Posts Tagged ‘books’
The Open Laboratory is the annual anthology of the best writing on science blogs. Yes, this is an actual, physical book, printed on paper.
The aim of the book is twofold: first, to showcase the quality of science blogging to the audience that does not read blogs and perhaps has a negative opinion of blogs due to the anti-blog propaganda in the mainstream media, and second, to build and strengthen the science blogging community.
The idea for the compilation came from a discussion between Anton Zuiker and a representative of the Raleigh-based online book publisher Lulu.com. They were trying to find a fun and useful way for the company to sponsor the first ScienceOnline conference (then called Triangle Science Blogging Conference). As it was late December 2006 there were only about four weeks left until the conference, so they thought there was not sufficient time to collect and publish such a book and have it ready in time for the meeting.
SCONC Presents: Writing Science: Local Authors Discuss Their Craft (an N.C. Science Festival event):
Join the Science Communicators of North Carolina as we probe the minds of local science writers to find out how they go about the process of writing a book.
How are ideas generated? What does their research process entail? How do they go about getting words down on the blank page/screen? What is the editing process like? Once the book is finished, what next?
Find out the answers to these questions and pose your own.
Thursday, September 23, 2010 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM (ET) in Research Triangle Park.
Really bad timing for me – I’ll be at the Block by Block summit on exactly the same day. I hate I will have to miss this. But you should go if you are in the area! This is bound to be awesome!
About a month ago, I told you about the book-reading event where Scott Huler (blog, Twitter, SIT interview) read from his latest book On The Grid (amazon.com). I read the book immediately after, but never wrote a review of my own. My event review already contained some of my thoughts about the topic, but I feel I need to say more, if nothing else in order to use this blog to alert more people about it and to tell everyone “Read This Book”.
What I wrote last month,
“I think of myself as a reasonably curious and informed person, and I have visited at least a couple of infrastructure plants, but almost every anecdote and every little tidbit of information were new to me. Scott’s point – that we don’t know almost anything about infrastructure – was thus proven to me.”
…was reinforced when I read the book itself: I don’t know anything about infrastructure. But after reading the book I can say I know a little bit, understand how much I don’t know, and realize how much more I’d like to know. I bet it was fun watching me as I was reading it, exclaiming on average five times per page “This is so cool”, and “Hey, this is neat” and “Wow, I had no idea!” and (rarely) “w00t! Here’s a tidbit I actually heard of before” and “Hey, I know where this is!” (as I lived in Raleigh for eleven years, I know the area well).
A few years ago, Scott was just as ignorant about infrastructure as most of us are. But then his curiousity got better of him and he started researching. He would start at his house in Raleigh and trace all the wires and cables and pipes going in and out of the house to see where they led. Sometimes there would be a crew on his street digging into the asphalt and fixing something and he would approach them and ask questions. At other times he would figure out where the headquarters are and who to ask to talk to:
To get disclaimers out of the way, first, Vanessa Woods (on Twitter) is a friend. I first met her online, reading her blog Bonobo Handshake where she documented her day-to-day life and work with bonobos in the Congo. We met in person shortly after her arrival to North Carolina, at a blogger meetup in Durham, after which she came to three editions of ScienceOnline conference.
I interviewed Vanessa after the 2008 event and blogged (scroll down to the second half of the post) about her 2009 session ‘Blogging adventure: how to post from strange locations’. At the 2010 conference, she was one of the five storytellers at the ScienceOnline Monti on Thursday night (and did another stint at The Monti in Carrboro a couple of months later). I have since then also met her husband Brian Hare and we instantly hit it off marvelously.
I have read Vanessa’s previous book, ‘It’s every monkey for themselves‘, but never reviewed it on the blog because I felt uneasy – that book is so personal! But it is an excellent and wonderfully written page-turner of a book so I knew I was in for a treat when I got a review copy of her new book, Bonobo Handshake (amazon.com). I could not wait for it to officially come out so I could go to the first public reading (where I took the picture) at the Regulator in Durham on May 27th, on the day of publication.
Vanessa will also soon read/sign the book at Quail Ridge Books on June 9th at 7:30pm, and at Chapel Hill Borders on June 12th at 2pm (also June 22 at Barnes & Noble on Maynard in Cary, June 30 at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, and Aug. 10 at Broad Street Café in Durham, in-between readings in other cities on the East and West coasts) and I hope you can make it to one of these events as they are fun, especially the way she tries to talk about a species renowned for its sexual behavior by using language that is appropriate for the kids in the audience
The book weaves four parallel threads. The first is Vanessa’s own life. Bonobo Handshake starts where ‘Each monkey’ leaves off. And while the ‘Monkey’ covered the period of her life that was pretty distressing, this book begins as her life begins to normalize, describing how she met Brian, fell in love, and got married – a happy trajectory.
The second thread is the science – the experiments they did on behavior and cognition in bonobos and chimps, and how the results fit into the prior knowledge and literature on primate (including human) nature.
The third thread reports on the conservation status of great apes, especially bonobos, and all the social, cultural, financial and political factors that work for or against the efforts to prevent them from going extinct.
The store was packed. The store sold out all the books before Scott was even done talking. The C-Span Book TV crew was there filming so the event will be on TV some day soon. Scott was also, earlier yesterday, on WUNC’s The State Of Things (the podcast will soon be online here) and the day before that he was on KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd (download MP3 podcast by clicking here).
Scott’s energy and enthusiasm are infectuos. He held the audience captive and often laughing. The questions at the end were smart and his answers perfectly on target. But most importantly, we all learned a lot last night. I think of myself as a reasonably curious and informed person, and I have visited at least a couple of infrastructure plants, but almost every anecdote and every little tidbit of information were new to me. Scott’s point – that we don’t know almost anything about infrastructure – was thus proven to me.
Vanessa Woods (website, old blog, new blog, Twitter) will be reading from her new book “Bonobo Handshake” (comes out May 27th – you can pre-order on amazon.com) at the Regulator in Durham on May 27th at 7pm, at Quail Ridge Books on June 9th at 7:30pm, and at Chapel Hill Borders on June 12th at 2pm.
I have interviewed Vanessa last year so you can learn more about her there.
I received a review copy recently and am halfway through. Once I finish I will post my book review here.
From Publishers Weekly:
Devoted to learning more about bonobos, a smaller, more peaceable species of primate than chimpanzees, and lesser known, Australian journalist Woods and her fiancé, scientist Brian Hare, conducted research in the bonobos’ only known habitat—civil war–torn Congo. Woods’s plainspoken, unadorned account traces the couple’s work at Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary, located outside “Kinshasa in the 75-acre forested grounds of what was once Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko’s weekend retreat. The sanctuary, founded in 1994 and run by French activist Claudine André, served as an orphanage for baby bonobos, left for dead after their parents had been hunted for bush meat; the sanctuary healed and nurtured them (assigning each a human caretaker called a mama), with the aim of reintroducing the animals to the wild. Hare had only previously conducted research on the more warlike, male-dominated chimpanzee, and needed Woods because she spoke French and won the animals’ trust; through their daily work, the couple witnessed with astonishment how the matriarchal bonobo society cooperated nicely using frequent sex, and could even inspire human behavior. When Woods describes her daily interaction with the bonobos, her account takes on a warm charm. Woods’s personable, accessible work about bonobos elucidates the marvelous intelligence and tolerance of this gentle cousin to humans.”
Scott Huler (blog, Twitter), the author of ‘Defining the Wind’, has a new book coming out this Tuesday. ‘On The Grid’ (amazon.com) is the story of infrastructure. For this book, Scott started with his own house (unlike me, Scott did the work) and traced where all those pipes, drains, cables and wires were coming from and going to, how does it all work, does it work well, where does it all come from historically, and how its current state of (dis)repair portends to the future.
Scott Huler has a book reading and signing event on Wednesday, May 12th at the Regulator in Durham, then another one on May 26th at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. I’ll try to make it to one or both of these – and you should, too.
From the blurb:
“Wires, pipes, roads, and water support the lives we lead, but the average person doesn’t know where they go or even how they work. Our systems of infrastructure are not only shrouded in mystery, many are woefully out of date. In On the Grid, Scott Huler takes the time to understand the systems that sustain our way of life, starting from his own quarter of an acre in North Carolina and traveling as far as Ancient Rome.
Each chapter follows one element of infrastructure to its source — or to its outlet. Huler visits power plants, watches new asphalt pavement being laid, and traces a drop of water backward from his faucet to the Gulf of Mexico and then a drop of his wastewater out to the Atlantic. Huler reaches out to guides along the way, bot the workers who operate these systems and the people who plan them.
Mesmerizing and often hilarious, On the Grid brings infrastructure to life and details the ins and outs of our civilization wigh fascinating, back-to-basics information about the systems we all depend on.”