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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015

Read & Download Ö eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks It s heavy on natural sciences and light on physical sciences no chemistry physics or math here It touches on astronomy only in passing in an article about how artificial light is affecting our ability to see the stars among other things and a profile of Peter Higgs of Bo I always enjoy the Best American Series and have spaced out the reading of the collection thru the year With one to go I should be just about done when sets them p in the bargain bin again in December A review of the articles in this collection includes Waiting for Light which tells of how new technology and new marketing efforts are bringing if not electricity at least incandescent light to parts of India that have been living sunset to sunrise in the dark even now in the 21st century In Deep is another excerpt from a New Yorker piece about Deep Caving that was featured in a different Best American series this year as well A estion of Corvids centers on that species of birds that includes crows ravens rooks and Magpies Much of the information focuses on the intelligence of crows which is something that has been featured in many media formats recently The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness is the first of the very strong articles Going into the biology of our Circadian clocks and exploring how certain types of cancer are much prevalent when removing for all other factors in people who work the overnight shift An in depth study of the change to human biology from artificial light is needed to explore further The effect on migratory birds and other members of the animal kingdom are also explored Aft Three and a half stars Some good articles but no physics or computer science or much hard science at all I don t consider myself to be a science person per se but I ve enjoyed reading this Best Of series the past several years Some collections are better than other and within collections there are standout articles and those easily forgotten This grouping I found to have of the easily forgotten than in years past Though varied the stories started to become indistinguishable from one another I couldn t tell if this was because they were all similar or because I d lost interest in them for similar reasons Oddly the most powerful writing comes in two stories by the same author Jourdan Imani Keith and both are less than two pages long She seemed to masterfully execute and nderstand what so many others in this collection did not the idea that less is In sharp contrast to the 2014 anthology which gave sober and much needed critical attention to the pressing issues in the world today with emphasis on the most pressing though perhaps most depressing as well issue of them all climate change Ms Skloot s edition is determinately light plifting and fluffy adjectives not ite becoming when it comes to scientific writing Early in her Foreword Ms Skloot puts her foot down suarely "BY UOTING FROM AN EMAIL BY "uoting from an email by reader It seems to me that content of the series has become darker and less hopeful over this time When I marvel at what telescopes have seen I get giddy I suppose I would just like to see a bit wonder a bit magic in the content and less doom and gloom It does seem Ms Skloot stands by her foot or rather suarely on it the foot that has been boldly thrust forth thus In this volume you will find magic wonder giddy worthy account of third world children awe struck in electric light brought by modern technology and ppity entrepreneurship Human ingenuity in that niversal form called Human Adaptive Optimism The Collapse of Western Civilization Oreskes Conway once again triumphs over dark and menacing Reality On paper that is I read a lot of science articles but they re a tiny percentage of those available the idea of a good science editor picking the very best is just too good to pass p I originally came across it because the 2013 edition was edited by Mary Roach a favorite author A friend gave me this edition a great place to start I ve heard of Skloot s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks but haven t read it yet I ve heard good things though This also contains a piece by Atul Gwande who I ve enjoyed reading Foreword by Tim Folger good intro Introduction by Rebecca Skloot long didn t add much to Folger s foreword Waiting for light by Jake Abrahamson paints a great picture of the problem lack of electric especially light in rural India mentions several attempted solutions The current one sounds interesting but why should it work when so many others have failed How DOESCOULD IT APPLY OTHER PLACES A it apply other places A author must include the economic sustainability of the technology or it s just a pipe dream This didn t so it is a puff piece whining 1 star In deep by Burkhard Bilger is about caving Wow I ve read some about it before but never has the entirety been captured so well the people the challenges types of caves euipment This has it all including antibacterial nderwear the dangers of fungus Wow Fantastic 5 stars A estion of corvids by Sheila Webster Boneham is a wandering look at the crow family Fun almost poetic 3 stars The health effects of a
world without darkness 
without darkness Rebecca Boyle doesn t have a lot of hard data but there isn t a lot apparently Artificial light has caused changes some aren t good I wasn t thrilled with the overtones th. In this year’s volume challenge s to consider the strains facing our planet and its many species while never losing sight of the wonders we’re working to preserve for generations to come  The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015 includes Sheri Fink Atul Gawande Leslie Jamison Sam Kean Seth Mnookin Matthew Power Michael Specter and others  REBECCA SKLOOT's award winning science writing has appeared in the  New York Times Magazine and elsewhere Her book  The ,

Unfortunately this was a meh collection It ran heavy on eco and nature lighter on hard science The only physics essay that I can recall was a bio essay on Higgs of particle fame Even that article felt thin Nothing on computers or jiggery pokery Internettery alas At its best this series has blown my mind and opened Programming in Objective C up my horizons At its worst and this 2015 edition was pretty bad it s just OK I mean it s never been BAD But the disappointment of non inspiration can be acute Oh well obviously I ll read all the other editions I can get my hands on and I recommend you do too This book deserves the liked it rating because it doesn t confine you to reading from lowest to highest numbered page contains diversity within its topics and catches my attention with some but not all articles The table of contents displays a multitude of chapters each about a different story or experiment Since none of the contents of one chapter affected mynderstanding of the other chapters I could jump around to whatever title seemed the most interesting Sometimes I would also feel lazy and not want to read something too lengthy so I would just locate the shortest chapters and read them first This made it a little easier to sit down and read since I wouldn t feel like I had to commit for as many pages Further the different subjects of each chapter made it so I could gain little scraps of knowledge in many areas This can be Beyond Band of Brothers useful whenever I feel the need for supporting an argument or opinion that I might have Having science to pull from would make me sound credible Moreover some of the themes that surrounded the chapters wereite eye opening For example in the chapter titled No Risky Chances it talked about how a cheerful woman decided that she would rather be able to decide that she would die in a week and know that it would happen than ndertake a risky surgery that had high chances of both succeeding and failing I always thought that people would choose to take all the opportunities they had to live longer but this account really hit hard because it clearly displayed that some people would rather know how their story ended I always found death to be a scary thing but it may not be as scary if you get to decide when it happens On the other hand some chapters were just too long For instance The Empathy Exams talked about a medical actor who specialized in being a girl who had conversion disorder It was engaging for the first ten pages but after that it seemed to get a little repetitive I was just waiting for the chapter to end I felt like it included too many extra details that weren t needed on its slow approach towards the conclusion that it made about empathy Also I got confused because they went so far in depth that I started to feel like the author was describing themselves at times when it was actually still part of the girl s "Story I Only Want To "I only want to so much about someone before I get bored with their lives A tiny side rant that does not relate to the book a lot but I feel like including anywayTo be honest I sort of feel bad for giving this book three stars because I feel like three stars CORRESPOND TO AVERAGE WHEN I AM LOOKING AT RESTAURANT to average When I am looking at restaurant I sually associate three stars with what Good reads labels as it was OK Instead Good reads labels the two stars with it was OK Within the Good reads system I feel as if the positive ratings have too many stars to express their meaning It is The Year of Living Biblically unfair that you can just downright dislike a book with no hesitation because it is represented by only one star Previously I never noticed that when you hovered over the stars it says a little snippet of what the star means This kind of disconnection between the stars and the meaning behind them reminded me of when one of the book s science articles talked about how words like lownlikely and improbable can easily correlate to a variety of percentages of chance depending on each person s definition of the words I don t know how to end this rant end Okay so as always I love this annual collection And there were some excellent essays in this year s group The Empathy Exams is at the top of my list for must reads and as a result I ll be picking p the self titled book soon However this year s collection felt disjointed to me It seems that in years past there s a theme that arcs through the book This year it was harder to detect if at all That said this is by far my favorite collection to read every year I m forever surprised by the stories and find myself wanting to know So bravo the the editors for sifting through the thousands of essays that
get whittled down 
whittled down the two dozen or so that make the cut Fabulous both the writing and the themes Anthology season is one of my favorite times of year It s not just the Best American Series there are other collections such as The Best Food Writing The Best American Magazine Writing Best Business Writing And there are anthologies that only last a few years and then disappear such as Best Music Writing Best Medical Writing and so onI ve enjoyed the Best American Series for decades and my favorite is almost always the Best American Essays volume But lately I ve also been looking forward to the Best American Science and Nature WritingThis year s collection is guest edited by Rebecca Skloot author of The Immortal Life of. The Best American Series   The next edition in a series praised as “undeniably exuisite” Maria Popova  The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015 includes work from both award winning writers and p and coming voices in the field From Brooke Jarvis on deep ocean mining to Elizabeth Kolbert on New Zealand’s nconventional conservation strategies this is a group that celebrates the growing diversity in science and nature writing alike Altogether the writers honored. At the changes nless otherwise specified were bad though 3 stars Spotted hyena by Alison Hawthorne Deming was very short still managed to wander aimlessly Still it was interesting 3 stars Life death and grim routine fill the day at a Liberian ebola clinic by Sheri Fink was exactly that Nothing particularly shocking or new 2 stars No risky chances by Atul Gawande is a bit from his book Being Mortal Medicine and What Matters in the End a 5 star book This piece is it in a nutshell 5 stars Linux for lettuce by Lisa M Hamilton covers the issues around patenting seeds This is not a simple subject there seems to be no good solution or compromise The idea of sing the Creative Commons best known for computer Open Source code like Linux licensing model to create a harbor for seed sharing outside the commercial sector is both Excellent if a bit too long 4 stars Down by the river by Rowan Jacobsen is about the restoration of the native ecology along the Colorado river near Yuma Wow What a great success story 5 stars The empathy exams a medical actor writes her own script by Leslie Jamison had an interesting premise I don t care for the style in which it was written There were a few good points but they were overshadowed by a lot of dreck 2 stars The deepest dig by Brooke Jarvis very interesting piece about the deep ecosystem how we re going to start mining it what it means to some of those nearby I wanted 4 stars Phineas Gage neuroscience s most famous patient by Sam Kean Interesting how one case can be so influential yet have so few verifiable facts There are several themes running through this Well worth reading even though I wasn t particularly interested in the case itself 4 stars At risk by Jourdan Imani Keith is about minorities in the wilderness It s a good side of the story to read about although her effort didn t impress me It was short though 3 stars Desegregating wilderness by Jourdan Imani Keith didn t convince me I nderstand her concerns She s black female originally from the city feels white men are keeping the wilderness for themselves I think she s right in wanting to integrate wilderness into the cities but I don t think any specific sex or race is to blame for not doing it I d love it if city people Scary Stories 3 understood the wilderness country life better I m disappointed that she ssing her ideals to blame rather than solve in this piece She does work hard to solve by taking kids out to camp work in the woods in real life I guess she does better than she writes at least to me 2 stars Into the maelstrom by Eli Kintisch was an interesting look at the scientific community grappling with one small aspect of climate change It also shows how the popular story can change when politics gets involved Well worth reading 4 stars The big kill by Elizabeth Kolbert is about New Zealand s fight with mammals their determination to exterminate them why I thought our problems with invasive species were bad Oy Losing my ash trees fighting with Japanese honeysuckle garlic mustard multifloral rose are nothing compared to what they re #dealing with 5 stars Digging through the world s oldest graveyard by Amy Maxmen is an interesting look at # with 5 stars Digging through the world s oldest graveyard by Amy Maxmen is an interesting look at trials of archaeology It also pushes getting the locals involved 4 stars One of a is an interesting look at trials of archaeology It also pushes getting the locals involved 4 stars One of a by Seth Mnookin the power of social networking meets the genome project to figure out The Penguin Atlas of Endangered Species uniue diseases Unfortunately it s not a miracle cure seems to take a lot of money stature to work it 3 stars A pioneer as elusive as his particle by Dennis Overbye is an interesting look at Higgs 3 stars Blood in the sand by Matthew Power conservationism isn t for wimps This discusses the murder of one guy who tried to save leatherback turtles in Costa Rica The economic pressures are terrible though 4 stars Chasing Bayla by Sarah Schweitzer is about the plight of whales mainly focusing on one man rescuing them from rope Awful 4 stars Partial recall by Michael Specter memory is very slippery as are the ethics surrounding healing it 4 stars The city and the sea by Meera Subramanian is NYC dealing with rising waters stormssing nature to help stave off issues like hurricane Sandy while cleaning The Bartender up the environment at the same time 4 stars Curious by Kim Todd what is curiosity why does it grips so tightly sometimes Not enough science 3 stars The aftershocks by David Wolman is about Italian scientists being criminally prosecuted for not properly warning people about earthuakes and "brings p several important points from misunderstandings scientists to reporters to population to expectations We can t predict "up several important points from misunderstandings scientists to reporters to population to expectations We can t predict yet still the Italian courts convicted scientists of not warning people properly Yeah you really need to read this the dangers of Sunday Supplement science the general idiocy of our litigious society 4 stars From billions to none by Barry Yeoman discusses the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon a fairly well documented case that helped kick off our society s interest in conservation It was good but a little too one sided for me It briefly mentions a town covered in excrement from the passage of one flock how they stripped fields but glosses over these facts while concentrating on how men destroyed them out of greed 4 starsOverall this was a very readable collection I m looking forward to getting others in the series eventuall. Mmortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was an instant  New York Times bestseller It was named a best book of 2010 by than sixty media outlets including  Entertainment Weekly and NPR and by the National Academies of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science among others Skloot is currently writing a book about humans animals science and ethics   TIM FOLGER series editor is a contributing editor at  Discover and writes about science for several magazines.

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