Monday, November 2, 2009

Gift ideas for the Inquisitive Mind(Feed your inner Geek!)

Just some Monday morning gift idea's from crew at Chat Noir Books.

Tesla: Man Out of Time
Margaret Cheney

Book Description

In Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney explores the brilliant and prescient mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest scientists and inventors. Called a madman by his enemies, a genius by others, and an enigma by nearly everyone, Nikola Tesla was, without a doubt, a trailblazing inventor who created astonishing, sometimes world-transforming devices that were virtually without theoretical precedent. Tesla not only discovered the rotating magnetic field -- the basis of most alternating-current machinery -- but also introduced us to the fundamentals of robotics, computers, and missile science. Almost supernaturally gifted, unfailingly flamboyant and neurotic, Tesla was troubled by an array of compulsions and phobias and was fond of extravagant, visionary experimentations. He was also a popular man-about-town, admired by men as diverse as Mark Twain and George Westinghouse, and adored by scores of society beauties.

From Tesla's childhood in Yugoslavia to his death in New York in the 1940s, Cheney paints a compelling human portrait and chronicles a lifetime of discoveries that radically altered -- and continue to alter -- the world in which we live. Tesla: Man Out of Time is an in-depth look at the seminal accomplishments of a scientific wizard and a thoughtful examination of the obsessions and eccentricities of the man behind the science.

About Margaret Cheney

Margaret Cheney is a biographer of unusual versatility. In addition to her two major studies of Tesla (most recently Tesla: Master of Lightning, with Robert Uth), she has written Midnight at Mabel's, a biography of the great cabaret singer and song stylist Mabel Mercer. Cheney is also the author of Meanwhile Farm and Why: The Serial Killer in America. She lives in California.


Just For Fun
Linus Torvalds David Diamond

Book Description

Once upon a time Linus Torvalds was a skinny unknown, just another nerdy Helsinki techie who had been fooling around with computers since childhood. Then he wrote a groundbreaking operating system and distributed it via the Internet -- for free. Today Torvalds is an international folk hero. And his creation LINUX is used by over 12 million people as well as by companies such as IBM.

Now, in a narrative that zips along with the speed of e-mail, Torvalds gives a history of his renegade software while candidly revealing the quirky mind of a genius. The result is an engrossing portrayal of a man with a revolutionary vision, who challenges our values and may change our world.

About the Author

Linus Torvalds was born in Finland. He graduated from the University of Helsinki and lives with his wife, the six-time karate champion of Finland, and his children. Linus currently works as a programmer on several projects for Transmeta.


Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain

Tom Stafford Matt Webb

Book Description

The brain is a fearsomely complex information-processing environment--one that often eludes our ability to understand it. At any given time, the brain is collecting, filtering, and analyzing information and, in response, performing countless intricate processes, some of which are automatic, some voluntary, some conscious, and some unconscious.

Cognitive neuroscience is one of the ways we have to understand the workings of our minds. It's the study of the brain biology behind our mental functions: a collection of methods--like brain scanning and computational modeling--combined with a way of looking at psychological phenomena and discovering where, why, and how the brain makes them happen.

Want to know more? "Mind Hacks" is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment works of the brain. Using cognitive neuroscience, these experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, subliminal perception, and more throw light on how the human brain works. Each hack examines specific operations of the brain. By seeing how the brain responds, we pick up clues about the architecture and design of the brain, learning a little bit more about how the brain is put together.

"Mind Hacks" begins your exploration of the mind with a look inside the brain itself, using hacks such as "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Turn On and Off Bits of the Brain" and "Tour the Cortex and the Four Lobes." Also among the 100 hacks in this book, you'll find:

Release Eye Fixations for Faster Reactions
See Movement When All is Still
Feel the Presence and Loss of Attention
Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty
Mold Your Body Schema
Test Your Handedness
See a Person in Moving Lights
Make Events Understandable as Cause-and-Effect
Boost Memory by Using Context
Understand Detail and the Limits of Attention

Steven Johnson, author of "Mind Wide Open" writes in his foreword to the book, "These hacks amaze because they reveal the brain's hidden logic; they shed light on the cheats and shortcuts and latent assumptions our brains make about the world." If you want to know more about what's going on in your head, then "Mind Hacks" is the key--let yourself play with the interface between you and the world.

About Tom Stafford

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford (Ret.) has been awarded many honors, including two Distinguished Service Medals and two Exceptional Service Medals from NASA, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. He lives in Florida.

About Matt Webb

Webb is an engineer and designer.


The Hungry Scientist Handbook

Patrick Buckley Lily Binns

Book Description

Inventive, (mostly) edible DIY gadgets and projects guaranteed to captivate

The Hungry Scientist Handbook brings DIY technology into the kitchen and onto the plate. It compiles the most mouthwatering projects created by mechanical engineer Patrick Buckley and his band of intrepid techie friends, whose collaboration on contraptions started at a memorable 2005 Bay Area dinner party and resulted in the formation of the Hungry Scientist Society—a loose confederation of creative minds dedicated to the pursuit of projects possessing varying degrees of whimsy and utility.

Featuring twenty projects ranging from edible origami to glowing lollipops, cryogenic martinis to Tupperware boom boxes, the book draws from the expertise of programmers, professors, and garden-variety geeks and offers something to delight DIYers of all skill levels.

About the Author

Patrick Buckley, a graduate of MIT, has worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories as a mechanical engineer. When not tinkering or inventing, he can be found kiteboarding, paragliding, or training for Ironman triathlons. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  1. Interesting post... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your blog. I'm sure I'd visit here more often.
    from Gift Ideas.

  2. Thanks George, we are trying to make sure we get post up at least every week if, not every few days!