Book Review: Materials for Biofuels, edited by Arthur Ragauskas


Biofuels are a hot topic nowadays; once viewed as the perfect bridge towards sustainable energy and fuel, they are now regarded by some as non-sustainable, and not a desirable investment. Are biofuels the future? Is this the right, efficient and eco-friendly technology? Materials for Biofuels gives no clear answer, but it paints a very good picture of the current situation. If you’re not familiar with biofuels or at least with basic organic chemistry, than this probably isn’t the right book to start. There are plenty of other books and guides into basic biofuel technology for newcomers. But if you want to dive right into the core of it, if you…


Book Review: The Collapse of Western Civilization

collapse front cover CROPPED

The year is 2393, and the world is almost unrecognizable. Humanity has had countless warnings, and acknowledged the threat of changing climate, but it failed to act. Soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, wide spread drought and more led to the Great Collapse of 2093, when the disintegration of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet led to mass migration and a complete reshuffling of the global order, with Africa and Australia being basically vanquished. Writing from the Second People’s Republic of China on the 300th anniversary of the Great Collapse, a senior scholar looks back on “the children of the Enlightenment”, the Western civilization and how they [we] failed to act, destroying the…

Reviews, Space

NASA releases free eBook about communicating with aliens


“Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication” Kindle version: MOBI. Other readers: EPUB Fixed layout: PDF. Scientists are becoming more and more excited about the possibility of encountering alien life forms – just a few days after some astronomers claimed that we will encounter intelligent life by 2034, NASA is already releasing a free eBook about communicating with aliens: “Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication”. You can download it in either of the three formats presented above. “Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the ease of establishing meaningful communication with an…


Book Review: Tragic Spirits, by Manduhai Buyandelger


After the collapse of the USSR in 1990, Mongolia, long time a satellite of the Soviet Union, regained its independence, but found itself aimlessly lost. This period brought devastating changes to the country, as it almost forcefully went through liberalization of trade and privatization of publicly owned assets, which led to impoverishment for most of the people. This unfortunate situation, mixed with the fact that religion became official again led to a strange rise of shamanism – people linked their misfortune to ancestral spirits, who were angered by the lack of worship during the Communist period. Tragic Spirits explores these practices: a mysterious, mystical world ruled by the desire for…

Feature Post, Nanotechnology, Reviews

“No small matter: Science on the nanoscale” review


Nanotechnology is perhaps the field with the most spectacular development over the past years, but it can be really hard to understand what’s going on at that scale, mostly because we can’t see it (doh!), but also because the laws that apply there are slightly different. No small matter:  Science on the nanoscale is the work of George M. Whitesides, the man with the highest H index of all living chemists and Felice C. Frankel, winner of the Photographic Society of America’s 2009 Progress Medal, and it has to be said, it’s awesome. Before I get into talking more about the book, I want to say that this is not…