Quickly perusing the newly arrived copy of David B. River’s new Insects: Evolutionary Success, Unrivaled Diversity, and World Domination from Johns Hopkins University Press, I can’t help but suspect that it too may prove to be another delightful exception to the “stodgy textbook” rule. One early review has already praised it for being “fresh and relevant” as well as “ooz[ing] with an entomological swagger representing the passion of the insect world.”
Libraries full of books have been, and could yet still be, written about the human and cultural devastation left behind following wars. Far fewer are available that take up the subject of the scars they leave upon the environment – and of these, only one, the just released “The Long Shadows; A Global Environmental History of the Second World War,” focuses exclusively on the global environmental effects of the largest war the world has yet seen.
In case you hadn’t yet heard, a total eclipse of the sun will be (weather permitting) observable along a path diagonally bisecting the continental United States this coming twenty-first day of August. As might be expected, there is more than just a little excitement about this amongst astronomers as well as general naturalists.
What is the purpose of studying an unfamiliar living creature? Is it to confirm what others have previously declared to be true about it, or is it to examine the creature in and of itself to discover what is true about it? And how does one interpret something that obviously once was alive but that resembles nothing known to presently exist – particularly if the idea of extinction does not fall within your understanding of how nature functions?