What I’ve been reading

1. Alexander C.R. Hammond, Heroes of Progress: 65 people who changed the world, with a forward by Steven Pinker.  Starts with Gutenberg, of course Norman Borlaug is included, don’t forget Cobden, Bentham, Frederick Douglass, and many others.  An Auto-Icon to those who spurred progress!  Who knew that Virginia Apgar was born in Westfield, N.J.?  Well done.

2. Cixin Liu, Supernova Era.  An A+ plot premise (I won’t spoil it), the story goes downhill somewhat but still worth reading.

3. Martin Plaut and Sarah Vaughan, Understanding Ethiopia’s Tigray War.  Clear and to the point, the best book I know on this topic.  It is also especially clear on the roles of Eritrea and Somalia.

4. Kunal Purohit, H-Pop: The Secretive World of Hindutva Pop Stars.  If you are an outsider and looking for a good “micro-study” to understand India, this is a good place to start.  Trying to better understand a country typically should consist of both macro overviews and micro-studies, of course.

5. Asimov Press, Origins.  Their first publication, this volume is a series of essays on biotechnology.  The key mission is learning how to conduct science better, and you can get updates here on synthetic biology, transgenic ants, macrophages, and other topics of recent (and earlier) note.

Anastasia Berg and Rachel Wiseman, What Are Children For?: On Ambivalence and Choice is not a book for me right now (thus I haven’t read it), but the authors are very smart and thus it is worthy of mention.

In return for a referee report, I requested Chen-Pang Yeang, Transforming Noise: A History of Science and Technology from Disturbing Sounds to Informational Errors, 1900-1955.  This book is good background for understanding late Fischer Black, as ideas derived from Brownian motion lie behind both options pricing theory and Black’s essay “Noise.


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