Moonstruck: How lunar cycles affect life...
In "Moonstruck", Naylor delivers a tutorial on separating myth from reality. Myths, fables, and tales featuring the moon's influence on life on Earth about in just about every culture. The scientific community as a whole is deeply skeptical. Naylor sets out to determine what some of the very real influences of the Moon on life are and carefully describes how we know what we know about them. Okay, there's a behavior that correlates with the tides, but is this animal just responding to when it gets wet, or does it have an internal clock? How do we determine that, and what does it mean for our understanding of that organism?
Most of the effects he describes are tidally-linked and have to do with marine life. He does cover some other effects, and then in the last chapter addresses some myths about human lives being affected by lunar cycles. The only evidence that seemed up for interpretations one way or another has to do with our sleep cycles. The moon doesn't cause people to go crazy or commit crimes. It's traditional beliefs like these that make scientists cringe. But Naylor expertly aims his arguments at those who appreciate true scientific arguments. Most of those myths are nothing more. But some of them are based on a seed of truth. And in the stories that he tells, there are some unlikely characters. I rolled my eyes at the lengthy section on the sea louse (yes, that's a thing) only to be later intrigued by the lowly dung beetle navigating by the polarization of light from the full moon. Okay, he got me. That's pretty cool.
It's not exactly a chatty book, but I recommend it for fans and/or students of science who want to learn about the process of science. He handles the presence of truth mired in myth expertly.
I got a free copy of this from Net Galley.