making connections

NS Review of Mind Hacks It’s a small metropolis!

My mate Mike (see this) reviews a new book by my blog-buddy and friend of a friend Tom Stafford. But what is most amazing, is that this is the first I’ve heard of it. Especially, when it seems to be so completely up my street.

Admittedly, I haven’t been keeping up with Tom’s great Idiolect blog recently because I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about it having disappeared from my ‘blog-roll’ (That list of links on the right!) For some reason, it refuses to display more than 20 links. (I’m off to try and fix that right after this post!)

Anyway, i’ve had a quick look at mindhacks.com and the O’Reilly mini-site and while the example content provide is all familiar stuff. Very good stuff nonetheless. Besides amongst its hundreds of little vignettes of cool psychology and neuroscience factoids there are bound to be surprises. Whats more the book looks beautiful, is written in extremely lucid style and is packed with references to the original papers to follow up.

Many years ago when I first got interested in Psychology, I had a similar idea and I started assembling a list of Gross Facts, culled from Richard Gross’s great A-level psychology textbook. Never got very far with it as you can see. But there are meant to be lots of these facts, footnotes and worse in my novel. Maybe buying this will help me finish that.

Since my day job is in computer programming, the kudos of knowing (even tangentially) a O’Reilly author is sky high. (I’ve just sent a link round the office to favourable reviews.)

I suppose I better buy my copy now. My final dilemma is the optimal place to buy it. Do I overcome my current mild disapproval for amazon and buy it at Amazon (34% off) or at Amazon UK (30% off). In the process, giving click thru goodness and ranking points to the authors. But maybe they benefit more from me going to Waterstones and demanding they to stock more copies.

Update:
I bought it on Amazon and while I was there I got this too:

Complex Worlds from Simpler Nervous Systems – Frederick R. Prete (Editor)

Explains how animals with small, often miniscule nervous systems – jumping spiders, bees, praying mantids and others – are not the simple ‘reflex machines’ they were once thought to be. These creatures must meet the same environmental challenges as larger species, and manage to do this with far less neurons.

The perfect compliment, just in case we get carried away thinking our human brains are too clever by half.

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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