Tag Archives: Real

How to Live on Mars – Robert Zubrin

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How to Live on Mars

A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet

Robert Zubrin

Genre: Astronomy

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: December 2, 2008

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Thinking about moving to mars? Well, why not? Mars, after all, is the planet that holds the greatest promise for human colonization. But why speculate about the possibilities when you can get the real scientific scoop from someone who’s been happily living and working there for years? Straight from the not-so-distant future, this intrepid pioneer’s tips for physical, financial, and social survival on the Red Planet cover: • How to get to Mars (Cycling spacecraft offer cheap rides, but the smell is not for everyone.) • Choosing a spacesuit (The old-fashioned but reliable pneumatic Neil Armstrong style versus the sleek new—but anatomically unforgiving—elastic “skinsuit.”) • Selecting a habitat (Just like on Earth: location, location, location.) • Finding a job that pays well and doesn’t kill you (This is not a metaphor on Mars.) • How to meet the opposite sex (Master more than forty Mars-centric pickup lines.) With more than twenty original illustrations by Michael Carroll, Robert Murray, and other renowned space artists, How to Live on Mars seamlessly blends humor and real science, and is a practical and exhilarating guide to life on our first extraterrestrial home. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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How to Live on Mars – Robert Zubrin

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You have public lands in the ocean, which means Ryan Zinke wants to shrink them.

After long days of reading about the dismantling of the EPA, I wanted to think about anything but politics. Samin Nosrat’s wonderful cookbook provided plenty of fodder.

Nosrat breaks cooking into its key elements; food science becomes clear and usable. For example: Roast chicken should get a hearty dose of kosher or sea salt the day before going in the oven. In a wild and woolly year, apolitical facts such as these were a godsend, and they actually got me to cook more.

Take dinner with a friend (and former Grist fellow) who was guest-writing the excellent newsletter WTF Just Happened Today. He got up early every day to sort through Trump administration noise and summarize the real news. He was, as you might expect, questioning everything. A distillation of our conversation:

Him: “All of this has me thinking about printing press capitalism’s link to the rise of nationalism. And with that, how international news has expanded our idea of community despite our inherent lack of agency. How about that?”

*Throws ingredients into soup*

Me: “What kind of salt you using over there, big guy?”

One night, I used the cookbook to make buttermilk chicken for this friend and others. They filtered in, various degrees of flustered and wide-eyed. I placed the skillet on the table and our manners and worries melted away. We ripped meat off the bones and gestured that yes, you should really just grab a handful of potatoes to scoop up the sauce. 

The world was still going batshit outside my door, but we could ignore it for a little while. We laughed and chatted as the salt and fat dripped down our chins.

Darby Minow Smith is the senior managing editor at Grist.

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You have public lands in the ocean, which means Ryan Zinke wants to shrink them.

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Don’t fall for news stories about chocolate going extinct.

After long days of reading about the dismantling of the EPA, I wanted to think about anything but politics. Samin Nosrat’s wonderful cookbook provided plenty of fodder.

Nosrat breaks cooking into its key elements; food science becomes clear and usable. For example: Roast chicken should get a hearty dose of kosher or sea salt the day before going in the oven. In a wild and woolly year, apolitical facts such as these were a godsend, and they actually got me to cook more.

Take dinner with a friend (and former Grist fellow) who was guest-writing the excellent newsletter WTF Just Happened Today. He got up early every day to sort through Trump administration noise and summarize the real news. He was, as you might expect, questioning everything. A distillation of our conversation:

Him: “All of this has me thinking about printing press capitalism’s link to the rise of nationalism. And with that, how international news has expanded our idea of community despite our inherent lack of agency. How about that?”

*Throws ingredients into soup*

Me: “What kind of salt you using over there, big guy?”

One night, I used the cookbook to make buttermilk chicken for this friend and others. They filtered in, various degrees of flustered and wide-eyed. I placed the skillet on the table and our manners and worries melted away. We ripped meat off the bones and gestured that yes, you should really just grab a handful of potatoes to scoop up the sauce. 

The world was still going batshit outside my door, but we could ignore it for a little while. We laughed and chatted as the salt and fat dripped down our chins.

Darby Minow Smith is the senior managing editor at Grist.

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Don’t fall for news stories about chocolate going extinct.

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Resilience Practice – Brian Walker & David Salt

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Resilience Practice

Building Capacity to Absorb Disturbance and Maintain Function

Brian Walker & David Salt

Genre: Nature

Price: $27.99

Publish Date: August 6, 2012

Publisher: Island Press

Seller: INscribe Digital


In 2006, Resilience Thinking addressed an essential question: As the natural systems that sustain us are subjected to shock after shock, how much can they take and still deliver the services we need from them? This idea caught the attention of both the scientific community and the general public. In Resilience Practice , authors Brian Walker and David Salt take the notion of resilience one step further, applying resilience thinking to real-world situations and exploring how systems can be managed to promote and sustain resilience. The book begins with an overview and introduction to resilience thinking and then takes the reader through the process of describing systems, assessing their resilience, and intervening as appropriate. Following each chapter is a case study of a different type of social-ecological system and how resilience makes a difference to that system in practice. The final chapters explore resilience in other arenas, including on a global scale. Resilience Practice will help people with an interest in the “coping capacity” of systems—from farms and catchments to regions and nations—to better understand how resilience thinking can be put into practice. It offers an easy-to-read but scientifically robust guide through the real-world application of the concept of resilience and is a must read for anyone concerned with the management of systems at any scale.

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Resilience Practice – Brian Walker & David Salt

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius – Hans C. Ohanian

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius

Hans C. Ohanian

Genre: Physics

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: November 9, 2009

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


“A thought-provoking critique of Einstein’s tantalizing combination of brilliance and blunder.”—Andrew Robinson, New Scientist Although Einstein was the greatest genius of the twentieth century, many of his groundbreaking discoveries were blighted by mistakes, ranging from serious errors in mathematics to bad misconceptions in physics and failures to grasp the subtleties of his own creations. This forensic biography dissects Einstein’s scientific mistakes and places them in the context of his turbulent life and times. In lively, accessible prose, Hans C. Ohanian paints a fresh, insightful portrait of the real Einstein at work, in contrast to the uncritical celebrity worship found in many biographies. Of the approximately 180 original scientific papers that Einstein published in his lifetime, about 40 are infested with mistakes. For instance, Einstein’s first mathematical proof of the famous formula E = mc2 was incomplete and only approximately valid; he struggled with this problem for many years, but he never found a complete proof (better mathematicians did). Einstein was often lured by irrational and mystical inspirations, but his extraordinary intuition about physics permitted him to discover profound truths despite—and sometimes because of—the mistakes he made along the way. He was a sleepwalker: his intuition told him where he needed to go, and he somehow managed to get there without quite knowing how. As this book persuasively argues, the defining hallmark of Einstein’s genius was not any special mathematical ability but an uncanny talent to use his mistakes as stepping stones to formulate his revolutionary theories.

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius – Hans C. Ohanian

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A Book of Bees – Sue Hubbell

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A Book of Bees
Sue Hubbell

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Open Road Media

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


A New York Times Notable Book: “A melodious mix of memoir, nature journal, and beekeeping manual” ( Kirkus Reviews ). Weaving a vivid portrait of her own life and her bees’ lives, author Sue Hubbell lovingly describes the ins and outs of beekeeping on her small Missouri farm, where the end of one honey season is the start of the next. With three hundred hives, Hubbell stays busy year-round tending to the bees and harvesting their honey, a process that is as personally demanding as it is rewarding.   Exploring the progression of both the author and the hive through the seasons, this is “a book about bees to be sure, but it is also about other things: the important difference between loneliness and solitude; the seasonal rhythms inherent in rural living; the achievement of independence; the accommodating of oneself to nature” ( The Philadelphia Inquirer ). Beautifully written and full of exquisitely rendered details, it is a tribute to Hubbell’s wild hilltop in the Ozarks and of the joys of living a complex life in a simple place. “The real masterwork that Sue Hubbell has created is her life.” — The New York Times   “Beautifully written.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer   “A latter-day Henry Thoreau with a sense of the absurd.” — Chicago Sun-Times   “Engaging . . . Satisfying . . . Ms. Hubbell’s piquant style is as enticing as blackberry blossoms to her bees.” — Winston-Salem Journal Sue Hubbell is the author of eight books, including A Country Year and New York Times Notable Book A Book of Bees . She has written for the New Yorker , the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , Smithsonian , and Time , and was a frequent contributor to the “Hers” column of the New York Times . Hubbell lives in Maine and Washington, DC.

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A Book of Bees – Sue Hubbell

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Biology Through the Eyes of Food – J. José Bonner

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Biology Through the Eyes of Food
Biology of Food
J. José Bonner

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $38.99

Publish Date: January 6, 2016

Publisher: J. José Bonner

Seller: Jose Bonner


Food .  Who doesn’t like food?   We all like food — but why make it so difficult for students, teachers, and the general public to visualize and understand the processes that happen inside us when we eat food, or the ecological impacts of food production, or the evolutionary histories of humans, plants, and animals that have produced the present-day “food landscape?”  Traditional biology textbooks tell us the facts, but rarely relate these facts to the world as both teachers and students experience it.  Traditional biology texts and the teaching methods that support them lead far too often to students thinking that biology is “just something you do in school,” divorced from the Real World. It doesn’t need to be this way. The author has been fortunate enough to have spent a dozen years working with non-biology majors at a large state university.  This textbook has grown out of a concerted effort to make biology more accessible and more clearly relevant to the world outside the classroom.  Using students’ writing as a window into students’ thinking, the author sought to learn what conceptions students developed as a result of different teaching strategies.  Similarly, the author sought to discover alternate conceptions that students brought with them to the classroom, and whether those conceptions were built from prior teaching or from popular culture.  Not surprisingly, developing scientific understanding depends strongly on seeing why learning it matters.  The relationship to food helps provide this link.  Scientific understanding also depends critically on visualizing scientific processes — just as understanding a novel depends on visualizing the setting, the characters, and their actions.  It is challenging, however, to visualize processes that occur on a molecular level, and are far too small to see directly.  It is similarly challenging to visualize processes that occur far too slowly to be perceived.  It is, perhaps, even more challenging to link multiple processes together to build the Big Picture, when human working memory is limited to manipulating only a handful of items at one time. For challenging topics, the author tested alternative teaching strategies, in an effort to develop a strategy that would foster more-accurate and more-durable student learning.  Frequently, this meant discarding the traditional teaching methods and creating something quite different.  Therefore, the reader may find strange (even heretical!) the order of presentation, the methods of presentation, and the relative emphases of topics, compared to traditional biology textbooks.  The effect, however, proved to be successful for a great many of the author’s students.  Many remarked that, for the first time, biology made sense. It is hoped that this textbook can offer insights to high school and college biology teachers, and inform their own searches for more-effective teaching methods.  It is also hoped that students will find it a useful resource, and that anyone interested in food and biology enjoys it. Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. Polonius, Hamlet , Shakespeare

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Biology Through the Eyes of Food – J. José Bonner

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Yet More Quotes of the Day

Mother Jones

On Donald Trump:

President Trump reportedly complained to world leaders about roadblocks he has faced setting up golf courses in the European Union….“Every time we talk about a country, he remembered the things he had done. Scotland? He said he had opened a club. Ireland? He said it took him two and a half years to get a license and that did not give him a very good image of the European Union,” a source told Le Soir.

On Jared Kushner:

Harleen Kahlon was an experienced digital media maven when she was hired by Kushner in 2010 to boost the paper’s digital outreach….At the end of the year, when she went to collect her performance bonus at his real estate office for meeting agreed upon metrics on page views and audience growth, Kushner told her that they couldn’t pay, citing financial concerns, and asked her to “take one for the team.”

….Just before the election, Kahlon described her former boss on Facebook thusly: “We’re talking about a guy who isn’t particularly bright or hard-working, doesn’t actually know anything, has bought his way into everything ever (with money he got from his criminal father), who is deeply insecure and obsessed with fame (you don’t buy the NYO, marry Ivanka Trump, or constantly talk about the phone calls you get from celebrities if it’s in your nature to ‘shun the spotlight’), and who is basically a shithead.

On Trump again:

After the “family photo” group shot, the other leaders convivially walked down the narrow Sicilian streets to their luncheon. Trump hung back and, minutes later, opted instead to ride in a golf cart.

Low energy. Sad.

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Yet More Quotes of the Day

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How Should We Respond to the Turkish Assault in Washington DC?

Mother Jones

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Last week, a bunch of security goons working for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan waded into a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in Washington DC and started beating up the protesters. A few days ago, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump made a pretty good case that Erdogan did more than just watch as this happened. He actually ordered his guards to attack. Rich Lowry has the right response:

This is second offense for the Turks. A year ago, they beat up protesters and disfavored journalists outside an Erdogan talk at the Brookings Institution in Washington. One reporter wrote of that earlier incident, “Never seen anything like this.” If you hang around President Erdogan long enough, though, you’ll see it all.

….The Trump administration is obviously not putting an emphasis on promoting our values abroad. But it’s one thing not to go on a democratizing crusade; it’s another to shrug off an assault on the rights of protesters on our own soil. If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s nationalism and sense of honor should be offended. Not only did the Turks carry out this attack, they are thumbing their noses at us by summoning our ambassador over it.

The Turkish goons who punched and kicked people should be identified and charged with crimes. They are beyond our reach, either because they are back in Turkey or have diplomatic immunity. But we should ask for them to be returned and for their immunity to be waived. When these requests are inevitably refused, the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. (heard saying during the incident, “You cannot touch us”) should be expelled.

It’s obvious that Turkey is a delicate problem. On the one hand, they’re a NATO member, and their location makes them a critical player in the war against ISIS. On the other hand, Erdogan is steadily converting Turkey into a totalitarian state. In the real world, sometimes you overlook this because you need allies and you don’t always have the option of choosing someone who’s pure and unsullied. But even if you accept this, Turkey is on thin ice since the Kurds are also our allies and Turkey interferes pretty seriously with our ability to team up with them. Even from a strictly realist/strategic perspective, our alliance with Turkey comes with a price.

I won’t pretend to have the answer. It’s above my pay grade. But ordering your embassy security to attack protesters in the US who are lawfully and peacefully assembled is a whole different thing. That deserves a strong response even if it might cause strategic tension. Enough’s enough.

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How Should We Respond to the Turkish Assault in Washington DC?

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Live From New York It’s…(The End Of The Season Of) Saturday Night Live!

Mother Jones

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Saturday Night Live has been around forever. The first season wasn’t even on TV, it was performed in the fields, where people lived for millennia prior to the advent of structures. Since then the NBC sketch show has experienced hills & valleys in terms of both relevance and quality. Though the jury on the latter is still deliberating, with regard to the former it seems pretty safe to say 2017 is a peak. Everyone watches because of Trump & co, a clownish bunch who are often hard to distinguish from satire in life but somehow still laid bare in comedy.

The internet has done lots of fun and wonderful things but it’s also done bad and terrible things and, most confusingly, things that are both good and bad. Facebook has turned the world into news consumers. That is both good and bad. Good: More readers of news! Bad: No one can escape the news. So these weeks we’ve had of breaking news interrupting developing news interrupting holy shit omg news, and all of it very serious and terrible and dramatic and unreal, make everyone exhausted. They’re exhausting. So we all gather around basic cable together, like our parents and their parents before us, for some cathartic jokes about Trump and his merry band of incompetent kleptocrats.

One of my favorite lines is from the Hayden Carruth poem Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey. “Here we are now in the White Tower, leaning on one another, too tired to go home.”

It us.

Anyway, tonight is the season finale!

The Rock is the host and Katy Perry, who I still can’t hear without getting sad about the election, is the musical guest.

The cold open had the Trumps (and Death?) singing Hallelujah.

It was a call back to this:

&lt;br /&gt;

Then the Rock said he was going to run for president with Tom Hanks.

Remember a few inches above this when I was like, “Death?” That was supposed to be Steve Bannon in the cold open. It’s a recurring thing. I forgot!

Here’s an earlier skit with Bannon as Death:

Then Alec Baldwin really took his Trump impersonation to a whole new level:

Just kidding. That is a scene from the 90s thriller Malice.

This is the real clip from tonight. Alec does a perfect Trump impersonation.

This post is being updated.

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Live From New York It’s…(The End Of The Season Of) Saturday Night Live!

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