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Publisher's Summary

In its 4.5 billion–year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?

As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet’s turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference.

It’s a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth’s past major disasters–from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation–resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz, science journalist and editor of the science Web site io9.com explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Life on Earth has come close to annihilation–humans have, more than once, narrowly avoided extinction just

during the last million years–but every single time a few creatures survived, evolving to adapt to the harshest of conditions.

This brilliantly speculative work of popular science focuses on humanity’s long history of dodging the bullet, as well as on new threats that we may face in years to come. Most important, it explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow. From simulating tsunamis to studying central Turkey’s ancient underground cities; from cultivating cyanobacteria for “living cities” to designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective; from using math to stop pandemics to studying the remarkable survival strategies of gray whales, scientists and researchers the world over are discovering the keys to long-term resilience and learning how humans can choose life over death.

Newitz’s remarkable and fascinating journey through the science of mass extinctions is a powerful argument about human ingenuity and our ability to change. In a world populated by doomsday preppers and media commentators obsessively forecasting our demise, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a compelling voice of hope. It leads us away from apocalyptic thinking into a future where we live to build a better world–on this planet and perhaps on others. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever the future holds.

©2013 Annalee Newitz (P)2013 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

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This is how we'll do it...

"Things are going to get weird." I welcome this perspective - as opposed to, "We're dooomed!"

5 people found this helpful

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Great mind expanding stuff!

This book captured my imagination about our survival and about our human evolution. It's expansive coverage of the subject was incredible!

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Uplifting doomsday tales

While plenty of the information in this book wasn't new to me, having a long history of worrying about the long- and short-term survival odds of humanity, it was still a very enjoyable and engaging listen. It was strangely uplifting with a book that tells you that yes, disaster of one sort or another is unavoidable, but here's why that is not necessarily the end of everything. The performance was also very good.

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save your time and money

I found this suggested audio book to be full of stuffy liberal word salad and pretentiousness.

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great read, very interesting

This is how to make geology, anthropology and speculative technology interesting. After reading some of her fiction I was very happy to hear that same infectious flavor extended to Newitz's non-fiction. Farr is also a great reader and I had to keep checking that it wasn't Newitz herself reading since she performed so fluidly.

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  • Fichops
  • 04-11-21

What a gem!

Loved this book, every chapter was a fascinating dive in to all the things that interest me and written by a lovely nerd with attention to detail and a wonderfully pragmatic approach devoid of alarmism and judgement. Our planet’s history of mass extinctions and green house/ice house vacillations, the human evolutionary tree, the characteristics of different survivors and all of the ingenious ways humans might strengthen their hand in preparation for the next big event, from living underground to building biological cities, from geo engineering to space elevators and the colonisation of other worlds. What a gem!