Friday, February 16, 2007


I don't like stupid blog-taggings where you are so-called "tagged" and are expected to write "interesting" things about yourself or your friends. It was fun for once or twice, but when you get tagged for more than that, things get a bit stale.

But I admit it. This one looks quite interesting. Shou Farn tagged me this time, and it's a book-tag. It's a tag to write about a book. So here we go:

1) Grab the closest book to you.
Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

- When I read the "tag" this afternoon, I was doing the weekly PBL research. Incidentally, the closest book to me was a medical textbook - Robbin's Pathologic Basis of Disease. It is as heavy as your regular bricks and the texts are tinier than the newspaper print. And I don't want to put it here because it's too boring for anyone to appreciate. Hence, the subject is changed to this book which is on my desk at the moment.

2)Open to page 123, go down to the 4th sentence.

3) Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog.

Brand became convinced that gold could somehow be distilled from human urine. (The similarity of colour seems to have been a factor in his conclusion.) He assembled fifty buckets of human urine, which he kept for months in his cellar.
By the way I strongly recommend this book to everyone.. It's meant to be the history of the universe, but you can easily read this book as the history of science as well. The author was a layman to science before he set out to write this book, and he lamented that all the scientific books and texts out there are too dry to be digested, and it hindered people from appreciating its beauty. So in a moment of epiphany, he decided that science needs not be as dull as he grew up to believe in. And he set out to "re-learn" science by his own effort, and produced this history of science / universe in a series of stories. In his own words: ...
It was as if he [the textbook author] wanted to keep the good stuff secret by making all of it soberly unfathomable. As the years passed, I began to suspect that this was not altogether a private impulse. There seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed too near the realm of the mildly interesting and was always at least a long-distance phone call from the frankly interesting.

... I now know that there is a happy abundance of science writers who pen the most lucid and thrilling prose ... but, sadly, none of them wrote any textbook I ever used. All mine were written by men (it was always men) who held the interesting notion that everything became clear when expressed as a formula and the amusingly deluded belief that the children of America would appreciate having chapters end with a section of questions they could mull over in their own time. So I grew up convinced that science was supremely dull, but suspecting that it needn't be, and not really thinking about it at all if I could help it...

... [After a moment of epiphany] I decided that I would devote a portion of my life - three years, as it now turns out - to reading books and journals and finding saintly, patient experts prepared to answer a lot of outstandingly dumb questions. The idea was to see if it isn't possible to understand and appreciate - marvel at, enjoy even - the wonder and accomplishments of science at level that isn't too technical or demanding, but isn't entirely superficial either.

That was my idea and my hope, and that is what the book that follows is intended to do.
I am only one third through the book, but I find it so well-written and provides a really good introduction to science for science lovers, science haters and science indifferent-ers alike. So if you have some free time, grab a copy from your local library. It's worth your time.

Now for the tagging part... I would just tag a few people whom I think read interesting books (this sentence is plagiarised from Shou Farn's post since I am lazy to think of something clever to write). I hereby tag:

1. Wee Loon
2. Yee Pin
3. Winson
4. Jasmine
5. Eric
6. Ka Lip

Tell me when you are done. :)


StanleyYP said...

wah..havent updated my blog for one year.... gv me some time ler bro...

Happy new year btw.


Eric Fu said...


Jiko said...

LOL I LOVE THAT BOOK! Bill Bryson is the ultimate 'history' writer!

youngyew said...

YP: Too much, this tagging thing should be the easiest thing to post what... :P Just take a few minutes, copy a few sentences then done dy.

Eric Fu: Haha wah your book so chim, nobody can understand worr...

Jiko: Wow you read it already! I am still struggling through the pages, it's so un-putdown-able but I can't really find time to peruse the pages. :(

jasmine said...

oh..did you just tag me? excuse me from the tag time i get you another spraying lion? =P
anyway i mostly read novels so if i cut and paste 3 sentences, it would be quite meaningless.

looks like a colourful CNY there in'd be surprised to know that on CNY eve, the chinatown in singapore is extremely crowded as well!modern people..cannot just sit at home and relax..haha.

anyway all da best in australia this year.=)