A fascinating but ultimately unpersuasive call for a revolution in modern physics.

EVERYTHING IS MATTER MOVING THROUGH SPACE

A reconsideration of the nature of time and the consequences for modern physics.

According to author Palazzo (Are the Laws of Physics Weird?, 2016, etc.), the stubborn resistance of time to definitive elucidation is the function of a long-standing mistake: Motion has long been considered a function of the relationship between distance and time, which makes time a fundamental concept and motion a derivative one. Palazzo, however, provocatively suggests that relationship is reversed: Motion is fundamental, and time is a convenient mental construct devised to measure motion. In fact, the author considers the system of numbers and the whole of mathematics to be a mental contrivance, psychologically necessary to organize the world of matter in motion but ontologically unreal, a central assumption never sufficiently demonstrated. The remainder of Palazzo’s work is a meditation on the ramifications of this revision and a view of the cosmos as a collection of material objects moving through space. For example, the Minkowski coordinate system is better understood as a graph since observable motion is three-dimensional. Energy and entropy require a substantive revaluation as well, and the author proposes a new, third law of kinematics. Regarding quantum mechanics, the traditional relationship between waves and particles is overturned when a wave is redefined as a mathematical function—an actual medium isn’t necessary for the transference of energy from particle to particle. Palazzo also highlights a central difficulty of general relativity—it doesn’t provide a complete picture of gravitational force and cannot adequately account for galactic stellar motion. Finally, Palazzo explores the cosmological implications of interpreting gravity as a “fictitious force,” especially for the Big Bang theory. The author’s efforts are remarkably ambitious, and his command of the material is powerful. Also, he manages to traverse an enormous swath of intellectual ground in just over 130 pages. The writing, however, is prohibitively dense and will only be accessible to those with an advanced understanding of modern physics. Also, Palazzo’s contention that “the Ancients” defined time independent of motion is both false (Aristotle explicitly linked the two) and vague (who counts as ancient?).

A fascinating but ultimately unpersuasive call for a revolution in modern physics.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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