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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009 Paperback – October 8, 2009
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*Wendell Berry - The exploding population and our use of earth's resources cannot last forever. Whichever way we turn, we run into the difficult politics of self-imposed limits.
*John Broome - The ethics of climate change is just as hard as the science. Most of the cost of controlling climate change must be borne in the near future, yet the benefit will come perhaps a century later.
One of my favorites: *Nicholas Carr - Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that reliance on the written word would detract from the knowledge base people used to have to carry in their heads....The arrival of Gutenberg's printing press (15th century) set off another round of teeth gnashing - the easy availability of books would lead to intellectual laziness....When Nietzsche's vision problem forced him to use a typewriter, the new technology had an effect of his work. His prose became tighter; his arguments became aphorisms.....The clock's methodological ticking helped bring into being the scientific mind and the scientific method. The conception of the world that now revolves around schedules solidified new pathways in our brains.....The internet is now subsuming most of our other basic technologies.Read more ›
It is not uncommon for a scientific anthology to include topics that range from the largest scope (the multiverse) to the smallest (quantum physics), from studies of consciousness to new perspectives on psychology, from life in the deepest ocean to conjectures of life on other planets, and Best American Science and Nature is no exception to this model. What makes the book outstanding is that editor Elizabeth Kolbert's selections deeply and seductively integrate hard science with our daily human existence. Read Frederick Kaufman's Wasteland, and you'll never be able to think the same way about depressing the lever on your toilet. Ever thrown away a TV, a computer, a cell phone? Chris Carroll's wonderfully sketched portrayal of humans in developing nations sacrificing their health to extract light and heavy metals from the refuse, tossing the plastic carcasses of our castaway computers into a river, where they bob their way into the ocean, will leave a mark, if not a scar, on you. Feeling down and need to be boosted by having your socks charmed right off you? Read Mark Smith's Animalcules and Other Little Subjects.Read more ›
For Darwin's 200th birthday, for instance, Oliver Sacks' eloquent essay, explores the naturalist's lesser-known discoveries in botany and the thrill he got from this later work and his extensive collection of orchids.
The environment comes in for serious scrutiny, of course, and several pieces look at big-picture human impact on the planet. Frederick Kaufman's "Wasteland" follows sewage through New York City's state-of-the-art North River treatment plant - where counterfeit money and vials of cocaine are a lot more common than alligators - to its end product as "organic" fertilizer adulterated with heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and more. Kaufman explores the politics as well as the realities we'll sometime have to face.
And Chris Carroll follows our defunct computers and cell phones in "High Tech Trash," a horrifying story of capitalism at its worst.
J. Madeleine Nash's "Back to the Future" tags along with scientists examining fossils in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin, which 55 million years ago - after a massive carbon dioxide release - had a climate like today's Florida.
In "Big Foot," Michael Spector explores food choices from a carbon footprint standpoint - with some surprising results (locavores despair!).
A couple of pieces look at cutting-edge brain research.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wide ranging selection of science and nature writing, from a discussion of the disappearance of the Neanderthals to virtual reality treatment for post-traumatic stress. Read morePublished on April 23, 2014 by Susan E. Dress
This is a great gift for my father, which he requests every year without fail. It's an anthology of essays about science and it is perfect for him because he doesn't always have... Read morePublished on May 4, 2011 by C J Calo III
the essays in this book are too politically charged. don't expect to walk away with factual scientific information. Read morePublished on September 7, 2010 by Maxwell
I'm drawn to anthologies - despite my best efforts, it is hard to scour the universe of publishing to find fascinating articles so help from skillful editors is appreciated. Read morePublished on April 20, 2010 by Alan D. Friedman
This book is a wonderful compilation of good science writing. From Nature to National geographic and more...love it.Published on January 27, 2010 by Noah Morales