A crack primer to a strange new world.

READ REVIEW

3D PRINTING

THE REVOLUTION IN PERSONALIZED MANUFACTURING

A thorough introduction to the ever evolving world of 3-D printing.

Though it is difficult not to be shocked and awed by the capabilities of today’s 3-D printers, Koch doesn’t affect a gaga tone. She keeps a steady pace and lets the subject wow for itself. Readers learn that 3-D printing, though still in its infancy, holds the promise to make medical, fashion, industrial, what-have-you innovations that will change our world in fundamental ways. Koch starts the whole business off by comparing her subject to a mud dauber wasp that uses a variety of materials instead of wood pulp and saliva—and those materials can now be combined to make a range of items from human tissue to flavored sweets, from teeth to 3-D printers that make other 3-D printers. A good selection of engineers and inventors, both men and women, are given pleasingly anecdotal profiles, and Koch lays down some fundamentals that may not occur to readers, such as the fact that each printer is designed to do one job and that job only. The book’s layout can get somewhat hectic, with boxes, separate spreads, or abrupt color shifts signaling particular information for emphasis. Occasionally Koch will leave readers stranded—just how, for instance, do archaeologists study digs by using 3-D printers “in a way that will not damage or destroy [artifacts and sites]”? Otherwise, the writing is smart and engaging.

A crack primer to a strange new world. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1570-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Tech-centered empowerment for those who feel voiceless.

GIRL CODE

GAMING, GOING VIRAL, AND GETTING IT DONE

The teens behind the web video game “Tampon Run” tell how they got started in programming.

This is a first-person account of how Filipina Andrea “Andy” Gonzales from the East Village and the Bronx and white Sophie Houser from the Upper West Side met at the Girls Who Code summer program and joined forces to create a video game that received viral media attention. The chapters are organized chronologically and, inside each, switch between the two authors’ lively narrations. First, they introduce themselves and their backgrounds with programming: Sophie was a high achiever crippled by self-doubt and terrified of public speaking who was drawn to the GWC program to learn a new way to express herself; Andy was a lifelong gamer and programmer’s daughter who had already attended coding programs by the time she attended GWC. What brought the two together for their project was a desire to combine social commentary with their coding, resulting in their successful game. The game (and networking opportunities from GWC) has brought them attention and many more opportunities, but it also took more time and energy than they had to spare. By book’s end, they find themselves evaluating their futures with technology. The psychology of self-doubt and value of persistence are well-presented—the co-authors stress that the greater the frustration, the better the payoff.

Tech-centered empowerment for those who feel voiceless. (coding appendix with glossary, sample code, resources) (Memoir. 12-17)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-247250-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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