.

In short, a book that should be read to get the modern picture of the …

Blue (EBook, 2021, The Experiment) 4 stars

A globe-trotting quest to find blue in the natural world—and to understand our collective obsession …

Stones: A look at how blue appears in stones and combinations of minerals. Lapis lazuli is known to be blue since ancient times and used for decorations. The Egyptians eventually figured out how to make Egyptian blue tiles. By grinding, heating and combining lapis lazuli with other substances, ultramarine blue was produced, a colour more valuable than its weight in gold. The act of alchemy would produce the next blue substance, Prussian blue. In modern days, a vivid blue would be accidentally created: YInMn Blue. And maybe one day, the mineral ringwoodlite that makes up much of the mantle is the earth could give another way to make blue.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (2011, William Morrow) 4 stars

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch is a 1990 novel …

A fun book about the end of the world...or is it?

3 stars

A fun book to read that gives a humorous spin on the "end of the world" type of story. The story starts with two supernatural characters, the angel, Aziraphale, and the demon, Crowley, meeting after Adam and Eve are evicted from the Garden of Eden. As the years past, they find they like each other and come to a gentlemen's agreement that sees them doing enough to please their respective authorities (Heaven and Hell), while keeping the peace between themselves.

But it comes to an end when Crowley find he has to deliver the anti-Christ to a devilish nunnery, where the anti-Christ is to be swapped with another baby and then raised in the ways of evil (or good) until he is ready to end the world. But things go wrong when the wrong babies were swapped (without Crowley's knowledge). Years later, just days before the end of the world …