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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007 available in Paperback
"Science is about not knowing and wanting badly to know. Science is about flawed and complicated human beings trying to use whatever tools they've got, along with their minds, to see something strange and new. In that sense, writing about science is just another way of writing about the human condition."from the introduction by Richard Preston
The twenty-eight pieces in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007 span a wide range of topics, from the farthest reaches of space to the everyday world around us to the secrets hiddin in our own bodies. Michael Lemonick travels to an extinct volcano in Hawaii, where telescopes at the summit are providing researchers with a glimpse of the most distant galaxy ever seenand profound new insights into the creation of the universe. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes a sharp, witty look at Americans' delirium over space travel. And with surgical precision Michael Perry describes how a medical autopsy is performed. Dead men can tell tales.
Here we also see examinations of the sometimes harmful impact of science on the natural world. Susan Casey gives an alarming portrait of plastic waste pollution in the world's oceans, including a dead zone in the mid-Pacific that's twice the size of Texas. Michael Shnayerson heads to West Virginia, where the Appalachians are being blasted at the rate of several ridgetops a week, all in the pursuit of ever-elusive coal. And Paul Bennett goes deep beneath Rome's streets, where cutting-edge excavation techniques are revealing newfound treasures in one of the world's oldest cities.
A profile of a late, distinguished British ornithologist by John Seabrook reveals that the man's personal collection of bird skins, now in the British Natural History Museum, was largely stolen or bought and intentionally mislabeled. Richard Conniff visits a former Brooklyn social worker turned primatologist who has become a fierce advocate of the lemur. And Patricia Gadsby takes us into the kitchens of Europe's finest chefs to explain how the new field of molecular gastronomy is revolutionizing fine cuisine.
Table of Contents
Introduction Richard Preston xiii
In Rome's Basement: from National Geographic 1
Plastic Ocean: from Best Life 9
For the Love of Lemurs: from Smithsonian 21
The Rabbit on Mars: from Isotope 31
Fishering: from Ecotone 34
Dinosaur Shocker!: from Smithsonian 36
Cooking for Eggheads: from Discover 43
Cyber-Neologoliferation: from The New York Times Magazine 51
The Final Frontier: from Discover 60
How to Get a Nuclear Bomb: from The Atlantic Monthly 71
The Effeminate Sheep: from Seed 97
Let There Be Light: from Time 105
The Nature of Violence: from Orion 115
The Germs of Life: from Orion 123
Neanderthal Man: from Smithsonian 127
Health Secrets from the Morgue: from Men's Health 135
Hitler's Willing Archaeologists: from Archaeology 144
Sex, Lies, and Video Games: from The Atlantic Monthly 153
The Flu Hunter: from Smithsonian 169
Notes on the Space We Take: from Ninth Letter 178
The Olfactory Lives of Primates: from The Virginia Quarterly Review 186
Ruffled Feathers: from The New Yorker 191
In the Company of Bears: from Anchorage Press 213
The Rape of Appalachia: from Vanity Fair 228
First Soldier of the Gene Wars: from Archaeology 249
A Plan to Keep Carbon in Check: from Scientific American 259
Delusions of Space Enthusiasts: from Natural History 268
DNA Is Not Destiny: from Discover 276
Contributors' Notes 291
Other Notable Science and Nature Writing of 2006 298