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Einträge mit dem Tag science.
Invisible Women
 432 Seiten

Highlighting the gender data gap: The absence of information and mechanisms required to make life fair for both genders.

Caroline Criado Perez shows how "male" is almost always the norm and "female" the exception - from the workplace over the size of smartphones to medical research.

The data she presents draws a sobering picture of inequality across all areas of life. A very important book.

↑ 2021
2020 ↓
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
 288 Seiten

The story of astrophysicist Mike Brown whose calling it is to observe the skies, trying to find new objects in our solar system. When he finds one particular object, the space community has come to grips with the fact that Pluto may actually not be a planet - and what exactly is a planet anyways?

Extremely entertaining, and sometimes shocking to learn about the politics of "who saw it first". I liked it a lot.

& Forces of Nature
 288 Seiten

This book lays out a scientist's view of the world, ranging from the history of important scientific findings to research papers from just a few years ago.

Brian Cox (professor, educator, enthusiast) writes beautifully and tells compelling stories about the wonders of science. As I've learned in this book, he actually spent the years of his PhD in Hamburg, being no stranger to the Reeperbahn and other attractions. High five, Mr. Cox. ✋

This is neither a text book, nor one cohesive story, which is maybe something to criticise. However, I didn't mind at all and liked the book a lot.

As a reader, I felt encouraged to ask questions with the curiosity of a child's mind and to look for the answers through the eyes of science.

As a bonus, the text was set with pretty typography.

The Data Science Design Manual
 445 Seiten

Read this as part of our "Data Science Study Group" that friends and I have been organising for the past three months. This book lends itself quite well to this kind of format: A broad overview of everything that Data Science entails. However, the book also stays at that high level.

While Steven Skiena goes into detail on some of the algorithms, that level of detail really isn't the focus of that book - and that's okay. Having read it, I now feel like I have a good grasp of the field, but to really cater to my personal learning style, I will have to read something else in addition. I personally learn best when there is practical coding work happening. We used our group discussions to work on some examples ourselves (Kaggle competitions and similar), which added a good amount of depth to the pure text book.

The book itself can be found as a free download on Springer ebooks, and if you want a broad overview of Data Science, I can recommend it. If you want to be a full data scientist after having read the book, you will need to put in some more practical work yourself.

↑ 2020
2019 ↓
Why We Sleep
 368 Seiten

A very good book about sleep. I have learned some shocking facts (basically, not getting enough sleeps makes you stupid, sick and die earlier) and some encouraging facts. I am always a person seeking the short-term motivation in things, so I am taking from this book that I want to take better care of my sleep -- not for some vague advantage in the distant future, but for the fact that I am more physically fit and mentally capable when I've had enough sleep. I now know about REM vs NREM sleep, a huge amount of studies that Walker has cited and some practical tips on how to improve sleeping habits. Good night.

(Read as part of our company's book club.)

, & Factfulness
 350 Seiten

For months I have wanted to read this book and in January I finally got around to it. Hans Rosling and his co-authors present an intriguing guideline to form a fact-based worldview. In their book, they educate about the actual state the world is in -- and it's dramatically better than what most people think. In addition, they teach about the instincts we use to wrongly think about the world.

In a world where news, social media, others around us (myself included) talk about anecdotal evidence most of the time rather than always knowing the actual proportions of current problems, this book is an amazing guideline. It might become my new go-to reference that I think I will re-read every once in a while. I can whole heartedly recommend this book to everyone.

I do have one nit-pick, though: At one point, they report the fact that tigers, giant pandas and black rhinos are now not more endangered than they were in the 1990s. While this is an encouraging anecdote, here they make the same mistake they want to teach the reader not to make. Why pick 3 examples from the whole data, while the overall state of wild life seems to be getting worse and worse? According to a WWF report, for a lot of species, the populations have drastically decreased in the last 40 years. Maybe the book has already taught me how to questions these factoids before judging the whole, but they could have also picked a more representative data set, I think.

Nonetheless, wow, what a great view of the world. Realistic, yet optimistic (he calls himself a "possibilist", I like that).

Having seen some of Hans Rosling's talks online years ago, then learning about his death after that, and now seeing this book as a summary of his life's work really moved me. I think this is a must read.

↑ 2019
2016 ↓
How to Create a Mind
 352 Seiten

I am currently strongly interested in how the human mind works and what consciousness actually is — how it arises and how we might be able to create it artificially. This book is a solid item to feed that interest.

This book gives a good introduction and overview of the neurological foundations and the technological perspectives. Unfortunately, the chapter I found most interesting (the one on consciousness), is the most vague at the same time. From what I understand at this point, there just isn't a single convincing theory on where consciousness comes from.

The main downside of this book in my personal view is the character Kurzweil himself and how he portrays himself and his research. Yes, he has achieved amazing things in his lifetime and his predictions for the future have become true a lot of times. Still, he seems quite full of himself, and overall just appears to be very egocentric.

Bottom-line: If you are interested in how the mind works, read this book. Just don't forget to bring your own perspective.

The Greatest Show on Earth
 470 Seiten

This is clearly a good book. Still, it wasn't for me personally.

The premise of the book is the huge amount of early-earth-creationists. The actual numbers of people believing in a world younger than 10,000 years baffles me (about 45% in the US, less in Europe, more in Islamic countries). In my surrounding though, I haven't met a single person who wouldn't believe in a million year history of evolution.

Dawkins really wants to drive the point home that evolution is a fact, so the books tends to get very repetitive in places. For some facts he gives three and more examples, stretching over several pages, where a simple "this is how it is, and here is a 2 sentence example" would have sufficed.

From the explictit overstating of examples and repetition of already mentioned facts I would have thought this to be targeted at ... less educated people? At the same time, Dawkins uses quite educated language. His sentences have this intellectual ring to them. It's as if you are hearing his British voice in your head.

The actual facts and pieces of evidence he presents are very interesting. Still, I am sure the same could have been done in a third of the book's volume.

This is a book offering ammunition to people who are surrounded by history deniers. Sadly - well, fortunately - that's not the case for me. So it was a quite a drag to read. Hopefully his other books are different, as I intend to read some more.