Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comet Calamity Considered in Sky & Telescope

The July issue of Sky & Telescope just arrived, in time for the last few days of July's theme: Celebrate Astronomy! as part of the Year of Science. The cover, by S&T artist Casey Reed, is sure to draw you in, illustrating the question "Did a comet wipe out early North Americans and the huge beasts they hunted?" How can you resist such a provocative query? "Demise of the megabeasts" indeed - and what role was played by the Clovis people thought to be in North America at the time? Those "ice age big game hunters" were sophisticated predators, notes Paul Martin of the University of Arizona.

Science is so fascinating when astronomy, geology, paleontology and anthropology mesh together like reading a good mystery or detective story.

The article, Ice Age Impact, was written by Ivan Semeniuk. Listen to a podcast of scientists who were interviewed for the article at

Monday, July 27, 2009

NPR Interviews Natl Geographic Spelunker and Photographer Stephen Alvarez

National Public Radio unveiled its re-imagined site today and a host of great stories are suddenly at your fingertips. I was immediately drawn to The Picture Show, featuring "Caves, Cameras, and Explosives," and applaud NPR's collaboration with National Geographic to broaden the audience of photographer Stephen Alvarez. I was entranced by all of the photos, from the sublime and awesome to the arguably undignified (the shot of a spelunker's feet in the air, upper torso down a hole is such a great contrast to the grandeur of spelunker suspended in Ellison's Cave, Georgia). The feature article, "Deep Southern Caves" by Mark Jenkins was published June 2009, and can be perused in print in the Main library (Azariah's Cafe popular magazine collection) or explored online.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scientific American on 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11

from Scientific American: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11
"Four decades after mankind's giant leap, a look at the harrowing first lunar landing, the Apollo missions that never flew, and how the historic event looked from the Soviet Union."

Related resource from Springer and Praxis Publishing, available to Oberlin users electronically at
Author Harland, David M
Title The first men on the moon [electronic resource] : the story of Apollo 11 / David M. Harland
Publish Info New York ; Berlin : Springer ; Chichester, U.K. : Praxis Publishing, 2007

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Carbon, Oil Peak, and Climate Change

This title, now on the new book shelf, may answer questions raised by Sarah Palin's op-ed piece last week (and also explains relevant issues that Ms. Palin did not address):

Carbon shift : how the twin crises of oil depletion and climate change will define the future / edited by Thomas Homer-Dixon with Nick Garrison.
[Toronto] : Random House Canada, 2009.
QC981.8.G56 C36 2009.

From the publisher's web site:
Carbon Shift brings together six of Canada’s world-class experts to explore the question of where we stand now, and where we might be headed. It explores the economics, the geology, the politics, and the science of the predicament we find ourselves in. And it gives each expert the chance to address what they think are the most important facets of the complex problem before us.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PLoS One Projected to Become Largest Scholarly Journal Worldwide

This message was sent by Heather Morrison today, with exciting news regarding one of the newest journals from the Public Library of Science (PLoS):

"PLoS One is projected to publish about 4,300 articles in 2009, making it the world's third largest journal (and already the world's largest non-physics journal). In 2010, PLoS One is anticipated to publish 8,000 articles, which would make it the world's largest scholarly journal, by far.

"One of the world's other really large journals - the American Physical Society's Physical Review D - is on the list of journals 100% convertible to the SCOAP3 Open Access Consortium. So it is entirely possible that TWO of the world's dozen largest journals will be fully open access within the next year or so."

Read more at Heather Morrison's blog, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Plethora of New Books

The July shipment of books offers enough reading for this summer and the next three, possibly, in nearly every subject area of the Science Library. Books on worms, hedgerows, nutrigenomics, chaos mathematics, corridor ecology (and that doesn't refer to mold and mites in the hallway in your building), evolutionary genetics, Einstein, color, atmospheric thermodynamics, molecular networks, polymers, the Medea hypothesis, fluvial systems, hormones, Valles Caldera, marsupials, stem cells, wild mushrooms, phytoplankton, ants, bioinorganic chemistry... the list could go on and on!

Farming with nature or Organic agriculture might be the most seasonal of titles, along with Fresh: a perishable history, as we are in the midst of the northern growing season and harvesting local produce already.

Check out the new books list and borrow something interesting for summer reading!

YoS July: Celebrate Astronomy!

The Year of Science focus for July is ASTRONOMY, and our shelves are overflowing with great, new books on the subject. Do a subject search, limited to 2007-2009, in OBIS.

The Day We Found the Universe
is one of dozens of books received in our latest new books shipment. From the book overview in Google Books [link there from OBIS]: "On January 1, 1925, thirty-five-year-old Edwin Hubble announced the observation that ultimately established that our universe was a thousand trillion times larger than previously believed, filled with myriad galaxies like our own."

This is a fascinating account of early astrophysics. Follow that historical review with books on current research, perhaps a title on Kerr black holes.

2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). The U.S.A. web site for IYA offers Galileoscopes to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of a telescope to study the skies.

The web site includes a calendar of current and historical events in astronomy, including moon phases and positions of observable planets in the night sky. Full moon, Tuesday July 7 at 3:21 a.m. Later that day (4pm) the moon will be at Apogee. Learn more about the difference between Apogee and Perigree.