Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.
"What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.
"Great presentation of a moral dilemma"
Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus' landing had crossed the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago; existed mainly in small nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas were, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last 30 years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong.
"Is this about America or Mr. Mann?"
As historian Mark Essig reveals in Lesser Beasts, swine have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. What's more, he argues, we ignore our historic partnership with these astonishing animals at our peril.
"I learned so much."
>When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.
"Beautiful story, beautifully written"
To better put into perspective the various issues surrounding energy in the 21st century, you need to understand the essential science behind how energy works. And you need a reliable source whose focus is on giving you the facts you need to form your own educated opinions.
Just as World War II called an earlier generation to greatness, so the climate crisis is calling today's rising youth to action: to create a better future. In Unstoppable, Bill Nye crystallizes and expands the message for which he is best known and beloved. That message is that with a combination of optimism and scientific curiosity, all obstacles become opportunities, and the possibilities of our world become limitless.
"Bill Nye is the Man, Man!"
Terence McKenna hypothesizes that as the North African jungles receded, giving way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our arboreal primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began living in the open areas beyond. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted, physically and mentally, to the environment. Among the new foods found in this environment were psilocybin-containing mushrooms.
"A paradigm shifting experience"
The grid is an accident of history and of culture, in no way intrinsic to how we produce, deliver and consume electrical power. Yet this is the system the United States ended up with, a jerry-built structure now so rickety and near collapse that a strong wind or a hot day can bring it to a grinding halt. The grid is now under threat from a new source: renewable and variable energy, which puts stress on its logics as much as its components.
As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers.
Not since Thoreau took us to Walden Pond has there been such an important work on the natural world. A Sand County Almanac is Aldo Leopold's simple expression of feeling for the environment at his weekend farm along the Wisconsin River. It is an inviting, gentle world - one that is rapidly disappearing.
"Good book, but..."
First published in 1962, Silent Spring can single-handedly be credited with sounding the alarm and raising awareness of humankind's collective impact on its own future through chemical pollution. No other book has so strongly influenced the environmental conscience of Americans and the world at large.
"A Threnody of Death and a Hymn to Life"
In this intimate portrait of an island lobstering community and an eccentric band of renegade biologists, journalist Trevor Corson escorts the listener onto the slippery decks of fishing boats, through danger-filled scuba dives, and deep into the churning currents of the Gulf of Maine to learn about the secret undersea lives of lobsters.
"Finding out information"
In 1900, Isaac Monroe Cline was in charge of the Galveston station of the US Weather Bureau. He was a knowledgeable, seasoned weatherman who considered himself a scientist. When he heard the deep thudding of waves on Galveston's beach in the early morning of September 8, however, Cline refused to be alarmed. The city had been hit by bad weather before.
"A highly detailed account of a catastrophic storm"
Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals.
"Great book by a scientist with a heart"
Steven Rinella won a lottery to hunt for a wild buffalo in the Alaskan wilderness. One of only four hunters that year who succeeded in killing a buffalo, he carried the carcass down a snow-covered mountainside and floated it four miles down a white-water canyon while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years' worth of buffalo hunters in North America and the place of the buffalo in the American consciousness.
"Intriguing, fun, full of information."
Joel Salatin is perhaps the nation's best known farmer, whose environmentally friendly, sustainable Polyface Farms has been featured in Food, Inc. and Time magazine. Now, in his first audiobook written for a faith audience, Salatin offers a deeply personal argument for earth stewardship and calls for fellow Christians to join him in looking to the Bible for a foodscape in line with spiritual truth.
In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man's place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere.
"Love Pollan, don't love this (but you might)"
From a brilliant new literary voice comes a groundbreaking exploration of how trails help us understand the world, from tiny ant trails to hiking paths that span continents, from interstate highways to the Internet. In 2009, while hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own?
"illuminated by a closer look"
In Venomous, molecular biologist Christie Wilcox investigates venoms and the animals that use them, revealing how they work, what they do to the human body, and how they can revolutionize biochemistry and medicine today. Wilcox takes us from the coast of Indonesia to the rainforests of Peru in search of the secrets of these mysterious animals.
"Primordial chemical warfare"
A moving, inspiring personal look at the vastly changing world of wildlife on planet Earth as a result of human incursion and the crucial work of animal and bird preservation across the globe being done by scientists, field biologists, zoologists, environmentalists, and conservationists.
Here is the epic story of the centuries-long search to understand the tide: from Aristotle, said to have drowned himself when he failed to figure out the Greek tides, to the pioneering investigations into the role of the moon by Galileo and Newton to supercomputing in our own time.
A forester's fascinating stories backed by the latest scientific research illustrate how trees nurture and talk to each other. Are trees social beings? In this international best seller - which has sold more than 320,000 copies in Germany alone - forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families.
Strategically situated at the gateway to the Mississippi River yet standing atop a former swamp, New Orleans was from the first what geographer Peirce Lewis called an "impossible but inevitable city". How New Orleans came to be, taking shape between the mutual and often contradictory forces of nature and urban development, is the subject of An Unnatural Metropolis.
Saving the world won't happen on the silver screen. In our fragile ecosystem, climate change is swiftly becoming the defining issue of how to prepare - and protect - the earth for the future. The climate change debate raged on in America in 2015, but the facts and the science now show irrefutably that our world is rapidly changing, and that irreparable damage has already begun.
Author Deb Hunt sets out to discover what makes our Australian farming families tick. Travelling to properties across the country - from a vast, dusty cattle run in outback Queensland to the wheat belt of Western Australia and dairy farms in Tasmania - and introducing us to eight different families who survive and thrive on the land, these stories provide a window into a way of life that defines the Australian spirit at its best.
"bunch of interviews of australian farmers"
Gravity plays hardball in this solar satire, forcing the system into orbital bankruptcy. As the sun and planets scramble in dark-energy chaos, they plot and plan new galactic endeavors to settle this suctioning debt collection. Who is going to pony up? Will it be you and me? How about the dark White House?
Climate change has been a perplexing problem for years. Casey's research into the Sun's activity, which began almost a decade ago, resulted in discovery of a solar cycle that is now reversing from its global warming phase to that of dangerous global cooling for the next 30 years or more. This new cold climate will dramatically impact the world's citizens.
James E. Lovelock says the Earth (Gaia) is a superorganism, made up of all living things, interacting with the air, the oceans, and the surface rocks of the planet. He suggests Gaia takes an active role in keeping the planet safe for life, with automatic feedback mechanisms making adjustments as needed. Lovelock describes feedback mechanisms that are widely accepted. It is the implication that Gaia is somehow self-aware that is controversial.
First published in 1996, Our Ecological Footprint sets out a powerful model for visualizing and measuring humanity's impact on the Earth - the ecological footprint - with the aim of reducing the harm we are causing the planet before it is too late. Although numerous organizations, governments, and individuals worldwide have now adopted the concept of ecological footprinting, the idea has also proved to be controversial.
There are redwoods in California that were ancient by the time Columbus first landed and pines still alive that germinated around the time humans invented writing. There are Douglas firs as tall as skyscrapers and a banyan tree in Calcutta as big as a football field. From the tallest to the smallest, trees inspire wonder in all of us, and in The Tree, Colin Tudge travels around the world - throughout the United States, the Costa Rican rain forest, Panama and Brazil, India, New Zealand, China, and most of Europe - bringing to life stories and facts about the trees around us.
"Long and it felt like it"
The Physics of Life argues that the evolution phenomenon is much broader and older than the evolutionary designs that constitute the biosphere, empowering listeners with a new view of the globe and the future, revealing that the urge to have better ideas has the same physical effect as the urge to have better laws and better government. This is evolution explained loudly but also elegantly, forging a path that flows sustainability.
In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
"Superb science, storytelling, and narration voice"
Deep is a voyage from the ocean's surface to its darkest trenches, the most mysterious places on Earth. Fascinated by the sport of freediving - in which competitors descend to great depths on a single breath - James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and other strange phenomena.
"One of the best audible books i listened to"
When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.
"Interesting story but ??"
We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.
Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall's search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world's leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals.
"Extremely creative and thought-provoking"
Coming home from the war in Iraq, US Army private Roy Scranton thought he'd left the world of strife behind. Then he watched as new calamities struck America, heralding a threat far more dangerous than ISIS or al-Qaeda: Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, megadrought - the shock and awe of global warming. Our world is changing. Rising seas, spiking temperatures, and extreme weather imperil global infrastructure, crops, and water supplies. Conflict, famine, plagues, and riots menace from every quarter.
"Grief Counseling for Civilization"
By 2084, global warming has proven worse than even the worst-case projections of scientists at the turn of the century. No country and no individual has escaped. Through interviews, this book of oral history captures the effects of the Great Warming on various countries and individuals, as reported in the year 2084.
"Interesting Story and a bit scary if it comes true"
We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distills in World on the Edge.
"Good overall info"
A preeminent geneticist hunts the Neanderthal genome to answer the biggest question of them all: what does it mean to be human? What can we learn from the genes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pbo’s mission to answer that question, beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in his sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2009.
"Fascinating, well-balanced read"
A Natural History of North American Trees gives us a picture of life in America from its earliest days to the middle of the last century. The information is always interesting, though often heartbreaking. While Peattie looks for the better side of man's nature, he reports sorrowfully on the greed and waste that have doomed so much of America's virgin forest.
"Writing from Another Time"
Farm animals have been disappearing from our fields as the production of food has become a global industry. We no longer know for certain what is entering the food chain and what we are eating - as the UK horsemeat scandal demonstrated. We are reaching a tipping point as the farming revolution threatens our countryside, health, and the quality of our food wherever we live in the world.
"Excellent insight of industrial farming"
As fossil fuel prices rise, oil insecurity deepens, and concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging. Wind, solar, and geothermal energy are replacing oil, coal, and natural gas, at a pace and on a scale we could not have imagined even a year ago. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, we have begun investing in energy sources that can last forever. Plan B 4.0 explores both the nature of this transition to a new energy economy and how it will affect our daily lives.
"Not as good as plan B 2.0"
In 1980, the iconoclastic economist Julian Simon challenged celebrity biologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet. Their wager on the future prices of five metals captured the public’s imagination as a test of coming prosperity or doom. Ehrlich, author of the landmark book The Population Bomb, predicted that rising populations would cause overconsumption, resource scarcity, and famine—with apocalyptic consequences for humanity.
"Why can't we even discuss Global Overpopulaion???"
The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different. In an exhilarating, surprising exploration of our planet, Craig Childs takes listeners 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.
"Travel-log of the maybe apocalypses"
In our "wireless" world it is easy to take the importance of the undersea cable systems for granted, but the stakes of their successful operation are huge, as they are responsible for carrying almost all transoceanic Internet traffic. In The Undersea Network, Nicole Starosielski follows these cables from the ocean depths to their landing zones on the sandy beaches of the South Pacific, bringing them to the surface of media scholarship and making visible the materiality of the wired network.
"A Series of Tubes, Indeed"
In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter - veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner - travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters.
Why do people believe bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and - borrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Bentham - the nonsense on stilts.
"Thought provoking and relevant"