Weekly links and book recomendations

This week I’ve been a little lax in reading articles online. Hopefully, I can make it up to you by posting the few interesting articles I’ve read as well a list of my top 5 favorite science books.  Because, you guessed it, I read a lot of actual books in addition to online articles, and a lot of the books I read are nerdy.  I mean science-y.

It’s been a birdy week in the science links.  (And I’m not sorry.)

I studied the genetic introgression zone of the White-collared and Golden-throated Manakins in Panama many years ago so the news that habitat degradation and climate shifts are negatively impacting survival of the White-collared Manakin ames me particularly sad.  

Last week we got a new monkey, this week we get TWO new birds!  This first one isn’t really new, but we thought it was extinct and it isn’t, so that’s kind of like getting a new species.  The second one IS new, but it’s already on the brink of extinction.   So, as far as new bird species reports go, I guess this is a good news/bad news week.  

This is maybe not really “news”, but is just too cute to not share:  Bald Eagle Braves Snow Storm To Protect Eggs 

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Like I said, it’s been a slow week, so here’s my list of books.  Sure, they take longer to read, but that just makes them that much more satisfying to finish.

Katie’s Top Five Science Books 

1. Brain on Fire  I tell me physiology students about this book when we talk about neurons.  A fascinating memoir about a young woman’s rapid mental decline as a result of a rare and nearly unknown neurological disorder.  

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2.  Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food  Can genetic technology and organic standards co-exist in the agricultural sector?  A couple – a genetic professor and her organic farmer husband – think so.

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3.  Bad Science  From toxin-releasing footpaths to super foods that will magically add years to your life, Dr Goldacre explains how the media and advertisers (purposefully?) misrepresent scientific studies and how you can find out the real truth.

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4.  Inheritance:  How our genes change our lives and our lives change our genes  Think genetics is complicated?  Think again.  It’s more complicated than you think, especially now that we are starting to learn how much our genes can be “turned on and off” based on environmental cues.  

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5.  Banana: The fate of the fruit that changed the world  Part science, part sociology, part economics – the complete history of every kids favorite fruit with dire predictions for it’s future on your table.

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Honorable mention: The Big Year This is such a fun read about three guys who spend a year on a quest to see the most birds in the world, girlfriends, wives, jobs, and bank accounts be damned.  It was made into a movie staring Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin (talk about a stellar cast!) a few years ago so if you can’t make time for the book, at least watch the movie.

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What are your favorite science related books?  Any news that I missed this week?

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