Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Carbon Age by Eric Rosten *

Remember that research report you were forced to write in high school? The one with the footnotes and the bibliography? What a mindless, senseless pain? Do you also remember that kid who turned in the thickest report, with the most footnotes and references? Not one of the science geeks either. This kid loved the process, probably didn't even know what the report was about.

The Carbon Age by Eric Rosten is one of those reports. Nineteen pages of footnotes! Thirty-nine page of bibliography! Fortunately only 226 pages of mind numbing, sleep inducing text. No pages of insight or clarity. For example, here is a summary of one of the five principles of evolution:
Biologists distinguish this universal cellular apparatus and that belonging to any particular organism of any particular species. Only populations evolve; individuals adapt. Living things evolve as individuals' selection and reproduction reshapes the gene pool.
Summarized as only someone who's so unsure of the the underlying concept that they dare not leave nothing out.

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