Eerie & Beautiful: How Natural Science Works

Worn out by the draining combination of Sandy (11 days and counting without power) and the presidential election, I sought comfort and distraction at Audubon Magazine’s website, one of my favorite stops on the World Wide Web (and one of the rare sites that actually features content from around the world).

As usual, there was a lot to choose from, including this gorgeous slideshow of birds in Nebraska. But what I want to recommend is A Glorious Enterprise, a gallery of photographs from a new book about “the making of American Science.”

An eerie and beautiful bird skeleton, poised for flight in a splash of sunlight; a drawer full of dead Tibetan Rosefinch specimens, each one tagged; a box of American flamingo skulls–the strange and exotic images tell the story of how science works, and of our insatiable hunger for knowledge. They capture the touching, perhaps futile, human desire to catalog and understand everything about the world around us. We may never get there—as Sandy proved, we remain at the mercy of nature—but we’ll never stop trying.

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