January 4, 2009
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New Year: Become a Naturalist

Hiker Philip Werner writes about Becoming A Naturalist.

So I was surprised when I felt myself beginning to take a keen interest in my surroundings during trips and I and started to spend much more time observing and photographing the plants, trees, animals and fungi that I saw on my expeditions. When I’d get home, I’d research what I had observed and began to teach myself natural history, biology, geology, and botany. Then, I started to write about it, as much to share it with others, as to cement what I had learned in my mind.

Gotta love a weblog that has reviews of adventure pants.

And Daily Kossack Devilstower writes about Steven Johnson's new biography of Joseph Priestley.

This was Joseph Priestley, formerly of Hackney, England, en route to his new home in America. At sixty-one years old, he was among the most accomplished men of his generation, rivaled only by Franklin in he the diversity of his interests and influence. He had won the Copley Medal (the Nobel Prize of its day) for his experiments on various gases in his late thirties, and published close to five hundred books and pamphlets on science, politics, and religion since 1761. An ordained minister, he helped found the dissenting Christian sect of Unitarianism. He counted among his close friends the great minds of the Enlightenment and the early Industrial Revolution: Franklin, Richard Price, Josiah Wedgewood, Mathew Boulton, James Watt, Erasmus Darwin.