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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011

by Mary Roach Tim Folger

The Best American Series® First, Best, and Best-Selling The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 includes Atul Gawande, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Blum, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks, Jon Mooallem, Jon Cohen, Luke Dittrich, and others

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

by Mary Roach

The bestselling author of 'Stiff' and 'Spook' turns her outrageous curiosity and infectious wit on the most alluring scientific study of all: sex Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm - two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth - can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to slowly make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

by Mary Roach

"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of-or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists-who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

Inside Animal Minds

by Mary Roach Virgina Morell Peter Miller

The Animal Intelligence Bundle: "Minds of Their Own" by Virginia Morell (March 2008) "Almost Human" by Mary Roach (April 2008) "The Genius of Swarms" by Peter Miller (July 2007) In "Minds of Their Own," Virginia Morell provides an overview of the science of animal intelligence. She introduces you to an African gray parrot named Alex, a bonobo named Kanzi, and a border collie named Betsy. Each of these animals tells us something interesting about the way they perceive and manipulate their world. The article also looks at what scientists are learning about the intelligence of dolphins and crows, beyond mere communication. In "Almost Human," Mary Roach takes us to the savannahs of Senegal to meet a group of 34 chimpanzees, whose behavior and social structures have given scientists some important clues about the nature of their communication and intelligence. In "The Genius of Swarms," Peter Miller looks at the collective behavior of ants, bees, and other insects for what they can tell us about social organization and how sometimes intelligence lies outside of the individual brain. This article served as the basis for his book, The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done.

My Planet

by Mary Roach

From acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach comes the complete collection of her "My Planet" articles published in Reader's Digest. She was a hit columnist in the magazine, and this book features the articles she wrote in that time. Insightful and hilarious, Mary explores the ins and outs of the modern world: marriage, friends, family, food, technology, customer service, dental floss, and ants--she leaves no element of the American experience unchecked for its inherent paradoxes, pleasures, and foibles.On Cleanliness: Ed has crud vision, and I don't. I don't notice filth. Ed sees it everywhere. I am reasonably convinced that Ed can actually see bacteria. . . . He confessed he didn't like me using his bathrobe because I'd wear it while sitting on the toilet."It's not like it goes in the water," I protested, though if you counted the sash as part of the robe, this wasn't strictly true. On the Internet: The Internet is a boon for hypochondriacs like me. Right now, for instance, I'm feeling a shooting pain on the side of my neck. A Web search produces five matches, the first three for a condition called Arnold-Chiari Malformation.While my husband, Ed, reads over my shoulder, I recite symptoms from the list. "'General clumsiness' and 'general imbalance,'" I say, as though announcing arrivals at the Marine Corps Ball. "'Difficulty driving,' 'lack of taste,' 'difficulty feeling feet on ground.'""Those aren't symptoms," says Ed. "Those are your character flaws." On Fashion: My husband recently made me try on a bikini. A bikini is not so much a garment as a cloth-based reminder that your parts have been migrating all these years. My waist, I realized that day in the dressing ro

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

by Mary Roach

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

by Mary Roach

When happens when we die? Does some part of my personality persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop? Roach attempts to find out.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

by Mary Roach

An oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers some willingly, some unwittingly have been involved in sciences boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested Frances first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them. 13 b/w illustrations.

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