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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-29-07, 06:17 PM   #1
gerv 
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Read any good books lately?

I've just finished reading "Bicycle: The History" by David V. Herlihy. You can read a snippet of it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Histor...e=UTF8&s=books
It covers a lot of history around the development of the bicycle in the 1860s-1890s. One thing that really struck me was how the bicycle industry, suffering from manufacturing problems to marketing problems to boom-and-bust cycles, really paved the way for large-scale automobile manufacturing. In fact, many bicycle manufacturers played a key role in the success of the automobile. And not to forget that the Orville and Wilbur Wright were bicycle mechanics.

You read any books lately?

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Old 01-29-07, 06:20 PM   #2
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Darn, you can't correct a mis-spelled thread title!
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Old 01-29-07, 07:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gerv
Darn, you can't correct a mis-spelled thread title!
I think a moderator could correct it for you. Try clicking on "Report this post to a moderator."



Here's the latest book I read that would be of interest to people here:
Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century
by David Gissen (Editor)
This is a big coffee table book about "biosensitive" architecture on a large scale. There are beautiful photographs and drawings of some beautiful large buildings, some of which are still in the planning stage. There are features on skyscrapers and manufacturing plants, and interviews with architects and philosophers in the green building movement. Amazon.com has it on sale for $26.40 right now. I found a short review on worldchanging.com.
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Old 01-29-07, 08:50 PM   #4
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I tend to multi-task on books so I have 3.

The last book I finished was The Creation by E.O. Wilson. It is essentially a senior biologist's calling pastors to action to care for and guard biodiversity. Interesting reading on the need for preserving the Earth's diverse life forms.

The book I"m working my way through now is The 30 Second Storyteller by Thomas Richter. It's a book on developing a career in directing commercials.

The real jewel in the lotus of a book that I'm reading is Ruling Your World by Sakyong Mipham. It's the third time I've read it since summer. Using the metaphors of the Tiger, the Lion and mythical animals, the dragon and the garuda he examines how to use your inner life to its maximum, using meditation as a focus.
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Old 01-29-07, 09:38 PM   #5
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Working on:
The Fountainhead
and Ishmael

Anything new with corn?
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Old 01-30-07, 09:07 AM   #6
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Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey Into Australia by Roff Smith.
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Old 01-30-07, 10:45 AM   #7
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Gaviotas: A Village To Reinvent The World.

An amazing book about a man in Colombia in the 70's who had a vision of a self-sustained Utopia and set out to create it. What makes this even more impressive is that he chose an area called the Llanos - a barren land considered to be uninhabitable in Colombia for his creation. This peaceful little community of around 200 people is still going strong - with simple, yet amazing technologies that allow the people there to co-exist with nature, rather than fight her. If the world would listen, I think Gaviotas could teach us a better way to live.
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Old 01-30-07, 10:58 AM   #8
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So far this month:

Hit Man by Lawrence Block
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
American Ground by William Langewiesche
The Tin Collectors by Stephen J. Cannell
Echo Park by Michael Connelly

All highly recommended.
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Old 01-30-07, 11:24 AM   #9
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So far this month:

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
I've finished it but for the last chapter--it's waiting by my reading chair, 200 miles from my present location. I'd be interested to read your take on the book and the situation.

My take was how very interesting, to get into the minds of Osama and his accomplices, and to understand the issue of terrorism in a larger historical and political context. I was also fascinated by the inability of American intelligence and law enforcement to see what was coming before 9/11. They looked right at Al Qaeda, then looked away as if it wasn't there. It reminded me of a motorist who hits a cyclist, then says, "I didn't even see him." Humans tend to see only what they're looking for!
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Old 01-30-07, 01:40 PM   #10
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Micheal Crichton: State of Fear

An excerpt is here: http://www.michaelcrichton.net/fear/
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Old 01-30-07, 02:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kjohnnytarr
Micheal Crichton: State of Fear

An excerpt is here: http://www.michaelcrichton.net/fear/
Although I disagree with the main idea (that global warming isn't real) I think some of his arguments - especially the stuff at the end of the book - are pretty good.
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Old 01-30-07, 03:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Philatio
I think some of his arguments - especially the stuff at the end of the book - are pretty good.
According to field climatologists, his arguments definitely aren't pretty good - they are glaringly bad and misleading.

A good deal of what Crichton preys upon with that appendix of his seems to be the hope that most people aren't in the field of climatology or earth science and will take what he says as fact.

Particularly glaring are that Crichton seemingly doesn't know the difference between local weather and global climate and - worst of all - that he cited conservative Pat Michaels's (a Cato Institute fellow - bias sewn in) whitewashing of two separate scenarios in NASA climatologist James Hansen's climate projection graph to point out that he was "300% in error." Terrible stuff.

Crichton himself was an MD, not an earth science guy, so it could just be that he wasn't prepared himself to tackle the subject. Don't feel like you (or anyone) should trust me in particular on this (since I'm no climatologist either), but the rebuttals to Crichton's book are stronger than the book's arguments, to be sure, and from much better informed sources:


The most comprehensive rebuttal by real climatologists: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=74
A glaciologist's rebuttal: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1690659
James Hansen's direct rebuttal to Crichton: http://columbia.edu/~jeh1/hansen_re-crichton.pdf


Anyway, back on topic with my three good books this month:

'David Copperfield' by Charles Dickens (still reading at present, but it seems to contain within its pages every known human behavioral archetype)

'Smoking in Bed: Conversations with Bruce Robinson' by Bruce Robinson and Alistair Owen

'Asimov's New Guide to Science' by Isaac Asimov

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Old 01-30-07, 05:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alekhine
According to field climatologists, his arguments definitely aren't pretty good - they are glaringly bad and misleading.

A good deal of what Crichton preys upon with that appendix of his seems to be the hope that most people aren't in the field of climatology or earth science and will take what he says as fact.
I think people will soon get more intimate with the field of climatogy. Here's a book I just read, Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe
http://www.amazon.com/Field-Notes-Ca...e=UTF8&s=books
She does a nice job of explaining why climate change is a very real concern, partly by keeping the science very readable and mixing it with some great narrative.

Mark Lynas in High Tide: The Truth About Our Climate Crisis is a little weaker on the science part of it, but he has a lot more detail and some captivating stories
http://www.amazon.com/High-Tide-Trut...e=UTF8&s=books
I particularly like his story about the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, where the whole island is about to move to New Zealand because the rising ocean is sinking the place.

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Old 01-30-07, 07:16 PM   #14
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The Immortal Class

I just finished "The Immortal Class". All I can really say is wow! I picked it up used thinking it would be all fun and games messenger/alley cat/ getting F*^%ed up kind of stuff. I could not have been more wrong. This mans insight into the lives of modern city and suburban dwellers is scary. The book also gets heavily into the impact of the automobile in society. Not just the environmental impacts but how people become so distracted and impersonal because they are stuck in their cages not being in tune with their surroundings. He also speaks of how the cyclist has become a pariah and how the laws of the land reflect societies feelings towards us. Well, I just have to say that I very rarely read a book in one go. I only took a break for sleep. It is that good! Give it a try. I think I will buy a new copy so he can have some change. You should do the same.
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Old 01-30-07, 07:25 PM   #15
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Just finished Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile.

Good book. True story. Soon to be released on film
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Old 01-30-07, 08:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philatio
Although I disagree with the main idea (that global warming isn't real) I think some of his arguments - especially the stuff at the end of the book - are pretty good.
Read that last month. Yeah I thought his "sustainability" arguments were pretty good. Don't agree with the overall premise, but it was logical and a fun read. There's a charactor that mirrors Martin Sheen and other Hollywood "talk the talk" types, which made a good spoof.
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Old 01-30-07, 08:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpug505
I just finished "The Immortal Class". All I can really say is wow! I picked it up used thinking it would be all fun and games messenger/alley cat/ getting F*^%ed up kind of stuff. I could not have been more wrong. This mans insight into the lives of modern city and suburban dwellers is scary. The book also gets heavily into the impact of the automobile in society. Not just the environmental impacts but how people become so distracted and impersonal because they are stuck in their cages not being in tune with their surroundings. He also speaks of how the cyclist has become a pariah and how the laws of the land reflect societies feelings towards us. Well, I just have to say that I very rarely read a book in one go. I only took a break for sleep. It is that good! Give it a try. I think I will buy a new copy so he can have some change. You should do the same.
That one sounds real good. I just ordered it from my library--they'll have it waitning for me when I get there. Thanks pug!
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Old 01-30-07, 08:20 PM   #18
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BTW, I joined an adult reading program at my library. They gave me a free flashlight for reading 3 books. When I finish 3 more I'll get another prize. Plus I'll be entered in a drawing for some nice prizes like new books, reading lights, restaurant meals and so forth. The only thing better than books is free stuff.
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Old 02-01-07, 05:59 AM   #19
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I read that Herlihy book last year and liked it. You can see a thread further down on something I've been reading recently, but it got NO responses. (Do I get a prize for that or something?)

I also have to mention a book I read a few years ago that is transportation-related and was very funny - Tepper Isn't Going Out, by Calvin Trillin. About a man who enjoys finding a parking spot in Manhatten, putting money in the meter, then just sitting there and reading the paper. Eventually he develops a following of people who believe he's making a radical statement about society, but the reader is never quite sure exactly what his motivations are, even by the end. Maybe he just likes to do it.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:19 PM   #20
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I read that Herlihy book last year and liked it. You can see a thread further down on something I've been reading recently, but it got NO responses. (Do I get a prize for that or something?)

I also have to mention a book I read a few years ago that is transportation-related and was very funny - Tepper Isn't Going Out, by Calvin Trillin. About a man who enjoys finding a parking spot in Manhatten, putting money in the meter, then just sitting there and reading the paper. Eventually he develops a following of people who believe he's making a radical statement about society, but the reader is never quite sure exactly what his motivations are, even by the end. Maybe he just likes to do it.
I didn't get any prizes for the post-free threads I started either, so.. I did find the Herlihy book full of interesting tidbits about bicycles. For ex, amazed to see that the basic diamond frame geometry hasn't change that much since 1890. Everything before 1890 is like science-fiction but after that time... it's your basic English 3-speed look.

I also found the Calvin Trillin book at my Library, so I hope it's a good read.
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Old 02-01-07, 09:51 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alekhine
According to field climatologists, his arguments definitely aren't pretty good - they are glaringly bad and misleading.

A good deal of what Crichton preys upon with that appendix of his seems to be the hope that most people aren't in the field of climatology or earth science and will take what he says as fact.

Particularly glaring are that Crichton seemingly doesn't know the difference between local weather and global climate and - worst of all - that he cited conservative Pat Michaels's (a Cato Institute fellow - bias sewn in) whitewashing of two separate scenarios in NASA climatologist James Hansen's climate projection graph to point out that he was "300% in error." Terrible stuff.

Crichton himself was an MD, not an earth science guy, so it could just be that he wasn't prepared himself to tackle the subject. Don't feel like you (or anyone) should trust me in particular on this (since I'm no climatologist either), but the rebuttals to Crichton's book are stronger than the book's arguments, to be sure, and from much better informed sources:


The most comprehensive rebuttal by real climatologists: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=74
A glaciologist's rebuttal: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1690659
James Hansen's direct rebuttal to Crichton: http://columbia.edu/~jeh1/hansen_re-crichton.pdf
thanks for the links
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Old 02-01-07, 11:40 PM   #22
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Reading Freakonomics right now. There is something enlightening about striping away all the emotion and rhetoric and looking at life through the cold, hard light of mathematics.
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Old 02-02-07, 01:41 AM   #23
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I just finished "The Immortal Class". All I can really say is wow!
Read this last year, it's a good book, but i don't think it's a wow book.

I would like to mention "How to Live Well Without Owning a Car" by Chris Balish.
http://www.amazon.com/How-Live-Well-...e=UTF8&s=books

and

Bicycle Love by Garth Battista.
http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Love-S...e=UTF8&s=books
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Old 02-02-07, 10:55 AM   #24
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Reading Freakonomics right now. There is something enlightening about striping away all the emotion and rhetoric and looking at life through the cold, hard light of mathematics.
Well, I think it's a fascinating book but I wouldn't say "cold, hard light" of mathematics. They have some misuse of statistics in there. For example, in looking at whether guns or pools are more dangerous to kids, they looked at the number of deaths for young children in households with pools versus the deaths against the TOTAL number of guns. The problem with that, of course, is it does not take into account the fact that houses with a pool are probably near 100% likely to have ONE pool while homes with a gun are probably VERY likely to have more than 1 gun. I don't have the actual number but I'd be VERY surprised if, of all households with at least 1 gun, the average was closer to 1 than 2. Regardless, they never properly examine that issue (among others).

They have some very interesting ideas of what to look at, just, it wouldn't stand up to academic scrutiny (which IS important for this book)
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Old 02-02-07, 11:03 AM   #25
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OK, one study I found so far:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...full/104/3/530
Quote:
The mean number of guns per gun-owning household was 2.7
No idea how accurate it is.

But THIS is really interesting. this is a number quoted by a group that WANTS everyone to own guns (and protect their right to them).

http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Kleck3.htm

Quote:
...there are an average of about 5 guns per gun-owning household in the US (Kleck 1997, p. 69)
Given that number, it definitely changes the results in Freakonomics (and I'm sure there are other variables as well that they missed).
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