ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
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Starry Nights: Critical Structural Realism in Anthropology offers nothing less than a reinventing of the discipline of anthropology. In these six essays – four published here for the first time – Stephen Reyna critiques the postmodern tenets of anthropology, while devising a new strategy for conducting research. Combative and clear, Starry Nights provides an important critique of mainstream anthropology as represented by Geertz and the postmodern legacy, and envisions a mode of anthropological research that addresses social, cultural and biological questions with techniques that are theoretically rigorous and practically useful.
The book explores the central question facing humanity today: how can we best survive the ten great existential challenges that are now coming together to confront us? Besides describing these challenges from the latest scientific perspectives, it also outlines and integrates the solutions, both at global and individual level and concludes optimistically. This book brings together in one easy-to-read work the principal issues facing humanity. It is written for the two next generations who will have to deal with the compounding risks they inherit, and which flow from overpopulation, resource pressures and human nature. The author examines ten intersecting areas of activity (mass extinction, resource depletion, WMD, climate change, universal toxicity, food crises, population and urban expansion, pandemic disease, dangerous new technologies and self-delusion) which pose manifest risks to civilization and, potentially, to our species’ long-term future. This isn’t a book just about problems. It is also about solutions. Every chapter concludes with clear conclusions and consensus advice on what needs to be done at global level —but it also empowers individuals with what they can do for themselves to make a difference. Unlike other books, it offers integrated solutions across the areas of greatest risk. It explains why Homo sapiens is no longer an appropriate name for our species, and what should be done about it.
Drawing expertise and ideas from research, as well as teachers from across the country, Every Reader, a Close Reader serves as both an instructional guide and professional development tool for classroom teachers and instructional leaders to use when starting or strengthening close reading at the classroom level.
Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene presents a currency-based, global synthesis cataloguing the impact of humanity’s global ecological footprint. Covering a multitude of aspects related to Climate Change, Biodiversity, Contaminants, Geological, Energy and Ethics, leading scientists provide foundational essays that enable researchers to define and scrutinize information, ideas, relationships, meanings and ideas within the Anthropocene concept. Questions widely debated among scientists, humanists, conservationists, politicians and others are included, providing discussion on when the Anthropocene began, what to call it, whether it should be considered an official geological epoch, whether it can be contained in time, and how it will affect future generations. Although the idea that humanity has driven the planet into a new geological epoch has been around since the dawn of the 20th century, the term ‘Anthropocene’ was only first used by ecologist Eugene Stoermer in the 1980s, and hence popularized in its current meaning by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen in 2000. Presents comprehensive and systematic coverage of topics related to the Anthropocene, with a focus on the Geosciences and Environmental science Includes point-counterpoint articles debating key aspects of the Anthropocene, giving users an even-handed navigation of this complex area Provides historic, seminal papers and essays from leading scientists and philosophers who demonstrate changes in the Anthropocene concept over time
Through many worldviews, religions and philosophical perspectives, this collection grapples with environmental ethics issues from valuing nature, concerns about the atmosphere, water, land, animals, and human population as well as the interlocking and often problematic interests of business, consumption, energy and sustainability.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Russian Empire-already the largest on earth-expanded its dominion onto the ocean. Through a series of government-sponsored voyages of discovery and the establishment of a private fur trade, Russians crossed and re-crossed the Bering Strait and the North Pacific Ocean, establishing colonies in Kamchatka and Alaska and exporting marine mammal furs to Europe and China. In the process they radically transformed the North Pacific, causing environmental catastrophe. In one of the most hotly-contested imperial arenas of the day, the Russian empire organized a host of Siberian and Alaskan native peoples to rapaciously hunt for fur seals, sea otters, and other fur-bearing animals. The animals declined precipitously, and Steller's sea cow went extinct. This destruction captured the attention of natural historians who for the first time began to recognize the threat of species extinction. These experts drew upon Enlightenment and Romantic-era ideas about nature and imperialism but their ideas were refracted through Russian scientific culture and influenced by the region's unique ecology. Cosmopolitan scientific networks ensured the spread of their ideas throughout Europe. Heeding the advice of these scientific experts, Russian colonial governors began long-term management of marine mammal stocks and instituted some of the colonial world's most forward-thinking conservationist policies. Highlighting the importance of the North Pacific in Russian imperial and global environmental history, Empire of Extinction focuses on the development of ideas about the natural world in a crucial location far from what has been considered the center of progressive environmental attitudes.
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
"Known for its scholarship and easy-to-read style and format, Klein: Learning: Principles and Applications, Sixth Edition shows students the relevance of basic learning processes through real-world examples, vignettes, critical thinking questions, and applications. Over the past editions, this text has received unending praise for its accessible and thorough coverage of both classic and current studies of animal and human research. Concepts and theories are introduced within the framework of highly effective pedagogical elements, such as: chapter-opening vignettes, "Before You Go On" checkpoints, application boxes, chapter summaries, and more. In this new edition, the content has been updated and reorganized to reflect changes in the field and the pedagogical features have been strengthened and highlighted to continue to help students better comprehend the subject matter"-- Provided by publisher.