Archive for: November, 2016

Best Science Books 2016: Popular Mechanics

Nov 28 2016 Published by under best science books 2016, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is Popular Mechanics Gift Guide For The Bookworm In Your Life.

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide To The World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets by Tyler Nordgren
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before loosing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2016: New York Times 100 Notable Books

Nov 24 2016 Published by under best science books 2016, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is New York Times 100 Notable Books.

  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France
  • I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before loosing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2016: Amazon.com Best Books of 2016

Nov 23 2016 Published by under best science books 2016, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is Amazon.com Best Books of 2016, Biographies & Memoirs, Business and Investing, History, Nonfiction, Science.

  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez,
  • The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
  • The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case
  • The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb
  • The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams
  • Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson
  • The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben and Tim Flannery
  • Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michael A. Strauss
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
  • Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
  • The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll
  • Now: The Physics of Time by Richard A. Muller
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
  • What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe
  • How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight by Julian Guthrie and Richard Branson
  • Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
  • Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson
  • The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir by Thomas Dolby
  • Venomous: How Earth's Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry by Christie Wilcox
  • This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society by Kathleen McAuliffe
  • Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna Levin
  • Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets by Tyler Nordgren
  • Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah J. Hardt

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before loosing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

One response so far

Best Science Books 2016: The Washington Post

Nov 21 2016 Published by under best science books 2016, science books

And so it begins.

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is The Washington Post Best Books, Nonfiction, Memoirs.

  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age by Dan Zak
  • Code Warriors: NSA’s Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union by Stephen Budiansky
  • The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams
  • The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner
  • In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening by John Elder Robison
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before loosing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

No responses yet

Presentation: The Conservative War on Science: What's a Librarian to Do?

Just a quick post to get a recent set of presentation slides up here on the blog.

Earlier this week a colleague in the Science and Technologies Studies program here at York hosted me in her fourth year undergraduate seminar class. Rather than my accustomed and normal role of librarian (I happen to be the STS liaison librarian at the moment), I was invited to appear as seminar subject. In other words, she wanted me to talk about my long history of science policy advocacy and activism and a little about how I feel about the current Canadian government.

Which I sort of did, I guess. I also ended up talking about how I view activism in an academic research context, which of course, lead me to talk a little about the implications of altmetrics in a "publish or perish" academic environment.

Of course, there's a surprise ending, but I'll leave that to you to discover in the slides. By the way, it might seem that there are a lot of slides, but most of them are really quite brief.

Enjoy!

2 responses so far

Documenting the Donald Trump War on Science: Pre-Inauguration Edition

Update 2017.01.31: First post-inauguration chronology post is done, covering the first week of the Trump administration.

From the point of view of someone sitting North of the Canadian/US border, the results of this week's US Federal election are somewhat terrifying. And honestly and truly as a Canadian and a Torontonian, I say this without a bit of smugness. Been there, done that, if not quite on the same scale.

And by done that, I mean that I've often seen my mission to document important stories in the world. In the past, mostly Canadian or mostly in the library world and all basically about science.

This time around, I'm going to start a project about science in the new Donald Trump administration. I believe Trump will be terrible for science, technology, the environment and public health. And I intend to document that here. Of course, Trump won't be terrible for science in exactly the same way that Harper was in Canada. For example, he may not target research funding in the same way. On the other hand, the environment may fare much worse and ultimately muzzling may also prove to be a problem. It's only over the course of the next couple of years that we'll really and truly get a sense of the implications.

But why wait until we see the share of how exactly Trump is bad for science to start keeping track?

I like what David Kipen said today in the LA Times.

If all these experiences have taught me anything, it’s that librarians may be the only first responders holding the line between America and a raging national pandemic of absolutism. More desperately than ever, we need our libraries now, and all three of their traditional pillars: 1) education, 2) good reading and 3) the convivial refuge of a place apart. In other words, libraries may be the last coal we have left to blow on.

First Responder -- Information Division is a role I can live with.

Like Anil Dash says, "Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work."

Don’t waste a single moment listening to the hand-wringing of the pundit class about Why This Happened, or people on TV talking about What This Means. The most important thing is that we focus on the work that needs to be done now. While so many have been doing what it takes to protect the marginalized and to make society more just, we must increase our urgency on those efforts, even while we grieve over this formidable defeat.

It is completely understandable, and completely human, to be depressed, demoralized or overwhelmed by the enormity of this broad embrace of hateful rhetoric and divisive policy. These are battles that have always taken decades to fight, and progress has never been smooth and steady — we’ve always faced devastating setbacks. If you need to take time to mourn, then do. But it’s imperative that we use our anger, our despair, our disbelief to fuel an intense, focused and effective campaign to protect and support the marginalized.

And it has to start now.

My small contribution is focusing on the effects the Trump administration will have on science, technology, the environment and public health. (As with my Canadian project, I consider healthcare funding models outside of my scope.)

So let's get started. I have a few sections to this post. The first will focus on documenting what happened before November 8, 2016. What he said about science and the environment. The second section will focus on commentary in the past few days since the election. The third section will be similar, but focusing on the implications for Canada. The final section will begin documenting actual anti-science actions and policies (yay, we already have a couple!)

Wish me luck. As usual, everyone should feel free to suggest things I've missed, either in the comments or privately at dupuisj@gmail.com. I'm not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I'm picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.

 

Pre-Election Commentary

 

Post-Election Commentary

 

Post-Election Commentary Added November 21, 2016

 

Post-Election Commentary Related to Implications for Canada

 


And finally, the beginning of the tally of cuts, etc.

 

Some Meta-Commentary Related More to Activism than Directly to Science

 

To repeat. This initial list is quick and very preliminary. Please let me know if there's anything you think I should include, either in the comments or at dupuisj@gmail.com. I'm not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I'm picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.

If I've missed anything or if anything I've included probably shouldn't be included, let me know and I'll take a look and evaluate.

I will be updating this master list as time goes by.

 

Update 2016.11.21. Quite a bit of commentary added, as well as some general info related to activism and resistance. One incident added, related to Steve Bannon. I'm treading a fine line between "what might happen and it would be bad" and "this is a thing that we know is actually happening." Probably the announcement of the actual cabinet will bring more information on the what the Trump presidency will mean for science, the environment and public health.
Update 2016.12.06. Quite a bit added again, lots of commentary and "meta" items. In particular, as the cabinet and other appointments are fleshed out, there's more to identify as issues.

14 responses so far