“Oh, that is so gross!” discussion

Hello Big Read readers! I don’t know about the rest of you, but my boyfriend, roommate, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances are getting a little tired of me blurting out strange and gross tidbits of information about the human digestive system. But how can you not want to tell everyone about Elvis’ megacolon or Alexis St. Martin’s fistulated stomach? If you are in the same boat, don’t worry you are not alone! The rest of the Big Read community will understand, so go ahead and share your comments on the book below. What is the grossest thing you have read so far in Gulp? What is the coolest thing you have learned? What facts can’t you get out of your head?

We will compile a list of your answers and talk about them during our discussion on November 6th, but feel free to respond even if you can’t make the discussion.

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Fall 2013 Book Discussion: Gulp, by Mary Roach

What do your detergent and your stomach have in common?  What is the importance of biodiversity in your gut for fighting disease? How can a kiss help heal wounds?

Hello science readers, if you think you might be curioGulpus about what happens to food after it enters your mouth, check out our fall book discussion on the book Gulp, by Mary Roach.  We’ll have a discussion at the Davis public library Blanchard Room on Wednesday, November 6th from 6:30 – 7:30 PM.  

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First Big Read tomorrow!

We are all very excited to begin our discussions of A Primate’s Memoir tomorrow, at our local Davis library! For further reading and ruminating before and/or after the Big Read events,  check out our new additions in the “Additional Resources” tab above. We have added some new links, including:

  • How do other biologists relate to their experiences in prolonged field work? UC Davis researchers have compiled an anthology of just such tales.
  • Sapolsky speaks! Watch a video of this enigmatic lecturer speaking to the differences and similarities between non-human primates and humans.
  • Cross-species conversations? With careful observation, our author begins to understand the unique “language” of the baboons; can we push this boundary further, into inter-species communication? The work of varied biologists – and the fabulous documentation of NPR’s Radiolab series – put this query to the test.
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Davis Big Read: Tuesday, February 26th

Hey everyone, our first discussion on Robert Sapolsky’s book, A Primate’s Memoir, is coming up next Tuesday at the Davis branch of the Yolo County Library!  We will convene at 6:00 PM to talk about baboons, field research, and any related topics of interest.  Feel free to join us whether or not you have finished the book.

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Discussion Starter

Hey science readers, this is an update to let you know that the next discussion book, A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky, is now available in Yolo County libraries.  Feel free to post your thoughts and questions in the comments section at the bottom of the “About the Book” page as you read the book – we may use some of your comments to help frame our discussions this winter.

Here’s a topic to get you started:  What is the strangest animal behavior you have ever witnessed, and why do you think it occurred?

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Baboons, Brains, and Biology!

The Big Read: Open Access Science comes back for its second year to read and discuss Robert Sapolsky’s account of his graduate years studying primates in Kenya!

 A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons  is filled with raucous anecdotes of chasing baboons through the savannah, trekking across East Africa, and negotiating with all sorts of men and animals. Sapolsky deftly weaves his personal narrative into descriptions of his science — for him, the two are deeply related. Read the book, and come join our discussions as we talk about how scientists learn about the very essence of what makes us human by setting out to study our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Discussions and book-related activities will take place in the spring of 2013. Check back here for a full schedule starting in January!

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Hello Book Lovers!


Our first book!

Ready to read about human genomics?  Our first book to discuss will be Here is a Human Being, a memoir by science writer Misha Angrist.  Dr. Angrist tells the story of his participation in the Personal Genome Project and the ethical and moral decisions involved in full-genome DNA sequencing.

Misha Angrist will be giving a free public lecture at the Davis branch of the Yolo County Library on Wednesday March 7th starting at 7:30 pm. He will be available at the library between 7 and 9 pm if you would like to speak with him before or after his presentation.


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