Re: Packing For Mars

From poop jokes to warnings of bone loss, in Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Mary Roach does an amusing job of showing just how ridiculous it is to send living organisms into lifeless space. The shower never worked, the toilet barely works, and space food in the 60s was […]

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Re: The Grand Design

Despite the marquee name of Stephen Hawking (and Leonard Mlodinow) on the cover, The Grand Design reads at best like a sketchy version of a cosmology book. The lack of bibliography should have been a warning. It begins with quite a salvo: On the first page, it declares that philosophy is dead as a means […]

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Re: The World in 2050

Maybe by 2050 all this snow and ice will melt. And, after reading Laurence C. Smith’s The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future, you get the impression that you might want to be in Canada when it happens.

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Re: Supersense

Supersense by Bruce M. Hood opens with a provoking question: Would you wear a killer’s sweater? The rational part of me wants to say, Of course I would, but mostly to prove that I can ignore the vague sense of unease that idea gives me. The part of us that creates that unease is what […]

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Re: The Age of Wonder

We tend to think of the impact of science on society as something that happened recently, or at least as a 20th century phenomenon. The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes reminds us of how many themes and issues date back at least to the turn of the 19th century. You read about the exotic […]

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Re: Medium Raw

I like Anthony Bourdain, but for about a week, it seemed like he was turning up on just about every show I listen to for an interview about his latest book, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. His rant about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of […]

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Re: The Other Brain

Just when you thought the brain was complicated enough as it is, it turns out we barely even know what most of the brain cells is doing. In The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science, by R. Douglas Fields, the “other brain” refers to […]

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Re: Zoo Story

Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives, Thomas French is filled with wonderful stories about the lifes and deaths of animals in the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.  We get a little time with the herpetologists and the snakes, and the vanishing Panamanian Golden Frog, but mostly the mammals hold our attention. We get […]

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Of Librarians and Bats

Yesterday, I declared that I refused to read a story. Today I am declaring — with regret — that I’m not going to read This Book is Overdue, either. Marilyn Johnson makes the contemporary role of libraries sound fascinating when she’s on the radio. I even heard her a couple times, but I just couldn’t […]

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