Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two short ones

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Saw this in the new non-fiction shelves and it looked funny. It goes through the history of Pluto, its discovery, its place in the solar system, its decline, and all the aftermath associated with the decline. It's surprising how many people have STRONG feelings about Pluto as a planet. Anyways, a great short read on all you ever need to know about Pluto to be impressive at parties, except with true astrophysicists and other space nerds.

Peaks and Valleys: Making good and bad times work for you--at work and in life.
by Spencer Johnson

Johnson is a modern writer of fables that explore life events and decisions. As typical he tells some great truth through a short story that if it works right you should sit back and go Ah ha. That is shortly followed by some great insight to your own life. While a little simplistic for me, they are fun to read and all but the most jaded should get something out of it. The premise of this one is life's ups and downs are connected to one another through a giant continuum. Consequently how you act in the ups will determine how soon and how long you will be in the downs; and vice-versa. And to get to any great peak you must travel though a valley. So the lows aren't so bad, but rather an opportunity to learn.


Laurel Kornfeld said...

Tyson's book does not represent "all you need to know about Pluto." I recommend that anyone interested in Pluto read "Is Pluto A Planet?" by Dr. David Weintraub for another perspective on this issue. Hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto, opposed the controversial demotion, which was done by only four percent of the IAU and has even been criticized by Tyson as "flawed."

TStevens said...

If you quote my whole comment - I said it was all you need to know about Pluto TO BE IMPRESSIVE AT PARTIES. I also said except with Atrophysicist AND space nerds (i.e people who really have strong opinions about space related subjects).

So I think I am correct in saying that I could impress the average joe at a party with my basic knowledge about Pluto, its history, and what the controversey is about.

You kinda of made my second point - you will not impress anyone who really knows something about this OR cares deeply about this subject one way or the other.

But don't get me wrong - this is a great comment and thank you for the reference for the opposing view. I myself am pretty ambivalent about the subject (as you can also see by my thorough 1 paragraph review :-) I never committed to whether Tyson was right or wrong), I just was attracted to the book by its cover. I am shallow like that.