Neuron Culture

On my reading table

The 10,000-year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Evolution, of which I’ve so far read about 1000 words — but I just got it. Appears to be The Beak of the Finch (faster than expected evolutionary changes) in humans, but with this delicious addtion: the idea that culture can drive evolution, so that the line between “nature” (biology) and “nurture” (culture) finally vanishes. We’ll see.

Sean Carroll’s Remarkable Creatures, which got pre-empted (for work reasons) by the above-named Explosion. Looks quite juicy.

The Dangerous River, R.M. Patterson’s account of his time exploring the Nahanni river, way up in the Yukon, back in the late 1920s. A fabulous book — and a great one to read in deep winter (when I started this second read of mine), as the winter passages make it hard to feel cold by comparison …. even in northern Vermont. I’m pleased to see this hard-to-find classic has just been re-issued, this time by Touchwood Editions. The new issue apparently has photos that aren’t in the Chelsea Green print I have.

Obama’s Dreams From My Father. Still early in it, but quite impressed. Man can write, and while there is art, there is little artifice.

Just finished: The Fortune of War, #6 in Patrick O’Brien’s splendid Aubrey-Maturin series. I daren’t try to describe how happy these books make me.


  1. #1 David
    April 14, 2009

    The 10,000 Year Explosion is on my “next batch” list after I get through a sizable stack on my nightstand (and coffee table, and floor, and…) Please let me know if you recommend it once you’re finished. A few from my pile:

    The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson. So far (25 or so pages in) Johnson does not dissapoint — writing is lucid and the content engaging.

    Intelligence and How to Get It by Richard Nisbett. I’m doing an interview with Nisbett and read for background — a quite solid refutation of extreme intelligence heretitarianism – good stuff.

    Moral Clarity by Susan Neiman. I started this book a month or so ago and put it down about 100 pages in. It’s engaging, but not well-focused. Neiman tends to take off in different directions before she’s really made her point. I’ll pick it up again after I get through a few others.

    Oh, and for kicks I through in Watchmen, which I really enjoyed — nice diversion.

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