Saturday, January 24, 2009


Fruitless Fall : The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis

Rowan Jacobsen examines the recently emerged phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder - the mysterious death of honey bee hives, almost all over the world. Science has unable to pin it on any one cause; so there may be a systemic problem and a combination of stresses on honey bees may have crossed a threshold. This is a scientific whodunit narrated in a very engaging style. I'm ordering my own copy as I return this to the library. I strongly recommend it, five stars out of five.

An American Story: The speeches of Barack Obama
David Olive gives us a useful collection of Obama's campaign speeches along with commentary. It will be interesting to come back to this book after a hundred days of the Obama Presidency and compare with the programs outlined in his speeches. Four stars out of five.

The Last Theorem
Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl are/were giants of science fiction, yet this joint effort of theirs failed to hold me. The Last Theorem is that of Fermat - the hero discovers a short proof using only the knowledge that Fermat likely had. Yawn. Two stars out of five.

Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development
The creators of software ought to be professionals, like doctors and lawyers. Scott L. Bain sets out some of what should constitute professional practice in software design. For its intended audience, I'd rate it three to four stars out of five.