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Brian Clegg
Popular science author and science communicator
Popular science author and science communicator

Brian's posts

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The truth trap
This article first appeared in the 17 April edition of The Big Issue  under the title The Whole Truth. We live in a world of alternative facts. Paradoxically, these arise because political and religious leaders, driven by belief systems, base their actions ...

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Astronomy Adventures and Vacations - Timothy Treadwell ****
If you’re into healthy outdoor pursuits (and I mean the Great Outdoors, not your backyard), you won’t have any trouble thinking of exciting ‘adventures and vacations’ to indulge in. But what if you’re a naturally sedentary science geek (like this reviewer)?...

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Come back C. P. Snow
I rarely see the Daily Telegraph , but at the weekend I was at the house of someone who takes it. I couldn't help become a little incensed at an opinion piece by someone called Christopher Booker, bemoaning the 'dumbing up' of University Challenge. Given th...

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How far can you see with the naked eye?
My quiz books How Many Moons Does the Earth Have? and What Colour is the Sun? are all about asking science questions with interesting or intriguing answers, so I was delighted when a reader, Simon Bartlett, asked about how realistic one of my answers was. T...

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Four Way Interview - Hector Levesque
Hector Levesque is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He worked in the area of knowledge representation and reasoning in artificial intelligence. He is the co-author of a graduate textbook and co-founder o...

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Finding Fibonacci - Keith Devlin ***
I was rather surprised by this book, but I shouldn't have been. It does exactly what it says on the tin. The subtitle is 'The quest to rediscover the forgotten mathematical genius who changed the world.' So I shouldn't really complain that the book is far m...

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Images from a Warming Planet - Ashley Cooper ****
I'm not a big fan of coffee table books - and this is certainly big and heavy enough to make a coffee table from if you attached legs (I certainly wouldn't fancy reading it in bed) - but Ashley Cooper's 495 photographs covering the impact of climate change,...

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Common Sense, The Turing Test and the Quest for Real AI - Hector Levesque *****
It was fascinating to read this book immediately after Ed Finn's What Algorithms Want . They are both by academics on aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) - but where reading Finn's book is like wading through intellectual treacle, this is a delight. It ...

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What Algorithms Want - Ed Finn ****
The science fiction author Neal Stephenson comments on the cover of this book that it is 'highly enjoyable'. I suspect this is because in the opening of the book, Ed Finn repeatedly refers to Stephenson's impressive novel Snow Crash . If Stephenson actually...

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The Reality Frame - Brian Clegg *****
I’ve read quite a few of Brian Clegg’s books, but this one’s outstanding. Relativity is a topic that many writers struggle to get across - Clegg does this brilliantly thanks to two tactics I’ve never seen before. First, he makes use of that most fundamental...
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