Skip to main content

Welcome to Upgrade Me 2.0

I don't really have favourites among my books. While there are some like First Scientist, my book on Roger Bacon, that are always going to be a bit specialist, and others like my most recent, Inflight Science, that have particularly wide appeal, I hope they are all going to sell well. But just occasionally, for some reason, a book doesn't get that sales drive.

This happened to Upgrade Me. If I did have favourites, this would probably be one of them. What I usually try to do is explain science in a way that makes approachable. With Upgrade Me I admit (and perhaps this was the problem) I also did some theorizing. Yes it was based on good science/history, but I was setting out to show why I feel that biologists have got it wrong when they say that we haven't evolved in 100,000 years - because our technology has transformed us in a kind of artificial evolution.

Take a simple example. A while ago I was walking the Ridgeway with a friend. It was a really hot day. According to my natural capabilities, I should have been in trouble. I was losing a lot of fluid, and there was no water available on that stretch of the path. But I had a 50p water bottle and that meant I was fine. I had used that basic technology to enhance my natural capabilities. And the same goes from everything from the ability to fly to the way we can extend out brains' capabilities.

The Kindle cover - okay, not so slick,
but all my own work...

I think this is a fascinating subject and though the book didn't sell well (possibly because it was only ever in hardback, and there was no UK edition), I regularly receive emails asking me where readers can get hold of copies.

I'm delighted to say that Upgrade Me is now available again in an incredibly good value for money Kindle edition. We're talking £3.50 from the UK shop and $4.99 for the US store.

If, like me, you haven't got a Kindle, never fear. There are also free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, and even reader programs for boring old PCs and Macs. So you can still get your hands on a bargain version and read it.

If you fancy snapping one up (or just trying out a free sample) take a look at the book's page on or


Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope