Tag Archives: science

Jane Goodall Book Postponed Amid Plagiarism Accusations

With all the good world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall has done, she is now experiencing some mishaps. The scientist, best known for her work and research with chimpanzees, is now accused of plagiarism in her new book, forcing her publisher Grand Central to delay its release.

According to The L.A. Times, the book, Seeds of Hope, is a tree and plant focused book, meant to share Goodall’s love of plants, even though she’s never studied them as a scientist. It’s apparently in the sections about plants that certain passages appear to have been “borrowed.” Allegedly, at least 12 passages in the book are borrowed from places like Wikipedia, a web site called Choice Organic Teas, and several other web sites.

In a statement, Goodall wrote:

My goal is to ensure that when this book is released it is not only up to the highest of standards, but also that the focus be on the crucial messages it conveys. It is my hope that then the meaningful conversation can resume about the harm we are inflicting on our natural environment and how we can all act together to ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy planet.

Does anyone else think this tarnishes Jane Goodall’s work? Or has she already made such a name for herself that it doesn’t affect her career at this point?

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Author to Pen More Science Nonfiction

When Rebecca Skloot wrote The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, there was no doubt Crown Publishers would have some concerns. After all, science nonfiction is not your typical bestselling genre. But Skloot proved them wrong.

Now almost two years later, Henrietta Lacks has become an award-winning, critically-acclaimed national bestseller. And according to this press release posted on the author’s web site, it seems she has another one on the way.

Skloot announced last month that she’s working on a new science nonfiction book about the “human-animal” bond, as explained in the release.

She will explore, among many other subjects, the neurology of human-animal relationships, human nature and responsibility, and the unexamined ethics of our relationship with animals. A publication date has not yet been set.

With the popularity of Henrietta Lacks to build upon, Skloot is guaranteed to have another bestseller on her hands whenever it’s published — especially since it has to do with animals. As softcore as it sounds, stories about animals sell. And learning about the scientific connection between people and pets or animals not only targets a specific audience, but likely broadens the one Skloot already has.

Get The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks now for just $8.

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Review: The Lost Symbol

Recap: The Lost Symbol begins in much the same way all of Dan Brown’s books in the Robert Langdon series do: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is abruptly interrupted to respond to a symbol emergency. In this particular novel — the third and most recent in the series — Langdon’s mentor, Peter Solomon, requests that he give a speech at the United States Capitol. So Langdon flies to Washington D.C. But he’s in for much more than he imagined. 

He soon learns he’s been tricked. In fact, Peter Solomon has no idea Langdon is in town. And as Langdon attempts to find him, he instead finds his mentor’s severed hand, lying in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda. In a moment of chaos, Langdon learns Solomon has been kidnapped by a man named Mal’akh. Mal’akh tells him the only way Solomon will be spared is if Langdon locates the Lost Word and Mason’s Pyramid.

And so begins a new symbolic saga for Langdon, who must find the Lost Word, the Mason’s Pyramid, Peter Solomon, and deal with the CIA in its attempts to find the kidnapper.

Analysis: It’s apparent that Brown uses a specific guideline for his Robert Langdon stories. They all start the same and take Robert Langdon to another city on a quest to find or decode something. Always, there is an exotic woman involved — in this case, Peter Solomon’s younger sister and brilliant scientist Katherine — and the entire long-winded story takes place in the course of an evening.

Brown not only uses similar formatting in his novels, but common themes as well: religion, symbology, ancient art, architecture, and history. The same holds true in The Lost Symbol, in which the reader is taught about the world of Freemasonry. Also included is information about the architecture in Washington D.C. and the art that adorns it. You know when you’re reading a Dan Brown novel, it’s going to be  heavy. There’s a lot for the readers to wrap their heads around. And as overwhelming and intimidating as it looks, the background information is necessary in the long run.

In The Lost Symbol, Brown also focuses a lot on character development. Learning about Katherine’s Noetic science research and the many transformations of Mal’akh are particularly fascinating.

But there’s nothing like Brown’s pacing and storytelling. The short chapters help the novel move along quickly, and the major twist toward the end is breathtaking.

MVP: Katherine Solomon. Girl power! This woman is brilliant and kicks ass. She works well with Langdon to try to uncover the Ancient Mysteries and the location of her brother. There’s an underlying tone of romance between her and Langdon, but Brown keep its realistic. But most importantly, Katherine’s emotional ties to their work –namely, trying to saving her brother’s life — makes the reader feel for Katherine and the pressure she is under.

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