Category Archives: Other

The Truth About The Brown Recluse Spider

Spread the love

Everything you thought you knew about Brown Recluse Spiders is wrong. There is now a book,The Brown Recluse Spider, to set you straight. This is my review of that book.

His name was Bob. I was a kid, he was an adult that all the other adults seemed to think was cool. He used to have a job launching nuclear missiles for the Air Force, but then later got a job as a Hippie. He, another person or two, and I were sitting on a rock pile out in the woods, checking out the patch of marijuana planted, mysteriously, on the neighbor’s property. The neighbor was the head of the local John Birch Society. Whoever planted the patch of pot figured it would be better found, if ever found by the cops, on his property than on the property occupied by the hippies.

Somebody moved a rock. Bob said, “Oh, look, a Brown Recluse spider. They are deadly, but they hardly ever bite.”

I watched the Brown Recluse spider very carefully for a while and memorized it. I found many more over that summer, and in subsequent years. I became very good at identifying them.

This is what it looked like: Continue reading The Truth About The Brown Recluse Spider


Spread the love

Darwin’s Armada (book) Cheap on Kindle Now

Spread the love

In Darwin’s Armdada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution* cultural historian Iain McCalman tells the stories of Charles Darwin and his staunchest supporters: Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Beginning with the somber morning of April 26, 1882—the day of Darwin’s funeral—Darwin’s Armada steps back and recounts the lives and scientific discoveries of each of these explorers, who campaigned passionately in the war of ideas over evolution and advanced the scope of Darwin’s work.


Spread the love

Cheap Kindle Books, many books, many topics

Spread the love

This week’s most likely to be banned AND cheap on Kindle*: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

All That Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes* by Sue Black.

Dame Sue Black is an internationally renowned forensic anthropologist and human anatomist. She has lived her life eye to eye with the Grim Reaper, and she writes vividly about it in this book, which is part primer on the basics of identifying human remains, part frank memoir of a woman whose first paying job as a schoolgirl was to apprentice in a butcher shop, and part no-nonsense but deeply humane introduction to the reality of death in our lives. It is a treat for CSI junkies, murder mystery and thriller readers, and anyone seeking a clear-eyed guide to a subject that touches us all.

Crocodile on the Sandbank* is the first in the Amelia Peabody series, by Elizabeth Peters. Peabody is a highly unreliable narrator who is married to a famous but not brilliant archaeologist. This is a combination of Agatha Christie and Monte Python. Sort of. Anyway, check out this first one and if you like them, find the rest somewhere.

Two books by Jane Goodall that I’ve not read but people like Jane Goodall and these are cheap right now:

Reason For Hope*

Seeds of Hope*

A lot of hope going on there..

My close personal friend Eric Holthaus’s book The Future Earth* is under two bucks, very worth it!


Spread the love

The Robot Who Mistook His Hat For A Wife

Spread the love

I might have two things mixed up here. Anyway, cheap in Kindle form:

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat*

In his most extraordinary book, the bestselling author of Awakenings and “poet laureate of medicine” (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients inhabiting the compelling world of neurological disorders, from those who are no longer able to recognize common objects to those who gain extraordinary new skills.

Featuring a new preface, Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with perceptual and intellectual disorders: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; whose limbs seem alien to them; who lack some skills yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. In Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, his patients are deeply human and his tales are studies of struggles against incredible adversity. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”

I Robot*


This classic science fiction masterwork by Isaac Asimov weaves stories about robots, humanity, and the deep questions of existence into a novel of shocking intelligence and heart.

“A must-read for science-fiction buffs and literature enjoyers alike.”—The Guardian

I, Robot, the first and most widely read book in Asimov’s Robot series, forever changed the world’s perception of artificial intelligence. Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-reading robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world—all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asimov’s trademark.


Spread the love

Cheap book opportunity: Foundation, Handmaid’s Tale, More

Spread the love

Kindle* (see note below) books on sale right now but just for a day or two that you may want to know about:

To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876

Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World

The Handmaid’s Tale

Foundation

And not on sale but still cheap, don’t forget:  In Search of Sungudogo


Spread the love

Le Guin, Clarke, Butler Books Very Cheap!

Spread the love

Suddenly, and presumably for just a couple of days, some great SciFi in Kindle form on sale dirt cheap.

Seed to Harvest: The Complete Patternist Series (The Patternist Series)* by Octavia Butler:
The complete Patternist series—the acclaimed science fiction epic of a world transformed by a secret race of telepaths and their devastating rise to power. In the late seventeenth century, two immortals meet in an African forest. Anyanwu is a healer, a three-hundred-year-old woman who uses her wisdom to help those around her. The other is Doro, a malevolent despot who has mastered the power of stealing the bodies of others when his wears out. Together they will change the world. Over the next three centuries, Doro mounts a colossal selective breeding project, attempting to create a master race of telepaths. He succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, splitting the human race down the middle and establishing a new world order dominated by the most manipulative minds on Earth. In these four novels, award-winning author Octavia E. Butler tells the classic story that began her legendary career: a mythic tale of the transformation of civilization. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate.

The Lathe of Heaven* by Ursula Le Guin:

In a near-future world beset by war, climate change, and overpopulation, Portland resident George Orr discovers that his dreams have the power to alter reality. Upon waking, the world he knew has become a strange, barely recognizable place, where only George has a clear memory of how it was before. Seeking escape from these “effective dreams,” George eventually turns to behavioral psychologist Dr. William Haber for a cure. But Haber has other ideas in mind.

Seeing the profound power of George’s dreams, Haber believes it must be harnessed for the greater good—no matter the cost. Soon, George is a pawn in Haber’s dangerous game, where the fate of humanity grows more imperiled with every waking hour.

As relevant today as it was when it won the Locus Award in 1971, The Lathe of Heaven is a true classic, at once eerie and prescient, entertaining and intelligent. In short, it does “what science fiction is supposed to do”

Childhood’s End (Arthur C. Clarke Collection) by Arthur C. Clarke:

In the near future, enormous silver spaceships appear without warning over mankind’s largest cities. They belong to the Overlords, an alien race far superior to humanity in technological development. Their purpose is to dominate Earth. Their demands, however, are surprisingly benevolent: end war, poverty, and cruelty. Their presence, rather than signaling the end of humanity, ushers in a golden age . . . or so it seems.

Without conflict, human culture and progress stagnate. As the years pass, it becomes clear that the Overlords have a hidden agenda for the evolution of the human race that may not be as benevolent as it seems.


Spread the love

Do Androids Dream? And Longmire

Spread the love

Suddenly available cheap from Amazon*, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: The inspiration for the films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 by Philip Dick.

While we are on the subject of cheap books, did you know that the popular, and pretty good, “Longmire” of TV started out as a series of books? The Highwayman: A Longmire Story (Walt Longmire Mysteries) by Craig Johnson is also cheap on Kindle, which is the 11th point five in the series (apparently it is complicated). The first is The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery. (Kindle edition of the first in the series here.)


Spread the love

The Source Cheap

Spread the love

I read The Source: A Novel by James Michener a long time ago, so I might have some of this wrong, but…

It is a fun read, not actually religious as some might suggest. The story starts at the beginning and the end at the same time. The end involves a group of archaeologists digging down in a tel (called Tell Makor in the book, but I’m told it might be closest the the actual Tel Dan.) The beginning involves a family of pre-Neolithic people who invent agriculture and domesticate the dog. (I oversimplify, as does in that are, the author.) The rest of the story is a rough approximation of the Old Testament history.

Anyway, relatively cheap for Kindle* (2.99) right now.

I should also mention* that The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, is still cheap ($4.99).


Spread the love