Sunday, September 21, 2008

13 Things That Don't Make Sense

The most baffling scientific mysteries of our time, by Michael Brooks.

Quickie Recap: In 2008, scientists are still struggling with some pretty basic questions. Things we have come to take for granted remain unexplainable, so much so that many scientists, after decades of research yielding conflicting results, have started to ignore some of these 'things that don't make sense'. How is it, for example, that we can only account for 4% of the cosmos? It's space. It's pretty damn big. We spend billions of dollars thinking about it, and yet, we can't find 96% of it!

Quickie Review: I do not make sense. Let's get that right out of the way. The truth is, I did find this book to be rather fascinating, despite the built-in frustration of having all of your curiosities piqued only to conclude "we don't know!" We don't know, because it just doesn't make sense. But it made me think of things in ways that I hadn't before. Sex and death were two chapters I enjoyed most. Everyone dies, so we've accepted that it's just part of life. But think about that statement, and nope, it doesn't make sense. Death and life should not go together. Our tendency to self-destruct is a little crazy, and from an evolutionary standpoint, it's kind of not very handy. But we all do it. And how about that sex? No matter how much we may enjoy it, it's kind of ludicrous. The truth is, there are way better ways to reproduce. Asexual organisms do it far better than we do, with less fuss and more efficiency. So why haven't we adapted the better way of doing things? Is there something about sex that we're missing? These kinds of questions prompted me to annoy my colleagues with my thoughts on the subject, and that's pretty much my measure of a book. It gave me the itch, and I made other people itchy too. It put some sparks in my brain.

Quickie Recommendation: Well done, you!

If anyone's read it, let me know your thoughts on the question of free will. Or should I say the delusion of free will. :)


Lorna said...

"Asexual organisms do it far better than we do, with less fuss and more efficiency"

I puzzled so long over what I thought was "asexual orgasms" that I lost my train of thought.

Jay said...

Well Lorna, I think that's the stuff of another book entirely!