Friday, May 31, 2019

Dinosaurs, India, and the smartphone

We in the United States  recently enjoyed a three-day weekend, ostensibly for the purpose of honoring fallen soldiers, though I suspect for most it's just an occasion to shop and cook out before the summer heat becomes unbearable.  I took advantage of the time off to read a few books:  India Connected, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, and Change Agent, the latter of which has been  reviewed already.   A few more novels are in the offing, including Trouble is my Business (Raymond Chandler), Kill Decision (Suarez), Altered Carbon, and Limited Wish, the sequel to One World Kill.

First, the dinosaurs: as its title indicates, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a complete-as-possible history of our Saurian predecessors that focuses special attention on why and how they became such supersized creatures, as well as the demise of most of their kind.  I say most because Brusatte argues that birds did not evolve from dinosaurs, but are literally dinosaurs.   The development of feathers and particularly wings is addressed. The author believes wings first developed for display purpose, and feathers for insulation.   Although remains of feathers have not been found with any T-Rex fossils,  other tyrannosaurs (from small to large)  were feathered, so it's a fair bet that Rex was as well.

Next up,  India Connected. Global civilization is in the midst of change driven by the smartphone,  but nowhere does it have more explosive potential than in India.   The world’s largest democracy may be increasingly wealthy, but many millions of its people remain illiterate and impoverished.   Enter the smartphone, increasingly affordable even to the poorest.  Apps allow the rural villager to teach himself to read; they allow women  freedom to obtain information and look for opportunities for education, employment, and romance that would be otherwise warded away from them;  they allow those who can already read to learn new skills, like English and coding,   and they make it easier for people and India's vast democracy to function.   (And then there's dating..) 


  1. Hmmm ... I’m trying to get my mind around hummingbirds as T-Rex cousins .... and then there’s Big Bird!

  2. it's hard to imagine dreadnautus dreadnautus with wings, although look at the wooden goose(howard hughes airplane)... India: one of the little anticipated results of electro-tech...

  3. I thought the Brusatte book sounded familiar. I picked it up in paperback a few weeks ago. Added another to my Wish List recently too:

    The Dinosaurs Rediscovered: How a Scientific Revolution is Rewriting History by Michael J. Benton.

    1. Ooh! Googling that book led me to a book review blog that focuses only on science reads. Something to peruse later with coffee... :-D


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