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Saturday, April 3, 2021

While we're stll all occupied with the pandemic

anthropocene adversities advance.
My recent and current reads. #CoveringClimateNow

In addition to helping with "graycare" for our grandson Calvin, I've spent the entire week reading, and watching the Derek Chauvin murder trial in the wake of the death of George Floyd last May. Beyond the painful social justice implications of this case, I have a long-abiding interest in legal reasoning and trial court process.

I've finished all of the foregoing books except for Second Nature, which I've just begun. It resonates:

We live at a time in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity's clumsy signature. The old distinctions—between natural and artificial, dystopia and utopia, science fiction and science fact—have blurred, losing all meaning. We inhabit an uncanny landscape of our own creation.
I got turned onto the Nathaniel Rich book via a review in Science Magazine.
My Amazon review of Dr. Mann's book.
I have read quite a number of the top books dealing with climate change, beginning with Tim Flannery‘s “The Weather Makers.“ I highly recommend this one by Dr. Mann. I like that he names names, and does not equivocate. While I am not a “scientist,“ I did cut my white-collar teeth in a forensic level environmental radiation/mixed-waste laboratory in Oak Ridge as an analyst and programmer in the 1980s under the eminent Dr. John Auxier. Michael E. Mann has done us a great service here with his comprehensive debunking of the myriad incumbent “inactivist” fallacies, and his rational proposals for a sane way forward. Yes, it will be extremely difficult, and as he writes, “I am only one scientist.“ Nonetheless, we have no moral excuse to ignore the problem. Read this book carefully.
Lots to consider. Stay tuned. Below, interview with Dr. Mann:


Cited Elizabeth's Extinction book here. BTW, see also my related random riff on increasing US drought.

Oh, and we must not forget "The Naomis"


I read this a number of months back. Good read. Sound argument.

This urgent and eye-opening book makes the case that protecting humanity's future is the central challenge of our time.

If all goes well, human history is just beginning. Our species could survive for billions of years - enough time to end disease, poverty, and injustice, and to flourish in ways unimaginable today. But this vast future is at risk. With the advent of nuclear weapons, humanity entered a new age, where we face existential catastrophes - those from which we could never come back. Since then, these dangers have only multiplied, from climate change to engineered pathogens and artificial intelligence. If we do not act fast to reach a place of safety, it will soon be too late.

Drawing on over a decade of research,The Precip
ice explores the cutting-edge science behind the risks we face. It puts them in the context of the greater story of humanity: showing how ending these risks is among the most pressing moral issues of our time. And it points the way forward, to the actions and strategies that can safeguard humanity.

An Oxford philosopher committed to putting ideas into action, Toby Ord has advised the US National Intelligence Council, the UK Prime Minister's Office, and the World Bank on the biggest questions facing humanity. In The Precipice, he offers a startling reassessment of human history, the future we are failing to protect, and the steps we must take to ensure that our generation is not the last. [
Amazon blurb]

Well worth your time.

Oh, yeah, from the book now in process...

Forgot to mention this one. Tangentially apropos of the topic:
The Nobel Prize–winning scientist’s elegant explanation of the fundamental ideas in biology and their uses today.


The renowned biologist Paul Nurse has spent his career revealing how living cells work. In What Is Life?, he takes up the challenge of describing what it means to be alive in a way that every reader can understand.

It is a shared journey of discovery; step-by-step Nurse illuminates five great ideas that underpin biology―the Cell, the Gene, Evolution by Natural Selection, Life as Chemistry, and Life as Information. He introduces the scientists who made the most important advances, and, using his personal experiences in and out of the lab, he shares with us the challenges, the lucky breaks, and the thrilling eureka moments of discovery.

Nurse writes with delight at life’s richness and with a sense of the urgent role of biology in our time. To survive the challenges that face us all today―climate change, pandemic, loss of biodiversity and food security―it is vital that we all understand what life is. [Amazon blurb]

 This one was a really fun read.


Interesting idea. Click the image.


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