Monday, May 30, 2005

A Chain Letter That is Interested in You

There seems to be this new phenomenon called "tagging" where someone answers some questions and asks five more bloggers to answer them and pass it on. This is an even more virulent meme than a chain letter because it does not require you to be gullible to spread it but just like talking about yourself. I like talking about myself so here goes.


Libertopia tagged me so I will link to his answers first HERE.

1. The number of books I've owned:

I tend to sell books after I have owned them for some time due to space and the fact that much of what I read is progressive in nature so I need to make room for new works. Also I would say that a huge portion of what I have read comes from periodicals like Scientific American, The Economist, Foreign Affairsetc. When I think about how many times I have dumped several huge stacks of those things at the hospital so they could bore people from obsteericst to the geriatric wards, It makes me realize that my thirst for knowledge has destroyed several trees. Strangely enough that does not bother me. As for the total number of books I have owned I would have to say, I have absolutely no idea.

2. Last book I bought:

The Space Between our Ears by Michael Horgan. While I preferred On Intelligence
by Jeff Hawkins with Sandra Blakeslee as a general look at neurology, and Hogan's book is a few years old now (I found it in a bargain bin) in a field that is fast moving to say the least, I found the centered focus on how the brain represents and "perceives" space to be well written, highly informative and interesting.

3. Last book I read:

I have been reading both The Space Between our Ears, and The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I have finished The Space... but I have just started The Art of War. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the work it is an ancient Taoist work for both kings and generals but it has good advice for just about every discipline. It does not glamorize war but merely treats it as a subject of study; one with such important stakes as to deserve deep consideration.

4. Five Books That Mean A lot to Me:

  • Cosmos by Carl Sagan. Both the TV series and the companion book (a weighty tome) had a profound effect on me by encouraging me to think about the size of the universe, what was possible over vast stretches of time and what civilization really is and where it might go.
  • A Brief History of Time By Stephen Hawking. What Cosmos did for my childhood, ABHOT did for my adolescence. Black holes and the beginning and end of time can be interesting subjects to say the least. People would often ask during that period, "Do you own the book?" and follow up a "yes" answer with the question "Have read it?" While I do have to admit that I needed to read it three times to get most of it (I was a young teenager trying to comprehend theoretical physics - cut me some slack) I enjoyed it each time and learned something each time.
  • Out of Controlby Kevin Kelly. This book first exposed me to the idea that live is a technology - the ultimate technology according to some though I think intelligence deserves that distinction - and that principles of this technology were applicable outside of biology.
  • Fire in the Brain: Clinical Tales of Hallucination. This was the first book I read that I would think of as being on the subject of neurology. The author uses case studies of people who experience hallucinations from mental illness, drug abuse, brain trauma/damage, torture flashbacks and even does a brain scan of a girl with a particularly vivid imaginary friend. It is one of the first exposure to the concept of learning about the regular state of a system by looking at the system when it is not in its regular state.
  • On intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. While I mentioned it before I must say it had an effect on me because it gave me the impression that Intelligence and the brain could be, in part at least, understood. I have continued to look at new discoveries and asked myself if it looks like they confirm, disprove or are neutral towards his views. As far as I can tell I have yet to see any of them disprove him. There even seem to be people who are working along similar lines in practical matters of computer science.
5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog:

The number of people who would read this blog enough to tag would probably not total five and some of those would have already participated so here is what I will do. Anyone who reads this and wants to participate can post their web or blog site in the comments section. Therefore, if it is an exciting subject, lots people will do it and if it is not interesting, blogosphereic selection will cull it from the net.


I was also tagged about the following:

List five things that I don'?t "?get"?, but my friends and/or family does.

Actually, while my family and friends quite intelligent (for the most part), I tend to be the one to "get" or comprehend attraction of something at least in the abstract even if it does not help me to understand.

I guess that "not getting things" or "not even trying to get things even for the sake of understanding it" are my only ones. Everyone else seems to be fine with dismissing things as nonsense or stupid or evil without even caring about what the real motivation or reasoning is. Most people seem to think that understanding something is the same as encouraging and excusing it so if you don't like something you should never try to understand it. I don't get that.


At Wed. Jun. 01, 09:14:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

Your selections seem like ones that would interest me as well. Lately I’ve directed my attention towards philosophy and politics, but the mechanics of the mind is quite fascinating, not to mention less frustrating and more concrete.

At Thu. Jun. 02, 09:53:00 a.m. 2005, Anonymous Sunni said...

Very interesting book choices. Thanks for playing!

At Fri. Jun. 03, 01:09:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

The mechanics of my mind are so concrete that they sometimes don't move for days.

I am glad my book choices were interesting to others. I wonder if the authors will send me an advertising fee. It is interesting to see what others have been reading also. Who ever started this deserves some kudos. (Kudos - that is still a good thing right?)

At Mon. Jun. 06, 08:24:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Meaghan Champion said...


You might also very much enjoy "The Origins of Consciousness & The Breakdown Of the Bicameral mind". Just a suggestion




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