A Book – The Sawtooth Slayer

Nathan Dylan Goodwin writes mysteries where investigative genetic genealogy is used to help solve the cases. The books of his that I have previously read have been excellent. This book looks to be the same. I have just started it, but am already finding it hard to put down.

This is a quote from someone who has already read it through.

“I just finished the recent Venator Cold Case book by Nathan Dylan Goodwin….. called The Sawtooth Slayer. I couldn’t put it down. I appreciated the forensic process…. laid out so well by Goodwin… clusters, genetic communities, reverse genealogy. It is all there.”

(The following comments were written after I finished reading it.)

Well, the rains came right on time, giving me an excuse to keep reading this newest book by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, The Sawtooth Slayer.  I couldn’t stop until I had read it all.

The book lays out how modern DNA analysis and genealogy can work together to solve not only cold cases, but current ones as well.  This is the first mystery book that I’ve actually marked up with stickers to help me keep track of the many research sites used during the story.

Nathan is actually a historical, genealogical mystery crime writer, but in this series of books, genetics has been introduced to help solve living crimes.  If you like mysteries, or genealogy you should enjoy this read.

We should get together and trace the clustering methods used and then map out the family trees developed in the story, both forward and “reverse” so we could learn how the conclusions were reached.  And someone should make and share a list of all the research sites mentioned.


AI Superpowers is a great read

AI Superpowers is a great book, written by Kai-Fu Lee. I find it more interesting to read this book than to do my FB browsing, email and news gathering combined. aka easy to read, exciting to see where we are going in our future, and amazing. I like science fiction, but this AI is better and it is reality.

Meanwhile, be sure to keep your cell phones charged. Read the book to find out why!

Disruptive shifts in our lives are coming. He estimates that within 15 years, we will be able to automate 40-50% of all jobs in the USA. The final chapters contain a list of societal changes needed to offset the impacts of AI on job destruction.

This paradigm shift will affect all of us, with rising unemployment and widening inequality facing us unless we begin to make changes soon. We need to remember what makes us human and gives life meaning, and it ain’t jobs.

IMHO, we can’t stop what’s already begun. But we can begin to work towards a symbiotic solution. Quoting Lee: “If we believe that life has meaning beyond this material rat race, then AI just might be the tool that can help us uncover that deeper meaning.” Big government is part of the solution. Military domination is not. We need to reward socially productive activities. Remember “social investment stipends”.

Origin Story

This is an amazing book that somehow is able to put the full history of our planet into one book. The subject matter crosses so many disciplines that I am amazed a single person was able to write it. David Christian is a Distinguished Professor of History at Macquarie University, a MOOC instructor at Coursera, a cofounder of the Big History Project with Bill Gates, a TED Talker, a speaker at the Davis World Economic Forum.

And… he can make history interesting and approachable. Our Origin Story begins with the big bang and ends with questions about our future. This book belongs in every library, it should be read by everyone serious about our present world.

David is a realist and optimist, which is rare these days. It is easy to recommend this book.

Life 3.0

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence (AI), I highly recommend that you read this new book Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, a professor at MIT. His book is an easy read for the amateur and weighty enough for the AI students and professional. It explains (finally someone got it through to me) how neural networks work, how our mind learns and remembers and generally how machines can be built to mimic these processes. This is a realistic book, issues in the future are explained, not sidestepped. This is a science book that is not only important, but fun to read. I give it 5 stars!


“This is a conversation that everyone needs to join. But for them to join it constructively, we need to educate them about what the challenges and opportunities actually are. Otherwise it degenerates into the scaremongering that the British tabloids do. Ultimately, this is a very exciting opportunity. Everything I love about civilization is the product of intelligence. If we can create a beneficial superintelligence, we can help humanity flourish better than ever before.” — by Max Tegmark

“Worth reading Life 3.0 by @Tegmark. AI will be the best or worst thing ever for humanity, so let’s get it right.” — by Elon Musk in Twitter

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – by Bill Gates

“If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.” – so said Voltaire

No Is Not Enough – the book

The new book “No Is Not Enough” by Naomi Klein should be read by all. It was rushed out in reaction to Donald Trump, but includes important comments about climate change and the anthropocene.

Because one of the most unjust aspects of climate disruption is that our actions as adults today will have their most severe impact on the lives of generations yet to come, as well as kids alive today who are too young to impact policy — kids like Toma (her son) and his friends, and their generation the world over. These children have done nothing to create the crisis, but they are the ones who will deal with the most extreme weather — the storms and droughts and fires and rising seas — and all the social and economic stresses that will flow as a result. They are the ones growing up amidst a mass extinction, robbed of so much beauty and so much of the companionship that comes from being surrounded by other life forms.

The above quote from the book is how I feel about my grandchildren (aged 12-19). Global warming, climate change, neoliberalsim, the USA oligarchy, Trumpism, all of these things are not their fault. The adults of the “western world” have effed up society and the planet so bad that I feel revolution will be the only way out. And these kids will be fighting the wars, unless we can help wake people up to the dangers.

Get a copy of the book, buy it, library it, borrow it. And learn more at



“I’m not looking to overthrow the American government, the corporate state already has..” – John Trudell

Good Books

If you are at all interested in anthropology or the lives of your Neanderthal ancestors, this novel will be an enjoyable read.  This reminds me somewhat of the old series called Clan of the Cave Bears, but it is much easier to read (and shorter). The author Claire Cameron acknowledges help from Yuval Harari and Ian Tattersall.

Perhaps this will be the first of a series.  I hope so.  I know I enjoyed it.  Thought provoking.  It is a “fast read” and holds your attention.  But caution is required, this is either adults only or at least older teens.

The book is about two women, separated by 40,000 years.

World Book Day

In honor of World Book Day on Sunday 4/23/2017, billionaire Richard Branson has put together a list of 70 “must-read” books. One of my recent most favorites is # 70!

Here’s the full list:

1. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
2. Tales of the Unexpected – Roald Dahl
3. George’s Marvelous Medicine – Roald Dahl
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
5. Oh, The Place You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss
6. Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
7. The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
9. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
11. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stephenson
12. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
13. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
14. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
15. 1984 – George Orwell
16. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
17. The Quiet American – Graham Greene
18. The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart
19. Shantaram – Gregory Roberts
20. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
21. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World – Tracy Kidder
22. The Outermost House – Henry Beston
23. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China – Jung Chang
24. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege – Antony Beevor
25. The Right Stuff – Tom Wolfe
26. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex – Nathaniel Philbrick
27. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
28. Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck
29. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela – Nelson Mandela
30. Mao: The Unknown Story – Jung Chang
31. A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety – Jimmy Carter
32. No Future Without Forgiveness – Desmond Tutu
33. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time – Dava Sobel
34. Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage – Stengel
35. Limitless: Leadership That Endures – Ajaz Ahmed
36. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Adam Grant
37. If I Could Tell You Just One Thing: 50 of the world’s most remarkable people pass on their best piece of advice – Richard Reed
38. Remote: Office Not Required – Jason Fried
39. Start With Why – Simon Sinek
40. 101 Reasons to Get Out of Bed – Natasha Milne
41. Letters to a Stranger: A publishing project in aid of MIND – Various
42. Self Belief: The Vision – Jamal Edwards
43. The Meaning of the 21st Century – James Martin
44. Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill – Matthieu Ricard
45. A Time for New Dreams – Ben Okri
46. A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
47. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution – Frank White
48. Beyond The Blue – Jim Campbell
49. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think – Peter Diamandis
50. Ending the War on Drugs – Various
51. The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth – Tim Flannery
52. Big World, Small Planet – Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum
53. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It – Al Gore
54. Necker: A Virgin Island – Russell James
55. Lost Ocean – Johanna Basford
56. Arctica: The Vanishing North – Sebastian Copeland
57. In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin
58. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster – Jon Krakauer
59. The World Without Us – Weisman
60. In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules – Stacy Perman
61. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – Michael Pollan
62. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal – Eric Schlosser
63. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – Bryan Stevenson
64. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
65. Cosmos – Carl Sagan
66. Obama: The Historic Presidency of Barack Obama – 2,920 Days – Mark Greenberg
67. Little Wins, The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler – Paul Lindley
68. Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed
69. Winners: And How They Succeed – Alastair Campbell
70. Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

So, print this “check list” and start reading! Ready, set, go….

and on the eighth day God said, “OK, Murphy, take over.”