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View Poll Results: Which science book will enlighten us in June?
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach 7 41.18%
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel 8 47.06%
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson 6 35.29%
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe 7 41.18%
And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens . . . by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty 3 17.65%
Physics: New Frontiers by Scientific American Editors 6 35.29%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-26-2017, 12:16 AM   #1
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June 2017 Book Club Vote

June 2017 MobileRead Book Club Vote

Help us choose a book as the June 2017 eBook for the MobileRead Book Club. The poll will be open for 5 days. There will be no runoff vote unless the voting results a tie, in which case there will be a 3 day run-off poll. This is a visible poll: others can see how you voted. It is You may cast a vote for each book that appeals to you.

We will start the discussion thread for this book on June 20th. Select from the following Official Choices with three nominations each:

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Goodreads | Overdrive
Print Length: 353 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.
“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.


Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
Goodreads | Amazon US / Audible / Overdrive (audiobook) / Overdrive (ebook) / Kobo US
Print Length: 191 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day-and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution. The scientific establishment of Europe-from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton-had mapped the heavens in both hemispheres in its certain pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution-a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest, and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world.


Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Goodreads
Print Length: 224 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

The #1 New York Times Bestseller: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.


What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
Goodreads | Amazon US
Print Length: 321 pages
Spoiler:
Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. 'My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ' He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.

If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive?
How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm?
If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce?
What if everyone only had one soulmate?
When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?
How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?
What would happen if the moon went away?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, studded with memorable cartoons and infographics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel much the smarter for having read.


And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty
Goodreads
Print Length: 256 pages
Spoiler:
From the Trade Paperback Edition:

A gleefully gruesome look at the actual science behind the most outlandish, cartoonish, and impossible deaths you can imagine

What would happen if you took a swim outside a deep-sea submarine wearing only a swimsuit? How long could you last if you stood on the surface of the sun? How far could you actually get in digging a hole to China? Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium Museum, and writer Cody Cassidy explore the real science behind these and other fantastical scenarios, offering insights into physics, astronomy, anatomy, and more along the way.

Is slipping on a banana peel really as hazardous to your health as the cartoons imply? Answer: Yes. Banana peels ooze a gel that turns out to be extremely slippery. Your foot and body weight provide the pressure. The gel provides the humor (and resulting head trauma).

Can you die by shaking someone’s hand? Answer: Yes. That’s because, due to atomic repulsion, you’ve never actually touched another person’s hand. If you could, the results would be as disastrous as a medium-sized hydrogen bomb.

If you were Cookie Monster, just how many cookies could you actually eat in one sitting? Answer: Most stomachs can hold up to sixty cookies, or around four liters. If you eat or drink more than that, you’re approaching the point at which the cookies would break through the lesser curvature of your stomach, and then you’d better call an ambulance to Sesame Street.bulance to Sesame Street.


Physics: New Frontiers by Scientific American Editors
Goodreads | S.A. Links
Print Length: (about) 175 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

In the world of physics, very little in the universe is what it first appears to be. And science fiction has imagined some pretty wild ideas about how the universe could work – from hidden extra dimensions in Interstellar to life as a mental projection in The Matrix. But these imaginings seem downright tame compared with the mind-bending science now coming out of physics and astronomy, and in this eBook, Physics: New Frontiers, we look at the strange and fascinating discoveries shaping (and reshaping) the field today. In the world of astrophysics, the weirdness begins at the moment of creation. In “The Black Hole at the Beginning of Time,” the authors discuss theories of what might have come before the big bang. Could our 3-D universe have sprung from the formation of a black hole in a 4-D cosmos? The math says: maybe. Later, in “The Giant Bubbles of the Milky Way,” the authors describe massive structures dubbed “Fermi bubbles” at its center – structures that no one noticed until recently. Technological innovations make much of this new science possible, as we see again in “Neutrinos at the Ends of the Earth,” where 5,000-odd sensors frozen deep within a cubic kilometer of ice in Antarctica aim to catch neutrinos in order to study distant cosmic phenomena. Scientists are also dissecting molecules with the most powerful x-ray laser in the world, as explored in “The Ultimate X-ray Machine.” Even our most fundamental notions of what reality is are up for debate, as examined in “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?” and the aptly named “What Is Real?” in which the authors question whether particles are indeed material things at all. While all of this abstraction might seem like a fun exercise in mental gymnastics, living things must also abide by the laws of physics, which, according to “The Limits of Intelligence,” may prevent our brains from evolving further. Then again, as we’ve learned, things could be different than they appear.
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:53 AM   #2
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Amazon link for Physics: New Frontiers, it's only $4.99.

But the others I can all get from my library and think I would enjoy any of them. Nice.
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Old 05-26-2017, 11:54 AM   #3
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Amazon link for Physics: New Frontiers, it's only $4.99.

But the others I can all get from my library and think I would enjoy any of them. Nice.
Yes, the Scientific American links include the Kindle store as well as iTunes and Barnes and Noble, but it's nice to be able to click one less link.
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Old 05-27-2017, 02:51 PM   #4
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This morning's Wall Street Journal pegged People in a Hurry at #2 on its best-selling non-fiction eBook list.
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Old 05-27-2017, 04:37 PM   #5
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And Gulp has been at least 3 weeks on the NYT bestseller list.
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:24 PM   #6
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Hmmm. Tempting. If I just vote for my favourite, Longitude, then we have a five-way tie and runoff. I wonder if that's a record?

I'm going to wait a bit, however. If it comes down to it, there are three I'd enjoy reading, though I'd rather read Longitude more than the other two.

Really, folks, you can't go wrong here. Longitude not only gives you science, but a look at history, British culture, and the struggle of the outsider against an entrenched power block. And it really is hard to overstate the impact that solving the longitude problem had on the economics, politics, and daily lives of the nations of the world.
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:29 PM   #7
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I'm hoping Longitude makes it; it's been on my TBR for a long time.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:38 PM   #8
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I'm hoping Longitude makes it; it's been on my TBR for a long time.
In that case, Gulp should win because it's been on my TBR list for a long time. That and Mary Roach is a better author than Dava Sobel. And one more thing, Gulp is a more enjoyable topic.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:21 AM   #9
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Hmmm. Tempting. If I just vote for my favourite, Longitude, then we have a five-way tie and runoff. I wonder if that's a record?

I'm going to wait a bit, however. If it comes down to it, there are three I'd enjoy reading, though I'd rather read Longitude more than the other two.

Really, folks, you can't go wrong here. Longitude not only gives you science, but a look at history, British culture, and the struggle of the outsider against an entrenched power block. And it really is hard to overstate the impact that solving the longitude problem had on the economics, politics, and daily lives of the nations of the world.
And it has even been dramatized as a movie on TV with Michael Gambon playing Harrison and Jeremy Irons portraying the 20th century man who restored the clocks.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:23 AM   #10
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In that case, Gulp should win because it's been on my TBR list for a long time. That and Mary Roach is a better author than Dava Sobel. And one more thing, Gulp is a more enjoyable topic.
Ah but if it wasn't for Harrison and his sea clocks you might not be here. I wonder how many past immigrants to America's shores survived their passage due to the sea clocks.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:18 AM   #11
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We need to give Mary Roach the love she deserves. Meaning many many more votes.
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:23 AM   #12
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Either way I am covered. I have borrowed both "Gulp" and "Longitude" from my library. Longitude's only flaw is it's a print book. I don't mind slumming for a while if I have to :-)

(and I own a copy of "What if?")

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Old 05-30-2017, 10:38 PM   #13
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If no one breaks the tie tonight, I'll start a run-off poll tomorrow. My wife and I will be coming in on a plane in the wee hours of the morning and I'll be too tired to do it right away.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:06 AM   #14
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If no one breaks the tie tonight, I'll start a run-off poll tomorrow. My wife and I will be coming in on a plane in the wee hours of the morning and I'll be too tired to do it right away.
Looks like someone (not sure who) jumped in at the last moment, Tom, and we're going to read Longitude this month. I admit, I'm glad. It's short, it's interesting, it's inexpensive, and it should provide an excellent basis for discussion.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:34 AM   #15
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We are up to 9 runners up for January already and we have 6 more months to go still.

I wish Astrophysics was at least in the running for that since it didn't make it here but oh well. I will read it soon anyway. I don't think any of these would have been a bad choice.
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