A preeminent geneticist hunts the Neanderthal genome to answer the biggest question of them all: what does it mean to be human? What can we learn from the genes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pbo's mission to answer that question, beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in his sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2009.
"the best book ever!"
Around 30 years ago, two things happened that were to revolutionize the understanding of our home planet. First, geologists realized that the continents themselves were drifting across the surface of the globe and that oceans were being created and destroyed. Secondly, pictures of the entire planet were returned from space. Suddenly, the Earth began to be viewed as a single entity; a dynamic, interacting whole, controlled by complex processes we scarcely understood.
Climate change is a major topic of concern today and will be so for the foreseeable future, as predicted changes in global temperatures, rainfall, and sea level continue to take place. But as Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams reveal in The Goldilocks Planet, the climatic changes we are experiencing today hardly compare to the changes the Earth has seen over the last 4.5 billion years.
Farm animals have been disappearing from our fields as the production of food has become a global industry. We no longer know for certain what is entering the food chain and what we are eating - as the UK horsemeat scandal demonstrated. We are reaching a tipping point as the farming revolution threatens our countryside, health, and the quality of our food wherever we live in the world.
"Good book, bad reading."
In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter - veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner - travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters.
"Interesting delve into a largely hidden industry"
The grid is an accident of history and of culture, in no way intrinsic to how we produce, deliver and consume electrical power. Yet this is the system the United States ended up with, a jerry-built structure now so rickety and near collapse that a strong wind or a hot day can bring it to a grinding halt. The grid is now under threat from a new source: renewable and variable energy, which puts stress on its logics as much as its components.
"Poor introduction to an important subject"
Beavers, those icons of industriousness, have been gnawing down trees, building dams, shaping the land, and creating critical habitat in North America for at least a million years. Once one of the continent's most ubiquitous mammals, they ranged from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Rio Grande to the edge of the northern tundra. Wherever there was wood and water, there were beavers - 60 million (or more) - and wherever there were beavers, there were intricate natural communities that depended on their activities.
We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.
"very interesting if you're curious about seeds :)"
In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"-a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon-and potentially reverse global warming. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
The familiar call of the common cuckoo, "cuck-oo", has been a harbinger of spring ever since our ancestors walked out of Africa many thousands of years ago. However, for naturalist and scientist Nick Davies, the call is an invitation to solve an enduring puzzle: How does the cuckoo get away with laying its eggs in the nests of other birds and tricking them into raising young cuckoos rather than their own offspring?
Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction is an informative, up to date discussion about the predicted impacts of global warming. It draws on material from the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a huge collaborative study drawing together current thinking on the subject from experts in a range of disciplines, and presents the findings of the panel for a general readership for the first time
Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall's search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world's leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals.
"Extremely interesting and well narrated"
Glaciers: The Politics of Ice is a scientific, cultural, and political examination of the cryosphere - the earth's ice - and the environmental policies that aim to protect it. Jorge Daniel Taillant discusses the debates and negotiations behind the passing of the world's first glacier protection law in the mid-2000s and reveals the tension between the industry experts, politicians, and glacier conservationists.
Bottled & Sold shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last 100 years - and why we are poorer for it. It's a big story and water is big business. Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water, and every second of every day a thousand more throw one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than 30 billion bottles a year and tens of billions of dollars of sales. Are there legitimate reasons to buy all those bottles?
"Shocking Truth about Bottled Water"
Antarctica is the most alien place on the planet, the only part of the Earth where humans could never survive unaided. Out of our fascination with it have come many books, most of which focus on only one aspect of its unique strangeness. None has managed to capture the whole story - until now. Drawing on her broad travels across the continent, in Antarctica Gabrielle Walker weaves all the significant threads of life on the vast ice sheet into an intricate tapestry, illuminating what it really feels like to be there and why it draws so many different kinds of people.
"it's a different world!"
In this classic work that continues to inspire its many fans, James Lovelock deftly explains his idea that life on Earth functions as a single organism. Written for the non-scientist, Gaia is a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of our planet. In contrast to conventional belief that living matter is passive in the face of threats to its existence, the book explores the hypothesis that the Earth's living matter - air, ocean, and land surfaces - forms a complex system that has the capacity to keep the Earth a fit place for life.
"A good way to digest a dense book!"
"There are no unsacred places," the poet Wendell Berry has written. "There are only sacred places and desecrated places." What might it mean to behold the world with such depth and feeling that it is no longer possible to imagine it as something separate from ourselves, or to live without regard for its well-being? To understand the work of seeing things as an utterly involving moral and spiritual act? Such questions have long occupied the center of contemplative spiritual traditions.
Rivers have acted as cradles for civilization and agents of disaster; a river may be a barrier or a highway, it can support trade and sediment, culture and conflict. This Very Short Introduction is a celebration of rivers in all their diversity. Geographer Nick Middleton covers a wide and eclectic range of river-based themes, from physical geography to mythology, to industrial history and literary criticism.
An entertaining and enlightening exploration of why waste matters, this cultural history explores an often ignored subject matter and makes a compelling argument for a deeper understanding of human and animal waste. Approaching the subject from a variety of perspectives - evolutionary, ecological, and cultural - this examination shows how integral excrement is to biodiversity, agriculture, public health, food production and distribution, and global ecosystems.
"Funny and informative"
Coming home from the war in Iraq, US Army private Roy Scranton thought he'd left the world of strife behind. Then he watched as new calamities struck America, heralding a threat far more dangerous than ISIS or al-Qaeda: Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, megadrought - the shock and awe of global warming. Our world is changing. Rising seas, spiking temperatures, and extreme weather imperil global infrastructure, crops, and water supplies. Conflict, famine, plagues, and riots menace from every quarter.
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Landmarks, a fascinating exploration of the relationship between language and landscapes by Robert Macfarlane, read by Roy McMillan. Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place.
"Love it, but it's costing me a fortune!"
The fourth volume of memoirs from the author who inspired the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. Finally home from London after his wartime service in the RAF, James Herriot is settling back into life as a country vet. While the world has changed after the war, the blunt Yorkshire clients and menagerie of beasts with weird and wonderful ailments remain the same.
To better put into perspective the various issues surrounding energy in the 21st century, you need to understand the essential science behind how energy works. And you need a reliable source whose focus is on giving you the facts you need to form your own educated opinions.
"Comprehensive picture of energy resources"
A must-have book for walkers, sailors and everyone interested in the natural world, How to Read Water unlocks the secrets of water in all its forms. Natural navigator Tristan Gooley imparts knowledge and teaches skills, tips and useful observations to help you navigate the landscape around you.
"Great read (listen)..."
Amanda Owen has been seen by millions on ITV's The Dales, living a life that has almost gone in today's modern world, a life ruled by the seasons and her animals. She is a farmer's wife and shepherdess, living alongside her husband, Clive, and seven children at Ravenseat, a 2,000 acre sheep hill farm at the head of Swaledale in North Yorkshire. It's a challenging life but one she loves.
The fifth volume of memoirs from the author who inspired the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. During his decades spent as a country vet in Yorkshire, James Herriot has seen huge advances in medical science, technological leaps, and a world irrevocably changed by war. Yet some things have always stayed the same - gruff farmers, hypochondriac pet owners, and animals that never do quite what you expect them to.
"Perfect cosy read"
Winner of the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction in 2011 and the Authors' Foundation Roger Deakin Award in 2011. A stunning debut in the tradition of Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald. Of all the birds of the British Isles, the raptor reigns supreme, sparking the imagination like no other. In this magnificent hymn to these beautiful animals, James Macdonald Lockhart explores all 15 breeding birds of prey on these shores....
Just as World War II called an earlier generation to greatness, so the climate crisis is calling today's rising youth to action: to create a better future. In Unstoppable, Bill Nye crystallizes and expands the message for which he is best known and beloved. That message is that with a combination of optimism and scientific curiosity, all obstacles become opportunities, and the possibilities of our world become limitless.
"Truly thought provoking"
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams sets out to uncover the science behind nature's positive effects on the brain.
"a bit disappointed"
From Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former head of the Sierra Club Carl Pope comes a manifesto on how the benefits of taking action on climate change are concrete, immediate, and immense. They explore climate change solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous, aiming to begin a new type of conversation on the issue that will spur bolder action by cities, businesses, and citizens-and even, someday, by Washington.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story.
First published in 1962, Silent Spring can single-handedly be credited with sounding the alarm and raising awareness of humankind's collective impact on its own future through chemical pollution. No other book has so strongly influenced the environmental conscience of Americans and the world at large.
"Kick-started the environmental movement"
A few months of married bliss, a lovers' nest in Darrowby and the wonders of home cooking are rudely interrupted for James Herriot by the Second World War. James Herriot's fifth volume of memoirs relocates him to a training camp somewhere in England. And in between square pounding and digging for victory, he dreams of the people and livestock he left behind him.
"Calming Yorkshire at its best"
History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth, a brave work that becomes a radical redefinition of human history. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns of a point of no return that is imminent.
The Water Battery is a technology which bridges the gap between clean energy technology, and the fossil-fuel world. The Water Battery is an industrial-strength battery technology allowing variable clean energy sources like solar and wind to be stored safely, then tapped on-demand to power electrical loads 24/7. The Water Battery is the missing link for industrially storing and retrieving electrical energy first produced from variable clean energy sources such as solar, PV, and wind.
Jeffrey W. Martz of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is widely renowned for his expertise in the field of paleontology, a science that lies at the crossroads of biology and geology. Paleontologists seek to unearth and re-create life hundreds of millions of years old, and the work of paleontologists offers us detailed glimpses of the prehistoric world. These fascinating lectures delve into the techniques and processes of paleontologists while providing a better understanding of this often misunderstood science.
Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals.
"interesting, informative and entertaining"