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Posts tagged with "Book"

  • Smellosophy: What the Nose Tells the Mind
    A.S. Barwich


    How we experience smell has more to do with us than with the odor itself

    Smell is an underappreciated part of life. It affects how our food tastes, how we are feeling, and to whom we are attracted. But smell is different from other senses because the connection between a smell and its physical source is fluid. The smell of your dinner persists even after it has been consumed, for… Read More
  • The Sensitives: The Rise of Environmental Illness and the Search for America's Last Pure Place
    Oliver Broudy


    A journalist paints a thoughtful portrait of a disease that defies scientific characterization

    What is it about a road trip that so effectively locates a good story in time and place? In his new book, The Sensitives, Oliver Broudy recounts the story of an unusual road trip on which he recently embarked that provides a frame for a discussion of a mysterious ailment that has thus far defied… Read More
  • Book

    Two candid accounts consider the history and future of life on Mars

    Aside from Earth, Mars is the most thoroughly explored planet in our Solar System. The improbable enterprise of studying a world millions of miles away—the impetus for which arose during the Cold War space race between the United States and the Soviet Union that sent a series of robotic flybys, as well as a number… Read More
  • Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution
    P.W. Singer and August Cole


    An action-packed thriller explores the implications of emerging technologies

    In the opening pages of Burn-In, an FBI agent conducts close-quarters surveillance of a suspected terrorist bomber in Washington, D.C. Simultaneously, in New Jersey, an elderly gentleman listens attentively to the enthusiastic technological prognostications of a world-famous computer scientist and mathematician from the back of a hallowed lecture hall at Princeton University. Moments later, he… Read More
  • A Natural History of Color
    Rob DeSalle and Hans Bachor


    An ambitious volume lends scientific and cultural context to the concept of color

    The concept of “color” is tricky—but then so is “nature” and so is “history.” It follows that to attempt a “natural history of color” is to wade into a combinatorial explosion of assumptions, definitions, methodologies, stories, and theories. Written by Rob DeSalle, a molecular biologist, and Hans Bachor, an optical physicist, A Natural History of… Read More
  • From Here to There: The Art and Science of Finding and Losing Our Way
    Michael Bond


    Navigational skills require nurturing, lest we lose our way

    The other day, I pulled into a gas station and swung around the pumps to reach my gas fill. After refueling, I turned back onto the road and drove some distance before realizing that I had turned the wrong way. Was I being inattentive, or do I just have a poor sense of direction? Or… Read More
  • The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness
    Emily Anthes


    Evidence-based indoor design is more important than ever

    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has transformed our homes into schools, workplaces, recreational centers, and experimental kitchens, rendering us increasingly aware of the opportunities and constraints built into their design. In her new book, The Great Indoors, science journalist Emily Anthes helps us channel this awareness into an appreciation of how design alters our… Read More
  • Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World
    David Kaiser


    Physics meets America’s defense agenda

    While historically naïve, Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 treatise The Structure of Scientific Revolutions succeeded in revealing that science is not as rational and objective as many imagined it to be, opening the doors to a new kind of history of science, one that pays attention to the complex interactions between science’s conceptual frameworks and its social… Read More
  • The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move
    Sonia Shah


    Human migration and cultural exchange represent progress, not peril, argues a journalist

    It is ironic to be reviewing Sonia Shah’s latest book, a thoughtful and thought-provoking defense of migration, under coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown. One irony is that this is the perfect time to be reading her excellent earlier book, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond. Another is that migration—at least by people… Read More
  • Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias
    Pragya Agarwal


    Prejudice and discrimination are deeply personal, but their effects are profound

    On an idyllic summer day in 2009, Pragya Agarwal and her 9-year-old daughter went shopping for a new school uniform. As they were walking back to their car, an armed police officer stopped them. The officer told them that a customer had reported them as people who “looked like shoplifters” and were “suspicious.” Agarwal and… Read More