04.08.2016

What We’re Reading

Rudolf Ernst’s “The Reader” via Wikimedia Commons

Whether you find someone to read them to you (as in Rudolf Ernst’s “The Reader”) or you read them yourself, we’ve found a nice selection of articles on evolution, climate change, and the history of science for you to while away the weekend. Enjoy! And let us know of your reactions and suggestions for future weeks in the comments section below.

  • Pioneer, American Scientist, March–April 2016 — Laura Dassow Walls reviews Andrea Wulf's The Invention of Nature (2015), a new biography of Alexander von Humboldt, the nineteenth-century naturalist Walls describes as “a walking, talking, one-man planetary paradigm shift.”
  • Even in a Warming World, It Will Still Snow SomewhereThe New York Times, April 2, 2016 — The Gray Lady used the first week of April to debunk myths, and the climate change denial myth regarding the end of all snow in a warming planet unsurprisingly showed up, on day 2.
  • Finally, You Can See Dinosaurs in all their Feathered Glory, National Geographic, April 5, 2016 — Dinosaurs with feathers! This article describes the first major exhibit, at the American Museum of Natural History, to show dinosaurs in their currently accepted, feathery rather than scaly, guise.
  • Sea Levels Could Rise Twice as Fast as Previously Predicted, Science News, April 6, 2016 — “Antarctica’s meltdown could spur sea level rise well beyond current predictions. A new simulation of the continent’s thawing ice suggests that Antarctic melting alone will raise global sea levels by about 64 to 114 centimeters by 2100…”
  • Nearby Supernova Explosions May Have Affected Human Evolution, SPACE.com via Scientific American, April 6, 2016 — A report on two recent studies published in Nature that discerned faint evidence for the effect on Earth of supernovas occurring over three hundred light years away.
  • Good News on Climate Change…and Bad News, The Nation, April 7, 2016 — “Global emissions may have peaked—but temperatures are rising at record speed, threatening a massive sea-level rise that could destroy major cities by 2100,” warns Mark Hertsgaard, the author of Hot (2011).
  • Intelligent Design and Nylon-Eating Bacteria, BioLogos, April 7, 2016 — Dennis Venema uses nylonase—an enzyme that helps certain bacteria to digest nylon, a synthetic chemical not found in nature—to rebut “intelligent design” creationist claims about the unevolvability of proteins.
  • Darwin in Letters, 1871: An Emptying Nest, Darwin Correspondence Project — Now that the full texts of nearly 800 letters Darwin wrote and received during 1871 are available on-line, the Darwin Correspondence Project presents a handy overview. (Why “Emptying Nest”? His eldest daughter married in 1871.)