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March 28 2013

17:31

Our enduring love affair with 'flying jewels'

Shaoni Bhattacharya, consultant

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(Image: Ray Tang/Rex)

“My parents took me to a butterfly house when I was 6. That Christmas, I asked for a greenhouse.” By the age of 8, Luke Brown had bred his first butterfly, the zebra longwing, Heliconius charithonia. Now as manager of the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, it is that child’s delight he hopes to inspire.

And he succeeds. Against the backdrop of the museum’s towers, a heated marquee attracts visitors to walk around an evocation of a butterfly’s life cycle, with up to 1500 tropical and semi-tropical butterflies and moths dancing around them. Especially exciting is a glass-fronted warm room, where nascent butterflies emerge from chrysalises and gingerly unfurl their wings.

The romance of butterflies is also captured in William Leach’s book Butterfly People: An American encounter with the beauty of the world. He reminds us of the duality of these “flying jewels”, initially desired as objects of beauty, and later representing the spirituality of nature versus emergent capitalism.

Leach voyages from 18th to the early 20th century, telling the strange stories of America’s obsessive “butterfly people”. We meet, for example, the owner of a coal mine turned eminent lepidopterist, and a Shakespearean actor who entertained gold miners panning the Wild West, while also netting his own lepidopteral gold.

Through these characters Leach captures a passion bordering on fanaticism. But their obsessional pursuit of butterflies resonates outside their field, their stories criss-crossing that of the early US scientific establishment, the journals Science and The American Naturalist, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Fascinating, too, is the background against which these early naturalists and their butterfly stories unfold, with the frontier spirit permeating their explorations. Butterfly hunting went hand in hand with the gold rush, and the steady advance of the railroads into uncharted wilds opened up new frontiers into nature.

That was not without a big price tag, however: in just 20 years the US achieved a level of environmental exploitation that had taken centuries in Europe.

Meanwhile in Europe the influence of the Romantic poets, with their appreciation of the natural world, and the spread of empires opened up new windows on nature.

In many ways, Butterfly People is a boys’ adventure story in which gun-toting naturalists imperil their lives just to touch the wing of a rare species. Today’s butterfly people will be enthralled, though outsiders perhaps less so. But the wonder Leach evokes will captivate all who appreciate the natural world.

Sensational Butterflies is at London’s Natural History Museum until 15 September

Book information
Butterfly People: An American encounter with the beauty of the world by William R. Leach
Random House
$32.50

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March 04 2013

12:20

Timing was everything when Darwin's bombshell exploded

Bob Holmes, consultant

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(Image: Topical Press Agency/Hulton/Getty)

Peter Bowler's Darwin Deleted shows that the shock of Darwin's theories may have delayed the acceptance of evolution - and science may have paid the price

SUPPOSE Charles Darwin had been swept overboard and drowned during the voyage of the Beagle. He would never have developed his theory of evolution by natural selection, never written On The Origin of Species, never sparked one of the greatest intellectual revolutions ever. What would the world be like without him?

That is the question Peter Bowler sets out to answer in Darwin Deleted. From such a beginning, one might expect a playful romp through the fields of imagination. Instead, Bowler - a historian of science at Queen's University Belfast, UK - delivers a forced march through the academic jungles. He uses the notion of a world without Darwin to explore the context of evolutionary thought in the 19th century, and examine exactly what Darwin's contributions were.

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In many ways, says Bowler, Darwin played less of a role than you might suppose. The concept of evolution, or change through time, was already around before Darwin's Origin was published in 1859. Geologists were beginning to realise that Earth was much more than a few thousand years old, and palaeontologists were piecing together a fossil record that testified to vast changes in life forms over aeons.

Darwin's big idea was that evolution proceeded by natural selection: better-adapted individuals are more likely to survive and reproduce, and thus pass on adaptive traits to their offspring, while less well-adapted individuals die taking their failed traits with them. Others, notably Alfred Russel Wallace, came up a similar idea at about the same time, but only Darwin's book attracted wide attention.

That concept, with its emphasis on struggle, competition and the relentless winnowing out of failures, was a bombshell. How could a benevolent God permit such violence, such wastefulness? Darwin's theory instantly polarised the public, with conservative Christians rejecting it outright and anti-religionists such as Thomas Henry Huxley using it as an argument against the established church. Without Darwin, Bowler says, Huxley and his followers might have seized another sword, perhaps using geological evidence for an ancient Earth as their weapon against religion. As a result, the fundamentalist backlash of today might have targeted geology rather than evolution.

In the latter half of the 19th century, natural selection was not the only evolutionary theory in town, or even the dominant one. Many naturalists thought that evolution proceeded along a predetermined path leading to ever more complex organisms and culminating in humans, much as a developing embryo increases in complexity. Others followed the lead of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, arguing that animals pass on the traits they acquired in life. In the classic example, giraffes that stretched to reach leaves high up in trees would have offspring with longer necks.

These other theories left room for a purpose, for improvement in the evolutionary enterprise, and were therefore easier to reconcile with religion. Some alternatives also left space for independent lines of descent instead of a single tree of life, so they avoided the uncomfortable notion that humans shared ancestry with apes. Without Darwin, these alternatives would have allowed the general concept of evolution to enter the public consciousness more gently, Bowler suggests. No doubt there would still have been conflict with religion, but it would have been muted.

Modern opponents may argue that Darwinism laid the foundation for societal amorality, culminating in two world wars, in eugenics and the Nazi atrocities. So would a world without Darwin have been a kinder, gentler place? Not likely, says Bowler, who shows that the factors underlying the horrors of the past century or so, such as racism or imperialism, existed long before Darwin. True, the notion of Darwinism provided a useful rhetorical framework, as when Nazis spoke of "racial purification" as a step toward the evolution of better humans. But without Darwin they could easily have turned to another metaphor, says Bowler, such as the need to excise a cancer from society.

All this is fascinating and should have made a lively book. But Bowler is so meticulous about his historical detail, so careful to explore every angle of each point he makes, that he often leaves the reader unsure where he is going.

Even so, the book is worth the effort. Without Darwin, he concludes, we would probably have ended up in much the same place we are today, with an evolutionary theory based largely on natural selection, and with most of the big historical events of the past century unfolding as they did. Where Darwin really mattered was in timing. Here, ironically, the shock of his book, and the polarisation it caused, may have delayed the acceptance of evolution. The great man was ahead of his time, and science may have paid a price for that.

This article appeared in print under the headline "Timing is everything"

Book information
Darwin Deleted: Imagining a world without Darwin by Peter J. Bowler
University of Chicago Press
$30

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July 27 2012

12:00

Why a dogged virus simply won't go away

Rob Dunn, contributor

Though we have a vaccine, rabies remains a challenge to eradicate or treat, explain Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy in Rabid, a sweeping history of the disease

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IT CAN come out of the dark, frothy-mouthed and deadly. If it gets into your blood, it will travel up your nerves, heading with freight-train-like inevitability towards your brain. More than most other diseases, rabies specialises in striking terror. And so it has been for more than 4000 years.

In Rabid, veterinary surgeon Monica Murphy and Wired senior editor Bill Wasik tell the sweeping tale of the disease, one that begins in the earliest days of medicine and seems to intersect with nearly every major epoch of history. As the authors relate in compelling (and sometimes graphic) detail, rabies has affected dukes, saints and ordinary folks alike. Anyone is susceptible; all it takes is a bite from an infected animal.

Rabies was once far more common: abandoned dogs roamed cities like ghosts, infecting one another and bringing the virus into our homes. Then, as now, nearly all human rabies cases started with dog bites.

Yet after Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux began investigating the disease in their effort to better understand germs, the reach of rabies soon diminished. The pair went on to develop a vaccine to protect against the virus; it was first used successfully on a 9-year-old boy in 1885. Before long, the vaccine was being given to people - at least in countries with the means and the will to do so. It was also used to bring the disease under control in dogs and cats. Today, the likelihood of contracting rabies is slim in most parts of the world.

But the virus is still out there. Short of vaccinating every wild mammal in which the virus can survive, there is no definitive way to eradicate rabies. Raccoons in the eastern US, many types of bat and, of course, stray dogs continue to carry rabies.

That is worrying because in humans who exhibit symptoms, such as hallucinations or aggressive behaviour, the prognosis has not changed since the first recorded cases: if you are bitten by a rabid animal and do not receive the vaccine before symptoms develop, you will almost certainly die. The treatment at this late stage involves putting the patient into a coma, but of 35 people treated in this way, just four have survived.

Until I read this book, I thought little about rabies - beyond remembering to keep my cat's vaccination current. But Murphy and Wasik give life, context and understanding to the terrifying disease. Like the virus itself, this fascinating book moves quickly, exploring both the marginalised status and deadly nature of the virus. And as the authors trace the influence of rabies through history, Rabid becomes nearly impossible to put down.

Rob Dunn is a biologist and writer at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. His most recent book is The Wild Life of Our Bodies (HarperCollins)

Book information
Rabid: A cultural history of the world’s most diabolical virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
Viking
$25.95


False memories, false convictions

Moheb Costandi, contributor

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EVERY day, innocent people are wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit, while real offenders are falsely acquitted. The error rate in the US has been estimated at 3 to 4 per cent, but it could be much higher. Sometimes mistakes are only revealed years later, when technologies such as DNA fingerprinting are employed. These, while not infallible, have so far exonerated hundreds of falsely convicted people.

In In Doubt, Dan Simon, a professor of law and psychology at the University of Southern California, puts the criminal justice system on trial, revealing the many flaws in how it operates. In his comprehensive look at the underlying cognitive science, he highlights the many potential pitfalls that might trip up the people involved at each stage of the judicial process.

Simon shows, for example, how police investigations can be skewed by biases, how interrogation techniques can promote false confessions and how eyewitnesses can wrongly identify criminal suspects. He also analyses case studies of criminal investigations, laying out recommendations for how they could be improved.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, much of the book is devoted to memory, which plays a central role in criminal investigations but is also the biggest source of potential errors. Simon tells how psychologist Frederic Bartlett's work in the 1920s showed that our memories are highly error-prone, and how, more recently, cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has shown that memory can be influenced, unintentionally or otherwise, by leading questions and other techniques.

If In Doubt leaves you certain of anything, it is that assessing guilt should not be left to memory alone.

Book Information
In Doubt: The psychology of the criminal justice process by Dan Simon
Harvard University Press
£33.95/$45

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February 28 2012

04:42

Richard J. Evans: Empire - From Conquest To Control

Richard J. Evans: Empire - From Conquest To Control

From the 1880s through to the First World War, European empires slowly imposed their control on the territories that in many cases existed merely on paper. This lecture asks how and why European powers embarked on this trajectory. Often, occupation became effective through a long series of colonial wars and conflicts. Sometimes, as in the case of the German war against the Herero in South-west Africa in 1905-06, imperial violence reached genocidal proportions. In others, as in the British wars with the Maori in New Zealand, or the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1896, the colonizing power was unable to impose full control or was even repulsed by military defeat. Different varieties of colony emerged, ranging from those where European settlement overwhelmed indigenous societies, as in Australia, to those where a small number of European traders, missionaries and administrators attempted to rule a vastly greater number of indigenous inhabitants, as in India or the colonies of West Africa.



For download and transcript versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: The Rise and Fall of European Empires: From Conquest to Control


Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:00:00 -0800
Location: London, England, Museum of London, Gresham College
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2012/01/24/Richard_J_Evans_Empire_From_Conquest_To_Control

February 03 2012

21:42

James Robertson: The Untold Civil War

James Robertson: The Untold Civil War
Historian James Robertson reveals surprising, little-known aspects of the Civil War in a remarkable human history of the conflict.

Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 16:30:00 -0800
Location: Washington, D.C., National Geographic, National Geographic Live
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/11/16/James_Robertson_The_Untold_Civil_War

January 11 2012

22:20

Author Richard McGregor on China's Communist Party

Author Richard McGregor on China's Communist Party
Financial Times Washington Bureau Chief Richard McGregor discusses "The Party," his acclaimed book illuminating the complex inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party on September 20 in New York. McGregor is former FT Beijing Bureau Chief with two decades' experience reporting from north Asia. The Economist hails "The Party" as a "masterful depiction" of the Chinese political system.


The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 15:00:00 -0700
Location: New York, NY, Jones Day, National Committee on United States-China Relations
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/09/20/Author_Richard_McGregor_on_Chinas_Communist_Party

December 06 2011

22:29

Wade Davis: Into the Silence

Wade Davis: Into the Silence
Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis recounts the epic -- and ultimately tragic -- attempts by British climbersto scaleEverest in theshadow of the Great War.

Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 16:30:00 -0700
Location: Washington, D.C., National Geographic, National Geographic Live
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/10/25/Wade_Davis_Into_the_Silence

August 15 2011

23:36

August 03 2011

10:45

Dairy deluge: Myths and minutiae of milk

Tiffany O'Callaghan, CultureLab editor

Milk.jpg

(Image: Eye Ubiquitous/Rex Features)

In her new book, Milk, food historian Deborah Valenze gives an exhaustive and sometimes intriguing account of all things milky

ROMAN myth has it that the Milky Way was created after a peculiar domestic dispute. As the goddess Juno slept, her husband Jupiter snuck up and planted his illegitimate son Hercules at her breast. With just a few droplets of his wife's "elixir of immortality", his otherwise mortal son could be granted divinity and eternal life.

Yet Hercules startled Juno awake and, as she pulled away, her breast milk sprinkled the heavens and earth. Those droplets grew into lilies below, and formed the stars of the Milky Way above.

This is just one of the many myths about the divine power of the white stuff that historian Deborah Valenze explores in Milk. In occasionally tedious detail, she also tours the religious, social, economic, medical and scientific forces that have elevated milk to its staple status throughout much of the modern world. From early religious celebrations of milk in Mongolian and Indian culture to the modern debates over raw milk and the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone in industrial dairy farms to increase production, Milk is certainly comprehensive in scope.

Valenze shows that despite our modern day unease with adults consuming human breast milk, it was often recommended in the past as a curative for a range of ailments. And while the medical establishment is firmly behind the supremacy of breastfeeding for infants today, for the past 300 years medical opinion varied widely.

As for cow's milk, we learn that, despite the fact that goats were more abundant and cheaper to keep, the greater versatility of cows and their products helped their milk rise to prominence. Valenze shows how in the 1700s some physicians recommended a cow's milk diet to treat conditions from melancholy to infertility. Fresh milk was also one of many remedies for dyspepsia (though not, she notes, the preferred choice of Charles Darwin, who suffered with the condition).

After the late 1800s, widespread use of pasteurisation led to a new era of milk safety, but Valenze makes the case that it wasn't only Louis Pasteur who understood the antimicrobial benefits of heat. Indeed, German agricultural chemist Franz Ritter von Soxhlet devised a working pasteurisation system in the same era, but as Valenze notes in a rare moment of levity: "He remains obscure in the annals of history, probably because his surname could not possibly be turned into a technical-sounding noun."

Milk contains plenty of fascinating facts and anecdotes, and raises intriguing questions about the gap between milk's high cost of production and low retail price, and whether lactose intolerance is a biological norm. Unfortunately, the results of such clearly exhaustive research are soured somewhat as these questions about present-day issues are left unanswered.


Book Information
Milk: A local and global history
by Deborah Valenze
Yale University Press
£17.99/$28


July 02 2011

04:03

Michael Graves: A Grand Tour

Michael Graves: A Grand Tour
Michael Graves: A Grand Tour

MICHAEL GRAVES
Architect; Fellow, The American Institute of Architects

Entering its seventh year, the Aspen Ideas Festival will gather some of the most interesting thinkers and leaders from around the US and abroad to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. Presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, the Festival is unique in its dedication to dialogue and exchange, and in its commitment to bringing ideas to the public at large. FORA.tv is pleased to present Festival programs taking place at the Aspen Institute's Paepcke Auditorium.
Date: Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:15:00 -0700
Location: Aspen, CO, Paepcke Auditorium, Aspen Institute
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/07/01/Michael_Graves_A_Grand_Tour

June 28 2011

15:32

Liaquat Ahamed: The Lords of Finance

Liaquat Ahamed: The Lords of Finance
The Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

LIAQUAT AHAMED

Investment Banker and Author, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

Moderator:
DAVID BRADLEY

Entering its seventh year, the Aspen Ideas Festival will gather some of the most interesting thinkers and leaders from around the US and abroad to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. Presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, the Festival is unique in its dedication to dialogue and exchange, and in its commitment to bringing ideas to the public at large. FORA.tv is pleased to present Festival programs taking place at the Aspen Institute's Paepcke Auditorium.
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 08:00:00 -0700
Location: Aspen, CO, Paepcke Auditorium, Aspen Institute
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/06/28/Liaquat_Ahamed_The_Lords_of_Finance

June 08 2011

01:44

That Giant Sifting Sound: A Short History of Big Data

That Giant Sifting Sound: A Short History of Big Data
That giant sifting sound: A short history of big data

MARTIN HILBERT
Professor, Annenberg School of Communications & Journalism, University of Southern California

The era of big data presents incredible opportunities -- smarter cities, stronger companies, faster medicine -- but just as many challenges. Storage is scarce, systems overloaded, governments and businesses know too much. The world now contains unimaginably vast amounts of digital information, which is growing exponentially. Managed well, this data can be used to engineer new engines of economic value, unlock scientific breakthroughs, and hold politicians accountable. Managed poorly, it can cause great harm.

The financial crisis showed that complex models that analyze large quantities of data do not always reflect financial risk in the real world. The financial crisis was sparked by big data -- and there will be others. But the data deluge will also generate millions of new ideas for how to solve big problems, build new markets, and expand existing ones. Ideas Economy: Information is a fresh look at knowledge management for the information age.

The Economist will bring together theorists, strategists, and innovators who understand how to harness data to create value and advance individual, corporate, and social good. We will sift through the vast quantities of current thinking on data to uncover the best ways forward. And we will apply the lessons of the Ideas Economy, about innovation, human capital, and intelligent infrastructure, to uncover new sources of growth and accelerate human progress across the globe.
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2011 13:15:00 -0700
Location: Santa Clara, CA, Santa Clara Convention Center, Economist
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/06/07/That_Giant_Sifting_Sound_A_Short_History_of_Big_Data

May 20 2011

22:45

Vernon Bogdanor: The Great War and Its Consequences

Vernon Bogdanor: The Great War and Its Consequences
The war saw a transformation of politics at both elite and popular level. This led to the Liberals being replaced by Labour as the main party of the Left. The last purely Liberal government came to an end in 1915. The inter-war leaders, Stanley Baldwin and Ramsay MacDonald, sought to continue the mission of liberalism by civilizing the state.

Yet Britain's industrial structure remained geared to the past rather than the future, and the inter-war years were marked by the chronic and seemingly insoluble problem of mass unemployment.

For transcript and download versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: Britain in the 20th Century: The Great War and its Consequences
Date: Tue, 07 Dec 2010 18:00:00 -0800
Location: London, Museum of London, Gresham College
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2010/12/07/Vernon_Bogdanor_The_Great_War_and_Its_Consequences
22:40

Prof. Richard J. Evans - The Victorians: Life and Death

Prof. Richard J. Evans - The Victorians: Life and Death
The nineteenth century, above all in Europe, was the age of the 'demographic transition', from high birth and death-rates to low ones; people's health improved, they lived longer, the devastating visitations of epidemics like smallpox, typhoid and cholera gradually disappeared. This lecture explores the reasons for this change, and looks at its effects on culture and society, attitudes towards death and suffering, disease, debilitation and at the end of the century, degeneracy and the Darwinian struggle for survival.

For transcript and download versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: The Victorians: Life and Death
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0800
Location: London, Museum of London, Gresham College
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2010/12/13/Prof_Richard_J_Evans_-_The_Victorians_Life_and_Death
22:31

English Architecture: Reaching for Heaven, 1130-1300

English Architecture: Reaching for Heaven, 1130-1300
During the thirteenth century Jerusalem surplanted Rome as the inspiration for English architecture. Huge national wealth led to an outburst of building of great creativity and individuality. The new gothic style which emerged by the 1220s was a national style for England creating some of the most remarkable buildings in European history.

For transcript and download versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: A New Jerusalem: Reaching for Heaven, 1130-1300
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0800
Location: London, Museum of London, Gresham College
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2010/12/01/English_Architecture_Reaching_for_Heaven_1130-1300
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

March 27 2011

04:56

Balenciaga and Spain Symposium

Balenciaga and Spain Symposium
This symposium will examine the thesis of the exhibition: the power of the Spanish imagination, and of its cultural and artistic history, on the work of one of the 20th century's greatest designers.
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Location: San Francisco, CA, Koret Auditorium - de Young Museum, de Young Museum
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/03/26/Balenciaga_and_Spain_Symposium

March 11 2011

00:01

WikiLeaks: Security, Diplomacy and Global Gossip

WikiLeaks: Security, Diplomacy and Global Gossip
With the media firestorm created by the content of WikiLeaks' release of US diplomatic cables, a corresponding debate over the future of diplomacy and the prevention of other leaks has also taken place. While many commentators agree that the cables have portrayed the US foreign service in a positive light, others argue that the potential for future leaks will make diplomacy more secretive, and ultimately less effective.
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Centre for International Governance Innovation
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/01/12/WikiLeaks_Security_Diplomacy_and_Global_Gossip

March 08 2011

02:02

February 28 2011

11:58

Squid stories: Love me, love my tentacles

Cian O'Luanaigh, reporter

Kraken cover_175.jpg

Cephalopods, the group of marine molluscs that includes squid and octopuses, get a bad press.

Mariners of old told of the fearsome kraken, an enormous octopus-like monster that drags whole ships to watery graves; and malicious, slithering tentacles are an ever-present threat to the space-faring heroes of science fiction. In these stories, squid and octopuses appear at best, uninteresting and at worst, evil.

In Kraken: The curious, exciting, and slightly disturbing science of squid, Wendy Williams goes some to way to rescue their reputation, celebrating cephalopods in all their wonderful otherness. And there is a lot to celebrate.

Who knew that octopuses bleed blue because of the copper content of their blood? Or that roughly three-fifths of their neurons reside in their arms?

Williams introduces us to the violent sex lives of the Dana octopus squid (Taningia danae), whose males slash females with their beaks, opening wounds to insert sperm; to bobtail squid, which contain light-emitting bacteria that mimic moonlight; and to the female giant Pacific octopus, so dedicated to the task of fanning her thousands of eggs that she starves to death in its execution.

These titbits of natural history are interwoven with a compelling historical narrative, recounting cephalopod science (with a focus on squid) from the very earliest sightings to their use in 21st-century neuroscience.

Williams joins scientists at sea, in the lab and in the classroom, as they catch, dissect and philosophise about cephalopods. Though at times these journalistic interludes can seem tangential, written in a chatty style which jars a little with the more expository science passages, they no doubt capture the excitement and interest of research work.

The discussion of cephalopod intelligence, though couched in rather broad terms, throws up some interesting nuggets. How do you test for intelligence in a creature whose lifestyle is so alien to ours?

With such dazzling diversity and intelligence, it's easy to see how cephalopods can mesmerise people. Reading Kraken could put you under that spell too.

Book information:
Kraken: the curious, exciting, and slightly disturbing science of squid by Wendy Williams
Abrams
£12.99/$21.95


February 17 2011

01:44

Donald Rumsfeld: Known and Unknown

Donald Rumsfeld: Known and Unknown
Marking the first stop on his highly-anticipated national book tour promoting Known and Unknown, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld joins the National Constitution Center for a conversation with historian Michael Beschloss. In a wide-ranging dialogue, Rumsfeld discusses previously undisclosed details and insights about the Bush administration, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The discussion draws on the themes from Rumsfeld's new book which chronicles his long career in public service, including his four terms in Congress and his service in the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Location: Washington, D.C., National Constitution Center, National Constitution Center
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2011/02/09/Donald_Rumsfeld_Known_and_Unknown
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