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July 2, 2008

Smell this book! and other summer reading

Posted: 10:04 AM ET

Summer ReadingOkay, class, here are a few more summer-reading books you might want to check out.
Please bear with me; I'm a middle manager in a TV network - this is my best opportunity to prove to a large number of people that I can actually read. Sorry I didn't include any links here - it's probably inappropriate for us to favor one bookselling site over another. But if you're interested, you can figure it out........

We all have a nose, and know how to use it. The study of how we go about that, however, is not too sophisticated. What the Nose Knows, by Avery Gilbert is a great book on an overlooked topic. Want to know how smell works? Where it played a big role in pop culture or history? How industries and marketers have co-opted and synthesized smells for their own purposes? How 'bout the chemical structure of those less pleasant smells we all encounter, or emit? Well, you should get a whiff of this book, then. Gilbert combines a scientist's sense of wonder, a scent-making professional's sensibility, and a slightly Beavis + Butt-Head -like fascination with aroma.

Charlatan, by Pope Brock: Dr. John R. Brinkley was seen as a savior of marriages and an author of modern medical marvels. For a fee, he helped countless men roar during the 1920's - by installing a booster set of goat testicles in them. Many thought it restored virility, despite a total lack of evidence. Many didn't survive the operation. Brock writes with a flair, describing the mood of heartland America back then, and recounting the work of Brinkley's nemesis, master fraudbuster Morris Fishbein. It's a great parable for how gullible we can be, told with a sense of irony that's probably essential when your subject matter is swindling people through the use of goat testicles.

The Dumbest Generation Mark Bauerlein is an Emory University English professor and former researcher at the National Endowment for the Arts. He makes the case that video games, text messaging, cellphones, and all the trappings of 21st Century communication have turned our children into shallow morons with tiny attention spans. But Bauerlein falls well short of making a complete sale on this. He deftly uses stats and studies to track the inability of young folks to identify, for example, the three branches of government. He also does a good job of tracking how analytical skills have fallen by the wayside, since we have so many electronic devices to do our thinking for us. What's missing are the benefits - both real and potential - of the wealth of information we have here in the Information Age: How it's used, and how it could be leveraged better. Bauerlein points out the popularity of games that seem to have no moral compass whatsoever, like Grand Theft Auto, without acknowledging that many other games help with everything from motor skills to organizational skills.

Peter Dykstra Executive Producer, CNN Science, Tech & Weather

Filed under: books • Gaming • Internet • science • Scientists • video games

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Rudi Merom   July 3rd, 2008 10:07 am ET

How Far can we see in Space ?

The assumption of most of the population is that you can see far in space….maybe billions of light years, the reality is that the maximum distance that we can see in space is only 186,000 miles and never more…whooo yes 186,000 miles this is the distance that the light travels in a second and we are not able to see faster then the speed of light, not with the naked eye and not with a telescope.
Think that our planet is surrounded with a shell of glass within a distance of 186,000 and anything that we see beyond this distance is a reflection on the glass.
Any one that claims that we can see farther then this distance derail you from the true, it is like looking with a microscope on a cell that is 10 inch away from you eye…you never look beyond this distance you only make what you see larger…..the same in space…. you only can see 186,000 mile distance and the telescope is only making this distance larger…..

If you want more details please email me to :

Rudi merom
Also see:

Mark Bauerlein   July 3rd, 2008 12:27 pm ET

You're right, Peter, the benefits of the Internet are extraordinary. It's a miraculous advent. But the most beneficial uses aren't the ones that appeal most to the kids. WHen Nielsen ranked most popular sites for teens, nine out of the top ten were for social networking. That's what the Web means to them: nonstop contact with one another. It's not a window into history, art, civics, literature, foreign affairs. It's another medium of peer pressure, this one running 24/7.

The big question for educators is: How do we transfer all that generational interactivity toward knowledge- and taste-inducing exercises?


Brian   July 3rd, 2008 3:11 pm ET

Rudi, what do you mean by "we are not able to see faster then the speed of light"?

Larian LeQuella   July 3rd, 2008 4:24 pm ET

My first comment admonishing Rudi for his poor science was deleted (I MAY have been a bit harsh in my wording). Suffice it to say that his assertions have the same merit as proclaiming the earth to be flat. I can only imagine what Mr. Bauerlein would have to say if he chose Rudi as a subject of study.

Very cool to see one of the authors in this blog though! In answer to your question, I would say that one of the largest failings is on the part of the parents who don't get involved in their children's internet activities. I steer my daughter towards places that are discussing new discoveries in science. It's a start at least.

S Callahan   July 3rd, 2008 6:39 pm ET

Larian is correct on that...I think the focus should be on 'training' the parents in internet use... enabling them to be a leader for their children. No doubt it's a tool for learning..but like a new book children have to be introduced to the areas where the can explored topics both familiar and unfamiliar.
The facts show that social networking sites are the hottest spot for teens. I noticed that some of the guys and gals at Phoneix have recently started posting learning vd's with current music that seems to pull people in...maybe that's the way...reach them where they are through innovative ideas of's not that the young don't want to learn's that the avenue to learning that has changed.

Franko   July 3rd, 2008 8:22 pm ET

The Cavemen were graphic illustrators; Passing on their knowledge of hunting skills, and Sexual Taste, Educating future generations. Our mental modeling skills developed from Biblical writings, to the Industrial Revolution, then, someone commented "Media is the Message".

"It’s another medium of peer pressure" ?
Let's make a deal, you got something I want. I got what you want
Pulling on the rope is more effective, than pushing.
The extreme delight, ecstasy, from a 10 year old,
when I hooked up a webcam to the computer.

Rudi Merom   July 15th, 2008 1:36 pm ET

To:Larian LeQuella

It is sad to see that a human is down grading another one because of lake of knowladge or arogance......what i said is 100% true and if you wish for me to explain it to you you can email me and i am sure that you mind will open in a place that you never saw before.....downing any person adult kid of any age shows lake of self view can not be disputed because it is true not because i am was true before me and will be after me.

As for Brian the explanation is: we can not see faster then the speed of light as nothing that we know yet...can move faster then the speed of light...we never can see faster then the speed of you can make the math as how far can we see in 1 Second (or less).....if you need a more detailed explanation please email me.

Rudi Merom   July 15th, 2008 1:48 pm ET

And brian we can not see more then 1 second distance that is speed of light distance.....we never can see 2 seconds of distence....only when the first second is done we will see the 2nd as it become the first... if we could see farther we would see faster then the speed of light.....

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