Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli BerwaldEven as acidification, pollution, and overfishing continue to take a heavy toll on the world's oceans, jellyfish appear to be thriving. But why? Fascinated by these mysterious creatures, science writer Juli Berwald investigates their unique biology as well as the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems. Whether interviewing scientists and fisherman or engaging in some hands-on research (for example, their culinary uses), Berwald reveals the hidden and little-studied world of jellyfish.
American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate BlakesleeNot every wolf gets an obituary in The New York Times. But O-Six, leader of the Lamar Canyon Pack in Yellowstone National Park, was no ordinary wolf. In this thoroughly researched and vividly written account, Texas Monthly writer Nate Blakeslee chronicles O-Six's life, interviewing the park rangers who monitored her progress, the environmental activists who made her a social media star, and the man who killed her. Interested in the controversial topic of reintroducing wolves to U.S. federal lands? Check out Brenda Peterson's Wolf Nation.
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian... by Lindsey FitzharrisUntil the mid-19th century, surgery was a bloody business with a sky-high mortality rate, primarily due to post-operative infections. Then Quaker surgeon Joseph Lister took Louis Pasteur's germ theory and applied it to surgery, utilizing antiseptics, sterilizing instruments, and laying the groundwork for a medical revolution. Not for the squeamish, historian and blogger Lindsey Fitzharris' engaging biography simultaneously entertains and enlightens readers interested in the history of medicine.
The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff GoodellClimate change is melting the polar ice caps and causing sea levels to rise...and we are not prepared for it. At all. In this sobering book, journalist Jeff Goodell outlines "the future we are creating for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren," in which rising tides will swallow coastal cities, costing trillions of dollars a year and displacing millions of people. If you're wondering what the future holds, get to higher ground immediately and then pick up this book.
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott KellyWhat does space smell like? Sparklers on the Fourth of July, according to astronaut Scott Kelly, whose candid memoir provides an often surprising look at life in orbit. Focusing on his year aboard the International Space Station (during which time his twin brother Mark, also an astronaut, remained on Earth as part of a unique research study), Kelly describes his day-to-day experiences in microgravity while reflecting on his decades-long career at NASA.
Secret Warriors: The Spies, Scientists, and Code Breakers of World War I by Taylor DowningAlthough the trenches of the Western Front dominate the popular imagination, World War I was responsible for some astonishing advances in science and technology. Divided into five loosely connected sections, this book examines developments in aviation, communication, intelligence, weapons, and medicine, all of which played crucial roles in the war effort. For those unfamiliar with the conflict, a glossary of terms and abbreviations, as well as a "Who's Who" section provide context.
The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret... by Annie JacobsenInternet. GPS. That robot that does backflips. These are just a few of the innovations that have originated within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which develops cutting-edge technologies for potential military applications. From DARPA's Cold War-era efforts to win the space race to its present-day focus on data mining and surveillance, The Pentagon's Brain draws on interviews and archival materials to present a comprehensive history of the agency. For another book on DARPA, try Sharon Weinberger's The Imagineers of War.
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of The Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise KiernanAlthough Oak Ridge, Tennessee, boasted a population of 75,000 and used as much electricity as New York City, the military-constructed town didn't appear on a single map during its World War II heyday. Many of its residents were women, recruited for a variety of positions, sworn to strict secrecy protocols, and told only that their work would ensure a swift, final World War II victory. The nuclear blast at Hiroshima at last revealed their hidden roles, for better or worse. Drawn from interviews with women who lived and worked in Oak Ridge in their youth, The Girls of Atomic City brilliantly illuminates an overlooked chapter of both World War II and women's history.
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary RoachChicken guns are pretty much what you'd expect, but what about HRVs? That stands for "human research volunteers," by the way, and they're an essential part of keeping soldiers alive, what with testing shark-repellent, flying fighter jets while blindfolded, and injecting themselves with snake venom. Steering clear of the battlefield, bestselling science writer Mary Roach instead focuses on the unsung heroes of military science while tackling, in her signature witty and irreverent style, the quirkier aspects of feeding, clothing, cleaning, and healing members of the armed forces.
Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution by Richard WhittleBefore 9/11, the drone -- a.k.a. UAV, RPV, and numerous other abbreviations -- was mostly relegated to reconnaissance missions and target practice. In this eye-opening military history, journalist Richard Whittle traces its journey from "niche technology" to mainstream weapons platform. In addition to describing the technical aspects of drones, Whittle also interviews some of the key players in their development and deployment.
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