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Carl Zimmer
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Uncontrolled Substances: How The Chemical Underground is Going Mainstream. By Mike Power. Matter, Kindle Single, $.99. Reviewed by Maia Szalavitz I've been reading and writing about drugs and addiction for over a quarter century (yikes!) so I'm somewhat curmudgeonly in this area: what's news to many isn't likely to be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Review of "Sea Change," by Steve Ringman and Craig Welch, Seattle Times. Web site. Review of "The Course of Their Lives," by Mark Johnson and Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Web site. Last year on Download the Universe, Veronique Greenwood wrote a review of a story about an avalanche. Journalists write... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Dr. Eleanor's Book of Common Ants. Text by Eleanor Spicer Rice. Photographs by Alex Wild. Available at The School of Ants. iPad or pdf. Free. Reviewed by Carl Zimmer Many plants grow a thick coat around their seeds. The coat, called an elaiosome, doesn't do the seed any good, at... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2013 at Download The Universe
Each week, we add some new titles of science ebooks to the Library. We will review a selection of them. Here are our newest additions: City 2.0: The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of, by... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2013 at Download The Universe
Ronnie, you are mistaken. See this site for an introduction to the non-crackpot science of epigenetics: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/epigenetic-influences-and-disease-895
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"The Ghost in the Cell," by Scott C. Johnson. Published by Matter. Available via Web, ePub, Kindle. $.99. Reviewed by Annalee Newitz It's a prize that scientists have sought since the early nineteenth century: a biological marker that predicts violent behavior in humans. In the 1830s, phrenologists believed head bumps... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Adventures in Synthetic Biology. Story by Drew Endy and Isadora Deese and the MIT Synthetic Biology Working Group. Art by Chuck Wadey. Originally published in 2005. Available for free, PDF Reviewed by Carl Zimmer In the early 1970s, three scientists ran a simple experiment. They cut genes out of the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2013 at Download The Universe
Each week, we add some new titles of science ebooks to the Library. We will review a selection of them. Here are our newest additions: Battle at the End of Eden, Amanda R. Martinez The Science of Optimism: Why We're Hard-Wired for Hope, by Tali Sharot Shooting Star: The Brief... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2013 at Download The Universe
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At Download the Universe, we've got a hefty inventory of ebooks yet to review. Since we have to fit our volunteer reviewing into our regular lives as writers and scientists, we can only give our full attention to a fraction of those titles. With that in mind, we're launching a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Uprising, by Phil McKenna. Published by Matter, $.99. Visit Matter for details about formats, purchasing, and membership. Review by Virginia Hughes In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama made several nods to climate change. To reduce America’s dependence on oil — and the carbon emissions that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Honor Thy Symbionts, by Jeff Leach. Kindle Guest review by Kevin Bonham In 2003, the Human Genome Project--an effort to sequence every gene in a human being--was completed. The success, announced to great fanfare, was supposed to herald a new era in health care. Unfortunately, the promises of personalized medicine,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2013 at Download The Universe
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By Carl Zimmer It's now been a year since we started exploring science ebooks here at Download the Universe. By the time we got the site off the ground, people had already started producing some digital gems. The first work reviewed at Download the Universe, The Elements, brilliantly dismantled the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2013 at Download The Universe
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The Mind of a Madman: Norway's Struggle to Understand Anders Breivik. By Richard Orange. Kindle Single, $1.99. Review by Maia Szalavitz Following Aurora and Sandy Hook— and the concerns that have not surprisingly arisen over the questions of violence, guns and mental illness— I was eager to read journalist Richard... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2013 at Download The Universe
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In The Wrong Hands, by Ryan Gabrielson, California Watch/Center for Investigative Reporting. $.99, Kindle Single. by Deborah Blum For well over a year, the investigative reporters at California Watch (part of the non-profit center for Investigative Reporting) have been pursuing a story involving abuse of mentally ill patients in state... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott. Originally published in 1884. Free. Google Play. Project Gutenberg (numerous formats). Guest review by Jaime Green When I was about twelve years old, I saw the shadow of a four-dimensional cube. It was in a special exhibit at the New York Hall of Science on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2013 at Download The Universe
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The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, with Observations on Their Habits , by Charles Darwin. (Free: available on iBooks and Kindle) Reviewed by Virginia Hughes (guest reviewer) Charles Darwin wrote many books and many types of books, the most famous of which you can download for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2013 at Download The Universe
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Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek. By John Branch. The New York Times and Byliner. Reviewed by Veronique Greenwood On Wednesday night, a mysterious new article appeared on the New York Times site. News of it began to leak out via Twitter, and people who headed over to read... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Cold Blooded by Jere Longman. $1.99 (Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free.) Available as a Kindle single. Guest review by Christie Aschwanden In early October, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released hundreds of documents implicating seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in something the agency dubbed... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Symbolia. First issue free. Subsequent individual issues $1.99. Annual subscription $11.99. Available as an iPad app or pdf; other devices to come. See web site for details. Comics first gained respectability as art, then as storytelling, and more recently as comics journalism. Joe Sacco's celebrated Safe Area Goradze, for example,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Do No Harm, by Anil Ananthaswamy. Published by Matter, $.99. Visit Matter for details about formats, purchasing, and membership. Reviewed by Carl Zimmer Talk about burying the lead. Yesterday the Washington Post announced that they were hiring a new editor-in-chief. Reporting for the New York Times, Christine Haughney wrote that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Rockets and People: Volume 1, by Boris Chertok. Published by NASA. PDF, free. Reviewed by Veronique Greenwood Cultural critics may bemoan the Internet's effect on our ability to remember, but one has to admit that, as a collective mental filing cabinet, it has its good sides. This place we've built... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Angel Killer, by Deborah Blum (The Atavist, October 2012). Available via The Atavist app and for Kindle. Reviewed by Annalee Newitz With the essay Angel Killer, science historian Deborah Blum (a DTU editor) takes us into the disturbing world of Albert Fish, a serial killer who raped, murdered and ate... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Micrographia: Or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made With Magnifying Glasses With Observations and Inquiries Thereupon. By Robert Hooke. Originally published 1665. Project Gutenberg (web), Linda Hall Libary (web), Google Books (free), National Library of Medicine (flash web site, Turn the Pages App [free]) Reviewed by Carl Zimmer In... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Celebrating 30 years of the Space Shuttle Program Designed by Adam Chen, Edited by William Wallack and George Gonzalez. Available as a PDF or iPad application (free) Reviewed by John Timmer It's hard not to have mixed feelings about the Space Shuttle. For over 30 years, it's been the only... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2012 at Download The Universe
I was pleased to stumble across a site today that shares the spirit that gave rise to Download the Universe. New Books in Science, Technology, and Society is a series of interview podcasts conducted by Carla Nappi and Patrick Slaney of the University of British Columbia. It's got a strong... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2012 at Download The Universe