Category Archives: science

Of anthropology, Solzhenitsyn, and a return to the gulag archipelago

If I’ve been quiet as of late, I’ve been bedridden with a severe sinus infection, one that came with headaches so severe that I couldn’t even use my four days off of work to read. Yesterday was the first day … Continue reading

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Of Chemie, Cosmos, and Climate

What’s Eating the Cosmos tackles some of the big questions in modern cosmology, beginning with the basics — how do we know what’s out there? Where is it, what is it made of? — and continuing onward to the more changing … Continue reading

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Of Mars, Antarctica, and the human condition

Mars is a cold tease, an object of immediate interest to anyone who believes humanity needs to continue to venture outward.  It’s neither so hostile or so far from us to preclude manned missions entirely,  and it has its own resources that … Continue reading

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Conspiracies and other stories that make us human

Early last week I read Brian Dunning’s Conspiracies Declassified: The Skeptoid Guide to the Truth Behind the Theories. I used to listen to Skeptoid over a decade ago, enjoying Dunning’s research into the facts behind popular theories and unsolved mysteries. … Continue reading

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The Last Stargazers

The Last Stargazer: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers© 2020 Emily Levesque336 pages Emily Levesque was drawn to the stars from childhood on. Having realized her dream of studying them for a living, in The Last Stargazers she offers … Continue reading

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The Bird Way

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think© 2020 Jennifer Ackerman368 pages When reading an introduction to a book on anthropology, one can’t help but be impressed by the variety of human cultures: … Continue reading

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You are not so smart, and animals are not so dumb: a science twofer

Last week I read You Are Not So Smart, an often interesting if sometimes trivial review of how mental shortcuts get us in trouble. My reading of Suspicious Minds led into this, and they shared some common ground. The shortcuts … Continue reading

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Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories304 pages© 2015 Rob Brotherton We’re caught in a trap, and we can’t walk out*. Our brains orient us towards belief. No sex, no political leaning, no cultural demographic has a monopoly on conspiracy … Continue reading

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Mary Roach in bed, Frank Underwood’s crib notes, and a love story for libraries

It’s been a week of …very different books here. First up, Mary Roach’s Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. All of Roach’s previous other works, all mostly-humorous attempts to review the science of taboo or often overlooked subject, … Continue reading

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The Forest Unseen

In his Becoming Wild, Carl Safina remarked, “How long and rich a morning can be if you bring yourself fully to it. Come to a decent place. Bring nothing to tempt your attention away. Immerse in the timelessness of reality. … Continue reading

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