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101. Imaginary Landscape : Making Worlds
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102. Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics)
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103. The Connectivity Hypothesis: Foundations
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104. Show Me God: What the Message
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105. This New Ocean : The Story of
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106. DK Handbooks: Stars and Planets
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107. The Philosophy of Artificial Life
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108. The Life of the Cosmos
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109. Handbook of Isotopes in the Cosmos
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110. An Introduction to Modern Stellar
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111. Physics and Chemistry of the Solar
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120. Magnificent Mars

101. Imaginary Landscape : Making Worlds of Myth and Science
by William Irwin Thompson
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Asin: 0312048084
Catlog: Book (1990-10-15)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 283360
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In a demythologized world, William Thompson finds that the power of myth is ironically being restored at the leading edge of science. This book surveys the present, from Post-Modern theory to a science encompassing Chaos theory and the Gaia hypothesis, and finds in it the threads out of which a future conceptual landscape might be woven.
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars W.I.T. does it again!
Forget Joseph Campbell and his academic-minded ilk -- and take a journey on the wild side with W.I.T. There are very few others writing in the English language like W.I.T. who have all the necessary academic credentials (in his case teaching at MIT, etc.), plus all of the requisite real world credentials that come from creating Lindisfarne Assoc. from scratch. What this book does for the reader is creating a context and provide a place within which we can understand the truly mythic character of the human story, and thereby grasp the underlying evolutionary significance of our own moment in meta-history. Give this book the tie it deserves, because it can be a dense thicket. But passing through the thicket, even with the occasional thorn, is well owrth the price paid by an interested reader seeking larger truths about culture, language, history, and cosmos. ... Read more


102. Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics)
by Plato, H.D. Lee
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Asin: 0140442618
Catlog: Book (1972-02-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 65713
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Early physics...sort of
Plato is deep. That can't be emphasized enough. He deals more with physics in "Timaeus" than in any other extant work. This is not so much a belief system, or paradigm, presented, so much as ideas. Nowhere does Plato actually endorse these views (although they are well worth learning). He sort of asks the reader to listen with an open mind, and THEN be critical. I found something interesting in one of the parts on geometric physics that seems to have excaped every commentater I am aware of,so who knows what else is still hidden after more than 2,000 years?

You get Atlantis stories, flood myths, the Atomic theory, evolution/reincarnation, medical/biological theory, and creation myth. Running through some parts is some very interesting (to me, at least) mathematics. All from one of (if not the) clearest mind(s) I have ever read. Not to mention an excellent writer.

"Critias" is unfinished, whether it was left that way, or the ending has been lost. It's the earliest tale of Atlantis we have (Atlantis is only discussed very briefly in "Timaeus"). It can be taken as a morality parable. On the other hand, it may also be a myth that found it's way to Plato...or even a relatively accurate historical account. Or all of the above. Because, like I said: Plato is deep.

5-0 out of 5 stars Plato's Science and Psychology
Desmond Lee, the translator of the Penguin edition of Timaeus and
Critias, claims his goal is an accurate representation of Plato's
thought, as opposed to maintaining style or convention. Indeed,
despite the purported obscurity of the original Greek, his work
plainly reveals Plato's ideas. Timaeus presents some of Plato's
clearest statements on issues related to science and psychology,
the focus of this review. Lee provides a good introduction, section
summaries, and helpful diagrams of Plato's ideas, but few footnotes
and no index. Incidentally, Timaeus and Critias introduce astrology
and the famous story of Atlantis, one of the most intriguing
mysteries in literature. Lee writes an appendix on Atlantis, pointing
out its mythical qualities, clarifying Plato's descriptions with maps,
and outlining the case for its historical origins. This edition would
be a good choice for readers interested in the source material for the
Atlantis legend and a summary of its ramifications, with a short
bibliography. The importance of Timaeus, however, is its presentation
of Plato's philosophy in its maturity, one relevant to science.

Materialism dominates Western culture today. Briefly, materialism
identifies reality as the objects that people perceive and manipulate
in their environment, or the particles that comprise them. The following
concepts fit nicely with this outlook: causality as a product of lawful
interactions among objects, reductionism where the events we perceive can
ultimately be attributed to universal laws and material particles, and
an evolutionary theory that explains the development of the universe
through natural laws from elementary particles. These materialist
meta-theories are the foundation of today's science.

Plato's philosophy denies that reality is only material objects, because
they merely reflect an underlying perfect, good, and beautiful reality.
In the Republic, Plato provides a memorable metaphor for our illusion of
reality in his depiction of cave dwellers who are constrained to see
only flickering shadows cast by firelight on the cave wall, oddly shaping
their conceptions. Plato's depiction of the world as image resembles
religious doctrines, such as the Hindu concept of maya. In the Gospels,
John's portrayal of Jesus as the manifestation of God's plan (logos - the
Word) resembles Plato's perfect eternal template from which earthly
objects manifest themselves. Unlike religous doctrines, however, that
ascribe natural phenomena such as diseases or psychological disturbances
to the will of gods, Plato sets out to explain the processes underlying
these disturbances, implying the possibility of establishing relations
between the ideal and its image through a rational investigation, and of
manipulating these relations, which might be called Platonic science.

Plato's model consists of a perfect eternity of Being having ideal
forms that only the most gifted in this mortal life can, with effort,
vaguely glimpse via thought, versus our ordinary, sensible, protean
world of Becoming which is constructed based on the ideal forms with the
four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. Timaeus distinguishes these
two realities as "that which always is and never becomes from that which
is always becoming but never is." The world's creator used the eternally
unchanging forms of Being as "his pattern for the form and function of
his product." First, the creator god made the heavens and the gods that
inhabit it, then set the conditions for making the inhabitants of earth,
but left to other gods actual implementation of these creatures. The gods
made humans with both immortal (intellectual soul) and mortal (body) parts,
the immortal part sharing much in common with that of the gods and the
whole universe, including its motions of Same and Different. Timaeus
provides all the preposterous details for this creation, including how
the soul is bonded to the body, the geometrical shapes corresponding to
the four elements, etc. Besides Being and Becoming, Timaeus describes
the third aspect of reality, the Receptacle, an unchanging plastic substance,
without attributes of its own, in which the perfect forms are impressed and
which provides the space for the position of objects in our world.

Plato casts his psychology as the workings of the soul. Timaeus refines
the concept of a tripartite soul from prior dialogs into a rational,
immortal executive that resides in the head; a good, mortal part in the
chest that governs passion, courage, etc.; and an inferior, unruly, mortal
part below the diaphram that exercises the appetites. Each of these soul
parts has a motion copied from the cosmos, which must be exercised for
proper mental health, and balanced with the exercise of the body for overall
health. Human inability to control such motions is the original cause of
irrationality and conflict. Timaeus mentions only in passing the theory
developed in the dialog Phaedrus, which describes motivation as the memory
of an ideal form, as when love results from the beauty of a person who
mediates recall of divine beauty. Timaeus describes sensations as the
product of motions of objects that are transmitted to the soul by particles
that pass through sensory organs, causing pain or pleasure, heat or cold,
hard or soft, etc., depending on their characteristics (e.g., size, speed,
strength). He formulates the basis of pain as a sudden departure from the
normal state and pleasure as a return to it. Thus, Plato presents theories
about mental structures, sensations, emotions, motivation, space and object
perception, and abnormal psychology.

Today, Plato's descriptions of creation, physical and biological processes,
human anatomy, and psychological functions are so erroneous as to be
humorously entertaining. Rather than dismissing too facilely his more
general philosophy and its relevance to psychology, however, we might
consider his account as symbolic and his specifics as suggestive. Stripped
of such unverifiable concepts as soul and divinity, could his work outline
a psychology that has value over that of materialist approaches? Alternately,
will ever more closer examination of the brain, for example, eventually yield
full understanding of self-awareness, thought, and consciousness, just as
expected when one has the circuit diagram of any machine? Plato had, at times,
an uncanny ability to see truth. Observed motions of stars do actually result
from different motions. Humans really are made of star stuff. Could Plato
genuinely have glimpsed eternal truths? Before you make up your mind on such
questions, you will have to study Plato's Timaeus.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Atlantis Stories & Other Far-Fetched Theories
Plato was an excellent thinker. He wasn't afraid to just take hold of an idea and develop it beyond normal reckoning. During a time when science did not provide the answers people sought, philosophers provided their own answers. Timaeus begins with a dialogue discussing the perfect society and if it ever could or ever did exist. It goes on into a dialogue of how god created man with relation to the four elements (earth,wind,fire, and water). He tries to answer questions about why we get sick and the nature of colors. Critias is devoted entirely to Plato's tale of the lost Atlantis which was "as large as Asia & Libya combined" -- not quite a city, but a continent. He begins by telling that Poiseidon had 5 sets of twin boys (with a human mother). He set these boys as the rulers of different cities in Atlantis. The capital was fortified by concentric rings of water and land that were only later connected by bridges. Plato says that Critias had heard the story of Atlantis from his grandfather, who had heard it from Salon, who had in turn heard it from his travels in Egypt. There is the possibility that Plato's rendition of the Atlantis story was based in reality, but probably as trumped up as other versions of the story. This book is great at the beginning and the end, but the middle section is so full of obviously scientifically inaccurate information that it's difficult to keep turning the pages to get to "the good part" about Atlantis.

4-0 out of 5 stars Truly a Classic
The Timaeus and the Critias are two dialogues written by Plato. In the Timaeus he explores the origin of Earth by means of a dialogue between Socrates and Timaeus and in the Critias, also a dialogue, he writes about the myth of Atlantis. I was suprised by how much he knew, such as that the Earth is a sphere, but also by the ignorance he had in saying that there were only 4 elements. The writing for the most part is clear, but in some places hard to follow, an example is when Plato is discussing the creation of the soul of the World. I had never read a book by Plato before and I am now interested in his other works. Those who have never read ancient philosophy shouldn't be discouraged by this book, it is a rewarding read, and not hard to understand.

4-0 out of 5 stars Plato's Timaeus
Plato's Timaeus

There are a plethora of disciplines (disciples) who would wish to claim the Timaeus as their own (or at least one part or another). Plato's cosmogony seems to hold something for everyone. Even to this day zealous mathematicians and geometricians have to vie with crystal worshippers and spirit channelers to proclaim Plato's take on the Pythagorean 'sacred geometry' idea relating to the make up of the universe (a bunch of triangles, apparently (p. 54-56)) as plausible and still worthy of serious study. Others search for clues within a small section of what would seem to be nothing more than a literary device (p.25)- for the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis, the story of which is related to the gathered characters by Critias as an illustration of what Plato's Republic could be, or could have been. Yet others see it as a handbook of ancient astrology (1).

Although described as a 'dialogue', it really isn't. In fact Hermocrates gets to exchange social pleasantries once or twice at the beginning and is thereafter mute throughout. Critias gets a reputable monologue recounting the fate of Atlantis (p.20) before handing off to Timaeus (perhaps Timaios, a Pythagoran), the astronomy expert, who handles, with a line or two of encouragement from Socrates (p.29), the entire piece to its end.

Perhaps it was living in the shadows of the persecution, trial, and subsequent execution of Socrates that allowed Plato to lift his eyes to focus on 'The Forms'.

This was his theory put forward in the 'Republic' and repeated again in the 'Timaeus' (p.40), that a divine craftsman created our universe. This demiurge modeled our close approximation on some original Divine set of 'Forms' which we can, through application of philosophy strive toward, but never see (sense) or 'know' (have intellectual certainty of). This Demiurge created the pantheon of Gods and gave to them the task of creating all living creatures from the elements of fire, earth, air and water (p.49). Each 'bit' of each element possessed a particular geometric shape, too small to be seen by the human eye, which mingles with others - or doesn't - according to a set of mathematical rules.

After the planets (spherical, thus perfect (p.33)), man was created next closest to perfection (after a somewhat disastrous beta cycle (p.43)). Woman came into existence as the transmigrated soul of men who didn't cut the mustard the first time around (p.42) and were made into something less than a man, that is, a woman. The scale of incompetence declined steeply from there. Next were animals that dragged their four limbs across the ground, birds, then fish and last of all oysters.

The known planets, Mercury (Hermes), Venus (Aphrodite), Jupiter (Zeus) and Mars (Apollo), along with the moon and the sun where put into motion in their allotted orbits around 'Mother' Earth. By virtue of Platonic decree, the heavenly bodies were set in their sophisticated motion by the souls that inhabited them, for they were living beings, too. Fixed stars, being fixed, were hooks to hang each soul on between incarnations (p.38).

But it seemed something was missing in Plato's unifying theory. It seemed for this universe of close approximation to exist, it had to be held in, perhaps nurtured by, framed by,'The Nurse Of Becoming', or the more ominous sounding 'receptacle of becoming' (p.48)'.

What Desmond Lee's translation does not convey about this Receptacle (Greek: Khora) is that within the text of the Timaeus, the Receptacle is a 'she' (2). When read within the context of the female genitive, the sexual politics give a much clearer picture of what both Plato and Desmond Lee seem to be struggling with when they discuss her blank void and her inability to give form or function to that which she holds within her. That it is the 'he' that attributes the form and the function.

Being denied one such omission, one wonders what other oversights one is unaware of.

Plato's Anatomy and Physiology lesson (expounded by Timaeus) is, in all respects, somewhat wide of the mark. Still, however, an interesting read (the description of the function of the liver is particularly fascinating), and at times (unintentionally) humorous - and at others it is thought provoking and insightful in a mythic sort of way. Here he touches on the metaphysical once again, setting up road signs back to the extispicy practices of the Akkadians (3) and forward to the Greco-Roman mystery religions of the first few centuries AD.

I have a thing or two to say about the Penguin Classic edition, also. The paper is yellowed and cheap and acts like blotting paper when one takes a hi-liter to it. I would much prefer nice shiny white paper, with plenty of white space for marginalia and esthetics.

The Timaeus is hard. The translator, Desmond Lee says so. Plato says so. Who am I to differ? Mr. Lee's notes were of great help, but I sometimes got the impression that he was as lost as I - which I found strangely comforting. At times he defers to the 'Cornford' translation (also available from Amazon), perhaps this tells us something.

This is essential reading for anyone who has an interest in math, comparative cosmogony, myth, astrology, archeoastronomy or philosophy. I advise all medical students to stay away.

(1) See "Hamlet's Mill', pp. 305-309, De Santillana, Giorgio, David R Godine, Publisher, Inc. Jaffery, New Hampshire (2) See 'Space & Timaeus', Bigelow, John, Monash University. URL http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/phil/department/bigelow/space.html (3) See 'Ancient Mesopotamia', p.213, Oppenheim, A. Leo, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1977 ... Read more


103. The Connectivity Hypothesis: Foundations of an Integral Science of Quantum, Cosmos, Life, and Consciousness
by Ervin Laszlo, Ralph H. Abraham
list price: $16.95
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Asin: 0791457869
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Sales Rank: 62744
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Book Description

Provides the foundations of a genuine unified field theory. ... Read more


104. Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God (Wonders That Witness/Fred Heeren, Vol 1)
by Fred Heeren
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 1885849524
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Daystar Productions
Sales Rank: 272776
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars Does what it's intended to do but no more than that........
This is an interesting book. A fun read. It is also filled with alot of quote mining, logical fallacies, and arguments from authority. He also throws in a straw man argument or two.

If you want to feel good about your belief in God in the face of modern science and by some weak arguments the book is good.

If you are looking for evidence of a creator, it is simply absent. All of the evidence presented does not point to a creator. That is wishful thinking. The book does provide enough information to stimulate thought however.

The best part of his book is the rejection of tradition as a means of interpreting scripture. Tradition has many old, tired, and burdensome adages that are neither biblically sound or morally sound. A personal relationship may be possible and if it is should be sought out. Relying on tradition makes one little more than a Pharisee.

In my view the book is readable. Anyone not familiar with modern science will feel it enables them. The book does an exceedingly poor job in making the case that the Christian God is the only God.

Exceedingly weak, the reason is their is simply no good evidence that is the case. Any person in the majority of believers on this planet who are not Christian would find his assertions laughable.

He uses a simple default position, If God exists it must be my God. Enstein was a deist, Hawking is a deist at best. Most scientists have a healthy skeptism of religion and if they didn't it would prove nothing anyway. Being in the majority doesn't make you correct. Evidence does. And this book provides spotty and inconclusive evidence, although at times thought provoking.

One of the worst blundersis when the author states, 'now we have no evidence but have the making of a good argument from authority'. As the late great Carl Sagan says.......arguments from authority are worthless. Just give us conclusive evidence.

As stated the book does what it is supposed to do and no more. I like the theology for the most part. Tradition in the churches is a dead end, a personal loving God makes more sense IMHO. After all a tradition is just another argument from authority.

5-0 out of 5 stars Show Me The Sequel
My girlfriend got me "Show Me God" for Christmas because of my great interest in amateur astronomy. Years ago when I first made steps to turn stargazing into a hobby I had problems trying to understand how the Young Earth doctrine (which I was raised to believe) could explain why I was seeing stars, nebulae, and galaxies so far away. This book will fill in that enormous gap for you, allowing you to not only see why but explain the *how* of cosmology and it's interaction with the Bible.

Mr. Hereen makes the attempt to explain the latest cosmological theories in layman's terms, and for the most part suceeds. He follows it up with a piece by piece buildup throughout the book on why this rock we call home is not the result of an accident, or a mathematical fluke, but rather a "finely tuned" place, custom made for us to be here. If the reader is open minded he or she will be hard pressed to deny the possibility of God by book's end.

While he doesn't offer his own opinion of a chronology of events (more specifically, a scientific explanation on the fly while describing the events of Gen 1 + 2), he does take the time to discount two Young Earth theories, the "light was created on the way" theory and the "the speed of light has changed" one as well. He does maintain a relatively strong adherence to Biblical scripture, although he does veer towards the length of the word "day" in the Genesis account, an issue that puts a ball of ice in my stomach and puts my senses on guard. I still do not really know his view on evolution for instance (promised in the nowhere to be seen Volume 2), although he goes to great pains to explain that the chances of it happening on it's own are so astronomically small that it's literally impossible. He also gives a chapter on extraterrestrial intelligence and why there might be more like us out there.

Dispersed throughout the book in humorous fashion are imaginary conversations between he and his imaginary publicist Carl (based on his own experiences with real life Christian publishers) and a particularly impressive question and answer session with some of the leading physicists in the world, including Stephen Hawking. A book that is designed to make an atheist/agnostic really think twice about thier position!

Bring on Volume Two! :)

5-0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get much better than this!
This is an extraordinary book, the best book I've ever read concerning science and theology. The book shows that religion and Cosmology can infact live in harmony with one another. It reminds me of one of Einstein's quotes: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind". The book gets technical at some points, though it is in a non-mathematical way which is intended for the laymen. I'm surprissed to see that some have called this book bias. The book points out evidence suggesting God's existance but it also looks at the evidence against the existance of God. Although the book does give the impression that the evidence for God is better than the evidence against God. You can come to your own conclusion. Nevertheless the book is, in my opinion, the best, the most clear, and most fair of all the Science v.s. theology books out there. (Well, if it's not the best, it's damn good) A must read! (I agree with the other reviewer: "Where's Vol. 2???)

2-0 out of 5 stars I was expecting anun-biased discussion of the issues....
which is clearly not what this author is about.I guess I should have paid closer attention to the sub title.The author is very well informed about the current state of cosmology.But I feel Heeren's publishers should have been more honest about the nature of this book.It is not an honest and unbiased discussion of the issues.The only conclusion I can draw is that it is written to convince believers that they have nothing to fear from modern cosmology.One of the biggest problems I have with this book is the seemingly never ending stream of quotes from notable scientists.They are used with what I will generously call considerable literary license, to support the author's views and to dupe the reader into believing these men agree with the premise of the book.Not one page of this book is devoted to presenting an opposing view in an honest fashion.(It is not intellectually honest to offer up simulated conversations in which the opposing view always comes off looking uninformed).A genuine debate by presentation of all views might have done more to bring people to the author's point of view, if that was the goal.The origin of the universe is the greatest mystery mankind will ever attempt to understand.This could have been such a great book.It ends up being an advertisement for Christianity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Sceintific - Worthy to be in your collection
This book basically explains the extreme complexity of life and the universe and how it is almost impossible that it was chance or evolution. A divine creator must have certainly put it all together otherwise there are Kazillions of other universes and our planet sustains life by a freak 1 in Whatever kazillion. The best part is he uses references like Einstein and interviews with top scentists of our time. The proof is all in this book along with great bible references that help put everything together. It really has a more than strong case that someone designed the universe. When I read this book and "Archeology of the bible" I know there is a God or designer" now I need help with Jesus and the Bible. ... Read more


105. This New Ocean : The Story of the First Space Age
by WILLIAM E. BURROWS
list price: $34.95
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Asin: 0679445218
Catlog: Book (1998-09-22)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 429989
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

More comprehensive than The Right Stuff, more critical than Apollo 13, This New Ocean is a near-perfect history of the men (and occasional women) who have "slipped the surly bonds of Earth." Eminent science journalist and space expert William E. Burrows covers just about everyone in history--from Daedalus to John Glenn--who ever designed or flew a rocket, trying to "ride the arrow" to the moon and beyond. It's a trail of testosterone from start to finish, but it makes for an engrossing read. One of Burrows's most interesting points is that without the cold war we never would have made it into space. He writes, "...the rocket would forever serve two masters at the same time, or rather a single master with two dispositions: one for war and one for peace." Werner von Braun, Robert Goddard, and other rocketry pioneers may indeed have wanted to explore space, but they knew the only way to get there was on the military's back.

Burrows extensively researched his subject, and he seems to want to include a little bit of everything; too much detail bogs down the narrative in places. Then again, he is no apologist for the space programs of the United States and the former U.S.S.R., and to tell their complete stories requires laying a great deal of political and scientific groundwork. When it comes to the great, memorable moments in space history, Burrows really shines. In telling the stories of Sputnik's first orbit, Neil Armstrong's moonwalk, Challenger's fiery death, and Sojourner's Martian road trip, he captures both the gee-whiz technological accomplishment and the very human emotions of the men and women involved. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Comprehensive History of Spaceflight Ever Attempted
William E. Burrows brings to the task of writing a comprehensive history of spaceflight a wealth of background and understanding. He added to that in-depth research and lucid writing to place between two covers the most exhaustive and complex history of the subject ever published. At some level, perhaps, he tries to do too much, but overall he succeeds admirably in explaining the political, technical, scientific, economic, and cultural history of humanity's recent adventure in space. It is a long read, and sometimes requires effort on the part of the reader to wade through exceptionally complex scenes, but "The New Ocean" is overall a stunning achievement. The chances are pretty good that readers will be able to answer almost any question they might have about spaceflight by referring to this book. And if they cannot find everything they want on the subject, the exhaustive bibliographical references point to additional material. I recommend this as a starting point for serious exploration of the history of spaceflight worldwide.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly a political history
I enjoyed this book very much, and thought it filled a niche I hadn't thought of before. Its strongest focus seems to be on the political environment of space exploration, where "political" has 2 meanings: 1) The traditional fight for funds in the US Congress and also the environments in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and 2) the infighting for limited funds among the different areas of the civilian and military space establishments. (The "office politics" of space, if you will.)

In this context, the book could be thought of as a space history from a management point of view. There's not a lot of technical detail here, esp. for those who have read a lot of space books. But Burrows does a good job of explaining why certain decisions were made in the different programs, given the historical context. It leads to a greater understanding of why we have the systems we have today, and how they have evolved, fight by political fight. The parts about the US spy satellites, the space shuttle, and solar system exploration were definitely enlightening from this point of view.

As noted with other reviews, "This New Ocean" has rather startling breadth, but sometimes maddeningly little depth. This is OK and to be expected in a survey book; my only problem was that it felt uneven. Some parts were covered with a broad stroke that gave the outlines but not every last detail, while others felt tacked on or thrown in. In particular, the development of the Russian space program after Khrushchev felt shallow, esp. coming after an extended section on the US program. This was a little unsatisfying, given the importance of Russian rockets in the more commercial environment of the post-Cold War world.

Overall though, this book is clearly recommended reading. It enlarged my view beyond just the science and technology to see how things get done, and has stimulated me and made me aware of new areas and ideas to learn about.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Researched History of Space
Burrows offers the best attempt so far at a comprehensive history of the Space Age in a single volume. There are two flaws. First, the commercial side of space is almost untouched. The driving engine of space development today is in the tens of billions of dollars being poured into communications satellites and other applications. Burrows spares only a few pages for this topic. The other flaw is Burrows' tendency to snipe at the evil American military-industrial complex without trying to understand or explain the actual thinking behind US military space endeavors. Despite these reservations, this book is a first-rate achievement. It is simply indispensable for students of space history.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too many good stories for one volume
The breadth of "This New Ocean" forces Burrows to treat the most compelling technical and personal achievements of the Space Age too lightly. With rocket launches more reliable today than fifty years ago, it's difficult to understand what the big deal was about the early rocket launches. A deeper engineering background than he offers would permit a better appreciation of the early rocketeers' work. Moreover, Burrows' writing seems heavy-handed at times (especially in condemning the effects of the Soviet political structure on research there). Burrows seems most comfortable writing on space-based reconnaissance (thanks to his earlier work on that subject), and he carefully relates the internecine funding battles of the 1950s and 1970s to the political climates of those times.

This volume is best used to place technological developments in a political context; look to Baker's "History of Manned Space Flight" or "The Rocket" for more careful consideration of the engineering.

3-0 out of 5 stars A fine Space history book at someplaces.
This book is very loosely a space exploration history dealing with the actual missions. It is more of how space exploration happens and not what happened during the missions. The whole Mercury program gets maybe a page and a half while spy projects get numerous pages. Along with great political details this book runs for over 600 pages making a book for only a serious historian interested in the space program ... Read more


106. DK Handbooks: Stars and Planets
by Ian Ridpath, Amie Gallagher
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0789435608
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 578392
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Stars and Planets is a sturdy, thorough field guide for amateur astronomers. The book's first section is a general introduction to astronomy. A solar system primer and constellation catalog are followed by a month-by-month night sky guide. Filled with clear, easy-to-read star charts, photos, and diagrams, this is the perfect starter for beginning astronomers, and a handy reference for those with a little more experience. You'll find information on stargazing equipment, a glossary of terminology, and the history of each cosmic feature's discovery. Like all the Eyewitness Handbooks, this one will be a terrific addition to your family science library. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding for novice or intermediate amateur astronomers
If you own only one astronomy field guide, this should be it. The charts are accurate & easy to read, the text is informative but not overpowering, and the design is very reader friendly. The monthly star charts can be used from most latitudes - both northern and southern.
This is the third edition of this book. I've been a fan of it since it was first published in the mid 1980s.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice coffee table book
I found this book to be interesting, but not in-depth enough for intermediate astronomers. The information on the planets is overly simplistic and for entertainment purposes. For example, instead of having a graph of basic information for every planet, sometimes it lists essential information (like orbital period) and sometimes it doesn't which makes it useless as a reference.

I suggest it for the younger prospective amateur, but for older users get the Peterson's Field Guide: Stars and Planets. Very sturdy build and good guide for charting the planets.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice starter book...
This is a nice, streamlined book. Logical layout, sharp photography, and a clean, crisp design. The first portion discusses the universe and stars (addressed below), and is followed by another section that provides a 2-4 page profile on each planet, including when and where in the sky it's visible until 2009. Following these sections, is a large section covering all the official constellations in alphabetical order with at least one interesting item to check out from each constellation. Obviously, some have more: Sagitarius, Scorpius, Orion, etc. A brief constellation history is provided, along with a small map depicting the constellation stars, surrounding stars, and objects of particular interest. These objects are coded with simple icons to denote "viewability": naked eye, bino, scope, etc. The last section of the book has monthly sky maps. I purchased the flex-cover edition, which is made of some quasi-vinyl material that's quite nice. The book itself seems well made and durable. Why only 4 stars? I have two issues.#1, I wish it were spiral bound.#2, it's not as forthright about its hypothetical aspects as it should be (planetary core composition, Big Bang mechanics, Oort Cloud (!), etc.)Other than that, the book is highly recommended and a pleasure to read/use.

5-0 out of 5 stars So Simple, Even I Can Find What I'm Looking For!
I am one of those people who has trouble finding specific constellations, and is never quite sure whether I'm looking at Jupiter or Venus.I carry around little scraps of paper from the newspaper so I can figure out which planets are visible . . . but have a hard time reading the scraps in the dark.

With this book, I can see when and where each planet will appear through 2012.I can also get all the help I need to know what constellations are up there now, and which ones will be present when.

As a result, I can finally introduce the starry heavens in an appropriate way to younger people.I already know a lot about astronomy, but the night sky was beyond me.No longer!Whew!

Although my four children did not get much help with the heavens from me, the grandchildren will receive great benefits from this resource.

Even if you are good at identifying objects in the night sky, this book will be a valuable, convenient reference for you.

Enjoy the lore that our ancestors appreciated by seeing new aspects of the night-time sky!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great intro and continuing reference
This was the first book I bought on this topic and it provided a great introduction to the night sky with its constellations, the solar system and the universe.

I have since then purchased other more advanced books, but I continue to use this one regularly as a quick and convenient source for information on various constellations and its monthly sky charts which point out interesting things to observe for a given period.

This makes a great first book along with Terence Dickinson's "Nightwatch".

I am puzzled why the reading level is indicated at ages 9-12 on this web page. There is no such mention on the book itself, nor do I find that the book talks down to adults, so don't be put off by this age notice. ... Read more


107. The Philosophy of Artificial Life (Oxford Readings in Philosophy)
by Margaret A. Boden
list price: $42.00
our price: $42.00
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Asin: 0198751559
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 452994
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Book Description

This new volume in the acclaimed Oxford Readings in Philosophy sereis offers a selection of the most important philosophical work being done in the new and fast-growing interdisciplinary area of artificial life. Artificial life research seeks to synthesize the characteristics of life by artificial means, particularly employing computer technology.The essays here explore such fascinating themes as the nature of life, the relation between life and mind, and the limits of technology. ... Read more


108. The Life of the Cosmos
by Lee Smolin
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0195126645
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 48557
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Lee Smolin offers a new theory of the universe that is at once elegant, comprehensive, and radically different from anything proposed before. Smolin posits that a process of self organization like that of biological evolution shapes the universe, as it develops and eventually reproduces through black holes, each of which may result in a new big bang and a new universe. Natural selection may guide the appearance of the laws of physics, favoring those universes which best reproduce. The result would be a cosmology according to which life is a natural consequence of the fundamental principles on which the universe has been built, and a science that would give us a picture of the universe in which, as the author writes, "the occurrence of novelty, indeed the perpetual birth of novelty, can be understood."

Smolin is one of the leading cosmologists at work today, and he writes with an expertise and force of argument that will command attention throughout the world of physics. But it is the humanity and sharp clarity of his prose that offers access for the layperson to the mind bending space at the forefront of today's physics. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book, if not the greatest
A unified theory that would give us an objective and complete view for our world has always been the dream of physicists.

Lee Smolin in his extraordinary book illustrates many significant views of the obstacles facing the unification of general relativity and quantum theory into one universal cosmological theory that could provide us, in principle, an objective and complete understanding for the universe as a whole. In his masterpiece, he does not only explains the previous efforts to approach such a theory like the string theory or inflationary models, but also discusses the philosophical obstacles facing them in a very persuasive and intellectual way. Furthermore, he proposes a theory, which he calls "The cosmological natural selection", that is similar, to a certain extent, to the evolution theory in Biology in which universes are a product of a bounce or explosion in a black hole when the matter reaches a certain density. Unlike the case of singularity in which time just ceases, Smolin proposes the continuity of time and an explosion which will 'slightly' change the parameters of the elementary particles, or their physical properties (mass, charge, etc.), in that new created universe. These parameters are the rule for creating more universes if their settings allow the universe to have more black holes and thus, more new created universes.

What is most interesting I think is the type of questions that the author poses in each chapter. For they spark a very deep, yet casual, philosophical wonders that puzzled our world for centuries. This book is for anyone who would like the taste the joy on an intellectual philosophical and scientific journey that tries to unveil some of the mysteries of this world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterful meditation on the state of modern physics
This is a beautiful book, to be read by everyone who is fascinated by the ongoing quest to unify cosmology and particle physics. The author has a cute idea - that the familiar multiple universes undergo a process of evolution and natural selection - but he goes much further, into the philosophical foundations of quantum theory and the basic notions of space and time. I particularly enjoyed (and found convincing) his claim that we are living in a period, analogous to the early years of this century, when the shared ideas that have been so productive, have become inadequate. A new paradigm is needed, according to Smolin, one that takes into account the self-organizing properties of the Universe, and the inter-relationships between all of its components. One doesn't have to agree with the author to appreciate the originality of his ideas, the clarity of his arguments (masterful explanation of black holes, for instance) and his candid description of his own struggle to break away from conventional thinking about fundamental physics issues. Smolin thinks big, but he is not afraid to admit that his theories are not fully worked out, and that many scientists object to his ideas (I, for one, could not follow his rejection of fixed external physical laws, when his theory of incrementally evolving Universes seems to require just that). But no matter - anyone who wants to appreciate (without math!) what is really happening on the frontiers of physics should read this book. One gripe: the book is set in a font so tiny that it's almost unreadable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cosmological natural selection
Lee Smolin's speculative book is revolutionary.
For him, physics are not mathematics, but biology. Cosmology is a question of natural selection. This selection happens via black holes, where universes are created with slightly different random new values for the parameters of the standard model in physics.
There are no eternal laws, only worlds which are the result of random and statistical processes of self-organization.

I agree, there are a lot of ifs in this book, with a crucial one on p. 93: 'If quantum effects prevent the formation of singularities ... then time does not end in the centre of black holes, but continues into some new region of space-time.'

Smolin explains that behind the central principles of relativity and quantum mechanics lies the essential fact that 'All properties of things in the world are only aspects of relations among real things, so that they may be decribed without reference to any absolute background structures.' (p.259)
For Smolin, the future of physics is to find a solution for the tension between the atomist description of elementary particles, and their relational use in the gauge principle. He believes that string theory is part of the solution.

Smolin's point of view is partly shared by the late Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine in his difficult book 'The End of Certainty'.

Even if his theory is falsified, this book is a real bargain, because it contains magnificently clear (a real bonus) explanations of the 4 basic forces in physics, the gauge principle, symmetry breaking, quantum mechanics, gravity, the second law of thermodynamics, the theory of natural selection, Leibniz's philosophy, the reason why mathematical and logical truths may be eternal ... I could go on.
Into the bargain, it contains a deadly attack on determinism and a very polite but definitive refutation of the anthropic principle.

A great book by a true and free humanist.

5-0 out of 5 stars If Smolin is right then why exist intelligence?
In this book Lee Smolin expose the most drammatic extension of Darwin's natural selection any mind have always done:universes unceasing spring from black holes and with light change of values of the fundamentals physicals constants.
So universes that reproduce more efficiently are those that maximise the likelihood of formation of (may be a special type of )black holes.
As Smolin express in this book,this theory can be scientifically proved or disproved, by mathematical calcolating the effect of changing the value of any physical constant, in the efficency of formation of Black holes.
So this book cannot strictly be regarded as a divulgative book but more as a real scientific essay and this is proved by followings scientifics essays appearing in science papers (see for last example Gambini&Pullin in Arxiv.org 20/06/03).
So the greatest virtue of this book ,its extreme scientific strictness, is the only limit i can find in it :reading this title is like meeting in the beach a sweemer completly dressed with coat and tie.
So to help you to relax before you can read it i shall shot here all the fooliness Smolin could have written but did'nt: I am a specialist here!(anyway review is ended here the rest are only my thoughts when I look to the all universe)
Why do we exist if universe is fine-tuned only to makes more Black-holes? Elementary Watson, because we shall help to build also more Black Holes! Why ? Because they obviously will be very usefull! How? cleaning! and why us? Well it can be supposed Black hole geometry interactions are simple: they can eat each other,or exist contemporaneously at side or be centered outside or inside, a very simple geometric interaction.
Intelligence have all these dimensions and seven more related to empaty that is a form of non locality born from entanglement,so intelligence can live in an 11 dimension universe with a more interesting geometry or at least mathematics seems to be able to do this!
So universe is self replicating maximising black holes's formation and this is the immanent God of this and any other universe but we as umans belive a trascendent God helping us to dominate this eternal matherialistic law,So Watson now you can see black holes dominating a 4 dimension universe and remember the 4 gospels truth;you can calculate the 11 dimensions of the universe and remember the 11 apostles(and if also the 12th dimension betrayied than will you belive?);you can eventually say I am a Cristian Hebrew and can save Jesus from cross saying I am too the son of God and share his same sort; now if you can see upon clouds of this universe Jesus,God's son appearing ,this is science too!

3-0 out of 5 stars some fascinating ideas, but hard going
I was looking forward to reading this book (despite the tiny type size mentioned previously) but found myself struggling with it. This is not because it is too technical, but more becaue of the verbose style of the author. The text is filled with tautologies and sentences that just don't make sense. One can get the gist of what Smolin is saying, but the repetition at times within the same paragraph was annoying enough to take the shine off the story. The book could be quite a bit shorter. The copious typos didn't help either.

That said, there is plenty if interesting stuff to ponder here. Perhaps because Smolin is trying to appeal to a popular audience, I sometimes found his explanations lacking in depth - for example, the assertion that certain parameters that determine the composition of the universe and its hospitability to life are fine-tuned to an accuracy of one part in 10 to the 60th power. Not being a physicist or mathematician, I can only take what Mr Smolin says at face value. I'm also not sure about black holes being the generators of new universes - it strikes me as an idea that can never betested or proved. Perhaps the development of the grand theory that Mr Smolin ultimately hopes for will provide further support for his cosmological natural selection, through testing of new mathematical models. But I still feel that much of what he is saying will always remain beyond the scope of science, and to a large degree must be taken on faith. But I take my hat off to him for thinking so big. ... Read more


109. Handbook of Isotopes in the Cosmos : Hydrogen to Gallium (Cambridge Planetary Science)
by Donald Clayton
list price: $100.00
our price: $100.00
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Asin: 0521823811
Catlog: Book (2003-09-11)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 719338
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Book Description

Each naturally occurring isotope contributes to the history of matter by having its own special role in cosmic evolution. This volume elucidates the origins of our material world by looking at the abundance of the elements and their isotopes, and how this is interpreted within the theory of nucleosynthesis. Each isotope of elements from Hydrogen to Gallium is covered in detail. The book will be suitable for astronomers, physicists, chemists, geologists and planetary scientists, and contains a glossary of essential technical terms. ... Read more


110. An Introduction to Modern Stellar Astrophysics
by Dale A. Ostlie, Bradley W. Carroll
list price: $113.00
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Asin: 0201598809
Catlog: Book (1995-12-11)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 271024
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Text
Modern Stellar Astrophysics was a nice book. It was organized very well and presented the material in an orderly fashion. I thought that it lacked depth though. It gave many concepts, but they lacked mathematical examples to go with those concepts. A good book for people who already understand modern physics, but for those without a deep understanding of modern physics it will leave many open questions. Lastly, the homework questions at the end of the chapters resembled those examples throughtout the chapters themselves very closely and even identically, thus answering them takes absolutely no analytical skills just mere copying.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Comprehensive Introduction to the subject..
This is an excellent introduction to Stellar Astrophysics, covering from the very start the essential concepts needed to undertake the subject, and gradually building up untill a nice introductory level is achieved. The book is well organized: divided into two blocks, starts by setting a solid basis upon which later presents the subject. In the first and introductory part, the essential astronomical concepts are explained, and in the second part the author gets into the actual Astrophysics of Stars. The book is pleasant on several levels; conceptually, coherently and aesthetically, all this while making use of a clear, straightforward matheticall formalism which is simple enough to follow. It is well suited for an introductory course at the undergraduate level, and one of the few books which actually bridges the gap between the high-level available pieces and the general public oriented literature on the subject. ... Read more


111. Physics and Chemistry of the Solar System, Revised Edition
by John S. Lewis
list price: $77.95
our price: $77.95
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Asin: 0124467423
Catlog: Book (1997-09-30)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 448987
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Physics and Chemistry of the Solar System, Revised Edition is a comprehensive survey of the planetary physics and physical chemistry of the part of the universe that is best understood--our own solar system. Although many fundamental questions remain unanswered, or even unasked, research in these areas has advanced quickly, and the planetary sciences have benefited from both earth-based and spacecraft-based experimentation. These experiments form the basis of thisencyclopedic reference, which skillfully fuses synthesis and explanation. Detailed chapters review each of the major planetary bodies as well as asteroids, comets, and other small orbitals. With this reference, astronomers, physicists, and planetary scientists will have a state-of-the-art book whose uses include both teaching and research. This new version, featuring approximately 10% new material, will also prove an invaluable addition to any library in astronomy, planetary physics, and astrophysics.

* Contains updated material since the first edition
* Aimed at a higher level with a broader scope than previous texts
* Examines the astronomical content of the solar system and the planetary content of earth
* Amply illustrated throughout
* Reviews each of the major planetary bodies as well as asteroids, comets, and other small orbitals
... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great book loaded with practical information.
Chapters: I. Introduction; II. Astronomical Perspective; III. General Description of the Solar System; IV. The Sun and the Solar Nebula; V. The Major Planets; VI. Pluto and the Icy Satellites of the Outer Planets; VII. Comets and Meteors; VIII. Meteorites and Asteroids; IX. The Airless Rocky Bodies: Io, Phobos, Deimos, the Moon, and Mercury; X. The Terrestrial Planets: Mars, Venus, and Earth; XI. Planets and Life about Other Stars; XII. Future Prospects; Appendices; Suggested Reading; Index

This book discusses the physics and chemistry of the Solar System in great detail. It assumes that the reader has completed one year of mathematics, physics, and chemistry at the university level. Appropriate physics and chemistry formulas and equations are sprinkled throughout the book. The focus is on practicality, not on rigorous derivation: Formulas are often introduced with a phrase like "It can be shown that...", though some key concepts are discussed in more math! ematical detail in the appendices. For the reader who wants more, the "Suggested Reading" section lists many more publications dealing with aspects of the subject matter of this book, ranging in intended readership between non-mathematical and professional scientific.

The text is informative and to the point. Inclusion of many results from recent space missions to various planets, asteroids, and comets is evident. The author includes many pictures (mostly in black and white) of (parts of) the planets and other discussed celestial bodies. Also included are a great number of plots and diagrams that illustrate points made in the text. Many provide specific information on characteristics of the materials being discussed. I particularly like these diagrams: A general discussion of, for instance, the different kinds of water ice is interesting in its own right, but the inclusion of a diagram where you can look up your own favorite combination of temperature and press! ure to find which kind of water ice exists under those cond! itions allows you to consider also many situations that are not explicitly treated in the text.

The book starts with a discussion that puts the Solar System in a wider astronomical context (involving galaxies and the universe at large), and ends (after extensive discussion of the members of the Solar System) with a discussion of the physics and chemistry of life and planets around other stars, and of the future prospects for answering remaining questions about our celestial neighbors. Some exercises are included at the end of each chapter.

The only negative point I found about this book is that it does not discuss the one topic I was looking for when I bought it: the physics of the shape of celestial bodies. For instance, why can Mars support much taller mountains that the Earth? How irregular can the shape be of a moon or asteroid, depending on its size? This certainly falls within the scope of the title. Nevertheless, the great wealth and practicality of the other i! nformation contained in this volume ensure that I do not at all regret buying it. ... Read more


112. Extreme Stars
by James B. Kaler
list price: $40.00
our price: $28.80
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Asin: 052140262X
Catlog: Book (2001-04-09)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 171792
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Over the past 200 years, our knowledge of stars has expanded enormously. From seeing myriad dots of different brightnesses, we haved moved on to measure their distances, temperatures, sizes, chemical compositions, and even ages, finding both young and ancient stars that dwarf our Sun and are dwarfed by it. Unique in its approach, Extreme Stars describes the lives of stars from a new perspective by examining their amazing features.The result is a refreshing, up-to-date, and engaging overview of stellar evolution, suitable for everyone interested in viewing or studying the stars.Ten chapters, generously illustrated throughout, explain the natures of the brightest, the largest, the hottest, and the youngest, among other kinds of stars, ending with a selection of the strangest stars the Universe has to offer. Extreme Stars shows how stars develop and die and how each extreme turns into another under the inexorable twin forces of time and gravity.James B. Kaler is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.He has held Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, has been awarded medals for his work from the University of Liège in Belgium and the University of Mexico, and most recently was selected to give the Armand Spitz lecture by the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.His research area, in which he has published over 100 papers, involves dying stars.Kaler has also written for a variety of popular magazines, including Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, and Scientific American. His previous books include The Ever-Changing Sky (Cambridge, 1996), Stars and their Spectra (Cambridge, 1997), Cosmic Clouds (Scientific American Library Paperback, 1998), and The Little Book of Stars (Copernicus, 2000).He is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Galaxy Full
Have you ever wondered how many different types of stars are in space or are there planets orbiting them? The book Extreme Stars, At the Edge of Creation, by James Kaler is a must read for the astronomy enthusiast. This book is a fresh approach at examining the lives of stars. It covers all extremes from black holes and neutron stars to supergiants and hypergiants. Kaler takes a unique way of organizing the stars in sections for example the coolest, the hottest and the brightest stars. In each section Kaler includes lots of diagrams and pictures to help the reader relate to examples from the text. He is also very through about each topic and often explains the history behind the star and the links that change stars from one type to another. In one chapter, Kaler explains that giant Jupiter class planets have been found in orbit around certain stars.
Kaler writes in a way that is very thorough and detailed but where even the most novice astronomer can still understand. The graphs and photos also help to clarify some of the more difficult. For example, when he talks about stars and their spectra he will often include a diagram to help show the relationship.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to someone interested in astronomy. It is really interesting and shows the great variety of stars that exist in the universe. Especially for people wanting to learn more about stars this book is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Stellar behaviour runs amok"
Kaler's descriptive aptly summarises the theme of this fine work. Astronomy done well is always a fascinating read, and Kaler's done a masterful job. He takes us into the realm of the biggest, hottest, smallest, coolest, most dense and diffuse stars in our universe. Each chapter is devoted to a type, with examples, history, evolution and likely finales. The text is clear and unambiguous, obviously written for anyone interested in our stellar neighbours. Diagrams and photographs illuminate complex subjects throughout, including some spectacular colour plates in one section. Kaler deserves high praise for a comprehensive and exhaustive presentation untainted by weighty philosophy or arcane mathematics.

Kaler's uses the nearest star, our sun, to launch a comparative view of the more extreme versions of stellar objects. Placed in the middle of the band of stars fitting on the "main sequence", it's a valid starting point. Main sequence stars range from very large and bright to very small and dim. Within that range they follow fairly predictable patterns for a given size and type. Outside that stable range, however, loom some immense exceptions and a plethora of tiny, almost minuscule stellar objects. Orion's shoulder is marked by a star with a diameter nearly reaching the orbit of Jupiter. Another, even greater, reach nearly to Saturn's. Others, as Kaler notes, would "fit inside a small town". Even these minute objects have a life history that tells us much about the universe we inhabit. Kaler is vivid in his descriptions of these objects, but he's even more spirited when dealing with the nuclear processes going on within them. Some stars truly seem to "run amok"!

Stars are distant laboratories where reactions occur impossible to duplicate in Earth-bound facilities. Kaler describes the activities of chemical elements within stellar objects and how their signals tell us about the events occurring there. As stars burn away their hydrogen fuel, various options, some still not understood, may be followed. Electrons jump from shell to shell emitting or absorbing energy. These signals, he notes, are the indicators of luminosity, temperature and even distance. One such signal, of course, is the most significant of all - the "noise" indicating the Big Bang that started it all. One result, however, is clear - without these processes neither our planet nor we would exist. This is because the stars, which began as clouds of hydrogen and dust, become the forges of heavier elements. As Joni Mitchell once sang, "we are all made of star stuff". You don't have to be interested in astronomy to enjoy this book. You need only care about your origins and environment. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Astronomy Reading
This is the second book by James Kaler I have read. Prior to this I read his book Cosmic Clouds. A very good book, but this one on extreme stars is much better. If you like astronomy you owe it to yourself to read this book. I have never read such a full and comprehensive analysis of stellar evolution prior to this. Many other books treat star types as if they were like worms or dogs - one never evolves into the other. This book clearly ties together the progress of stars form one form to another. I can not recommend this book highly enough!

5-0 out of 5 stars Extreme Stars
Kaler's book is a rarity--a genuinely fresh approach to a well-studied subject. Each chapter covers extreme stars of a different kind, including the faintest, the coolest, the brightest, the largest, the smallest, the youngest, the oldest, and the strangest. By grouping stars in this way, Kaler (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) piques the curiosity of the novice, while encouraging knowledgeable readers to think about stars from a different perspective. There is a wealth of information, much of it not available elsewhere at this semipopular level. Kaler is a highly respected researcher in the field, and his insider's knowledge shows in comments such as the description of a subject as one "... that can produce a good argument at a meeting of variable-star astronomers." The style is concise, graceful, and sometimes quite imaginative. (In one caption, Kaler speculates that the galaxy in the picture might merge with another one, perhaps providing "... a confusing mixture of evolutionary properties for that galaxy's future astronomers.") The illustrations--most of them in black and white--are clear, informative, and well integrated with the text. Highly recommended for all libraries. All levels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Taxonomy of Stars
So much of the Universe is unseeable by native human eyesight. Nobody knew of craters on the moon, of Saturn's rings, of the moons orbiting Jupiter, of galaxies or nebulae, of the types of stars..... until the telescope was invented. What fascinates me about this is that it was such a modest telescope that first started revealing these wonders. And once we started to see, we have refined our ways of looking which leads to seeing more, looking harder, seeing more ..... Perhaps if we saw nothing new we would stop looking but that just hasn't happened. In some ways, it seems to me that the rewards for looking are immensely greater than the effort required to see.

Our understanding of stars as being huge thermonuclear explosions constrained in space by the force af gravity is so simplistic. (But even that is a very refined view compared to the understanding prior to a knowledge nuclear physics.) In 'Extreme Stars' we are taken for a journey to the limits of what it actually means to be a ball of gas - not necessarily hydrogen - that is ignited to nuclear burning by the force of gravity. We learn of stars that are big, bright (big does not necessarily mean bright), small, young, old, dirty, decreasing in size as they shed gas via a stellar wind, decreasing in size as they expand and shrink - leaving behind a ring of gas.....

We also learn of the generation of the elements as they are created in the fires of the nuclear ovens that the range of star types create. We learn of stars that collapse to nothingness in a black hole, that blink out in a final extinguishment of their nuclear reactions, that explode leaving tiny remnants that are truly extreme - neutron stars and pulsars.

When I stand outside on a clear night and see the stars gleaming down - distinguished by brightness (which may be due to the star's properties or simply its closeness) and colour only - I marvel at how our understanding of these remote and tantalising objects has developed. This book enormously enhances that sense of the marvellous. ... Read more


113. An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines: Conceptions of Nature and Methods Used for Its Study by the Ikhwan Al-Safa, Al-Biruni, and Ibn Si
by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0791415163
Catlog: Book (1993-07-01)
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Sales Rank: 808611
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars great and interesting
Writing the most Islamic tradition and examines the classical Islamic cosmology and shows how Ikhwan ,al Biruni combined teaching the Quran ... Read more


114. Environmental Effects on Volcanic Eruptions: From Deep Oceans to Deep Space
by James R. Zimbelman, Tracy K. P. Gregg
list price: $114.00
our price: $114.00
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Asin: 0306462338
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: Plenum Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 1976704
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115. Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective
by Carl Sagan
list price: $30.00
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Asin: 0521783038
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 308442
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1973, Carl Sagan published The Cosmic Connection, a daring view of the universe, which rapidly became a classic work of popular science and inspired a generation of scientists and enthusiasts. This seminal work is reproduced here for a whole new generation to enjoy. In Sagan's typically lucid and lyrical style, he discusses many topics from astrophysics and solar system science, to colonization, terraforming and the search for extraterrestrials. Sagan conveys his own excitement and wonder, and relates the revelations of astronomy to the most profound human problems and concerns: issues that are just as valid today as they were thirty years ago.New to this edition are Freeman Dyson's comments on Sagan's vision and the importance of the work, Ann Druyan's assessment of Sagan's cultural significance as a champion of science, and David Morrison's discussion of the advances made since 1973 and what became of Sagan's predictions. Who knows what wonders this third millennium will reveal, but one thing is certain: Carl Sagan played a unique role in preparing us for them. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Infectious enthusiasm
Carl Sagan's "The Cosmic Connection" is an enjoyable and easy-to-read survey of science and astronomy, circa 1973. Sagan's passion for his subjects comes through loud and clear in the essays that comprise this book. Reading this book is a little like watching "Cosmos" -- you're struck by the breadth of Sagan's knowledge and charmed by his imagination and wide-eyed enthusiasm for his topics. Sagan has a flair for making science accessible to the masses. He explores topics such as planetary exploration, the origins of life, and, of course, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Readers who liked "A Brief History of Time" will probably enjoy "The Cosmic Connection." The epilogue, which provides a year 2000 update for many of the chapters, is a valuable addition to this classic book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Sure this isn't Sagans best book, it was one of his earliest. But its definitely a great read, full of profound thoughts.

3-0 out of 5 stars Digressions? Yeah!
This book is a mix of thoughts by Carl Sagan, which he mainly dictated while crossing North America in a car. Well, it shows! It jumps from interesting paragraphs to useless personnal experiences, and the final result is a short text that is confusing, and (but that's not his fault) outdated. Read "Cosmos" and "Pale Blue Dot", they are much better.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Musings of A Great Intellect
While it was first published over twenty five years ago and new scientific knowledge has rendered some of the "facts" and conclusions invalid, this book is still one that will fascinate you. For Sagan's writings are not about the knowledge of the moment but about grand, overwhelming ideas. Known to most people through his television appearances and his popular science books, he was a man with very impressive scientific credentials. A driving force in setting the priorities of planetary probes, his formidable intellect and powers of persuasion helped change the missions in many important ways.
Carl Sagan was a man deeply committed to the scientific method, the rule of reason and the exploration of space. His passion comes through very clearly in these essays, although he never descends to the level of being preachy. Towards the end of his life, he started to grow understandably pessimistic about the continued lack of exploration of the universe beyond the limits of the blue planet. Like so many of us, he is saddened by the lack of a vision that would drive the human race to establish an extraterrestrial presence beyond low Earth orbit.
Other issues that he deals with are the consequences of contact with another civilization and how we may recognize it when it occurs and what our response should be. These are very fundamental questions that the human race should consider. It is hard to imagine any other event that could have a more profound impact on how humans view themselves and their role in the cosmos. I agree with the premise of the Star Trek movie "First Contact", where the first contact with an extraterrestrial unites humanity in a way never before thought possible.
Humans will always continue to examine our place in the grand scheme and what all of the immensity of the universe really means. As long as we continue to produce beings of the caliber of Carl Sagan, our future is a bright one. His intellect and ability to excite were both first rate and I do not know how anyone could read these essays and not be moved by the quality of his reasoning.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Must" reading for all Sagan fans
The late Carl Sagan was one of the most popular, influential, and successful interpreters of astronomy to the American public. In 1973 he published "The Cosmic Connection". He offered a daring view of the universe and his seminal work became a classic of popular science, inspiring a generation of scientists and non-specialist general readers with an enthusiasm for all aspects of science in general, and astronomy in particular. Now Cambridge University Press has reissued a new edition of Sagan's influential book, enhanced with Freeman Dyson's commentary on Sagan's vision and on the importance of "The Cosmic Connection"; Ann Dryan's assessment of Sagan's cultural significance as a champion of science; and David Morrison's discussion of the advances made over the past 30 years and what became of Sagan's predictions. Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection is "must" reading for all Sagan fans and anyone interested in how his views and predictions have held up over the past three decades of rapid advances in the science of astronomy and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. ... Read more


116. Nature: Course Notes from the Coll├Ęge de France
by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Dominique Seglard, Robert Vallier
list price: $25.95
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Asin: 0810114461
Catlog: Book (2003-10-15)
Publisher: Northwestern Publishing House
Sales Rank: 144212
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Important Reading for Students of Merleau-Ponty
"La Nature" is a volume that should be most welcome by students of Merleau-Ponty. It is a translation of three courses given by Merleau-Ponty at the College de France.

The first course, given in 1956-57 is entitled "The Concept of Nature," a survey of the historical elements that constitute the present concept of nature, from Aristotle and the Stoics, through a new reading of Descartes, Kant and a novel look at Schelling. From there it's on to Bergson and Husserl. Merleau-Ponty is tracing the idea of nature in each thinker and how it corresponds to ontology, attempting a new vision of nature more in step with recent developments in science. But he squanders the gains he made when he deals with the developments in physics. This stands as the weakest part of the lectures. Though he gives a good summary of quantum mechanics, he fails to understand the ramifications of quantum physics and its effect on nature, and, ultimately, ontology, preferring instead to hide behind Bergson and the process philosophy of Whitehead. Instead of using the new physics as a starting point, he instead settles for the cul-de-sac of metaphysics.

The second course given in 1957-58, is concerned with deconstructing the Cartesian concept of Nature by examining the recent advances in biology and behavioral studies. Animal as machine is replaced by the animal as being finding itself in the world: How does the animal show itself to others (including humans) - leading to asking what is the structure, then, of its behavior and how does it signify? His lecture of Lorenz's study of instinct is the highlight of this section.

The third course, 1959-60, is entitled "Nature and Logos: The Human Body." He re-examines his findings of the previous years and the emergence of the human body at the intersection of Nature and reason: "the concern is to grasp humanity first as another manner of being a body - to see humanity emerge just like Being in the manner of a watermark, not as another substance, but as 'interbeing', and not as an imposition of a for-itself on a body in-itself." This would later begin to developed in his last work, "The Visible and the Invisible," left unfinished by his sudden death. One can only wonder where he might have gone had he only lived to complete the work. These lectures give us a tantalizing peek into what well may have been. ... Read more


117. The Special Theory of Relativity
by David Bohm
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 041514809X
Catlog: Book (1996-11-01)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 448543
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The theory of relativity is not merely a scientific development of great importance in its own right. It is even more significant as the first stage of a radical change in our basic concepts, which began in physics, and which is spreading into other fields of science, and indeed, even into a great deal of thinking outside of science."

The opening lines of The Special Theory of Relativity show us David Bohm's unique ability to bridge the worlds of theoretical physics and the conceptual issues that underly science that gives his writing meaning far beyond the scientific community.

Based on his famous final year undergraduate lectures on theoretical physics at Birkbeck College, Bohm presents the theory of relativity as a unified whole, making clear the reasons which led to its adoption, and explaining its basic meaning. With clarity and grace, he also reveals the limited truth of some of the "common sense" assumptions which make it difficult for us to appreciate its full implications. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars First-class professional exposition plus deep philosophy
This is a review of the edition of 1965 which appeared in Russian (1967) in my translation. The book contains a thorough exposition of Einstein's special relativity, with a discussion of historical, philosophical and psychological issues. David Bohm's clear and professional style, as well as many deep and original ideas make this book an outstanding course of this important chapter of theoretical physics, being of great value not only for students, but also for both actively working specialists in physics and philosophy of science, and even for serious laymen. I especially recommend the Chapter 25 (Falsificability of theories) as an excellent food for thought. ... Read more


118. The Urantia Book (C5)
by Urantia Foundation
list price: $49.95
our price: $31.47
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Asin: 0911560025
Catlog: Book (1955-06-01)
Publisher: Urantia Foundation
Sales Rank: 64666
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (136)

5-0 out of 5 stars The URANTIA Book is a breathtakingly replete religious work.
The URANTIA Book published by URANTIA Foundation is the most consistent and inspiring book on religion I have found in over four decades of searching. The effect on the reader is to increase one's certainty about God. For me, Part III on the "History of Urantia" which is the book's name for our planet was most persuasive. It speaks about things we can see in the world and discusses their causes. The effect is breathtaking. Part IV on the life of Jesus then shows how spiritual values are able to be actually lived as they were two thousand years ago in the life of Jesus. There is a wide range of topics covered such as astronomy, marriage, geography, the equality of women, and government, to name a few. The URANTIA Book is a work so replete that it may be read in a matter of months, but additional readings result in added understandings. For those who like religion to be spoon-fed, The URANTIA Book may not be for them. But for those who hunger to know God better, want to know God as a living reality, and translate this love into lives of practical service filled with truth, beauty, and goodness, this book is a roadmap for living spiritually and joyfully in this world

5-0 out of 5 stars On the journey in quest of spiritual freedom, a must read.
Buddha's son once said after trying to comprehend his father's teaching of the freedom of salvation through faith, "Work out your own salvation." and be your own teacher, "It's not TRUTH until its YOUR TRUTH." The Urantia Book is not for everybody, just yet. It should be read as a personal, subjective document of immense importance for the sincere truth seeker. The continuity of content, harmony of values and beauty of insight profoundly impressed me. If you have discovered the Urantia Book, you must seriously consider that you are NOW ready for an expansion of your cosmic understandings, an enlargement of your spiritual values, and an acceptance of greater peace. DON'T RESIST. By its own admission, the Urantia Book does not have all the answers. Truth is always dependent on cultural context in time and space. However, if you are looking for relative answers to fill in the gaps of information in such topics as: "The life, times and teachings of Jesus", or the cultural connection between humans and angels, or the eternal connection between the human spirit and the eternal spirit, or maybe the physical connections of ETs and terrestials here on Urantia or in our local cosmic neighborhood. You will be pleased with the revealed information in the Urantia Book. How about possible answers to the "Crop Circle " phenomenon, or the mythology behind the "fall of man" or the apocalypse? You may derive answers from the Urantia Book. The Urantia Book states, "It's not so much what you learn or do here in this Earth life but rather that you have the experience. This is paramount." Regardless of our origin of race, cultural beliefs or family background, and no matter how much material wealth, health or happiness we achieve, the overwhelming message for me in the Urantia Book during these past 25 years has been: "Its not that you win or loose but HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME," or "It's not how many times you fall down BUT how many times you get ! up that matters in this life experience." The greatest realization for me from the Urantia Book was that we are all just starting out on our own eternal adventure of achieving ever expanding and increasing levels of: comprehending wisdom; experiencing universal truths; realizing greater cosmic insights; and living expanded spiritual values in a nearly endless progression of advancing lives. Perfection is our destiny, service is our goal, and Love is our reward. Happy journey, see you on the path. -Robert Linnell

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing Book
By the time I was 16 I decided that God could not possibly exist. I became an atheist. After studing philosophy, I realized that God could neither be proved or disproved, so I became a reluctant agnostic. I turned to science for answers, but science can only describe "how" and not "why"; science does not and can not address the question of meaning.

Why is there something rather than nothing? Are we all just atoms in the void? I spent more than two decades seaching for some kind of answer. I read anything and everything..... so much that I sometimes felt that my brain simply could not absorb any more input. But I was utterly unable to take that leap of faith without feeling that I would somehow have to sacrifice my intelligence - a choice I could not and would not make.

On February 11, 1984 I was given a copy of The Urantia Book. A new revelation? Yeah, right. I flipped through it from time to time, but it was several years before I actually read it from cover to cover.

It changed my life. I subsequently read it many times and continue to read it on almost a daily basis. It the single most important book I have ever read. Period.

I suspect I would still be an unhappy agnostic if this book had not come my way. I know now that God does exist, that there is a purpose to the universe and a purpose to my life. And I know this with my heart and my mind.

KR

5-0 out of 5 stars A Super critic relents
I first came into contact with the UB in 1974. After a few hours of reading, I said,"This is too good to be true!". After a few more hours, I said," If this is not true, it should be!" During all of my years since, I literally wore out my first UB- It fell to pieces. I have detected only one "fact" difficulty. This is the UB contention of 48 chromosomes instead of the widely held contention of 46. I have recently satisfied-to my mind- this seeming difficulty. I believe that the "missing" chromosomes are MORONTIAL, and therefore not detectable by any scientific method. These invisible chromosomes probably help form the sites in the physical reception areas for mind, personality, and the contact and lodgement of Thought Adjusters. I would welcome any comment on this theory. Thank You, Roger Fuller

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid Theology Book
Urantia Book is a very advanced and solid religion book I ever found, theologically. Theology of a new cosmic religion, where we are all brothers and sisters, family of God under God as our Father.

I am a lecturer in a Christian theological school an I am active in discussion among different religions, and I can say that this is the book that can answer almost every question with very good logical explanation. Questions from secularists, from atheists, from agnostics, from moslems, from buddhists, from hindus, and especially from critical christians like myself.
As an active Christian inside moslems and buddhist country, I know very well about Christianity's dogma weaknesses, especially when stand in dialogue with other beliefs.

If we want to understand this book, please let us open and expand our point of view. This book contain so much information, arranged in a very systematic way. The easiest way to approach this book is to ask questions, and let the book answers. List several very difficult questions which nobody in this world can answer, and search the book. For example: where is the God if he exists? If God exist, why I cannot see him? which is true: evolution or creation? Is Jesus a human or God? Which is true: trinity (Christian), tauhid-monotheism (Islam), polytheism (Hindu), God is not exist and you can become God (Buddha), or I don't know ?

I approach this book using this practical way. Then I read throughout the book, crosschecking its teachings and information. Should this book fails to answer, or there is a single fatal contradiction or inconsistencies, then you may suspect this is not a revelation, or this is just a fiction.

We all know moslems are one point six billion people in this world, and they weren't and wouldn't accept Christianity because of several causes. They accept Jesus (as special prophet), but not Christianity. Urantia Book even explains the causes very well and true. I know it from bitter dialogue with moslems. ... Read more


119. The Expanding Universe (Essential Science Series)
by Mark A. Garlick, Mark Garlick
list price: $6.95
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Asin: 0789484161
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 268302
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Book Description

Big ideas made simple -- six books in an incredible new series that explains important scientific ideas more clearly than ever before.

How the universe formed, what it consists of, and how it will end are central concerns of physicists, astronomers, and other residents of planet Earth. This book explains it all, from the creation theory to the Big Bang, from gas giants to black holes. This stimulating new series uses an innovative mix of graphics, artwork, and photographs to explain and illuminate the most important scientific topics of the day. Unique in popular science guides, Essential Science uses bright, full-color images to make traditionally "difficult" subjects more accessible. Each title focuses on a scientific or technological topic that is currently provoking debate and is likely to have a widespread impact on our lives. Lively, readable text from top science writers ensures all readers -- from 14+ schoolchildren to academics -- gain a full understanding of the facts and related issues. Under the direction of renowned science writer John Gribbin, expert authors describe, in lively, jargon-free text, the principles and discoveries behind each subject, summarize what is currently known, and predict future issues and trends. ... Read more


120. Magnificent Mars
by Ken Croswell
list price: $60.00
our price: $37.80
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Asin: 0743226011
Catlog: Book (2003-11-05)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 18157
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mars has long offered the prospect of another living world near Earth. Although NASA's first spacecraft dashed visions of little green men tending canals, recent voyages have painted a picture of an intriguing planet that may have once resembled Earth, with warmth, water, and possibly life. Mars may answer the great question "Are we alone?"; for if Mars, like Earth, gave rise to life, then trillions of other worlds throughout the universe have surely done the same.

Harvard-trained astronomer Ken Croswell set the standard for elegance and eloquence with his stunning photographic triumph, Magnificent Universe. Now, with insightful prose and astonishing images, he presents the red planet's full glory in Magnificent Mars, showing volcanoes taller than Mount Everest, spiral-shaped polar caps of ice, and a canyon system that could stretch from Ohio to California. Here is a concise synthesis of the latest research on Mars, accompanied with the very best full-color images, expertly reprocessed to look even better than NASA's own versions, from the Hubble Space Telescope, Viking, Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and other spacecraft. Highlights include a foldout panorama of the Martian surface; a never-before-published, rainbow-colored topographic map; and a sequence showing a full rotation of Mars, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope. Many of these images have never appeared in a book before. Few have ever looked so good.

In lyrical prose, Dr. Croswell weaves these stupendous images into a virtual tour of Mars by organizing them around the four elements -- Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. From the northern plains of Vastitas Borealis to the towering Olympus Mons and other volcanoes of the Tharsis bulge, we explore the red planet's geology, topography, and surface. From the frigid climate to the massive dust storms that can engulf the entire globe, we examine the thin Martian atmosphere and the clues it preserves to the planet's wetter past. And, from the flood channels that spill into Chryse Planitia to the vast potential lakebed of ancient Hellas, we see stunning images of ancient rivers and floods, triggering speculation that a warm, wet Mars may have given rise to life that survives to this day. The tour concludes with a voyage to the planet's two potato-shaped moons, Phobos and Deimos, complete with rainbow-colored topographic maps. Unique color-coded tables on Mars, its atmosphere, its life history, its moons, and NASA missions to the planets appear in a useful reference section, along with a glossary and suggestions for further reading.

With its large format, superb images, and compelling text, Magnificent Mars is the next best thing to standing on the red planet itself. In future years NASA will launch numerous missions to Mars, and Magnificent Mars is the definitive guide to what these spacecraft will see. Indeed, the first human explorers to Mars may want to take a copy of Magnificent Mars aboard their spaceship. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Coo Coo!
In response to A reader from the corporation of - USA
I am LMAO right now. I cannot believe that someone who would buy this book would have those CRAZY conspiracy views! It sounds like a bad OJ Simpson movie from the 70s! So only the US of A is faking pictures from Mars? Why not the EU with their Beagle II or the Russians? Hmmmmmm Enough with the home schooling. Get out and experience and accept the real world of the 21st century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photos of the real Mars... but
The pics 'beamed-back'from MARS immediately reminded me of my recent trip to ICELAND which has the same exact landscape (glacerial subterranian volcanic), hence all the volcanic rocks all over the ground. Photoshop adds the red tint... and VOILA!
We are living in the land of Oz. Don't be mentally lazy; Look behind the curtain.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning - a delight to the eye & rich in real science
I found Magnificent Mars to be the very best of the current books on this amazing and beautiful planet. It does two things remarkably well. First, it delights both the eye and the imagination with spectacular large-format photography. Secondly, author and astronomer Ken Croswell leads the reader with an eloquent and easy to read style through a clearly well-researched tour of the latest science about Mars - its fascinating history, and its importance in understanding our own planet Earth and the possible emergence of life elsewhere in the solar system.

What you notice first is the grand scale and beauty of this book. Measuring almost 11"x14", this coffee-table sized volume presents what must be about a hundred spectacular full-page color photographs, a variety of maps, and fascinating tables about the history and physical data of Mars. These images are stunning.

Being something of a photo buff myself, I was struck by the extremely high reproduction quality of the photos. These are the very best Mars images from HST, Viking, Mars Global Surveyor, Pathfinder and so on. But they seem even better. The author mentions that many were digitally reprocessed by Tony Hallas, an expert astrophotographer. The results are just astonishing, and a delight to the eye for sharpness and drama.

For weeks, this beautiful book sat on my coffee table in the living room. Invariably, I found even my non-astronomy friends and family amazed and delighted as they leafed through the dramatic images.

A word of caution - don't let the beautiful cover fool you into thinking this is just another coffee-table picture book. Far from it.

As a science teacher, I was deeply impressed with the hard science that Croswell presents in this book. He organizes the text around the themes of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each section illustrates and describes the dramatically changing geology, atmosphere, volcanic landscape, and water in the life of Mars. Was Mars once lush with water and far warmer than today? Could life have sprouted there as it did on Earth?

Beautiful pictures aside, the "beautiful science" of the accompanying text is what really grabbed me. Croswell presents the careful research that reveals Mars as a complex and amazing planet with a dramatic history of change. His description of sweeping changes in the landscape and atmosphere of Mars during its three major phases (Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian) will be easily read and enjoyed by any scientifically curious person.

Magnificent Mars is beautiful, scientifically rich, and highly recommended! ... Read more


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