Since its formation nearly five billion years ago, our planet has been the sole living world in a vast and silent universe. Now, Earth's isolation is coming to an end. Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of "exoplanets" orbiting other stars, including some that could be similar to our own world. Studying those distant planets for signs of life will be crucial to understanding life's intricate mysteries right here on Earth. In a firsthand account of this unfolding revolution, Lee Billings draws on interviews with top researchers.
To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish.
"Your Inner Fish"
Earth evolves. From first atom to molecule, mineral to magma, granite crust to single cell to verdant living landscape, ours is a planet constantly in flux. In this radical new approach to Earth’s biography, senior Carnegie Institution researcher and national best-selling author Robert M. Hazen reveals how the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere - of rocks and living matter - has shaped our planet into the only one of its kind in the Solar System, if not the entire cosmos.
"Makes minerals interesting"
Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit rover's exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter's moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.
Biologist, author and businessman Craig Venter discusses his work mapping and synthesizing genomes. Venter recalls his work mapping the human genome and expands on his current work which includes categorizing new genes and species of microbes from ocean water. Venter also explains how microbial research can be used for metabolic engineering and alternative energy sources.
"Easily absorbed by non scientists"
Death Valley National Park in California, is a 3.5 million acre desert preserve, boasting the hottest, driest, and lowest spot in North America. Patricia Lawrence is exploring this land of extremes with park geologists.
"Uber Lost $1.2 Billion, and the Year's Only Half Over" is from the August 25, 2016 Business section of The New York Times. It was written by Mike Isaac and narrated by Corey M. Snow.
"Waste in Cancer Drugs Costs $3 Billion a Year, a Study Says" is from the Health section of The New York Times. It was written by Gardiner Harris and narrated by Fleet Cooper.
New evidence suggests that life on Earth arose before 4.1 billion years ago, 300 million years earlier than previous estimates.
Rock record shows signs of oxidation 200 million years earlier than previously thought.
"Investors Poured Record $236 Billion Into Vanguard Last Year" is from the Markets section of The Wall Street Journal. It was written by Sarah Krouse and narrated by Alexander Quincy.
Climate change is a major topic of concern today and will be so for the foreseeable future, as predicted changes in global temperatures, rainfall, and sea level continue to take place. But as Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams reveal in The Goldilocks Planet, the climatic changes we are experiencing today hardly compare to the changes the Earth has seen over the last 4.5 billion years.
"An important read for today's energy user...."