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Science and Nature (updated 11/8/22)
The Beauty of Dusk by
Publication Date: 2022-03-01
From New York Times columnist and bestselling author Frank Bruni comes a wise and moving memoir about aging, affliction, and optimism after partially losing his eyesight. One morning in late 2017, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni woke up with strangely blurred vision. He wondered at first if some goo or gunk had worked its way into his right eye. But this was no fleeting annoyance, no fixable inconvenience. Overnight, a rare stroke had cut off blood to one of his optic nerves, rendering him functionally blind in that eye--forever. And he soon learned from doctors that the same disorder could ravage his left eye, too. He could lose his sight altogether. In The Beauty of Dusk, Bruni hauntingly recounts his adjustment to this daunting reality, a medical and spiritual odyssey that involved not only reappraising his own priorities but also reaching out to, and gathering wisdom from, longtime friends and new acquaintances who had navigated their own traumas and afflictions. The result is a poignant, probing, and ultimately uplifting examination of the limits that all of us inevitably encounter, the lenses through which we choose to evaluate them and the tools we have for perseverance. Bruni's world blurred in one sense, as he experienced his first real inklings that the day isn't forever and that light inexorably fades, but sharpened in another. Confronting unexpected hardship, he felt more blessed than ever before. There was vision lost. There was also vision found.
How to Prevent the Next Pandemic by
Publication Date: 2022-05-03
From the author of the #1 New York Times best seller How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The COVID-19 pandemic isn't over, but even as governments around the world strive to put it behind us, they're also starting to talk about what happens next. How can we prevent a new pandemic from killing millions of people and devastating the global economy? Can we even hope to accomplish this? Bill Gates believes the answer is yes, and in this book he lays out clearly and convincingly what the world should have learned from COVID-19 and what all of us can do to ward off another disaster like it. Relying on the shared knowledge of the world's foremost experts and on his own experience of combating fatal diseases through the Gates Foundation, he first helps us understand the science of infectious diseases. Then he shows us how the nations of the world, working in conjunction with one another and with the private sector, can not only ward off another COVID-like catastrophe but also eliminate all respiratory diseases, including the flu. Here is a clarion call--strong, comprehensive, and of the gravest importance--from one of our greatest and most effective thinkers and activists.
An Immense World by
Publication Date: 2022-06-21
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A "thrilling" (The New York Times), "dazzling" (The Wall Street Journal) tour of the radically different ways that animals perceive the world that will fill you with wonder and forever alter your perspective, by Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Ed Yong "One of this year's finest works of narrative nonfiction."--Oprah Daily ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Publishers Weekly The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every kind of animal, including humans, is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of our immense world. In An Immense World, Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses, allowing us to perceive the skeins of scent, waves of electromagnetism, and pulses of pressure that surround us. We encounter beetles that are drawn to fires, turtles that can track the Earth's magnetic fields, fish that fill rivers with electrical messages, and even humans who wield sonar like bats. We discover that a crocodile's scaly face is as sensitive as a lover's fingertips, that the eyes of a giant squid evolved to see sparkling whales, that plants thrum with the inaudible songs of courting bugs, and that even simple scallops have complex vision. We learn what bees see in flowers, what songbirds hear in their tunes, and what dogs smell on the street. We listen to stories of pivotal discoveries in the field, while looking ahead at the many mysteries that remain unsolved. Funny, rigorous, and suffused with the joy of discovery, An Immense World takes us on what Marcel Proust called "the only true voyage . . . not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes." FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE * LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
The Invisible Kingdom by
Publication Date: 2022-03-01
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION Named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2022 by The New Yorker "Remarkable." -Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review "At once a rigorous work of scholarship and a radical act of empathy."--Esquire "A ray of light into those isolated cocoons of darkness that, at one time or another, may afflict us all." --The Wall Street Journal "Essential."--The Boston Globe A landmark exploration of one of the most consequential and mysterious issues of our time: the rise of chronic illness and autoimmune diseases A silent epidemic of chronic illnesses afflicts tens of millions of Americans: these are diseases that are poorly understood, frequently marginalized, and can go undiagnosed and unrecognized altogether. Renowned writer Meghan O'Rourke delivers a revelatory investigation into this elusive category of "invisible" illness that encompasses autoimmune diseases, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, and now long COVID, synthesizing the personal and the universal to help all of us through this new frontier. Drawing on her own medical experiences as well as a decade of interviews with doctors, patients, researchers, and public health experts, O'Rourke traces the history of Western definitions of illness, and reveals how inherited ideas of cause, diagnosis, and treatment have led us to ignore a host of hard-to-understand medical conditions, ones that resist easy description or simple cures. And as America faces this health crisis of extraordinary proportions, the populations most likely to be neglected by our institutions include women, the working class, and people of color. Blending lyricism and erudition, candor and empathy, O'Rourke brings together her deep and disparate talents and roles as critic, journalist, poet, teacher, and patient, synthesizing the personal and universal into one monumental project arguing for a seismic shift in our approach to disease. The Invisible Kingdom offers hope for the sick, solace and insight for their loved ones, and a radical new understanding of our bodies and our health.
The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by
Publication Date: 2022-04-26
In The Last Days of the Dinosaurs, Riley Black walks readers through what happened in the days, the years, the centuries, and the million years after the impact, tracking the sweeping disruptions that overtook this one spot, and imagining what might have been happening elsewhere on the globe. Life's losses were sharp and deeply-felt, but the hope carried by the beings that survived sets the stage for the world as we know it now. Picture yourself in the Cretaceous period. It's a sunny afternoon in the Hell Creek of ancient Montana 66 million years ago. A Triceratops horridus ambles along the edge of the forest. In a matter of hours, everything here will be wiped away. Lush verdure will be replaced with fire. Tyrannosaurus rex will be toppled from their throne, along with every other species of non-avian dinosaur no matter their size, diet, or disposition. They just don't know it yet. The cause of this disaster was identified decades ago. An asteroid some seven miles across slammed into the Earth, leaving a geologic wound over 50 miles in diameter. In the terrible mass extinction that followed, more than half of known species vanished seemingly overnight. But this worst single day in the history of life on Earth was as critical for us as it was for the dinosaurs, as it allowed for evolutionary opportunities that were closed for the previous 100 million years.
The Myth of Normal by
Publication Date: 2022-09-13
The instant New York Times bestseller By the acclaimed author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, a groundbreaking investigation into the causes of illness, a bracing critique of how our society breeds disease, and a pathway to health and healing. In this revolutionary book, renowned physician Gabor Maté eloquently dissects how in Western countries that pride themselves on their healthcare systems, chronic illness and general ill health are on the rise. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug; more than half take two. In Canada, every fifth person has high blood pressure. In Europe, hypertension is diagnosed in more than 30 percent of the population. And everywhere, adolescent mental illness is on the rise. So what is really "normal" when it comes to health? Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of "normal" as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today's culture stresses the body, burdens the immune system, and undermines emotional balance. Now Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of common myths about what makes us sick, connects the dots between the maladies of individuals and the declining soundness of society--and offers a compassionate guide for health and healing. Cowritten with his son Daniel, The Myth Of Normal is Maté's most ambitious and urgent book yet.
Publication Date: 2022-02-08
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! From celebrated anthropologist Jennifer Raff comes the untold story--and fascinating mystery--of how humans migrated to the Americas. ORIGIN is the story of who the first peoples in the Americas were, how and why they made the crossing, how they dispersed south, and how they lived based on a new and powerful kind of evidence: their complete genomes. ORIGIN provides an overview of these new histories throughout North and South America, and a glimpse into how the tools of genetics reveal details about human history and evolution. 20,000 years ago, people crossed a great land bridge from Siberia into Western Alaska and then dispersed southward into what is now called the Americas. Until we venture out to other worlds, this remains the last time our species has populated an entirely new place, and this event has been a subject of deep fascination and controversy. No written records--and scant archaeological evidence--exist to tell us what happened or how it took place. Many different models have been proposed to explain how the Americas were peopled and what happened in the thousands of years that followed. A study of both past and present, ORIGIN explores how genetics is currently being used to construct narratives that profoundly impact Indigenous peoples of the Americas. It serves as a primer for anyone interested in how genetics has become entangled with identity in the way that society addresses the question "Who is indigenous?"
Starry Messenger by
Publication Date: 2022-09-20
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time--war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race--in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all. In a time when our political and cultural views feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment--a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science. After thinking deeply about how science sees the world and about Earth as a planet, the human brain has the capacity to reset and recalibrates life's priorities, shaping the actions we might take in response. No outlook on culture, society, or civilization remains untouched. With crystalline prose, Starry Messenger walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.
Visual Thinking by
Publication Date: 2022-10-11
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "A powerful and provocative testament to the diverse coalition of minds we'll need to face the mounting challenges of the twenty-first century." --Steve Silberman "An absolute eye-opener." --Frans de Waal A landmark book that reveals, celebrates, and advocates for the special minds and contributions of visual thinkers A quarter of a century after her memoir, Thinking in Pictures, forever changed how the world understood autism, Temple Grandin--the "anthropologist on Mars," as Oliver Sacks dubbed her--transforms our awareness of the different ways our brains are wired. Do you have a keen sense of direction, a love of puzzles, the ability to assemble furniture without crying? You are likely a visual thinker. With her genius for demystifying science, Grandin draws on cutting-edge research to take us inside visual thinking. Visual thinkers constitute a far greater proportion of the population than previously believed, she reveals, and a more varied one, from the photo-realistic object visualizers like Grandin herself, with their intuitive knack for design and problem solving, to the abstract, mathematically inclined "visual spatial" thinkers who excel in pattern recognition and systemic thinking. She also makes us understand how a world increasingly geared to the verbal tends to sideline visual thinkers, screening them out at school and passing over them in the workplace. Rather than continuing to waste their singular gifts, driving a collective loss in productivity and innovation, Grandin proposes new approaches to educating, parenting, employing, and collaborating with visual thinkers. In a highly competitive world, this important book helps us see, we need every mind on board.
What If? 2 by
Publication Date: 2022-09-13
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! "The questions throughout What If? 2 are equal parts brilliant, gross, and wonderfully absurd and the answers are thorough, deeply researched, and great fun. . . . Science isn't easy, but in Munroe's capable hands, it surely can be fun." --TIME The #1 New York Times bestselling author of What If? and How To answers more of the weirdest questions you never thought to ask The millions of people around the world who read and loved What If? still have questions, and those questions are getting stranger. Thank goodness xkcd creator Randall Munroe is here to help. Planning to ride a fire pole from the Moon back to Earth? The hardest part is sticking the landing. Hoping to cool the atmosphere by opening everyone's freezer door at the same time? Maybe it's time for a brief introduction to thermodynamics. Want to know what would happen if you rode a helicopter blade, built a billion-story building, made a lava lamp out of lava, or jumped on a geyser as it erupted? Okay, if you insist. Before you go on a cosmic road trip, feed the residents of New York City to a T. rex, or fill every church with bananas, be sure to consult this practical guide for impractical ideas. Unfazed by absurdity, Munroe consults the latest research on everything from swing-set physics to airliner catapult-design to answer his readers' questions, clearly and concisely, with illuminating and occasionally terrifying illustrations. As he consistently demonstrates, you can learn a lot from examining how the world might work in very specific extreme circumstances.