It is summer and so far, I am reading two books.
Firstly, I am reading Broca’s Brain, by Carl Sagan. The book is basically about his reflection on science, knowledge, bamboozlers, religion, etc. Even though each chapter is separate, each one tells fascinating stories of science, pseudoscience, and the people involved in it. I really love the way he conveys ideas in a wonderful and clear manner. It really makes you see the beauty in science, and you can tell he himself loves science. So far, the reading is on hold because I am reading…
…Death from the Skies by Phill Plait, AKA the Badastronomer. The basic premise of the book is that the universe is filled with dangers, and they could bring about the end of civilization as we know it. So far, I have only read a few chapters, and even with my large amount of basic astronomical knowledge (which means I don’t know much, really), I learned a lot. So far, I read the asteroid, sun bursts, supernova, gamma ray bursts, and death of the sun chapters, and there are plenty of horrors in each chapter to make you wonder at the humongous forces at play. My favorite chapter so far is the death of the sun. I knew pretty much the basics of it, like the running out of hydrogen fuel, the growth into red giant, the helium fusion, and the eventual demise into a white dwarf. But there was so much more to it than I ever imagined! The first thing I wondered after reading that was: “how the heck did they figure all of that out?!” Because the death of the sun is complex, and epic. It feels like reading a narrative of an epic story that went wrong for the travelers somewhere in the middle, and then the main character suffered a convulsion and blew up. ^_^ Indeed, the death of the sun in the book is as detailed as it can get, and yet, I promise you, this book is understandable to everyone. Basically, it is chock full of science, but it does not compromise the narrative nor its clarity.
Oh, and a few more things. I like the puns of the book. Someday, I wish to live in a world where people don’t have to apologize for making lame sounding puns. People should appreciate them more. After all, puns are the basis of all humor, right? ^_^
Secondly, this book has a choke full of ideas for disaster novels and fiction. Plus, I feel sorry for the occasional people in the book, since Phil Plait subjects them to the occasional disasters each chapter. Like that poor astronaut who had his consciousness expanded in his last second for the black hole just so that the astronaut and readers could know what would happen.
And lastly, there is a note at the bottom of a certain page that says that the best way to tick off an astronomer is to call them an astrologer. I can relate to that. I was at an FFA end of year dinner, and in a page of one of the leaflets describing the event, it listed all members, the college they were going to, and the major. I want to major in astronomy. And guess what they put right besides my major? If you thought astrology, you got that right. Let’s just say I got really ticked off.