Monday, February 09, 2009

Shameless Plug for Phil Plait...

If you haven't bought, begged, or borrowed a copy of Phil Plait's new book then you're really missing out. Death From the Skies! is a fascinating look at cosmic catastrophes for non-scientists, but unlike many other popular works on such things it isn't just a bunch of goofy prophecy mumbo-jumbo or sci-fi nonsense. The world will end one day, but it's not going to end with Jesus dropping the cosmic elbow on us or Cthulhu burbling up from long-lost R'lyeh.* Nope, one day the earth will be struck with a civilization-annihilating impactor, scorched clean of life by our sun's death throes, or utterly obliterated by a gamma ray burst. And Phil Plait wants to tell you all about it.

Honestly, I don't think there's anything better than a good astronomy book to provide a reader with a sense of slack-jawed, humbling, awe. Phil's also better than most about sneakily dropping knowledge on you while regaling you with pants-wettingly frightening doomsday scenarios, so this book isn't just for entertainment. Seriously, check it out.

*Speaking of R'yleh, its (wholly fictional) location is tagged on the current version of Google Earth for some reason...

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