book review

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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…

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…