March 5th, 2005

krazy koati

Love in the library

All right! One of the few things I really dislike about Singapore is the poor selection of used books, and that's generally fair enough. There aren't old enough books, or a diverse enough selection, for my tastes; I want things on the order of warehouses with stuff at one dollar or less. But there are exceptions -- particularly, in the little ``sidewalk sale'' type shops that come and go with festivals and student activities fairs and such. Those are variable, sure, but when they pay off, they pay off big. This week's big payoff was in a wide selection of the Life Science Library and Life Nature Library books -- boxes full of them, at an unmarked price (it turned out to be S4.00). That's just dozens of the 1960s/early 1970s world of science writing and photography.

After forcibly restraining myself, I got Giant Molecules (which demonstrats hoisting safes by a drop of cyanoacrylate, a much needed task in the 60s), Mathematics (finally, I have a reproduction of the Nikolai Lobachevsky stamp), The Universe (which we learn is 13 billion years old), Time (where we learn the universe is ``ten to fifteen'' billion years old), Planets (Venus might be too hot for water even at the poles), and Man and Space (updated to include Apollo 11 results). Joking aside this is nostalgic joy with some generally top-notch exposition. I didn't learn science and mathematics from these particular books, but I did from books much like these, and it's joy to catch part of childhood.

Trivia: Voyager 2 discovered ten moons around Uranus. Source: ``Uranus: Voyager Visits a Dark Planet,'' Rick Gore. National Geographic August 1986.

Currently Reading: Enter Jeeves: 15 Early Stories, P G Wodehouse.