Books

Category archives for Books

Climate Change: A Wicked Problem

Climate Change: A Wicked Problem: Complexity and Uncertainty at the Intersection of Science, Economics, Politics, and Human Behavior, by Frank Incropera, is a textbook suitable for use in advanced high school or college classes, but also an excellent primer on the topic for anyone interested in it. Incropera spares little details in describing how the…

Wildlife of the Galápagos: Second Edition (Princeton Pocket Guides), by Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, and David Hosking is both a field guide and a travel guide, focusing on the Galapagos Islands. It includes basic information about each island and each town or tourist destination, and a comprehensive guide to how to visit, what to bring…

The Great San Francisco Earthquake(s) On October 8th, 1865, the “Great San Francisco Earthquake” hit south of the city of San Francisco, magnitude 6.3. On October 21st, 1868, the ‘Great San Francisco Earthquake” hit near Haywards, east of the city, across the bay, magnitude 6.8. On April 18th, 1906, the “Great San Francisco Earthquake” hit…

Feeding Wild Birds

When the Texas A&M University Press asked me to consider reviewing Feeding Wild Birds in America: Culture, Commerce, and Conservation by Paul Baicich, Margaret Barker, and Carrol Henderson, I had mixed feelings. Was this just another backyard bird feeding guide? That would be nice, but not too exciting. After all, feeding birds is just a…

Sean B. Carroll is coming out with a new book called The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters. This is the molecular biologist Sean Carroll, as distinct from the physicist (who wrote this). Homeostasis is one of the basic principles of biology. The term can be applied broadly…

David Macaulay is famous for his “how things work” books. How Machines Work: Zoo Break! is a new book that is really fun. So fun that it took me a long time to get it back from Amanda and Huxley so I could review it. The concept is simple. A story, a simple story, is…

Dark Money by Jane Mayer

The book is: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. Also by the same author: The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. Here is my version of recent American political history: Everyone in America knows…

Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist is a new book by Howard Wainer that can serve as a manual for how to be a good skeptic. Wainer is a statistician, formerly with the famous Educational Testing Service, and a professor at the Wharton School of the…

Learn Python Using Minecraft

Minecraft is a gaming world. Or, if you like, a “sandbox.” This is a three dimensional world in which characters do things, all sorts of things. The context for the world of Minecraft is very open ended. The player builds things, moves things, gets things, does things, in a way that makes any one gamer’s…

This is a review of The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution. Fossils are cool. Why? Two very big and complex reasons. First, fossils allow us to reconstruct species that don’t exist any more. This is usually done by studying species that do exist, and…