FOLKS WE FOLLOW ON TWITTER
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carlzimmer, science writer Carl Zimmer
phylogenomics, evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen of the University of California, Davis
seanmcarroll, theoretical physicist Sean Carroll of the California Institute of Technology
RebeccaSkloot, science writer Rebecca Skloot
Astro_Mike, NASA astronaut Mike Massimino
BadAstronomer, astronomer and writer Phil Plait
ANCIENT LIGHT: A PORTRAIT OF THE UNIVERSE
by David Malin. Phaidon, 2009
Celebrated astronomical photographer David Malin takes readers on a memorable tour of the night sky with this collection of 60 large-format black-and-white photographs. Platinum prints capture galaxies, nebulae (such as the Helix nebula, above), star clusters and other phenomena in stellar detail.
COLD: ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD’S FROZEN PLACES
by Bill Streever. Little, Brown, 2009
Biologist Bill Streever, chair of the North Slope Science Initiative’s Science Technical Advisory Panel in Alaska, spent a year seeking out the remaining chilly places in our warming world. The result is a natural history of cold and how it has shaped the planet and its inhabitants. Here the author describes a July visit to northern Alaska.
“The mercury rises to fifty-two degrees here on Narwhal Island, ten miles north of Alaska’s North Slope. Nothing but water and ice separates me from the North Pole….
“Occasionally, a chunk of ice strands next to the shore, hard aground. Another chunk butts up against the first. They grind. Water drips from their tops continuously. Pieces of ice break off, dropping into the Beaufort Sea with splashes that sound remarkably similar to those produced by bass jumping in a still pond. I wade into the sea, break off a piece of ice, and pop it into my mouth. It tastes as fresh as spring water. The molecules in ice are packed in an orderly fashion, forming crystals. There is little space between the molecules for salt ions.
“Farther out, between here and the horizon, the ice is more densely packed and in places continuous. Fog banks hover over the ice like plumes of smoke. Occasionally, maybe once each half hour, the pack ice cracks under the pressure of movement, of collisions, of one body striking another. The cracking sounds like distant cannon fire.”
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Recommended."