Books

Category archives for Books

This is a summary of several of the better books I’ve had the opportunity to review here, organized in general categories. This is written from a North American perspective since most of my readers are North American (though many of you live to the west of the “Eastern Region” … but you probably know that).…

Masters of the Planet

Yesterday I wrote about Chris Stringer’s modified version of human evolution. Today, let’s have a look at Ian Tattersall’s new book, Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (Macsci). Tatersall’s boo, like Sringer’s, is a good overview of the newer evidence in the constantly changing field, but he goes back earlier and…

The Evolution of Modern Humans

Chris Stringer’s new book, Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth, attempts to reconcile the age-old conflict between the “Multiregional” and “Out of Africa” hypotheses of Modern Human origins. Stringer has long been identified with the “Out of Africa” hypothesis, and his criticism of the Multiregional model pretty much still…

Carl Safina: The View From Lazy Point

Carl Safina is in some ways a modern Rachel Carson, an ecologist who writes excellent stuff about ecology. The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World is his latest work. I saw him recently at the Gustavus Nobel conference where he gave this talk (the actual talk starts at about 9:00,…

I liked Chickens: Their Natural and Unnatural Histories by Janet Lembke even if it is annoyingly unscholarly in places where it should be (assertions of fact are frequently made with zero or poor referencing). As far as I can tell, the writing is accurate in its coverage of all things Chicken. Chickens in science, chickens…

Lego Adventure

The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 1: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs & More! by Megan Rothrock is primarily for people who have been messing around with LEG for, say, less than 10 years or so, especially those who are new at it and seek both inspiration and guidance in such daunting tasks as making a scale two…

Another Year, Another Almanac

A while back I raised the question: Is there still room on the shelf for an almanac? in reference to the World Almanac for Kids. I thought it might be cool for some kids of the right age, if nothing else to demonstrate them (however untrue it may be) that there are still some things…

I’m reading Disaster!: A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes by John Withington, who also wrote about other disastrous things such as disasters specific to London. It is a couple of years old (and thus does not include the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami). This is more of a reference book than a…

How long can a fly fly?

That is the title of a book by Lars-Åke Janzon, with the subtitle “175 Answers to Possible and Impossible Questions about Animals”. Oddly, that particular question appears to be evaded in the book itself, but most of the 175 questions seem to be addressed accurately. This is one of those books you keep around and…

Tinkering with Lego Technic

Lego Technic is a Lego based technology that includes a combination of totally new kinds of Lego pieces and fancy technology that lets you build some amazing things. You can get kits that range in cost and sophistication from the LEGO 8514 Technic Power Roboriders, a sort of motorcycle for robots that costs tens of…