Category Archives: science

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

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , | 8 Comments

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

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Politics and Civic Interest, Reviews, science | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

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

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Becoming Wild

Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace© 2020 Carl Safina375 pages In Becoming Wild, ecologist Carl Safina recounts his time spent with field scientists studying cetaceans, macaws, and chimpanzees, to share insights and speculation about … Continue reading

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Selections from “Becoming Wild”

“Until now, culture has remained a largely hidden, unappreciated layer of wild lives. Yet for many species, culture is both crucial and fragile. Long before a population declines to numbers low enough to seem threatened with extinction, their special cultural … Continue reading

Posted in quotations, science | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lives in Ruins

Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble© 2014 Marilyn Johnson272 pages Archaeology’s blend of history and science, topped off with a bit of danger, is a winsome combination. For those curious about it, Marilyn Johnson’s account … Continue reading

Posted in Reviews, science | Tagged , | 2 Comments