X STANDS FOR UNKNOWN

Another collection of columns from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction: 17 pieces, 1982-83—in the usual amiable, faintly soporific Asimov mold. His first topic is electromagnetic radiation—from Newton's discovery of the visible spectrum, through Maxwell's field equations, to cosmic rays (which are actually particles, not radiation). Next: silicon, an element closely related to carbon, and why there are no silicon lifeforms (the main reason is that silicon compounds are insoluble in water)—although, Asimov notes, computers based on silicon chips may one day challenge this assumption. In the section on astronomy: Halley's comet, due to reappear in 1986, and its historical reputation for foretelling dire events; the idea of the geostationary orbit, invented by Arthur C. Clarke; novas and supernovas; the slow realization, over the last few centuries, that Earth is not the center of the universe or, indeed, of any cosmic importance at all. Also on the agenda: the Fibonacci numerical series and the "golden section" of the ancients; Biblical cosmology; an examination of irrationality-in-general, and irrationality in science. Mildly informative, rather complacent, altogether bland: an average outing overall.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 1982

ISBN: 0586058427

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1982

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

more