New book blog: Get your head around ‘The Organized Mind’ by Daniel J Levitin

Complaining about ‘information overload’ on the internet is going to get you little sympathy. Tweet about the how full your inbox is, or how many Facebook alerts you’ve been getting, and you risk receiving just as many replies with the pointed #firstworldproblems hashtag. That doesn’t make the stress of being overwhelmed by the sheer weight of incoming data any less real, particularly when the line between when you deal with work stuff and when you can leave it to look only at the personal correspondence is often unclear. The colleague tapping surreptitiously away on their smartphone under the desk in … Continue reading New book blog: Get your head around ‘The Organized Mind’ by Daniel J Levitin

New book blog: How energy shapes society in ‘Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels’ by Ian Morris

It’s not steeped in technology, but this updated book based on the Tanner Lectures delivered by Ian Morris at Princeton University manages to highlight a link with big social issues that could have significant implications for humankind’s future. Everyone’s at least aware of the disparity between access to energy that exists around the world, and how precarious the security of supply is, even in the industrialised West. It’s clear we’re reaching a crucial point where a system based on fossil fuels isn’t going to work in the long-term, but what does that mean for society as a whole? As Morris … Continue reading New book blog: How energy shapes society in ‘Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels’ by Ian Morris

Nasa celebrates #Hubble25 as space telescope hits quarter-century mark – an annotated infographic

Nasa has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope this week. For a quarter of a century, Hubble has peered deep into distant galaxies, revealing images of breathtaking beauty and rewriting our understanding of the cosmos. Scientists hope that Hubble will keep working for at least another five years. E&T magazine considers next-generation space telescopes in our latest issue online, as we look at the technology behind the James Webb Space Telescope. Continue reading Nasa celebrates #Hubble25 as space telescope hits quarter-century mark – an annotated infographic

New book blog: Information gets real in ‘Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness’ by Nathanial Tkacz

Nothing brings an otherwise opaque subject into the mainstream quite like a political scandal, and the recent allegations of MPs playing fast and loose with the ability to edit their own and other people’s Wikipedia entries will have done a lot to make the public aware of how the online encyclopedia is run. For many, that awareness won’t have gone much beyond a general idea that it’s written by pretty much anyone who’s motivated to get involved, but is monitored by a self-governing hierarchy of administrators responsible for keeping an eye on it. For some, the motivation to devote time … Continue reading New book blog: Information gets real in ‘Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness’ by Nathanial Tkacz

New book blog: How life got so fast in ‘Pressed for Time’ by Judy Wajcman

Wasn’t technology supposed to give us more leisure time? Predictions of ‘the end of work’ have in fact proved far fetched. If anything, shrinking electronics and pervasive connectivity have blurred the distinction between work and leisure. The result is that far from being our ever-present friend and helpful companion, the mobile phone or tablet is often more like an unwanted hanger-on, persistently reminding us of the things we should be doing but don’t want to, and impossible to ignore. But when we complain about this phenomenon, what we’re really annoyed about is the way that technology has changed how we … Continue reading New book blog: How life got so fast in ‘Pressed for Time’ by Judy Wajcman

New book blog: an underwater Alliance in Haynes’ Royal Navy Submarine Owners’ Workshop Manual

If you’re enough of a submarine fan to be interested in an Owners’ Workshop Manual that’s among this month’s additions to the Haynes catalogue, you’ll already know that the prime UK destination for anyone interested in their history is the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport. The museum features heavily in a guide to preserved submarines open to visitors in the UK that’s one of several appendices. The book’s main subject though – covered in astonishing detail – is HMS Alliance, the vessel that since going on display at Gosport last year after a £7 million restoration has been one … Continue reading New book blog: an underwater Alliance in Haynes’ Royal Navy Submarine Owners’ Workshop Manual

Japanese Maglev train breaks its own rail world speed record – an annotated infographic

Japan’s state-of-the-art magnetic levitation (Maglev) train has broken its own world speed record, hitting 603km/h in a test run near Mount Fuji, beating a mark of 590km/h it set on April 16. E&T carried this monumental Maglev news earlier this week. Yeah, sometimes we’re a little bit slower than a Maglev train in getting around to pimping our content on the socials. Click on the graphic for an expanded view. Continue reading Japanese Maglev train breaks its own rail world speed record – an annotated infographic

New book blog: Hubble’s best shots in ‘Expanding Universe’

As the Hubble Space Telescope marks 25 years in service, Mark Williamson reports in the latest issue of E&T on how work on its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is progressing ahead of planned launch date in 2018. Mark has also reviewed a new book of photographs from Hubble – Expanding Universe – for http://www.satellite-evolution.com. Here’s an extract… Just when you thought you’d seen the last coffee-table book on the Hubble Space Telescope, along comes another one… and it happens to be the best yet. As a publisher, Taschen is famous for its provocative and off-the-wall books, but it’s … Continue reading New book blog: Hubble’s best shots in ‘Expanding Universe’

E&T news weekly #47 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

Friday April 24 2015  Lorna Sharpe, sub-editor Japan’s maglev train breaks world speed record again Japan’s newest magnetically levitated train has just achieved a new top speed of 603km/h (375mph) in a test run. I’ve been following progress of the chuo shinkansen ever since I first heard of the project, so it’s satisfying to see that it’s progressing well. Trials like this don’t just generate good publicity; they also ensure that the trains will be running well within their capabilities at normal in-service operating speeds. ‘Ghost’ railway station uncovered in London Going from the future railway to the past, I’m … Continue reading E&T news weekly #47 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

It’s complicated… New book blog: ‘The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering’ by Sanjoy Mahajan

In an age when it’s so easy to answer pretty much any question with a reference to the internet, being able to make an accurate educated guess off the top of your head is becoming an impressive skill. The secret, according to Sanjoy Mahajan, is to think like a human and not try to approach a problem like a machine. Whereas computers can cope with an amount of data that would overwhelm the average person, our advantage lies in being able to forget about absolute precision and instead use our insight to connect seemingly disparate bits of information into a … Continue reading It’s complicated… New book blog: ‘The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering’ by Sanjoy Mahajan