Merchants of Doubt

As I’m writing this in 2022, misinformation is everywhere, and it’s not subtle. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, there are a lot of facts that certain groups of people want to hide or cause confusion with falsehoods. But misinformation is not new. It’s been going on for decades, but when did it start and how did its strategies shift over time? Who were the first merchants of doubt?

The Brilliant Abyss

The scope of The Brilliant Abyss is impressive, rivaling that of the deep sea itself. Helen Scales covers the deep from a variety of angles: biology, history, geology, medicine, carbon capture, exploration, mining, plastic, and conservation. I’m sure she gets this a lot, but Scales is a great name for a marine biologist and ocean-focused writer. And she is a good one.

Why Sharks Matter

A Deep Dive With the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator David Shiffman, PhD Find it on Bookshop Summary This book is true to its title: a deep dive into why sharks matter. A man who loves sharks, science, and public outreach has written a book at the intersection of those things. So much about what you … Read more

An Immense World

We, as humans, interact with the world mostly through our vision, which is relatively good. We see the world, literally, as visible light. Other animals, however, have biases toward other senses. They may “see” the world as electric or magnetic fields, or as echoes, or as scents wafting through the air.

An Immense World is a beautiful exploration of what life is like for other animals. Whether it’s a dog sniffing the ground, or a seal twitching its whiskers, or a lost lobster heading home, Ed Yong gets inside their heads to understand how they perceive the world.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Most of the time when I learn about dinosaurs from someone, I get either way too much information about them or not nearly enough. This book strikes the balance perfectly.

We get a high-level, non-technical overview of all the different eras of dinosaurs in chronological order. From the first to appear, to those that evolved, to those that dominated until they were wiped out, and finally those that survived enough to carry on. Brusatte truly covers the rise, domination, and eventual fall of the group of animals we know as dinosaurs.

4 Reasons to Try Scuba Diving If You Haven’t Before

Close your eyes and take a deep breath, filling your lungs, then letting it out slowly and controlled. Do you feel better than you did before that breath?
Scuba diving takes that feeling to the extreme.
Seriously. It’s like meditation that’s actually fun. There’s science behind this that we’ll get into later.
You may have seen people on the internet saying “OMG I JUST GOT CERTIFIED AND SCUBA IS THE BEST YOU HAVE TO TRY IT”— (I mean, I kind of agree but…) that sort of enthusiasm is way too overwhelming for me.
I wouldn’t call diving life-changing, but it is a valuable experience to have under your belt whether you go just once or start taking an annual trip. Maybe you’ll even experience an earthquake. Whatever happens, you’ll surface with plenty to talk about.
Let’s really dig in to what makes scuba diving a valuable life experience.

Make It Stick

A book on how to learn, and really make it stick, using itself as a model. Make It Stick teaches you using the techniques covered in the book. There is no better way to understand a concept quickly than to see it applied.

Make It Stick is a collaboration between Peter C. Brown, a professional writer, and Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, professors of psychology. The result is a well-researched, easy-to-digest primer for any skill level. While it targets mainly students, parents, and teachers, there is useful advice for lifelong learners as well.

There are many lessons to learn, and to truly make them stick you should read the book yourself, taking notes and quizzing yourself using the given techniques. But since I know you’re busy, here are my main takeaways.

The Nature of Nature

Have you always loved nature whether you chose it for a career or not? Enric Sala’s latest book, The Nature of Nature, is a well-written, future-focused Ecology 101 for any background, with a bias to the marine realm that I can appreciate.
If I can pull from the acknowledgements up front, Sala points out that writing a book is a good metaphor for an ecosystem. There are many moving parts, and many contributions from different players, some known and some unknown. They all work together to form the product you see in front of you.
The Nature of Nature is a quick and fairly easy read that gives modern real world examples. You’ve heard that climate change and human impacts are bad but exactly how and why? Sala shows us how it can play out in an ecosystem with cascading effects.


Another fun and informative read from Mary Roach, this time about animals that don’t follow human rules, and “break the law” (Fuzz, get it?). If you live in North America, you’re probably familiar with raccoons and bears getting into trash, or seagulls stealing food, but did you know that albatrosses are a nuisance for military operations at Midway? Or that monkeys are a real danger to tourists in Asia?