book review

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Pterosaurs by Mark Witton

Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy by Mark P. Witton is a coffee-table size book rich in detail and lavishly illustrated. Witton is a pterosaur expert at the School of Earh and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. He is famous for his illustrations and his work in popular media such as the film “Walking…

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide

There is a new book out on Penguins: Penguins: The Ultimate Guide written and edited by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones, and Julie Cornthwaite. It is a beautiful coffee table style book full of information. All of the world’s species are covered (amazingly there are only 18 of them) and there are more than 400…

Don’t Even Think About #ClimateChange

Climate change is emotional, especially when the effects are disastrous and people’s lives are ruined. It is vague, sometimes. For example, bad weather happens and always has happened, so an increase in frequency or severity of bad weather isn’t necessarily qualitatively novel, and can be hard to put one’s finger on. Although the negative effects…

According to John Berger, author of the newly released book Climate Peril: The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Climate Crisis, time is running out. The climate is changing in ways that will bring unwanted results, and we as a species are slow off the mark to do something about it. Climate Peril: The Intelligent…

Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds by science writer John Pickrell is coming out in December. As you know I’ve written a lot about the bird-dinosaur thing (most recently, this: “Honey I Shrunk the Dinosaurs“) so of course this sounded very interesting to me. In a way, Pickrell’s book is a missing link, in…

So, you accept the science of climate change and global warming as legit. But you often encounter people, at family gatherings, on your Facebook page, on Twitter, at social events, etc. who don’t. Do you keep your mouth shut when someone says something clearly wrong that brings the science into question illegitimately? If you do,…

There are a lot of great and admirable religious leaders. Gandhi. Some other guys. But there are also a lot of bad ones. Did you ever want to have a place to look up who these dudes are (and most, but not all, are dudes)? This may be especially helpful if you find yourself in…

Sins of Our Fathers by Shawn Otto

JW, protagonist, is a flawed hero. He is not exactly an anti-hero because he is not a bad guy, though one does become annoyed at where he places his values. As his character unfolds in the first several chapters of Shawn Otto’s novel, Sins of Our Fathers, we like him, we are worried about him,…

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…