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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing - Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins Point/Counterpoint

A Nice Brief Account Of The Inflation/Ω/Dark Energy Thread

Krauss, who was personally involved in some of the work and knows all the key actors, does a fine job of summarising progress in cosmology over the last fifteen years. The most significant development, needless to say, has been the discovery of Dark Energy. Krauss presents the background and shows why it wasn't quite as unexpected as has often been made out; he was one of the few people to have predicted it, though it sounds like he could hardly believe his own prediction. He is also good on showing you how solid the evidence is. To people outside the field, it isn't at all obvious that the case is a strong one, since it depends on ultra-precise measurements of the distances to the most remote galaxies, something that is anything but trivial to do. Krauss straightforwardly says that he had doubts at first and urged his colleagues not to jump on the bandwagon; but, after a while, so much material had accumulated that it was almost impossible to explain the facts in any other way.

The rest of this review is in my book If Research Were Romance and Other Implausible Conjectures