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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

Fields and Rings

Fields and Rings - Irving Kaplansky Believe it or not, but someone called Kathryn Cramer has written a fan-fic based on this classic commutative algebra text. It's a short story called "Forbidden Knowledge", which appears in Rudy Rucker's anthology Mathenauts and describes a weird, hallucinatory society centered around the mysterious drug Ext:
Phelony assumed he must be a mathematician because he had one hand shoved down his pants and in the other he held the archaic text, the historical and neo-religious basis for the name of Ext, Irving Kaplansky's Fields and Rings, second edition.
Here's the punchline:
He had come to watch. In an effort to console her, he held out his copy, opened to page 187, where it was written: 13. The Vanishing of Ext. We shall have no need to assign meaning to Ext itself; we shall speak only of its vanishing.
If you want to know more about Ext (trust me: you probably don't), you can look here.