Examines the science of the air we breathe and how the smallest molecular changes in composition can make the difference between life and death.
A history of the oak tree identifies its significance in religious rites, homemaking, travel, literature, and the outcome of key military conflicts, in an account that documents the communitarian and educational nature of the oak and what it reveals about the natural world's link to science, philosophy, spirituality, and other human disciplines. Reprint.
"A gleeful, poetic book…Like the best natural histories, Dirt is a kind of prayer." —Los Angeles Times Book Review "You are about to read a lot about dirt, which no one knows very much about." So begins the cult classic that brings mystery and magic to "that stuff that won't come off your collar." John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Saint Phocas, Darwin, and Virgil parade through this thought-provoking work, taking their place next to the dung beetle, the compost heap, dowsing, historical farming, and the microscopic biota that till the soil. Whether William Bryant Logan is traversing the far reaches of the cosmos or plowing through our planet’s crust, his delightful, elegant, and surprisingly soulful meditations greatly enrich our concept of "dirt," that substance from which we all arise and to which we all must return.
The world has never seen economic development as rapid or significant as Asia’s during recent decades. Home to three-fifths of humanity, this restless continent will soon produce more than half of the world’s economic output and consume more energy than the rest of the world combined. All but three of the planet’s current and nascent nuclear powers are Asian, and it has the greatest growth in weapons spending of any other region. Surprisingly little hard thinking has been done about the future of Asia. Restless Continent is the first book to examine the economic, social, political and strategic trends across the world’s largest continent and presents a road-map for thinking about Asia’s future–and the world. It looks at the psychology of countries which are becoming newly rich and powerful. It explores the ‘corridors of blood’—the geography and politics of conflict. And it makes a case for how to avert a plunge into dispute, or even war. Written for the general reader and policy specialist alike, Restless Continent is an agenda-shaping book about international affairs in the twenty-first century.
A portrait of the German naturalist reveals his ongoing influence on humanity's relationship with the natural world today, discussing such topics as his views on climate change, conservation, and nature as a resource for all life.
Islands have an irresistible attraction and an enduring appeal. Naturalist Roger Lovegrove has visited many of the most remote islands in the world, and in this book he takes the reader to twenty that fascinate him the most. Some are familiar but most are little known; they range from the storm-bound island of South Georgia and the ice-locked Arctic island of Wrangel to the wind-swept, wave-lashed Mykines and St Kilda. The range is diverse and spectacular; and whether distant, offshore, inhabited, uninhabited, tropical or polar, each is a unique self-contained habitat with a delicately-balanced ecosystem, and each has its own mystique and ineffable magnetism. Central to each story is also the impact of human settlers. Lovegrove recounts unforgettable tales of human endeavour, tragedy, and heroism. But consistently, he has to report on the mankind's negative impact on wildlife and habitats — from the exploitation of birds for food to the elimination of native vegetation for crops. By looking not only at the biodiversity of each island, but also the uneasy relationship between its wildlife and the involvement of man, he provides a richly detailed account of each island, its diverse wildlife, its human history, and the efforts of conservationists to retain these irreplaceable sites.
“Nature, rightly questioned, never lies.” —A Manual of Scientific Enquiry, Third Edition, 1859 Scott Huler was working as a copy editor for a small publisher when he stumbled across the Beaufort Wind Scale in his Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary. It was one of those moments of discovery that writers live for. Written centuries ago, its 110 words launched Huler on a remarkable journey over land and sea into a fascinating world of explorers, mariners, scientists, and writers. After falling in love with what he decided was “the best, clearest, and most vigorous piece of descriptive writing I had ever seen,” Huler went in search of Admiral Francis Beaufort himself: hydrographer to the British Admiralty, man of science, and author—Huler assumed—of the Beaufort Wind Scale. But what Huler discovered is that the scale that carries Beaufort’s name has a long and complex evolution, and to properly understand it he had to keep reaching farther back in history, into the lives and works of figures from Daniel Defoe and Charles Darwin to Captains Bligh, of the Bounty, and Cook, of the Endeavor. As hydrographer to the British Admiralty it was Beaufort’s job to track the information that ships relied on: where to lay anchor, descriptions of ports, information about fortification, religion, and trade. But what came to fascinate Huler most about Beaufort was his obsession for observing things and communicating to others what the world looked like. Huler’s research landed him in one of the most fascinating and rich periods of history, because all around the world in the mid-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in a grand, expansive period, modern science was being invented every day. These scientific advancements encompassed not only vast leaps in understanding but also how scientific innovation was expressed and even organized, including such enduring developments as the scale Anders Celsius created to simplify how Gabriel Fahrenheit measured temperature; the French-designed metric system; and the Gregorian calendar adopted by France and Great Britain. To Huler, Beaufort came to embody that passion for scientific observation and categorization; indeed Beaufort became the great scientific networker of his time. It was he, for example, who was tapped to lead the search for a naturalist in the 1830s to accompany the crew of the Beagle; he recommended a young naturalist named Charles Darwin. Defining the Wind is a wonderfully readable, often humorous, and always rich story that is ultimately about how we observe the forces of nature and the world around us. From the Hardcover edition.
In the tradition of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, a smart and entertaining guide to the future of civilization When unexpectedly confronted with his own mortality, Mark Stevenson-a writer, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian-began to ponder what the future holds for our species. "The past is a foreign country," writes Stevenson. "By my analysis it's a bit like France-in that I've been to parts of it and eaten some nice food there. But the future? The future is an unknown territory-and there isn't a guidebook." Thus, his ambition was born. Stevenson set out simply, asking, "What's next?" and then traveled the globe in pursuit of the answers. Along the way, he visited the Australian outback to visit the farmers who can save us from climate change, met a robot with mood swings, and talked to the Spaniard who's putting a hotel in space. While some might be overwhelmed, or even dismayed by the looming realities of genome sequencing, synthetic biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson remains, well, optimistic. Drawing on his singular humor and storytelling to break down these sometimes complicated discoveries, An Optimist's Tour of the Future paints a wonderfully readable, and completely enthralling portrait of where we'll be when we grow up- and why it's not so scary. Watch a Video
Who would imagine that plants can become master teachers of a radical new way of seeing and interacting with the world? Plants are dynamic and resilient, living in intimate connection with their environment. This book presents an organic way of knowing modeled after the way plants live. When we slow down, turn our attention to plants, study them carefully, and consciously internalize the way they live, a transformation begins. Our thinking becomes more fluid and dynamic; we realize how we are embedded in the world; we become sensitive and responsive to the contexts we meet; and we learn to thrive within a changing world. These are the qualities our culture needs in order to develop a more sustainable, life-supporting relation to our environment. While it is easy to talk about new paradigms and to critique our current state of affairs, it is not so easy to move beyond the status quo. That’s why this book is crafted as a practical guide to developing a life-infused way of interacting with the world.
Ideas are the currency of the twenty-first century. In order to succeed, you need to be able to sell your ideas persuasively. This ability is the single greatest skill that will help you accomplish your dreams. Many people have a fear of public speaking or are insecure about their ability to give a successful presentation. Now public speaking coach and bestselling author Carmine Gallo explores what makes a great presentation by examining the widely acclaimed TED Talks, which have redefined the elements of a successful presentation and become the gold standard for public speaking. TED ? which stands for technology, entertainment, and design ? brings together the world's leading thinkers. These are the presentations that set the world on fire, and the techniques that top TED speakers use will make any presentation more dynamic, fire up any team, and give anyone the confidence to overcome their fear of public speaking. In his book, Carmine Gallo has broken down hundreds of TED talks and interviewed the most popular TED presenters, as well as the top researchers in the fields of psychology, communications, and neuroscience to reveal the nine secrets of all successful TED presentations. Gallo's step-by-step method makes it possible for anyone to deliver a presentation that is engaging, persuasive, and memorable. Carmine Gallo's top 10 Wall Street Journal Bestseller Talk Like TED will give anyone who is insecure about their public speaking abilities the tools to communicate the ideas that matter most to them, the skill to win over hearts and minds, and the confidence to deliver the talk of their lives. The opinions expressed by Carmine Gallo in TALK LIKE TED are his own. His book is not endorsed, sponsored or authorized by TED Conferences, LLC or its affiliates.
A riveting road map to the development of modern scientific thought. In the tradition of her perennial bestseller The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer delivers an accessible, entertaining, and illuminating springboard into the scientific education you never had. Far too often, public discussion of science is carried out by journalists, voters, and politicians who have received their science secondhand. The Story of Western Science shows us the joy and importance of reading groundbreaking science writing for ourselves and guides us back to the masterpieces that have changed the way we think about our world, our cosmos, and ourselves. Able to be referenced individually, or read together as the narrative of Western scientific development, the book's twenty-eight succinct chapters lead readers from the first science texts by Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle through twentieth-century classics in biology, physics, and cosmology. The Story of Western Science illuminates everything from mankind's earliest inquiries to the butterfly effect, from the birth of the scientific method to the rise of earth science and the flowering of modern biology. Each chapter recommends one or more classic books and provides entertaining accounts of crucial contributions to science, vivid sketches of the scientist-writers, and clear explanations of the mechanics underlying each concept. The Story of Western Science reveals science to be a dramatic undertaking practiced by some of history's most memorable characters. It reminds us that scientific inquiry is a human pursuit—an essential, often deeply personal, sometimes flawed, frequently brilliant way of understanding the world. The Story of Western Science is an "entertaining and unique synthesis" (Times Higher Education), a "fluidly written" narrative that "celebrates the inexorable force of human curiosity" (Wall Street Journal), and a "bright, informative resource for readers seeking to understand science through the eyes of the men and women who shaped its history" (Kirkus). Previously published as The Story of Science.
The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different. In an exhilarating, surprising exploration of our planet, Craig Childs takes readers on a firsthand journey through apocalypse, touching the truth behind the speculation. Apocalyptic Planet is a combination of science and adventure that reveals the ways in which our world is constantly moving toward its end and how we can change our place within the cycles and episodes that rule it. In this riveting narrative, Childs makes clear that ours is not a stable planet, that it is prone to sudden, violent natural disasters and extremes of climate. Alternate futures, many not so pretty, are constantly waiting in the wings. Childs refutes the idea of an apocalyptic end to the earth and finds clues to its more inevitable end in some of the most physically challenging places on the globe. He travels from the deserts of Chile, the driest in the world, to the genetic wasteland of central Iowa to the site of the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea, uncovering the micro-cataclysms that predict the macro: forthcoming ice ages, super-volcanoes, and the conclusion of planetary life cycles. Childs delivers a sensual feast in his descriptions of the natural world and a bounty of unequivocal science that provides us with an unprecedented understanding of our future.
“A gem that sparkles.”—William Bynum, Wall Street Journal What happens during a heart attack? Can someone really die of fright? What is death, anyway? How does electroshock treatment affect the brain? What is consciousness? The answers to these questions lie in the electrical signals constantly traveling through our bodies, driving our thoughts, our movements, and even the beating of our hearts. The history of how scientists discovered the role of electricity in the human body is a colorful one, filled with extraordinary personalities, fierce debates, and brilliant experiments. Moreover, present-day research on electricity and ion channels has created one of the most exciting fields in science, shedding light on conditions ranging from diabetes and allergies to cystic fibrosis, migraines, and male infertility. With inimitable wit and a clear, fresh voice, award-winning researcher Frances Ashcroft weaves together compelling real-life stories with the latest scientific findings, giving us a spectacular account of the body electric.
Once luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. It offered a history of tradition, superior quality, and a pampered buying experience. Today, however, luxury is simply a product packaged and sold by multibillion-dollar global corporations focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising, and, above all, profits. Award-winning journalist Dana Thomas digs deep into the dark side of the luxury industry to uncover all the secrets that Prada, Gucci, and Burberry don?t want us to know. Deluxe is an uncompromising look behind the glossy façade that will enthrall anyone interested in fashion, finance, or culture.
When the hunt for his lost friends leads Cole Randolph to the kingdom of Elloweer, he and new friends Mira, Twitch, and Jace team up with the resistance movement to search for Mira's sister, Honor, but enemies abound and Cole and Mira must use a new kindof magic to protect themselves.
In this bold look at the uncontrolled spread of global capitalism, John McMurtry, professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph, develops his analysis of modern capitalism as a cancer. Its invasive growth, he argues, threatens to break down our society's immune system and--if not soon restrained--could reverse all the progress that has been made toward social equity and stability.John McMurtry traces the causes of this global disorder back to the mutating assumptions of market theory that now govern the world's economy. He diagnoses the malaise as a pathologist would a biological cancer, tracking the delinked circuits of the global system's monetised growth as a carcinogenic disorder at the social level of life-organization. In the wide-lensed tradition of Adam Smith, Marx and Keynes, McMurtry cuts across academic disciplines and boundaries to penetrate the inner logic of the system's problems.Far from pessimistic, he argues that the way out of the global crisis is to be found in an evolving substructure of history which provides a common ground of resolution across ethnic and national divisions.
The powerful draasin - elemental creatures of fire not seen for a thousand years - have returned. Not all are convinced they should have been freed. As Tan struggles to learn earth shaping, he discovers dangerous fire shapers from Incendin have come to Ethea. When the city is attacked by the draasin, Tan must use his connection with them to learn why. Doing so leads him from the city and forces him to once more face the terrible shapers of Incendin, but this time bound to the draasin for help. If he fails, much more than his life is at stake, for Incendin has stolen the artifact and plans to use its power for unknown destruction.
From the big bang to black holes, from dark matter to dark energy, from the origins of the universe to its ultimate destiny, The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the most important discoveries and mysteries in modern cosmology—with a twist. The book’s lexicon is limited to the thousand most common words in the English language, excluding physics, energy, galaxy, or even universe. Through the eyes of a fictional scientist (Student-People) hunting for dark matter with one of the biggest telescopes (Big-Seers) on Earth (Home-World), cosmologist Roberto Trotta explores the most important ideas about our universe (All-there-is) in language simple enough for anyone to understand. A unique blend of literary experimentation and science popularization, this delightful book is a perfect gift for any aspiring astronomer. The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the universe on a human scale, and the result is out of this world.
In this sensible, simple-to-follow workbook, based on the acclaimed No More Sleepless Nights program, one of the world's leading insomnia experts gives you the tools to be your own sleep therapist. Filled with interactive quizzes, sleep logs, and self-evaluation exercises, which may be used in conjunction with the patented Sleep Timer, the workbook will help you uncover the underlying cause of your own sleep problem, and then put together a personalized action plan for getting a good night's rest. With advice on improving sleep hygiene and diet, the right exercise, relaxation techniques, and more, No More Sleepless Nights Workbook helps you conquer your own poor sleep right now. More importantly, it equips you to beat it again if it ever returns to disturb your dreams.
A multidisciplinary analysis of the role of nutrition in generating hierarchical societies and cultivating a global epidemic of chronic diseases.