Here is something to frustrate you while surrounded by a pile of textbooks (full of facts and figures) for summer classes . The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman reminds us that what we know about the world is constantly changing. And more than that, we have mathematical models that reveal the rate at which knowledge changes in any given field. Arbesman’s point, however, is not to make you throw your fact-filled index cards on the floor and give up. Instead he explains how understanding that rate of change helps us more accurately make predictions, allocate resources, bridge generational gaps and generally better understand the limits of certainty.
For more by Arbesman see his blog, Social Dimension on Wired Science and even more on his personal website. You can check out The Half-Life of Facts and the other new and interesting titles like The Big Squeeze: A Social and Political History of the Controversial Mammogram and Hunger, Thirst, Sex, & Sleep: How the Brain Controls our Passions below and on the NEW BOOKS DISPLAY at the Prairie State College Library!