book review

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Spring Break Birding!

If you are a birder and you are going on Spring Break (from the US), don’t forget that there are birds where you are going. And, probably, there are bird books that cover your destination. One of the really cool things about North American birding is that when you do go down to tye Yucatan,…

Drift by Rachel Maddow: Chapter 1

I just got my copy of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow (signed by the author!) and I’m reading it with great interest, even though I’m totally swamped with other things. Damn you Rachel Maddow for writing such an engaging book! I’m just starting it but wanted to share a couple…

Why are atheists so angry?

And they are! Just yesterday I was hanging around with a bunch off atheists and they were all pretty angry. They were even getting angry with each other. I could hear “get off my lawn” as a more or less constant droning sound in the background. People who are not atheists, or who may be…

In September, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and soon after Jews living in ghettos in Poland’s cities were identified, sequestered, rounded up, shipped off to work camps or concentration camps, and exterminated as part of what we know of today as the Holocaust. Several Jews managed to avoid being arrested by pretending to be something else,…

The State of State Science Standards

The vast majority of American public school students are not proficient in the level of science learning expected for their age group. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute has issued “The State of Science Standards 2012” as part of an effort to assess the causes of this dismal state of affairs. Here’s a map summarizing their…

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Michael Mann, famous climate scientist, has released a book called The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (also available as a Kindle edition). I’ve not read it yet but I thought you’d like to know about it. Michael Mann is the guy who came up with the Hockey Stick graph…

Did you know that there is an entire group of birds called “Tube Noses” because they have tubes on their noses? Well, to be more exact, the term is “tubenoses” and the noses are beaks. The tubes are tubular nostril-like thingies that most (all?) birds have which are extra tube-like in the tubenoses. Thus the…

Wildlife of Southern Africa

Wildlife of Southern Africa , by Martin Withers and David Hosking, is new (August 2011) and good. If you are planning a trip to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana or anywhere nearby, or if you live there and like to go to the bush sometimes, consider it. This is a pocket guide, it is small, has…

Two New Books on Human Evolution

The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution and Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life are two very recent books on human evolution, both of which I recommend, depending on your interests. The first is by Dean Falk, who has studied brain endocasts for the…

The Inquisition of Climate Science

I’m enjoying James Lawrence Powell’s book “The Inquisition of Climate Science” Powell’s book specifically addresses the clilmate change denialist movement and the global warming deniers themselves, and does so severely. He documents and discusses who is paying for climate change denialism documents the lack of scientific credenntials of the denialists, and outlines and describes in…