Archive for the 'Uncategorized' category

Friday Fun: National Park Service Temporarily Ordered To Stop Tweeting: Reactions From Wildlife

Jan 27 2017 Published by under friday fun, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

This one from Samantha Bee is so funny, I don't know whether to laugh to cry.

On second thought, mostly cry. Lots and lots of crying. The only thing that will save me is singing a rousing chorus of Bruce Springsteen's Badlands in honour of the crazy wonderful park rangers at Badlands National Park. It's not hard to imagine a recent meeting going down like that famous scene from Casablanca -- "Play La Marseillaise. Play it!"

Anyways, back to Samantha Bee and National Park Service Temporarily Ordered To Stop Tweeting: Reactions From Wildlife.

Rock Squirrel, Zion National Park
“This may just seem like a ​tiny moment in the larger unfurling of Trump’s autocracy, but for those of us who live in the parks — who mate there, who forage for stems there — it is a chilling reminder that no habitat is beyond the reach of a​ determined despot.”

American Alligator, Everglades National Park
“This was a real wake-up call for me. I think we all drift into complacency. We all get so caught up with hunting muskrat and sunning ourselves on logs that we forget that what happens in Washington affects us all, maybe now more than ever.”

One response so far

Best Science Books 2016: New York Magazine Science Books We Loved This Year

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, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Since we're in mid-January, I'll probably only be posting two or three more lists after this one, at most. Probably one more this week and maybe a couple next week. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Today's list is New York Magazine 5 Science Books We Loved This Year.

  • The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
  • On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor
  • Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

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

Friday Fun: Trump To Require All Science Article Peer Review Reports to End with the Word “Sad!”

Jan 13 2017 Published by under friday fun, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

Or "LOve!" Or "Scooped!"

One word peer review! A game you can play at home!

  • Sad!
  • Love!
  • Changes!
  • Scooped!
  • Redo!
  • Copied!
  • Not!
  • Even!
  • Wrong!
  • Cite!
  • Me!

One word peer review is going to be Huuuuugggggggeeeeee!


Trump To Require Reviewers To End All Reviews With the Word “Sad!”

Washington DC – President-Elect Mr. Donald Trump has tweeted that he will require all reviewers for all journals and grant agencies to end all reviews with the word “Sad!”

Trump tweeted that all reviewers should be required to select the wording for their reviews from an approved list of words.

The approved list of words includes “Stupid”, “Dumb”, “Weak”, “Loser”, “Politically Correct”, “Moron”, “Tough”, “Dangerous”, “Bad”, “Lightweight”, “Amazing”, “Huge”, “Tremendous”, “Terrific” and “Out of Control”.

Read the whole article! It's funny! Add your own one word peer reviews in the comments!

4 responses so far

Friday Freak Out: Dystopian reading for a nervous new year

Somehow I think 2017 is going to be a bit more of a Friday Feak Out year than a Friday Fun year...

And in that spirit, some freak out fiction for your reading list this year. It'll be a great year for novels highlighted how truly awful the world could get if we let it.

For your 2017 reading please, a year of dystopian reading. A dozen suggestions (with a few bonus suggestions) for dystopian reading in the new year, one per month to keep us all grounded in an unforgiving world, but not so much that we'll lose hope. One per month should leave plenty of time for reading comedy!

Of course, in compiling the list below I took advantage of some other who were also thinking along the same dystopian lines...

I've read most of these, mostly quite a while ago. A few others have been widely recommended in the lists I cite above so I'm considering them part of my new year's reading list. I also tried to come up with a few that haven't been widely recommended on other lists. I'm currently re-reading 1984 and may over the course of the year reread one or two others which I haven't read in decades, like The Handmaid's Tale. I've also included a couple of perhaps less strictly dystopian politically-themed novels that seem appropriate for variety's sake.

Enjoy! Freak out!

  1. 1984 by George Orwell (Bonus: Animal Farm)
  2. Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
  3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  4. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  6. The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
  7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Bonus: The MaddAddam Trilogy)
  8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  9. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (Bonus: Parable of the Talents)
  10. The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
  11. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  12. V is for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Bonus political novel: The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon.

What are some dystopian or political novels you would suggest? Or maybe even some comedy for balance?

6 responses so far

Best Science Books 2016: The Guardian

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, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is The Guardian Robin McKie’s best science books of 2016, History, Nature.

  • The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives by Helen Pearson
  • Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time by Simon Garfield
  • A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes by Adam Rutherford
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Reality Is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli
  • A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic by Peter Wadhams
  • I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves by Charles Fernyhough
  • Tide: The Science and Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler
  • Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide by Charles Foster
  • The Ethical Carnivore: My Year Killing to Eat by Louise Gray
  • Orison for a Curlew: In Search for a bird on the edge of extinction by Horatio Clare
  • Shallow Seas by Peter J. Hayward
  • Falcons by Richard Sale
  • Slugs and Snails by Robert Cameron
  • The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird's Egg by Tim Birkhead
  • The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley
  • Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each edited by Melissa Harrison
  • Arboreal: A Collection of New Woodland Writing edited by Adrian Cooper
  • A Tale of Trees: The Battle to Save Britain's Ancient Woodland by Derek Niemann
  • The Wood for the Trees by Richard Fortey
  • Knowing Your Place: Wildlife in Shingle Street by Jeremy Mynott
  • The Big Cat Man: An Autobiography by Jonathan Scott
  • No Way But Gentlenesse: A Memoir of How Kes, My Kestrel, Changed My Life by Richard Hines
  • A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines
  • The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
  • Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir by Chris Packham

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

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

Music Mondays: Best Jazz Albums 2016: A list of lists

Dec 18 2016 Published by under friday fun, music, music mondays, Uncategorized

Another annual obsession to add to the list, along with the listings of best science books? Look like it, if last year and this year are anything to judge by.

This particular post collects lists of "best of the year" jazz albums I've found across various websites. For the purposes of this project, I'm not giving each list its own post and showcasing the albums that are part of the list. That's an awful lot of work, which I'm reserving for the science books project which is more core to the mission of this blog.

Note: I've included a few not-exclusively-jazz lists if they've happened to include either jazz sections or lots of jazz-ish items. If this project has any happy outcome, it would have to be my readers broadening their musical horizons by discovering great new music through these lists, the wider and more varied the better.

Enjoy! And happy listening!
 

 

There are certainly many more lists to come, probably many of them only popping up well into the first week of January. I'll probably update this post a few more times up until that point. In particular, there are not too many Canadian lists yet so I'm looking forward to catching up with some of them.

If I'm missing any lists, please let me know in the comments.

Related, from last year here's a huge list of lists of lists covering jazz, even very marginally. I'm looking forward to this year's compilation. Avant Music News is collecting lists for jazz and experimental music. Eric Alper is doing the same thing for "best of" lists across a wider range of genres.

For a much more comprehensive 2016 "list of lists" for jazz and other kinds of music, try this one from Dean Minderman on St. Louis Jazz Notes.

As for my own "Best of the Year" list, given how much I love reading and aggregating such lists, I'm surprisingly not so much into making one for myself. That being said, here are a few albums from the jazz & blues world that I found particularly wonderful in 2016.

  • Take Me to the Alley by Gregory Porter
  • Let Me Get By by The Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Blackstar by David Bowie
  • A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke by Vijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith -
  • Ride the One by Paul Reddick
  • Perfection by The Murray, Allen & Carrington Power Trio
  • Emily's D+Evolution by Esperanza Spalding
  • Heal My Soul by Jeff Healey
  • Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny by Cuong Vu Trio with Pat Metheny

(Yeah, I know, it's not quite Monday as I'm posting this, but close enough...)

 

Update 2016.12.22. Added a bunch of new ones since the 18th as well as filling in some missed ones.
Update 2017.01.06. A bunch of new ones, of course, and a few ones I missed before. I'm unlikely to update again unless there's a gap needing filling such as discovering a bunch of non-English language posts that I've missed. If you know of any such posts that I've missed, please let me know either to dupuisj at gmail dot com or in the comments.

One response so far

Best Science Books 2016: Goodreads Choice Awards

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, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is Goodreads Choice Awards: Nonfiction, Memoir and Autobiography, History and Biography, Science and Technology.

  • The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  • The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
  • The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll
  • Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
  • Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
  • Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty
  • In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan, Caren Zucker
  • Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson
  • On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor
  • Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
  • I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
  • Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
  • Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest by Julie Zickefoose
  • Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

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 Economist Books of the Year 2016

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, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is The Economist Books of the Year 2016.

  • I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Patient HM: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body by Jo Marchant
  • The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

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

Friday Fun: Scooby Doo Team Expose Climate Change Tricksters

Somehow this post from News Biscuit seems even more relevant now than when it was intially published back in August. Of course, we all shudder to think who will be under that ghostly costume, orange hair, Alaska plaid, Brietbart ball cap and all.

Scooby Doo Team Expose Climate Change Tricksters

A two-man, two-woman, one-Great Dane team of young Americans has exposed the belief that the Earth is heading towards widespread famine and ecological disaster, as the work of a scheming fraudster. Team leader Fred explained that they were passing through Central London in their VW camper van when a recent copy of the Daily Express alerted them to a mystery.

Despite increasing talk about global warming, recent winters have often been quite cold. ‘We suspected there might be something odd going on, so we split into two teams,’ Fred told reporters. ‘Me, Daphne and Velma looked in the basement at the Met Office, while Shaggy and Scooby were sent to explore the newsroom of a little-known newspaper called The Guardian which had been publishing some of these made-up stories.’

Read this whole thing and shudder.

No responses yet

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

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