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John Wright is a passionate natural historian and the author of the River Cottage Handbooks Mushrooms, Edible Seashore, Hedgerow and Booze. As well as writing for national publications, he often appears on the River Cottage series for Channel 4. He gives lectures on natural history and every year he takes around fifty 'forays' showing people how to collect food - plants from the hedgerow, seaweeds and shellfish from the shore and mushrooms from pasture and wood. Over a period of twenty years he has taken around five hundred such forays. Fungi are his greatest passion and he has thirty-five years' experience in studying them. John Wright is a member of the British Mycological Society and a Fellow of the Linnaean Society. He lives in rural West Dorset with his wife and two teenage daughters. @johnmushroom / www.wild-food.net
Latin names - frequently unpronounceable, all too often wrong and always a tiny puzzle to unravel - have been annoying the layman since they first became formalised as scientific terms in the eighteenth century. Why on earth has the entirely land-loving Eastern Mole been named Scalopus aquaticus, or the Oxford Ragwort been called Senecio squalidus - 'dirty old man'? What were naturalists thinking when they called a beetle Agra katewinsletae, a genus of fish Batman, and a Trilobite Han solo? Why is zoology replete with names such as Chloris chloris chloris (the greenfinch), and Gorilla gorilla gorilla (a species of, well gorilla)? The Naming of the Shrew will unveil these mysteries, exploring the history, celebrating their poetic nature and revealing how naturalists sometimes get things so terribly wrong. With wonderfully witty style and captivating narrative, this book will make you see Latin names in a whole new light.
'He writes so engagingly that it's hard to imagine that actual foraging can be more attractive than reading his accounts of it. ...[This book] is a treasure. It is beautifully produced, designed and illustrated.' - John Carey, The Sunday Times BEST NATURE BOOK OF THE YEAR, THE TIMES Look out of your window, walk down a country path or go to the beach in Great Britain, and you are sure to see many wild species that you can take home and eat. From dandelions in spring to sloe berries in autumn, via wild garlic, samphire, chanterelles and even grasshoppers, our countryside is full of edible delights in any season. John Wright is the country's foremost expert in foraging and brings decades of experience, including as forager at the River Cottage, to this seasonal guide. Month by month, he shows us what species can be found and where, how to identify them, and how to store, use and cook them. You'll learn the stories behind the Latin names, the best way to tap a Birch tree, and how to fry an ant, make rosehip syrup and cook a hop omelette. Fully illustrated throughout, with tips on kit, conservation advice and what to avoid, this is an indispensable guide for everyone interested in wild food, whether you want to explore the great outdoors, or are happiest foraging from your armchair.
Since the arrival of literate European settlers in what is now KwaZulu-Natal in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, numerous stories about the Drakensberg region have made their way into print. But for every story which happens to have been written down, there are many others which have not, and which are therefore unavailable to us in our aim of wanting to establish a modern-day understanding of the history of the Drakensberg. This applies especially to the stories told by the unlettered San hunter-gatherers and their forebears during the several thousand years for which they inhabited these mountains, and by the isiNtu-speaking black farmers who have lived in the neighbouring uplands for the past thousand years or so. But it also applies to the unwritten stories told by European colonizers and their descendants over the last century and a half. The declaration of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park as a World Heritage Site - on the basis of its scenic beauty, high degree of biodiversity and the exceptional cultural value of its heritage of San rock art - provides an occasion for reflecting on the history and people of the region, from the earliest known times to the present. Constructed from archaeological and written sources, this book highlights the histories of the indigenous San hunter-gatherers and black farmers, as well as of the European colonisers. The accessible text is complemented by photographs of the landscape, rock art and archaeological finds. The authors have not aimed to write a definitive history, but have tried to open up ways of looking at the region's past which go beyond the mainly 'colonial' views which have predominated in the literature up to the present.
This monograph develops a new way of justifying the claims made by science about phenomenon not directly observable by humans, such as atoms and black holes. It details a way of making inferences to the existence and properties of unobservable entities and states of affairs that can be given a probabilistic justification. The inferences used to establish realist claims are not a form of, and neither do they rely on, inference to the best explanation. Scientific Realism maintains that scientific theories and hypotheses refer to real entities, forces, and relations, even if one cannot examine them. But, there are those who doubt these claims. The author develops a novel way of defending Scientific Realism against a range of influential attacks. He argues that in some cases, at least, we can make probabilistically justifiable inferences from observed data to claims about unobservable, theoretical entities. He shows how this enables us to place some scientific realist claims on a firmer epistemological footing than has previously been the case. This also makes it possible to give a unified set of replies to the most common objections to Scientific Realism. The final chapters apply the developed conceptual apparatus to key cases from the history of science and from recent science. One example concerns realism with respect to atoms. Another looks at inferences from recent astronomical data to conclusions about the size and shape of those parts of the universe lying beyond that which we can observe.