Friday, July 26, 2013

Trash animals, a birding Scot, and Hooker's lily.

There are many intriguing books on the new book shelf and it is a perfect day to check one out and head outdoors for a fair-weather read.

Trash animals: how we live with nature's filthy, feral, invasive, and unwanted species will get you thinking about the bias we humans have toward certain non-human animals.  Why should the pigeon be so denigrated while we admire the flight and cunning of the eagle?  Why is the panda valued more highly than prairie dogs?  Are we threatened by our lack of power to control the unwanted?  The essayists challenge us to "reimagine our ethics of engagement" with the maligned creatures considered in each chapter.

Alexander Wilson: the Scot who founded American ornithology is both biography and ornithological treasure.  What fun reading!  On his travels to sell subscriptions for his treatise American Ornithology, Wilson casually dropped by the White House back door, asking to see President Jefferson.  He was granted admittance, and the two men spent hours together discussing birds and science.  The President bought a subscription and was instrumental in encouraging many others to support Wilson.  American Ornithology was the first major scientific work published in America.  The Wilson Bulletin takes its name from Alexander Wilson; official publication of the Wilson Ornithological Chapter of the Agassiz Association, it was edited and published for 32 years by Lynds Jones, professor of zoology at Oberlin College.

The Flower of Empire reads like a suspense novel, telling the story of the giant Amazonian water lily (Victoria regia) and the race to make it bloom for Queen Victoria.  Sir William Jackson Hooker is central to this story, as director of the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, and the cast of Dukes with botanic interests is remarkable.

There are plenty of other new books to capture your imagination.  Take a look!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

eLife and Naked Scientists... sounds interesting!

This is from -

eLife opens science to the public with new podcast series

CAMBRIDGE, UK | July 17, 2013

eLife, the new open-access journal for outstanding research in the life and biomedical sciences, has partnered with The Naked Scientists to produce a podcast that will bring scientific results published in the journal to a wider audience. 

As an open-access venture, eLife works to put key scientific findings in the hands of more and different audiences – and to make reports more inviting, engaging, and interactive. eLife extends that effort today through partnership with The Naked Scientists, an award-winning team of broadcasters whose aim is to promote science to the general public. 

And I say, "how could this fail?"  Check it out and be inspired, educated and enchanted by science.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Photojournalists Take on Fracking | OnEarth Magazine

Gail Henry provides an excellent overview of photojournalists' efforts to document the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Images into Action | OnEarth Magazine   Their work goes beyond highly publicized photos of flammable tap water and exposes negative effects on landscapes, human communities, bodies of water and entire ecosystems, with long lasting repercussions for health and well-being.  More about MSDP | Marcellus Shale Documentary Project.

Concerned about fracking in Ohio?  Join the Don't Frack Ohio and People's Assembly, Monday July 29, in Warren, Ohio. Read more: The end of country / Seamus McGraw

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Eocypselus Rowei: Hummingbird Precursor Discovered

Eocypselus Rowei: Hummingbird Precursor Discovered

It is this type of discovery that makes me appreciate anew the marvels of evolution!  Find a couple of dozen books on the evolution of birds with this simple subject search in OBIS: birds evolution.  One of the most recent is accessible electronically, at either the OhioLINK Electronic Book Center or Springer books online.  Connect through OBIS: Avian Ancestors.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Match a Quote to a New Book Now on Display

Here's a bit of a summer challenge:  match each quote to one of the books now on display in the new book area.  Then come on in and find something enlightening to read this summer!

  1. Using cognitively sophisticated monkeys and apes as organ donors has become taboo, so researchers are now focusing on pigs...
  2. The cosmic microwave background has proven to be an extraordinarily useful tool for understanding structure in space.
  3. Without proper anesthetic... the bear is tied down by ropes, and a metal catheter, which eventually rusts, is permanently stuck through his abdomen into his gall bladder... the relief of death comes far too slowly.
  4. revealing the fine texture and granularity of the world the microscope seemed to offer the hope that what was once occult would become manifest.
  5. I was surprised to learn that dogs lose interest when meat decays past a certain point.  It is a myth that dogs will eat anything.

The above quotes came from (this is where the guessing starts):
Edge of the Universe
Frankenstein's Cat
Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
How Animals Grieve
There are many other interesting new books on display - the shelves are practically overflowing!  Something for everyone.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Conservationist Volunteer Murdered in Costa Rica

Among the headlines of the current issue of EcoAméricas is the tragic news that "Costa Rican police have yet to make an arrest in the case of Jairo Mora, a 26-year-old turtle conservationist murdered on May 31 while patrolling a Caribbean beach to protect nesting sea turtles."

The story continues: "Mora worked for the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (Widecast), a U.S.-based scientific organization dedicated to sea-turtle protection. Widecast pulled out of the Moín Beach turtle patrol program after the attack, citing a lack of security. According to Didiher Chacón, the group’s country coordinator, Widecast volunteers had received threats from people he believes were either turtle poachers or drug traffickers operating in the area."

EcoAmericas is published monthly.  In addition to important regional news stories, it provides a guide to environmental agencies, country by country.  The June 2013 issue also includes the welcome news that Brazil is on track for cutting CO2 emissions.  

Read more about sea turtle conservation efforts:  Saving Sea Turtles by James R. Spotila and Sea Turtles of the Eastern Pacific edited by J.A. Seminoff, B.P. Wallace and P.C.H. Pritchard.