logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: science-biological
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-29 07:44
Bats Sing, Mice Giggle by Karen Shanor & Jadmeet Kanwal
Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives - Jagmeet Kanwal,Karen Shanor

TITLE:  Bats Sing, Mice Giggle:  The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives

 

Author:  Karen Shanor & Jagmeet Kanwal

 

Publication Date: 2010

 

Format: e-book

 

ASIN: B00JFVOLXM

 

 

Bats Sing, Mice Giggle:  The Surprising Science of Animal's Inner Lives is an uneven collection of random animal behaviour facts grouped into themed chapters, rather than a cohesive book on animal behaviour.  

I found this book to be rather frustrating and annoying.  All the information presented in the book has the potential to be interesting, but a lot of the topics were only covered in passing, with little depth and the reader would really like to know more.  On occasion, some of the topics would just break off.  The writing style was also somewhat erratic, with some sections reading like a kiddies book, while other sections read more like a standard popular science book.  Apparently, no editor went anywhere near this book!

While the book is interesting, it would probably work better as a bathroom reader or when you only have time for short sections at a go, otherwise the lists of animal facts would become rather boring.


Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-31 09:29
The Amoeba in the Room by Nicholas P. Money
The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the Microbes - Nicholas P. Money

TITLE:  The Amoeba in the Room - Lives of the Microbes

 

AUTHOR:  Nicholas P. Money

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2014

 

FORMAT:  Hardback

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-19-966593-8

 

 

REVIEW:

 

The Amoeba in the Room is a lovely high-level overview and review of microbes (viruses, fungi, bacteria, archae, protists) and their importance in the biosphere. 

 

The author does include some scientific terminology, but nothing that is too complicated with a bit of grey-matter application.  Professor Money’s love of nature and microbes shines through in the text, with the addition of humorous and interesting ways of looking at the mundane.

 

“To approach a meaningful picture of marine biology, we need to put aside the things studied by zoologists.  A sushi bar to end all sushi bars will foster the necessary thought experiment.  Every morsel of marine muscle must be eaten in the last supper:  all the hagfish, lampreys, sharks, rays and bony fish are diced, rolled in sticky rice, wrapped in seaweed, kissed with soy sauce, and swallowed; the red meat from whales, dolphins, manatees, and walruses works well as sashimi and sea turtles make soup; all the oysters slip down with the assistance of cold white wine, all the squid are crunched calamaried; orange sea urchin gonads make a sloppy topping for sushi rolls and jellyfish can be fried.  Crabs ad lobsters are dispatched after boiling, along with the related sea spiders, barnacles, and fish lice.  This is a lot of food:  fish, great whales, and Antarctic krill alone weigh more than 1 000 million tons.  That leaves the sponges and comb jellies, penis worms and other worms, and exotics like mud dragons, but most the gustatory labor is over and the ocean is much clearer for it.  Now we can turn our full attention to the 90% of living things in the sea that cannot be seen without a microscope.”

 

 

The book is organized by environment, with chapters examining marine microbes, other water and soil microbes, airborne microbes, extreme-living microbes and those microbes that make the human body their home.  The author makes the case that the biological action of the earth is not in the visible fauna but in the microbes.  He also suggests that conservation should focus on habitats rather than a collection of animals.  Professor Money argues for nothing less than a revolution in our perception of the living world:  the animals and plants we see are just froth on a vast ocean of single-celled protists, bacteria, and viruses that constitute most of life on earth.

 

Professor Money’s book was an enjoyable and informative exploration of the astonishing extent of the microbial world and the vast swathes of biological diversity that are now becoming recognized using molecular methods.  

 

 

 

OTHER RECOMMENDED MICROBIAL BOOKS:

 

  • -March of the Microbes: Sighting the Unseen by John L. Ingraham, Roberto Kolter

 

  • -The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health by David R. Montgomery, Anne Biklé

 

  • -I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong

 

  • -Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

 

  • -Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik, Monica Murphy

 

  • -The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today by Rob Dunn

 

  • -Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA by Maryn McKenna

 

  • -The Social Amoebae: The Biology of Cellular Slime Molds by John Tyler Bonner

 

  • -Life's Engines: How Microbes made the Earth Habitable by Paul G. Falkowski

 

  • -Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today by David P. Clark

 

  • -Tales From The Underground: A Natural History Of Subterranean Life by David W. Wolfe

 

  • -Spillover: Emerging Diseases, Animal Hosts, and the Future of Human Health by David Quammen

 

  • -The Killers Within: The Deadly Rise Of Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Michael Shnayerson, Mark J. Plotkin

 

  • -The New Killer Diseases: How the Alarming Evolution of Germs Threatens Us All by Elinor Levy, Mark Fischetti

 

  • -An Unnatural History of Emerging Infections by Ron Barrett, George Armelagos
  • Bacteria: The Benign, the Bad, and the Beautiful by Trudy M. Wassenaar

 

  • -Virolution by Frank Ryan

 

  • -Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

 

  • -This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society by Kathleen McAuliffe

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-29 15:20
The Worst of Times by Paul B. Wignall
The Worst of Times: How Life on Earth Survived Eighty Million Years of Extinctions - Paul B. Wignall

TITLE:  The Worst of Times:  How Life on Earth Survived Eighty Million Years of Extinctions

 

AUTHOR:  Paul B. Wignall

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2017 (Second printing, first paperback printing)

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-691-17602-4

 

 

REVIEW:

 

260 million years ago, life on Earth suffered several waves of catastrophic extinctions, with the worst extinction wiping out over 90% of species on the planet.   In this book, Professor Wignall investigates the worst 80 million years in Earth’s history, a time marked by two mass extinctions (the end Permian and the Triassic) and four lesser crises; and sheds light on the fateful role the supercontinent of  Pangea  might have played in causing these global catastrophes.   These global catastrophes all have two factors in common:  (1) they occurred when the world’s continents were united into the single continent of Pangea; and (2) they coincided with gigantic volcanic eruptions.  The period covered in this book begins in the middle of the Permian Period, spans the entire Triassic, and finishes in the Early Jurassic. 

 

This book examines what happened during the Permo-Jurassic extinctions of Pangea, evaluate what may have caused these catastrophes (more specifically, to ask, how volcanism could have done it?), and finally to understand whether the resilience of the biosphere has changed in 260 million years or whether it has just become luckier thanks to continental separation i.e. are supercontinents bad for life.

 

Wignall examines each of the extinction events in chronological order, with numerous illustrations/diagrams as necessary to help clarify the text.  One complaint other reviewers have written about is the scientific jargon used in this book, but I have no idea how the author was supposed to make a strong argument for his hypothesis without the relevant terminology.  However, I did not consider the use of scientific terms to be excessive or complicated - the author does not go into excruciating chemical detail; he states what happens and why in understandable terms. 

 

This is primarily a book about a time when Earth was very different, a time of supercontinents, super-oceans, and super-eruptions, and above all, an age of mass extinctions.  I found the writing to be clear and logical and the book to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative.

 

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-03 08:33
Tales From The Underground by David W. Wolfe
Tales From The Underground: A Natural History Of Subterranean Life - David W. Wolfe

TITLE:  Tales from the Underground:  A Natural History of Subterranean Life

 

AUTHOR:  David W. Wolfe

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2002

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780738206790

 

The subterranean is not one world but many.  It is filled with many unique habitats, and the occupants of these habitats range in size from the microscopic bacteria to the easily visible earth worms and burrowing animals.  Tales from the Underground is not intended as a comprehensive treatment of the subject of soil ecology.  The author's goal is to introduce the reader to a few of the most intriguing creatures on the underground and to the sometimes equally intriguing scientists and explorers who have studied them.   With the many interesting creatures and scientists discussed in this book, I feel the author has achieved his goals.

This book takes a look at the Earth's most ancient life forms, the extremophiles; bacterium; fungi; earthworms; the dual nature of soils with regards to deadly plant and animal diseases; the tragic history of human interactions with prairie dogs, burrowing owls and the black-footed ferret.  This book also explores the impact of human activities on the soil resources important to our food security and the potential for using soil microbes for intermediation of damaged soil.  The author also takes a look at the various hypothesis that try to explain the origin of life in which dirt or soil play a role e.g. the "clay-gene" theory in which clay crystals act as a catalyst and gene precursors.

The author states that he hopes that as more of us become aware of the life beneath our feet, we will be inclined to work together to maintain the biological integrity of the underground, an preserve some of what we find there for future generations.


"With each new subterranean discovery, it becomes more apparent that the niche occupied by Homo sapiens is more fragile and much less central than we once thought."


This book contains diagrams where relevant and a decent reference section.  However, the author tends to select too many examples and creatures from the U.S.A, which is a bit annoying, since there is an entire planet full of underground creatures and humans that interact with them.  The book is well written without excessive biographical detail and a fair amount of detailed information on each topic.  I believe this book would be easy to understand for the general reader.  Tales of the Underground provides an enjoyable look at some of the interesting underground citizens.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-19 15:01
Restless Creatures by Matt Wilkinson
Restless Creatures - Matt Wilkinson

Matt Wilkinsons takes a fascinating look at movement.  This is a rather novel perspective of the now commonly boring subject of evolution that injects new life and ideas into the subject.  The author manages to discuss topics and provide examples that I haven't come across before in other popular science books.  As a bonus, the author also assumes his readers have some intelligence and doesn't insult us by simplifying things too much.  Restless Creatures covers all sorts of creatures, from the large to the smallest, and also includes plants which one wouldn't expect to be included in a book on movement.  The writing is beautiful, descriptive, non-biographical (thank you!!) and the author has a way with words that adds humorous twists to old perspectives.  I found this book enjoyable to read and I learned new things!

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?