Currently reading

Paul Hanley
A Month in the Country
Michael Holroyd, J.L. Carr
A Tale of the Dispossessed: A Novel
Laura Restrepo, Dolores M. Koch
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Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Nayomi Munaweera

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013 - Siddhartha Mukherjee, Tim Folger This is an interesting collection of science writing. It's not so much about science as it is about scientists. In the forward, the guest editor Mukherjee talks about tenderness, the quality so many scientists hold for their research subjects or data (his example is Mendel tending his plants). And so there is little science but much scientist in the essays. I guess I was hoping for more science, but it was an interesting collection in any case.

Some of the essays seemed more relevant than others. One was entirely about all the different drugs a neurologist had abused -- ummm, not all that interesting in my book. Another was about a trip a journalist took with a Ukranian shipping crew through the Arctic, proving the northern passages are open now. While the journey was made possible by global warming, there was no science and no scientist in the piece.

Okay, so those missed. Others were quite engaging. The two essays at the end, "The Measured Man" and "The Wisdom of Psychopaths" were very good. I especially liked the questions in the measured man: if we measure everything about ourselves and are swimming in data, does that make our lives better?

In any case, a collection worth reading that gives a sense of the people who do science.