Tuesday, September 1, 2015

At the Edge of Uncertainty

This is the first book I've read by Michael Brooks, which is surprising since I like popular books about the edge of scientific research so much. I've seen many of his books before, but this one really called out to me. And I wasn't disappointed. His style is unlike any I've encountered in science writing -- a relentless downhill run. From image to fact to challenge to image to story to image to fact to surprise with no break between topics, no time to take a breath. It makes the book feel kind of silly and sensationalist, but it's fun, especially given the variety of topics in the book. His eleven topics include consciousness, hypercomputing, mutable DNA, quantum biology, Turing-style hypercomputing, and the question of time. It was fun to rush through, and the time questions really got me thinking again about the nature of time. I know it sounds crazy, but I somehow feel like it is my destiny to achieve a grand insight about the nature of time. It is certainly my most obsessive thought. This book has me thinking and reading more about block time, relativistic time, the relationship between quantum mechanics and time, the relationship between time and free will, time as a human experience, etc. More and more I'm coming to the conclusion that time definitely exists, but it's possible that "now" simply doesn't. But that's a long conversation for another time. Anyway, this book is a fun downhill run that covers so much territory that it is likely to spark something for you. It certainly did for me.

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