Merry Christmas To Me

For Christmas I got to order some books off of Amazon (or in ID speak the ‘Zon). Two have arrived. the first is Tarsiers: Past, Present, and Future edited by Wright, Simons, and Gursky. The second is Patterns of Injury and Illness in Great Apes: A Skeletal Analysis by Lovell. I’ll probably review them, time permitting.

Cynthia Davis To Run For The Senate

Davis (R – Nutjob) is running for the Missouri State Senate because she is term limited in the House. Davis, for those who are unfamiliar, is a wackaloon responsible for quite a few bills requiring creationism to be taught in schools. So far all have failed but she keeps trying. Davis was recently in the news for comments about hunger and has tried to undermine sex education in Missouri Continue reading

Dinosaurs and Destruction

Hawks has already linked to this Onion piece but I can’t resist because it is pretty silly. Hawks left out the funniest bit, but I won’t:

To many paleontologists, such as Richard Hollander of the University of Michigan, exploring the various ways dinosaurs might have been slaughtered with today’s military technology is a vital area of study.
“It’s part of human nature to wonder what it would be like to crash a fully fueled F-14 Tomcat into a 60-foot-long, razor-toothed spinosaurus and then eject just before impact to see the chunks of smoking flesh flying in all directions as one gently parachutes to the ground,” Hollander said. “And it is a tremendous loss for science that we’ll never be able to take one of the smaller ones, like maybe the epidexipteryx, and smash it into mush with a shovel.”
“Or a golf club,” added Hollander, shaking his head. “Or a
chainsaw.”

It’s the chainsaw bit at the end that had me laughing hysterically (which, incidentally alarmed – actually it terrified – my coworkers).

Update One: The links have been fixed.

Book Review: Darwin In Galapagos Footsteps To A New World

I was somewhat surprised to receive a copy of Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World. Since I moved here from ScienceBlogs I haven’t really requested any review copies of books. Mainly because my audience has shrunk dramatically. Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World is an interesting book, published this year, that focuses on Darwin’s time in the Galapagos. Written by K. Thalia Grant (daughter of Rosemary and Peter Grant) and Gregory B. Estes, the book attempts to trace Darwin’s path through the Galapagos. Continue reading

Interesting Evolution and Anthropology News

There is a bunch of interesting news relating to evolution and anthropology.

Ed Yong discusses and interesting new study, published in PNAS, on coloration in lizards at White Sands, New Mexico. I have touched on the subject in a previous post. The paper can be found here for those who have access.
Continue reading

Mark Twain and Joan of Arc

Awhile back I did a favor for a friend and to my shock they bought me a gift card to Barnes and Noble. I finally got around to going a few days before Christmas and after spending about two wandering around the store I finally bought Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc – one of a few works by Twain that I had not read. I was surprised at how restrained and stylish the book is. Clearly the twelves years Twain claims to have spent researching the book and the three years spent writing allowed Twain to write in a style he normally didn’t use – not that Twain was a bad writer or lacked a polished style. The humor one associates with Twain are confined to narrow sections that concerns the “Paladin” and one brief section concerning Joan’s uncle and his experience with a funeral. What I privately refer to as Twainisms (I’ll explain what these are in a future post) are also noticeably absent.

The introduction to the version I have says Twain’s voice is that of the translator and goes on to say that the reader will only appreciate and understand the work if one separates Twain’s voice from that of Sieur Louis de Conte – the alleged writer of the manuscript. I think this is complete nonsense. I started out trying this and the story just was not working. Once I forgot about the introduction and approached the book on its own terms the story was much better. But then I’m not a critic so I could be wrong. At any rate, I’m glad I’ve read it, it is one of Twain’s finer pieces. What do you think?

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good ape

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