Feb. 14th, 2011

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Books 1-10.
11. The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird Barron.
12. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith writing as Claire Morgan.
13. Surviving the Siege of Beirut: A Personal Account by Lina Mikdadi.
14. Mammoths of the Great Plains by Eleanor Arnason.
15. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin.

16. The Robotics Primer by Maja J. Matarić. Last year when I was reading The Challengers of the Unknown, I was for some reason particularly intrigued by the "honorary" female Challenger June Robbins/Walker, who is initially introduced as a robotics expert. I mused over the idea of writing some kind of Challengers proposal that would spotlight her, but I realized that I don't actually know much about robots. Anyway, that proposal may or may not happen, but this book--by the co-director of USC's Robotics Research Lab--strikes me a pretty great intro to the subject for just about anybody. It's written for anyone from elementary school to university students, and people like me who just want a grasp of the fundamentals. Matarić covers the basic challenges and common approaches to them well, and provides some illustrative examples, although there are times, when she discusses more conceptual problems, that the examples were lacking and I missed them badly. Overall, though, I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the topic, and probably particularly to youngish kids who are scientifically inclined; I'm planning to loan my copy to one such kid.

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