Acquired The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon WinchesterSimon Winchester (Harper)

The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement—precision—in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.

The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools—machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras—and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider.

Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia.

As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?

One of my favorite all-time writers and somehow I had missed any news about its pending release and hadn’t seen it despite having just been to the bookstore. What a fantastic surprise!

Received as the most perfect gift. Originally purchased at Vroman’s.

Syndicated copies to:
Acquired Brush pens and paper for Japanese practice

2 Kuretake TSF1-10 double sided brush pen with fine and medium points for $7.90
1 Kyokuto notebook with 10 column lines for kana and space for ふりがな (furigana) for $3.55.
1 Tales from Moomin Valley notebook with 7 column lines for kana (with dotted squares) $3.00
(great for little kids and practicing kana)

Acquired A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram (Wolfram Media)
Starting from a collection of simple computer experiments illustrated by striking computer graphics Stephen Wolfram shows in this landmark book how their unexpected results force a whole new way of looking at the operation of our universe. Wolfram uses his approach to tackle a remarkable array of fundamental problems in science, from the origins of apparent randomness in physical systems, to the development of complexity in biology, the ultimate scope and limitations of mathematics, the possibility of a truly fundamental theory of physics, the interplay between free will and determinism, and the character of intelligence in the universe.

Gifted to me by my friend Dave Snead who picked up a copy from the Wolfram booth earlier today at the APS Conference in downtown Los Angeles. Thanks Dave!

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Acquired Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Techniques to Learn Japanese for Students and Professionals (Volume 1) 6th Edition by George Trombley,‎ Yukari Takenaka (From Zero!)
Japanese From Zero! is an innovative and integrated approach to learning Japanese developed by professional Japanese interpreter George Trombley and co-writer Yukari Takenaka. The lessons and techniques used in this series have been taught successfully for over ten years in classrooms throughout the world.Using up-to-date and easy-to-grasp grammar, Japanese From Zero! is the perfect course for current students of Japanese as well as absolute beginners. In Book 1 of the Japanese From Zero! series, readers are taught new grammar concepts, over 800 new words and expressions, and also learn the hiragana writing system. Features of Book 1: * Integrated Workbook with Answer Key * Over 800 New Words and Expressions * Learn to Read and Write Hiragana * Easy-to-Understand Example Dialogues * Culture Points about Japan * Bilingual Glossaries with Kana and Romaji ...and much more!

Purchase price: $30.08
Paperback: 338 pages
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.7 inches

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Acquired Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven PinkerSteven Pinker (Viking)
The follow-up to Pinker's groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.

New hardcover purchased at Amazon.com for $21.00
ISBN-13: 978-0525427575

h/t to Cesar Hidalgo and Philip Ball

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Purchased The Origin by Dan Brown

Acquired Origin: A Novel by Dan Brown (Doubleday)
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.”

Purchased for $19.68 from Amazon.com via previous bookmark on 10/4/17.

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