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Blog posts of '2011' 'April'

Hang on, little dog!
A tour of the world, fantastic adventure and spell-binding story, The Umbrella is a wordless picture book that shows the many inadvertent adventures of a black terrier, carried from the desert to the sea, jungle and North Pole, by a red umbrella. It's not just because of the spunky little dog that we love this latest picture book by artists and illustrators Ingrid and Dieter Schubert.
Ross Island, Antarctica
Kindly contributed by Ed Larson, professor of history, traveler and author of An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science. Travel is one of my passions. Since graduation, I have visited nearly 100 countries and all seven continents, much of it with a backpack and traveling locally by train or bus.  Yet when asked to compare those trips, I inevitably say that my favorite overseas experience was the two and one half months that I spent with the
Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
A Favorite Spot in Paris
Kindly contributed by David Downie, author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light.
"Hilly, wooded, with winding paths knotted around crumbling tombs, the cemetery of Père-Lachaise in Paris’s 20th arrondissement is just possibly the best-loved monumental city of the dead in Europe. Long ago I became a Père-Lachaise habitué, drawn by the serpentine landscaping, the keyhole views from twisting lanes and the blissful freedom from cars. Though the cemetery looks like a pleasant park, it’s the mossy, lichen-frosted monuments, and the atmosphere they create, that are this spot’s greatest attractions.
Dengchi Valley, Sichuan
Kindly contributed by Henry Nicholls, author of the forthcoming The Way of the Panda
The huge, foreboding oak doors of the Dengchi Valley Cathedral in Baoxing County, Sichuan are mostly locked. But once a week, on a Sunday, they are opened for the local inhabitants to attend a service in one of the oldest Catholic churches still standing in China’s Sichuan Province. Occasionally, too, perhaps a few times a month, a particular kind of tourist will step off the beaten trail and head up the dusty valley to this Christian outpost. More than likely it is not God calling them but the giant panda.
What We Know About Climate Change
Kerry Emanuel With the power of a polished lecturer, hurricane scientist and director of MIT's Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate, Kerry Emanuel, offers a heroically condensed, authoritative and engaging essay on the state of the science of climate change (we dare you to put it down). What We Know About Climate Change is as balanced as it is lucid -- and important.
You Are the Earth
Some recommendations from Longitude this Earth Day, April 22, for the kids in your life.
An ecology primer for ages 9-11, David Suzuki's You Are the Earth, Know Your World So You Can Help Make It Better presents fascinating facts and fables, colorful cartoons and dynamic illustrations underlining the importance of biodiversity and respect for the environment. With chapters on Air, Water, Earth, Fire, each with a glossary, quiz and zippy diagrams, the book is unabashed in its old-fashioned, workbook appeal.
Blood, Bones & Butter
There’s been a lot of buzz about Gabrielle Hamilton’s rollicking new memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter, with good reason. Hamilton, owner and chef of the hugely popular, tiny Prune restaurant in New York City, offers up a wonderfully readable, original addition to the culinary canon. This is no romanticized vision of “chefdom” as seen on The Food Network or in glossy celebrity cookbooks. Hamilton’s journey (subtitled “The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef”) is a tough, winding road marked with family dysfunction, menial jobs, a near-miss with the law—and lots of food.
Yellowstone's Fiery Plume
New data suggests that Yellowstone's fiery plume, flattening out at 4 to 10 miles beneath the surface, may be larger than previously thought. Like Galapagos, Iceland and Hawaii, Yellowstone sits atop a "hotspot," a giant plume of molten and partly molten rock. University of Utah geophysicists generated this geoelectric image of the plume (yellow and red indicate more conductive molten material), showing the source of the massive Yellowstone volcano in impressive detail.
Topkapi, Istanbul
Kindly contributed by Jason Goodwin, author of Lords of the Horizon and the Ottoman Empire Series, now numbering four.
Following an excursion to Venice, Istanbul’s old rival, in The Bellini Card, Yashim flings himself back into the heart of the Ottoman enterprise in An Evil Eye, where much of the action takes place in the imperial harem at Topkapi palace.
Translating Italian Cuisine
Longitude Editor, Catherine Torphy, reports from Eataly.
While living in Bologna and Rome, I used to bring along a pocket Italian dictionary whenever I ate at a trattoria or restaurant. My Italian was pretty good, but there were always a few unfamiliar words on the menu, and I hated to miss out on a local specialty because I didn’t know a particular translation. What I really needed at the time was a dictionary devoted to food: portable and comprehensive, with an Italian-English translation for whatever ingredient or delicacy might pop up on a menu. Happily, two such books have recently arrived: The Blue Guide Italy Food Companion and Monica Sartoni Cesari’s