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20 January 2020

Book report

A quartet of brief book reviews from some of Callan’s recent reading.


13 September 2019

Friday fold: crinkled schist from Italy

AGU’s Chief Digital Officer Jay Brodsky offers up a fresh European fold for you today — and this one is on rather a smaller scale than Jay’s last Friday fold contribution… Click through for a bigger version. These are lovely crinkly folds in highly foliated rocks. I love boxy little crenulations like these. Jay tells me that this is from Graines, Italy, in one of the valleys of the Val …


27 August 2018

Beautiful Swimmers, by William Warner

The subtitle of this wonderful book is “Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay.” It’s an excellent account of crab ecology in the Chesapeake Bay as it stood in the mid-1970s, and simultaneously a sympathetic portrait of the lives of the locals who capture those crabs for sale to the seafood market. The writing is thoughtful and calm, paced very similarly to John McPhee’s writing, rich in quotes from the watermen …


7 July 2017

Friday fold: marble in a thermopolium at Herculaneum

It’s Friday. Let’s find a historic sort of Friday fold in the ruins of Herculaneum, Naples, Italy.


23 June 2016

Mega-trace fossils in the floor of the Old Bushmills Distillery, Northern Ireland

We arrived at Old Bushmills at 4:06pm, and the last tour of the distillery for the day had left at 4:00. But all was not lost – We were delighted to see that the visitor center area was paved in slabs of shale with tremendously large, well-preserved trace fossils – sinuous burrows parallel to the bedding plane, in some cases cross-cutting or looping back over themselves! Great stuff – balm …


8 April 2016

The Hidden Half of Nature, by David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé

David Montgomery is a professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington, in Seattle. I’m a fan of his work in soil conservation and countering creationism, so I was very pleased to find myself sharing the “honoree” table with him in Vancouver the year before last, at the annual awards luncheon for the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and the Geological Society of America’s Geoscience Education Division. I was there …


21 March 2016

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

Here’s a great book about one family’s efforts to eat as locally as possible for a year, sort of. Whether or not they’re evangelical enough in their southwest Virginia locavory (I would have made the same call with regard to olive oil and coffee!), Barbara Kingsolver and her family definitely are certainly inspiring. Their efforts to produce their own food or buy it from their farming neighbors are simultaneously enlightening, …


1 January 2016

Friday fold: Folded Mountains Ale

My friend Eric Pyle drew my attention to this ale earlier in the week – I reckon that will do for this week’s Friday fold. Cheers! And Happy New Year!


26 September 2015

A History of the World in Six Glasses, by Tom Standage

This week’s book was a survey of human history, from the dawn of civilization to the Cold War, of the various ways that societal, health, political, technological, and economic factors drove the adoption of various beverages, and how the presence of those beverages in human society generated ripples of cause and effect, propelling advances and turns of history that led us to the world we live in. It’s a prime …