Posted by: Green Knight | April 17, 2013

Popularity Contest?

I have no idea what’s going on. I get hits from around the globe, sure; I have a contest with a fellow blogger: she’s been doing it for longer than me, and she has an impressive tally of views from everywhere, but I’m beating her on visits from weird little islands in the middle of nowhere.

Under normal circumstances, the Hot Sheet gets 10-20 views per day, but yesterday it got 368 hits, and as of 7:30 this morning it’s already gotten 118. Most of the views are related to a post I did a year and a half ago about cool science books that people should read. I’m a bit fazed by that, because I haven’t mentioned or promoted that post. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it took off like wildfire, and that’s just me recommending other people’s writing. I guess I need to write my own book?

While we’re on the subject, though, here are some more things to put on your reading list. “The Immense Journey” by Loren Eiseley, 1959. A classic by an anthropologist and naturalist, which was a major influence on young me. “The Ascent of Man” by Jacob Bronowski (there’s a book version of the excellent 1973 TV series, which was assigned viewing for an anthro class I took in that era). “Cosmos,” or anything else by Carl Sagan. Anything by James Burke, who did a few TV shows including “Connections” and “The Day the Universe Changed,” and wrote for Scientific American for a while. For before-bed reading, a chapter a night, you can’t beat the classic “Black Elk Speaks” by John G. Neihardt, or for weird physics, “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. Or for late-night philosophical musings, anything by the late Alan Watts.

For more recent stuff, I recommend “Death in the Marsh” by Tom Harris, a great look at naturally occurring selenium poisoning in the western US, aggravated by agriculture. “The Golden Shore” by fellow SEJ member David Helvarg is as good an assessment of my home state of California as anything since Curt Gentry or Herbert Asbury. Fred A. Wilcox wrote a couple of powerful books about the history of Agent Orange: “Waiting for an Army to Die” was about its use in Vietnam, and “Scorched Earth” was about its use here at home. Carl Zimmer writes good stuff about cooties. Richard Preston’s “The Hot Zone” still scares the crap out of me. His recent book, “The Wild Trees,” is all about how some risk-taking climbers discovered an entire new ecosystem in the canopy of the coast redwood forest. Great and well-presented info, all of the above.

There are no doubt others which I’m forgetting at the moment, but I’ll add them when they occur to me. I have no idea why this site suddenly got popular. I guess that means I’ll have to work even harder for free. Do me a favor and get involved with your local animal-rescue groups, OK? I help the doggies whenever I can, and I do TNR work for feral cats. Last week we finally trapped the local matriarch. She had some missing teeth, gingivitis, and a fever, so we got her spayed, got some fluids and antibiotics in her, and now she doesn’t have to be a kitten factory anymore, after being on the planet for 9 years or so. She was VERY happy to get back to her alley after the ordeal; I’ve never seen a kitty run that fast! For some reason I can’t upload her photo. Just picture a big fluffy calico.

Thanks, folks, for visiting. I do appreciate it.

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