Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged science

Gay, Straight and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation

I recently had the pleasure of participating, as a feminist blogger, in a survey about the Feminist Blogosphere. Name? Age? Sex (or "gender," as she put it)? These were not difficult questions (for me) to answer. But when she asked me to identify my sexual orientation, I paused... and then I stumbled. “I’m straight, right?” I asked myself. I’m a woman married to a man. If sexuality is either one of two, possibly three, things, then quite obviously I am a heterosexual. But as Gore Vidal sharply put it: “Trust a nitwit society like this one to think that there are only two categories—fag and straight.”

The Cinematic Life of the Gene

The Cinematic Life of the Gene is a challenging and complex collection of essays that uses cinematic representations of genetics and cloning to consider the cultural impact of genetic breakthroughs. Jackie Stacey draws on some of the most well known theoretical works regarding cinema, art, and the body to consider the fascinating link between cinema and genomics.

Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment

In the original 1997 edition of Living Downstream, Sandra Steingraber was the first to compare data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries. In the last ten years since this edition was published, there has been rapid growth in the understanding of environmental links to human cancer and new published findings that corroborate the evidence Steingraber compiled in 1997. With a Ph.D.

Remarkable Creatures

I'm a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier. Like a lot of people, I began with Girl with a Pearl Earring, and have since made my way through all but one of her other books. So of course I leapt at the chance to sample her newest offering. Like all her books, Remarkable Creatures begins with something tangible.

The Mathematics of Sex: How Biology and Society Conspire to Limit Talented Women and Girls

I’ll be honest. I was scared of reading The Mathematics of Sex. I am not the kind of women they’re writing about, and I know very few women who are. I’m not a mathematician, physicist, chemist, computer scientist, operations researcher, or engineer. Without the subtitle, “How Biology and Society Conspire to Limit Talented Women and Girls,” the title is somewhat misleading; it’s not so much about sex between the sheets as biological sex.


Monadnock. Ochers. Moraine. These are some of the terms you’ll find while reading Emily Wilson’s Micrographia. You will find yourself consulting Webster’s a lot. Unless, of course, you know a great deal about isolated rock hills and unconsolidated glacial debris. Heading spinning yet?

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma: A Tale of Obsession, Nostalgia, and the World’s Most Charming Mammal

I remember the first time that I saw a hedgehog. I was studying abroad in England, returning home after a night out, and outside my flat I heard a snuffling sound in the underbrush. Seconds later, a small hedgehog toddled out, seemingly unfazed by our presence.

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

A valid scientific theory is a conclusion supported by data. An answer must be viewed through the prism of skepticism, the data must be questioned, and proof must be spelled out. Most importantly, all possibilities must be considered. In his book, Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming, Mark Bowen presents quite a conclusion, but never takes the time to cite his sources.

Toxic Trespass

Barri Cohen's filmic crusade for children's health, Toxic Trespass, starts with her 10-year-old daughter, Ada, announcing the results of her "body burden" blood test for chemical substances at a press conference. She says: "I am polluted." The results are dreadful for one so young, yet no one can reassure Ada about the consequences that these poisons will have on her health.

The Time it Takes to Fall

Margaret Lazarus Dean uses an American tragedy, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, as the backdrop of her charming coming-of-age novel, The Time It Takes to Fall. The heroine of the story is Dolores Gray, who is just entering the 7th grade.

Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science: An Astronomer Among the American Romantics

Nineteenth century New England was a virtual breeding ground for progressive ideas. During the period, a host of feminist philosophers, jurists, and scholars emerged onto American society. Among the heroines associated with the era, you’ve probably examined those such as Dorthea Dix and Margaret Fuller in your high school U.S. History class. Many women, however, still remain relatively unacknowledged, despite their critical roles in scholarly debates of the era.

The Higher Power of Lucky

Censorship advocates have a lot to dislike in Susan Patron’s Newbery Medal children’s book The Higher Power of Lucky. Aside from the “scrotum” controversy (the word appears on the first page and prompted a flurry of “how dare she put this is a children’s book!”), there are Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, a mother in jail for dealing marijuana, a delinquent father and surplus U.S.

Gasp! The Swift and Terrible Beauty of Air

When I first received Gasp! The Swift and Terrible Beauty of Air, I couldn't believe that someone could write a 400 some paged book on the subject of air. But after reading this book, I realized that kind of attitude is exactly the basic root of the problem. Joe Sherman explores everything there is to explore about air, from why a child takes their first breath to the evolution of Earth's atmosphere and all the radical scientists who discovered truths about our air.

A Loop in Time

Rowena Wright compiles myth, science and fantasy in her newest novel, A Loop in Time, which details a year in the life of Ericca Ludwig and her friends in post-9/11 New York City. Ericca, the only child of Sophia Ludwig, spends much of her time at home discussing time and space with Albert Einstein and Leonardo Fibonacci, whose personas are manifested in Spike, Ericca’s magical blanket.

The End of Mr. Y

The End of Mr. Y is a science fiction fantasy story. Ariel Manto is a doctoral student writing about a mysterious author, T.E. Lumas. His final book, The End of Mr. Y has never been read by anyone alive because whoever reads the book disappears.

She's Such a Geek: Women Write about Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff

A collection of essays by women geeks? What can self-professed geeks share with the rest of women about what it means to be female? A heck of a lot, whether you measure it in decimal or binary.

Luminous Fish: Tales of Science and Love

This novel by celebrated biologist and writer Lynn Margulis purports to trace the personal lives of scientists. It focuses on four individuals: Howard, a pre-med student at the University of Chicago; Raoul, a French atmospheric chemist; Georges, a New Jersey native and probability expert; and René, the only major female character, at one point involved with Howard and later with Raoul.