Another 52 Things hits the shelves

The new book is out today: 52 Things You Should Know About Palaeontology. Having been up for pre-order in the US, it is now shipping. The book will appear in Amazons globally in the next 24 hours or so, perhaps a bit longer for Canada.

I'm very proud of this volume. It shows that 52 Things has legs, and the quality is as high as ever. Euan Clarkson knows a thing or two about fossils and about books, and here's what he thought of it: 

This is sheer delight for the reader, with a great range of short but fascinating articles; serious science but often funny. Altogether brilliant!

Each purchase benefits The Micropalaeontological Society's Educational Trust, a UK charity, for the furthering of postgraduate education in microfossils. You should probably go and buy it now before it runs out. Go on, I'll wait here...

1000 years of fossil obsession

So what's in the book? There's too much variety to describe. Dinosaurs, plants, foraminifera, arthropods — they're all in there. There's a geographical index, as before, and also a chronostratigraphic one. The geography shows some distinct clustering, that partly reflects the emphasis on the science of applied fossil-gazing: biostratigraphy. 

The book has 48 authors, a new record for these collections. It's an honour to work with each of them — their passion, commitment, and professionalism positively shines from the pages. Geologists and fossil nuts alike will recognize many of the names, though some will, I hope, be new to you. As a group, these scientists represent  1000 years of experience!

Amazingly, and completely by chance, it is one year to the day since we announced 52 Things You Should Know About Geology. Sales of that book benefit The AAPG Foundation, so today I am delighted to be sending a cheque for $1280 to them in Tulsa. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy, and of course to the authors of that book for making it happen.

A fossil book

We're proud to announce the latest book from Agile Libre. Woot!

I can't take a lot of credit for this book... The idea came from 52 Things stalwart Alex Cullum, a biostratigrapher I met at Statoil in Stavanger in my first proper job. A fellow Brit, he has a profound enthusiasm for all things outside, and for writing and publishing. With able help from Allard Martinius, also a Statoil scientist and a 52 Things author from the Geology book, Alex generously undertook the task of inviting dozens of awesome palaeontologists, biostratigraphers, palynologists, and palaeobotanists from all over the world, and keeping in touch as the essays came in. Kara and I took care of the fiddly bits, and now it's all nearly done. It is super-exciting. Just check out some of the titles:

  • A trace fossil primer by Dirk Knaust
  • Bioastronomy by Simon Conway Morris
  • Ichnology and the minor phyla by S George Pemberton
  • A walk through time by Felix Gradstein
  • Can you catch criminals with pollen? by Julia Webb
  • Quantitative palaeontology by Ben Sloan

It's a pretty mouthwatering selection, even for someone like me who mostly thinks about seismic these days. There are another 46 like this. I can't wait to read them, and I've read them twice already.

Help a micropalaeontologist

The words in these books are a gift from the authors — 48 of them in this book! — to the community. We cherish the privilege of reading them before anyone else, and of putting them out into the world. We hope they reach far and have impact, inspiring people and starting conversations. But we want these books to give back to the community in other ways too, so from each sale we are again donating to a charity. This time it's the Educational Trust of The Micropalaeontological Society. I read about this initiative in a great piece for Geoscientist by Haydon Bailey, one of our authors: Micropalaeontology under threat!. They need our community's support and I'm excited about donating to them.

The book is in the late stages of preparation, and will appear in the flesh in about the middle of November. To make sure you get yours as soon as it's ready, you can pre-order it now.

Pre-order now from 
Save almost 25% off the cover price!

It's $14.58 today, but Amazon sets the final price...

April linkfest

It's time for our regular linkfest!

There's a new book in town... Rob Simm and Mike Bacon have put together a great-looking text on seismic amplitude intepretation (Cambridge, 2014). Mine hasn't arrived yet, so I can't say much more — for now, you can preview it in Google Books. I should add it to my list.

Staying with new literature, I started editing a new column in SEG's magazine The Leading Edge in February. I wrote about the first instalment, and now the second is out, courtesy of Leo Uieda — check out his tutorial on Euler deconvolution, complete with code. Next up is Evan with a look at synthetics.

On a related note, Matteo Niccoli just put up a great blog post on his awesome perceptual colourmaps, showing how to port them to matplotlib, the MATLAB-like plotting environment lots of people use with the Python programming language. 

Dolf Seilacher, the German ichnologist and palaeontologist, died 4 days ago at the age of 89. For me at least, his name is associated with the mysterious trace fossil Palaeodictyon — easily one of the weirdest things on earth (right). 

Geoscience mysteries just got a little easier to solve. As I mentioned the other day, there's a new place on the Internet for geoscientists to ask questions and help each other out. Stack Exchange, the epic Q&A site, has a new Earth Science site — check out this tricky question about hydrocarbon generation.

And finally, who would have thought that waiting 13 years for a drop of bitumen could be an anticlimax? But in the end, the long (if not eagerly) awaited 9th drop in the University of Queensland's epic experiment just didn't have far enough to fall...

If you can't get enough of this, you can wait for the 10th drop here. Or check back here in 2027.