Category Archives: Science

Non-fiction November: Become the Expert

final-version-3-300x300

This is my second discussion post for Non-Fiction November, an exciting event celebrating non-fiction hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie at Regular Ruminations. Every Monday this month, a discussion question will be posted. Then each Friday there will be a link-up for discussion posts and non-fiction reviews, with each linky entry entered in a prize drawing at the end of the month! Today’s topic is…

Continue reading

26 Comments

Filed under Blogger Events, non-fiction, Science

Deadly Outbreaks

17593167Title: Deadly Outbreaks: How Medical Detectives Save Lives Threatened by Killer Pandemics, Exotic Viruses, and Drug-Resistant Parasites
Author: Alexandra Levitt
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: The stories were fascinating but were often told in a clinical way that reduced the drama and my sense of connection to the people in the story.

As the subtitle suggests, Deadly Outbreaks is all about medical mysteries. For suspicious cases where multiple patients die or fall ill and the reason is unknown, epidemiologists  are often called in to help determine the cause. Some of these investigations are retrospective, but many require clever deduction to take place quickly in order to prevent more people from becoming sick. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under non-fiction, Science

Microcosm In the 579’s

2051708Title: Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life
Author: Carl Zimmer
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun Fact: Human gut microbes can reach a population of 100 trillion, out numbering our cells 10 to 1.
Review Summary: No matter what the description claims, this lacks the elegant prose and brilliant philosophy in Lives of a Cell. It does do it’s own thing quite well though, giving a great introduction to some crucial biology plus a plethora of fun facts.

Microcosm is a history of E. coli but more than that, it’s a history of modern biology. So much of what we do in the lab today depends on these little bacteria that looking at biology through the lens of E. coli lends itself well to discussing almost all of modern microbiology. It also includes a few philosophical musings and, at the other end of the spectrum, some practical insight into the job of a microbiologist. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under non-fiction, Science

The Sports Gene

16171221Title: The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
Author: David Epstein
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: One in two hundred men share a common male ancestor, thought to be Genghis Khan
Review Summary: Scientifically accurate but easy to follow and with topics of interest even if you don’t love sports.

Pop culture has long used the phrase “nature vs nurture” to ask whether genetic or environmental factors are more important. As science has discovered, the truth is far more nuanced. David Epstein explores this fascinating topic in the context of extreme athletic performance. The question he addresses include whether there are people who are just naturals and whether or not everyone could be equally good at sports with the same amount of practice. He also addresses more sensitive topics, such as the influence of race and gender on athletic prowess. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under non-fiction, Science

The Emperor of All Maladies

emperorofallmaladies1Title: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: In 1953, American adults smoked on average 10 cigarettes a day
Review Summary: Elegantly written, with both scientific precision and human empathy, both historical interest and fascinating stories about people.

This “biography of cancer” starts with the first documented cases of cancer, continues through initial attempts at cures, and finishes with descriptions of the most recent discoveries. Intertwined with the historical narrative are the stories of the author’s patients, giving us just a glimpse of what it’s like to live with cancer. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under History, non-fiction, Science

Quiet: The Power of Introverts

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: Individual animals may also be categorized as introverts or extroverts.
Review Summary: This was fun, easy to read, enjoyable and educational. Also somewhat inspiring for us introverts 🙂

The stereotypical introvert is not viewed as someone who could be a great leader, lawyer, or salesperson. Susan Cain challenges that view with both fascinating research and enjoyable anecdotes. This research strongly suggests that society could benefit from the complementary strengths of extroverts and introverts. However, much of American society is designed to favor extroverts. Cain discusses why that is; why we should try to change it; and how we can begin doing so. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under non-fiction, Psychology, Science, Self-Help