Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Skimps on early days and non-European ways but lays out some groundwork for budding investigators.

SCENE OF THE CRIME

TRACKING DOWN CRIMINALS WITH FORENSIC SCIENCE

From the Invention & Impact series , Vol. 3

How nabbing perps has gone from using “guesswork, gossip…and even ghosts” to DNA analysis.

Newquist stumbles out of the starting gate with a radically simplistic overview of the pre-modern development of laws and law enforcement (“much of the Western world was in chaos during a time known as the Middle Ages”) and misses or neglects to mention that the standard Henry Classification System for fingerprints was actually invented by Indian mathematicians. Once he gets to mid-18th-century London’s proto-police “Bow Street Runners,” however, he goes on to deliver a reasonably straightforward account of how tools and techniques from blood typing to ballistics became incorporated into today’s forensic science. Also, he balances nods to the positive contributions of prominent criminologists like Alphonse Bertillon and Frances Glessner Lee with a sharp critique of their colleague Francis Galton’s belief in eugenics. He takes closer looks at groundbreaking cases and how they were solved (or not), tucks in topical glossaries as well as directions for homespun activities like collecting fingerprints and analyzing blood spatters (the latter using, thankfully, paint or food coloring), and closes with looks at theoretical advances such as “molecular photofitting,” which involves leveraging DNA to create physical descriptions. In the mix of historical portraits, documents, and crime-scene photos, all of the human figures are White, though several on both sides of the law are women.

Skimps on early days and non-European ways but lays out some groundwork for budding investigators. (index, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-451-47646-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Conventional and a bit sketchy in spots but a decent overview with some techno-tricks for young digerati.

SPACE RACE

THE STORY OF SPACE EXPLORATION TO THE MOON AND BEYOND

The story of space travel, from the V-2 of World War II to the next wave of Martian rovers.

In the bells-and-whistles department, this survey comes with a free app that allows readers with camera-equipped phones or tablets to see blurry historical video clips and crudely rendered hovering VR images of a moon lander and the International Space Station. Less gimmicky but more useful for conveying a sense of the space program’s scope and techno-wizardry, sheaves of photos, graphic images, labeled cutaway views, and flight diagrams present the epic tale in a primarily visual way, with fact boxes and blocks of explanatory text wedged in around the pictures to create a narrative flow and fill in further incidents and details. Hubbard’s highlights-reel account spares barely a nod for Apollo missions before and after the first moon landing and relegates the human element largely to a handful of astronauts, Wernher von Braun, and Sergei Korolev. But he does give the U.S. and Soviet space efforts equal time in the early going, describes catastrophes as well as “firsts” in both programs, and he brings the tale up to NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System, the currently en route Parker Solar Probe, and no fewer than four Mars probes various countries plan to launch in 2020.

Conventional and a bit sketchy in spots but a decent overview with some techno-tricks for young digerati. (index) (Nonfiction/novelty. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5068-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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