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Posts tagged with "Book"

  • Life Changing: How Humans are Altering Life on Earth
    Helen Pilcher


    Through actions big and small, intentional and unintentional, we are reshaping life on Earth

    Hailing from rare wild mutants, the golden gnu, an uncharacteristically fawn-colored wildebeest, was for the past decade at the center of a speculation bubble in the African trophy-hunting business. Owners of wildlife preserves banked on hunters being willing to part with large sums for the privilege of shooting these beasts, and breeding stock changed hands… Read More
  • Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond
    Christopher Wanjek


    Commercial interest in space is high, and the technology to get us there is nearly ready

    “To go boldly, if prudently” would be a terrible tagline for a Star Trek spin-off, but it is the most sensible way to colonize space. Space settlements, Moon bases, and Mars colonies—no matter how futuristic—all require a business plan, explains science journalist Christopher Wanjek in his new book, Spacefarers. Wanjek’s book is an optimistic treatise… Read More
  • The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
    Ainissa Ramirez


    Our cultural values get baked into the materials we create, changing humanity along the way

    Humans spend a lot of time and effort making stuff. At last count, humanity has created more than 100,000 different materials from which we build our cities, our clothing, our smartphones, our world. Without our stuff, we would be naked, vulnerable, and, arguably, not very human. The question of how much of our humanity is… Read More
  • Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism
    Anne Case and Angus Deaton


    Stronger safety nets and health care reform could help mitigate “deaths of despair”

    Life expectancy in the United States declined for 3 years in a row between 2014 and 2017. This is surprising in a world where we have grown accustomed to rising life expectancy. Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s new book, Deaths of Despair, deals with three questions: Who is dying, why are they dying, and what… Read More
  • Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
    Neil Shubin


    Engaging anecdotes add intimacy to tales of Earth’s 4 billion years of evolution

    Each December for decades now, I’ve spent a few days in Pacific Grove, California, attending the Asilomar Chromatin, Chromosomes, and Epigenetics Conference. Before reading Neil Shubin’s Some Assembly Required, however, I never knew that the city’s first female mayor, Julia Platt, was also an accomplished embryologist. Having been shut out of academic positions, which were… Read More
  • What Stars Are Made Of: The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
    Donovan Moore


    A new biography tells the tale of an accomplished astronomer’s barrier-breaking life

    In the early 20th century, astronomers believed in a uniformity principle that held that all objects in the universe were made of the same elements, in approximately the same amounts. In 1925, however, Cecilia Payne, a Ph.D. student at Harvard, discovered that stars are composed of a million times more hydrogen than was previously assumed. Read More
  • The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court
    Richard J. Lazarus


    A law professor investigates the legal decision to regulate U.S. greenhouse gases

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency is widely seen as the most important U.S. environmental ruling of all time. But the suit, which led to a ruling that the Clean Air Act of 1970 empowered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gases, was almost never brought. Read More
  • The Dance of Life: The New Science of How a Single Cell Becomes a Human Being
    Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and Roger Highfield


    The personal and professional collide in a scientist’s story of early human development

    With one phone call, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz’s life as a scientist collided with her personal life in the most dramatic way. As Zernicka-Goetz stood at her desk at the University of Cambridge, a genetic counselor explained that some cells derived from the placenta supporting her fetus carried a serious chromosomal anomaly. But her knowledge of how… Read More
  • Stealth: The Secret Contest to Invent Invisible Aircraft
    Peter Westwick


    A historian investigates the Cold War competition to create an invisible aircraft

    Since the beginning of aerial combat, designers have attempted to make aircraft invisible. With each advance, however, other technologists have developed better methods for detecting covert combatants. Although scientists and engineers worked on both sides of this difficult problem for years, it was not until the 1970s that the creation of an aircraft invisible to… Read More