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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert

Language

English

Pages

336

Publication Date

February 11, 2014

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p><b>ONE OF THE <i>NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S</i> 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR</b></p><p><b>A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes</b> <br />Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In <i>The Sixth Extinction</i>, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and <i>New Yorker</i> writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.</p>
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greates...
by Dava Sobel

Language

English

Pages

191

Publication Date

July 05, 2010

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b>The dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of one man's forty-year obsession to find a solution to the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day--"the longitude problem."</b><br /><br />Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day-and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives and the increasing fortunes of nations hung on a resolution. One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solution-a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. <br /><i><br /></i><i>Longitude</i> is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world.
Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet
by Will Hunt

Language

English

Pages

275

Publication Date

January 29, 2019

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b>A panoramic investigation of the subterranean landscape, from sacred caves and derelict subway stations to nuclear bunkers and ancient underground cities—an exploration of the history, science, architecture, and mythology of the worlds beneath our feet</b><br /><br /> When Will Hunt was sixteen years old, he discovered an abandoned tunnel that ran beneath his house in Providence, Rhode Island. His first tunnel trips inspired a lifelong fascination with exploring underground worlds, from the derelict subway stations and sewers of New York City to the sacred caves, catacombs, and tombs, from bunkers to ancient underground cities in more than twenty countries around the world. <i>Underground</i> is both a personal exploration of Hunt’s obsession and a panoramic study of how we are all connected to the underground, how caves and other dark hollows have frightened and enchanted, repelled and captivated, us through the ages.<br /><br /> In a narrative spanning continents and epochs, Hunt follows a cast of subterranea-philes who have dedicated themselves to investigating underground worlds. He tracks the origins of life with a team of NASA microbiologists a mile beneath the Black Hills, camps out for three days with urban explorers in the catacombs and sewers of Paris, descends with an Aboriginal family into a 35,000-year-old sacred mine in the Australian outback, follows a ghostlike graffiti artist writing stories in the subway tunnels of New York, and glimpses a sacred sculpture molded by Paleolithic artists in the depths of a cave in the Pyrenees.<br /><br /> Each adventure is woven with findings in mythology and anthropology, natural history and neuroscience, literature and philosophy. In elegant and graceful prose, Hunt cures us of our “surface chauvinism,” opening our eyes to the planet’s hidden dimension. He reveals how the subterranean landscape gave shape to our most basic beliefs, including how we think about ourselves as humans. At bottom, <i>Underground</i> is a meditation on the allure of darkness, the power of mystery, and our eternal desire to connect with what we cannot see.<br /><br /><b>Advance praise for <i>Underground</i></b><br /><br />“An unusual and intriguing travel book . . . As [Will] Hunt reveals the scientific, historic, literary, psychological, spiritual, and metaphorical qualities of his exploration, it begins to seem less idiosyncratic than universal, a pull that has persisted throughout civilization and a mystery that has yet to be solved. The underground may represent hell to some, but it has also provided spiritual solace for centuries. . . . A vivid illumination of the dark and an effective evocation of its profound mystery.”<b>—<i>Kirkus Reviews</i> (starred review)</b>
Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson

Language

English

Pages

412

Publication Date

October 22, 2002

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<DIV><DIV>Rachel Carson’s <I>Silent Spring</I> was first published in three serialized excerpts in the <I>New Yorker</I> in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.<BR>   </DIV></DIV>
Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution
by Menno Schilthuizen

Language

English

Pages

287

Publication Date

April 03, 2018

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p>*Carrion crows in the Japanese city of Sendai have learned to use passing traffic to crack nuts.</p><p>*Lizards in Puerto Rico are evolving feet that better grip surfaces like concrete.</p><p>*Europe’s urban blackbirds sing at a higher pitch than their rural cousins, to be heardover the din of traffic.</p><p><i>How is this happening?</i></p><p>Menno Schilthuizen is one of a growing number of “urban ecologists” studying how our manmade environments are accelerating and changing the evolution of the animals and plants around us. In <i>Darwin Comes to Town</i>, he takes us around the world for an up-close look at just how stunningly flexible and swift-moving natural selection can be.</p><p>With human populations growing, we’re having an increasing impact on global ecosystems, and nowhere do these impacts overlap as much as they do in cities. The urban environment is about as extreme as it gets, and the wild animals and plants that live side-by-side with us need to adapt to a whole suite of challenging conditions: they must manage in the city’s hotter climate (the “urban heat island”); they need to be able to live either in the semidesert of the tall, rocky, and cavernous structures we call buildings or in the pocket-like oases of city parks (which pose their own dangers, including smog and free-rangingdogs and cats); traffic causes continuous noise, a mist of fine dust particles, and barriers to movement for any animal that cannot fly or burrow; food sources are mainly human-derived. And yet, as Schilthuizen shows, the wildlife sharing these spaces with us is not just surviving, but evolving ways of thriving.</p><p><i>Darwin Comes toTown </i>draws on eye-popping examples of adaptation to share a stunning vision of urban evolution in which humans and wildlife co-exist in a unique harmony. It reveals that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin dreamed, while providing a glimmer of hope that our race toward over population might not take the rest of nature down with us.</p>
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in Hist...
by Erik Larson

Language

English

Pages

338

Publication Date

October 19, 2011

Product Description
Customer Reviews
At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.<br /><br />That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.<br /><br />In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced.<br /><br />In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.<br /><br />And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.<br /><br />Meticulously researched and vividly written, <b>Isaac's Storm</b> is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, <b>Isaac's Storm</b> carries a warning for our time.<br /><br /><br /><i>From the Hardcover edition.</i>
Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren

Language

English

Pages

306

Publication Date

April 05, 2016

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b><b><b>Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography</b></b><br />A <i>New York Times </i>2016 Notable Book<br />National Best Seller<br />Named one of <i>TIME</i> magazine’s "100 Most Influential People"<br />An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016<br />A <i>Washington Post</i> Best Memoir of 2016<br /><b>A <i>TIME</i> and <i>Entertainment Weekly </i>Best Book of 2016 <br /></b></b><br />An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world<br /> <br />Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. <br /><i><br />Lab Girl</i> is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.<br /><br />Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. <br /><br />Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. <i>Lab Girl</i> opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.
Salt: A World History
by Mark Kurlansky

Language

English

Pages

494

Publication Date

January 28, 2003

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p><b>An unlikely world history from the bestselling author of <i>Cod </i> and <i>The Basque History of the World<br /><br /></i></b>In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.  Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, <b><i>Salt</i> </b>is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.</p><br /><br /><br /><i>From the Trade Paperback edition.</i>
North Pole, South Pole: The Epic Quest to Solve the Great Mystery...
by Gillian Turner

Language

English

Pages

289

Publication Date

January 11, 2011

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<DIV><P><B>This “fantastic story” of one of physics’ great riddles takes us through centuries of scientific history (Simon Lamb, author of <I>Devil in the Mountain</I>).</B><BR />  <BR /> Why do compass needles point north—but not quite north? What guides the migration of birds, whales, and fish across the world’s oceans? How is Earth able to sustain life under an onslaught of solar wind and cosmic radiation? For centuries, the world’s great scientists have grappled with these questions, all rooted in the same phenomenon: Earth’s magnetism.<BR />  <BR /> Over two thousand years after the invention of the compass, Einstein called the source of Earth’s magnetic field one of greatest unsolved mysteries of physics. Here, for the first time, is the complete history of the quest to understand the planet’s attractive pull—from the ancient Greeks’ fascination with lodestone to the geological discovery that the North Pole has not always been in the North—and to the astonishing modern conclusions that finally revealed the true source.<BR />  <BR /> Richly illustrated and skillfully told, <I>North Pole, South Pole</I> unfolds the human story behind the science: that of the inquisitive, persevering, and often dissenting thinkers who unlocked the secrets at our planet’s core.<BR />  <BR /> “In recent years, many very good books for interested non-scientists have been published: Richard Dawkins’s <I>Climbing Mount Improbable</I> and <I>The Ancestor’s Tale</I>, Stephen Jay Gould’s <I>The Lying Stones of Marrakech</I>, and Dava Sobel’s <I>Longitude </I>and <I>The Planets</I>, to name some of them. <I>North Pole, South Pole</I> . . . is a worthy addition to that list . . . Turner has a great story to tell, and she tells it well.” —<I>The Press</I> (New Zealand)</P></DIV>
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness ...
by Lisa Randall

Language

English

Pages

417

Publication Date

October 27, 2015

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p>In this brilliant exploration of our cosmic environment, the renowned particle physicist and <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author of <em>Warped Passages</em> and <em>Knocking on Heaven’s Door </em>uses her research into dark matter to illuminate the startling connections between the furthest reaches of space and life here on Earth.</p><p>Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In <em>Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs</em>, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs.</p><p>Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings—established and speculative—regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin of the Universe, our galaxy, our Solar System, and life, along with the process by which scientists explore new concepts. In <em>Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs,</em> Randall tells a breathtaking story that weaves together the cosmos’ history and our own, illuminating the deep relationships that are critical to our world and the astonishing beauty inherent in the most familiar things.</p>

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