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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last Tr...
by Michael Finkel

Language

English

Pages

225

Publication Date

March 07, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b>Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.</b> <br /><br /><b>A <i>New York Times</i> bestseller</b><br /><br />In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land
by Walter R. Borneman

Language

English

Pages

644

Publication Date

October 13, 2009

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p>The history of Alaska is filled with stories of new land and new riches -- and ever present are new people with competing views over how the valuable resources should be used: Russians exploiting a fur empire; explorers checking rival advances; prospectors stampeding to the clarion call of "Gold!"; soldiers battling out a decisive chapter in world war; oil wildcatters looking for a different kind of mineral wealth; and always at the core of these disputes is the question of how the land is to be used and by whom.</p><p>While some want Alaska to remain static, others are in the vanguard of change. <em>Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land</em> shows that there are no easy answers on either side and that Alaska will always be crossing the next frontier.</p>
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consci...
by Peter Godfrey-Smith

Language

English

Pages

271

Publication Date

December 06, 2016

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p>Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter? </p><p>In <i>Other Minds</i>, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being—how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys. </p><p>But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?</p><p>By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind—and on our own.</p>
Jewels: A Secret History
by Victoria Finlay

Language

English

Pages

496

Publication Date

August 15, 2006

Product Description
Customer Reviews
Throughout history, precious stones have inspired passions and poetry, quests and curses, sacred writings and unsacred actions. In this scintillating book, journalist Victoria Finlay embarks on her own globe-circling search for the real stories behind some of the gems we prize most. Blending adventure travel, geology, exciting new research, and her own irresistible charm, Finlay has fashioned a treasure hunt for some of the most valuable, glamorous, and mysterious substances on earth.<br /><br />With the same intense curiosity and narrative flair she displayed in her widely-praised book Color, Finlay journeys from the underground opal churches of outback Australia to the once pearl-rich rivers of Scotland; from the peridot mines on an Apache reservation in Arizona to the remote ruby mines in the mountains of northern Burma. She risks confronting scorpions to crawl through Cleopatra’s long-deserted emerald mines, tries her hand at gem cutting in the dusty Sri Lankan city where Marco Polo bartered for sapphires, and investigates a rumor that fifty years ago most of the world’s amber was mined by prisoners in a Soviet gulag.<br /><br />Jewels is a unique and often exhilarating voyage through history, across cultures, deep into the earth’s mantle, and up to the glittering heights of fame, power, and wealth. From the fabled curse of the Hope Diamond, to the disturbing truths about how pearls are cultured, to the peasants who were once executed for carrying amber to the centuries-old quest by magicians and scientists to make a perfect diamond, Jewels tells dazzling stories with a wonderment and brilliance truly worthy of its subjects.<br /><br /><br /><i>From the Hardcover edition.</i>
How To Go Vegan: The why, the how, and everything you need to mak...
by Veganuary

Language

English

Pages

208

Publication Date

December 28, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p><b>Going vegan is easy!</b></p><p>Whether you're already a full-time vegan, considering making the switch or know someone who is, this book will give you all the tools you need to make the change towards a healthier, happier and more ethical lifestyle. </p><p><i>How to Go Vegan</i> includes...</p><p><b>Why try vegan?</b><br />Animal welfare, the environment, health benefits and your personal adventure.</p><p><b>Vegan at home</b><br />Surprisingly vegan foods, reading labels, vegan ingredient essentials, easy replacements, how to be the only vegan in the family</p><p><b>Vegan out in the world</b><br />Eating out, eating at friends' houses, answering questions from loved ones, travelling vegan</p><p><b>Living the vegan lifestyle</b><br />Meal plans, tips and tricks, what to do if you're struggling, how to celebrate being a vegan</p><p>How to go vegan. It's easier than you think.</p>
Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Back...
by Juli Berwald

Language

English

Pages

346

Publication Date

November 07, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b><B>A former ocean scientist goes in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea's imperiled ecosystems.</B></b><br /><br />Jellyfish are an enigma. They have no centralized brain, but they see and feel and react to their environment in complex ways. They look simple, yet their propulsion systems are so advanced engineers are just learning how to mimic them. They produce some of the deadliest toxins on the planet and yet are undeniably alluring. Long ignored by science, they may be a key to ecosystem stability.<br /><br />Juli Berwald's journey into the world of jellyfish is a personal one. Over a decade ago she left the sea and her scientific career behind to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas. Increasingly dire headlines drew her back to jellies, as unprecedented jellyfish blooms toppled ecosystems and collapsed the world's most productive fisheries. What was unclear was whether these incidents were symptoms of a changing planet or part of a natural cycle.<br /><br />Berwald's desire to understand jellyfish takes her on a scientific odyssey. She travels the globe to meet the scientists who devote their careers to jellies, hitches rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raises jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marvels at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders. Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, <I>Spineless</I> reveals that jellyfish are a bellwether for the damage we're inflicting on the climate and the oceans and a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share.
House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the Americ...
by Craig Childs

Language

English

Pages

482

Publication Date

February 22, 2007

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<strong>The greatest "unsolved mystery" of the American Southwest is the fate of the Anasazi, the native peoples who in the eleventh century converged on Chaco Canyon (in today's southwestern New Mexico) and built what has been called the Las Vegas of its day, a flourishing cultural center that attracted pilgrims from far and wide, a vital crossroads of the prehistoric world. The Anasazis' accomplishments - in agriculture, in art, in commerce, in architecture, and in engineering - were astounding, rivaling those of the Mayans in distant Central America. By the thirteenth century, however, the Anasazi were gone from Chaco. Vanished. What was it that brought about the rapid collapse of their civilization? Was it drought? pestilence? war? forced migration? mass murder or suicide? For many years conflicting theories have abounded. Craig Childs draws on the latest scholarly research, as well as on a lifetime of adventure and exploration in the most forbidding landscapes of the American Southwest, to shed new light on this compelling mystery.</strong>
Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods
by Danna Staaf

Language

English

Pages

256

Publication Date

October 03, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
Before there were mammals on land, there were dinosaurs. And before there were fish in the sea, there were cephalopods—the ancestors of modern squid and Earth’s first truly substantial animals. Cephalopods became the first creatures to rise from the seafloor, essentially inventing the act of swimming. With dozens of tentacles and formidable shells, they presided over an undersea empire for millions of years. But when fish evolved jaws, the ocean’s former top predator became its most delicious snack. Cephalopods had to step up their game.<br /><br />Many species streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, but these enhancements only provided a brief advantage. Some cephalopods then abandoned the shell entirely, which opened the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, perhaps even dolphin-like intelligence.<br /><br />Squid Empire is an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight’s menu. Anyone who enjoys the undersea world—along with all those obsessed with things prehistoric—will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder ...
by Sy Montgomery

Language

English

Pages

273

Publication Date

July 12, 2016

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b>Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction</b><BR> <BR> <b><i>New York Times </i></b><b>Bestseller</b><BR> <BR> <b>“Sy Montgomery’s <i>The Soul of an Octopus</i> does for the creature what Helen Macdonald’s <i>H Is for Hawk</i> did for raptors.” —<i>New Statesman</i>, UK</b><BR> <BR> <b>Starred <i>Booklist</i> and <i>Library Journal </i>Editors’ Spring Pick</b><BR> <BR> <b>“One of the best science books of the year” —<i>Science Friday</i>, NPR</b><BR> <BR> <b>A <i>Huffington Post</i> Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year</b><BR> <BR> <b>One of the Best Books of the Month on <i>Goodreads</i></b><BR> <BR> <b><i>Library Journal </i></b><b>Best Sci-Tech Book of 2015</b><BR> <BR> <b>An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year</b><BR> <BR> Another <i>New York Times</i> bestseller from the author of <i>The Good Good Pig</i>, this “fascinating…touching…informative…entertaining” (<i>Daily Beast</i>) book explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.<BR><BR>In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food.<BR> <BR>Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (<i>Library Journal</i> Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, <i>The Soul of an Octopus </i>reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
by Dan Egan

Language

English

Pages

381

Publication Date

March 07, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p>A landmark work of science, history and reporting on the past, present and imperiled future of the Great Lakes.</p><br /><p>The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. <em>The Death and Life of the Great Lakes</em> is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.</p><br /><p>For thousands of years the pristine Great Lakes were separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the roaring Niagara Falls and from the Mississippi River basin by a “sub-continental divide.” Beginning in the late 1800s, these barriers were circumvented to attract oceangoing freighters from the Atlantic and to allow Chicago’s sewage to float out to the Mississippi. These were engineering marvels in their time—and the changes in Chicago arrested a deadly cycle of waterborne illnesses—but they have had horrendous unforeseen consequences. Egan provides a chilling account of how sea lamprey, zebra and quagga mussels and other invaders have made their way into the lakes, decimating native species and largely destroying the age-old ecosystem. And because the lakes are no longer isolated, the invaders now threaten water intake pipes, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure across the country.</p><br /><p>Egan also explores why outbreaks of toxic algae stemming from the overapplication of farm fertilizer have left massive biological “dead zones” that threaten the supply of fresh water. He examines fluctuations in the levels of the lakes caused by manmade climate change and overzealous dredging of shipping channels. And he reports on the chronic threats to siphon off Great Lakes water to slake drier regions of America or to be sold abroad.</p><br /><p>In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, <em>The Death and the Life of the Great Lakes</em> is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.</p>

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