Monday, January 23, 2012

Poisons


Macinnis, Peter (2004). Poisons: From Hemlock to Botox and the Killer Bean of Calabar. New York: Arcade Publishing.

From the author’s web site:

"As usual, I am interested in the people, their interactions and the social effects that poisons have had, as well as the science. There is an exquisite beauty in the way tetrodotoxin is made harmless to its hosts, the way a wasp moth vomits over its mate, or the way a mongoose withstands the venom of the cobra. To me, these are things worth exploring, so I do. "

In his book, Macinnis endeavors to describe poisonous compounds and their science, relate which historical figures are implicated in the use of these poisons, and document how these poisons are referred to literature. He then attempts to weave all of these aspects together.

Macinnis does indeed attempt to cover aspects of science, people, and all the history inbetween, but he does not seem quite able to cover everything in a consistent, coherent way. I think there is just too much material here to do this kind of approach justice. Just as a good story is getting underway, the author abruptly changes direction, or inserts a block of related historical text, or leaves the topic altogether. Many of these compounds have enough related material to sustain their very own book (and many have – for example, tetrodotoxin is implicated in the whole zombie culture, something not even mentioned by Macinnis, much to my disappointment).

This book is certainly worth perusing – just be prepared to be left wanting more.

Rating: One Oog

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oogliography

I have really been enjoying Neuroknitter's return to Neuro as well as her terrific (and super colorful and complex!) knitting. I have also been contemplating a similar foray into something different for myself. I really miss all the fun writing I had to do for my last degree, and thought I might give some of that a try here.

Quite some time ago, I started keeping what I call The Oogliography. This is a list of books, films, television shows, and documents, mostly oogy, that I have encountered. To assist with categorizing these further, I established the Oog rating scale, as follows:

One Oog - Mildly Disturbing
Two Oogs - Don't Eat Dinner While Reading
Three Oogs - Absolutely the Stuff that Nightmares Are Made Of

I am always in search of good, Three Oog material. While I certainly don't condone cruelty, war, the inflicting of pain, death, dismemberment, etc., I do enjoy rational historical descriptions of our human condition as well as plausible fictional representations of behavioral deviance.

I thought I might begin to update/resurrect The Oogliography here, inbetween knitting projects. It will be electic, and hopefully somewhat entertaining.

There will also be upcoming photos of colorwork - two more pillows, and some mittens that seem to have elicited an immediate dopaminergic response within hundreds of knitters, myself included.

Monday, January 2, 2012

First FO of the New Year


Contrefort Socks, pattern by Debbie O'Neill. Yarn is Trekking Maxima. I've just cast on about a billion new projects, so it may be a little while before I have another FO. Lots of fun things are in the works or in various stages of planning, so more to come!