Category Archives: Book Reviews

If You Think I’m Strange…

We have never completely understood the human brain.  In some ways, we’re actually frightened by the strange behaviors we’ve seen around us.  Yet out of strange behavior can come remarkable gifts, like extraordinary insight and creativity. Science journalist Helen Thomson has written a book to explore the brain’s unusual characteristics.  Entitled Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey

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The Importance of Sleep

So many people I know complain about not getting enough sleep, yet it is essential to good health.  If you fall into that category, you’ll be interested in a new book Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep from Cradle to Grave by sleep researcher Alice Gregory of Goldsmiths, University of London. I discovered this work

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Around the World in 80 Trees

If you’re interested in a summer read and are a nature lover, I’ve just stumbled across an interesting-sounding book.  Entitled Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori, the author uses plant science to explain how trees affect our everyday lives.   You can  guess some of the contents — California redwoods certainly deserve

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Revisiting President Eisenhower

During my recent trip to Asia, I was able to read Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen E. Ambrose.  Dwight Eisenhower was the first president I remember, and the only presidential library I ever visited.  His presidency is easy to overlook, coming between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman on one side and John Kennedy

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Saving the World, One Cauliflower Stem at a Time

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but on April 20, 2016, I wrote “A Simple Way to Feed The World.”  Based on a National Geographic magazine cover story of March 2016 (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics/ ), “Too Good To Waste: How Ugly Food Can Help Feed the Planet,” it discussed the challenges of having two billion more

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Where is Pumbaa When We Need Him?

Maybe I’ve spent too much time around teenage boys, but an April 6, 2018 podcast segment of the NPR program Science Friday got my attention — an interview with Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti, authors of Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence. Yes, this is serious science.  Specifically, it’s called “flatology” —

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The Secret Lives of Trees

One of the hallmarks  of the Disney animated TV show “Darkwing Duck” was a cadre of eccentric villains, like Dr. Reginald Bushroot, a vengeful botanist who became part plant after a failed experiment (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/Bushroot).  I recalled this when I read about a German forester who is giving plants credit for some very human characteristics. Peter

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