25 December 2009
Happy Christmas! Buy a Book!
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Did you get a gift certificate for Christmas?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble?
Here are my suggestions for some of the best reads related to science, climate change and meteorology. I have written about these books in previous blogs, but this time you have money in your pocket!
Let’s start with weather:
Rough Guide to Weather by Robert Henson
The AMS Weather Book by Jack Williams
These two books alone answer just about every weather question I have ever heard. Believe me when I tell you that is saying something!
These two really are THE BEST out there for ages 12 -99. I know of few meteorologists who do not have one or both.
The best books on Climate Science are IMHO:
The Two Mile Time Machine by Richard Alley
The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson
You don’t need a degree in advanced mathematics to understand them and they are spot on as far as the science goes. Jut a few days ago, I linked to a lecture given by Richard Alley at the AGU conference just last week. It was one of those “how we know what we know” talks that I think anyone would find interesting.
Full disclosure: Robert Henson (Bobby) is a friend of mine. Jack Williams is an “email friend”.
Best books on science in General:
The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing by Richard Dawkins
The book by Sagan is now considered a classic must read. He saw the war on science as the first shots were fired and it worried him greatly. Based on the events of the past 4 years, he was right to worry. Arm yourself with some real knowledge from one of the greatest teachers of science ever.
Dawkins book is a collection of some of the best writings about science from the greatest in the field. I grabbed the book on a lark and was not disappointed!
There are some other great books and I mentioned them last summer here.
Definitely reading the Sagan book even if I have to get it through the library – should have read him years ago. I’m one of those people who puts off reading books because others grab my attention first – and sadly I’m a slow reader . . . it’s like a guy with a really small stomach and a big appetite going to a buffet. I’ve picked up bits and pieces of his views over the years and it sounds like he had an _amazing_ mind. I went and read up on him online a bit after reading your blog and he really seems to have kept both his sense of wonder and his sense of skepticism . . . a precious and rare thing. Thx for the recommendations . . . although they do cost a bit, I’ll take good books over the internet any day . . .
I’m interested in Richard Dawkins, though probably not for the same reason you are. But I would ask you this: Assuming that flight developed by evolutionary means, can you describe any scenario in which flightless animals would develop, though millions of small incremental changes the ability to learn to fly? They would have to grow feathers, develop light enough bones, develop a proper breathing apparatus, etc., without which combined changes, flight would be impossible. Accepting Darwinian theory that improvements are the things that are passed along to successive generations, how many millions of improvements in every physiological area would it take for an animal to learn to fly? Why would those changes even move in the direction of flight without something guiding them? Can blind chance even conceive of flight? How could blind chance write such an elaborate code that would enable flight?