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Mark

Fullerton, California, United States
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 53
  • ratings
  • Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy

  • By: The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Professor David K. Johnson PhD University of Oklahoma
  • Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150

The science fiction genre has become increasingly influential in mainstream popular culture, evolving into one of the most engaging storytelling tools we use to think about technology and consider the shape of the future. Along the way, it has also become one of the major lenses we use to explore important philosophical questions. The origins of science fiction are most often thought to trace to Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, a story born from a night of spooky tale-telling by the fireside that explores scientific, moral, and ethical questions that were of great concern in the 19th century - and that continue to resonate today.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It only scratches the surface

  • By Marcos Trujillo Cue on 06-14-18

Very good, extensive survey, well told

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-18

I really enjoyed this well-told survey of common themes in science fiction. The author/professor does a great job of presenting both or multiple sides of philosophical arguments fully, except for one key area. It's almost forgivable considering the work he does in all the other areas. The course comes with lengthy notes in a nicely published and organized PDF.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Your Brain Is a Time Machine

  • The Neuroscience and Physics of Time
  • By: Dean Buonomano
  • Narrated by: Aaron Abano
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 140
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 118

In Your Brain Is a Time Machine, brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his influential theory of how we tell and perceive time. The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables "mental time travel" - simulations of future and past events.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book on an underrated subject

  • By Neuron on 05-09-17

Great topic, treated fairly, but too quantum

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-18

I wasn't looking for a book on quantum time paradoxes. Those are a dime a dozen and this author does a disservice to his topic by wallowing in that confusion. Also, weak defense of free will at the end.

The interesting topic of the use of mental time travel is interspersed with lots of popular physics puzzles, many of which are only tangentially related to the valuable topic of this book.

  • The Sword and the Shield

  • By: Christopher Andrew, Vasilli Mitrokhin
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 31 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219

This book reveals the most complete picture ever of the KGB and its operations in the United States and Europe. It is based on an extremely top secret archive which details the full extent of its worldwide network. Christopher Andrew is professor of modern and contemporary history and chair of the history department at Cambridge University, a former visiting professor of national security at Harvard, a frequent guest lecturer at other United States universities, and a regular host of BBC radio and TV programs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book on the history of the KGB

  • By Clydene on 05-28-12

Full of valuable info.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-03-18

Great intro and conclusion. Lots of valuable info, but the middle part could have been a little more persuasive. Overall, an important disclosure.

  • The House of Government

  • A Saga of the Russian Revolution
  • By: Yuri Slezkine, Claire Bloom - director
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 45 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the epic story of an enormous apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction. The House of Government is unlike any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet experiment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inside saga of the leaders of Bolshevism & the USSR

  • By Edward V. Blanchard on 11-05-17

Haunting tour of the temple of the failed deity

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-17

Engrossing relatable stories, often in their own words, of the thinkers who envisioned the Soviet state. Story after story illuminate the theories and ideals that led to the tragedy that followed.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • A Case of Need

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Crichton, Jeffery Hudson
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 576
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 574

When one doctor is accused of murder, it takes another to set him free. In the tightly knit world of Boston medicine, the Randall family reigns supreme. When heart surgeon J. D. Randall's teenage daughter dies during a botched abortion, the medical community threatens to explode. Was it malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic Oath? Or was Karen Randall murdered in cold blood?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not Mr Cricghton's Best Work

  • By Lia on 09-12-18

Early Crichton has some tech but focus on crime dr

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-17

Early Crichton has some tech content, which is refreshing, but focuses on crime drama and intrigue.

  • The Winter Over

  • By: Matthew Iden
  • Narrated by: Karen Peakes
  • Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,061
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,057

Each winter the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life. But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A psychological thriller

  • By Brian on 02-08-17

Excellent start, underwhelming premise and conclus

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-12-17

There is an assumption that a story about science researchers in a research facility with specific stated disciplines will involve some science in the story, like The Martian does well. The closest thing to science in this story is the cracker-barrel psychology you could pick up from a daytime soap.

  • The Dream of Enlightenment

  • The Rise of Modern Philosophy
  • By: Anthony Gottlieb
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73

In The Dream of Enlightenment, Anthony Gottlieb expertly navigates a second great explosion of thought, taking us to northern Europe in the wake of its wars of religion and the rise of Galilean science. In a relatively short period - from the early 1640s to the eve of the French Revolution - Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume all made their mark. The Dream of Enlightenment tells their story and that of the birth of modern philosophy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well written, easy to read, deep treatment

  • By Mark on 07-16-17

Well written, easy to read, deep treatment

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-16-17

This is a decent exposition of enlightenment thinkers. It's a survey of ideas, though, so you will have to digest the differences of ideas yourself. Each of the influential thinkers is presented in depth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Witch: A Tale of Terror

  • By: Charles MacKay, Sam Harris - introduction
  • Narrated by: Sam Harris
  • Length: 3 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 658
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 613
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607

For centuries in Europe, innocent men and women were murdered for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. This was a mass delusion and moral panic, driven by pious superstition and a deadly commitment to religious conformity. In Witch: A Tale of Terror, best-selling author Sam Harris introduces and reads from Charles Mackay's beloved book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • more Sam, please

  • By aspidistra on 02-25-17

A valuable accounting of cultural illogic

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-01-17

Why were the Dark Ages dark? because of dark thinking. Here is an account of historical dark thinking that illuminates nothing and leads to terror and dread and that dominated in much of the world and still exists now. It's an example of what not to do.

I just saw the film "The VVitch" which dramatizes a narrative of this type of thinking. This book is an excellent companion to thwart film, but I would like to have seen some analysis of the problem instead of just exposition.

  • The Rational Optimist

  • How Prosperity Evolves
  • By: Matt Ridley
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,283
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,006
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,013

Life is getting better at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people's lives as never before.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful Case for Things Looking Up

  • By Darkcoffee on 06-09-10

Excellent arguments, even with minor flaws

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-30-17

This is a valuable resource for discovering why much of society keeps improving even while intellectual elites decry the very capitalism and technology that is the source of the improvements.

  • Against Empathy

  • The Case for Rational Compassion
  • By: Paul Bloom
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 623
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 558
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 542

Most people, including many policy makers, activists, scientists, and philosophers, have encouraged us to be more empathetic - to feel the pain and pleasure of others. Yale researcher and author Paul Bloom argues that this is a mistake. Far from leading us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. It muddles our judgment and often leads to cruelty. We are at our best when we are smart enough not to rely on it and draw upon a more distanced compassion.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Starts strong, fizzles out.

  • By Tristan on 04-04-17

Expose of ideological error, but not perfect

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-17

Highly recommend. Bloom does yeoman's work in a core principle that underlies much law and dramatic narrative.

It would be even better if he did not accept political factions as an immutable given. After all, he is shaking their foundations.

His advocacy, and compelling examples, of rational thinking is heartening in the current climate of postmodern dominance.