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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004
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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004 (Best American Science and Nature Writing #2004)

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  208 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to the twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 14th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published October 1st 2004)
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Rift Vegan
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I love this series. This particular book was heavily human-centric. But most of the articles were so fascinating, I hardly noticed the lack of animals and nature. One article on octopuses, the one about birds was pretty lame, parasites, a cringe-worthy article about zoos (arg!) and a couple of physics articles.

The ones that stood out for me: Bittersweet Science about the history of diabetes, rather sad. And Far-Out Television about shows on Discovery, TLC, the History Channel about pseudo-archa
...more
Nick
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

This is a good, somewhat (obviously) dated collection of science and nature writing, biased somewhat toward neuroscience/anthropology/psychology, which makes sense given the editor of this volume is Stephen Pinker, the brainy, sometimes confusing neuro-psychologist.

I really liked Pinker's introduction and found it witty and concise. Otherwise, what follows are some notes, reflections and ramblings on selected works from the work of selections, and my rating.


"Genesis of Suicide Terrorism" - Sco
...more
Andres
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthologies
Slowly but surely I'm catching up on all the volumes I've missed in this series. This entry is a little on the lean side, which is also reflected in the shortness of a lot of the article collected here. I liked that almost every article was a relatively quick read but after quickly finishing the book I felt a little sad that it was over so soon. A small quibble to be sure since the articles are still as informative and entertaining as always.

And as always, I'll point out the articles that I foun
...more
Ilia
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: out-on-loan
Another gem. The article in this one are shorter and there are more of them, which is all good. Highlights:

"Caring for your Introvert" - a four-page article that everyone in the world should read. Not the most deeply scientific piece ever, it's openly derisive of extroverts and oversimplifies the issues quite a bit. But it is funny and insightful, and I feel like it should be required reading in school. "I am an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."

"We're A
...more
HeavyReader
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Like any anthology, this was a mixed bag of pieces I enjoyed and pieces...well, not so much.

I enjoyed the essay "Far-Out Television," about pseudoarchaeological TV programs. The author explained why "good television" is not always (nearly never) the same as "reliable archaeology."

"Ask the Bird Folks" was a really funny, factual question and answer format piece about (you guess it) birds.

I found the essay about the rise and fall in popularity of baby names ("Where Have All the Lisas Gone?) very i
...more
Holly Interlandi
May 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: theory
An old book of my dad's I had lying around. Like the majority of the Best American series, it's a hit-and-miss kind of thing. Some articles made me go 'wow', some ellicited a 'duh', and more than a few brought out a 'so what?' I wanted more of the articles to be like 'Parallel Universes' [Wow!] and less of them like 'The Design of Your Life' [So what?].
Joel
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I'll probably buy a bunch more of these now. The piece on Dr. Francis Moore, a ground-breaking surgeon, was incredible; the one on cousin marriage in the Middle East reminded me of a conversation I've had; and the ones that shot down worries about genetics research and psychiatric drugs were the best.
Dan Hatcher
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of popular science essays edited/collected by Steven Pinker. Highlights include: 'The New Celebrity' about James Watson, 'Desperate Measures' about Francis Moore, and 'All the Old Sciences Have Starring Roles' by Chet Raymo.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm going to read all of these. Tegmark's article in this one is the best
Richard
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-and-tech
Includes a chapter by Steve Sailor and the high percentage of Iraqis and other middle easterners who marry their first cousins.
Aleisha  Zolman
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: tons of people
top three essays: caring for you introvert, desperate measures, and through the eye of an octopus....i had a great review all written and it erased it:(
Sarah Brehm
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
After reading the 2013 edition, this one seemed a bit lacking; most of the articles are so short that they hardly get into much of the science at all.
Randy
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthologies
Contains an awesome essay titled "Where Have All the Lisas Gone?"
Charly
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Broad and deep, this collection is funny, urbane and downright interesting. The Steven Pinker touch never hurts!
Lynn
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Like any book of essays, some are good and some are not so good.
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Steven Arthur Pinker is a prominent Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and author of popular science. Pinker is known for his wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The New Republic, and is the author of seven b ...more
More about Steven Pinker

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