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Local Book Notes: The Inner Lives Of Animals, Newsrooms & Derrick Rose

"Sperm whales have the largest brains on earth - around six times larger on average than our own - while bottlenosed dolphins have the largest brains relative to body size, with the exception of humans," Tim Flannery writes in "The Amazing Inner Lives of Animals" for the New York Review of Books.

"Along with killer whales, these species have a place beside the elephants, dogs, and great apes in the animal intelligentsia. The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins [University of Chicago Press] is a comprehensive academic work by researchers who have devoted their careers to studying sperm and killer whales.

"Ocean-going and deep diving, sperm whales are difficult to study, and researchers can as yet offer only a bare sketch of their societies. But it's already clear that their social organization has remarkable parallels with that of elephants. Like elephants, sperm whale females and young often live in 'clans' of up to thirty individuals, while adult males, except when mating, live separate lives.

"Sperm whale clans possess distinctive 'dialects' of sonar clicks. These are passed on by learning, and act as markers of clan identity. They are an important part of the whale's communication system, which enables the creatures to synchronize their diving, feeding, and other activities. So social are sperm whales that females share the care of the young of their clan, for example by staying at the surface with a young whale while its mother dives for food. Clan members are so closely bonded that they spend extended periods at the surface, nuzzling one another or staying in close body contact. As with elephants, clans can gather in large congregations, so it seems reasonable to assume that sperm whales have the capacity to memorize large social networks.

"Killer whales (otherwise known as orcas) have a very different social organization. Without doubt their most unusual characteristic is that all male killer whales are deeply involved with their mother. They never leave their mother's clan, and despite their enormous size (growing to twice the weight of females), their fates remain deeply intertwined with those of their mothers. If their mothers should die, even fully adult males over thirty years old (they can live to over sixty) face an eight-fold increase in their risk of death. Just how and why the orphaned adult males die remains unclear."

Killing The Media
"The Internet and social networks have opened up new avenues of communication for women and people of color, but mainstream news is still not adequately including minority communities in the conversation," Bitch notes.

"How Racism and Sexism Killed Traditional Media: Why the Future of Journalism Depends on Women and People of Color by Joshunda Sanders reveals the lack of diversity that persists in the media today. Uncovering and analyzing the racial bias in the media and in many newsrooms, this book reveals the lesser-known side of the media - newsrooms and outlets that are often fraught with underlying racist and sexist tension."

From an interview featured in Bitch's e-mail newsletter:

"I started the book while I was writing media critiques for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in 2012, after a decadelong career in the newspaper industry and with nearly 15 years of experience as a freelance journalist. Since the book is part of Praeger's Racism in American Institutions series, my focus was initially on racism in American news organizations. But about halfway through, I realized that sexism, like racism, was a major part of the story of how media organizations have failed to integrate both people of color and women in order to remain relevant."

Derrick's Anatomy
"There's a new book out called Basketball Anatomy, written by the Chicago Bulls team doctor Brian Cole," Kevin Ding notes for Bleacher Report. "A player wrote the foreword to the book, and I'll let you guess which one."

You can read it here.

And here's a trailer for the book:

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on October 2, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
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SPORTS - Bears At Peak McCaskey.

BOOKS - Before Breitbart.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: New Fucking Frying Pan.


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