The study was published in PLOS ONE, which means you can go read it, but I wanted to know the backstory.
Happily, the lead scientist anticipated this reaction and published a book. This book tells the story of the circumstances that lead to dogs being trained to sit in an MRI machine while awake. It's fascinating as a behind-the-scenes look at the way science proceeds, but it's also interesting because it tells the story that doesn't fit into the scientific paper: the triumph of training the dogs and the impetus behind the questions.
It's well-written, makes a quick read, and is an encouraging look into the future. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in how dogs (or animals) think, or in how humans interact with animals.(less)
This is the kind of book that your friends can't wait for you to finish, so that they can get some peace. Because you can't stop texting, emailing, ca...moreThis is the kind of book that your friends can't wait for you to finish, so that they can get some peace. Because you can't stop texting, emailing, calling, and interrupting conversations to share the newest, coolest thing this book told you. It is so cool that you physically cannot stop yourself sharing and trying to talk other people into reading it immediately.
It's that good.
It should be required reading for anyone interested in conservation science, especially anyone interested in conservation genetics.
It's a fascinating adventure story. There are mysteries bundled up in each chapter. The writing is witty and well-done. You're left with the feeling that you should maybe see if O'Brien is free to attend your next dinner party. Or camping expedition.
The science is just knock-your-socks off cool. I kept running across the names of people I knew or had heard of, and then I'd have to put down the book for another round of running around to tell everyone else in reach about it.
Sometimes a book slots itself right into your psyche as if you'd been saving a seat for it.
This book is that kind of book.
David Powell is the aquarist...moreSometimes a book slots itself right into your psyche as if you'd been saving a seat for it.
This book is that kind of book.
David Powell is the aquarist who started the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Of course, he did much more than that. He's a legend in the fields of diving, collecting, managing, and exhibiting fish and sea critters.
The book is delightfully written. You can easily imagine, on the strength of this book, inviting Powell to every dinner party you will ever throw. It's funny, smart, educational, and just fun to read. Plus, there is a whole section on the quirky intelligence and charm of mola molas.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Possibly the best nonfiction book I've read in a year.(less)
The problem with an natural history museum like the American Museum of Natural History is one of scale. You buy your ticket (which is not cheap) and t...moreThe problem with an natural history museum like the American Museum of Natural History is one of scale. You buy your ticket (which is not cheap) and then you face halls and halls and halls of amazing, cool, historic, and one-of-a-kind artifacts. For the first few, you are properly amazed, marveling at the history around, fitting new pieces of information together in unexpected ways in your head.
The problem is that it's too much. There's no way to take it all in. Your poor human senses and brain are overwhelmed. You'd need six months, at least, to get a sense of the scope of everything and to be properly awed. But you have one afternoon. And, because you bought your ticket and hold museums in such high esteem, you force yourself through halls and exhibits long after the point that your brain has checked out. Your brain becomes the bored six year old you once were. Oh, look, another massively old, immensely historic, unique bit of human history. Another masterpiece. Yet another stunning jewel. Another piece of rock that has seen more millions of years than I can even imagine. Yet another ancient skull from somewhere in the human lineage. It begins to all just wash over you until you flee, in a cloud of guilt and exhaustion, feeling that you really didn't get the most out of your museum experience.
That's the problem this book faces and, to some degree, the problem it sets out to solve. Writing a full, comprehensive history of a museum is a mammoth task. That's why it's so rarely been done. There's just too much raw material, too many jaw-dropping stories, too much there there.
That being said, A Gathering of Wonders does an excellent job, within its scope. It's a wonderful romp through the halls of AMNH and a cherry picking of its most famous stories and personalities. The book is engrossing. It makes you want to move to the museum, and study one new object every day, learn one new discipline a month.
It's a wonderful tasting: you get a little bit of everything and not too much of any one thing. It's perfect for rambling reading. I highly recommend this book.(less)