Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An April Shower of New Books!

The last week of April has showered us with new books, thanks to those fine folks working in the main library who order, process and catalog new materials. Look at all of these great new titles! No fewer than eight books are devoted to climate change and global warming; some are focused on the politics of implementing solutions, others present scientists' findings, two are devoted to predictions of how global warming will change Earth and human society, and one considers governmental censoring of Dr. James Hansen. Hansen was one of the first to bring the climate crisis to the public's attention, with testimony to Congress in the 1980s.

The Guardian (April 7, 2008) reported on Hansen's latest paper, co-published with eight others in arXiv, on appropriate targets for levels of atmospheric carbon.

Books on animal societies and behavior are also well-represented in this latest shipment: rhesus monkeys, gorillas, turtles, rodents, hornbills, eagles, ants and lizards - oh my! There are plenty of titles to entice those of you reading chemistry, geology, physics and other aspects of biology as well.

Friday, April 25, 2008

National DNA Day

I hope you are already aware that today is National DNA Day. And the day is half gone at the time of this posting... tsk! Now, if there is one thing we can all celebrate - and I do mean ALL - it is Deoxyribonucleic Acid! Gracious, we would be nothing without it, and Earth would be quite a different place. So give thanks for your genetic code, much of which you share in common with the rest of living organisms (evolution is a MARVELOUS thing). Squirmy worms, flying fowl, leaping lemurs... and us! Not so different on a molecular level, really.* There's still time to chat online about all things DNA-ish. Talk with the scientists at

*How similar are we to those other species? I'm glad you asked! Here's the answer I received to that question on
Mary Schueler, Ph.D. : Generally, human DNA is most similar to more closely related species like the great apes - chimp, gorilla, and orangutan. These are more closely related to us in evolutionary time. Species that have been separated from us for longer periods of time share less similarity. As you compare with species farther away from us on the evolutionary tree, we observe that DNA sequences that code for proteins are conserved while other sequence is not. This is thought to be due to the necessary function of the proteins in the life of the cell. If the sequence changes, the cell can't survive. We are less than 90% similar to most other species. Even within the primate lineage, as compared to old world monkeys, protein coding sequences can vary by as much as 15% (be 85% similar). As you move further away to mice and flies and yeast, the percentage similarity falls off quite a bit.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day! Get out there... read a book in the shade.

And what a glorious day it is.
Lie on the grass.
Breathe in the scent of magnolias.
Love the earth.
Take a book out with you!

A few suggestions:
Or Listen to the audio recordings of speakers at the Climate Change Solutions symposium... an excellent way to remind us that every day is Earth Day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Climate Change Solutions for Ohio - Symposium highlights

Reporting from the Climate Change Solutions Symposium in the Science Center's West Lecture Hall : here are a few of the solutions highlighted so far this morning -
  • The technology that will save humanity "The solar energy you haven't heard of is the one best suited to generate clean electricity for generations to come." By Joseph Romm. April 13, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Science Will Heal the Earth

On the current periodical display shelf this week is Discover's special issue: How Science Will Heal the Earth. Read how to go carbon neutral, learn what food has no carbon footprint, and the daring plan to reclaim water.

Also check out A Science Fair for a Better Planet: "A contest to show Discover—and the rest of the humans—how to help Mother Earth". You can enter your own ideas in what is being billed as the World's biggest Show and Tell.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ScienceDebate 2008 - an appeal to the candidates

Sciencedebate 2008 is a citizen-led initiative to focus the presidential debate on matters of scientific inquiry and the urgent need for accurate scientific information in policy decisions. The call for presidential candidates to engage in a science-focused debate is rapidly becoming more wide-spread and publicized, with thousands of individuals joining the effort. Read the policy forum piece in the April 11 Science magazine, and see the many other news highlights at the Sciencedebate2008 web site.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Celebrate Science Poetry During National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! A fine time to read science in verse - or communicate science in verse.

"Shall not geology, which is the first science in affording scope for the imagination, be brought into favor with the Muses, and afford themes for the Poet?"
—Edward Hitchcock, Jr., 1849

You would surely enjoy the The Biochemist's Songbook (take to your next fireside sing-along and amaze your friends with references to complex biochemical pathways). offers an entire section on poetry.

The poetry collection in the main library is brimming with science-themed compositions - go explore books with call numbers that begin PS3551, for starters. You can spend a life-time there.

Submit your own science poetry here! Just leave a comment with your creative lines. We'll post your submissions in the science library at the end of April. An award (very modest, possibly edible) might be in the offing!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Go Green with GreenFILE from EBSCO

EBSCO has released a new, free, database for environmental literature. Give it a try!

From the EBSCO press release:
GreenFILE offers a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the ecology. The initial release will include abstracting and indexing for more than 600 titles, including comprehensive coverage – from to volume 1, issue 1 to present – for Bioscience (back to 1964), Conservation Biology (back to 1987), Journal of Ecology (back to 1913) and Journal of Environmental Planning & Management (back to 1948). The total number of records is approximately 295,000, and full text is provided for more than 4,600 records from open access titles.

Check out our DVD collection

We've recently pulled the DVDs out of the closed cupboard behind the circulation desk and put them in the browsing rack along with the CD-ROM collection. It's right on your way to the iMac lab - so pause there for a moment, and see what's available. It's a very small collection, but offers excellent viewing (and educational!) opportunities.

See the list of DVDs owned by the Science Library [pdf].