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Joe

  • 18
  • reviews
  • 54
  • helpful votes
  • 64
  • ratings
  • The Ascent of Gravity

  • The Quest to Understand the Force That Explains Everything
  • By: Marcus Chown
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Gravity is the weakest force in the everyday world, yet it is the strongest force in the universe. It was the first force to be recognized and described, yet it is the least understood. It is a "force" that keeps your feet on the ground, yet no such force actually exists. Gravity, to steal the words of Winston Churchill, is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". And penetrating that enigma promises to answer the biggest questions in science: What is space? What is time? What is the universe? And where did it all come from?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great narrative overview

  • By Seth K on 04-24-18

Very good overview of the subject

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

Reviewed: 03-01-18

This book provided a great survey of and incredibly broad and complex field. I particularly liked the opening chapters and their coverage of Newton and other early theorists. The author connected many of these early ideas into this framework of modern physics instead of skimming over it like many other books.

The rest of the book continues in an extremely accessible and complete manner, tying the history, the personalities, and the theory in an engaging dialogue. This book stays at the conceptual level and doesn't require any math.

My only critique of the content is that it doesn't cover the breadth of modern approaches to the challenging questions of gravitational theory. It discussed string theory at length, but doesn't consider loop quantum gravity.

The narration is generally very good. Her voice is clear and she navigates the jargon as well as a "native speaker" of physics. My one major complaint with her narration, and the audio book in general is that she does a very poor job with accents when doing quotations. All the Americans sound like a cross between a team and a gangster. Her German accents seem like caricatures of Einstein. It was distracting from the otherwise enjoyable narration. I would have preferred her to just do these in her own voice instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Go, Flight!

  • The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control, 1965–1992 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight)
  • By: Rick Houston, J. Milt Heflin
  • Narrated by: John Gagnepain
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59

At first glance, it looks like just another auditorium in just another government building. But among the talented men (and later women) who worked in mission control, the room located on the third floor of Building 30—at what is now Johnson Space Center—would become known by many as "the Cathedral." These members of the space program were the brightest of their generations, making split-second decisions that determined the success or failure of a mission.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good book, with some interesting insights

  • By Joe on 12-29-17

Good book, with some interesting insights

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

Reviewed: 12-29-17

I've read many books on the manned space program, and this is one of them. Not the best, not bad either. Bringing the perspective of the grounds controllers helps fill in a much needed perspective. It makes the events of those days relatable from a perspective we might have more in common with.

The book does tend to wander a bit. It starts with a description of all the positions, possibly before you are ready to consume it all. On paper, you could quickly refer back to that section, but that doesn't work well in and audio book format. As the book moves to tell the story of all the missions, the transitions between mission phases, people's back story, and even different missions are abrupt at times.

That being said, I enjoyed it, and I learned a lot from it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Spooky Action at a Distance

  • The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time-and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything
  • By: George Musser
  • Narrated by: William Hughes
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 520
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 464
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 462

What is space? It isn't a question that most of us normally stop to ask. Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time. The phenomenon - the ability of one particle to affect another instantly across the vastness of space - appears to be almost magical.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Rambling but Asks Good Questions

  • By Michael on 12-19-15

Space is NOT a place. Who knew?

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

Reviewed: 11-10-17

Good book. I listen while I drive and this is a book that needs your attention. I would up skipping back often to stay with the ideas. Starts with a good historical perspective on locality, then works through many competing modern concepts. Much more than just a discussion of entanglement. He drifts a bit at time and sometimes overworks the metaphors, but that's probably unavoidable.

  • Machine Learning for Beginners

  • Algorithms, Decision Tree & Random Forest Introduction
  • By: William Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Lukas Arnold
  • Length: 1 hr and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 47

Machine learning occurs primarily through the use of algorithms and other elaborate procedures. Whether you're a novice, intermediate, or expert this book will teach you all the ins, outs and everything you need to know about machine learning. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on courses/materials why not listen to this audiobook instead? It's a worthwhile listen and the most valuable investment you can make for yourself.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I gave up at chapter 5

  • By Joe on 11-01-17

I gave up at chapter 5

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

Reviewed: 11-01-17

This was not meant to be an audio book. As others note, the narration is terrible. I'm not sure it wasn't narrated by a computer voice. The paperwork pauses .. are ... way ... to ... long ... between ... sentences. it makes for a very copy flow.

Additionally, the material is superficial, with no substance. lots of lists, with little to no substance to explain the content on the lists. As an audio book there is no way to remember all the list items as you listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Matter

  • A Novel
  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,388
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,063
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,063

"Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Believable Multiverse

  • By Michael L. Moore on 02-18-17

Not bad

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

Reviewed: 10-29-17

I enjoyed it and read/listened to it pretty quickly. The story was good, but not unique.

  • Sandworms of Dune

  • By: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 19 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 901
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 906

Based directly on Frank Herbert's final outline, which lay hidden in two safe-deposit boxes for a decade, Sandworms of Dune will answer the urgent questions Dune fans have been debating for two decades: the origin of the Honored Matres, the tantalizing future of the planet Arrakis, the final revelation of the Kwisatz Haderach, and the resolution to the war between Man and Machine.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • You'll buy it anyway

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-19-07

Great conclusion blends the best of two generation

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

Reviewed: 07-03-17

I really enjoyed this conclusion to both the original books by Frank Herbert and the new books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

If you are about to read this book after finishing the original 6 books plus Hunters (as I did). Stop. Read the Butlerian Jihad trilogy first. I realized this was necessary about a charter or two into this book and stopped reading it. I went back and read the others and then came back to finish this book. It was definitely the right choice.

While Brian and Kevin's books certainly have a different style than the elder Hebert's books, they are great books to read in their own right and they blend beautifully with the original books.

If you've read Hunters, it may have left you wondering if the new books were worth pursuing. Now that I've read five of the new books, I'd definitely say yes.

This book ties the whole story arc together, unifying the forces behind the Butlerian Jihad with the legacies of the Atreides and the Bene Gesserit. The ending represents the best of all these books and I believe is consistent with Frank Hebert's original vision.

Scott Brick is exceptional as usual.

  • Beyond Earth

  • Our Path to a New Home in the Planets
  • By: Charles Wohlforth, Amanda R. Hendrix Ph.D.
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 47

In Beyond Earth, the authors offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars but Titan - a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy, where we will be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field - offers the most realistic and thrilling prospect of life without support from Earth.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible- off-topic, unscientific, opinionated

  • By Joe on 12-24-16

Terrible- off-topic, unscientific, opinionated

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

Reviewed: 12-24-16

This is one of the most disappointing books I've read in a long time. The authors spend half the time painting a dystopian global warming future as the "motivation" for leaving the planet. Never mind that the society they describe would not have the discretionary resources to support such an investment, or that they've cherry picked the worst case scenarios to build this future, this odiversion has nothing to do with the actual subject of the book.

To be clear, I believe we face a real problem with global warming. If I wanted a book on climate change, I would have bought one, but not this one. In dealing with both planetary science, space exploration, and climate change, the authors make broad generalizations to support questionable conclusions. There was some interesting material sprinkled in, but I find it suspect based on the other material.

According to these authors
- NASA is an incompetent, closed minded bureaucracy (not entirely untrue, but not credible as presented)
- There is no point in going back to the moon, or going to Mars
- Titan will be a garden spot with beaches and people flying under their own power
- The ocean will rise and swallow the cities overnight, but people won't be smart enough to move inland. The rich will move to fortress homes in the mountains. In the midst of this, someone is building great spaceships.

The strangest part is that the book starts by talking about the difficulties predicting the future, and describes how one person accurately predicted the future of the airline industry. They show how the prediction was based on simple extrapolation of existing technology and basic consideration of economic incentives. It's as if that chapter was never considered again, because the authors certainly didn't take that approach. That approach would put us establishing and growing a settlement on the moon, not leaping to Titan.

I must admit, this review is only based on the first five chapters. I'm not going to waste any more time. There are much better books on the subject.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know

  • By: The Great Courses, Joshua N. Winn
  • Narrated by: Professor Joshua N. Winn
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 613
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 550
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 541

As recently as 1990, it seemed plausible that the solar system was a unique phenomenon in our galaxy. Thanks to advances in technology and clever new uses of existing data, now we know that planetary systems and possibly even a new Earth can be found throughout galaxies near and far.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun across the universe

  • By Mark on 01-08-16

WOW! Lives up to the name "Great Courses"

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

Reviewed: 09-09-16

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Professor Winn's enthusiasm for this exciting field is infectious. So much of modern science is inaccessible to all but a learned few. The study of exoplanets is remarkably fresh, with discoveries coming on a regular pace, and this course brings that all together in an easily understood package.

I've got an undergrad degree in physics. My son is just starting community college and hope to study astronomy some day. This course engaged us both at our own levels. He didn't dumb down the explanations our shy away from challenging topics, which kept my interest peaked, but he didn't burden it with too much math our other technical details that would obscure the topics for my son. This course reaffirmed his decision to pursue astronomy, and his desire to be an exoplanet hunter himself someday.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The New Cool

  • A Visionary Teacher, His FIRST Robotics Team, and the Ultimate Battle of Smarts
  • By: Neal Bascomb
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

That Monday afternoon, in high-school gyms across America, kids were battling for the only glory American culture seems to want to dispense to the young these days: sports glory. But at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California, in a gear-cluttered classroom, a different type of “cool” was brewing. A physics teacher with a dream - the first public high-school teacher ever to win a MacArthur Genius Award - had rounded up a band of high-I.Q. students who wanted to put their technical know-how to work.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • High school drama...too much

  • By Mr. on 02-12-12

Inspirational-Makes you feel like part of the team

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

Reviewed: 08-06-16

I truly enjoyed this book. One of the best stories I've read in a long time ... and it's all true. From the announcement of the 2009 challenge through the climax of the season, you are with team 1717 every step of the way. You share all of the victories, defeats, mistakes, and breakthroughs. I don't know if FIRST will ever displace high school football and basketball, but with energy like this, it could make as place of its own in our schools.

The book is fast paced and engaging, and the narration captures the excitement and enthusiasm unique to high school students.

  • Into the Black

  • The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her
  • By: Rowland White, Richard Truly
  • Narrated by: Eric Meyers
  • Length: 15 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 367
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 339
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 338

Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, Into the Black pieces together the dramatic untold story of the Columbia mission and the brave people who dedicated themselves to help the United States succeed in the age of space exploration. On April 12, 1981, NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral. It was the most advanced, state-of-the-art flying machine ever built, challenging the minds and imagination of America's top engineers and pilots.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story About a Flawed Spacecraft

  • By John on 12-04-16

Fascinating insights into to AF/Shuttle connection

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

Reviewed: 07-22-16

This great book brought me back to Mr Brown's 8th grade science class, waiting for the first shuttle landing. I remember how worried everyone was about the tiles. Now I know the rest of the story. After a career in the intel world, it's eye opening to learn the deep connections between NASA and the NRO and AF leading to the shuttle program and on that first historic mission. I also hadn't realized how many of the AF MOL astronauts wound up as shuttle astronauts.