Monday, October 8, 2012

Review of "The Manga Guide to Relativity" by Masafumi Yamamoto, Keita Takatsu, and Hideo Nitta

The Manga Guide to RelativityThe Manga Guide to Relativity

If you have a curiosity about physics, this is a fun way to sate it. "The Manga Guide to Relativity" by Masafumi Yamamoto, Keita Takatsu, and Hideo Nitta is a beautiful blend of manga, humor and science.

I had this book for quite some time and decided to try to get through it... little did I know that I would finish it in only a few hours of reading! While I understood some of the concepts at a very high level, some of the paradoxes and details typically got me. This guide's illustrations make the complex issues easier to grasp, while the chapter reviews help explore the topics in a little more depth.

Even though the manga was constructed with the intent of explaining the complex concepts of Special and General Relativity, it did not deviate from the tried-and-true manga recipe: bizarre scenarios, extreme characters, and strange character appearances.

The ebook format was well-implemented and worked beautifully on my Touchpad. While some PDFs choke due to overly complex layouts, this manga was smooth to navigate and rendered beautifully. Anybody used to reading mangas using "Perfect Viewer" on Android should install the PDF plugin to read this, it works great in two-page mode.

This ebook is a great read and its quality entices me to check out the other books in the "Manga guide to ..." series. If you're a high-school student just getting into physics or a manga fan looking for some intellectual fun, this book is a perfect addition to your collection.

The eBook format of this book was provided free through O'Reilly's Blogger Review program, you can purchase the book from the O'Reilly book store at:

You can support this blog by purchasing the book through Amazon at:The Manga Guide to Relativity

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Friday, October 5, 2012

LuaJSON 1.3.1 Released

LuaJSON 1.3.1 released! If you use luarocks, just use luarocks install luajson since it should soon be in the repository.

This release's changes include:

  • Documented and tested compatibility with Lua 5.1, 5.2, and LuaJIT-2.0-beta10.
  • Documented and tested compatibility with the 'classic' strict module on Lua 5.1 and LuaJIT-2.0-beta10 as provided by the LuaJIT-2.0-beta10 package.
  • Tested after-the-fact compatibility with Penlight's 'pl.strict' module for all supported Lua versions.
  • Fixes supplied by Fran├žois Perrad included to address problems found in 'strict' library handling.
  • Users of the direct 'json' module will have a polluted global environment with the 'json' module populated unconditionally.

If there are any other Lua environments that you would like added to my test matrix, please let me know. I am always open to suggestions and improvements. I host the project on github at, so feel free to fork and submit merge-requests :)

A note on the 'json' module pollution: if there is a general consensus among users of the library (wherever they may be), I'll happily remove this pollution. I much prefer Lua 5.2's way of handling modules and don't mind the fact that creating a Lua module without the 'module' function has the side effect that Lua 5.1 doesn't even have the global pollution.