11 December

I am buying these books for Christmas (for people who don't read my blog). A bit of classic science fiction, and some contemporary high-rated sports and fitness. With luck, I might get to read some of these on the rebound.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to ...
Born to Run at Amazon.ca (Canada)
Born to Run at Amazon.com

In the twenty-seventh century, accelerated technology dictates the memories and personalities of people. With most of his own memories deleted, Robin enters The Glasshouse-an experimental polity where he finds himself at the mercy of his own unbalanced psyche.
Glasshouse at Amazon.ca (Canada)
Glasshouse at Amazon.com

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
A serial killer is murdering notable nursery-rhyme characters and leaving very special chocolates as calling cards at the scene of each crime.
Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse at Amazon.ca (Canada)
Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse at Amazon.com

The Chronoliths
Classic science fiction.
Chronoliths at Amazon.ca (Canada)
Chronoliths at Amazon.com

I also have a broader set of suggest for other gifts for people inclined towards science. I have some, but not all of these

items myself.

Here's my
list of gifts for the technophile or science minded. These are gift ideas that
have appealed to scientifically inclined people and technical people we know.

Expensive ($900 USD and up)

  • A telescope. My own is an old Celestron Nexstar-5
    which is portable yet high powered.
    A "Schmidt-casgrain" or "Matsukov" type is small but powerful. The "automated GOTO"
    feature on ones like this is really cool any makes then really easy to use
    even for people with no prior experience. Meade also makes similar
    compact computerized telescopes.
  • Night-vision binoculars or 'monocular'. These can be found in several forms, most importantly they are
    specified as first through 4th generation, with the performance and cost increasinmg with the
    generation. As of 2004 4th generation was reserved for professionals (like the military), 3rd
    gen was too costly for me but was readily available, and first generation was vastly inferior to the rest.
  • Technological artwork (look under sculptures). This particular artist
    produces objects that combine technology in the form of functioning computer circuitry and art.
    (Like most original artwork, you have to email the artist for prices and such.)

Moderate ($80 to $900)

  • An adapter to attach a camera to a telescope.
  • Radio controlled toys. Even for adults these are often amusing, if they are
    of the fancier variety.
  • A levitron magnetic top.
  • Binoculars
  • Electronic (radio) locators to attach to keys and other items you your
    family might misplace.


  • Glass beakers for use as drinking glasses.
  • A leatherman-style multipurpose knife (like a swiss army knife) with screwdrivers
    and other tools in it (instead of merely knives).
  • A fancy flashlight, either with a fancy (eg. magnesium) case or based on a set of LED's.
  • An internet domain name!
  • A mug or shirt with a scientific theme.
  • A good book on astronomy, recent physics, nanotechnology, new computer science,
    cognitive science:

    • Astronomy: a great choice, even for somebody with a good prior
      knowledge, but also for a beginner, is the book

      The Great Atlas of the Stars, by Serge Brunier.
      It has wonderful
      photos of interesting astronimical objects, good descriptive text, and
      plastic overlays for the photos to allow you to identify key features while also being
      able to compare the unadorned raw photo.

    • Astronomy:

      Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe>

      is a good introductory book on doing your own observing, but anybody with
      a substantial ongoing interested in astronomy may have outgrown it, and also
      may already have at least one copy.

    • The book by Isaac Asimov called "The World of Carbon" is a really
      wonderful introduction to scientific thinking, the understanding or how things
      work, and chemistry in particular. It's an old book (I read it as a teen), but
      the science is timeless and well-established. Asimov was himself a chemist before
      he became a science fiction writer, and this is a realy inspiring science book
      (with no fiction) -- the kind of book that makes a kid want to become a chemist, which
      exactly the kind of effect it had on me. Unfortunately, it's out of print, so it will be a bit tricky to find,
      but you can probably get it
      used online.

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