my recent reads..

Earthcore & Infected



Scott Sigler has the book launch of Infected coming up on 1-Apr. No joke, you can pre-order on Amazon already.
..a cinematic, relentlessly paced novel that mixes and matches genres, combining horror, technothriller, and suspense..

Sigler's been one of the stars of the free podcast-audiobook scene, and its great to see him on the mainstream bookshelves. In fact, you can still get Infected as a podcast download here at podiobooks. Sigler reads his own works, and he's got the voice for it too. See the Infected promo page at podiobooks for more info.

Earthcore was the first Sigler novel I came across, also highly recommended. I found it some time ago, before I started blogging about books actually, which is why you are only seeing a post about it now.

I listened to Earthcore as a podcast available here at podiobooks. In fact I think it was my very first podiobook download, and got me hooked on the whole podiobooks idea (from which I've since discovered other great authors like Terry Fallis and Nathan Lowell).

These authors are all making podcast versions of their works freely available. It is a fantastic way to discover new authors and enjoy their books in audio. They deserve our support if you like what they do. Podiobooks takes donations directly. And for authors like Sigler we can buy their books in print too!




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Got a License to Operate Your Brain?


Geoffrey Grosenbach took a diversion on the Ruby on Rails podcast recently, with a fascinating two-part interview with John Medina (part 1, part 2).

Medina is a very engaging speaker, with some controversial but well researched ideas on how the brain works, and why so many of our social conventions in school and the workplace actually conspire against optimal brain performance. I gather its a discussion of many of the ideas from his book Brain Rules.

Well worth a listen.

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Clear Timezones and jQuery

Choon Keat recently posted a great little web tool to help simple scheduling across timezones.

Makes it really easy to have a quick look at how times line-up around the world. For example, I've saved this link to see Vancouver (my sister), Melbourne/Sydney (most of the rest of the family) and Singapore (me) all in one go.

It's done in pure Javascript, and is a good example of jQuery in action if you care to look;-)

See also: timeanddate.com for encyclopaedic coverage of everything related to times and dates.
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Isaac Newton


Sir Isaac Newton has a penchant for popping up in literature. Take Greg Keyes' Age of Unreason historical fantasy series for example, which starts with Newton's Cannon. Or Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, the first book of Baroque Cycle. Even in popular fiction like The Da Vinci Code.

It soon becomes hard to separate fact from fiction. Was Newton an alchemist? [Yes] A member of The Priory of Sion? [No] A little bit mad? [Probably. And not helped by his experiments with mercury].

Needing a fix in reality, I picked up James Gleick's Isaac Newton. It is a wonderfully written account of Newton's life and accomplishments.

The picture is of a complex character. Extremely private and absorbed in his research into any and all questions relating to understanding the system of the world. He tended to keep his ideas from the public to avoid controversy, yet when his views are debated he is perhaps as bad as the worst for letting his ego get out of hand. He is famous for his feuds with the likes of Robert Hooke for primacy in optical theory, and Leibniz over the invention of calculus (Newton and Leibniz are generally agreed to have developed calculus independently, but that didn't prevent them both from scrapping over the issue to no end).

Newton's Wikipedia entry provides a good overview of the amazing range of his work. To understand more, James Gleick's book is an excellent place to start.

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