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Science Books

July 10, 2009

Atomic Awakening: A New Look At The History And Future Of Nuclear Power
James Mahaffey (2009)
ISBN: 1605980404

Former Georgia Tech research scientist James Mahaffey argues that public perceptions of nuclear power have been severely damaged by its destructive past. In a surprisingly light, witty and accessible tone, Mahaffey, a former Defense Nuclear Agency employee, charts nuclear energy's initial discovery and eventual applications - both constructive and destructive. Mahaffey questions the wisdom in shunning a perfectly good renewable energy source like nuclear power. Somewhere along the way, from Madame Curie and Albert Einstein to Hiroshima and Chernobyl, all things nuclear have become taboo. But as the energy crisis and anthropogenic climate change don't look like abating any time soon, says Mahaffey, why not simply harvest the energy of the universe. It sounds simple enough, but on the issue of nuclear energy, passions run high. There's an old maxim that says if gasoline was originally used to make napalm then we'd all be driving electric cars. To this end, Mahaffey accepts that public perceptions on nuclear energy will be difficult to change, but for the sake of all our futures, change it must. Given that there are many other renewables available, Mahaffey's argument may be perceived as a false dichotomy in favor of the nuclear industry. Nevertheless, nuclear power is a viable and potent source of renewable energy, and Mahaffey's erudite advocacy on the nuclear industry's behalf is an excellent start to future debates on this loaded issue.

The Vision Revolution: How The Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human Vision
Mark Changizi (2009)
ISBN: 1933771666

You may not realize it, but according to scientist Mark Changizi your eyes have more amazing powers than a leotard-clad, underwear challenged superhero. Telepathy, X-ray vision, clairvoyance and spirit reading are all within your grasp! In fact, you use these powers everyday. Theoretical scientist Changizi, assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, eschews lofty, longwinded explanations regarding how our eyes do what they do, and instead concentrates on the why. Why do we see in color? Why do our eyes sometimes betray us? Why are language symbols shaped the way they are? Why can we only see forward? There are some long established answers to these questions, but Changizi is here to tell you that all of them are wrong. Welcome to The Vision Revolution. Ponder this: why is it that we retain more information by reading than by hearing language when reading is only a relatively recent development? Or how is it that we can catch a ball coming towards us faster than our brains can process this visual information? Changizi, an evolutionary researcher, will dazzle you with the amazing answers to these and many more remarkable questions regarding revolutionary breakthroughs on human vision.

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