Saturday, March 01, 2014

K. C. Cole. Mind over Matter (2003)

     K. C. Cole. Mind over Matter (2003) Cole wrote a column about science for the L. A Times for many years. This book collects a number of them. She writes well, explains clearly, and ends almost all her columns with an implicit question: How does this bit of science affect you? The answer often is, Much more than I ever realised. It’s clear she loves to think about science. I liked this book a lot. It’s like eating potato chips: once started you can’t stop. I’m not sure how well her explanations will resonate with people who are not already “entranced with science”, since any explanation assumes some prior knowledge in the audience. I know too much to be able to judge how much is needed to read Cole well. Nevertheless, I recommend this to any one who wants to spend a few hours in the company of a delightful mind. It’s difficult to choose a sample, so I’ll just find one at random
     In terms of the energy required, there’s no difference between accelerating and decelerating.... This is a good thing to remember the next time you’re struggling to break a bad habit. Whatever energy you put into creating the bad habit is the amount of energy you will need to push it out the door. Which implies that because we want to break the habit faster than we acquired it, getting rid of it will feel a lot harder than getting it.
     Good book. **** (2012)

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