The Hydrogen Sonata

The Hydrogen Sonata was one of the books I picked up from the library to read on holiday. I read bits now and again, but didn't find myself engaged with it for some reason. Then, in the last quarter of the book I began to feel excited about it. It stayed that way to the end.

Is it inevitable that as life becomes more technically advanced, society becomes more morally advanced? Even though humans have been unchanged in their abilities for about 10,000 years, our society has steadily improved morally as well as technically. Is this inevitable? Will this continue as AIs take over from humans?

My answer is yes. Democracy and the rule of law has improved things for people because it's a solution to the prisoners' dilemma. More advanced AIs will recognise this more clearly and so I hope the rule of law and democracy will continue.


The Pregnant Widow

Initially the dialogue was clever, but it became relentlessly clever, and I said wearily, okay Martin, you win, you've more than proved yourself, now leave me in peace.

It was okay because I found an antidote in the search for an explanation for prime numbers.

I went back to the Widow now and again, and I started to enjoy it more and more. There were tensions developing, and some of the clever things made sense, and I still laugh at the bit of the telegram that read, 'black bear repeat black bear'.

I very much like the end of the book where there are chapters for various years after main story, explaining what happened to the characters. More authors should do this.


The Music of the Primes

The most gripping book I've read so far on my two week holiday is Marcus du Sautoy's Music of the Primes. These types of books are destined to be described as a 'fascinating journey'. It was, how shall I put it? A fascinating journey through the drama and personalities of the search for an explanation of prime numbers.

One of the sad things about it all is that there's a belief among mathematicians that your mathematical abilities decline after you're 30. Kind of depressing. Having said that, Euler and Erdos  were apparently mathematically active to a ripe old age.


The Bearded Mermaid

Well I brought a whole lot of books to Charlestown. I've been haunting the caf├ęs and restaurants carrying a copy of Anthony Trollope's Dr. Thorne. I always enjoy reading Trollope. I wonder if I can describe to you why?

The guy's a liberal, he has a liberal attitude. These days people would say he's not judgemental. Don't judge me dude!

Yes, he gently points out the hypocrisies, inconsistencies and failings of his characters, but it's as if he's describing what it means to be human, rather than damning the individual he's talking about.

Next book is a Martin Amis. I'll be sitting reading it on the rocks in the sea, like a bookish mermaid. With a beard.