Blog Archives

Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography

The first clue that Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography is not going to be a typical biography is in the table of contents. It lists one appendix on elliptic and Abelian functions and another on Maxwell’s equations. This is a

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Posted in Math

George Boole, Claude Shannon, and information

Paul Nahin writes books that are somewhere between popular and academic. His books are popular, but not light reading. They tell a story, but they go into more detail than most popular books. (I haven’t read everything Nahin has written,

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Posted in Science

Epics in 99 seconds

Jon Cozart’s video Harry Potter in 99 Seconds has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube. Today he posted a similar video, Lord of the Rings in 99 Seconds: A couple more of Jon’s videos I’d recommend: Paper Beatbox

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Painting with Numbers

Painting with Numbers is a new book of advice on making numerical presentations. The book is very elementary. It contains no math beyond arithmetic, and it focuses almost entirely on financial data in Excel spreadsheets. But it does have useful

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When a good author writes a bad book

The other day I read a terribly bland book by an author I’ve previously enjoyed. (I’d rather not name the book or the author.) The book was remarkably unremarkable. It reminded me that even the best strike out now and

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Why read and write tech books?

Now that we have Google, countless blogs, and Stack Overflow, why should anyone buy technical books? And why should anybody write them? Charles Petzold’s answer is that books provide a narrative in a way that the web cannot. Books about

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Posted in Software development

Differential Equations and the City

This afternoon I got a review copy of X and the City: Modeling Aspects of Urban Life by John A. Adam. It’s a book about mathematical model, taking all its examples from urban life: public transportation, growth, pollution, etc. I’ve only

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Posted in Math

Reading historical math

I recently received review copies of two books by Benjamin Wardhaugh. Here I will discuss How to Read Historical Mathematics. The other book is his anthology of historical popular mathematics which I intend to review later. Here is the key

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Posted in Math

Simmer reading list

One of my friends mentioned his “simmer reading” yesterday. It was a typo — he meant to say “summer” — but a simmer reading list is interesting. Simmer reading makes me think of a book that stays on your nightstand

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Read history and fly an airplane

The “About the Author” page at the end of Programming in Emacs Lisp says Robert J. Chassell … has an abiding interest in social and economic history and flies his own airplane. I love the child-like element of that bio.

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Superheroes of the Round Table

The other day I was browsing the Rice library and ran across a little book called “Superheroes of the Round Table: Comics Connections to Medieval and Renaissance Literature.” It’s about how literature has influenced comic books, and how comic books

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tl;dr

The slang “tl;dr” stands for “too long; didn’t read.” The context is often either a bad joke or a shallow understanding. What bothers me most about tl;dr is the mindset it implies, scanning everything but reading nothing. I find myself

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Posted in Creativity

Machine Learning for Hackers

Drew Conway and John Myles White have a new book out, Machine Learning for Hackers. As the name implies, the emphasis is on exploration rather than mathematical theory. Lots of code, no equations. If you’re looking for a hands-on introduction

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Posted in Computing

Book review: Functional Analysis

Functional Analysis by Elias Stein and Rami Shakarchi is a fast-paced book on functional analysis and related topics. By page 60, you’ve had a decent course in functional analysis and you’ve got 360 pages left.

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Posted in Math

Review: The Linux Command Line

No Starch Press recently released The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction by William E. Shotts, Jr. True to its name, the book is about using Linux from command line. It’s not an encyclopedia of Linux. It doesn’t explain how

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Posted in Computing