book review

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Very Smart Birds, Very Smart Bird Book

Crows are smart. Anyone who watches them for a while can figure this out. But that is true of a lot of things. Your baby is smart (not really). Your dog is smart (not really). Ants are smart (sort of). It takes a certain degree of objective research, as well as some serious philosophy of…

Grunt: The science of humans at war

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach explores, from a scientific perspective, the gear, technologies, and methods used to keep soldiers alive, or at least less injured, overheated, starved or thirsted to death, killed by gasses, and so on. Roach is a well known and quite funny science writer who also…

The simplest project in the new book Electronics for Kids: Play with Simple Circuits and Experiment with Electricity! by √ėyvind Nydal Dahl is the one where you lean a small light bulb against the two terminals of a nine volt battery in order to make the light bulb turn on. The most complicated projects are…

I remember watching, decades ago, a short film with Picasso. There was a glass wall that you could not see, and Picasso was standing behind it, dressed like a French Artist and holding painting equipment. He then proceeded to draw lines on the glass. Each line had a particular orientation and shape. He put just…

The Mammals of Borneo

How do you judge a field guide? Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and KalimantanSome field guides you leave on the shelf and rarely look at. Others you may put in the living room to spice up the coffee table, because they make great eye candy, but…

The Wildlife of Southeast Asia

Wildlife of Southeast Asia by Susan Myers, is a new pocket identification guide covering “wildlife” in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, West Malaysia, and Singapore. It covers birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs, and invertebrates. Considering that there must be tens of millions of inverts in Southeast Asia, the coverage here is very minimal, just the highlights,…

Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests is an excellent new nature activity book for kids of a fairly wide range of ages. Like a tree, the pattern of the book is pretty straightforward but fractal like; you start off simple but end up pretty much anywhere in the…

Michael Mann has a specialty or two. Climate simulation modeling, analysis of proxy data, the study of global teleconnections, Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures over historic time scales, etc. A while back, Mann’s research interests and activities converged, I assume by some combination of design and chance (as is often the case in Academia) with a…

You can read this book review, or you can just go HERE and listen to our interview with author Christie Wilcox. I promise you in advance that you will want to read her book! But, if you want to read the book review, here it is… Did you ever do anything that hurt, then you…

Arduino Project Handbook

Huxley and I like to make Arduino projects. If you know what that means, your geek cred is good. If not, I’ll explain briefly. Arduino is an Italian based project that produces circuit boards that are controllers. A controller is a small highly specialized computer thingie that can be programmed to have various inputs and…