Released on 2012-02-08Categories Literary Criticism

Quicklet On Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species

Quicklet On Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species

Author: Nicole Silvester

Publisher: Hyperink Inc

ISBN: 9781484006863

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 25

View: 887

ABOUT THE BOOK The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is arguably one of the most important works of scientific writing ever to be published. Science today recognizes that the principles of natural selection Darwin described are the primary driving forces behind the evolution of new species, and evolution itself underpins all of the biological sciences, including medicine. For a natural historian, whether a professional scientist, or an avid amateur like me, Darwin’s work is an illustration of how a single dedicated individual can look at the mind-boggling variety of life on our planet and make sense of it. Though few people have read the book, nearly everyone has read about it. Those who do venture to crack the covers of the Origin (as it’s commonly known) discover a surprisingly readable account, though one dense with details and examples. It is the sort of book that can take some effort to get all the way through, but which leaves the reader feeling it was a worthwhile effort. For me, it underlined the beauty and richness of life on Earth, and gave me many new avenues down which to let my curiosity wander. It is also a testament to the kind of meticulous research, combined with brilliant thinking, upon which the best science depends. MEET THE AUTHOR Nicole has been writing since she could make letters with a pencil, and has been making a living at it for more than ten years. She has gone back to school too many times, studying archaeology, folklore, writing and visual art. She writes fiction under several pen names, and also does printmaking, book arts, and photography. She's an avid amateur natural historian with a particular fascination for things that fly, whether it's birds, bats or insects. And if it's possible to be both a luddite, with a love for the low-tech, and a technophile, with a fascination for everything new and shiny, Nicole is both. She reads too many books, plays too many video games, and watches too much anime. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK It is difficult to overstate the importance of The Origin of Species. It has been both loved and reviled, but Darwin’s theory has stood up to repeated challenges until it has become what scientists call a “robust theory”—for a layperson, there is little difference between that and a “fact.” A robust theory is one that has “been tested and confirmed again and again.” It took Charles Darwin many years to write his masterwork, and he only really considered publishing it when it came to his attention in 1855 that a younger scientist—Alfred Russel Wallace—was working on a similar theory. Without that impetus, the book would likely have taken many more years. Wallace’s work, which he sent to Darwin in 1858 in a 20-page paper outlining an evolutionary theory similar to Darwin’s, finally provided the impetus for Darwin to set down his ideas in a form others could read. In the end, the two men claimed joint discovery of the mechanisms of evolution, though it’s Darwin whose name we remember, and Darwin’s thorough and meticulous work that gave the theory its strongest support. Darwin had actually worked out his basic theory of natural selection by 1838, but he was such a perfectionist that he didn’t publish it until nearly 20 years later. With each new edition of the Origin, Darwin added additional examples and evidence, and answered many challenges from his scientific opponents. And though today the Origin is considered to be a work only read by scientists, it was actually written for the general public, and was widely read at the time. Buy a copy to keep reading!
Released on 2012-02-29Categories Study Aids

Quicklet on Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle (CliffNotes-like Book Summary)

Quicklet on Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle (CliffNotes-like Book Summary)

Author: Nicole Silvester

Publisher: Hyperink Inc

ISBN: 9781614641223

Category: Study Aids

Page: 30

View: 862

ABOUT THE BOOK “On the 2nd of October we made the shores of England; and at Falmouth I left the Beagle, having lived on board the good little vessel nearly five years.” Charles Robert Darwin, the man who brought the world the theory of evolution by natural selection, was born on the 12th of February, 1809, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. From an early age, he showed interest in the study of nature. In 1825, when he was sixteen, Darwin spent a summer as an apprentice to his father, a doctor, and then in the fall of that year he attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh. Darwin was an indifferent student, finding his lectures dull, and he was distressed by surgery, which was required learning for a doctor. So instead of studying, he turned to other pursuits. He learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a former slave who had accompanied an expedition to the South American rainforest; he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group; and he assisted Robert Edmond Grant with a study of marine invertebrates, during which time he made and presented at least one discovery of his own. Due to the neglect of his medical studies, Darwin’s father decided to send him instead to Christ’s College, Cambridge to get a degree as part of the process of becoming an Anglican parson. Darwin continued to neglect his studies, but his newly-found passion for entomology led to some discoveries of new species. Despite being a less-than-stellar student, Darwin graduated in 1831. MEET THE AUTHOR Nicole has been writing since she could make letters with a pencil, and has been making a living at it for more than ten years. She has gone back to school too many times, studying archaeology, folklore, writing and visual art. She reads too many books, plays too many video games, and watches too much anime. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK During the years 1831 to 1836, Charles Darwin sailed on the HMS Beagle, on its second hydrographic survey voyage. He kept a diary and detailed scientific notes, and when the expedition returned to England, Darwin began to edit his notes for publication at the request of Robert Fitz Roy, captain of the Beagle. The resulting book, also known as Darwin's Journal of Researches, was first published in 1838 and 1839 as book three of a four-volume publication covering all aspects of both the first and second Beagle voyages. Darwin’s portion covered geology, anthropology and natural history. Darwin’s family had initially encouraged him to publish his journal separately from Fitz Roy’s account of the voyage, but because it was to be a separate volume in the series, Darwin allowed it to be printed alongside Fitz Roy’s work. However, Darwin’s volume of The Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle was so popular that he did eventually publish the work on its own in 1845, with some revisions. Most notably, he added more references to his developing theory of natural selection. It was reprinted several times, often with slightly different titles, and with minor revisions... Buy a copy to keep reading!
Released on 2011-12-14Categories Study Aids

Quicklet on Popular Science November 2011

Quicklet on Popular Science November 2011

Author: Gino Dino

Publisher: Hyperink Inc

ISBN: 9781614641704

Category: Study Aids

Page: 57

View: 704

Quicklets: Learn More. Read Less. Popular Science is a science magazine for a general audience. First published in 1872, the magazine has been in publication for almost 140 years. It has been translated into over 30 languages and is currently distributed to readers in at least 45 countries. Readers can subscribe to the magazine or digital publication for set periods of time (annual, bi-annual). The magazine has been ported to tablet, mobile, and e-reader formats, and has a highly-customizable and interactive website that has recently made its magazine archive accessible and ready for searching. Having won over 58 awards since its inception, the magazine may not be as in-depth as other major scientific publications, but for its general audience, it achieves its aim of being the “first stop for what's new and what's next. Quicklets: Learn More. Read Less.
Released on 2012-05-08Categories Reference

Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society

Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society

Author: Nicole Silvester

Publisher: Hyperink Inc

ISBN: 9781614642800

Category: Reference

Page: 45

View: 683

The Royal Society was founded in 1660 from a basis of more informal meetings of physicians, natural philosophers, and other interested parties (there was no such thing as a "scientist" yet). It was influenced by Francis Bacon's thinking about science and knowledge and inspired by the many discoveries that were happening at the time. In a sense, the development of the Royal Society was a mirror of the development of science itself. 2010 was the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society, and Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society was published to commemorate that fact. Rather than simply write a history of the institution, Bryson elected to edit a volume of essays displaying some of the variety of interests so evident in the Royal Society itself. He selected twenty one writers, and not just scientists, either. Though there are quite a few eminent scholars listed as authors, there are also novelists and journalists. What they all share, though, besides the ability to turn a phrase, is an enthusiasm for science and an appreciation for the achievements of the Society.
Released on 2012-02-24Categories Study Aids

Quicklet on Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (CliffNotes-like Summary)

Quicklet on Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (CliffNotes-like Summary)

Author: Nicole Cipri

Publisher: Hyperink Inc

ISBN: 9781614640615

Category: Study Aids

Page: 29

View: 398

ABOUT THE BOOK In his introduction to A Short History of Nearly Everything, author Bill Bryson describes a childhood experience common to many of us: a brief infatuation with science, with all its potential and possibility. For Bryson, it was inspired by a textbook’s cut-away illustration of the interior strata of the Earth, with the molten core at the center. For myself, it was a children’s biography of Jacques Cousteau. Excited by the nearly endless prospects of science, the questions that could finally satisfy a child’s curiosity, we both reached for more books, and found our budding passions firmly squashed by an impenetrable wall of unfathomable writing. As Bryson writes in his introduction, “there seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed too near the realm of the mildly interesting.” Bryson wrote A Short History of Nearly Everything as an antidote to the dry-as-dust science tomes that weigh down students’ backpacks. It is a layman’s love song to science, to its strange history and stranger characters. Published in 2003, it has been become a popular addition to the popular science genre. MEET THE AUTHOR Nicole Cipri is a restless wanderer and passionate writer. A graduate of the Evergreen State School in Olympia, WA, Nicole has since written about such varied topics as modern urban farming, the role of glitterbombing as political theater, and the economic impacts of natural disasters. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, @nicolecipri. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Drama abounded in the 19th century. After the discovery of the first dinosaur fossil in 1784, and with subsequent uncovering of massive bones that belonged to other extinct species, there was an uncomfortable public debate concerning extinctions. Why, after all, would an omniscient God create species of animals only to casually wipe them out? Throughout history, the sciences have routinely butted heads with the Church, a trend that continues today. From geology and paleontology, Bryson moves to chemistry. With its origins in the enigmatic studies of alchemy, chemistry evolved along its own strange path. Bryson tells one exemplifying story, in which an amateur alchemist became convinced the he could distill gold from human urine. “The similarity of color,” Bryson explains, “seems to have been a factor in his conclusion.” In an attempt to prove his hypothesis, the man collected fifty buckets of human urine, which he kept in his cellar. After a few months, the man noted, the substance in the buckets began to glow or explode into flames when exposed to air. He had failed in distilling gold from urine, but he had succeeded in creating phosphorous. Buy a copy to keep reading!
Released on 2012-04-04Categories Study Aids

Quicklet on Jared Diamond's Why Is Sex Fun? (CliffsNotes-like Book Summary)

Quicklet on Jared Diamond's Why Is Sex Fun? (CliffsNotes-like Book Summary)

Author: Scott James

Publisher: Hyperink Inc

ISBN: 9781614640721

Category: Study Aids

Page: 45

View: 462

ABOUT THE BOOK Jared Diamonds Why is Sex Fun? is sexual anthropology for the layman. As he says in the quote from his preface above, hes speculating, not lecturing. He does it with wisdom, humor and a lot of insight based on research and a deep appreciation for his subject matter. He tackles topics we normally dont think about, like why only women lactate, or why we have sex when a woman isnt fertile. He writes through a combination of historical, emotional, and anthropological perspectives. His aim is to enlighten and explain, and he does it by weaving together current scientific understanding and research with his own unique brand of extrapolation. Because of his background as a scientist, he takes the tone of an academic paper, but transcends the dry delivery that dooms most research. He stops short of pop science, a la Freakanomics or Malcolm Gladwell. Hes not just riffing possible theories from the research that others have done. Hes extending the inquiry and looking for answers to broad questions. MEET THE AUTHOR Scott James has a degree in English and has worked as a teacher, lecturer and editor for over a decade. He is a published author and poet, and freelances as a self-publishing and marketing consultant for start-ups. He lives in San Francisco with his wife. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK In Why is Sex Fun?, Jared Diamond tackles a series of questions about human sexuality that are not easily explained by evolution. In each chapter he presents a question, explains why it is not easily answered (or not as easily answered as some scientists would have us believe), lays out several opposing points of view, and works through his reasoning As humans, we tend to think that whatever other animals do is strange, but Diamond makes it clear from the beginning that when it comes to sex, we are the strange ones. We pair up for the long-term, share parental care, live close to other couples, have sex in private, hide ovulation, and get menopause. He lays out the argument that natural selection maximizes the transmission of genes, and for humans, doing that has meant developing sexual and reproductive behaviors that diverge dramatically from our closest animal relatives. Diamond seems to suggest that the rest of the animal kingdom looks at us and wonders, why do they do that?! Diamond moves into even more contentious territory, delving into the Battle of the Sexes. Here he looks at why men and women have evolved to take on different roles in sexual reproduction and resulting child-rearing. Youll find no equal right arguments here; he makes a subtle case for gender roles having at least some basis in evolutionary necessity. CHAPTER OUTLINE Quicklet on Jared Diamond's Why is Sex Fun? + About the Book + About the Author + Overall Summary + Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries + ...and much more