The Best Science Writing Online 2012
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The Best Science Writing Online 2012

by Bora Zivkovic
     
 

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Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way we think about science— from fluids to fungi, poisons to pirates. Featuring noted authors and journalists as well as the brightest up-and-comers writing today, this collection provides a

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Overview

Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way we think about science— from fluids to fungi, poisons to pirates. Featuring noted authors and journalists as well as the brightest up-and-comers writing today, this collection provides a comprehensive look at the fascinating, innovative, and trailblazing scientific achievements and breakthroughs of 2011, along with elegant and thoughtprovoking new takes on favorite topics. This is the sixth anthology of online essays edited by Bora Zivkovic, the blogs editor at Scientific American, and with each new edition, Zivkovic expands his fan base and creates a surge of excitement about upcoming compilations. Now everyone's favorite collection will reach new horizons and even more readers. Guest-edited and with an introduction by the renowned science author and blogger Jennifer Ouellette, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 marries cutting-edge science with dynamic writing that will inspire us all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The 51 pieces collected here are wide-ranging in both form and subject: there’s poetry, short reflections, and in-depth scientific investigations; human and physical sciences, including anthropology, cognition, ecology, epidemiology, neuroscience, physics, and much more. The contributors, too, are a mix, from relatively new voices to veteran writers. Equally variable is the quality. The good are very good. Carl Zimmer, for example, in one of the book’s longer pieces, takes an ecological approach to the microbiota present in humans and argues that such an analysis could dramatically help in treating a host of diseases. Andrea Kuszewski explores how the new sport of chess-boxing, where contestants alternate between playing chess and boxing, might help us understand how to control aggression and thus limit bullying. Maryn McKenn investigates reports that the CIA used a fake flu vaccination program to collect DNA in hopes of finding Osama bin Laden. The semiotics of pirate flags, the evolutionary reasons for menstruation, the surprising discovery by a 13-year-old Tanzanian student that hot water freezes faster than cold water, and possible ways to manipulate the environment to halt hurricanes are among the gems culled by Scientific American blogger Zivkovic from Web sites Boing Boing, Empirical Zeal, the Guardian Science Blog, and dozens of others. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“[The Best Science Writing Online 2012] is full--stuffed--with excellent science writing, more than enough to keep you reading . . . Buy it. It is worth your time.” —Wired Science Blogs

“A collection of fun and interesting science, from online writers around the world.” —The Guardian (blog)

“[A] potent mix of critical analyses, witty personal reflections, absorbing feature profiles, illuminating commentary on the intersection of science and social policy, and even long-form investigative journalism, covering everything from the last space shuttle launch to fluid dynamics to gender politics.” —Brain Pickings

“A collection of solid science writing celebrating a diversity of topics, writer credentials and styles. Proof that science writing online is healthy and growing. For naive surfers, an anthology like this will help separate the wheat from the chaff.” —Kirkus

“[C]onsistently picks the best of the best blogs. Read it.” —Ivan Oransky, MD, Executive Editor, Reuters Health and Blogger, Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch on Previous Edition

“This is the best of the science blogosphere 2010, selected by experts, and features something for anyone and everyone curious about the natural world.” —Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing and Discover's The Intersection blog on The Best Science Writing Online 2010

“Some of the smartest, best informed, and--yes--most entertaining writing about science today can be found in the vibrant community of science bloggers. Each year [the] series performs an invaluable service by pulling together some of the highlights--proof that the best blog posts can and should be savored long after they've scrolled off the bottom of the screen.” —Scott Rosenberg, author of Say Everything and Dreaming in Code, and co-founder of Salon.com on Previous Editon

“In each post I found honesty, passion, imagination, curiosity and creativity shining through in a way that the disinterested ‘article mill' of traditional journalism is rarely able to match.” —Al Dove, scientist and blogger on Previous Editon

“If you are overwhelmed by the surge in science-related blogging and don't know where to start, then this compilation may help you steer a course through the sea of perspectives on offer--or inspire you to start a blog yourself.” —Nature on Previous editon

“A fun, enlightening read that's bound to have a little something for everybody who loves science.” —Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing.net on Previous edition

Kirkus Reviews
A collection of solid science writing celebrating a diversity of topics, writer credentials and styles. Among other topics, readers will discover that the Dutch East India Company colonized South Africa with farmers to supply their ships with scurvy-preventing produce on their way to Asia. Editor Ouellette (The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, 2010, etc.) also includes entries on ecology (including gems by Deborah Blum and Carl Zimmer); genetics (e.g., a wonderful essay explaining gene sequencing by molecular biologist Richard Winkle); Ethiopian "church forests," virtual Edens that surround churches in an otherwise bleak landscape; how sperm corkscrew their way to their targets; how to finance star travel; and an essay on what constitutes a scientist's "greatness." The editor draws many of the pieces from the blogging network of the Scientific American, and often the contributor's background and academic and/or publishing history provide assurance of factual accuracy--but not always peerless editing. With the independence and free spirit that characterizes blogging, the role of the editor may be lost, and some of the pieces are overwritten. In a provocative piece, journalist David Dobbs argues for an end to the delays of peer review, as well as the exclusivity and costs of publishing papers in revered science journals. He opts instead for open access online, and he blames researchers for hewing to the outdated print journal model. Proof that science writing online is healthy and growing. For naive surfers, an anthology like this will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374533342
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
09/18/2012
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

SOMATA

AUBREY J. SANDERS

 

I was born a body of worlds

a carnal web of cosmic pearl

billions of stars that hold me to my bones,

and when one day their cores collapse

I will shed my skin in ash

and sleep among the mosses and the stone.

I’ll grow into the vine that licks the ruin

writhe beneath the savage moon

my scattered cinders eaten at the roots,

and when the ravaged willow moans again

she will take me in her veins

and shake me from her hair an astral fruit.

For we forgot a fact that we once knew,

the only ancient truth,

the knowledge of our primal origin:

That from the feral night we came as dust

born from stellar wanderlust

and unto the stars we will return again.

AUBREY SANDERS will graduate from the George Washington University in May 2012 with a B.A. in English and creative writing. She currently interns at the Grosvenor Literary Agency in Bethesda, Maryland, and is working on her first novel. She believes in the poetry of the cosmos and will be an astronomer in her next life.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Bora Zivkovic

Meet the Author

Bora Zivkovic is the editor of the blog network at Scientific American and organizes the globally renowned Science-Online events. He lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Jennifer Ouellette is the author of The Calculus Diaries and other titles, and maintains the Cocktail Party Physics blog. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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