Category Archives: books

Lawrence Krauss’s new book on the history of modern physics

Physicist Lawrence Krauss made quite a stir with his previous book, A Universe From Nothing. He took a lot of flak for defining “nothing” as a quantum vacuum, which of course could indeed produce a universe through the appearance of particles that pop into and out of existence, yielding the Big Bang. Theologians and philosophers, affronted, quibbled about […]

The secret of zebra stripes solved—or so scientists say

Over the past five years I’ve written several posts on the long-standing and vexing question, “Why on earth do zebras have stripes?” (See posts here, here and here.) If you’ve read those posts, you’ll know about the experiments that seemed to settle the issue, or at least that gave a good indication of the evolutionary forces that promoted the […]

Monica Crowley, accused plagiarist, quits position with Trump administration

As I’ve reported previously (here and here), Monica Crowley, whom Trump’s appointed to be senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, was accused of extensive plagiarism not just in a 2012 HarperCollins book (which has since been pulled), but also in her Ph.D. thesis at Columbia University. Now, according to CNN and the […]

A new general book on evolution by Steve Jones (and one on climate change by Prince Charles)

I often get emails from parents asking if there are good books on evolution for their kids. I’ve recommended some (Grandmother Fish is quite good), and some day I’ll compile a list, though I haven’t read them all and really can’t compare them. But at least I can call your attention to new ones. In this case […]

Forbes’s choice of best popular biology books of 2016

As I’m out at a meeting in Los Angeles (with a hotel room having a lovely view of the LAX runways–seriously, it’s cool: photo at bottom), I can’t really post much on science, which requires reading a paper several times and then having a lot of time to write about it. So for today’s biology fix, let me just […]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reviews Ali Rizvi’s “The Atheist Muslim” in the NYT (and a new book by Omar Saif Ghobash)

Last November I wrote about Ali Rizvi‘s new book, The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason, and recommended it. I had read it in galleys and provided a cover blurb, which is below: “In this timely and important book, Ali Rizvi deftly weaves together two narratives: the abandonment of his Muslim faith, and a […]

Monica Crowley’s book pulled by HarperCollins

UPDATE: Readers have noted in the comments that Crowley also stands accused of plagiarizing parts of her Ph.D. dissertation in international relations at Columbia University. Politico reports (and gives examples in their piece: Crowley submitted her dissertation, titled “Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy: The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of […]

Richard Adams died

The Guardian reports the announcement given on Richard Adams’s website: the author of Watership Down died on Christmas Eve. He was 96. While Adams wrote other books, it was Watership Down (published in 1972, and initially rejected by four publishers) for which he’ll be remembered. I read it as soon as it came out, and although I […]

A photo book of biological marvels (and my own take on two of them)

I can’t brain today, which is lucky because there’s nothing substantive to write about—and I have other work to do. So enjoy these photographs from Robert Clark’s new photo book: Evolution: A Visual Record. I’ve selected a few photographs from a longer selection in the December 8 Washington Post. The notes at flush left are mine but are […]

Guardian asks scientists to choose their best reads of the year

I’ve already mentioned somewhere that the New York Times‘s list of 2016’s 100 notable books had about 2 or 3 science books, and its shortened list of the 10 best books had no science books. Given the “two cultures”, one would expect more. Our own Matthew Cobb noticed the same issue with the Guardian’s 110-best list (chosen by writers) […]