book review

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Napoleon Chagnon spent years living among the Yanomamo of Venezuela and wrote, among other things, a classic ethnography still used widely in anthropology classes. It came to pass that Chagnon and his ethnography came under scrutiny, actually a few waves of scrutiny, from practitioners of cultural anthropology in part because his monograph depicted the Yanomamo…

People who do a lot of field work end up with interesting stories to tell, especially if the fieldwork is diverse and the conditions are adverse. Often, the sort of thing people want to know about is very different from the repertoire of available stories, but as long as the expectations of the audience is…

Power, Sex, Suicide

Mitochondria are cool, important, and fascinating. You know the basic story. Mitochondria are the result of endosymbiosis. A bacterim or bacteria-like organism insinuated itself into another bacterium or bacteria-like organism. The former was small, the latter large. A relationship started up whereby the smaller one became an organelle in the larger one, and Eukaryotic life…

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…

S is for Science Book for Toddlers

G is for Galaxy: An Out of This World Alphabet (Alphabet Books) is one of a series of kid’s alphabet books with an interesting twist. The pages have the usual big letter, a picture of something that starts with that letter, and a short sentence or two referring to that word. But on the same…

Music of the Birds. And more!

Music of the Birds by Lang Elliott is a classic book and CD combo well over 10 years old, that provided bird lovers with a chance to learn to identify and appreciate the songs of numerous species. Over the last decade or so many other CD-based bird song offerings have become available. More recently, Lang…

The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood by David Montgomery is new book on the Noachian flood. It is by a real life geologist and is not a creationist book. Might be a good gift for your annoying creationist relative. Here is a write-up from the publisher: In Tibet, geologist David R. Montgomery…

Here in Minnesota, and in surrounding states, there is some real tension between Native and Immigrant communities. The poorest, most drug-ridden, down trodden and repressed communities here are often Native, and conveniently these communities tend to be (but not always are) located far away from urban areas or other places with a lot of white…

Congratulations Shawn Otto!

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Otto has won the prestigious Minnesota Book Award. The award is very well deserved. Here’s my writeup off the book, and here’s a radio interview with the author that we did a couple of months back. Shawn’s book is a critically important analysis…

On Sunday, I interviewed Maggie Koerth-Baker, the author of Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us. The interview was live on radio, but you can listen to it here as a podcast. Maggie is the science editor at Boing Boing, a journalist, and has had an interest in energy…