Tietoja tekijästä

Ruth Kassinger is the author of Paradise Under Glass, as well as a number of award-winning science and history books for young adults. She has written for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Health magazine, Science Weekly, and other publications.

Tekijän teokset

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20th century
Maryland, USA
Yale University (BA)
Johns Hopkins University



Everything you ever wanted to know about algae.
Algae as food, as fuel, perhaps even as solution to the problem of global warming.
I especially found the medical section interesting, have read lots about Robert Koch…but never from the perspective of his use of algae
Anyway, we’ll-researched and very readable
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cspiwak | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 6, 2024 |
This was engrossing from beginning to end, but especially for me in the beginning. I loved the section on eating seaweed the most, and am ready to scour the local Asian markets to see what new seaweeds we can add to our diet. The final section is on climate change, and while I understand why the book was structured that way, I got overwhelmed and struggled to finish the book for a while. It's real information! It's important information! It just also hurts. But there are real cool things scientists are doing about it using algae, and hopefully it will help.… (lisätietoja)
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greeniezona | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 23, 2023 |
If NPR wrote a book, it might be like this. The most technical parts sometimes sent my brain wandering off to think of other things, but then the book would snap me back into focus with unusual or wondrous facts that I knew I could whip out at my next social gathering.

Kassinger has done her research, for sure. She describes not only the methods and discoveries in the history of botany, but also the personalities and brief biographies of the researchers who made those discoveries. She also relates the often entertaining misconceptions that preceded each discovery. In several cases, the newly found truth about how a plant works wasn’t really any more reasonable than the initial conjecture; in fact, plant scientists often found that their discoveries met with resistance from believers of the established explanation (surprised?).

A prime example is the borametz, or the vegetable lamb, which Kassinger describes near the beginning of the book. For decades and decades, there was no reason to believe that this plant - a tiny lamb growing on a stalk - wasn’t real in some other part of the world from where people were hearing about it. The author explains how the myth was debunked, but reminds us that the oddness of a supposition is not a scientific criterion for rejecting it: later in the book, she tells of the photosynthesizing sea slug, an actual creature that seems to straddle the border between the plant and animal kingdoms. And she also presents the at-least-as-strange-as-fiction cocktail tree, a citrus tree which has been grafted with multiple cuttings so that from one trunk, it grows multiple species of citrus fruits.

Probably don’t bother with this one unless you’re into plants. But if you’re into plants, go ahead and bother with it.
… (lisätietoja)
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rhowens | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 26, 2019 |
I was quite interested in the subject, but this is ridiculously low-effort writing. It seems all to be based on Wikipedia trawling, some Googling, and a very few interviews (which were also low effort—she didn't want to miss her flight!). She tells pointless stories about her kids, about other books that she's written, about a friend of a friend who once… After a few pages of this, she'll conclude:

> … I used only clear lip gloss. All of which is to say that in high school chemistry, when it came time to use a pipette to titrate a fluid, I was in trouble.


> … Not until their mid-seventies did my mother's arthritis finally end their peregrinations, and they moved to a condo—with no yard—in Fort Myers. All of which is to say, I didn't know if my mother's curiosity about a cleverly constructed cocktail tree would trump her lack of interest in plant care.

I think that if your stories all end up with "all of which is to say," then maybe you can edit them all out.

Here's a gem of an explanation, showing about the level of science Kassinger writes:

> Consider photosynthesis to be a pinball machine. Even if we animals somehow acquired the cabinet (the chloroplast with its stroma and thylakoids), we would still lack the flippers, bumpers, and springs (the enzymes) as well as any written instructions (the DNA) to play a game.

… (lisätietoja)
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breic | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 27, 2019 |



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