"We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process -- especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them. It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories -- statistical information and faulty arguments -- ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren't. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning -- not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it."--Cover.
The enthralling and never-told story of the War of the Worlds radio drama and its true aftermath On October 30, 1938, families across the country were gathered around their radios when their regular programming was interrupted by an announcer delivering news of a meteor strike in New Jersey. With increasing intensity, the announcer read bulletins describing terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. As the invading force approached, some listeners sat transfixed before their radios, while others ran to alert neighbors or call the police. Some even fled their homes in panic. But the broadcast was not breaking news--it was Orson Welles's adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds. In Broadcast Hysteria, A. Brad Schwartz examines the history behind the infamous radio play. Did it really spawn a wave of mass hysteria? Schwartz is the first to examine the hundreds of letters sent directly to Welles after the broadcast. He draws upon them, and hundreds more sent to the FCC, to recapture the roiling emotions of a bygone era, and his findings challenge conventional wisdom. Relatively few listeners believed an actual attack was under way. But even so, Schwartz shows that Welles's broadcast prompted a different kind of "mass panic" as Americans debated the bewitching power of the radio and the country's vulnerability in a time of crisis. Schwartz's original research, gifted storytelling, and thoughtful analysis make Broadcast Hysteria a groundbreaking work of media history.
"This is one attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises, it could get a lot worse. And it's a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future." -From the Introduction Donald Trump's takeover of the White House is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises. His reckless agenda--including a corporate coup in government, aggressive scapegoating and warmongering, and sweeping aside climate science to set off a fossil fuel frenzy--will generate waves of disasters and shocks to the economy, national security, and the environment. Acclaimed journalist, activist, and bestselling author Naomi Klein has spent two decades studying political shocks, climate change, and "brand bullies." From this unique perspective, she argues that Trump is not an aberration but a logical extension of the worst, most dangerous trends of the past half-century--the very conditions that have unleashed a rising tide of white nationalism the world over. It is not enough, she tells us, to merely resist, to say "no." Our historical moment demands more: a credible and inspiring "yes," a roadmap to reclaiming the populist ground from those who would divide us--one that sets a bold course for winning the fair and caring world we want and need. This timely, urgent book from one of our most influential thinkers offers a bracing positive shock of its own, helping us understand just how we got here, and how we can, collectively, come together and heal. Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, and author of the international bestsellers No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, and most recently This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. In 2017 she joined The Intercept as Senior Correspondent.
Modern information and communication technologies, together with a cultural upheaval within the research community, have profoundly changed research in nearly every aspect. Ranging from sharing and discussing ideas in social networks for scientists to new collaborative environments and novel publication formats, knowledge creation and dissemination as we know it is experiencing a vigorous shift towards increased transparency, collaboration and accessibility. Many assume that research workflows will change more in the next 20 years than they have in the last 200. This book provides researchers, decision makers, and other scientific stakeholders with a snapshot of the basics, the tools, and the underlying visions that drive the current scientific (r)evolution, often called 'Open Science.'
This text is comprehensive, user-friendly handbook that will guide students through the full range of written and spoken communication skills that are demanded by today's biosciences courses. The book also offers a valuable refresher for postgraduate students who wish to review or expand their proficiency in these areas. This book will provide the student with practical advice on how best to communicate scientific material to different audiences including their peers, their tutors and to non-scientists. Key Features: Highly accessible, confidence-building, student-friendly guide Provides comprehensive coverage of the complete range of presentation skills needed by students Covers essay writing, practical reports, dissertations, projects and presenting in individual, group and poster presentation settings Offers advice on how to avoid common errors including plagiarism using 'what not to do' boxes throughout the text Includes practical advice on how best to communicate scientific material to different audiences e.g. undergraduates, tutors and non-scientists
Unlock your mind From the bestselling authors of Thinking, Fast and Slow; The Black Swan; and Stumbling on Happiness comes a cutting-edge exploration of the mysteries of rational thought, decision-making, intuition, morality, willpower, problem-solving, prediction, forecasting, unconscious behavior, and beyond. Edited by John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), Thinking presents original ideas by today's leading psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers who are radically expanding our understanding of human thought. Daniel Kahneman on the power (and pitfalls) of human intuition and "unconscious" thinking • Daniel Gilbert on desire, prediction, and why getting what we want doesn't always make us happy • Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the limitations of statistics in guiding decision-making • Vilayanur Ramachandran on the scientific underpinnings of human nature • Simon Baron-Cohen on the startling effects of testosterone on the brain • Daniel C. Dennett on decoding the architecture of the "normal" human mind • Sarah-Jayne Blakemore on mental disorders and the crucial developmental phase of adolescence • Jonathan Haidt, Sam Harris, and Roy Baumeister on the science of morality, ethics, and the emerging synthesis of evolutionary and biological thinking • Gerd Gigerenzer on rationality and what informs our choices
This volume explores the evolution of science communication, addressing key issues and offering substance for future study. Harnessing the energies of junior scholars on the forefront of science communication, this work pushes the boundaries of research forward, allowing scholars to sample the multiple paradigms and agendas that will play a role in shaping the future of science communication. Editors LeeAnn Kahlor and Patricia Stout challenge their readers to channel the energy within these chapters to build or continue to build their own research agendas as all scholars work together - across disciplines - to address questions of public understanding of science and communicating science. These chapters are intended to inspire still more research questions, to help aspiring science communication scholars locate their own creative and original research programs, and to help veteran science communication scholars expand their existing programs such that they can more actively build interdisciplinary bridges. Crossing methodological boundaries, work from quantitative and qualitative scholars, social scientists and rhetoricians is represented here. This volume is developed for practitioners and scholars alike - for anyone who is concerned about or interested in the future of science and how communication is shaping and will continue to shape that future. In its progressive pursuit of interdisciplinary research streams - of thinking outside methodological and theoretical boxes - this book inspires science communication scholars at all levels to set a new standard for collaboration not just for science communication, but for communication research in general.
Scientific communication is challenging. The subject matter is complex and often requires a certain level of knowledge to understand it correctly; describing hazard ratios, interpreting Kaplan Meier curves and explaining confounding factors is different from talking about a new car or clothing range. Processes, for example in clinical trials, are laborious and tedious and knowing how much of the detail to include and exclude requires judgement. Conclusions are rarely clear cut making communicating statistical risk and probability tough, especially to non-statisticians and non-scientists such as journalists. Communicating Clearly about Science and Medicine looks at these and many more challenges, then introduces powerful techniques for overcoming them. It will help you develop and deliver impactful presentations on medical and scientific data and tell a clear, compelling story based on your research findings. It will show you how to develop clear messages and themes, while adhering to the advice attributed to Einstein: 'Make things as simple as possible...but no simpler.' John Clare illustrates how to communicate clearly the risks and benefits contained in a complex data set, and balance the hope and the hype. He explains how to avoid the 'miracle cure' or 'killer drug' headlines which are so common and teaches you how to combine the accuracy of peer-to-peer reviewed science with the narrative skills of journalism.
Communicate Science Papers, Presentations, and Posters Effectively is a guidebook on science writing and communication that professors, students, and professionals in the STEM fields can use in a practical way. This book advocates a clear and concise writing and presenting style, enabling users to concentrate on content. The text is useful to both native and non-native English speakers, identifying best practices for preparing graphs and tables, and offering practical guidance for writing equations. It includes content on significant figures and error bars, and provides the reader with extensive practice material consisting of both exercises and solutions. Covers how to accurately and clearly exhibit results, ideas, and conclusions Identifies phrases common in scientific literature that should never be used Discusses the theory of presentation, including "before and after" examples highlighting best practices Provides concrete, step-by-step examples on how to make camera ready graphs and tables
"You think too much! You mother F@$#%&* think too much! You're nothing but an arrogant, pointy-headed intellectual -- I want you out of my classroom and off the premises in five minutes or I'm calling the police and having you arrested for trespassing." -- Hollywood acting teacher to Randy Olson, former scientist After nearly a decade on the defensive, the world of science is about to be restored to its rightful place. But is the American public really ready for science? And is the world of science ready for the American public? Scientists wear ragged clothes, forget to comb their hair, and speak in a language that even they don't understand. Or so people think. Most scientists don't care how they are perceived, but in our media-dominated age, style points count. Enter Randy Olson. Fifteen years ago, Olson bid farewell to the science world and shipped off to Hollywood ready to change the world. With films like Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (Tribeca '06, Showtime) and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (Outfest '08), he has tried to bridge the cultural divide that has too often left science on the outside looking in. Now, in his first book, Olson, with a Harvard Ph.D. and formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, recounts the lessons from his own hilarious-and at times humiliating-evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker. In Don't Be Such a Scientist, he shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human. In a book enlivened by a profane acting teacher who made Olson realize that "nobody wants to watch you think," he offers up serious insights and poignant stories. You'll laugh, you may cry, and as a communicator you'll certainly learn the importance of not only knowing how to fulfill, but also how to arouse.
Technoscientific developments often have far-reaching consequences, both negative and positive, for the public. Yet, because science has the authority to decide which judgments about scientific issues are sound, public concerns are often dismissed because they are not part of the technoscientific paradigm they question. This book addresses the role of science popularization in that paradox; it explains how science writing works and argues that it can do better at promoting public discussions about science-related issues. To support these arguments, it situates science popularization in its historical and cultural context; provides a conceptual framework for analyzing popular science texts; and examines the rhetorical effects of common strategies used in popular science writing. Twenty-six years after Dorothy Nelkin's groundbreaking book, Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology, popular science writing is still not meeting its potential as a public interest genre; Communicating Popular Science explores how it can move closer to doing so.
What is the impact of open access on science communication? How can scientists effectively engage and interact with the public? What role can science communication have when scientific controversies arise?Practising science communication in the information age is a collection of newly-commissioned chapters by leading scholars and practitioners of science communication. It considers how scientists communicate with each other as part of their professional practice, critically evaluating how this formsthe basis of the documenting of scientific knowledge, and investigating how open access publication and open review are influencing current practices. It also explores how science communication can play a crucial role when science is disputed, investigating the role of expertise in the formation ofscientific controversy and consensus.The volume provides a theoretically informed review of contemporary trends and issues that are engaging practitioners of science communication, focusing on issues such as the norms and conventions governing the practices of science communication, and how scientists communicate between disciplines.Other topics that receive critical treatment include: peer review, open access publication, the protection of intellectual property, the formation of scientific controversy and consensus, the popularisation of science, and the practices of public engagement.A companion volume, Investigating science communication in the information age, provides an ideal introduction to anyone wishing to study contemporary science communication.
Don't get hoodwinked: make sense of news...and make smarter decisions for yourself, your family, and the world! Objective, balanced techniques for thinking about everything from diet and drugs to climate change. Identifying and getting past the biases of politicians, lobbyists, marketers...and even some scientific and medical professionals. By scientist Dr. Sherry Seethaler, one of the world's most respected and innovative science educators.
In the 25 years since the 'Bodmer Report' kick-started the public understanding of science movement, there has been something of a revolution in science communication. However, despite the ever-growing demands of the public, policy-makers and the media, many scientists still find it difficult to successfully explain and publicise their activities or to understand and respond to people's hopes and concerns about their work. Bringing together experienced and successful science communicators from across the academic, commercial and media worlds, this practical guide fills this gap to provide a one-stop resource covering science communication in its many different forms. The chapters provide vital background knowledge and inspiring ideas for how to deal with different situations and interest groups. Entertaining personal accounts of projects ranging from podcasts, to science festivals, to student-run societies give working examples of how scientists can engage with their audiences and demonstrate the key ingredients in successful science communication.
Confronting us at every turn, flowing from every imaginable source, information defines our era - and yet what we don't know about it could - and does - fill a book. In this indispensable volume, a primer for the information age, Hans Christian von Baeyer presents a clear description of what information is, how concepts of its measurement, meaning, and transmission evolved, and what its ever-expanding presence portends for the future. Information is poised to replace matter as the primary stuff of the universe, von Baeyer suggests; it will provide a new basic framework for describing and predicting reality in the twenty-first century. Despite its revolutionary premise, von Baeyer's book is written simply in a straightforward fashion, offering a wonderfully accessible introduction to classical and quantum information. Enlivened with anecdotes from the lives of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists who have contributed significantly to the field, Information conducts readers from questions of subjectivity inherent in classical information to the blurring of distinctions between computers and what they measure or store in our quantum age. A great advance in our efforts to defin
Why do we do the things we do? Over a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance. And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. What goes on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happens? Then he pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell triggers the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones act hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli which trigger the nervous system? By now, he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going--next to what features of the environment affected that person's brain, and then back to the childhood of the individual, and then to their genetic makeup. Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than that one individual. How culture has shaped that individual's group, what ecological factors helped shape that culture, and on and on, back to evolutionary factors thousands and even millions of years old. The result is one of the most dazzling tours de horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.
Whether you are a graduate student or a senior scientist, your reputation rests on the ability to communicate your ideas and data. In this straightforward and accessible guide, Scott L. Montgomery offers detailed, practical advice on crafting every sort of scientific communication, from research papers and conference talks to review articles, interviews with the media, e-mail messages, and more. Montgomery avoids the common pitfalls of other guides by focusing not on rules and warnings but instead on how skilled writers and speakers actually learn their trade-by imitating and adapting good models of expression. Moving step-by-step through samples from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, he shows precisely how to choose and employ such models, where and how to revise different texts, how to use visuals to enhance your presentation of ideas, why writing is really a form of experimentation, and more. He also traces the evolution of scientific expression over time, providing a context crucial for understanding the nature of technical communication today. Other chapters take up the topics of writing creatively in science; how to design and use graphics; and how to talk to the public about science. Written with humor and eloquence, this book provides a unique and realistic guide for anyone in the sciences wishing to improve his or her communication skills. Practical and concise, The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science covers: *Writing scientific papers, abstracts, grant proposals, technical reports, and articles for the general public *Using graphics effectively *Surviving and profiting from the review process *Preparing oral presentations *Dealing with the press and the public *Publishing and the Internet *Writing in English as a foreign language
Scientific writing is often dry, wordy, and difficult to understand. But, as Anne E. Greene shows in Writing Science in Plain English,writers from all scientific disciplines can learn to produce clear, concise prose by mastering just a few simple principles. This short, focused guide presents a dozen such principles based on what readers need in order to understand complex information, including concrete subjects, strong verbs, consistent terms, and organized paragraphs. The author, a biologist and an experienced teacher of scientific writing, illustrates each principle with real-life examples of both good and bad writing and shows how to revise bad writing to make it clearer and more concise. She ends each chapter with practice exercises so that readers can come away with new writing skills after just one sitting. Writing Science in Plain English can help writers at all levels of their academic and professional careers--undergraduate students working on research reports, established scientists writing articles and grant proposals, or agency employees working to follow the Plain Writing Act. This essential resource is the perfect companion for all who seek to write science effectively.
Description, based upon research evidence from the Near East and elsewhere, of changes in climate and how that affected social and political developments. Uses 3 major case studies of the Neolithic, Early Bronze, and Roman/Byzantine periods.
"Near the Ontario-Michigan border, Canada's densest concentration of chemical manufacturing surrounds the Aamjiwnaang First Nation. Living in the polluted heart of Chemical Valley, members of this Indigenous community report a declining rate of male births in addition to abnormal rates of miscarriage, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. While starvation policies and smallpox-laced blankets might be an acknowledged part of Canada's past, this book reveals how the colonial legacy of inflicting harm on Indigenous bodies persists through a system that fails to adequately address health and ecological suffering in First Nations communities. Everyday Exposure uncovers the systemic injustices faced on a daily basis in Aamjiwnaang. By exploring the problems that Canada's conflicting levels of jurisdiction pose for the creation of environmental justice policy, analyzing clashes between Indigenous and scientific knowledge, and documenting the experiences of Aamjiwnaang residents as they navigate their toxic environment, this book argues that social and political change requires an experiential and transformative "sensing policy" approach, one that takes the voices of Indigenous citizens seriously."--
One of Canada's leading voices on our energy future offers a powerful case for taking back control of our resources Canada has a world-class resource base and the capacity to become a world leader in the petroleum and other resource-based industries. But as former federal cabinet minister and Alberta premier Jim Prentice argues in this provocative and timely new book, we have lost our way. He outlines how our nation has repeatedly stumbled in its attempts to become a global player in the field, and how our policies and practices have failed to advance Canada's international interests as an energy producer and exporter with a record of sound environmental achievement. He highlights, for example, our stalled efforts to work with the United States to build new pipelines to the Gulf Coast, and the absence of the infrastructure Canada needs to make further inroads into the Asia-Pacific market. He notes how we have even faltered in our attempts to build pipelines across Canada to service our own citizens, and how Canada has also, to date, failed to craft fair and enduring business partnerships with its own indigenous peoples. Ultimately, one of Canada's greatest strengths has become a liability-economically, socially and environmentally. But what will the path forward look like? In Triple Crown, Jim Prentice makes a powerful argument for the inadequacy of current Canadian energy policy and asserts a new and forward-looking vision for converting our nation's vast resources into a secure, prosperous and environmentally responsible future that benefits all Canadians. Completed with his friend and colleague Jean-Sebastien Rioux shortly before Prentice's unexpected death in October 2016 at the age of 60, Triple Crown is a heartening and inspiring must-read, and a lasting legacy for a man who did so much for Canada.
The historic Paris climate talks of 2015 aspired to keep the world under a two degree celsius rise, but failed to set out how to get there. Each country must create its own road map. Canada doesn't have one. But Gordon Laxer's After the Sands outlines a vision to transition Canada to a low-carbon society. Ralph Nader hails it as "a myth-destroying blockbuster book." Despite its oil abundance, Canada is woefully unprepared for the next global oil supply crisis. Canada imports 30 percent of its oil, yet--unlike twenty-seven of the other twenty-nine member countries in the International Energy Agency--has no strategic petroleum reserves to meet temporary shortages. Canadians use much more oil per capita than other sparsely populated, northern countries like Norway and Sweden. After the Sands sets out a bold strategy using deep conservation and a Canada-first perspective. The goal:to ensure that lower-income Canadians get sufficient energy at affordable prices in a carbon-constrained future and prevent the rich from cornering reduced energy supplies. Canada has all the conventional, non-fracked oil and natural gas needed to transition to a low-carbon future. Remarkable hydro-power gives Canadians a large base of renewable energy, which can be expanded with wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. So what's the problem? Why do we continue to harm the environment? How do we overcome the power of vested interests and untangle the corporate trade agreements that block Canadians from getting secure and fair access to the country's own energy resources. Can Canada meet international emissions targets if it does not phase out Alberta Sands oil? Impeccably researched, After the Sands is critical reading for anyone concerned about rising sea levels, pipeline and tanker spills, climate change chaos and Canada's future in a carbon restricted world.
Canada's oil patch is booming. The Alberta tar sands have become the next big oil source for the United States, replacing Saudi Arabia. Within the next 15 years, Canada will be pumping four times more crude than today from the tar pits of northern Alberta into the US market. The tar sands are key to the claim that Canada is the new "energy superpower." As the new backbone of Canada's economy, the tar sands are bound to define and shape Canada's role and destiny as a nation in the 21st century. What is lacking is independent, reliable information and thoughtful analysis on the host of questions raised by the tar sands. What is the real cost to Albertans and to Canadians? How far are we willing to go to fuel America's oil addiction? What will the ecological and social impacts be? What can be done to build an alternative energy future in an age of global warming? Tar Sands Showdown provides a tool for stimulating public discussion and debate about these important issues.
On July 23, 1999, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the most powerful X-ray telescope ever built, was launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia. Since then, Chandra has given us a view of the universe that is largely hidden from telescopes sensitive only to visible light. In Chandra's Cosmos, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra science spokesperson Wallace H. Tucker uses a series of short, connected stories to describe the telescope's exploration of the hot, high-energy face of the universe. The book is organized in three parts- "The Big," covering the cosmic web, dark energy, dark matter, and massive clusters of galaxies; "The Bad," exploring neutron stars, stellar black holes, and supermassive black holes; and "The Beautiful," discussing stars, exoplanets, and life. Chandra has imaged the spectacular, glowing remains of exploded stars and taken spectra showing the dispersal of their elements. Chandra has observed the region around the supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way and traced the separation of dark matter from normal matter in the collision of galaxies, contributing to both dark matter and dark energy studies. Tucker explores the implications of these observations in an entertaining, informative narrative aimed at space buffs and general readers alike.
What do Virginia Woolf, the rotation of hurricanes, Babylonian kings and Einstein's General Theory Relativity all have in common? Eclipses. Always spectacular and, today, precisely predicable, eclipses have allowed us to know when the first Olympic games were played and, long before the first space probe, that the Moon was covered by dust.Eclipses have stunned, frightened, emboldened and mesmerized people for thousands of years. They were recorded on ancient turtle shells discovered in the Wastes of Yin in China, on clay tablets from Mesopotamia and on the Mayan "Dresden Codex." They are mentioned in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and at least eight times in the Bible. Columbus used them to trick people, while Renaissance painter Taddeo Gaddi was blinded by one. Sorcery was banished within the Catholic Church after astrologers used an eclipse to predict a pope's death.In Mask of the Sun, acclaimed writer John Dvorak the importance of the number 177 and why the ancient Romans thought it was bad to have sexual intercourse during an eclipse (whereas other cultures thought it would be good luck). Even today, pregnant women in Mexico wear safety pins on their underwear during an eclipse. Eclipses are an amazing phenomena--unique to Earth--that have provided the key to much of what we now know and understand about the sun, our moon, gravity, and the workings of the universe.Both entertaining and authoritative, Mask of the Sun reveals the humanism behind the science of both lunar and solar eclipses. With insightful detail and vividly accessible prose, Dvorak provides explanations as to how and why eclipses occur--as well as insight into the forthcoming eclipse of 2017 that will be visible across North America.
An award-winning science writer takes us into the lab to answer some of life's biggest questions: How was the universe created? And could we create our own? What if you could become God, with the ability to build a whole new universe? As startling as it sounds, modern physics suggests that within the next two decades, scientists may be able to perform this seemingly divine feat-to concoct an entirely new baby universe, complete with its own physical laws, star systems, galaxies, and even intelligent life. A Big Bang in a Little Room takes the reader on a journey through the history of cosmology and unravels-particle by particle, theory by theory, and experiment by experiment-the ideas behind this provocative claim made by some of the most respected physicists alive today. Beyond simply explaining the science, A Big Bang in a Little Room also tells the story of the people who have been laboring for more than thirty years to make this seemingly impossible dream a reality. What has driven them to continue on what would seem, at first glance, to be a quixotic quest? This mind-boggling book reveals that we can nurse other worlds in the tiny confines of a lab, raising a daunting prospect: Was our universe, too, brought into existence by a daring creator?
One in a million doesn't even come close.Not when we're talking about the odds that you would happen to be alive today, on this particular planet, hurtling through space. Almost fourteen billion years of cosmic history, over four billion years of Earth history, a couple million years of human history, the rise and fall of nations, the unbroken string of generations necessary to lead to you--it's staggering to consider. Yet behind everything in our world, from the phone in your pocket to even the force of gravity itself, lies a similarly grand procession of highly improbable events.This panoramic viewpoint has captured the imagination of historians and scientists alike, and together they've created a new field--Big History--that integrates traditional historical scholarship with scientific insights to study the full sweep of our universe and its past. Famed geologist Walter Alvarez--best known for the impact theory explaining dinosaur extinction--has championed a science-first approach to Big History, and A Most Improbable Journey is one of the first Big History books to be written by a scientist rather than a historian. Alvarez brings his unique expertise and infectious curiosity to give us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrences--from the Big Bang to the formation of supercontinents, the dawn of the Bronze Age, and beyond--that have led to our improbable place in the universe.
This book comprises 26 carefully edited articles with well-referenced and up-to-date material written by many of the leading experts. These articles originated from presentations and dialogues at the second HKUST Institute for Advanced Study Program on High Energy Physics are organized into three aspects, Theory, Accelerator, and Experiment, focusing on in-depth analyses and technical aspects that are essential for the developments and expectations for the future high energy physics.
Modern civilization faces a broad spectrum of daunting problems, but rational solutions are available for them all. This book explores the following issues: (1) Threats to the environment and climate change; (2) a growing population and vanishing resources; (3) the global food and refugee crisis; (4) intolerable economic inequality; (5) the threat of nuclear war; (6) the military-industrial complex; and (7) limits to growth. These problems are closely interlinked, and their possible solutions are discussed in this book. Book jacket.
Modern civilization faces a broad spectrum of daunting problems, but rational solutions are available for them all. This book explores the following issues: (1) Threats to the environment and climate change; (2) a growing population and vanishing resources; (3) the global food and refugee crisis; (4) intolerable economic inequality; (5) the threat of nuclear war; (6) the military-industrial complex; and (7) limits to growth. These problems are closely interlinked, and their possible solutions are discussed in this book. Book jacket.
The climate of the Earth is always changing. As the debate over the implications of changes in the Earth's climate has grown, the term climate change has come to refer primarily to changes we've seen over recent years and those which are predicted to be coming, mainly as a result of human behavior. This book serves as a broad, accessible guide to the science behind this often political and heated debate by providing scientific detail and evidence in language that is clear to both the non-specialist and the serious student. * provides all the scientific evidence for and possible causes of climate change in one book * written by expert scientists working in the field * logical, non-emotional conclusions * a source book for the latest findings on climate change
Climate change is still, arguably, the most critical and controversial issue facing the world in the twenty-first century. Previously published as Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction, the new edition has been renamed Climate Change: A Very Short introduction, to reflect the important change in the terminology of the last decade. In the third edition, Mark Maslin includes crucial updates from the last few years, including the results of the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the effects of ocean acidification, and the impact of changes to global population and health. Exploring key topics in the debate, Maslin makes sense of the complexities of climate change, from political and social issues to environmental and scientific ones. Looking at its predicated impacts, he explores the controversies, and explains various proposed solutions. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Providing an up-to-date synthesis of all knowledge relevant to the climate change issue, this book ranges from the basic science documenting the need for policy action to the technologies, economic instruments and political strategies that can be employed in response to climate change. Ethical and cultural issues constraining the societal response to climate change are also discussed. This book provides a handbook for those who want to understand and contribute to meeting this challenge. It covers a very wide range of disciplines - core biophysical sciences involved with climate change (geosciences, atmospheric sciences, ocean sciences, ecology/biology) as well as economics, political science, health sciences, institutions and governance, sociology, ethics and philosophy, and engineering. As such it will be invaluable for a wide range of researchers and professionals wanting a cutting-edge synthesis of climate change issues, and for advanced student courses on climate change.
Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change"represents a clear and present danger to civilization." In June 2015, the Pope declared that action on climate change is a moral issue.This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions. Alongside detailed but highly accessible descriptions of what is causing climate change, this entry in the What Everyone Needs to Knowseries answers questions about the practical implications of this growing force on our world: * How will climate change impact you and your family in the coming decades?* What are the future implications for owners of coastal property? * Should you plan on retiring in South Florida or the U.S. Southwest or Southern Europe? * What occupations and fields of study will be most in demand in a globally warmed world? * What impact will climate change have on investments and the global economy?As the world struggles to stem climate change and its effects, everyone will become a part of this story of the century. Here is what you need to know.
Weather control. Juxtaposing those two words is enough to raise eyebrows in a world where even the best weather models still fail to nail every forecast, and when the effects of climate change on sea level height, seasonal averages of weather phenomena, and biological behavior are being watched with interest by all, regardless of political or scientific persuasion. But between the late nineteenth century--when the United States first funded an attempt to "shock" rain out of clouds--and the late 1940s, rainmaking (as it had been known) became weather control. And then things got out of control. In Make It Rain, Kristine C. Harper tells the long and somewhat ludicrous history of state-funded attempts to manage, manipulate, and deploy the weather in America. Harper shows that governments from the federal to the local became helplessly captivated by the idea that weather control could promote agriculture, health, industrial output, and economic growth at home, or even be used as a military weapon and diplomatic tool abroad. Clear fog for landing aircraft? There's a project for that. Gentle rain for strawberries? Let's do it! Enhanced snowpacks for hydroelectric utilities? Check. The heyday of these weather control programs came during the Cold War, as the atmosphere came to be seen as something to be defended, weaponized, and manipulated. Yet Harper demonstrates that today there are clear implications for our attempts to solve the problems of climate change.
Under certain scenarios on the subject of CO2 emissions, by the end of the century the atmospheric concentration could triple its pre-industrial level. The very large numerical models intended to anticipate the corresponding climate evolutions are designed and quantified from the laws of physics. However, little is generally known about these: genesis of clouds, terms of the greenhouse effect, solar activity intervention, etc. This book deals with the issue of climate modeling in a different way: using proven techniques for identifying black box-type models. Taking climate observations from throughout the millennia, the global models obtained are validated statistically and confirmed by the resulting simulations. This book thus brings constructive elements that can be reproduced by anyone adept at numerical simulation, whether an expert climatologist or not. It is accessible to any reader interested in the issues of climate change.
Is climate change really happening and does it matter?The answer from the scientific community is a resounding yes, yet debates about the reality of climate change and what measures to take are slowing our response. Barrie Pittock, one of the world's leading climate researchers, argues that we need to act urgently to avoid increasingly severe climate change.He looks at the controversy around global warming and other predicted changes, examining the scientific basis of the changes observed to date, how they relate to natural variations and why the evidence points to larger changes later this century. The effect of these changes on our natural systems and our lifestyles will be considerable and could include wild weather, shifts in global ocean circulation, decreases in crop yields and sea-level rises. But the impacts won't be distributed evenly: some countries will suffer more than others.Climate Change: Turning up the Heat explains how our attitudes to risk and uncertainty � constant companions in life � influence our decision making and, ultimately, how much we and future generations stand to lose from rapid climate change. It outlines the current concerns of the major international players and reviews the response to date, detailing national interests. Importantly, it shows there is real hope of managing climate change and minimising the risk of disaster if we step up efforts to develop and apply innovative technological and policy solutions.
There's no hotter area of science, at least as far as the general media and laypeople are concerned, than neuroscience--every day we hear of dramatic, surprising discoveries that seem to have the potential to utterly change our understanding of how the mind works. This book offers the first thorough review of such claims and the new biological science behind them. It examines the actual and potential applications of neuroscience within social policy and the impact of neuroscientific discoveries on long-standing moral debates and professional practices throughout social work, mental health practice, and criminal justice.
One of the world's leading cultural psychologists debunks the hype surrounding DNA testing and puts to rest our mistaken anxieties about our genes. Do you fear what might be lurking in your DNA? Well, now you can find out, and you most likely will. Scientists expect one billion people to have their genomes sequenced by 2025, and as the price drops it may even become a standard medical procedure. Yet cultural psychologist Steven Heine argues that the first thing we'll do upon receiving our DNA test results is to misinterpret them completely. We've become accustomed to breathless media coverage about newly discovered "cancer" or "IQ" or "infidelity" genes, each one promising a deeper understanding of what makes us tick. But as Heine shows, most of these claims are oversimplified and overhyped misinterpretations of how our DNA really works. With few exceptions, it is a complex combination of experience, environment, and genetics that determines who we are, how we behave, and what diseases will afflict us in the future. So why do we continue to buy into the belief that our genes control our destiny? Heine argues that we are psychologically ill equipped to deal with DNA results, repeatedly falling into predictable biases--switch-thinking, essentialism, fatalism, negativity dominance, and more--that mold our thinking about the information we receive. Heine shares his research--and his own genome-sequencing results--to not only to set the record straight regarding what your genes actually reveal about your health, intelligence, ethnic identity, and family, but to also help you counteract these insidious cognitive traps. His fresh, surprising conclusions about the promise, and limits, of genetic engineering and DNA testing upend conventional thinking and reveal a simple, profound truth: your genes create life--but they do not control it.
In recent years climate change has become recognised as the foremost environmental problem of the twenty-first century. Not only will climate change potentially affect the multibillion dollar energy strategies of countries worldwide, but it also could seriously affect many species, including our own. A fascinating introduction to the subject, this textbook provides a broad review of past, present and likely future climate change from the viewpoints of biology, ecology and human ecology. It will be of interest to a wide range of people, from students in the life sciences who need a brief overview of the basics of climate science, to atmospheric science, geography, and environmental science students who need to understand the biological and human ecological implications of climate change. It will also be a valuable reference for those involved in environmental monitoring, conservation, policy-making and policy lobbying.
This is the first history of phytotrons, huge climate-controlled laboratories that enabled plant scientists to experiment on the environmental causes of growth and development of living organisms. Made possible by computers and other modern technologies of the early Cold War, such as air conditioning and humidity control, phytotrons promised an end to global hunger and political instability, spreading around the world to thirty countries after World War II. The United States built nearly a dozen, including the first at Caltech in 1949. By the mid-1960s, as support and funding for basic science dwindled, phytotrons declined and ultimately disappeared--until, nearly thirty years later, the British built the Ecotron to study the impact of climate change on biological communities. By recalling the forgotten history of phytotrons, David P. D. Munns reminds us of the important role they can play in helping researchers unravel the complexities of natural ecosystems in the Anthropocene.
Fat is an obsession, a dirty word, a subject of national handwringing--and, according to biochemist Sylvia Tara, the least-understood part of our body.You may not love your fat, but your body certainly does. In fact, your body is actually endowed with many self-defense measures to hold on to fat. For example, fat can use stem cells to regenerate; increase our appetite if it feels threatened; and use bacteria, genetics, and viruses to expand itself. The secret to losing twenty pounds? You have to work with your fat, not against it. Tara explains how your fat influences your appetite and willpower, how it defends itself when attacked, and why it grows back so quickly. The Secret Life of Fat brings cutting-edge research together with historical perspectives to reveal fat's true identity: an endocrine organ that, in the right amount, is critical to our health. Fat triggers puberty, enables our reproductive and immune systems, and even affects brain size.Although we spend $60 billion annually fighting fat, our efforts are often misinformed and misdirected. Tara expertly illustrates the complex role that genetics, hormones, diet, exercise, and history play in our weight, and The Secret Life of Fat sets you on the path to beat the bulge once and for all.
We rely on environmental health scientists to document the presence of chemicals where we live, work, and play and to provide an empirical basis for public policy. In the last decades of the 20th century, environmental health scientists began to shift their focus deep within the human body, and to the molecular level, in order to investigate gene-environment interactions. In Exposed Science, Sara Shostak analyzes the rise of gene-environment interaction in the environmental health sciences and examines its consequences for how we understand and seek to protect population health. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation, Shostak demonstrates that what we know - and what we don't know - about the vulnerabilities of our bodies to environmental hazards is profoundly shaped by environmental health scientists' efforts to address the structural vulnerabilities of their field. She then takes up the political effects of this research, both from the perspective of those who seek to establish genomic technologies as a new basis for environmental regulation, and from the perspective of environmental justice activists, who are concerned that that their efforts to redress the social, political, and economical inequalities that put people at risk of environmental exposure will be undermined by molecular explanations of environmental health and illness. Exposed Science thus offers critically important new ways of understanding and engaging with the emergence of gene-environment interaction as a focal concern of environmental health science, policy-making, and activism.
Mustard gas is typically associated with the horrors of World War I battlefields and trenches, where chemical weapons were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. Few realize, however, that mustard gas had a resurgence during the Second World War, when its uses and effects were widespread and insidious. Toxic Exposures tells the shocking story of how the United States and its allies intentionally subjected thousands of their own servicemen to poison gas as part of their preparation for chemical warfare. In addition, it reveals the racialized dimension of these mustard gas experiments, as scientists tested whether the effects of toxic exposure might vary between Asian, Hispanic, black, and white Americans. Drawing from once-classified American and Canadian government records, military reports, scientists' papers, and veterans' testimony, historian Susan L. Smith explores not only the human cost of this research, but also the environmental degradation caused by ocean dumping of unwanted mustard gas. As she assesses the poisonous legacy of these chemical warfare experiments, Smith also considers their surprising impact on the origins of chemotherapy as cancer treatment and the development of veterans' rights movements. Toxic Exposures thus traces the scars left when the interests of national security and scientific curiosity battled with medical ethics and human rights.
This text is an excursion into the drug development process, from the initial conception in a chemical or molecular biology lab, via tests in isolated cells and animals, to the stage of clinical trials. The human body is a complex ecosystem where little is conclusively known in terms of its response to medication, for both sick and healthy individuals. The considerable degree of uncertainty inherent in health-related research can lead to approval of controversial medicines, particularly in high-stakes scenarios and medical crises. Real-life examples are drawn on here to explain the decision making processes behind the acceptance of new drugs, disproving misconceptions around medicines by delving into the history and current practice of the drug development process.
Winner of the 2009 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award , from the Society of Environmental Journalists Canada has one third of the world’s oil source; it comes from the bitumen in the oil sands of Alberta. Advancements in technology and frenzied development have created the world’s largest energy project in Fort McMurray where, rather than shooting up like a fountain in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, the sticky bitumen is extracted from the earth. Providing almost 20 percent of America’s fuel, much of this dirty oil is being processed in refineries in the Midwest. This out-of-control megaproject is polluting the air, poisoning the water, and destroying boreal forest at a rate almost too rapid to be imagined. In this hard-hitting book, journalist Andrew Nikiforuk exposes the disastrous environmental, social, and political costs of the tar sands and argues forcefully for change.