What are you reading: A few saved February 2016 articles

Posted By on February 23, 2016

Winter weekends (even warm ones) present an opportunity to catch up on a pile of articles collected during the week. These are one that aren’t necessarily timely or are “required” reading based on the news of the day.  Those who know me, know that I’ve enjoyed a few minutes each morning leafing though the Wall Street Journal for decades … and still enjoy the newsPAPER version, although am slowly moving to the iPad reader app (especially if the paper doesn’t arrive before I leave the house … a problem lately).

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I’ve pick three of my favorites from last week and will give Evernote clipping and sharing service a try (but you really should consider subscribing to the WSJ!):

  1. The Young and Economically Clueless (opinion)
  2. Inflation Is Now at the Fed’s Service (Heard on the Street)
  3. Making the Great Leap (book review)

Book: Restless Creatures by Matt Wilkinson

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Most of us never think about how we get from one place to another. For most people, putting one foot in front of the other requires no thought at all. Yet the fact that we and other species are able to do so is one of the great triumphs of evolution. To truly understand how life evolved on Earth, it is crucial to understand movement. Restless Creatures makes the bold new argument that the true story of evolution is the story of locomotion, from the first stirrings of bacteria to the amazing feats of Olympic athletes.

By retracing the four-billion-year history of locomotion, evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson shows how the physical challenges of moving from place to place—when coupled with the implacable logic of natural selection—offer a uniquely powerful means of illuminating the living world. Whales and dolphins look like fish because they have been molded by the constraints of underwater locomotion. The unbending physical needs of flight have brought bats, birds, and pterodactyls to strikingly similar anatomies. Movement explains why we have opposable thumbs, why moving can make us feel good, how fish fins became limbs, and even why—classic fiction notwithstanding—there are no flying monkeys nor animals with wheels. Even plants aren’t immune from locomotion’s long reach: their seeds, pollen, and very form are all determined by their aptitude to disperse.

From sprinting cheetah to spinning maple fruit, soaring albatross to burrowing worm, crawling amoeba to running human—all are the way they are because of how they move. There is a famous saying: “nothing in biology makes sense unless in the light of evolution.” As Wilkinson makes clear: little makes sense unless in the light of locomotion. A powerful yet accessible work of evolutionary biology, Restless Creatures is the essential guide for understanding how life on Earth was shaped by the simple need to move from point A to point B.

LINK

Comments

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.