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Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival First ediito Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520234208
ISBN-10: 0520234200
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Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival + The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'She has the power of making the armchair adventurer feel quite frail. Add to that her gift for carving deep into your mind how vulnerable our species is to extreme conditions, and you are in for a thrilling read.' New Scientist 'I read "Life at the Extremes" with horrid delight...It is extremely good, crammed with invaluable information but you don't need a degree in cryptocryogenics to understand it. Here is a scientist who can enthral even as she instructs - and the way she accomplishes this is by telling adventure stories...As a testament to the tenacity of the human race, this book is a potent mix of the ingenious, the heroic and the hardy.' Literary Review 'For would-be explorers snuggled up in their armchairs - or, indeed stretched out on the beach - this book, with its many vicarious thrills, makes for ideal reading.' Economist 'A very good book...which works both as a continuous narrative of delightful vignettes and a quick reference guide. Easy to read, entertaining and informative.' Sunday Times 'Ashcroft is good at opening up aspects of daily life normally sealed off to the non-scientist.' Sara Wheeler, Spectator --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Frances Ashcroft is Professor of Physiology at Oxford University and a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. She is author of Insulin (1992) and Ion Channels and Disease (2000).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First ediito edition (March 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520234200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520234208
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have always been fascinated with this topic, and this book opened my eyes to all kinds of interesting aspects of adaptation of animals (especially humans) to extreme conditions. Particularly interesting to me were the chapters on altitude and depth. Examples and sidebars were well chosen and well explained. I have used information from the book in lectures to students of physiology. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nick VINE VOICE on May 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book appealed to my inner nerd, and helped me understand from a physiological standpoint what is happening during when the body is put to the extreme test. It doesn't talk about when people are placed in extreme situations, which was the part I found pretty deceptive. But Dr. Ashcroft is an anatomy professor - that should have been my big clue. Still, a good read if you've got an interest in anatomy and physiology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an incredible collection of knowledge. Share this with everyone! The amount of information you never thought to think about is amazing! Who knew that the amount of time spent in microgravity is proportional to the amount of muscle and bone loss in an individual. Science Fiction be damned!! I think I will "pass" on the kidney and bone integrity deficiencies. What an eye opener!
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Format: Paperback
Fascinating topic, however the book has a surprising number of technical errors which detract significantly from the enjoyment of reading it since I find myself having to factcheck all the time!

For example:

During the discussion of hemoglobin, the author refers to met-hemoglobin causing the color of aged meat. I don't think this is simply a typographic error since the discussion is actually about hemoglobin but the color change of meat is due to metmyoglobin a related but distinct oxygen binding protein in muscle.

The high, squeaky voice with helium is NOT due to the vocal chords vibrating faster as the author states but rather because the speed of sound in helium is about 3 times faster than in air and therefore the frequency is about 3 times higher.

Sweating is primarily stimulated by a cholinergic system NOT by and adrenergic system.

People with cystic fibrosis ARE able to sweat, contrary to what the author states. Rather the salt content of their sweat is significantly abnormal.

"In hoofed animals...the bones of the feet are fused together for strength to create a hoof." This is false. In some hoofed animals metatarsal or metacarpal bones can fuse to form a single bone, however, even in such animals like deer the toes remain separate and have their own distinct hooves.

Another truly bizarre error is the reference to "bleach, a mild form of hydrochloric acid..." Common bleach, sodium hypochlorite, has the formula NaClO and often has sodium hydroxide, NaOH mixed with it. This is quite different from hydrochloric acid, HCl.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VincentCarlini on December 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very informative, lots of details on Physiology of Human Explorers, and is very well written. She is very very historical
also...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating read! Brilliantly written, easy-to-understand, and gives a perspective on the human body from various angles.

I have studied medicine, and even in our course, did we not get as much context & story behind the development of our understanding of the human body, as I found in this book. Even so, it has been written in a language that can be understood by anyone, without dumbing down the information.

We are truly a magnificent design!
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By S. Sweeney on June 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Almost finished reading this book. It's "extremely" informative and interesting. The author has a captivating style that keeps you turning the pages. Illustrations and captions add even more information. Temperatures are in Celcius, so keep a conversion calculator handy if you're used to Fahrenheit. She covers not only the human extremes (and why we're affected) but other life forms at extremes. Perhaps not for everyone, so try the sample first.
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