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Freeman Dyson, renowned physicist and public intellectual, edits this year’s volume of the finest science and nature writing. ...

Title : The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010
Author :
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ISBN : 9780547327846
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 373 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010 Reviews

  • Lynne Pennington
    2018-11-28 23:43

    I love the Best American series. Wonderful way to sample some of the periodicals I don't normally read and makes super "before bed" reading when you don't want an exciting book to keep you up half the night. I never fail to learn something new, and usually something important.

  • James
    2018-12-08 17:28

    An excellent book in an excellent series. Reading and reviewing it now, some of the information is dated: for example, Dr. Dyson cheerily states that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to increased growth in plants, and the latest data in 2015 indicate that any benefit from more CO2 is offset and then some by additional heat, drying, and the spread of pests.Still, it's a wide-ranging book with selections from some great writers on subjects from space to neuroscience to the environment. Highly recommended.

  • JQAdams
    2018-11-12 23:48

    Dyson's heterodox climate views probably play a role in the selections here -- they certainly do in his introduction -- and some one his other choices are also, shall we say, eccentric. He bemoans that there are only two sections of science (one on astronomy; one on neuroscience) compared to four on nature writing. This requires a bizarrely expansive definition of "nature," though, encompassing everything from Felix Salmon's piece on the use of Gaussian copula functions in finance to a couple of pieces on creating synthetic life forms.Still, as usual with the science-writing annuals, there's a mix of mostly interesting articles here. Some of them are the usual chestnuts: Elizabeth Kolbert's "The Sixth Extinction?" and New Yorker writers in general are here, as is Jonah Lehrer's (oops) "Don't." But there are also several more obscure pieces that pass the time divertingly.

  • Brett Williams
    2018-12-05 19:41

    A condensation of gems.Let someone else sift wheat from chaff and you garnish the benefits. What’s fun about this book is that from many articles, the best are compiled for easy access. In this case, 28 are selected from 122 options. Years of research can be boiled down to a single stunning realization. What is well known in narrow fields of study are revealed here for the rest of us. And it’s those little morsels we carry around. Timothy Ferris (who can’t seem – even once - to write a bad essay) reports about “Seeking New Earths” and the “red edge produced when chlorophyll-containing photosynthetic plants reflect red light” on distant worlds. Such a long range fingerprint would be one of the greatest discoveries in the record of our species. Kathleen McGowan tells how flimsy our memories are, because each time we access them, we also destabilize them, tweaking the memory each time. (Though memories of, say scientific theories or data, seem immutable, perhaps because nature is always there for correction.) With this in mind it answers the question how some people truly can believe the lies they tell. Over time and repetition they’ve reordered the synapses, such that the film they play in their head really is the lie they built. We learn about the record setting, 8-day, 200-hour, non-stop airborne flight of the bar-tailed godwit, whose population (as with other migratory birds) is collapsing because humans are draining their estuaries round the globe as coastal “improvements.” We learn about how modern genetics continues to verify Darwin’s theory (fact) of evolution, as well as its frightening offspring of “synthetic biology” where humans build new life forms a molecule at a time; the superior civilization of ants and their amazing behavior completely ignored when squishing one of them on the countertop; the heroic efforts of NASA climatologist James Hansen and his efforts to communicate to politicians incapable of seeing past today’s dollar. Perhaps the most amazing and insightful ideas comes from Brian Boyd in his “Purpose Driven Life” originally from The American Scholar.

  • Matthew LaFave
    2018-11-30 20:52

    I read this one on the Kindle, something I think I will now refer to as the tablet. It would have been nice to be able to flip through the different articles. I find this series to be awesome, especially since there is a different editor every year that chooses what nominated magazine articles make it into the book. Good job with this one, not so much with Mary Roach (2011 edition). I'd better mention that Freeman Dyson authored another book titled The Scientist As Rebel, a compillation of his own reviews that were featured in "The New York Review of Books", and other sources. I did have the privilege to look through the Best American 2009 edition, and thought that the article "Did Life Begin in Ice?" was transcendental.

  • Scarlett Sims
    2018-12-08 17:34

    As with any collection of items, some of these were more up my alley than others. Specifically the ones focusing on astronomy and neuroscience, which were more "science" than "nature," but I also found most of the evolutionary biology items interesting.As far as the articles on climate change, I favored the ones that offered nontraditional or surprising solutions to the emissions problem.A few of the articles I found... well not necessarily boring but just not written in a way that I thought merited their inclusion in this collection. But I guess who am I to question Freeman Dyson, right?

  • Ezra
    2018-11-27 19:32

    I have read 2006, 2007, and 2008 in this series. I think Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street is the first time I ran across an article in one of them I had previously read. It is about the people behind the formulas which disguised the risk in mortgages from decision makers.Most articles were "meh". Some were oddly contradictory? It feels like there were not as many good stories in this edition.

  • Jenni
    2018-11-17 21:26

    took way longer than previous volumes to finish ... some of the stories just didn't grab me, also heard some things about Freeman Dyson that made me wonder if our worldviews are compatible.faves: The Monkey and the Fish - Philip Gourevitch, Hearth Surgery - Burkhard Bilger, Darwin's First Clues - David Quammen, All You Can Eat - Jim Carrier, The Sixth Extinction? - Elizabeth Kolbert note: gift from Alice and Bennett, inscribed "to the ever-lovingest daughter in law we could ask for"

  • Rift Vegan
    2018-12-08 15:33

    I am not so sure about Freeman Dyson anymore! I used to think "Dyson Sphere"!! But reading the intro made me kind of sad.And then the last section of the book, "The Environment: Big Blessings"... totally made me cringe. *sighs* well, I always love to read about science, and I will definitely continue with this series. But this is not a good one.

  • Joel Allen
    2018-11-17 21:49

    Gobbled up the essays on biodiversity: the purpose driven life and the monkey and the fish - nom, nom, nom. My environmental science students will be reading "All you can eat", even if it makes them never eat another shrimp. And I'll most likely cite from Quammen next time through evolution.

  • Bernie
    2018-12-13 21:37

    Excellent articles on a number of scientific interest. I thought the articles on climate change and clean energy provided a current snap shot of efforts in place like China and India to address these issues.

  • John
    2018-11-20 21:40

    A great compilation of magazine writing, covering a wide range of science, technology and natural science topics. Very enjoyable, very insightful, very easy to read. I highly recommend it. You'll finish it a smarter person than you were when you started it.

  • Kendra
    2018-12-10 16:28

    This one had some not-so-great essays and was more biology & environmental science focused than I would prefer. I really loved the last three essays though (about building better stoves for the developing world, China's investments in clean energy, and various energy issues in India).

  • Nick Youds
    2018-11-16 17:27

    Great as I've come to expect from this series. A great way way to find new authors and a large mix of ideas distilled through 2 gate keepers to get to "the best.".

  • Eva Petakovic
    2018-11-25 20:46

    This book made my life better. Period.

  • Stephanie
    2018-12-11 21:54

    Love this series, a treat at the end of every year.

  • Doug Roberts
    2018-12-11 15:30

    If you think you know anything about anything, this series of books is a wonderful reminder that you don't.

  • Matt
    2018-11-29 20:39

    Not my favorite of the Best American Science and Nature books, but it was alright. I was never bored, and that's something. Guess I learned a bit, too.

  • RaeAnn
    2018-11-14 20:33

    I enjoyed many of the ideas and perspectives in this book - though it was a bit of a downer.

  • Ben Simpson
    2018-12-06 16:52

    Freeman Dyson wouldn't steer you wrong

  • Kris
    2018-11-13 19:42

    I love to read a book that makes me go look up words.

  • Hayley Dunning
    2018-11-16 18:31

    Usual mix of stunners and sleepers.

  • Vince Darcangelo
    2018-11-19 23:53

    Faves:Tom Wolfe: "One Giant Leap to Nowhere"Jim Carrier: "All You Can Eat"Otherwise, solid writing, as always, but I wanted more science, less nature.

  • Ron
    2018-12-08 23:50

    Finally got around to reading this and wish I would have read it sooner. If you like science, nature and excellent writing this is a must read.

  • Martin
    2018-11-24 19:50

    This book includes many great articles that demonstrate how scientist view and address problems in our world.

  • Joanne
    2018-12-11 21:38

    some really great articles. I loved the one about the sixth extinction.

  • Veach Glines
    2018-11-22 16:34

    The first 1/2 of the book is great, then becomes o.k., and the last few articles are meh-so-so.

  • Angela
    2018-12-10 21:52

    3.5/4Too much nature, not enough science.

  • René Van Hezewijk
    2018-11-20 16:28

    Interesting, but what was said about psychology and Tversky and Kahneman's contribution to psychology made me doubt the trustworthiness of the other contributions.