Nov. 19th, 2010

opusculus: Black hole (Default)
Man, I haven't posted in forever. Partially because of catching a cold, and partially because of general meh at life. So! Have two book reactions, about two books about as polar opposite as things get.

Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey

I think my overwhelming reaction to this book can be summed up as lolololol. cut for spoilers for the entire book )

In summary: Mercedes Lackey writes great books for those days you're spending in bed snuffling miserably into boxes of tissues. No thought required, and everyone involved looks so silly at being miserable that it's hard to feel very miserable for yourself.

And the other book I wanted to babble happily about is The Other Brain by R Douglas Fields. This book is utterly beyond awesome, and is basically what I've been looking for for years, except infinitely more awesome. It's about glia! Glia, for those of you who don't remember what they are, are basically the cells in your brain that aren't neurons. For ages, they've pretty much been dismissed as insulation for the nerves to keep the electrical signals from getting lost, but as it turns out, there's increasing evidence that approximately 90% of your brain isn't dead weight after all! (Well. Some people's brains. I am perfectly willing to believe that for some people 90% of their brain is dead weight.)

Basically, if I wanted to sum up the book, it's just about how glia have a huge role in the brain that people have overlooked because, well, it's easier to study the parts of the brain that emit electricity than it is to study the parts that don't emit anything noticeable. It's not the best-written pop science book I've ever read by any means, and some parts dragged on for me terribly.It's not the best-written pop science book I've ever read by any means, and some parts dragged on for me terribly.It's not the best-written pop science book I've ever read by any means, and some parts dragged on for me terribly.

But! Glia! New information on the brain! With new information on how the brain works that makes the working of the brain make so much more sense to me! ♥♥♥

...Okay I want to explain that part a little more. Most explanations of the brain pretty much go "Electric signals fire and that's how we think." This is true and all but...what happens when they aren't currently firing? I can't imagine that when your memory of a flower is stored in the brain by a constantly ongoing tiny circuit of neurons firing - it just seems like it wouldn't work for all the background information that the brain has to store. (Not to mention - god, can you imagine how much energy it would take to have to constantly fire signals so even the background information could survive?) I mean, there's weirder things in nature so I pretty much went "...okay?" at the books without actually getting it. But if those electrical signals are changing other things in the brain, and that's where the bulk of everything is happening and the neurons are just the electrical wiring, this makes so much more sense to me. Like seriously. SO MUCH MORE SENSE.

I just wish I knew a neurologist so I could ask if I'm completely off base here or if my reading's right :( Or at least had an affordable brain textbook. Why do textbooks have to charge so much. ...So basically in conclusion I am a giant dork for information about the brain. This is not news. Also if I bother finish reading this book on Christianity I am so ranting about it here. You know that any book about Christianity that starts with them turning a skeptics' group into a bible study class with the power of their totally new and insightful arguments about the nature of God is going to be awesome, right? (Hint: Scientists did not doubt the Big Bang because it was too religious. Scientists doubted the Big Bang because if you don't doubt theories and test them and instead take them on faith because they match a possible reading of the Bible, you are a bad scientist.)

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