Whitelaw, Ian 1953-

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Whitelaw, Ian 1953-

PERSONAL:

Born 1953.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

CAREER:

Editor and writer.

MEMBER:

Silver Spur Western Trail Riding Club.

WRITINGS:

Habitus Disgustica: The Encyclopedia of Annoying, Rude, and Unpleasant Behavior, illustrated by Matt Pagett, Plume (New York, NY), 2006.

A Measure of All Things: The Story of Man and Measurement, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.

(With Julie Whitaker) The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge, foreword by William Steinkraus, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributes articles for Greenpeace.

SIDELIGHTS:

Ian Whitelaw is an editor and a writer. An avid lover of horses, he owns three horses on his large farm on Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia. He is also a member of the Silver Spur Western Riding Trail Riding Club. As a writer, Whitelaw has written extensively on horses across a wide range of topics. He also writes for scientific-themed publications and contributes environmental articles for Greenpeace. Whitelaw published his first book, Habitus Disgustica: The Encyclopedia of Annoying, Rude, and Unpleasant Behavior, which was illustrated by Matt Pagett, in 2006.

Whitelaw published A Measure of All Things: The Story of Man and Measurement in 2007. Whitelaw takes the history of measurement and shows its evolution and the ways in which it has improved the quality of human lives from antiquity to the present. He details the split made when the newly formed United States chose to use its own system of measurement to distance itself from Britain and talks about a range of other measurement systems, including those of railway gages, alcohol, and fly-fishing weights. Whitelaw also covers the more standard forms of measurements, including temperature, volume, mass, length, weight, area, speed, and time.

A contributor to Science News observed that Whitelaw "provides interesting notes about everyday units of measurement" throughout the text, including some uncommon ones. David Schneider, reviewing the book in American Scientist, remarked that "Whitelaw makes it a pleasure to learn about such things, and about the efforts of metrologists to devise more natural units." Schneider highlighted that the way Whitelaw organized and the style in which he wrote the book "makes the content easy to digest," appending that it is a "charming" book.

Written with Julie Whitaker, The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge, was also published in 2007. Inclusive of a foreword by the Olympic show-jumping gold medalist William Steinkraus, the book covers a wide range of topics related to horses, including their history, types and breeds, health of equines, different styles and disciplines of riding, and an assortment of trivia. The authors incorporate odd and little-known facts related to horses as well, such as the fact that Mongols used to tenderize their hamburger meat by placing it under their horse's saddle while riding.

Patsy Gray, reviewing the book in Library Journal, wrote that with the foreword's explanation of why a miscellany book about horses is a good idea and the authors' experience editing a range of books on horses, "this is the perfect tome for that task." Gray added that the book is "filled with wonderful illustrations and photographs."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Scientist, July 1, 2007, David Schneider, review of A Measure of All Things: The Story of Man and Measurement.

Library Journal, May 1, 2007, Patsy Gray, review of The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge, p. 95.

New Scientist, March 17, 2007, Matthew Killeya, review of A Measure of All Things, p. 56.

School Science Review, December 1, 2007, Brian Gee, review of A Measure of All Things, p. 132.

Science News, August 18, 2007, review of A Measure of All Things, p. 111.