Category Archives: Reviews

Read about books, equipment, web sites, software, and other things that can help you do better science.

Analog Microcontroller Review

I have been trying to decide what to use to digitize the signals from my sensors that have analog outputs. The original thinking was to attach a 16 bit A/D converter to an ARM processor module. The other day I decided to revisit the Analog Devices Analog microcontroller family of parts. These parts are intended to process analog signals with their built in … Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Experimentation, Instrumentation, Programming, Projects, Reviews, Sensors, Software | Leave a comment

Review: The Drunkards Walk

The Drunkards Walk Cover

How many of us can tell if something is really random, or only has the appearance of randomness? Leonard Mlodinow challenges all of our cherished biases and prejudices dealing with randomness and what we only perceive to be random. Continue reading…

Posted in Mathematics, Reviews | Leave a comment

Citizen Science Musings: Harry Potter Gets Rational


Harry is thrust into a world where magic actually works–but so does science–and this Harry loves to look at the world from a scientific standpoint. Obviously, it’s not an easy transition, but it makes for some very interesting variations on the original story. Continue reading…

Posted in Best Practices, Citizen Science Musings, Education, Publishing, Reviews, Science Education | Leave a comment

Hacking the Quantum: A New Book Explains How Anyone Can Become an Amateur Quantum Physicist


DIYers in their basements, garages, and hackerspaces have already pioneered radio communications, PCs, household robots, and cheap 3-D printers—why not quantum entanglement, cryptography, computers, and teleportation? Continue reading…

Posted in Education, Energy, Instrumentation, Invention, Makers and Making, Observation, Physics, Projects, Reviews, Science Fair | 1 Comment

NYT: How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement

Rachel Carson. Wikimedia Image

“Silent Spring,” which has sold more than two million copies, made a powerful case for the idea that if humankind poisoned nature, nature would in turn poison humankind. Continue reading…

Posted in Environment, History of Science, Reviews, Stories | 1 Comment

Adventures of a Citizen Scientist: Green Summer Reads


Question: What do you get when you cross a nature columnist with a librarian?

Answer: Ideas for great summer reading with green themes! Continue reading…

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Software for Science: GNU Octave


I happen to love FREE when it comes to scientific tools and thought I would give a brief review of some of my favorite free tools over a series of several blog entries. For this article I want to talk about GNU’s program called Octave. Continue reading…

Posted in Mathematics, Physics, Reviews, Software, Tools | 1 Comment

Review: The Canon EOS Rebel T2I

A number of people have mentioned that a digital camera is one of the essential tools of an amateur scientist. My efforts this past Saturday morning to take pictures of the eclipsed moon really brought home the need for a better camera. Continue reading…

Posted in Photography, Reviews | 2 Comments

Books Received: Art & Science in the South Nation Watershed

We’re trying to encourage Citizen Science work to be more focused on hypothesis-testing. We’re planning this book as the first of a series in Ontario, sponsored by local organizations and supported by the sales of paintings done during “Landscape Art & Science” projects in the field. Continue reading…

Posted in Biology, CSL News, Reviews | Leave a comment

National Academies Press: Releases New Book on National Earthquake Resilience

In what can only be described as massively fortuitous timing, the National Academies Press was preparing their email promotion for this volume on earthquake resilience when their offices were rattled by a 5.9 earthquake. Honest! Continue reading…

Posted in Breaking News, Geology, Reviews | Leave a comment