Entangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds Change Our Minds Shape Our Futures

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Entangled Life

Entangled Life Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Merlin Sheldrake
Editor: Random House
ISBN: 0525510338
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Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake Summary

“Merlin Sheldrake’s marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth’s marvels. . . . Wondrous.”—Time A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, “one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you” (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk). NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • New Statesman • London Evening Standard • Science Friday When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave. In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the “Wood Wide Web,” to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works. Praise for Entangled Life “Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition. . . . Food for the soul.”—Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal “[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration . . . This book may not be a psychedelic—and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet)—but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.”—Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

Never Home Alone

Never Home Alone Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Rob Dunn
Editor: Basic Books
ISBN: 154164574X
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Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn Summary

A natural history of the wilderness in our homes, from the microbes in our showers to the crickets in our basements Even when the floors are sparkling clean and the house seems silent, our domestic domain is wild beyond imagination. In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn introduces us to the nearly 200,000 species living with us in our own homes, from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards and camel crickets in our basements to the lactobacillus lounging on our kitchen counters. You are not alone. Yet, as we obsess over sterilizing our homes and separating our spaces from nature, we are unwittingly cultivating an entirely new playground for evolution. These changes are reshaping the organisms that live with us -- prompting some to become more dangerous, while undermining those species that benefit our bodies or help us keep more threatening organisms at bay. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory book will look at their homes in the same way again.

The Ends of the World

The Ends of the World Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Peter Brannen
Editor: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062364820
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The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen Summary

One of Vox’s Most Important Books of the Decade New York Times Editors' Choice 2017 Forbes Top 10 Best Environment, Climate, and Conservation Book of 2017 As new groundbreaking research suggests that climate change played a major role in the most extreme catastrophes in the planet's history, award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen takes us on a wild ride through the planet's five mass extinctions and, in the process, offers us a glimpse of our increasingly dangerous future Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth’s past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future. Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside “scenes of the crime,” from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record—which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish—and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits. Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, and casts our future in a completely new light.

Fast Food, Good Food

Fast Food, Good Food Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Andrew Weil, MD
Editor: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316329517
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Fast Food, Good Food by Andrew Weil, MD Summary

Winner of the IACP Health & Special Diet Award Delicious, nutritious, quick, and easy recipes from bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil's own kitchen. These days, fewer people than ever are cooking meals at home. Convincing ourselves that we don't have time to cook, we've forgotten how fast, simple, and wonderfully satisfying it can be to prepare delicious meals in our own kitchens for the people we love. In FAST FOOD, GOOD FOOD, bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil reminds us, with more than 150 easy-to-prepare recipes for delectable dishes that are irresistibly tasty and good for you. These recipes showcase fresh, high-quality ingredients and hearty flavors, like Buffalo Mozzarella Bruschetta, Five-Spice Winter Squash Soup, Greek Style Kale Salad, Pappardelle with Arugula Walnut Pesto, Pan-Seared Halibut with Green Harissa, Coconut Lemon Bars, and Pomegranate Margaritas. With guidance on following an anti-inflammatory diet and mouth-wateringly gorgeous photographs, FAST FOOD, GOOD FOOD will inspire the inner nutritionist and chef in every reader.

Our Wild Calling

Our Wild Calling Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Richard Louv
Editor: Algonquin Books
ISBN: 1643750178
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Our Wild Calling by Richard Louv Summary

“A book that offers hope.” —The New York Times Book Review “Richard Louv has done it again. A remarkable book that will help everyone break away from their fixed gaze at the screens that dominate our lives and remember instead that we are animals in a world of animals.” —Bill McKibben, author of Falter Richard Louv’s landmark book, Last Child in the Woods, inspired an international movement to connect children and nature. Now Louv redefines the future of human-animal coexistence. Our Wild Calling explores these powerful and mysterious bonds and how they can transform our mental, physical, and spiritual lives, serve as an antidote to the growing epidemic of human loneliness, and help us tap into the empathy required to preserve life on Earth. Louv interviews researchers, theologians, wildlife experts, indigenous healers, psychologists, and others to show how people are communicating with animals in ancient and new ways; how dogs can teach children ethical behavior; how animal-assisted therapy may yet transform the mental health field; and what role the human-animal relationship plays in our spiritual health. He reports on wildlife relocation and on how the growing populations of wild species in urban areas are blurring the lines between domestic and wild animals. Our Wild Calling makes the case for protecting, promoting, and creating a sustainable and shared habitat for all creatures—not out of fear, but out of love. Transformative and inspiring, this book points us toward what we all long for in the age of technology: real connection.

Ageless

Ageless Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Andrew Steele
Editor: Doubleday
ISBN: 0385544936
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Ageless by Andrew Steele Summary

A startling chronicle by a brilliant young scientist takes us onto the frontiers of the science of aging, and reveals how close we are to an astonishing extension of our life spans and a vastly improved quality of life in our later years. Aging--not cancer, not heart disease--is the true underlying cause of most human death and suffering. We accept as inevitable that as we advance in years our bodies and minds begin to deteriorate and that we are ever more likely to be felled by dementia or disease. But we never really ask--is aging necessary? Biologists, on the other hand, have been investigating that question for years. After all, there are tortoises and salamanders whose risk of dying is the same no matter how old they are. With the help of science, could humans find a way to become old without getting frail, a phenomenon known as "biological immortality"? In Ageless, Andrew Steele, a computational biologist and science writer, takes us on a journey through the laboratories where scientists are studying every bodily system that declines with age--DNA, mitochondria, stem cells, our immune systems--and developing therapies to reverse the trend. With bell-clear writing and intellectual passion, Steele shines a spotlight on a little-known revolution already underway.

The Bird Way

The Bird Way Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Jennifer Ackerman
Editor: Penguin
ISBN: 0735223025
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The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds, a radical investigation into the bird way of being, and the recent scientific research that is dramatically shifting our understanding of birds -- how they live and how they think. “There is the mammal way and there is the bird way.” But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries –– What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They are also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own: deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play. Some of these extraordinary behaviors are biological conundrums that seem to push the edges of, well, birdness: a mother bird that kills her own infant sons, and another that selflessly tends to the young of other birds as if they were her own; a bird that collaborates in an extraordinary way with one species—ours—but parasitizes another in gruesome fashion; birds that give gifts and birds that steal; birds that dance or drum, that paint their creations or paint themselves; birds that build walls of sound to keep out intruders and birds that summon playmates with a special call—and may hold the secret to our own penchant for playfulness and the evolution of laughter. Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, Jennifer Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It is what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.

The Genome Odyssey

The Genome Odyssey Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Dr. Euan Angus Ashley
Editor: Celadon Books
ISBN: 1250234972
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The Genome Odyssey by Dr. Euan Angus Ashley Summary

In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Euan Ashley, Stanford professor of medicine and genetics, brings the breakthroughs of precision medicine to vivid life through the real diagnostic journeys of his patients and the tireless efforts of his fellow doctors and scientists as they hunt to prevent, predict, and beat disease. Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, the price of genome sequencing has dropped at a staggering rate. It’s as if the price of a Ferrari went from $350,000 to a mere forty cents. Through breakthroughs made by Dr. Ashley’s team at Stanford and other dedicated groups around the world, analyzing the human genome has decreased from a heroic multibillion dollar effort to a single clinical test costing less than $1,000. For the first time we have within our grasp the ability to predict our genetic future, to diagnose and prevent disease before it begins, and to decode what it really means to be human. In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Ashley details the medicine behind genome sequencing with clarity and accessibility. More than that, with passion for his subject and compassion for his patients, he introduces readers to the dynamic group of researchers and doctor detectives who hunt for answers, and to the pioneering patients who open up their lives to the medical community during their search for diagnoses and cures. He describes how he led the team that was the first to analyze and interpret a complete human genome, how they broke genome speed records to diagnose and treat a newborn baby girl whose heart stopped five times on the first day of her life, and how they found a boy with tumors growing inside his heart and traced the cause to a missing piece of his genome. These patients inspire Dr. Ashley and his team as they work to expand the boundaries of our medical capabilities and to envision a future where genome sequencing is available for all, where medicine can be tailored to treat specific diseases and to decode pathogens like viruses at the genomic level, and where our medical system as we know it has been completely revolutionized.

Mycelium Running

Mycelium Running Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Paul Stamets
Editor: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 1607741245
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Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets Summary

Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how. The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening). In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.

Fantastic Fungi

Fantastic Fungi Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Paul Stamets
Editor: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1647221722
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Companion to the film Fantastic Fungi. Contributions from Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, Eugenia Bone, and many more expterts make Fantastic Fungi an awe-inspiring visual journey through the exotic, little-known realm of fungi and its amazing potential to positively influence our lives. An all-star team of professional and amateur mycologists, artists, foodies, ecologists, doctors, and explorers joined forces with time-lapse master Louie Schwartzberg to create Fantastic Fungi, the life-affirming, mind-bending film about mushrooms and their mysterious interwoven rootlike filaments called mycelium. What this team reveals will blow your mind and possibly save the planet. This visually compelling companion book of the same name, edited by preeminent mycologist Paul Stamets, will expand upon the film in every way through extended transcripts, new essays and interviews, and additional facts about the fantastic realm of fungi. Fantastic Fungi is at the forefront of a mycological revolution that is quickly going mainstream. In this book, learn about the incredible communication network of mycelium under our feet, which has the proven ability to restore the planet’s ecosystems, repair our health, and resurrect our symbiotic relationship with nature. Fantastic Fungi aspires to educate and inspire the reader in three critical areas: First, the text showcases research that reveals mushrooms as a viable alternative to Western pharmacology. Second, it explores studies pointing to mycelium as a solution to our gravest environmental challenges. And, finally, it details fungi’s marvelous proven ability to shift consciousness. Motivating both the visually stunning film and this follow-up book is an urgent mission to change human consciousness and restore our planet.

Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms

Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Paul Stamets
Editor: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 1607741385
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Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets Summary

A detailed and comprehensive guide for growing and using gourmet and medicinal mushrooms commercially or at home. “Absolutely the best book in the world on how to grow diverse and delicious mushrooms.”—David Arora, author of Mushrooms Demystified With precise growth parameters for thirty-one mushroom species, this bible of mushroom cultivation includes gardening tips, state-of-the-art production techniques, realistic advice for laboratory and growing room construction, tasty mushroom recipes, and an invaluable troubleshooting guide. More than 500 photographs, illustrations, and charts clearly identify each stage of cultivation, and a twenty-four-page color insert spotlights the intense beauty of various mushroom species. Whether you’re an ecologist, a chef, a forager, a pharmacologist, a commercial grower, or a home gardener—this indispensable handbook will get you started, help your garden succeed, and make your mycological landscapes the envy of the neighborhood.

Life Changing

Life Changing Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Helen Pilcher
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472956737
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Life Changing by Helen Pilcher Summary

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR WRITING ON GLOBAL CONSERVATION 'Pilcher is both very funny and very, very clever.' Gillian Burke 'Richly entertaining throughout.' Sunday Times For the last three billion years or so, life on Earth was shaped by natural forces. Evolution tended to happen slowly, with species crafted across millennia. Then, a few hundred thousand years ago, along came a bolshie, big-brained, bipedal primate we now call Homo sapiens, and with that, the Earth's natural history came to an abrupt end. We are now living through the post-natural phase, where humans have become the leading force shaping evolution. This thought-provoking book considers the many ways that we've altered the DNA of living things and changed the fate of life on earth. We have carved chihuahuas from wolves and fancy chickens from jungle fowl. We've added spider genes to goats and coral genes to tropical fish. It's possible to buy genetically-modified pets, eat genetically-modified fish and watch cloned ponies thunder up and down the polo field. Now, as our global dominance grows, our influence extends far beyond these species. As we warm our world and radically reshape the biosphere, we affect the evolution of all living things, near and far, from the emergence of novel hybrids such as the pizzly bear, to the entirely new strains of animals and plants that are evolving at breakneck speed to cope with their altered environment. In Life Changing, Helen introduces us to these post-natural creations and talks to the scientists who create, study and tend to them. At a time when the future of so many species is uncertain, we meet some of the conservationists seeking to steer evolution onto firmer footings with novel methods like the 'spermcopter', coral IVF and plans to release wild elephants into Denmark. Helen explores the changing relationship between humans and the natural world, and reveals how, with evidence-based thinking, humans can help life change for the better.

The Book of Fungi

The Book of Fungi Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Peter Roberts,Shelley Evans
Editor: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022617719X
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The Book of Fungi by Peter Roberts,Shelley Evans Summary

“The lurid photographs and enticing, offhandedly witty descriptions make the reader want to go out collecting specimens right away."—Popular Science From morels to chanterelles, toadstools to truffles, fungi have been a source of fascination since the earliest hunter-gatherers first foraged for them. Today there are few, if any, places on Earth where fungi have not found themselves a home—their habitats span the poles and the tropics, mountaintops and backyards. Packed with facts and photos, this book introduces you to fungus in many forms—some parasitic, some poisonous, some hallucinogenic and some with healing properties that can be tapped for pharmaceutical products. Then of course, there are the delicious mushrooms that are prized by epicureans and gourmands worldwide. Each species here is reproduced at its actual size, in full color, and accompanied by a scientific explanation of its distribution, habitat, association, abundance, growth form, spore color, and edibility. With information on the characteristics, locations, distinguishing features, and occasionally bizarre habits of these fungi, you’ll find in this book the common and the conspicuous, the unfamiliar and the odd—including a fungal predator, for instance, that hunts its prey with lassos, and several that set traps, including one that entices sows by releasing the pheromones of a wild boar. “How dazzling is the world of mushrooms? The fan-shaped cinnabar oysterling looks like something you would find undersea. The violet webcap is vibrant. These are among the more than 600 fungi described and illustrated in this scholarly and beautiful book.”—TheNew York Times “Anyone with an appreciation of the beauty of nature will enjoy.”—Grand Forks Herald

To Speak for the Trees

To Speak for the Trees Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Diana Beresford-Kroeger
Editor: Random House Canada
ISBN: 0735275084
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To Speak for the Trees by Diana Beresford-Kroeger Summary

Canadian botanist, biochemist and visionary Diana Beresford-Kroeger's startling insights into the hidden life of trees have already sparked a quiet revolution in how we understand our relationship to forests. Now, in a captivating account of how her life led her to these illuminating and crucial ideas, she shows us how forests can not only heal us but save the planet. When Diana Beresford-Kroeger--whose father was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and whose mother was an O'Donoghue, one of the stronghold families who carried on the ancient Celtic traditions--was orphaned as a child, she could have been sent to the Magdalene Laundries. Instead, the O'Donoghue elders, most of them scholars and freehold farmers in the Lisheens valley in County Cork, took her under their wing. Diana became the last ward under the Brehon Law. Over the course of three summers, she was taught the ways of the Celtic triad of mind, body and soul. This included the philosophy of healing, the laws of the trees, Brehon wisdom and the Ogham alphabet, all of it rooted in a vision of nature that saw trees and forests as fundamental to human survival and spirituality. Already a precociously gifted scholar, Diana found that her grounding in the ancient ways led her to fresh scientific concepts. Out of that huge and holistic vision have come the observations that put her at the forefront of her field: the discovery of mother trees at the heart of a forest; the fact that trees are a living library, have a chemical language and communicate in a quantum world; the major idea that trees heal living creatures through the aerosols they release and that they carry a great wealth of natural antibiotics and other healing substances; and, perhaps most significantly, that planting trees can actively regulate the atmosphere and the oceans, and even stabilize our climate. This book is not only the story of a remarkable scientist and her ideas, it harvests all of her powerful knowledge about why trees matter, and why trees are a viable, achievable solution to climate change. Diana eloquently shows us that if we can understand the intricate ways in which the health and welfare of every living creature is connected to the global forest, and strengthen those connections, we will still have time to mend the self-destructive ways that are leading to drastic fires, droughts and floods.

Brilliant Green

Brilliant Green Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Stefano Mancuso,Alessandra Viola
Editor: Island Press
ISBN: 1610916042
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Brilliant Green by Stefano Mancuso,Alessandra Viola Summary

Are plants intelligent? Can they solve problems, communicate, and navigate their surroundings? Or are they passive, incapable of independent action or social behavior? Philosophers and scientists have pondered these questions since ancient Greece, most often concluding that plants are unthinking and inert: they are too silent, too sedentary -- just too different from us. Yet discoveries over the past fifty years have challenged these ideas, shedding new light on the extraordinary capabilities and complex interior lives of plants. In Brilliant Green, Stefano Mancuso, a leading scientist and founder of the field of plant neurobiology, presents a new paradigm in our understanding of the vegetal world. Combining a historical perspective with the latest in plant science, Mancuso argues that, due to cultural prejudices and human arrogance, we continue to underestimate plants. In fact, they process information, sleep, remember, and signal to one another -- showing that, far from passive machines, plants are intelligent and aware. Through a survey of plant capabilities from sight and touch to communication, Mancuso challenges our notion of intelligence, presenting a vision of plant life that is more sophisticated than most imagine. Plants have much to teach us, from network building to innovations in robotics and man-made materials -- but only if we understand more about how they live. Part botany lesson, part manifesto, Brilliant Green is an engaging and passionate examination of the inner workings of the plant kingdom. Financial support for the translation of this book has been provided by SEPS: Segretariato Europeo Per Le Pubblicazioni Scientifiche.

Tales from the Ant World

Tales from the Ant World Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Edward O. Wilson
Editor: Liveright Publishing
ISBN: 1631495577
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Edward O. Wilson recalls his lifetime with ants, from his first boyhood encounters in the woods of Alabama to perilous journeys into the Brazilian rainforest. “Ants are the most warlike of all animals, with colony pitted against colony,” writes E.O. Wilson, one of the world’s most beloved scientists, “their clashes dwarf Waterloo and Gettysburg.” In Tales from the Ant World, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Wilson takes us on a myrmecological tour to such far-flung destinations as Mozambique and New Guinea, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dauphin Island and even his parent’s overgrown backyard, thrillingly relating his nine-decade-long scientific obsession with over 15,000 ant species. Animating his scientific observations with illuminating personal stories, Wilson hones in on twenty-five ant species to explain how these genetically superior creatures talk, smell, and taste, and more significantly, how they fight to determine who is dominant. Wryly observing that “males are little more than flying sperm missiles” or that ants send their “little old ladies into battle,” Wilson eloquently relays his brushes with fire, army, and leafcutter ants, as well as more exotic species. Among them are the very rare Matabele, Africa’s fiercest warrior ants, whose female hunters can carry up to fifteen termites in their jaw (and, as Wilson reports from personal experience, have an incredibly painful stinger); Costa Rica’s Basiceros, the slowest of all ants; and New Caledonia’s Bull Ants, the most endangered of them all, which Wilson discovered in 2011 after over twenty years of presumed extinction. Richly illustrated throughout with depictions of ant species by Kristen Orr, as well as photos from Wilsons’ expeditions throughout the world, Tales from the Ant World is a fascinating, if not occasionally hair-raising, personal account by one of our greatest scientists and a necessary volume for any lover of the natural world.

The Control of Nature

The Control of Nature Pdf/ePub eBook Author: John McPhee
Editor: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0374708495
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The Control of Nature by John McPhee Summary

While John McPhee was working on his previous book, Rising from the Plains, he happened to walk by the engineering building at the University of Wyoming, where words etched in limestone said: "Strive on--the control of Nature is won, not given." In the morning sunlight, that central phrase--"the control of nature"--seemed to sparkle with unintended ambiguity. Bilateral, symmetrical, it could with equal speed travel in opposite directions. For some years, he had been planning a book about places in the world where people have been engaged in all-out battles with nature, about (in the words of the book itself) "any struggle against natural forces--heroic or venal, rash or well advised--when human beings conscript themselves to fight against the earth, to take what is not given, to rout the destroying enemy, to surround the base of Mt. Olympus demanding and expecting the surrender of the gods." His interest had first been sparked when he went into the Atchafalaya--the largest river swamp in North America--and had learned that virtually all of its waters were metered and rationed by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' project called Old River Control. In the natural cycles of the Mississippi's deltaic plain, the time had come for the Mississippi to change course, to shift its mouth more than a hundred miles and go down the Atchafalaya, one of its distributary branches. The United States could not afford that--for New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and all the industries that lie between would be cut off from river commerce with the rest of the nation. At a place called Old River, the Corps therefore had built a great fortress--part dam, part valve--to restrain the flow of the Atchafalaya and compel the Mississippi to stay where it is. In Iceland, in 1973, an island split open without warning and huge volumes of lava began moving in the direction of a harbor scarcely half a mile away. It was not only Iceland's premier fishing port (accounting for a large percentage of Iceland's export economy) but it was also the only harbor along the nation's southern coast. As the lava threatened to fill the harbor and wipe it out, a physicist named Thorbjorn Sigurgeirsson suggested a way to fight against the flowing red rock--initiating an all-out endeavor unique in human history. On the big island of Hawaii, one of the world's two must eruptive hot spots, people are not unmindful of the Icelandic example. McPhee went to Hawaii to talk with them and to walk beside the edges of a molten lake and incandescent rivers. Some of the more expensive real estate in Los Angeles is up against mountains that are rising and disintegrating as rapidly as any in the world. After a complex coincidence of natural events, boulders will flow out of these mountains like fish eggs, mixed with mud, sand, and smaller rocks in a cascading mass known as debris flow. Plucking up trees and cars, bursting through doors and windows, filling up houses to their eaves, debris flows threaten the lives of people living in and near Los Angeles' famous canyons. At extraordinary expense the city has built a hundred and fifty stadium-like basins in a daring effort to catch the debris. Taking us deep into these contested territories, McPhee details the strategies and tactics through which people attempt to control nature. Most striking in his vivid depiction of the main contestants: nature in complex and awesome guises, and those who would attempt to wrest control from her--stubborn, often ingenious, and always arresting characters.

Advances in Physarum Machines

Advances in Physarum Machines Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Andrew Adamatzky
Editor: Springer
ISBN: 3319266624
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Advances in Physarum Machines by Andrew Adamatzky Summary

This book is devoted to Slime mould Physarum polycephalum, which is a large single cell capable for distributed sensing, concurrent information processing, parallel computation and decentralized actuation. The ease of culturing and experimenting with Physarum makes this slime mould an ideal substrate for real-world implementations of unconventional sensing and computing devices The book is a treatise of theoretical and experimental laboratory studies on sensing and computing properties of slime mould, and on the development of mathematical and logical theories of Physarum behavior. It is shown how to make logical gates and circuits, electronic devices (memristors, diodes, transistors, wires, chemical and tactile sensors) with the slime mould. The book demonstrates how to modify properties of Physarum computing circuits with functional nano-particles and polymers, to interface the slime mould with field-programmable arrays, and to use Physarum as a controller of microbial fuel cells. A unique multi-agent model of slime is shown to serve well as a software slime mould capable for solving problems of computational geometry and graph optimization. The multiagent model is complemented by cellular automata models with parallel accelerations. Presented mathematical models inspired by Physarum include non-quantum implementation of Shor's factorization, structural learning, computation of shortest path tree on dynamic graphs, supply chain network design, p-adic computing and syllogistic reasoning. The book is a unique composition of vibrant and lavishly illustrated essays which will inspire scientists, engineers and artists to exploit natural phenomena in designs of future and emergent computing and sensing devices. It is a 'bible' of experimental computing with spatially extended living substrates, it spanstopics from biology of slime mould, to bio-sensing, to unconventional computing devices and robotics, non-classical logics and music and arts.

The Gifts of Reading

The Gifts of Reading Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Robert Macfarlane,William Boyd,Candice Carty-Williams
Editor: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
ISBN: 1474615694
FileSize: 1186kb
File Format: Pdf
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The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane,William Boyd,Candice Carty-Williams Summary

'This story, like so many stories, begins with a gift. The gift, like so many gifts, was a book...' So begins the essay by Robert Macfarlane that inspired this collection. In this cornucopia of an anthology, you will find essays by some of the world's most beloved novelists, nonfiction writers, essayists and poets. 'You will see books taking flight in flocks, migrating around the world, landing in people's hearts and changing them for a day or a year or a lifetime. 'You will see books sparking wonder or anger; throwing open windows into other languages, other cultures, other minds; causing people to fall in love or to fight for what is right. 'And more than anything, over and over again, you will see books and words being given, received and read - and in turn prompting further generosity.' Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of global literacy non-profit, Room to Read, The Gifts of Reading forms inspiring, unforgettable, irresistible proof of the power and necessity of books and reading. Inspired by Robert Macfarlane Curated by Jennie Orchard With contributions by: William Boyd, Candice Carty-Williams, Imtiaz Dharker, Roddy Doyle, Pico Iyer, Andy Miller, Jackie Morris, Jan Morris, Sisonke Msimang, Dina Nayeri, Chigozie Obioma, Michael Ondaatje, David Pilling Max Porter, Philip Pullman, Alice Pung, Jancis Robinson, S.F.Said, Madeleine Thien, Salley Vickers, John Wood and Markus Zusak

The Allure of Fungi

The Allure of Fungi Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Alison Pouliot
Editor: CSIRO PUBLISHING
ISBN: 1486308597
FileSize: 1888kb
File Format: Pdf
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The Allure of Fungi by Alison Pouliot Summary

Although relatively little known, fungi provide the links between the terrestrial organisms and ecosystems that underpin our functioning planet. The Allure of Fungi presents fungi through multiple perspectives – those of mycologists and ecologists, foragers and forayers, naturalists and farmers, aesthetes and artists, philosophers and Traditional Owners. It explores how a history of entrenched fears and misconceptions about fungi has led to their near absence in Australian ecological consciousness and biodiversity conservation. Through a combination of text and visual essays, the author reflects on how aesthetic, sensate experience deepened by scientific knowledge offers the best chance for understanding fungi, the forest and human interactions with them.