Friday Recommended Reads #11


Alfred Russel Wallace gets his first statue, unveiled by David Attenborough.

About ten years before AR Wallace got his due, Antarctic Explorer Mrs. Chippy was memorialized with a statue, in honor of Harry McNish, the carpenter who was instrumental in the survival of the the entire Shackleton expedition.

It’s very rewarding to work with first generation college students. This site is designed to help more students be able to say, “I’m first!” There are a huge number challenges connected with the leap of going to college, but life without having gone to college is a lot more difficult. That notion might be obvious to those with an academic background, but could be a rare and unsupported concept for students without family members who have graduated from college. This site can help make these concepts more tangible and looks like it has the potential to be a powerful outreach tool.

It is crazy how many museum administrators and board members have no grasp of basic museum ethical guidelines regarding curatorial practices. Here’s a story about how the San Diego Natural History Museum (which recently adopted the unfortunate moniker “The NAT”) narrowly stopped a sale of valuable fossils in their collection.

This one made big rounds in social media but I want to share it anyway: A collection of lists of things that people were surprised about when they came to the United States.

There was a great story on the BBC about an engineer who learned he had Marfan syndrome, a lack of elasticity in his aorta. So he invented a new fix for it and convinced his doctors to implement it.

Here is a non-link reading item: There is a growing trend for public shaming of tourists doing big-game “hunting” in Africa by broadly distributing the photos that the perpetrators share on social media. Anybody who is both willing to shoot a lion or elephant as a trophy and stupid enough to circulate a picture of themselves celebrating their actions really deserves these photos to be widely distributed.

If you’re looking for a longish vacation, in a home rather than a hotel or rental unit, then home exchanges are awesome. This article about a California family’s exchange with a Parisian family is so much like my own family’s experience it’s summer, it’s like we could have written it ourselves. Including the part about not easily figuring out how to find reverse on the gearshift of our host family’s car. (I’ve done two home exchanges so far, and I’ll probably doing it a bunch more.)

Have you noticed the deflating uniformity shared by rehabilitated and upper-class locations? Is it the case that true local character is destroyed by wealth? Here’s a thought-provoking article about that idea, which is also about Paris.

I’ve always been pleased to tout Chris Buddle’s great roundup of things in the world of science called Expiscor, with a tilt towards charismatic spiders. He’s sold out moved up to a new home hosted by SciLogs, tied to (And hey, I’d link to Expiscor even if the First Segment didn’t feature my ant-y stuff.)

Thanks to Andrew Farke (@AndyFarke) for a link.

Oh, and this’ll be the last time I mention Jared Diamond, I promise: As recompense for the creatively titled monomaniacal review I linked to earlier, here’s a review in the pages of the London Review of Books that is far more measured, and as a result, is even more damning: The final sentence reads, “We have virtually no credible evidence about the world until yesterday and, until we do, the only defensible intellectual position is to shut up.”

Have a great weekend, and as always, feel free to add your own recommended reading in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Friday Recommended Reads #11

  1. Hi Terry,

    This is similar to shaming trophy-hunters. South African National Parks (SANParks) has a website dedicated to posting pictures of tourists breaking ANY park rules! (although it is mostly just folks getting out of their car):

    Nothing as bad the drunk idiot who charged at an elephant!* (Just google: “Drunk idiot in Kruger Park charges a wild elephant”) to see it on YouTube
    *Not worth linking to

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