June 11, 2010

Death from the Skies!

Finally got around to reading my personally signed copy of Death from the Skies! by the one and only Phil Plait.  It was all that and more.

This is an overview of all the ways the world could possibly end due to various astronomical phenomena.  Astroid collisions, gamma ray burst, rouge black holes, devastating solar events, that kind of thing.  But it's not depressing at all.  Not to me, anyway.  If you've ever seen Phil give a talk you know that he is infectiously excited about learning and sharing all the amazing things that he's learned.  I'll link to his Why Science Is Important video below so you can see what I mean.  He loves science and is a great explainer of all things astronomical.

But he doesn't just explain.  He gets you enthused as well.  He bounces around making hand gestures and saying "really cool" and "amazing" and his face just lights up even as he's telling an audience about gamma ray bursts for the millionth time.  (Mostly because gamma ray bursts really are that cool).

As Daniel H. Wilson so aptly put it: "Reading this book is like getting punched in the face by Carl Sagan.  Frightening, yet oddly exhilarating."

I could hear this enthusiasm as I read the book.  It's a shame there's no audiobook for it.  He could record it himself.  Or maybe Wil Wheaton or Adam Savage would be a good stand in.  Get on that, Penguin!

Even if you don't read his book, read his blog (also linked below).  He is by far the best science and skeptical blogger.  Period.

Why Science is Important

Death from the Skies: The Science Behind the End of the World by Philip Plait, Ph.D

Bad Astronomy at Discover Blogs