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In The Viral Storm, award-winning biologist Nathan Wolfe tells the story of how viruses and human beings have evolved side by side through history; how deadly viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu almost wiped us out in the past; and why modern life has made our species vulnerable to the threat of a global pandemic. Wolfe's research missions to the jungles have earned him the nickname "the Indiana Jones of virus hunters," and here Wolfe takes listeners along on his groundbreaking and often dangerous research trips - to reveal the surprising origins of the most deadly diseases....
"Well Researched and Explained by a True Expert"
Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong. Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oil production was in steep decline and natural gas was hard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nation’s already tenuous relations with the Middle East. China was rapidly industrializing and competing for resources.
"Balanced approach on controversial topic"
>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"
"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"
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.
"good core material"
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"
In his million-copy best seller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?
"an fascinating book, but better on paper"
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.
"Ahead of her times..."
Our finest literary interpreter of science and nature, Diane Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place (for better and worse) in it.In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness."
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.
"Lush no-nonsensical brilliance"
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"
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..."
When Lawrence Anthony learned that the northern white rhino, living in the war-ravaged Congo, was on the very brink of extinction, he knew he had to act. If the world lost the sub-species, it would be the largest land mammal since the woolly mammoth to go extinct. In The Last Rhinos, Anthony recounts his attempts to save these remarkable animals. The demand for rhino horns in the Far East has turned poaching into a dangerous black market that threatens the lives of not just these rare beasts, but also the rangers who protect them.
"A mediocre adventure"
In 1793, William Smith, the orphan son of a village blacksmith, made a startling discovery that was to turn the science of geology on its head. While surveying the route for a canal near Bath, he noticed that the fossils found in one layer of the rocks he was excavating were very different from those found in another. And out of that realization came an epiphany: that by following these fossils one could trace layers of rocks as they dipped, rose and fell, clear across England and clear across the world.
"Geology made interesting"
The Origin of Species sold out on the first day of its publication in 1859. It is the major book of the 19th century and one of the most readable and accessible of the great revolutionary works of the scientific imagination. Though, in fact, little read, most people know what it says—at least they think they do. The Origin of Species was the first mature and persuasive work to explain how species change through the process of natural selection. Upon its publication, the book began to transform attitudes about society and religion.
"Best way to read the classic!"
Russell Gold, a brilliant and dogged investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal, has spent more than a decade reporting on one of the biggest stories of our time: the spectacular, world-changing rise of "fracking". Recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award for his work, Gold has traveled along the pipelines and into the hubs of this country’s energy infrastructure; he has visited frack sites from Texas to North Dakota; and he has conducted thousands of interviews with engineers and wildcatters, CEOs and roughnecks, environmentalists and politicians.
"Somehow the author manages to stay balanced"
In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, and man-made molecules may be our lasting gifts to the universe.
"Reduce, reuse, recycle," urge environmentalists. In other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in this provocative book that this approach perpetuates a one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates back to the Industrial Revolution, a model that casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. They challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world.
"a step ahead"
Here, the man who started the "food revolution" with the million-plus-selling Diet for a New America, boldly posits that, collectively, our personal diet can save ourselves and the world. If, according to chaos theory, the beating of a butterfly's wing can cause a hurricane in another part of the world, try this out for chaotic cause and effect: monarch butterflies are dying in droves due to genetically-engineered corn growing in the Midwest. There is also a direct correlation between the Big Mac in your hand and the mile-wide river now running across the North Pole.
"The Revolution That Is A Wake Up Call"
One fateful day in 1996, after discovering that five freight cars' worth of glittering corn have reaped a tiny profit of $18.16, young Forrest Pritchard vows to save his family's farm. What ensues-through hilarious encounters with all manner of livestock and colorful local characters-is a crash course in sustainable agriculture. Pritchard's biggest ally is his renegade father, who initially questions his son's career choice and rejects organic foods for sugary mainstream fare.
"Loved it! I wanted it to go on further"
At a remote military base in the Pacific Northwest, Navy sonar technicians hear a confounding sound. It is the voice of a whale, but one that sings at a frequency - 52 hertz - never before heard by scientists, and inaudible to other members of its species. The whale seems to be alone in the Pacific Ocean, unable to communicate with its kind.
Our relationship with nature has changed...radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable. In The Human Age award-winning nature writer Diane Ackerman confronts the fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. Humans have 'subdued 75 per cent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness'.
The Big Ratchet is the story of the ratchets: the technologies and innovations, big and small, that propelled our species from hunters and gatherers on the savannahs of Africa to shoppers in the aisles of the supermarket. Our species long lived on the edge of starvation. Now we produce enough food for all 7 billion of us to eat nearly 3,000 calories every day. This is such an astonishing thing in the history of life as to verge on the miraculous. The Big Ratchet is the story of how it happened.
In this fascinating and vivid account, Peter M. Gardner takes us along with him on his anthropological field research trips. Usually, the author's family is there, too, either with him in the field or somewhere nearby. Family adventures are part of it all. Travel into the unknown can be terrifying yet stimulating, and Gardner describes his own adventures, sharing medical and travel emergencies, magical fights, natural dangers, playful friends, and satisfying scientific discoveries.
The need for innovative, energy-efficient technologies is on the increase as we try to cut cost in every sphere of life. Renewable energy is a champion in terms of saving power and having a positive impact on the environment. We all have to play our role by implementing all the best energy savings tips at home and at work.
Toyota would like us to think that Mother Nature drives a Prius, Ford wants us to Join the Green Revolution,” and McDonald’s has painted its golden arches green. But are big brands and the celebrities endorsing them really as green as they claim? In The Greenwash Effect, Guy Pearse looks behind the corporate façade in the tradition of Fast Food Nation and No Logo - and what he finds will startle you.
Radiation? What's that all about then? Where does radiation come from? What does it do? This audiobook takes a look at the many different types of radiation including radioactivity, X-rays, and other forms of emissions such as cell phone radiation. It also examines the nuclear power industry and the effects that different types of radiation have on living cells. The book is backed up by references to other works on this topic, and every term used is explained in a jargon-free, easy-to-understand fashion.
In the Pyrenees, contact between man and bear is rare. There are just over 20 brown bears roaming the vast mountain range. But for centuries, bears have loomed large in folklore and tradition, represented in cave paintings and both revered and feared in today’s annual festivals. Bear Mountain is a journey into man’s relationship with bears and the undeniable hold these animals have on our imaginations. However, bears are not viewed with universal affection. Efforts to replenish the brown bear population have been met with violent protests.
From the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference there was a concerted international effort to stop climate change. Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life. In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do.
In its 2001 report on global climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations prominently featured the "Hockey Stick", a chart showing global temperature data over the past 1,000 years. The Hockey Stick demonstrated that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The inescapable conclusion was that worldwide human activity since the industrial age had raised CO2 levels, trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming the planet.
Few consumers are aware of the economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Yet omnivore and herbivore alike, the forces of meatonomics affect us in many ways. Most importantly, we've lost the ability to decide for ourselves what - and how much - to eat. Those decisions are made for us by animal food producers who control our buying choices with artificially-low prices, misleading messaging, and heavy control over legislation and regulation.
America's Nuclear Wastelands presents an expert, yet straightforward overview of this complex topic, including nuclear weapons history and contamination issues. The author, a government consultant with a long career in Pacific Northwest nuclear waste issues, also explores the current institutional and political environment, demonstrating the critical role of public participation for past and future generations.
One bright day in December 2001, sixty-two-year-old Germaine Greer found herself confronted by an irresistible challenge in the shape of sixty hectares of dairy farm, one of many in southeast Queensland, Australia, which, after a century of logging, clearing, and downright devastation, had been abandoned to their fate. She didn’t think for a minute that by restoring the land she was saving the world. She was in search of heart’s ease.
Baby boomers enjoyed the most benign period in human history: 50 years of relative peace, cheap energy, plentiful grain supply, and a warming climate due to the highest solar activity for 8,000 years. The party is over - prepare for the twilight of abundance.
From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe - the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's mid-latitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters.
"Absolute must-read topic!"
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.
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"
For fans of The Lost City of Z, Walking the Amazon, and Turn Right at Machu Picchu comes naturalist and explorer Paul Rosolie’s extraordinary adventure in the uncharted tributaries of the Western Amazon - a tale of discovery that vividly captures the awe, beauty, and isolation of this endangered land and presents an impassioned call to save it.
In Earth in Mind, David W. Orr argues that much of what has gone wrong with the world, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: Alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical; deadens the sense of wonder for the created world.
Drawing on findings from leading health researchers as well as conversations with both chemical and organic farmers from coast to coast, Maria Rodale irrefutably outlines the unacceptably high cost of chemical farming on our health and our environment. She traces the genesis of chemical farming and the rise of the immense companies that profit from it, bringing to light the government's role in allowing such practices to flourish.
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"
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out.Robert Glennon captures the irony - and tragedy - of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical.
The promise of green jobs and a clean energy future has roused the masses. But as Robert Bryce makes clear in this provocative book, that vision needs a major re-vision. We cannotand will notquit using carbon-based fuels at any time in the near future for a simple reason: they provide the horsepower that we crave. The hard reality is that oil, coal, and natural gas are here to stay.
"Important but Imperfect"
Many people will remember that Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, but she also warned of a fruitless fall, a time with no pollination and no fruit. The fruitless fall nearly became a reality when, in 2007, beekeepers watched 30 billion bees mysteriously die. And they continue to disappear. The remaining pollinators, essential to the cultivation of a third of American crops, are now trucked across the country and flown around the world, pushing them ever closer to collapse.
"How little we really know"
When the well water on Louis Meeks’ ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks’ struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten, coincide with a national uproar over the oil and gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing – a technology that promises to open large new energy supplies, perhaps at the expense of the nation’s water.
For the last few years, and especially in 2011, a new extreme weather event seems to pop up each week. Some decide to stick around: Texas and Oklahoma have been suffering from historic droughts for six months, with no sign of relief. No sooner does Hurricane Irene disappear than Tropical Storm Lee appears to flood Louisiana and stir up wildfires in nearby Texas. We seem beset by more, and more extreme, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, torrential rainstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards than any of us can remember.
Bottled & Sold shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last 100 years - and why we are poorer for it. It's a big story and water is big business. Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water, and every second of every day a thousand more throw one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than 30 billion bottles a year and tens of billions of dollars of sales. Are there legitimate reasons to buy all those bottles?
"Interesting topic but boooooring read (listen)"
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.
When Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano's massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Amid devastating storms, drought, and floods, communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale.
This entertaining examination of everyday science from the fanciful to the factual covers topics ranging from pesticides and environmental estrogens to lipsticks and garlic. Readers are alerted to the shenanigans of quacks and are offered glimpses into the fascinating history of science. The science of aphrodisiacs, DDT, bottled waters, vitamins, barbiturates, plastic wraps, and smoked meat is investigated. Worries about acrylamide, preservatives, and waxed fruits are put into perspective, and the mysteries of bulletproof vests, weight-loss diets, green-haired Swedes, laughing gas, and "mad honey" are unraveled.