Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quote #26

"Two of the things I loathe the most: consistency in inconsistency and inconsistency in consistency." - Klinsman Hinjaya
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved – Book Review

Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved
by Darren Naish and Paul Barrett

I am writingless because this dinosaur book is too good to exist. But I will do it anyway because you need to know about (and read) this before you die.

Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved is simply a must-have for anyone who would like to learn about these amazing creatures which include the world-famous, ferocious-looking Tyrannosaurus and the rhino-like, ornamented-headed Triceratops. I repeat: it is a MUST-HAVE. This book teaches dinosaurology in a fun and engaging manner: the writing is really absorbing and keeps you hooked throughout the book. The authors, I'd say, are teaching masters and they do great work in using language that is varied, but easy to understand. They also do not use a lot of technical terms in such a way that I believe this book will suit those who even have a very limited knowledge of dinosaurs.The fact that there are 'only' six chapters in this book, which discuss topics ranging from dinosaur physiology to the origin of birds, shouldn't mislead you: the amount of information stored in it is tremendous. This book is also equipped with a great many fantastic illustrations which definitely will help you gain a better understanding of the subject.

In my opinion, the cover, which shows a Giganotosaurus gaping its mouth in a menacing posture, looks cool, although the co-author Darren Naish seems to be not quite satisfied with it (watch Darren talk about the book here).

For your information, aside from the NHM version (which is shown in the picture above), Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved was also published by Smithsonian Books with no difference in contents.

Have you read Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved? What do you think of this book? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Raptor Red – Book Review

Raptor Red
by Robert T. Bakker

I should have written this review a long time ago as I finished this little dino novel before Velociraptor came into scene – you know I'm kidding. But they say "better late then never", so here I am, slouching in front of my Lenovo, typing my opinion on this not-authored-by-Robert-T.-Kiyosaki book.

Raptor Red is a novel about the life of an adult female dinosaur belonging to the genus Utahraptor – that is a kind of medium-sized predatory dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Period that was discovered, as is easy to guess, in Utah, the  U.S., and is a close cousin of the more famous Velociraptor. This story is based on the discovery of the animal and was written by world-famous American paleontologist Dr. Robert T. Bakker, casually called Bob Bakker – does it ring a bell? Yeah, in the movie Jurassic Park Tim Murphy, who is the grandson of John Hammond, mentions this dinosaur expert when conversing with paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant. So there are two points that make this novel stand out from others: there are NO humans involved (as it takes place hundreds of millions of years ago before the first humans appeared) and it was written by a REAL paleontologist! Before enjoying the story, you are welcomed by the preface, which revolves around the discovery of Utahraptor and discusses its relation to the blockbuster movie. And then the show begins. Bob Bakker exquisitely tells the tale of this bird-like creature in a gripping as well as emotional way. With his background as a dinosaurian scientist, the author successfully mixes science with extremely vivid and imaginative descriptions. In addition, the plot is riveting and will definitely keep the reader enthralled during the ride. Bob Bakker knows how to satisfy readers with his highly descriptive writing and engaging story-telling skills – honestly, I didn't expect to be as wowed as I am when reading it. In short, this novel deserves standing applause. If you are an adventure novel addict and/or dinophile, I am sure you will fall in love with this book in a brief second.

Unfortunately I think this novel is one of a kind (any other novels of this sort? tell me!). To be brutally honest, I need MORE of this. I do hope Bakker (or other paleontologists) will come out with this type of novel in the (near) future.

Have you read Raptor Red? What do you think of this novel? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dragon Teeth – Book Review

Dragon Teeth: A Novel
by Michael Crichton

Who doesn't know Jurassic Park, a 1993 blockbuster movie featuring one of the most incredible animal groups ever? I believe (virtually) everyone does. However, perhaps some people don't realize that the flick and the sequel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, are based on novels by Michael Crichton, a famous American author who, unfortunately, passed away in 2008.

Michael Crichton is certainly a marvelous author. I am not a novel expert (is there such a thing?) but his writing style is really lovable and admirable, and I'm not sure anyone can be comparable to him. His decease is such a loss for the novel industry. However, something unexpected, at least for me, came: another "dino" novel of Crichton's was recently discovered in his archives – but it somehow didn't get published during his lifetime. The novel, titled Dragon Teeth, posthumously came out in May this year and I was one of those overwhelmed with euphoria.

In a nutshell, Dragon Teeth tells the story of a young American man named William Johnson (fictional character) who goes on a fossil expedition to the American West due to a bet with his college archrival. It takes place in the part of the 19th century when there was the infamous feud between two real giant American paleontological figures, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh – the period is widely known as the "Bone Wars". This novel is special because it mixes fact and fiction in a brilliant and engaging way. Crichton takes readers to the old American history with its rich elements, including Indian culture, which I wasn't familar with and found intriguing. The real characters in this novel, besides Cope and Marsh, include Charles H. Sternberg and Wyatt Earp. Reading this novel certainly gives you insights into what the U.S. was like during that period of history (something I enjoyed about this novel); however, one must realize that this book is not intended as a historical reference. 

People also need to note that, although Dragon Teeth is considered a dinosaur novel, it is mainly about a quest for dinosaur fossils and not dinosaurs themselves. In this novel you will not find living non-avian dinosaurs chasing people in a Jeep screaming and dashing off frantically.

Overall I am entertained by the new Crichton, although I think it is not really his masterpiece as I feel the plot is somewhat less gripping than that in his previous dino novels. But still, this is a novel worth reading and has a unique taste that makes it stand out from others.

Have you read Dragon Teeth? What are your thoughts on the latest novel of Crichton's? Write your comment below!
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Leave Nothing Behind

The title sounds impressive, huh? Well, hopefully the whole article, which is the fruit of a kind of reflective thought that leads me to ponder about our existence, impresses you. :)

It is a pity that there are superior people: they look down on people and foster an I-am-the-best-and-no-one-else-is-better-than-me attitude. While it might be true that they are certainly better than others in certain aspects, they shouldn't perform such disgraceful acts as treating others contemptuously, let alone cruelly.

Part of the reason is some people might have traits that are of a higher quality than others'. Say, you are good at math and can multiply an 8-digit number by another 8-digit number lighting fast. However, on the other hand, you suck at playing the piano, while your neighbor is someone who has been dubbed the 'next Jay Chou' – no-one will ever be comparable to him, though. The fact that there are so many fields to explore and dedicate oneself to in this world, combined with our limitations as humans, suggests a plausible idea that some people are likely to be better than us in some respects.

Nevertheless, that is not the whole point. If you take a broader and deeper look at our very own world, everything – yes, everything! Not only everyone – has its own place and the state of occupying the niche itself is actually something that should be highly regarded. Firstly, we need to grasp the concept that we all are connected. By understanding this, naturally we should develop a stance that appreciates every single thing that exists, not only on this planet, but also in the universe. This is what I think the main catalyst that drives the human race forward as close-mindedness will end up stifling creativity and limit someone from countless advantageous possibilities to exploit.

Learning about dinosaurs is a great way to start adopting this view on life. A paleontologist cannot say, "I hate South America and don't want to learn anything from there," since dinosaurs are found all over the world, including the continent (in fact, a lot of amazing discoveries have been made there: South America has yielded impressive, gigantic dinosaurs such as the bigger-than-T. rex theropod Giganotosaurus carolinii as well as the recently named titanosaur Patagotitan mayorum). Dismissing it would simply lead to the 'incompleteness' of the science itself. To take it to the next level, dinosaurs are part of Earth's life; the only choice is to try to unravel as many mysteries surrounding these majestic creatures as possible in order to 'live more fully'.

I am also writing this in the wake of the high tensions between North Korea and the U.S. The world has suffered dramatically; it's high time we devoted ourselves completely to this world.
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