Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves by James Nestor

bookshelves: summer-2014, environmental-issues, nonfiction, radio-4, sciences, published-2014

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 22 to 27, 2014

 

BOTW

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b049y3mf

Description: In his new book, “Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves”, American journalist James Nestor investigates the world of freediving, both competitive and scientific.

He learns how to stay underwater for extended periods; goes shark-tagging; has a close encounter with sperm whales; plunges to 2,500 feet in a DIY submarine; unveils startling facets of human physiology – most notably the extraordinary life-preserving reflexes known as the Master Switch of Life.

And we learn about the old and new life-forms that inhabit our deep oceans – a habitat with the greatest biodiversity on earth, yet most of it remains unknown.

Abridged and produced by Pippa Vaughan.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

1/5 James Nestor searches for the elusive ‘doorway to the deep’.

2/5 James Nestor meets some scientific freedivers and goes shark-tagging.

3/5 Nestor dives with the Ama, women who have been freediving in Japan’s seas for 2,000 years.

4/5 In the Caribbean, James Nestor plunges to the Midnight Zone in a home-made submarine.

5/5 Nestor is in Sri Lanka, diving in the hope of encountering the world’s largest predator.

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

bookshelves: summer-2014, history, nonfiction, published-2012, sciences, psychology

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Brain Pickings
Read from July 13 to 23, 2014


Read more of this article from Brain Pickings

“While our delusions may keep us sane, hallucinations — defined as perceptions that arise independently of external reality, as when we see, hear, or sense things that aren’t really there — are an entirely different beast, a cognitive phenomenon that mimics mysticism and has no doubt inspired mystical tales over the millennia. In the 18th century, Swiss lawyer-turned-naturalist Charles Bonnet, the first scientist to use the term evolution in a biological context, turned to philosophy after deteriorating vision rendered him unable to perform the necessary observations of science. Blindness eventually gave him a special form of complex visual hallucinations, known today as Charles Bonnet syndrome, but he was otherwise fully lucid and marveled, as a cognitive scientist might, at “how the theater of the mind could be generated by the machinery of the brain.”

Charles Bonnet Syndrome also discussed in Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Sea Room by Adam Nicolson

bookshelves: published-2001, britain-scotland, nonfiction, one-penny-wonder, autumn-2010, ancient-history, archaeology, vikings, sciences

Read from October 19 to 20, 2010

 

** spoiler alert ** A keeper for sure; one never knows when one can break out the Nordic war-boat and head out to investigate the islands. A meandering description with black and white photos dotted throughout, also a few diagrams and maps.

About the author (wiki-sourced) – Adam Nicolson is the son of writer Nigel Nicolson and grandson of the writers Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson. He was educated at Eton College and Magdalene College, Cambridge and has worked as a journalist and columnist on the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Nicolson was married to Olivia Fane from 1982 to 1992. They had three sons.[1] Since 1992 Nicolson has been married to Sarah Raven. He and his wife have two daughters and live at Perch Hill Farm[2] in Sussex and at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

First sentence – For the Last twenty years I have owned some islands

Grandmother(Vita Sackville-West) died and left father some money and an advert had been seen in the Daily Telegraph. Some previous owners were Compton Mackenzie, Lord Leverhulme and more recently, a racehorse breeder. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this was not a good place to rear Derby winners

Roger’s Version by John Updike

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, paper-read, hardback, hackers-and-computers, published-1986, summer-2014, abandoned, next, sciences, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, religion, sleazy, room-101, tbr-busting-2014

Read from November 26, 2013 to June 12, 2014

 

withdrawn from Kilmarnock College Library

4 opening quotes and I pick this one: god the wind as windless as the world behind a computer screen – Jane Miller, “High Holy Day”

Description from the inside front cover: As Roger Lambert tells it, he, a divinity school professor, is visited in his office one day by Dale Kohler, a young computer hacker who believes that scientific evidence of God’s existence is irresistibly accumulating.

Opening: I have been happy at the Divinity School. The hours are bearable, the surroundings handsome, my colleagues harmless and witty, habituated as they are to the shadows.

Did you hear this hit the wall? Doesn’t matter where in the world you are, if you didn’t hear the crash you would have felt the vibration. I want my trash reads to be clearly discenable as trash not couched in literary blurb so it is mistaken for a worthwhile encounter.

4* The Witches of Eastwick
AB Roger’s Version

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

bookshelves: spring-2014, dog-steals-the-show, e-book, environmental-issues, boo-scary, ipad, lifestyles-deathstyles, medical-eew, newtome-author, nonfiction, ouch, plague-disease, published-2012, tbr-busting-2014, zoology, sciences, bedside

Recommended for: GeeVee, Pat, Susanna, and all other disease lovers
Read from April 15 to May 01, 2014

 

Description: An engrossing, lively history of a fearsome and misunderstood virus that binds man and dog The most fatal virus known to science, rabies—a disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans—kills nearly one hundred percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. In this critically acclaimed exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh and often wildly entertaining look at one of humankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

If you can believe this, it IS my bedside read. Rabies has a better (i.e. worse) hit rate than bubolic plague: almost 100% death rate. Brrrr.

I have turned into a hydropochondriac – just how close did those pipstrelles come to the patio in the gloaming last night? And when Linnea’s microwave-ably small lap dog sneezed did some globules of spittle come my way?

I always wonder why those people who want horror stories never reach for non-fiction, because every chill the mind could possibly want is out there in reality.

3.5*

The Last Days of Richard III by John Ashdown-Hill

bookshelves: spring-2014, e-book, nutty-nuut, newtome-author, nonfiction, biography, lifestyles-deathstyles, medieval5c-16c, published-2010, sciences, wars-of-the-roses, war, plantagenet-1154-1485

Read from April 06 to 15, 2014

 

Description: A new and uniquely detailed exploration of Richard’s last 150 days explores these events from the standpoint of Richard himself and his contemporaries. By deliberately avoiding the hindsight knowledge that he will lose the Battle of Bosworth Field, this book presents a new Richard—no passive victim, awaiting defeat and death, but a king actively pursuing his own policies and agenda. It also reexamines the aftermath of Bosworth—the treatment of Richard’s body, his burial, and the construction of his tomb. Based on newly discovered evidence and wider insights it explores the motives underlying these events. And there is the fascinating story of why and how Richard III’s DNA was rediscovered, alive and well, and living in Canada. This is a stimulating and thought-provoking account of the end of Richard’s life—even readers very familiar with his short life will discover a new and fascinating picture of him.

The opening gives us Anne Neville coughing in her bed, each period of illness is a little worse than the time before and those sugared sweets are just not cutting the mustard.

The strap line here is: ‘The Book that inspired the dig.’

Initially, it looked as if there would be some author ego to climb over, however that was not the case at all; I can’t say that Ashdown-Hill is particularly endearing but does that matter? not a jot.

TRIVIA: It has just been announced that Benedict Cumberbatch will play Dickon in a new BBC2 production. The news comes just two days after it emerged that Freeman would play the title role in Richard III at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End later this year.

Lady of the Butterflies

one-penny-wonder, paper-read, currently-reading, winter-20132014, published-1999, tbr-busting-2014, somerset, civil-war-english, britain-england, sciences, historical-fiction, under-1000-ratings, plague-disease, floods, zoology, lifestyles-deathstyles, philosophy, politics, restoration, religion, love, cover-love

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Jae
Read from June 13, 2013 to February 16, 2014
Dedication: For Tim, Daniel, Gabriel and Kezia.
Also in memory of my mother, Muriel Swinburn

Opening quotes from Sir Francis Bacon and John Ray

From the description: On the ancient marshlands of Somerset — a place of mists and magic — a girl grows up in the shadow of the English Civil War, knowing that one day she will inherit the rich estate which belonged to her late mother. Her father, a stern but loving Puritan, once a distinguished soldier in Cromwell’s army, fears for his daughter in the poisonous aftermath of the war, and for her vulnerability as an heiress. But above all he fears and misunderstands her scientific passion for butterflies. Eleanor Glanville was in fact destined to become one of the most famous entomologists in history, bequeathing her name to the rare butterfly which she discovered, the Glanville Fritillary. But not before she had endured a life of quite extraordinary vicissitude. Two marriages and an all-consuming love, which proved her undoing, a deep friendship with one of the great scientists of the day and finally, a trial for lunacy (on the grounds that no sane person would pursue butterflies) are all played out against the violent events of the Monmouth Rebellion and the vicious controversy over whether or not to drain the Somerset marshes. Now, if you drive down the M5, you will cross Kings Sedgemoor Drain — one of the first great ditches which reclaimed the land for farming and destroyed the precious habitat of the Glanville Fritillary.

Glanville Fritillary is what I know as Meadow Butterfly.

Discarded from Tower Hamlets Libraries

Prologue opening: November 1695: They say I am mad and perhaps it’s true.

(view spoiler)[Oh dear, the wearisome has blurbed on the front cover ‘One of the best historical novels I have read in ages’ – let’s hope this Alison Weir endorsement is not the kiss of death! (hide spoiler)]

Part I opens up in the year 1662; Christmas Day in a Puritan household and it is a tough day for a nine year old girl who has to fast and not join in the fun.

Charles II is on the throne: ‘We had a merry King on the throne of England now, a King who had thrown open the doors of the theatres again and restored the maypoles, much to father’s disgust.

Tickenham is a wealthy village and civil parish near Clevedon and Nailsea, North Somerset, England. Looking SW at Tickenham Court with the church tower of St Quiricus & St Juliet in the background. The buildings are now a farm but parts date from the 14th Century

Eleanor Glanville is the daughter of Major William Goodricke ‘of the Parliamentarian army, Cromwell’s formidable warrior.’ (page 14) Her mother and sister are dead.

Book Trailer

A major part of this story is about reclaiming land, the Somerset Levels, and today 28.1.2014, the talk is of the flooding there and the impact of rising temeratures and increased rains upon those very marshes.

David Cameron – Somerset Levels

(page 74) The lone mound of Cadbury Camp floated above the greyness like a galleon, the only easily distinguishable natural feaure for miles.

This was a comfortable ramble for 400 pages; a book that I could pick up, place down and not lose a ha’p’worth of interest… and then came the action.

I had to sit up, back straight, be alert to take in what I was reading. Fan Me Fast!

Both comfy then exciting modes hit at the right times, which makes for a very enjoyable conclusion.

Crossposted:
WordPress
Booklikes
LeafMark
Librarything
aNobii

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton

bookshelves: published-2012, sciences, winter-20132014, fraudio, nonfiction, tbr-busting-2014, psychology, philosophy, cambridgeshire, casual-violence, doo-lally

Read from January 05 to February 02, 2014

Runs 8hrs 19mins

From the description: In this engrossing journey into the lives of psychopaths and their infamously crafty behaviors, the renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals that there is a scale of “madness” along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry.

Dutton argues that there are indeed “functional psychopaths” among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more “psychopathic” people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world’s most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath.

As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused—qualities that are tailor-made for success in the twenty-first century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it’s our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.

KEVIN DUTTON is a research psychologist at the University of Cambridge. His writing and research have been featured in Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, The Guardian, Psychology Today, USA Today, and more. He lives in Cambridge, England.

“A little psychopathy is like personality with a tan”

John Wayne Gacy. Nothing abnormal found in his brain BUT a dead brain is very different to a live one.

The Museum of Serial Killers, Florence, Italy

Ted Bundy

Robert Maudsley

When asked how they singled out victims, the answer made by a significantly high number of killers was that they could tell by the walk, or other subtle body language who was ‘bad’. Dutton then took some students to the airport to study people coming through luggage/body check.

The reverse side of that coin was when asked by ordinary people which, in a line up, was a killer they said things like ‘my skin crawled’.

Intuition, then, and there are two types of empathy.

Robert D. Hare received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at University of Western Ontario (1963). He is professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia where his studies center on psychopathology and psychophysiology.

“A personality disorder is not just for Christmas, although, admittedly, it does bring out the best in them.”

So we are not talking about tantrums or people who generally piss you off here.

Phil Spectre before the ‘incident’: “Better to have a gun and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

Gary Mark Gilmore

St Paul – manipulator!

Most of the Wham Bam Bang is front-loaded, however there are some magnificent show-stoppers throughout, the St Paul was quite the justification to my personal viewpoint, YAY. Overall, my ears were as if the eyes of the bunny in the headlights in this short (but long for an essay: 8hr 19 mins) work.

3.5* upped.

Crossposted:
WordPress
Booklikes
LeafMark
Librarything
aNobii