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Gig Harbor, WA, United States


  • Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to the True Nature of the Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Robert Lanza, Bob Berman
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim

    The whole of Western natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change, forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory. At the same time, these findings have increased our doubt and uncertainty about traditional physical explanations of the universe's genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around.

    Gary says: "Mystical hogwash, but I loved it."
    "But where does consciousness come from?"

    I thought this was an interesting book and better on the science than many of its critics suggest. That said, it does nothing whatsoever to address the question of where consciousness comes from and so leads down an ultimately unsatisfying path. The authors attempt to dance around the topic at the end but to little avail. Also, little or no effort is given to pursuing whether and how alternative "observers" can cause waveform collapse. It's my understanding that a photon can count as an observer because it would be affected by the collapse. Ignoring alternative explanations is prime sign of bad science.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Confederacy of Dunces

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By John Kennedy Toole
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The hero of John Kennedy Toole's incomparable, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter". His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.

    Jon says: "Well Done"
    "Sorry, Just Don't Get It"

    I tried to read this on paper twice and finally got through it because of the clearly talented narrator for this audiobook. Perhaps reading this book in 2011 is the same as watching Citizen Kane. If you know why it was so amazing in its day, you can take some pleasure in it. But now that every unique piece of both works has been done and overdone, they seem grim, outdated, and tiresome. That said, the notion that our best and worst natures will manifest despite ourselves is a worthy idea; and this book (if nothing else) captures that beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Robert Whitaker
    • Narrated By Ken Kliban
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nations children. What is going on?

    Strachan says: "Good Science, Great Journalism"
    "Good Science, Great Journalism"

    This is an outstanding work of science journalism and it is likely to surprise the vast majority of its readers. Plus, Ken Kliban is a great narrator. As a both a scientist and a mental health clinician, I support the methods and the conclusions of this book strongly. The irony, though, is that I'm probably not alone. Many, if not most, scientists at the top of NIMH and major universities wouldn't disagree with two of the most important ideas; first, that the "chemical imbalance" hypothesis is basically nonsense, and second, that the outcomes literature for psych drugs are poor. I saw a talk given by Thomas Insel, Director of NIMH, in April (2010, that is) and he said two things that are consistent with Whitaker's conclusions. First a direct quote: "Current treatments help too few people get better and very few get well." Second, he advocated for research focused on the "connectome," that is, a developing understanding of how a typically functioning brain's circuits are interconnected and how disruptions in those connections "cause" mental illness. I think understanding the connectome is important but unlikely to reveal anything about "mental illness" for various empirical reasons I won't go into here.

    Of course, what most clinical psychiatrists won't agree with is that the drugs are part of the problem. But I suspect the current generation of psych drugs are going to go the way of tobacco (which used to be promoted for its health benefits). Eventually there's just going to be too much evidence against them. Hopefully Whitaker's work will help accelerate that.

    I'm going to recommend this book to everyone I possibly can. I'm also going to teach it to psychiatry residents. Well, to be honest, I'll probably teach the primary sources rather than the book itself because, if Whitaker is right, teaching the book could be bad for my career...

    23 of 28 people found this review helpful

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