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THE BOOKSHOP BOOK
If you are obsessed with books, a bibliophile, and have a compulsive curiosity of all their permutations; writing, writers, editing, publishing and an array of their sacroscant niches: libraries and bookstores. You will be enthralled with Jen Campbell's The Bookshop Book.   As suggested by the title, the crosshair emphasis is on the nesting site of books, the bookshop, and its many mutable suprastrutures, where some infrastures are portable: burros, boats, and buses...The salient search embodied a frogness from continent to continent, six to be exact, from sea-level to mountain tops, no bookshop door knob was not turned, well, maybe a few were missed, but hundreds were visited, from the smallest to the grandest, El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tangential stories like corridors created by linear juxtapose bookshelves delvulge intimate stories about owners of the shops and the brick-mortar histories; fortifying the word  
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The Science Writers’ Essay Handbook
Looking for strategies on how to meld the essay in the blog format, I came upon Nijhuis how to book. Her hook; the attention getter, was the simile of an experiment like an essay and crafting it as another venue/mode of inquiry pursuing facts. This very much appealed to me as a biologist and a neophyte blogger. The book dissects the anatomy of an essay and how to Siren in readers. Hopefully, her suggestions will be the nuggets to attract a faithful readership  
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  • FILED UNDER: Book reviews
    Science vs Religion
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PLANKTON
A Guide to Their Ecology and Monitoring For Water Quality This year I want to initiate a study on plankton; both, freshwater and marine. Being at a lost on how to commence, I have been perusing the literature for ideas, and texts for direction on monitoring and collecting methods. The book below, the first of many texts I have purchased for guidance, edited by two Aussies -plankton is plankton, regardless of geography- is a comprehensive A to Z text. “This practical book provides a comprehensive introduction to the biology and ecology of plankton and describes its use as a tool for monitoring water quality. All the major freshwater and coastal phytoplankton and zooplankton groups are covered and their associated environmental issues are discussed. A chapter on best practice in sampling and monitoring explains how to design, implement and conduct meaningful phytoplankton and zooplankton monitoring programs in marine and freshwater habitats, as well as how to analyze and interpret the results for effective, decisive management.”
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The Exhilarating SKEPTICS AND Connection Between TRUE BELIEVERS Science and Religion
This is another book admonishing the Skeptic/Atheist to play nice; advocating tolerance to ones that need spiritual sustenance. Chet Raymo advocates a Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA, “nonoverlapping magisterial”; wherein, science and religion are afforded the breathing room to coexist peacefully, a position of respectful noninterference: Science defines the natural world; conversely, religion, our debatable moral world. Chet has a proclivity to hybridize supernatural terms with that of the natural world, comparable to a conjugal visit from Zeus with Alcmene propagating the demigod Heracles. Chet conflates natural phenomena as miracles, as with this particular example, and many more: “the red knot is a sandpiper that twice each year visits the eastern shores of the US. Every year, these tough little travelers wing more than 18,000 miles, from the southern tip of South America to the arctic islands of northern Canada and back again, stopping briefly along the way on the beaches of Delaware Bay and Cape Cod…it’s the explanation that is the miracle!
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    Victorian Literature
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DARWIN THE WRITER By George Levine
George exclaims that Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, extolled as the most important book written in English during the 19th Century, earth-quake like, rattled the foundation of our arrogant anthropocentric position in our galaxy—the universe. Professor Levine foments the suggestion that, not only does Chuckey’s theory of Evolution rock the Science world of biology, it has literary merit, “Alive with metaphor, vivid descriptions, twists, hesitations, personal exclamations, humor, the prose is imbued with the sorts of tensions, ambivalences, and feelings characteristic of great literature.” The Victorian was an artist, as well as a scientist—Dickens, Eliot, and Wordsworth need to rearrange the furniture and make room for one more in the pantheon of Victorian literary greats. “ As an Artist, Darwin writes with powerful emotional and even moral implications, and his vision of the world is not simply “tragic”, as most cultural critics have argued, Rather it is comic, an expression of awe and wonder in the face of the grandness and beauty of nature, an awe that transforms itself into paradox and affirmative narrative.”
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    Politics
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THE REPUBLICAN BRAIN The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality by Chris Mooney
If your mind and personality traits are products of your brain, and the traits are a corollary of a political preference, then, Chris suggests your biology will determine your political persuasion:  if you crave certainty and are punctilious, most likely you are a conservative; conversely, if have a proclivity for novelty, and are open minded, decisively driven by scientific facts, you’re probably leaning left liberal. There is a growing body of evidence from brain scans, polls, psychology experiments to explain why conservatives believe more wrong things, oppose new ideas, less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts, and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current perceptions; which, can be partial explicated by psychological phenomenon motivated reasoning. This conjecture suggests that one’s tendentious cognitive framing prefers only evidence that backs up their beliefs. Analyzing compilations of polemical arguments exhorts that liberal and conservatives don’t just have differing ideologies, they have different psychologies. How could the rejection of mainstream science be growing among GOP, along with the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, and foreign policy: Apparently, the answer appears to be, it’s just part of who they are
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  • FILED UNDER: Biography
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MACHIAVELLI by Miles J Unger
Miles Unger new bio on Machiavelli, whose name is an eponym for the political stratagem on how to acquire and retain power without compunction to scruples or conscience, paints Niccolo Machiavelli aesthetically with broad strokes as the father of political science; diplomat, with an astute appreciation of human nature–a predecessor of Freud, if you will–and a poet and an author; specifically, creator of La Mandragola, a renowned comedy of the Italian Renaissance. A contemporary and intimate to the renaissance polymaths: Leonardo and Michelangelo; the era’s brilliant innovators. As the patriarch of political sci he sired two opuses: The Prince and The Discourses, where the former was modeled after the notorious Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI, violent career, and the latter, an analysis of the workings of the civil state. As a product of his environment, Machiavelli’s, The Prince, was a reflection of revolutionary, tumultuous times, where geniuses and tyrants traipsed the landscapes: the manuscript was his manifestations of a pragmatic guide to aspiring politicians that is based on the world as it is, not as a should be. As an atheist, he readily dismissed the moral yard stick to facilitate decisive political and managerial direction; decisions were structured on the foundation of the natural world and the corruptible and flawed human nature p3050001-1024x768
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    Evolution
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Politics as if Evolution Mattered–Darwin, Ecology and Social Justice by Lorna Salzman
Lorna Salzman is a professional environmentalist who formerly has worked with Friends of the Earth and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. In 2002, she was the Green Party’s candidate for President. In her svelte book, Politics as if Evolution Mattered, ATP charged, Hemingway simple prose, promotes the concept that Evolution is the foundation where, all 21 Century institutions and cultures super-structures of our society are built upon. She suggest, if properly interpreted and wielded, Evolutionary thought has the capacity of shaping public discourse in a rational, ethical beneficiary venue, more so, than the mass media, pop culture trends and political ideologies. “The central dilemma of modern humanity is the failure to adapt our behaviors, institutions and objectives to certain realities which we ignore or defy through our faith in technology and religion. This defiance is at the root of our ecological crisis along with the delusion that the human species or society can be perfected” She points an accusatory finger at four institutional perpetrators that rebuff juxtaposing ecological and evolutionary strategies for a safe, resource management: Intransigent ideology, technology, social justice and human ethics. “Neither nature nor evolution can provide a moral guide for human behavior or technological and ethical choices. What they can provide is an impartial, scientific explanation of which choices are most likely to enhance welfare and survival, and which ones are more conducive to societal collapse or species extinction.” It is no exaggeration to exclaim that the disciplines of biology, ecology, modern medicine and agriculture, etc., could not exist without Darwin. Without him, these would be forced to rely on random observations and anecdotal experience, mere trial and error, with all the inherent handicaps
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  • FILED UNDER: Abortion Controversy
    Book reviews
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The Facts of Life: Science and the Abortion Controversy
Harold Morowitz & James Trefil authored a book, The Facts of Life; Science and the Abortion Controversy, elucidating and simplifying an issue that has been marred and mutantized with the culture memes of conservative politics and religious dogma. The abortion debate ascended to its political apogee mayhem with the Supreme Court’s decision of Roe v Wade, 1973. Both authors are George Mason professors, the former, biology, the latter, physics, address this philosophical, politically charge topic with a respectful nod to surreal dogma, but frame their arbitrative-like solution to this vitriolic debate in the natural world by utilizing the metric tools of science. My essay, Zygote Personhood is an Embryonic Ersatz relied heavily on this text as a reference, which is posted on my website: roysreflection.throughroyslookingglass.com Personhood is recalculated within the metrics of survivability and humanism, not a single cell, the comingling genetic material zygote from amorous parents, and a dogmatic, purported ensoulment, which incidentally, is not substantiated in the bible, covered in another essay: Abortion Debate: Refuting the Biblical Authority. What makes us uniquely human to Morowitz and Trefil is an enlarge cerebral cortex and its synaptic connection, which incidentally, it maturation, is in sync with the physiological wall (~24 weeks) of survivability of the fetus: lungs and circulatory system are fragile, and there less than optimal function relegates the fetus outside the uterus poor prognosis. So, the evangelical arguments that abortion is an abomination and immoral fails the test(s) of scripture and biological sciences; this book persuasively drives the biological argument to counter centuries of dogma, politely… 029-600x800
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  • FILED UNDER: Biography
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The Hemlock Cup
Bettany Hughes a historian of considerable acclaim, who has presented multiple documentaries for BBC, PBS, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and National Geographic—whose academic home base Oxford University, where she received a degree in ancient and medieval history has written an excellent bio on Socrates. Socrates, a 25 century icon personality (fifth-century BC), whose unrelenting oratory exercise in exposing the truth set the bar for Western philosophy. Frustrating to lovers of the written word, the prolix peripatetic never transcribed anything; his apostles, Plato, being one, chronicled his events and rhetoric—for, the Greek philosopher felt that the written words themselves are not complete representation of knowledge, but rather words are to knowledge as pictures are to their subjects. Hughes cyclically ebbs and floods from the fifth-century B.C. to the contemporary, referencing archaeological digs to project the massive marketplace, Agora, the cardiac muscle of Athens, where Socrates meandered the narrow corridors to engaged the populace in dialogue to purposefully exhume the enlightening gemstone of truth. We are guided to the battlefields where he risked life and limb, the lascivious red light districts and gymnasia; apparently, bisexuality was the norm, and the religious festivals he attended. We meet the women, few, as they were, who were core to his life: his wife, yes, I’m surprise too, didn’t realize the vagabond stood still long enough to get hitch, her name was Xanthippe, and his clandestine confidant, Aspasia. We tour his birth and self-induced death sentence sites. Hughes not only depicts the birth of the father of philosophy; but, the ectopic pregnancy of democracy…
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    Evolution
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The New Science of Evo Devo
Sean Carroll’s “THE NEW SCIENCE OF EVO DEVO” ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL completes the one long argument of Evolution trilogy, starting with the iconic On the Origin of Species, 1859 (Charles Darwin) and the genetic base sequel, Evolution the Modern Synthesis, 1942 (Julian Huxley). The Origin describes evolution through a selective process of favorable traits endowing its possessor a reproductive advantage called natural selection; the Synthesis defines the favorable traits as genes, specifically, Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA; and, EVO DEVO cogently explicates the molecular mechanics of evolution in terms of genetic tool kits and switches, the simple components imperative to build all organisms. Simply put, there is a tool kit of genes for appendages; the same gene that forms an arm for a human, a wing for a bird, a fin for a fish are one in the same. So, the philosophical question begs to be asked, if there is such simple genetic similarity between all organisms: the euglena and elephant, what evoked the immense diversity of critters. The Holy Grail lies within the switches, which lever the tool kit into operation on when and what to do: molding animal forms into size, shape and colors. ”The new understanding of tool kit genes and genetic switches explains how, from so simple a beginning, the endless forms of nature have evolved.”
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    Surfing
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Sweetness and Blood
Michael Scott Moore’s travel adventure, Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results. He paddles his way/through eight non-conventional surfing countries to explore the historical strand line to identify, who was the first “surfer” to catch a wave. In the historical strand line, he was exposed to eclectic shell shards of politics and local culture that typically would not be receptive to such a leisure activity.
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