Lit Links: Pop Science

Like many booksellers, I’m an arts major. (Not many science majors working in book stores. They’re all doing  jobs that require mashing stuff together for astronomical paychecks probably.) That means that until recently, I honestly didn’t not know my proverbial sacrum from my ulna, much less the order of the planets in the solar system, or what holds the bits of an atom together. (Gluons. I thought that was a joke when I first found out. ) My boffiny six-year old changed all that, when he developed an unsual interest in science at just two years old. Now I’m furiously trying to keep up.

Anyone with even a passing interest in science will want to reserve a few hours to enjoy this treasure trove: Every issue of Popular Science magazine – all 137 year’s worth of them, is now available online for free. It’s worth a look just for the hilariously  over-optimistic predictions of what life would be like in the new millennium. Where is my home “kept clean by high-frequency sound”?  And my commute by “jet-propelled monorail train?”

Ever wondered how books are actually made? Webcrafters Inc is a bookmaking company based in the US; they make the Rand McNally atlases among other things, and now they’ve put together an amazing infographic, showing just how a book goes from concept to bookstore. (We’ll be doing this ourselves, albeit on a teeny tiny monochrome scale, come November.)

Books  make you dumb! Well some of them do, apparently. Here’s completely reliable, scientific analysis of SAT scores and reading choices. Now you know which books not to read.  

Discover magazine picks the 25 greatest science books of all time – and they really do mean of ALL time, right back to the beginnings of modern science, from  Galileo Galilei in 1632 to  Oliver Sacks in 1985. 

Ah, this is more up my street: Poetry about the elements. needs your help to fill in every block on the periodic table with a poem. Hundreds have been submitted already, some of them rather good, actually. Some of them silly. Some of them, well… they won’t be winning any Pulitzers. Highly entertaining though. Pick your favorite element and dive in!

If I didn’t work in the best bookstore in Europe, I’d probably be working on a help desk somewhere. I wonder if it would be anything like this one? Helping customers with their new-fangled book technology?

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