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text 2017-10-22 13:47
Reading progress update: I've read 332 out of 346 pages.
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

And so the great book is published! - Merely an "abstract" of the huge work that Darwin envisaged but never produced.

 

The final chapter of this book is an essay by Huxley on the reception of The Origin of Species. That'll be interesting.

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review 2017-10-10 19:00
The Secret Life of Germs / Philip Tierno
The Secret Life of Germs: What They Are, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them - Philip M. Tierno Jr.

They're on everything we touch, eat, and breathe in -- on every inch of skin. And despite the advances of science, germs are challenging medicine in ways that were unimaginable ten years ago. No wonder the world is up in arms -- and using antibacterial soaps.

From the common cold, E. coli, and Lyme disease to encephalitis, mad cow disease, and flesh-eating bacteria, Tierno takes readers on a historical survey of the microscopic world. Rebuffing scare tactics behind recent "germ events" Tierno explains how the recycling of matter is the key to life. Yes, he'll tell you why it's a good idea to clean children's toys, why those fluffy towels may not be so clean, and why you never want to buy a second-hand mattress, but he also reveals that there is a lot we can do to prevent germ-induced suffering. You'll never look at anything the same way again.

 

 

I chose to read The Secret Life of Germs because I have often heard the author on CBC radio, brought in as an expert on microbial issues. It was published back in 2001, so some of the information it contains is out-of-date, though it was cutting edge at the time.

There is still plenty of good info in this volume. If nothing else, the author’s attention to prevention of disease was an excellent reminder as the cold & flu season approaches. I’m washing my hands more often and for longer than I had been—its so easy to get lazy about this! And handwashing goes so far towards keeping us healthy.

If I have any quibbles, it is with referring to all microbes as “germs.” To me, a germ is a disease causing agent, not a benign or helpful microbe. But I am sure that this title caught a bit more attention through using “germs” in the title than it might otherwise have garnered.

If you are interested in microbiology, may I recommend I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, which offers more recent information, also in an easy to read format.

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text 2017-10-08 14:53
Reading progress update: I've read 310 out of 346 pages.
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

Darwin commences what will become The Origin of Species - a book that will change humanity's view of itself and the entire biosphere of Earth - or at least did for that part of humanity that is both educated and not wilfully stupid.

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text 2017-10-07 16:39
Reading progress update: I've read 301 out of 346 pages.
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

Darwin had an internal conflict regarding precedence in relation to his species theory - he both wanted it and felt it was vain to want it. Hence he wrote to his close friends who  already knew what he was working on about what to do when Wallace sent him an essay that closely resembled his own unpublished "sketch" of 1844. Said sketch had already been seen by some of Darwin's friends.

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