All posts by Greg Laden

Do Not Miss Rachel Maddow’s New Book: Blowout

Rachel Maddow is the Charles Darwin of Cable News.

Darwin’s most important unsung contribution to science (even more important than his monograph on earthworms) was to figure out how to most effectively put together multiple sources into a single argument — combining description, explanation, and theory — of a complex phenomenon in nature. His first major work, on coral reefs, brought together historical and anecdotal information, prior observation and theory from earlier researchers, his own direct observations of many kinds of reefs, quasi experimental work in the field, and a good measure of deductive thinking. It took a while for this standard to emerge, but eventually it did, and this approach was to become the normal way to write a PhD thesis or major monograph in science.

Take any major modern news theme. Deutsche Bank. Trump-Nato-Putin. Election tampering. Go to the standard news sources and you’ll find Chuck Todd following the path of “both sides have a point.” Fox News will be mixing conspiracy theory and right wing talking points. The most respected mainstream news anchors, Lester Holt, Christiane Amanpour, or Brian Williams perhaps, will be giving a fair airing of the facts but moving quickly from story to story. Dig deeper, and find Chris Hayes with sharp analysis, Joy Reid contextualizing stories with social justice, and Lawrence O’Donnell applying his well earned in the trenches biker wisdom.

But if you really want to Darwin the news, and sink your natural teeth and claws into a story, go to Maddow. Continue reading Do Not Miss Rachel Maddow’s New Book: Blowout

Harbinger by Louis du Toit and CL Raven

I’m an American who has spent considerable time in South Africa, so I enjoy a good novel that is set there. Harbinger by Louis du Toit and CL Raven is set, instead, in the memory of that fraught and beautiful country, written by a South African author. I live in a place where racial tension, especially anti-Muslim or anti-Middle Eastern feelings rest at a low level below the surface, and this is also a place where I accompany my son to the bus stop where he is the only child who is NOT an immigrant, a Muslim, a Hindu, or, egads, a French Canadian Catholic. I consider us both lucky to be among such diverse friends. Continue reading Harbinger by Louis du Toit and CL Raven

Climate Change Reading and Resources

Dire Predictions: The Visual Guide to the Findings of the IPCC by Michael Mann summarizes the IPCC Report on climate change (scientific basis) in a clear and understandable way without sacrificing important detail and nuance.

One test of the legitimacy of claims about scientific matters is time. Over time, if a proposal about how nature works that buck the consensus is valid, it will be shown to be valid. If it is not, it will fail the test of time. Climatology Versus Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics by Dana Nuccitelli looks at the predictions of those who have been denying the reality of climate change, comparing those predictions made by mainstream science. Read the book to find out who won!

Even though this is not specifically about climate science, I always recommend that people read Sean Otto’s The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It to understand why we are not simply and directly dealing with climate change. Along the same lines, Michael Mann’s The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines chronicles the denier-science fight at its high water mark, a few years back.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming is a pretty good book, and at this moment very current, to read about how to address climate change.

Dorian: All those people who evacuated north? Oops

There was always a chance that Dorian was going to make a right turn. In fact, it wasn’t just “a chance” but a very high probability. But a day or so ago, it was reasonable to say that Dorian would likely, but not necessarily, make that turn AFTER coming ashore in Florida.It now looks like Dorian may make that turn sooner, while still at sea.

We have already seen major news outlets walking all over their own tongues trying to describe that might happen, and thus quite possibly misleading people in a dangerous way. Here, I’ll focus on a new way of explaining the Dorian dilemma.

First, think of a hurricane as a car. The driver is the eye. Perhaps imagine a car where the driver sits more in the middle, like this one: Continue reading Dorian: All those people who evacuated north? Oops

“Am I going to have access to food or water when I’m 30?” — the question your kids are asking now.

If you do not understand that this is a valid question, then you do not actually deserve to be breathing our chemically-altered air right now. No excuses.

Continue reading “Am I going to have access to food or water when I’m 30?” — the question your kids are asking now.

Reconstructed Fairy Tales, Holmes, Anthologies, Cheap

I know you either have these or want these, and they are now cheap in Kindle form:

Happily Ever After edited by John Kilma, with modernized fair tale stories by Gregory Maguire, Susanna Clarke, Karen Joy Fowler, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Kelly Link, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Patricia Briggs and others.

The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by John Joseph Adams.

A Hurricane Named Dorian Likely To Hit Florida UPDATED

Dorian is a poorly to moderately organized tropical storm just west of the northern reach of the Leeward Islands, expected to affect Puerto Rico by the end of the day today, then to move into the Southwest North Atlantic, where it will likely become a hurricane between 36 and 48 hours from now.

It is highly likely that Dorian will strike the US 48 this weekend or Monday, somewhere, as some kind of storm. There is a very good chance this will be Florida as a Category 2 Category 3 or 4, i.e., MAJOR hurricane, but it is very early to be sure of that. Continue reading A Hurricane Named Dorian Likely To Hit Florida UPDATED

Best Of Everything Books Cheap

You know those books that anthologize the best of this and the best of that? A bunch of them are now cheap in Kindle form:

The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 (The Best American Series ®)

The Best American Comics 2018 (The Best American Series ®)

The Best American Travel Writing 2018 (The Best American Series ®)

The Best American Sports Writing 2018 (The Best American Series ®)

And since you are busy looking at books, look at mine! In Search of Sungudogoby Greg Laden.