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on 8 April 2014
Having given Hidden in Plain Sight 2 the most emphatic 5 star review I've ever given any book, I was most disappointed in this third title. The preface promised a book reading like a murder mystery with a final twist, but I didn't find any significant insights in it. I kept waiting for the punchline and then suddenly found myself at the end of the book. As far as I can tell, the final twist is that time is involved in the definition of energy (which is the time component of the momentum 4-vector) and therefore the universe would be very different without it - not really much of an original insight to my mind.

Most of the material that I hadn't already seen in many other books on the subject (time dilation, block universe etc) was either incomplete or just wrong. Two examples

- The reason why we can't remember the future is given that events that are outside the light cone in our past are space-, rather than time-like, But what about events that are inside our future light cone. Those ARE connectable to us via light rays, so why (in principle) can't we remember them? If the answer is "well, light can't go back in time", then isn't this just begging the question?

- He has a bit of a superior dig at a certain Dr Walker (a medical practitioner looking into the problems of immortality), saying "perhaps someone might introduce him to the concept of what we might call "developmental entropy"", later going on to say on the subject of why new life doesn't refute the second law of thermodynamics, "I do not believe the solution to this question which is generally presented [that the second law is applicable to closed systems, and a human being is not a closed system] is the correct solution", going on to say that babies have lower entropy than their parents because they have fewer degrees of freedom. Well - yes, in the same sense that a single atom in my body has lower entropy than all the rest of it. To do a meaningful comparison of the entropy of a baby and its parents, you should include that of all the carbon in the CO2 in the air, and the minerals in the soil, that are eventually going to go into that baby as an adult. I think it'll be fair to say that the entropy of the baby looks pretty high if you do that, and the conventional explanation (that its the low entropy of food and ultimately of the sun, that allows for the life of any one individual and for the evolution of life as a whole to exist) still looks pretty robust to me.

There is an interesting theme on the subject of why the present seems more important to humans (and indeed to any data processing entity, including computers) than the past. I would have liked to see more discussion of how the difference between the past and future arises from, say, the quantum mechanical arrow of time and if possible where that arrow of time might come from.

Bottom line: if you've paid 99p, you're probably getting your moneys worth. Just
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on 9 May 2014
For a non-specialist reader, this book, or at least its second half, contains the clearest explanation of Relativity that I have yet come across. So many 'popular' accounts are fine until they take refuge in mathematical intricacy just as they need to explain Einstein's equation. Thomas, on the other hand, takes us patiently through explanations of "c" (the 'cosmic speed'), the reciprocal relationships between space and time and between energy and mass, the nature of momentum, the need for a stationary object to compensate by having maximum momentum - "mc" - through Time, so that by now even a novice like myself could share that eureka moment of bringing another "c" into the equation as the rate at which energy continues to be saved through time - hence E=mc squared! Obviously there is more to it than that, but Thomas has the effect, on this reader at least, of encouraging and giving direction to further thought and research.

I can nevertheless understand the negative reviews that have appeared so far. His first two 'Hidden in Plain Sight' books were just as stimulating but managed to be tightly and logically constructed throughout, whereas the first half of HIPS3 is wildly digressive. You can tell Thomas is losing control of his material when he feels obliged to say "there is no place in physics for feelings"! Just a few pages earlier he has turned bereavement counsellor and tried to argue that we should feel more upbeat about death because, according to his favoured 'block universe' theory, all times are equally real, the time of death being no more real than any other event on our 'world line', which exists eternally. Hmm... At least he goes on to demonstrate that, while our psychological 'arrow of time' may be delusional, time certainly appears to have an inexorably forward motion in three mighty areas - thermodynamic, quantum mechanical and radiative. His affection for the possibility of time travel is also developed at great length through reference to some favourite Science Fiction treatments - but that's fiction!

Andrew Thomas is passionate about his subject and in this book has allowed that passion to divert him into some eccentric digressions. However, this same passion drives a determination to communicate ideas with the utmost clarity, and this is what, in my opinion, makes this book essential reading for seekers after the truth of the relative universe.
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on 19 May 2014
Very well written and I have read Hidden In Plain Sign 1 and 2, plus I will definitely buy number 4, which is in the offing. As a non professional interested in this field, it was written at the level that most people could understand, in what is a complex subject.
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on 9 September 2014
One of the more clearly set out books on time. Although I have reservations about his conclusions, this in no way detracts from a well constructed book.
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on 8 January 2015
An interesting and thought provoking read, but I did not find it quite so persuasive or as well written as the first book of the series.
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on 2 March 2016
Like all the 'Hidden in Plain Sight' books, this is written very well. I probably have a slightly higher than average knowledge of science and the books strike the right balance between being accessible and challenging, for me. I'm not quite convinced by the 'all moments in time are equally real' theory, even after two reads of this book, but at least I understand it on a basic level. I've read the whole series at least twice and will probably read them all again.
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on 31 January 2015
As usual by this author a wonderful book enlightening me. Certainly has made me think of the possibilities of time and space as to how they are connected.
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on 19 January 2016
This book really revealed some wonderful insights...that we are all moving through space time at the speed of light. Brilliant.
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on 19 December 2014
I'm still trying to get my head around spacetime; I'm on the second reading in the hope that it will click.However the description and explanation of Entropy is the best I've read as is the maths and description of Einsteins time dilation.
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on 30 March 2016
The book itself would be good but for some reason there are hundreds of words missed out. Don't bother.
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