Category Archives: Science

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

9780553418026The Martian 

by Andy Weir
ISBN: 978-0-553-41802-6
Broadway Books, 2014

The first thing you should know: If you are not a math or science geek, you will skim many sections of this book.

The second thing you should know: If you are not familiar with 1970s TV, music or movies, you might miss out on some of the cultural references.

The third thing you should know: In November 2015, Matt Damon will star in the movie version of this story. This is a good thing.

I need to give you the back story behind why I came to read this book, because it is not the kind of book I would usually read. My son is a fussy reader. When he was about eight years old, I tried to encourage him to read all the kinds of books boys his age read: Geronimo Stilton, Hardy Boys. He said to me: “Why would I want to read about something that’s not real?”

Okay, so he’s into non-fiction, I get that. Still I try. So this past Christmas I challenged two guys at the local bookstore: “Recommend a book that my son will not be able to put down,” I said.

The Martian,” they both replied.

My son received his copy of the book for Christmas. When he sat down to read it in the lull of holiday break, his body language did not reassure me. He rolled his eyes some. He set it down regularly.

“So, what do you think?” I asked.

“He’s so . . . so . . . stupid,” he replied.

Huh. Given that story is about an astronaut, I wasn’t sure how that could be, and my husband was curious too, so he gave the book a try. As he was reading, I said, “So? What do you think?”

“I’m not sure how he could say this guy is stupid,” he replied. “The main character is a genius. I really like this book.”

So, I had to read it for myself. The deciding vote.

The first thing I noticed was that Andy Weir really, really wants his geek audience members to know the mathematical and scientific plausibility of this story. Gobs and gobs of math and science fill the pages. I started skimming. There’s a reason I’m not making my living laboratories.

I said to my husband (no math whiz, himself), “Didn’t you find it kind of math- and science-heavy?”

“Oh, I just skimmed those parts, he said.

Okay then. I carried on. At the ends of scenes or chapters, Weir throws in jokes about Three’s Company, and disco, and The Dukes of Hazzard, and such things. My son, born in the late 1990s, would not know the finer points of the Chrissy or Cindy Three’s Company debate, or that General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard was a car, so that humour would be lost on him. And I suspect that if my son were to participate in a mission to Mars, he is the type who would take the assignment very, very seriously, and he would not include boobies (•) (•) in his communications with NASA, so I guess that’s why he drew the “He’s so . . . so . . . stupid” conclusion.

In the end, I laughed out loud at the jokes, especially the boobies, and I skimmed the gobs of math and science, and I liked this story about a man’s experience on Mars. 

When Hollywood gets hold of this, they will synthesize the math and science into palatable bites, and they will light Matt Damon beautifully, and they will make one fun and interesting movie.



Book Review: The Secret Female Hormone

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


9781401943011The Secret Female Hormone: How Testosterone Replacement Can Change Your Life

by Kathy Maupin, M.D., Brett Newcomb, M.A., L.P.C.
ISBN 978-1-4019-4301-1
Hay House, 2014

Put a room full of menopausal and perimenopausal women together and ask them to raise their hands if they experience any of these symptoms: loss of libido, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, depression, sore joints, dry eyes, migraines, or loss of stamina. After running through the full list, few women would sit without raised a hand.

Middle-aged women face these symptoms, and a confusing array of scientific evidence about what to do about it. Many women don’t want to mess around with nature, so they choose to ride out the sleepless nights, the fatigue, and the strain on their relationship due to their lack of interest in sex. Many women fear hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because of studies that suggested that HRT comes with medical risks. And testosterone? Many women would not even consider adding what they perceive to be a male hormone into their lives. They worry about side effects like facial hair, aggression and a lowered voice pitch.

Kathy Maupin and Brett Newcomb want to open the conversation about the “secret” female hormone. They say:

“Testosterone is not just important to women’s hormonal balance, it is essential.”

Maupin opens the book with her personal experience with Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TDS). After suffering the symptoms, and after futile searches in other areas for solutions to the problems, she found relief through bio-medical testosterone pellets. She then used the treatment on her patients and boasts a 95% success rate. Her patients enjoy increased energy, better sleep, loss of fat, improved memory, a re-activated sex drive, balanced mood, and less muscle and joint pain

Maupin and Newcomb don’t suggest that HRT is for everyone. They outline the roles that estrogen, progesterone and testosterone play in women’s lives and the risks and benefits of replacement therapies. They include charts with the symptoms, risks and benefits clearly laid out so readers and place check marks to determine if therapy is something they should consider. But Maupin and Newcomb don’t accept that women these days need to “tough it out” through menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms that are adversely affecting their lives.

“Women still experience the loss of testosterone at the same age they did 50,000 years ago.”

One of the results of our improved health care, sanitation and nutrition is that women’s life spans now extend beyond the time they can reproduce. Women used to die before or not long after they ceased to be able to procreate, so in centuries past women didn’t need testosterone in later life. Now they might. And if a person lives with a long-term testosterone deficiency, serious diseases can result, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart disease, memory loss, dementia.

This is an American publication, and I am Canadian. I don’t know what the regulations in this country are for testosterone. No matter which country you live in, hormone therapy starts with a conversation with your medical doctor. Maupin and Newcomb wrote this book to arm you with information you can take to your doctor to start that conversation.


I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


Book Review: Quantum Jumps by Cynthia Sue Larson

Adobe Photoshop PDFQuantum Jumps: An Extraordinary Science of Happiness and Prosperity

by Cynthia Sue Larson
ISBN 9870971934955
RealityShifters®, 2013

More than 100 years ago, the experiments of  scientific greats like Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Erwin Schrödinger threw some traditionally accepted scientific laws into question. Quantum mechanics defied logic and boggled minds.

More than 100 years later, our minds still boggle. We’re having some difficulty accepting the possibilities of our Quantum Age, because we resist believing in anything in the absence of hard proof. In Quantum Jumps, Cynthia Sue Larson presents a “radical new paradigm—that we exist in a holographic multiverse in which we can literally jump from one parallel universe to another.” I have no doubt many will find it hard to believe.

Quantum jumping is the process by which a person envisions some desired result or state of being that is different from the existing situation—and by clearly observing that possibility and supplying sufficient energy, makes a leap into that alternative reality.” 

(Are you thinking of Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap right now?)

The idea isn’t new, and we find similar themes in the words of Napoleon Hill, Charles Haanel, and Jesus. (“Ask and it will be given to you.” Matthew 7:7) More and more experimental results support the possibilities. Larson includes examples of experiments with drug placebos, weight loss, goal achievement and empathy.

Larson outlines three quantum jumping steps:

  1. Attain a relaxed, detached and peaceful altered state.
  2. Feel energized about your visualized positive outcome.
  3. Take positive action in keeping with your new reality.

We make “quantum” jumps every day. When we get out of bed and eat our favourite breakfast, for example, we unconsciously complete all three steps; we’re just so used to doing it, we don’t give it much conscious thought. If it is so easy for us to manifest our breakfast, why not greater things, then?

Larson recommends a meditation practice in which we envision ourselves as connected to, and part of, an eternal infinite. The practice might help you lose weight, find a romantic partner, change jobs, ease depression or locate lost objects.

I’m grateful to Einstein, Bohr, Planck and others for inviting us into the Quantum Age. I’m encouraged by the ideas Larson presents in her book, even though some of them still felt a little “out there” for my comfort zone. I won’t discount them, though. After all, poor old Galileo had no way to prove to the masses that earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around, and he was vilified for his “out there” theory. He died being dead right.

Who am I to question the possibilities?

“Everything in the universe is within you.
Ask all from yourself.” —Rumi


I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from RealityShifters® for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


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