[bksvol-discuss] Fw: Nature and Science December 2008

  • From: "Amber Wallenstein" <amber.wallens@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 13:59:39 -0500

Nature and Science December 2008
"Necessity, who is the mother of invention."
~ Plato (427-347 BC), Classical Greek philosopher
New and Recently Released!

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters - 
by Rose George
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/14/2008
ISBN: 9780805082715
ISBN-10: 0805082719
Everyone poops--and with a global population set to top nine billion by the 
year 2042, the question of what to do with all that waste is a big one. Consider
the statistics, says author Rose George: 4 out of 10 people worldwide (some 2.6 
billion individuals) have no access to sanitation--not even a latrine.
This has huge economic, political, social, and especially environmental 
consequences. You'll learn more than you ever thought possible about human waste
in The Big Necessity, which Publishers Weekly calls an "intrepid, erudite and 
entertaining journey through the public consequences of this most private

Death from the Skies! These Are the Ways the World Will End - by Philip Plait
Publisher: Viking
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/16/2008
ISBN: 9780670019977
ISBN-10: 0670019976
In this "surprisingly upbeat look at all the ways the universe can destroy us" 
(Kirkus Reviews), astronomer Philip Plait uses doomsday scenarios such as
asteroid strikes, black holes, cosmic ray bursts, supernovae, and alien 
invasions to explain the principles of astronomy and physics. Because disasters,
while not frequent, are inevitable (think of the dinosaurs), Plait advises 
readers not to panic, and backs up his reassurance with statistics. For those
who aren't convinced, he also outlines potential strategies for averting cosmic 
calamities. Don't miss this fun and informative book by the creator of
the popular website badastronomy.com.

Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea 
with Ocean Experts - by Ellen Prager
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/1/2008
ISBN: 9780226678702
ISBN-10: 0226678709
There's never a dull moment when you're a marine scientist living underwater. 
Just ask Ellen Prager, chief scientist at Florida's Aquarius Reef Base--the
world's only undersea marine research station. From avoiding hurricanes to 
swimming with whale sharks, Prager's fieldwork is full of adventure and 
However, it's also full of challenges: for example, living in close quarters, 
bad food, lack of shower facilities, and collecting data in sometimes trying
circumstances. Written to introduce people to what an ocean scientist's life is 
really like, this book presents all sides of scientific research and provides
an intriguing glimpse into a fascinating career.
Table of Contents

Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? Bodies, Brains, and Behavior: The Science 
Behind Sex, Love, and Attraction - by Jena Pincott
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 9/30/2008
ISBN: 9780385342155
ISBN-10: 0385342152
Did you know that the brains of people in love are indistinguishable from those 
of the clinically insane? Or that strippers may earn up to twice as much
when they're ovulating as when they're menstruating? In this fascinating book, 
science writer Jena Pincott answers over 100 questions about the science
behind sex, love, and attraction such as "What makes a person attractive?" "Why 
do people seem more attractive when you're gazing into their eyes?" and,
of course, the age old query, "Does size matter?" For everything you've ever 
wanted to know about love and desire, plus everything you never thought to
ask, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? is the book for you.
First Chapter

Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures - by Bill 
Schutt; illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne
Publisher: Harmony
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/14/2008
ISBN: 9780307381125
ISBN-10: 0307381129
We've all heard of the vampire bat, but what about the vampire finch? Biologist 
Bill Schutt introduces these creatures and more in his guide to the world's
sanguivores and hematophages--aka "blood eaters." While bats are Schutt's 
specialty (he explains that out of 1,100 bat species, only three subsist on 
and one of those confines its feeding to chickens), he also discusses mites, 
fleas and ticks, bedbugs, leeches, and the South American candiru (a fish
that crawls up the urethra and uses its spines to lodge itself there). Kirkus 
Reviews calls this book "a natural history of bloodsuckers that shines in
gory glory."
Focus on: Inventions

The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World - by Amir D. 
Publisher: Harcourt
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 5/1/2002
ISBN: 9780156007535
ISBN-10: 0156007533
Amir D. Aczel, a sea captain's son who grew up on a ship in the Mediterranean, 
presents an entertaining account of one of the most important technological
advances in history: the magnetic compass. While some claim that one Flavio 
Gioia came up with the idea around 1300, it's not clear that the man ever 
Furthermore, there is evidence that the technique of using magnetized metal as 
a navigational aid can be traced back to 11th-century China. As Aczel attempts
to get to the bottom of the compass mystery, he also tells the story of the 
events which led to the Age of Exploration and ushered in the modern world.
Booklist calls this book a "delightful, wide-ranging ramble that will entertain 
history and technology buffs."

Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of 
America - by Philip Dray
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 12/27/2005
ISBN: 9780812968101
ISBN-10: 0812968107
Before he became a statesman, Benjamin Franklin was a scientist--and a 
world-renowned one at that. His most famous experiment is unquestionably his 
of a lightning rod to determine whether the properties of lightning were the 
same as those of electricity. His conclusion--hailed by some, denounced by
others as "playing God"--was that lightning is a form of electricity. Coining 
the term "battery," he also proposed that electricity was a single form of
matter comprised of positive and negative charges, making him one of the first 
to espouse an atomic theory of electricity. Author Philip Dray provides
both an examination of Benjamin Franklin's scientific legacy and a "captivating 
cultural history of Franklin's America" (Publishers Weekly).
First Chapter

They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of 
Innovators - by Harold Evans, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer
Publisher: Little, Brown
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/12/2004
ISBN: 9780316277662
ISBN-10: 0316277665
In this comprehensive book dedicated to America's movers and shakers, author 
Harold Evans profiles 70 inventors and innovators, ranging from household names
Thomas Edison and Henry Ford to lesser-known figures like Ida Rosenthal 
(creator of the Maidenform Bra) and Lewis Tappan (who came up with the idea of
credit ratings). Placing special emphasis on "innovators," i.e. people who not 
only developed ideas but also made them commercially viable, Evans traces
the lives and careers of entrepreneurs both past and present. For incredible 
stories of how visionary minds shaped American society, you can't do better
than this book.
First Chapter

The Evolution of Useful Things - by Henry Petroski
Publisher: Vintage Books
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 2/1/1994
ISBN: 9780679740391
ISBN-10: 0679740392
From paperclips to Post-It notes, writer and engineer Henry Petroski is 
fascinated by the everyday items we take for granted. In The Evolution of Useful
Things, he explores the origins of objects such as forks, buttons, zippers, 
aluminum cans, and cellophane. While many ascribe to the dictum of "form follows
function," Petroski claims that, in fact, "form follows failure," which is to 
say, objects evolve according to their usage--and for every successful item
in use, there is a plethora of prototypes and also-rans. For example, the 
paperclip we most often use today (called the "Gem") is but one example of the
more than 40 designs that have been patented since the 19th century. For more 
fascinating facts about everyday things, be sure to read this book.

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific 
Problem of His Time - by Dava Sobel; with a foreword by Neil Armstrong
Publisher: Walker
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/30/2007
ISBN: 9780802715296
ISBN-10: 080271529X
In 1714, navigators were easily able to chart their latitudinal positions, but 
no one could find a way to calculate longitude, which meant that ships were
liable to miss landfall, run aground, or get shipwrecked on rocky coasts. When 
the British Parliament offered a reward of £20,000 (about $4.5 million today)
to anyone who could come up with a solution to the "Longitude Problem," many 
took on the challenge. However, it was John Harrison, a clockmaker with little
formal education, who ultimately succeeded by inventing a precise and reliable 
marine chronometer that could withstand variations in temperature, pressure,
humidity, and extreme weather conditions. Author Dava Sobel's page-turning 
account of scientific discovery won the 1997 British Book of the Year award.
Table of Contents
First Chapter

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