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{ Category Archives } Science

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir We read this book for my SF group this month in anticipation of the film being released soon.  Amazing! Through a cascading set of mishaps, Mark Whatney is left for dead on Mars by his fellow astronauts. This novel tells the exciting and harrowing tale of attempt to survive.  A […]

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe; narrated by Wil Wheaton If you don’t read XKCD or Munroe’s weekly “What If?” column over at, you’re really missing out.  This book collects some of the best What If columns, plus adds a bunch of new ones.  It’s a simple premise: […]

Thinking about dead bodies: Stiff, by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, narrated by Shelly Frasier As always, Mary Roach explores a topic of interest and (perhaps) disgust with tact, verve, and lots of humor.  In this book–the first of her science books–Roach explores the myriad ways we deal with death and dead bodies, and explains how […]

In one end and out the other. Gulp by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller Mary Roach’s latest book explores the digestive process, from beginning to end, looking at what scientists think and have thought, what they study, and how they go about it.  It’s great, as usual, with lots of funny moments.  A few thoughts: […]

I know where I’ll be October 17th…

At the Simon Winchester reading at Unity Temple. Viz: The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible Please join us for an evening with Simon Winchester discussing his new book, The Men Who United the State: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the […]

Great, another thing to worry about in the cold dark of the middle of the night.

Years ago I saw the Discovery channel (or was it SyFy?) movie Super Volcano and added a fear of a massive North American purge in the wake of a Yellowstone eruption to my worry-list.  I read Simon Winchester’s Crack at the Edge of the World  about the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed San Francisco […]

The Atlantic

By Simon Winchester A solid and enjoyable audio book about the history of the ocean and its influence on human society.  A couple thoughts: The Atlantic is getting 4 inches wider each year. The story he tells of how the Grand Banks were wiped out is downright sad. I love Winchester’s voice. Overall, not bad.  […]

Ada Lovelace Day: Rosalind Franklin

Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today. Come 16 October, simply write a blog post, record a podcast, film a video, draw a comic, or pick any other way to talk about the women who […]

The Technologists

by Daniel Pearl; narrated by Stephen Hoye Set just after the civil war in Boston, Daniel Pearl’s The Technologists follows the adventures of several students at the recently-founded Massachusetts Institute of Technology as they grapple with a madman attacking with plagues of science.  Pearl does a great job building a convincing environment for his story, […]

A Short History of Nearly Everything

by Bill Bryson; narrated by Richard Matthews Once again, Bryson turns his hand to something new (he’s written travel books, history, language, memoir, and now science!).  Of course, he does it with aplomb and skill, not to mention a heavy dose of humor.  A Short History of Nearly Everything functions like a quick primer of the […]

Clever Bird

Found via BoingBoing: Goodbye, Overgrown Lizards? Previously, paleontologists have found feathers only on coelurosaurs—birdlike dinosaurs that evolved later than so-called megalosaurs such as Sciurumimus. Because Sciurumimus is not closely related to coelurosaurs, the new fossil suggests feathered dinosaurs were the norm, not the exception, Rauhut said. “Probably all dinosaurs were feathered,” he added, “and we […]

The Titanic Documentary Avalanche

Since the week of the 100th anniversary, I’ve watched several Titanic documentaries I recorded off History and Discovery in the week preceding 14 April..  Some thoughts: Titanic’s Sister Ship: The Sinking of the Britannic Good: decent footage of deep wreck diving by experienced divers Chatterton and Kohler (from the excellent book Shadow Divers). Bad: About […]

Packing for Mars

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, narrated by Sandra Burr In Packing for Mars, you will learn how much volume of flatus a burrito causes the average human to expel, you will learn that Russian scientists regularly smuggle alcohol aboard to bribe cosmonauts to conduct their experiments […]

The Wave

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey, narrated by Kristen Potter For years, sailors have told tales of freak waves, three or four times the size of the surrounding waters.  Dozens of ships disappear each year, often swamped without a sound or any warning by these […]

Regarding IL bill HB 4085

Hello Rep Yarbrough, I’m emailing as a constituent of yours (resident of the 900 block of Elgin Avenue in Forest Park, IL) to urge you to vote NO on HB 4085. As a Democrat, I suspect you are already voting this way, but I would urge you to consider the following post, written by a […]