The SFFaudio Podcast #758 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov

The SFFaudio Podcast

The SFFaudio Podcast #758 – Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov, read by Mike Vendetti. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the book (4 hours, 7 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mike Vendetti, and Terence Blake

essays in this book:

Archimedes “I Can Move The World”
Johann Gutenberg Words For The Millions
Nicolaus Copernicus The Challenge Of Infinity
William Harvey Nature Was His Book
Galileo Galilei “But It Does Move”
Anton van Leeuwenhoek He Discovered An Invisible World
Isaac Newton All Was Light
James Watt He Started Two Revolutions
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier Father Of Modern Chemistry
Michael Faraday Magnetism Becomes Electricity
Joseph Henry Electricity Becomes Power
Henry Bessemer The Steel Age Opens
Edward Jenner He Found A Way To Prevent Disease
Louis Pasteur He Tracked Down The Killers
Gregor Johann Mendel The Mystery Of Heredity
William Henry Perkin He Opened Wide A Chemical Wonderland
Roentgen and Becquerel They Discovered Invisible Rays
Thomas Alva Edison Bringer Of Light
Paul Ehrlich He Fired A Magic Bullet
Darwin and Wallace They Explored The Beginnings Of Life
Marie and Pierre Curie They Paved The Way For The Atomic Age
Albert Einstein He Charted A New World
George Washington Carver World In A Peanut
Irving Langmuir He Made Rain
Rutherford and Lawrence They Tore Apart The Atom
Robert Hutchings Goddard He Launched The Space Age


Talked about on today’s show:
Quantum theory, a collection of 26 stories of peoples contributions to science/engineering, a clever thing to do, Julian Arnquist, teachers that influenced your life, why a match goes out when you blow on it, chemistry teacher, dedicated to a person, how many of these people were unfamiliar to you?, part of you vocabulary, Isaac Newton, Johannes Gutenberg, engineering vs. science, principles of engineering, artificial intelligence, Promethean moments, Erik Burgers, relative contributions, the peanut guy, Longmuir, Lewonhouk, Goddard, we remember the Nazi (Wernher Von Braun), Galileo is a scientist, a glaring omission, Tesla, no Edison anything, quantum theory, 1959, is quantum theory doing anything at that time?, Albert Einstein’s Nobel Prize, Brownian motion, missing DNA, in the very early 1950s, the periodic table, things omitted, from the French perspective, Denis Papin (inventor of the steam engine), every country invented the television, mechanical television, why did you pick that person, of all of the people Einstein was the least engineering, Newton, a warping of the stories, Michelson–Morley experiment, the motion of the earth with respect to the ether, special relativity, mathematical beauty, spectacular confirmation, the world cared, he’s an artist not a scientist, through the whole book, the practical approach, the engineering approach, tension, practical exploits, killed because of a shadow, I need to get back to my pondering, paying a price, Gutenberg is a good example, that’s great thanks bud, financial hardship, looking for themes, the lowly people, the janitors, published in a book 35 years ago, died in obscurity, a Weird Tales story about a “double man”, just a weirdo, gifted with autistic amazing ability to come up with stuff, Pasteur, let’s get this out there so people can appreciate it, we can’t really use that, inventing for money, the Curies, what a weird family, I’m going to burn my arm, blood cancer, family business, a diverse book, well written, stories, nitpicking, as a whole its diverse and abundant, keeping it all in mind, there stories are incredibly familiar, big board books, a pet animal that could talk, introduce us to famous figures, the Disney movies, a talking animal nearby, easier for kids to digest, Beethoven is not a scientist, incredible cultural impacts without us knowing who they are, Edison was the Wizard Of Menlo Park, Paul Ehrlich, tritium, Irving Langmuir, what we do all day is stare at screens, anti-glare for glass, oleophobic coatings, separate essays, 2nd to last paragraph, why this order?, the conquest of space, in unexpected ways, the fault of men not of knowledge, Cold War propaganda, tweet in German, oh good, we’re not doing anymore atomic energy in Germany, a shortage of electricity, doubledown on solar and wind, make some more mountains, nuclear plants are bad when incompetence is in charge, cleaner than somethings, surprising developments, something bad can happen, one-side, pro-science, eurocentric, western centric, influence from outside the official, vaccination in Turkey, unethical experiments, luckily it worked so he’s a genius, he probably is doing that today, as with COVID, Tuskegee University, spirochetes, syphilis, doing evil science, a bias here, very Western, the farthest east we go is Turkey, the Arab renaissance, Arabic numerals, algebra, alcohol, doing science like mad, learning everything, the Greeks can read this stuff too, how much more he could have done with a different type of mathematics, The Masters by Ursula K. Le Guin, the story of Mandel, I’ve got my beans, spending a lot of time with hornblende, agriculture and statistics, put the two things together, the story of men (other than Marie Curie), outshines her husband and daughter, a woman contributed to science, forty Newtons and one of them is a woman, the lady from Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, a dude’s subject, engineering a Dude’s subject, Pirate Enlightenment or The Real Libertalia by David Graeber, is very female oriented, “There’s No Such Thing As The West”, super-interested, French and American revolution, these fake kings, a way to show off, you have no more money or power than I do sir, Thomas Midgley, eythl for gasoline, the eythl guy, put the lead in the gasoline, engine knock, CFCs, he is kind of dangerous, you can go back to fire, atomic power, once we invented fire…, cooking everything, eugenicing ourselves, Prometheus got in trouble for that, Copernicus, Galileo, Edison no trouble, yeah, but it does move, an apocryphal story, he should have said it, we require that he muttered it, there’s no evidence for it (other than we want it to be true), a legend that goes with it, we can’t resist it, and it is inspiring, like the Archimedes story, keep your shadows out of my circles, a story with Caesar, and Alexander the Great, Diogenes, what is the function of this book?, Einstein is an immigrant, from Poland to France, WWII, moving from Nazi Germany to the U.S., the Nazi scientists, why aren’t you talking to Goddard, war criminals, I Aim For The Stars (1960), Disney making Werner Von Braun ok, he came away clean, some people would choose to do so, Newton just being a weirdo, a story of a bunch of weirdos, facts and things we need to believe in order to tell the story better, a chemistry professor, so intelligent, can’t get to your level, a world full of people who can’t get to your level, nothing he liked more than dirty limericks, it sounds like it should be true, his mind was such, he’s examining the writing on the Otis elevator system, wondering about what’s going on in there, how come no one’s paying attention to this little thing down here, a spam phone call in the elevator’s emergency phone, surrounded by systems we cannot understand, as usual a terrific story by Ted Chiang, a world where everything is artificial [Exhalation by Ted Chiang], how nature works, a Borgesian style world, screens and cables and charging ports and roads and fences and insulation, the natural world, which one’s the easier to study?, how things work from the natural world, what a cyclotron is, cyclotrons everywhere, maybe it’s easier to look at nature and see the apple falling on Newton’s head, at a certain point, I didn’t think I experimented, a flip answer, rejecting Wilhelm Roentgen’s actual words, scientific revolutions, a pile on, I stand on the shoulder of giants, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, 1962, Copernicus -> Galileo -> Newton, the system builder, you needed dramatization, hard workers, Einstein is the equivalent of Newton, you need this idea of dramatization, dramatize real facts, the military, the conceptually minded natural philosopher, practical results are useful, not polite and submissive, a rough and ready thing, his model: the real breakthrough -> the dramatization -> the system, the propaganda of the book itself: be scientists but not the wrong way, Asimov is not really a scientist at all, pinching women, the texts will be around a lot longer, a work for hire in a certain sense, not doing original research here, taking the stories he needs and wants to know, Jesse likes peanuts, his story is in here possibly to make him the Marie Curie, a democracy of science, Robert Hooke,he’s a baddie, he could have had his own chapter here, not fully chronological, its not alphabetical, mid-20th century, why is it structured this way?, a compiler of these essays, write about famous scientists and engineers, sold to the school market, the catalogue would show up at the school and you could order, the official propaganda list, given books to read for homework, Animal Farm is a terrible book, a very specific subject, hate school, Lord Of The Flies, boys are bad, nuclear war in the background, too many questions unanswered, learn to read -> be exposed to stuff -> let them go, The Outsiders, juvenile delinquents in the 1950s, S.E. Hinton, make people interested in book, a supplement, silent reading, started writing another thing, being clear, mostly for clarity, he isn’t a bad writer at all, he’s super-clear, kind of a Russian, we’re not really sure what year Asimov was born, his dad ran a candy store, Brooklyn, reading the magazines, how he got involved in science fiction, you have to become a doctor, not the right kind of doctor, a doctor of chemistry, super-interested in everything, a book like this, a nice slice, a series of volumes, the chapter on Darwin, whole books on these individuals, that guy doesn’t get his own chapter, Erasmus Darwin, kids today are getting dumber, casual reading for the kids, some of them liked their sports or playing pool, 8th grade education in the 1920s, educated to 1920s standards, all successful, one of these crypto bros, the Rite Gud podcast, he didn’t know how to pronounce any long words, whole language vs. phonics, phone, ph means f, you just know what the word means, deoxyribonucleic acid, Massachusetts vs. Maine, sounding it out isn’t sexy, a shitty scientific system, despite all the evidence, what’s missing from this story, all the fuckups in science, let’s do lockdowns, no science showing that it worked, working great in China, lockdowns are great if you want to increase your stock portfolio, these masks don’t work, the thing that’s missing from the overall story, the Lister chapter, hospital spread diseases, washing you hands doesn’t solve everything either, sometimes people get lucky, two incidents where his ears are damaged, he invented the phonograph, science, take credit for someone else’s work, simultaneous invention of calculus, Langmuir was great at self publicity, Langmuir waves, Langmuir effect, the Wikipedia page for Langmuir, good at promoting yourself, if you don’t have the money you can’t do the research, a rich patron, Antoine Lavoisier, only patenting things so he can spend more money on science, turning it into an invention factory, Edison kind of invented Hollywood, patent rights, eastern judges, as far away from New Jersey as possible (California), science is we share our knwoledge with others freely, letters to Europeans, the Franklin stove patent, public domain, once you invent the patent system, used to game people, the story of big pharma, the results they like, funding the FDA, the FDA employees go to work for big pharma, doctors, doing medicine without a license, he’s very optimistic, later corruption, they were Nazis of course, they were engineers that appreciated Goddard, promote Mendel, inspirational stories, cautionary tales, you can be ignored, Joseph Henry, status and money, was it a utopia?, if it was they didn’t make a lot of buildings that said “this is a utopia”, life was nice, maybe there were death squads all over the place, women are excited to sexually attract men, we have to have a meeting without the women go hide in the mountains for a while, what a utopia is, hordes of barbarians, calming and relaxing, the weather is easy and the women are beautiful, doesn’t make for a dramatic story, leaving out all the failures, anti-book, Charles Fort’s The Book Of The Damned, what science neglects or denies, a keystone for evolutionary theory, Lo! by Charles Fort, where planets should be, calculating the existence of other planets, getting everything worked out, the proof is sometimes before or after, putting them both together, tidying up messy science, dogmatic people, no real reason to believe his telescope, you had to sort of believe his cosmology or be ready to believe something new, the theory of, pairing microscopy and telescopy, finding new planets, finding, 1850 something, The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O’Brien, a world in a raindrop, she’s all withered up, quantum theory, the observer interferes with the observed, From Beyond by H.P. Lovecraft, take that microscope and point it up at the sky, lines on Mars, Pluto has to have mushrooms, everything is hazy, the worlds are undeniable, kill that paramecium, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, light pollution, aliens not space, biggness makes us feel small, disgusted, unimportant, live at the medium size, the germ theory, cell dying with coal tar, Edward Jenner, the treatment of cancer, radium pills, cancerous cells, a double barrel effect, to think we’re important, they’re going on without us, worlds we’re unaware of, Sigmund Freud, the narcissistic wound, especially Copernicus, Darwin, not the divine children of god, nor the culmination, we’re not masters at the center of our own minds, Leeuwenhoek, cast empty spaces between the atoms, invisible rays, an idea of science that’s the opposite of Aristotle, there are lots of stuff, progressively more and more stuff that is not available to ordinary observation but are big time nonetheless, a self wounding process, finding our place within it, no psychology or psychiatry, one of the founding myths of science fiction, John W. Campbell’s psionics, Henry Bessemer probably shouldn’t be in this book, he helped make steel sheep, is he a scientist?, in somebody’s backyard, the guy who invents the steam donkey, a lot of things are important, muddies the water, tinkering around, the author of the concentric atom model, theoretical models, one molecule thick, the key as to how they did it, be really observant and get money, how many gentlemen scientists do we have anymore, Elon Musk, people don’t like him, he likes rockets and satellites, a science enthusiast, Goddard plus Edison, successful and good at self promoting and getting funding, counting the number of Teslas, having real world impacts, satellite internet, literally impacting the world on a daily basis, Twitter is a toy for him, almost everybody is working for universities and institutes, fake science, patent clerk doesn’t need any equipment other than paper and chalkboard, Stephen Hawking, a popularizer of science, more like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, money to throw at things, and a team, a cyclotron in her basement, an unheated shack, warmed it up with radioactives, Lawrence, a place he has access to, you will create a black hole to destroy the world, administration stuff is horrible, dribbles and drabs of microcircuity, screens get better and better, a lot of ram, John Horgan’s The End Of Science, Scientific American, up against the wall, not having any breakthroughs, somebody in Madagascar home experimenting, the story of The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, Shevek, Einsteinian style theory including psychology, decadent planet, Libertalia, a book of spiritual gurus, Breakthroughs In Spiritual Science, Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis, rhetorical science, using our mouths, the way we operate out machine, Steve Jobs, stole the mouse from Xerox, Chat GPT, human artificial intelligence, part of the Microsoft voices, a database of thousands and thousands of voices, Jesse likes a good essay, essays are not science, Bing just inserted itself, search is important, combing, decision trees are not science, looking at some phenomena in the world and figuring out how it works, augmented reality, virtual reality, where the nearest cafe is, sidewalks to not collapse, coding is making things happen, our system is broken, hiding behind intellectual property, a thriller about a guy who worked at a cell phone company, sex on the side, look at the tech they have one the shelf, look at what patents they hold, a product they can sell, we’ve had MRI and ultrasound for 40 years?, fairly static, battery technology, making it cheaper, it took a building, now you can buy em on ebay, putting tools in the hands of people, we need to get a shipping container and send it to Madagascar to get our science back, the women will be doing the business and the men can go into their shack, we have a solution, pretty good book, Findaway, Audible, the origin story of this audiobook, Mike loved the sound of his voice, doing audiobooks, LibriVox, Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, something that wouldn’t flush, 50,000 watt voice without an outlet, Peter Berkrot, put the Baby Ruth in the pool in Caddyshack (1980), a funny little world we’ve got here, first non-fiction by Asimov, 26 3 page stories, conjure up an interest in it, Philip K. Dick is full of sparks, frustrated, six months following up all the leads, filling in the blanks, awakens your curiosity quite effectively, way leads on to way, settlement from, 600 titles, the long tail, nobody will know for eight months, Philip K. Dick has a long tail, Jack London, will it sell?, does it have a market?, best sellers, separate realms, a classic, The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason, Hemingway, financial advice through a collection of parables, a classic of personal finance advice, I need comics not this, guard thy treasure from loss, The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, my knees hurt, re-recording the art of war, it’s short, about 10 recordings of The Art Of War, a friend named Mike who likes to read stuff, sounds good, something to think about, sewing books, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, the cheaters, profiting off of other people’s labours, your production copyright, muddied waters, Audible is all about money, short term vs. long term, a cucumber is bitter throw it away, and why were such things made in the world?, a metaphor, ages ago, painful, you need some stoicism, mediation on the public baths, don’t wander, don’t be passive or aggressive, don’t be all about business, 1811, Stoicism is getting real big, stoic influencers, being 82 years old, I hope I live to end this, approaching the pearly gates, about time to make a deal, start mending your ways, calling bingo at the American Legion, God got his bingo card, a part of your preface, a dedication, God I hope you live to the end of this, AI could finish it for me, when robots do it I’m highly offended, pretty sure I don’t have syphilis, a flash in the pan?, kids are going to use it for essays, bio available in essays like this, an original thought died of loneliness, ai jokes, to come up with premises, random combinations, suburban cowboy must save a hot waitress from punks, man tweets, what appeals to us en masse, The Poison Belt, Downward To Earth by Robert Silverberg, Star Born by Andre Norton, Sixth Column by Robert A. Heinlein, Evan Lampe, Shakespeare’s Planet, Charwoman’s Shadow, Scratch One, Black House, Progeny by Philip K. Dick in July, if he was a really good dude, everything is ephemeral, everything he trolls, bluecheks, a class system, google’s busy killing everything, a troll against all the stick up their ass people who are legion, Philip K. Dick, Mark Twain, Neal Stephenson’s baroque cycle, a fruitful period, pirates, that is a problem, new public domain Dick, Prize Ship, Jon’s World, Meddler by Philip K. Dick, Roog, A Present For Pat by Philip K. Dick, Time Pawn by Philip K. Dick, never republished, so fucked up, the estate fucking up, there’s a lot of demand, people want to hear his weird ideas, old timer sci-fi guys, addressing things that were real then and that we are more used to now, Mike hasn’t been tweeting a ton, the new algorithm, “for you” is terrible, Tweeten is broken, Tweetdeck [now broken too], adblock plus, a slave phone, Android was okay, printed circuit board salesman, Silicon Valley, computer makers, writing software for Apple, open architecture for IBM, pc clones, Halt And Catch Fire, anti-Japanese sentiment, turned out that the Japanese weren’t going to take over the world, friends with poor judgement, hypothetical stuff all in his head, was little Jesse wrong, turns out the Soviets were not maniacs, remember NATO, are you really gonna do this?, wait five years, the Warsaw Pact, there was no demand to destroy the world by the soviets, domino theory, Afghanistan, getting rid of the draft was smart, skin in the game, smart for who, now only poor families get drafted, a professional military, mercenaries, more respectful of the Greek and Latin roots, a horror show, when you say smart you mean evil, a smart evil thing that they did, it’s not their kid, Vietnam broke that system, years to figure out what you want, get some training, the most remembered time of their life, memories for good or bad, we’re always nostalgic, we can’t be nostalgic for things that haven’t happened yet, when you’re demented or a baby, that’s my mom, I like this cat, becoming more like a baby, we only live our lives in retrospect, the retrospect is different from the reality, that would show that I was right, sometimes you can be right even though the video shows something else, a problem with chat GPT, it’s not thought it’s just grammar, interpretations, what Jesse loves about fiction, there’s no truth except for the words that are there, if the print-setter fucked up, insight into the knowledge of the author, loves beautiful dead ladies, loves boobs, why are so many boobs in this story, he just likes them, through Elmer Gantry six times, different each time, working with Kathy Verduin, southern accent, an 18 hour audiobook, sometimes the narrator disappearances, forgetting the author was involved, match the voice to the book, American Sniper, college punk, maybe Terrence imagined it, why bother bring facts into the issue, the perception of an 82 year old.

TX263 - Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov

TX263 - Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov

Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov

VALUE TALES - The Value Of Learning - Marie Curie

Lo! by Charles Fort

Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis

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