book review

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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…

How Dogs Won The World

Years ago I proposed a theory (not anywhere in print, just in seminars and talks) that went roughly like this. Humans hunt. Dogs hunt. Prey animals get hunted. Each species (or set of species) has a number of characteristics such as the ability to stalk, track, kill, run away, form herds, etc. Now imagine a…

Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth (Build It Yourself) covers many concepts in earth science, from paleontology to climate systems to how to make a battery out of apple (how can a kid’s science activity not include the apple battery!). This book represents an interesting concept, because it involves kids in mostly easy…

Tales of the Ex-Apes

Jonathan Marks’ new book is called “Tales of the Ex-Apes: How We Think about Human Evolution” I’ve got to tell you that when I first saw the title of this book, the letters played in my head a bit. Tails of the Ex-Apes. That would be funny because apes don’t have tails. Or Tales of…

A Guest Review by John Abraham Wow! I just put down the best science fiction book I’ve read in a long time, and certainly the best Star Wars book I’ve ever read. Just like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones have made fantasy stories hip, the rebooted Star Wars franchise is making science…