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December 26, 2009

The Mind at Night

The Mind at Night: The New Science of How and Why We Dream The Mind at Night: The New Science of How and Why We Dream by Andrea Rock


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book provides an excellent history and discussion of current research around dreaming. It is by the far the most approachable book on the topic I've read. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the mind at mind and calls out specific researchers leading the exploration of that area. The books builds upon itself such that the later topics, while dealing with more current and technical material, are digestible as previous chapters laid the groundwork for understanding them.

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Tags: books dream life sleep

December 24, 2009

AASFSHNR Kiva Team Statistics

For most of this year I've been collecting frequent data snapshots of the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious Kiva Team. I've been a member of Kiva for some time and thought it would be neat to track the success of the group leading up to our one million dollar goal. A few months ago I started playing with the Flex Charting Components to see what I could do with the data I'd been collecting. I don't have the graphical touch (as anyone who has looked at this website can attest to) but working with the charting components made it easy to throw together some basic visualizations of the data.

The code for the application is ugly, so unlike most of my other sample applications, I didn't view source enable it. Given the plethora of other sites talking about the same material this isn't a loss, trust me :) One thing that I'd like to experiment with is other ways to visual the data. Any recommendations are welcome.

Tags: charting flex kiva

December 21, 2009

In The Beginning

In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World by Virginia Hamilton


My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted to love this book. The artwork for each story is amazing and concept of the book is wonderful. I just couldn't get past the staccato prose used to tell each creation myth. Even though it's targeted at young adults I expected more flowery storytelling given the grandeur and scope of the myths.

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Tags: books reviews

Goodreads Book Swap

Goodreads recently introduced a new book swapping feature. The fact that the requester pays for the shipping is a big advantage over Bookmooch's point system. I've accumulated more points on Bookmooch than I know what to do with or probably will ever be able to use.

However, my initial interactions as a requester on Goodreads leave something to be desired. I have a multiple day unanswered request for one book. For the other book I wanted I got a note back saying the person was still reading the book and had promised it to someone else, to which I want to respond, "THEN WHY IS IT EVEN LISTED AS BEING SWAPPABLE!" Breathe-in, breathe-out, assume good faith.

Even in light of these setbacks I'm happy for books that would otherwise be collecting dust on my shelves to have found new homes. While my role on both of these sites seems to have been more of a book source versus a sink I can only hope that someday a book on my wishlist will show up and actually be truly available.

Tags: bookmooch books goodreads

December 2, 2009

Redemption Ark

Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, Book 3) Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A great continuation of the Revelation Space world. It felt trite towards the end with some big events summarized instead of detailed in his normal style. Some story lines were left wide open while others have run their course.

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Tags: books

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