It's summer time where the Phoenix lander sits at what would be the Martian arctic circle. Its mission is limited to only around 92 (Earth) days because, even as it sits there in Mars's summer season, the high temperature never exceeds something like 20 degrees (F) below zero and, at night, well, your ice cream would never melt. EVER! They tell us that, as winter sets in on Mars, the Phoenix lander will become entombed, yes completely covered in snow and ice --mostly frozen carbon dioxide-- effectively "killing" the immobile robot about three (Earth) months from now. When summer returns to the northern regions of Mars, the lander will be exposed again. The solar panels will generate electricity again. And NASA will listen. There is a small chance Phoenix will stir back to life and, if it does, her handlers don't want to miss it! In the mean time we sit and watch the show from the warmer climes of Earth and marvel.
Kevin Lewis was not your average blackjack player. As a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined a clandestine team of several other mathematically gifted MIT students who had studied and fine-tuned various strategies for the popular and, the experts say, only beatable casino card game. For four years during the mid-1990s, Kevin and his teammates flew to Las Vegas on weekends, worked surreptitiously as a team at the blackjack tables, and raked in thousands of dollars per weekend. How they did it, what motivated them to pursue this lifestyle for so long, and how they were eventually discovered, makes for a jaw-dropping, page-turning, amazingly true story as recounted in Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich.
The Canon: A whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
Ms. Angier is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the New York Times. She combines a passion for science with an understanding of how it works and then writes about it with wit and intelligence. This is a book for any parent who has been asked what is electricity or how was the earth made. It is also for anyone wanting to understand many of the issues facing us today--from stem cells to bird flu and global warming. All the major scientific disciplines are brought to light: physics, chemistry, biology, geology and astronomy in a book that will inspire and recapture each reader's childhood fascination with the world around us.
by Laurie R. King
A great stand alone title from the author of the Mary Russell mysteries, this novel is set in post World War I England. It follows the efforts of an American agent hunting down a terrorist who has ties to bombings in the United States. In order to get close to his suspect, Harris Stuyvesant befriends a wounded British soldier who left the war with incredible extrasensory abilities after nearly getting killed in the trenches.
by Anita Shreve
Sydney takes a summer job with a wealthy New Hampshire family tutoring their young daughter Julie while they vacation at their beach cottage. During her stay, Sidney finds herself enmeshed in family jealousies and secrets eventually reawakening rivalries between two older brothers who visit the cottage periodically.
Carolyn MacKenzie was 16 years old when her older brother Charles, known as Mack, disappeared just before his college graduation. A decade later, dissatisfied with the police’s efforts to find Mack, Carolyn decides to undertake her own investigation. Clinging to the belief that Mack is alive, based on his annual calls to their mother on Mother’s Day, Carolyn begins to interview anyone she can find who had a connection with her brother. The more she learns, the more questions arise, and the more she unknowingly jeopardizes her own safety. Where Are You Now?, Mary Higgins Clark’s twenty-seventh suspense novel, incorporates all the elements Higgins Clark fans have come to expect: numerous characters who are rarely whom they appear to be, fast-paced chapters with cliffhanger endings, and plot twists that’ll keep the reader guessing.
History shows that Hitler made a mistake invading Russia in World War II. What many people do not know is that the need for an alternative source of cooking oil for Germany and the Soviet sunflower fields were a contributing factor to his decision. In his book Sunflowers (the Secret History), Joe Pappalardo relates the unexpected history of this flower from caves in the Stone Age to the gardens of kings. Flower lovers, scientists, and trivia buffs will find this book entertaining reading as they learn of sunflowers influence on our lives.
Two organizations just presented their 2008 awards for mysteries written in 2007.
Agatha Award - given by Malice Domestic, Ltd., in honor of Agatha Christie. The Best Novel award went to Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (shelved in Mystery).