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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Broken Angels
Richard K. Morgan
Progress: 56/468 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 166/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 164/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
I Am a Cat
Graeme Wilson, Aiko Ito, Sōseki Natsume
Progress: 410/638 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 69 out of 256 pages.

The Autistic Brain - Temple Grandin

Hundreds of genetic variations are implicated in autism. Many are associated with brain development in some way.


Research on environmental influences hasn't come up with much, is comparatively poorly researched; low increased risk if the mother uses an SSRI (type of anti-depressant) immediately prior to pregnancy or during the first trimester seems the most robust.


There's a brief but fascinating discussion of "junk" DNA. The idea that much of our DNA serves no function (is "junk") has only fairly recently been conclusively demonstrated to be false. I knew this - what I didn't know is that one way (not sure if it's supposed to be the only way or not) that the "junk" actually affects the system is by acting as on-off switches for genes thousands of base-pairs distant along the strand because they are actually physically proximate! Chromosomes aren't straight double-helices - they'd be about 10 ft long if they didn't fold up into dense little bundles, allowing them to fit into the cells that form our bodies. So the folding brings genes separated by long distances along the strand to close proximity by the shortest route - and this allows the "junk" to influence the "coding" DNA!