- Table View
- List View
Speedy, determined bacteria, and expert protist architects, caught between an tectonically active Earth and an energetic sun, engage in wars, alliances, bizarre sexual encounters, mergers, truces, and victories to create species. Random mutations and an omnipotent deity, say Margulis (geosciences, U. of Massachusetts-Amherst) and New York City science writer Sagan, played no part. Annotation c. Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Modern science and western culture both teach that the planet we inhabit is a dead and passive lump of matter, but as Stephan Harding points out, this wasn't always the prevailing sentiment and in Animate Earth he sets out to explain how these older notions of an animate earth can be explained in rational, scientific terms. In this astounding book Harding lays out the facts and theories behind one of the most controversial notions to come out of the hard sciences arguably since Sir Isaac Newton's Principia or the first major publications to come out of the Copenhagen School regarding quantum mechanics. The latter is an important parallel: Whereas quantum mechanics is a science of the problem--it gave rise to the atomic bomb among other things--Gaia Theory in this age of global warming and dangerous climate change is a science of the solution. Its utility: Healing a dying planet becomes an option in a culture otherwise poised to fall into total ecological collapse. Replacing the cold, objectifying language of science with a way of speaking of our planet as a sentient, living being, Harding presents the science of Gaia in everyday English. His scientific passion and rigor shine through his luminous prose as he calls us to experience Gaia as a living presence and bringing to mind such popular science authors as James Gleick. Animate Earth will inspire in readers a profound sense of the interconnectedness of life, and to discover what it means to live harmoniously as part of a sentient creature of planetary proportions. This new understanding may solve the most serious problems that face us as a species today.
At the crossroads of philosophy and science, the sometimes-dry topics of evolution and ecology come alive in this new collection of essays-many never before anthologized. Learn how technology may be a sort of second nature, how the systemic human fungus Candida albicans can lead to cravings for carrot cake and beer, how the presence of life may be why there's water on Earth, and many other fascinating facts. The essay "Metametazoa" presents perspectives on biology in a philosophical context, demonstrating how the intellectual librarian, pornographer, and political agitator Georges Bataille was influenced by Russian mineralogist Vladimir Vernadsky and how this led to his notion of the absence of meaning in the face of the sun-which later influenced Jacques Derrida, thereby establishing a causal chain of influence from the hard sciences to topics as abstract as deconstruction and postmodernism. In "Spirochetes Awake" the bizarre connection between syphilis and genius in the life of Friedrich Nietzsche is traced. The astonishing similarities of the Acquired-Immunity-Deficiency-Syndrome symptoms with those of chronic spirochete infection, it is argued, contrast sharply with the lack of evidence that "HIV is the cause of AIDS". Throughout these readings we are dazzled by the intimacy and necessity of relationships between us and our other planetmates. In our ignorance as "civilized" people we dismiss, disdain, and deny our kinship with the only productive life forms that sustain this living planet.
This collection of linked stories by internationally renowned evolutionist Lynn Margulis reveals science from the inside-its thrills, disappointments, and triumphs. A largely fictional account, it draws on her decades of experience to portray the poor judgment, exhaustion, and life-threatening dedication of real scientists--their emotional preoccupations, sexual distractions, and passions for research. The esoteric, demanding, sometimes exhilarating world of science emerges from the shadows of its passive narrative into the sunlight of the personal voice of those who attempt to wrench secrets directly from nature. All of us who struggle to balance family, professional, and social commitments with intellectual quest will be intrigued by the humanity of these tales.
Nearly 40 of the world's most esteemed scientists discuss the big questions that drive their illustrious careers. Frank and often irreverent, the men and women assembled here reveal a hidden world of intellectual interests, verve, and humor.
Although Charles Darwin's theory of evolution laid the foundations of modern biology, it did not tell the whole story. Most remarkably,The Origin of Speciessaid very little about, of all things, the origins of species. Darwin and his modern successors have shown very convincingly how inherited variations are naturally selected, but they leave unanswered how variant organisms come to be in the first place. InSymbiotic Planet,renowned scientist Lynn Margulis shows that symbiosis, which simply means members of different species living in physical contact with each other, is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty. Ranging from bacteria, the smallest kinds of life, to the largest-the living Earth itself-Margulis explains the symbiotic origins of many of evolution's most important innovations. The very cells we're made of started as symbiotic unions of different kinds of bacteria. Sex-and its inevitable corollary, death-arose when failed attempts at cannibalism resulted in seasonally repeated mergers of some of our tiniest ancestors. Dry land became forested only after symbioses of algae and fungi evolved into plants. Since all living things are bathed by the same waters and atmosphere, all the inhabitants of Earth belong to a symbiotic union. Gaia, the finely tuned largest ecosystem of the Earth's surface, is just symbiosis as seen from space. Along the way, Margulis describes her initiation into the world of science and the early steps in the present revolution in evolutionary biology; the importance of species classification for how we think about the living world; and the way "academic apartheid" can block scientific advancement. Written with enthusiasm and authority, this is a book that could change the way you view our living Earth.
Author shows that symbiosis, which simply means members of different species living in physical contact with one another, is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty.
Transcending the various formal concepts of life, this captivating book offers a unique overview of life's history, essences, and future. A masterpiece of scientific writing. You will cherish "What Is Life?" because it is so rich in poetry and science in the service of profound philosophical questions.
Select your download format based upon: 1) how you want to read your book, and 2) compatibility with your reading tool. For more details, visit the Formats page under the Getting Started tab.See and hear words read aloud
- DAISY Text - See words on the screen and hear words being read aloud with the text-to-speech voice installed on your reading tool. Navigate by page, chapter, section, and more. Can also be used in audio-only mode. Compatible with many reading tools, including Bookshare’s free reading tools.
- DAISY Text with Images - Similar to DAISY Text with the addition of images within the Text. Your reading tool must support images.
- Read Now with Bookshare Web Reader - Read and see images directly from your Internet browser without downloading! Text-to-speech voicing and word highlighting are available on Google Chrome (extension installation required). Other browsers can be used with limited features. Learn more
- DAISY Audio - Listen to books in audio-only mode with the high-quality Kendra voice by Ivona pre-installed. Navigate by page, chapter, section, and more. Must be used with a DAISY Audio compatible reading tool.
- MP3 - Listen to books in audio-only mode with the high-quality Kendra voice by Ivona pre-installed. Navigate using tracks. Can be used with any MP3 player.
- BRF (Braille Ready Format) - Read with any BRF compatible refreshable braille display; navigate using the search or find feature.
- DAISY Text - Read with any DAISY 3.0 compatible refreshable braille display, navigate by page, chapter, section, and more.
- Embossed Braille - Use Bookshare’s DAISY Text or BRF formats to generate embossed braille.