book review

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I want to tell you about a great new book that has one forgivable flaw, which I’ll mention at the end. But first, a word from Bizarro Land. This is about the Grand Canyon. I would think that the Grand Canyon would be the last thing that creationists would point to as proof of a…

Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies is about fireflies. How do they light up? Why do they light up? It is axiomatic in nature that flashy displays are related to mating. Among the flashy displays various animals have come up with, a few actually flash, and among those, the flashing of the firefly is…

Bovids Of The World

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are 143 species of bovids. The Animal Diversity Web is a bit less precise, indicating that there are “more than 140 extant and 300 extinct species.” That second number is highly questionable because today there exist sister species that are so similar I doubt they could be told apart…

Photographer Jesse Cancelmo was struck by the general lack of understanding of the sea life and ecology of the Gulf of Mexico that became apparent with the big oil spill in 2010, and this inspired him to carry out a major photographic project in the Gulf. He felt many had written off the Gulf as…

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…

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…

In 1817, Karl August Weinhold had a go at a real-life Frankenstein’s monster — only in his version he uses a cat. The German scooped out the brain and spinal cord of a recently dead cat. He then pured a molten mixture of zinc and silver into the skull and spinal cavity. He was attempting…

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know® by Joe Romm is just out, and is the most up to date examination of climate change science, the effects of climate change on humans, policy related problems, and energy-related solutions. Everyone should read this book, and if you teach earth system sciences you should consider using this…