Category: #FuellYourSciFi

#PubDay Book Review | “Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material that will Revolutionize the World by Les Johnson and Joseph E. Meany

Posted Tuesday, 6 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Graphene” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I felt this title was pertinent to read:

I’ve been attempting to keep up on technologic advances for a select number of years – in truth, ever since I left high school over two decades ago! Mind you, the advancements occur at such a high frequency of discovery, I do not oft find everything before it becomes either super popular or has entered into the sphere of social discourse and study. I even love technology documentaries or showcases – such as the one I watched about robotics and automation – how we’re progressing towards a fully automated robot who is not only self-aware but he can synthesise his living environment in ways which decades prior would have been considered Science Fiction. Although, in truth – part of me feels we should be cautious about how far we take robotics and automation as we are on the brink of having a self-evolving robot which can process information on its own accord without human interaction or fail-safes in place in the event said robot chooses to live outside its protocols.

Similarly, I was wicked fascinated by the advances in prosthetics and alternative limbs – which also parlays into robotics as there is a ‘new’ smart limb system which has a metric system involved with its performance levels which is inclusive of Nanotechnology. It also unfortunately has too much high tech inside it to where hackers were making a muck of things trying to overturn its functions. I never did catch the follow-up if those protocols were restored or fixed.

When I read first the premise behind ‘Graphene’ it was both exciting to think we’re on the brink of a new technologic advancement which would improve our lives; yet part of me realised sometimes we broach into areas of technology which on one hand are revolutionary in their ability to aide us ahead of where we currently are now and on the other hand, might be seeking to take us into new dimensions of advancement we’re either not fully prepared to accept or shouldn’t be so willing to accept as commonplace in our lives.

Ergo, I was truly thrilled I could request to read this book and sort out for myself my thoughts on this new material which will soon be overtaking our lives. As despite this being a wicked intriguing book I honestly felt you could approach reading it two different ways: both as a cautionary tale how technology can get ahead of us without proper checks and balances vs how extraordinary it is there are other resources available which have unlimited potential – especially ones such as this which can be used across industries. I truly enjoyed the back-history of Science’s discovery in this material as well – in fact, it’s the History of its origins which first intrigued me whilst how it’s going to become applicable in our lives which proved both illuminating and a held a cause for concern (as they haven’t sorted out if it’s biologically averse to human touch or consumption; in effect if it could harm us in the long term).

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#PubDay Book Review | “Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material that will Revolutionize the World by Les Johnson and Joseph E. MeanyGraphene
Subtitle: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material that will Revolutionize the World
by Les Johnson, Joseph E. Meany
Source: Direct from Publisher

What if you discovered an infinitesimally thin material capable of conducting electricity, able to suspend millions of times its own weight, and yet porous enough to filter the murkiest water? And what if this incredible substance is created from the same element that fills the common pencil? That’s graphene - a flat, two dimensional, carbon-based molecule with a single sheet measuring only one atom thick.

In this layperson’s introduction to this revolutionary substance, a physicist and a chemist explain how graphene was developed, discuss the problems in scaling up production for large-scale commercial use, and forecast the potentially transformative effects of graphene to Silly Putty to make extremely sensitive and malleable medical sensors and compressing and fusing flakes of graphene to create a three-dimensional material that’s ten times stronger than steel.

This widely adaptable substance promises to change the way we interact with smartphones, laptops, information storage, and even condoms. It may also enable significant improvements to air purification, water filtration technologies, and drug delivery. This entertaining and widely accessible book offers a fascinating look into one of the most exciting developments in materials science in recent decades.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781633883253

Also by this author:

Genres: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Current Events, Materials Science, Molecular Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Non-Fiction, Quantum Electrodynamics, Quantum Physics, Science, Science & Technology


Published by Prometheus Books

on 6th February, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 269

About Joseph E. Meany

Joseph E. Meany

Joseph E. Meany is a materials scientist and science communicator otherwise known as the Crimson Alkemist. He fulfills a lifelong passion for futuristic technology on the organising committee of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Meany’s research has focused on the development and manufacture of conductive carbon-based molecules in electrical circuits, a quickly developing subfield within nanotechnology.

About Les Johnson

Les Johnson

Les Johnson is a physicist and the author of numerous popular science and science fiction books. He works for NASA at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where he serves as the principal investigator for the Near Earth Asteroid Scout solar-sail mission that will launch in 2019. He has thrice received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, and he holds four space technology patents.

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #Graphene + #MaterialsScience

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
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Posted Tuesday, 6 February, 2018 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Alternative Energy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Asteroid Science, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Automation, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Chemistry, Environmental Science, History, Human & Computer Interfaces, Modern Day, Molecular Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Non-Fiction, Popular Astronomy, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prometheus Books, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Quantum Electrodynamics, Quantum Physics, Science, Space Science, Sustainability from Space, Vignettes of Real Life

#RRSciFiMonth Book Review | #whoaretheclan | “To Guard Against the Dark” (Book No.3 of the Reunification trilogy) by Julie E. Czerneda #FuellYourSciFi with Jorie!

Posted Thursday, 30 November, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was invited to participate in Julie E. Czerneda’s #againstthedark wherein I am continuing my readings of The Clan Chronicles where I left off last November. I participated in the #timeandstarstour on behalf of the seventh volume of The Clan Chronicles ‘This Gulf of Time and Stars’ and the #futurespasttour on behalf of the eighth volume: ‘The Gate to Futures Past’. I reached out to the author to sort out a way to read her entire series spilt between two trilogies: Stratification (the prequel) and The Trade Pact (inaugural trilogy) which launched the series as a whole. She offered to have DAW Books send me the series in paperback editions which I was blessed to receive. I have spent the past three years reading about the Clan and happily conveying my ruminated thoughts on behalf of the series.

This year, I participated on the third blog tour to conclude the series with a finale tour by featuring a guest feature wherein Ms Czerneda wrote such a wonderful topic for me to share with my readers and the followers of the blog tour itself. In the hours since her Guest Post went live, I’ve been spending time with the Clan one last time – sorting out my feelings and trying to understand how the truth of #whoaretheclan affects us all.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of ‘To Guard Against the Dark’ the final novel of the final trilogy of The Clan Chronicles known as Reunification; in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

On where we left off into The Clan Chronicles:

As I disclosed on my review of Reap the Wild Wind this is my first reading of the works by Julie E. Czerneda. This is my continuing journey deep into the heart of The Clan Chronicles whilst conversing on Twitter via the tag #whoaretheclan. Occasionally alternating with #TheClanChronicles and #againstthedark.

I cannot even fully put into words how difficult it was to finish reading The Gate to Futures Past because there are so many shifting tides erupting out of the flow of the narrative! You’re simply not expecting everything which happens ‘here’ to be the living reality of those characters you’ve left behind in ‘Stratification’. I think that was the hardest pill to swallow at the time; of realising how difficult it is to return back to a ‘beloved space’ of fiction – only to find it completely terraformed into a new ‘entity’ of existence. At least, this is at best, the most I can do to express what my reactions were as I read about the dichotomies of differences between ‘then and now’; to say more would spoilt it for you! If your finding yourself coming through the series – prequel to Trade and onto Reunification, you’ll gleam a bit of what I’m trying to say without really saying anything which would elude to much at all.

One of my favourite bits to The Gate to Futures Past is how alive Sira’s hair remains a vocal representation of her emotional state – the ways in which her locks invade her own murmuring thoughts for a chance to be ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ on their own is something which gives me a jolly jolt of the giggles because her ‘hair’ rarely shows tact in making its ‘points’! I even like how Morgan has grown accustomed to how the ‘hair’ likes to entangle itself around him – nestling close to his skin and re-affirming how much Sira loves him in the gentleness of its touch. I might have mentioned previously but this is also why I love the cover art for GATE because it electrifies the hair as a full embodiment of how Sira is a fusion of thought, power and emotion.

Whilst the intrepid few Clan colonists (as they embarked to travel where no Clan had previously visited) survived their ordeal, it was the waves of uncertainty in trusting their newfound ‘first responders’ who came to their aide after the Oud left them unceremoniously to live or die at their feet which gave them the most pause for thought. It was here where Sira and Morgan started to dissect their options and where the rest of the Clan started to sort out how they would move forward. No one felt entirely ‘settled’ nor ‘safe’ but they were being cared for and it was more than they could hope to expect.

It was the miniature Oud who fascinated me – how Tap Tap came to meet Sira and Morgan but also its demure size which was not to be overshadowed by its insight for Oud were never to be trusted as short-sighted in both knowledge or depth of understanding. There was something different and unique about this one – especially how the Hoveny acted around it and how Sira felt more than slightly unnerved by its presence & understanding of who she really was in the greater ‘scheme’ of things. My skin started to stand on alert as there was something most foreboding about this ‘place’ they had landed – ever since they first disembarked from the ship, I sensed it. Now, as they drew closer to engaging with the Hoveny who lived here – something inside me twitched.

Alisi Di on Brightfall was such a heroic character to be placed at this crucial timeline of the Clan; how she reminded me of Sira in her own right. She was a leader, bourne of instincts others didn’t have within them – not just to lead but to guide, to understand and to prevail. She saw the fuller picture when others only saw what was in front of them. I had hoped I’d see more of her – I would have loved to known her longer than the time she had to give the Clan.

The hardest revelation for Sira (and myself) was recognising the Clan had been categorically organised like a seed catalogue for a farmer! Their entire understanding of ‘identity’ and ‘ancestry’ were being flipped on their heels for a revelation they were not expecting to be ‘true’. It’s hard to think you’ve spent your entire life believing in a lineage of record only to find out the familial concepts you’ve cherished were invented by someone else for a purpose your still trying to understand. Yet, the most striking realisation came when Sira learnt the truth of who the Clan were and where they actually were from – a truth which held it’s own sacrifices and gutting emotions.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNotation on Cover Art: Originally, when I saw the artwork for GUARD I can honestly say I didn’t quite understand it. Not until I reached the section in the novel which ‘explained’ what this was about – then, it seemed rather fitting to be featured! What I had trouble discerning from the image was what exactly was Jason Morgan holding in his hands?! I knew it was Jason – the key issue was what was he doing? This is the pivotal scene in the novel, the one where certain things ‘change’ and alter everything else which could have been going on – I will explain one thing which reveals nothing at the same time! lol He’s holding a giant bone and those hands? Those are Assembler hands – I should have sorted that bit out before I reached the disclosure in the book – mind you, Assembler’s aren’t my favourite aliens in the series,.. so, I suppose you could say I let the obvious pass right by me! I’ll let you chew on what Jason and these Assemblers could be up too!

#RRSciFiMonth Book Review | #whoaretheclan | “To Guard Against the Dark” (Book No.3 of the Reunification trilogy) by Julie E. Czerneda #FuellYourSciFi with Jorie!To Guard Against the Dark
Subtitle: A Novel of The Clan Chronicles : Reunification No.3
by Julie E. Czerneda
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Matt Stawicki
Source: Direct from Publisher

Synopsis on the Back Cover

Jason Morgan is a troubling mystery to friends and enemies alike; once a starship captain and trader, then Joined to the most powerful member of the Clan, his love, Sira di Sarc, following her and her kind out of known space.

Only to return, alone and silent.

But he's returned to a Trade Pact under siege, The Assemblers continue unchecked. Bowman hasn't caught the Facilitator. Worst of all, members of the First, sensing their time has come, conspire to change the balance of power.

And push humanity aside.

To Morgan, these are small concerns, for he knows there's more than this universe. Beyond the M'hir is AllThereIs, the true home of the Clan. Dwelling there are entities of instinct, able to reach into real space and destroy what they view as threat, as they ended the vast empire of the Hoveny Concentrix. Sira sacrificed their love and her life to prevent another wave of destruction, for the entities demanded the return of all Clan and no further intrusion.

But not all the Clan followed Sira home.

And some who live in the M'hir have plans of their own.

Jason Morgan will have to make a stand.

Little does he realise, he won't do it alone.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

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ISBN: 9780756408787

Also by this author: Reap the Wild Wind, Riders of the Storm, Rift in the Sky, A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, To Trade the Stars, This Gulf of Time and Stars, Julie E. Czerneda Interview (#futurespasttour), The Gate to Futures Past, Guest Post (Web Shifters series) by Julie E. Czerneda, Guest Post: Julie E. Czerneda (Clan Chronicles Finale Tour)

Also in this series: This Gulf of Time and Stars, The Gate to Futures Past


Genres: Science Fiction


Published by DAW Books

on 10th October, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 448

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

Cover art by Matt Stawicki | Site | Facebook

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Series Synopsis and Overview:

The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan.

Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.

NEW Stories about Plexis | information via Julie E. Czerneda’s dedicated anthology UPDATE Site.

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook

About Julie E. Czerneda

Julie E. Czerneda Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

Since 1997, Canadian author/editor Julie E. Czerneda has shared her love and curiosity about living things through her science fiction, writing about shapechanging semi-immortals, terraformed worlds, salmon researchers, and the perils of power. Her fourteenth novel from DAW Books was her debut fantasy, A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel, and now Book One of her Night`s Edge series.

She began her first fantasy series: Night’s Edge with A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel. A Play of Shadow followed, winning the 2015 Aurora. While there’ll be more fantasy, Julie’s back in science fiction to complete her Clan Chronicles series. Reunification #1: This Gulf of Time and Stars, came out in 2015. #2: The Gate to Futures Past released September, 2016. Volume #3: To Guard Against the Dark, follows October 2017.

An award-winning editor as well, Julie’s edited/co-edited sixteen anthologies of SF/F, including the Aurora winning Space Inc. and Under Cover of Darkness. Her most recent anthology is the 2017 Nebula Award Showcase, published May 2017, a singular honour.

Next out will be an anthology of original stories set in her Clan Chronicles series: Tales from Plexis, out in 2018. When not jumping between wonderful blogs, Julie’s at work on something very special: her highly anticipated new Esen novel, Search Image (Fall 2018).

Biography updated November 2017
Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
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Posted Thursday, 30 November, 2017 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Canadian Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Hard Science Fiction, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Space Opera

#ArbourDay #NonFiction Book Review | “Complexity: The Evolution of Earth’s Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity” by William C. Burger

Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Complexity” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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musings about the introduction:

Right out of the gate, Burger warmed me to his compassionate view of life when he cross-compared the natural biodiversity of our world with the multicultural diversity of our biped humanity. If you lament about the world at large long enough, there is an incredible girth of biological ancestry percolating all round us. It is not just our footprints and our legacies which are resplendently observational in this world, but there is a depth of evolutionary evidence of how the natural world has progressed forward through millennia and augmented itself to become adaptive and changeable per each environ and region on Earth.

I must admit, part of the reason why I had my eye keenly attached to Paleontology was to understand the back-history of the natural world. When I uncovered AstroBotany a few years ago, it took studying the subject from a completely new point of view and by such, granting a new angle of approach. I think this is why I was originally considering studying Archaeology rather than Anthropology; as although I am dearly interested in culture and traditional heritages of different ethnic backgrounds; one thing has kept constant about my scientific interests: I like to dig into the past and seek out the mannerisms of the how species and humanity lived through the different ages. Inasmuch as I appreciate uncovering the socio-psychological make-up of our own actions, there is a measure of joy in back-tracking through how the natural world has evolved forward through their own timeline.

He breaks down the terms: Biodiversity vs. Complexity as both directly relate to how our understanding of the natural order and presence of everything (human vs natural world) correlate, inter-relate and are individually unique from one another too. Systematically there are intersections of everything and everyone on Earth (as one would naturally observe) but when he mentioned the tundra and the the rain forest, I just smirked! Those were the two biodiverse regions which perked my interest early-on as a child. I loved how uniquely different those regions were and how incredible it was to peer into the wildlife and the natural organisations which called each space their home. The habitats were awe-inspiring for a girl growing into an appreciation for conservation and preservation of natural environs. I was a budding environmentalist before I ever understood the full spectrum of Earth’s fragile balance between ecological preservations and the impact of our human actions. By the age of ten, when I first saw Medicine Man in the theater, you could say it all came full circle and since then, I have been passionately curious about the steps we can take to reduce our industrialism and live more authentically towards a greener tomorrow using upcycling, recycling and natural innovative science to improve our way of life.

Understanding SPECIES:

Growing up in Science class, one of my favourite bits to graduating into seventh grade was starting to get a more scientific foundation on the order of species. My seventh grade teacher had a living biosphere of his own – we had an outside zoo attached to our classroom where farm animals resided in a lovingly cared for pen and where inside, we had aquariums and cages full of small animals which added to the joy of researching natural habitats. It is also where I fell in love with the class hamster but never thought I’d be blessed to take him home. He lived four years, nearly five (impressive for a little guy) and he still has a fond place in my heart. Aside from meeting my first ham-ham of joy, I was eagerly itching to better understand how everything in the natural world was organised and classified. Mind you, for a girl in a classroom full of peers who’d much rather be outside in the sunshine, I was an oddity. I loved being holed up inside my textbook and musing about how everything in nature had it’s own blueprint to identify itself. There was a specific tool set in nature to give you clues and hints towards how everything belongs by genus, species and family. Of course it’s more complex than this, as you can read about in this article but I was simply mentioning I was wicked fascinated by the conception of everything having a particular place in which to belong.

I used to read hierarchical charts like Amateur Ancestry Sleuths read genealogical graphs and family trees! There is a lot of data about how the natural world is understood and broken down into Plants and Animals. The hierarchy is the code which helps you understand the connections and the diverse components of what makes each individual organisation uniquely themselves whilst having a comparatively similar component of another species, too. There are cross-similarities as much as there are inherent differences and I have always wanted to have a better foundation of understanding of how all of this co-relates and diverts into sub-categories of order. To put it a different way, understanding the natural world is similar to having a blueprint of the break-down of genre in Literature. You have sub-genres and sub-categories of interest broken into thematic inclusions and styles of crafting stories together through either Fiction or Non-Fiction. You can spend a lifetime seeking stories moving through genres and generations of writers whose influences continue to shape the literary world. So, too, is the same for understanding the biosphere. You first have to understand how to approach the topic and then, you get to have fun exploring everything that makes Earth bio-diverse as it is right now.

I was quite charmed Burger chose to avoid discussing Insects – as personally, they never interested me in the least! I have a love/hate relationship with Insects overall. Yes, I recognise they have a place in this world but on a truly personal level of honest reflection? I could literally bypass their presence in my life. There are few exceptions to this rule: butterflies, dragonflies and a few others to make my soul smile but in general, the world of insects and I are not on speaking terms.

Plant Diversity | Essential to Biodiversity:

I oft wondered why my peers gave little credit or credence to plant and trees. After all, it wasn’t hard to understand how we are able to breathe (ie. trees are our source of oxygen) but so, too it wasn’t hard to fathom how the flora and fauna in a natural habitat was key to a sustainable habitat for all the lovely creatures who called that local environ their home. I used to be keenly invested in tracing photosynthesis on both land and sea. When it comes to the ocean, the most unique discovery was how life is still adaptively responsive beyond the layer of sunlight penetration where the world is completely dark and absent from the effects of photosynthetic processes. Mind you, those creatures in the deepest layers of the ocean freak me out of my skull! They are straight out of a story of Horror but on the flip side of that coin, it’s not their fault they are structurally horrific to look at as to them, we’re the odd ones who scare them!

Cosmic Complexities:

Since I was a Young Astronaut, I have been especially curious about the Cosmic diversity and complexities of life in the vacuum of space. Partially why I loved spending so much time at my local Science Center was for the joy of uncovering more about life in the universe from our humble observational knowledge back here on Earth. It is also why I have a penchant for reading and writing Hard Science Fiction stories. There is a lot more understanding on the diverse aspects of what makes the environments on the planets so eloquently complex nowadays than even when I was growing up as much more is known. I oft found it curious how at one point in time, Science Fiction was a bit limited in speculating a living environment for planets; as basic science for those locations was still anyone’s educated guess. To find out which of the planets are sustainable for life and which ones are a boiling stew of environmental causticity is quite humourous now.

The irony I felt was that if our Earth is diversely complex and structured, why would we think the Cosmic structure of those planets would be less than our own? Wouldn’t it be a better working theory to acknowledge the planets in our solar system were equally complex to understand if Earth is still being processed, categorised and understood on a fundamental level?

I also liked getting a small grasp of how the other planets keep our planet healthy – I knew there was more to the ‘order’ and ‘distance’ of the planets than what was being shared during my school years. For starters, nothing is coincidental – not in life and not in nature. There are reasons for everything even if we are not entirely clued into those reasons until a day of new understanding alights on our path, which doesn’t discredit there is a purpose for why things simply ‘are’. It was quite curious how the placement of the planets not only effect our planet’s health but they also, effectively alter how each of the planets can thrive in their own unique environments, too. Again, there is more to the world and the universe than what is generally understood. For starters, by what is being explained the very positioning of the other planets create a ‘fail-safe’ for Earth; an invisible protective shield for drawing objects away from us inasmuch as consistently influencing our weather and the cycle of living habitats.

Why Earth is a blessed place to call ‘home’:

Aside from contemplating the spherical dimension of the sky and the curvature of the Earth, I oft contemplated gravity and our inability to realise how gravity itself places such an important role in our lives. The absence of our daily visual observation of how we can walk, stand and run on solid ground is a credit to the hidden metrics of how gravity influences our way of life. However, there are other hidden factors which are indicators of how life on Earth is sustained and able to be generationally increased. Everything from our tilt to our cyclic seasons to how our girth and size allows us to be spread between different climatic zones.

Laughs. When Burger started to talk about ‘plate tectonics’, it reminded me about how my classmates nearly groaned about how I wanted to spend an incessant amount of time discussing the subject! Mostly the science behind this Earthbound marvel is why we study Volcanology and have a ready appreciation for earthquake science which is still in the rudimentary stages of being understood. Interesting new point of insight: plate tectonics re-release carbon dioxide! Now, why did my science teachers leave out that bit of fodder from our chats? It’s a system of purging a surplus of toxic gas if it were to be allowed to continue to collect in places where it’s unhealthy levels would start to interfere with the natural order of our world. Now that’s a new layer of insight past what influences volcanoes and earthquakes and the dynamic shift in topographical elevations!

Religion and Science:

As I have blogged about in the past, my pursuit of Science is from a girl who walks in faith. I am not the first nor the last person who has found common ground in pursuing Science without forsaking her faith. To me, to understand how the universe and Earth are in sync with each other is another extension of understanding the universal truths of where we live. It isn’t to takeaway from religion nor to fully embrace Science without faith; we each walk our own path and make our minds on how best to approach the larger questions which will always be present in our world. (see also Review) Burger adds his two cents on the subject and in effect, leaves the reader to decide where they stand which is the only way to leave it, truly.

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One interesting point in this section of his Introduction is when he stipulated this:

But science is different; it is nothing more than a pragmatic way of trying to understand the world through carefully controlled experiments, the origin and elaboration of biodiversity are historical questions. In these instances we formulate historical scenarios and then seek evidence from nature to support or reject a given scenario. It’s very much like detectives trying to solve a crime.

-quoted from Complexity by William C. Burger with permission of the publisher

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On this vein of thought, the study of Biodiversity is a funneling of retracing the history of the natural world in pursuit to understand where we are today. It is another way of knowing why our natural environment is changing and re-defining itself once more through geological evolution. It’s a mark of historical reference to better understand what happened in the past in order to continue to strive towards a better future.

Land and Sea Variants of Biological Life:

As Burger has concentrated his research and observations to terrestrial entities rather than oceanographic species, he does give a brief interlude about how the ocean is enriched by biodiversity if only as a footnote on the subject. The oceans account for 90% of the living sphere but they contain a radically reduce amount of living organisms when cross-compared to those living on land (ourselves included!). I have known about this for quite a long while – as I spent a bit of time during seventh grade in a different school than the one I hinted about earlier (where I adopted my first hamster). In the former school, where I had spent sixth grade as well; I had a wicked lovely science teacher who taught through experiments and encouraged us to have an independent mind. My second science teacher that year attempted this but fell short a bit due to angst stemming out of devastating budget cuts (ie. he lost all funding to keep his animals). In the first school, my teacher introduced a broad appreciation for the oceans, the currents and the cycle of how the oceans are controlled by the moon and tides. It was a wicked introduction but also, affirming by scale and design: this is when I realised how large 90% of anything truly is in proportion to geologic size. I was developing a healthy interest in oceanography, thermodynamics, geophysics, marine biology and paleooceanology with a small interest in climatology which would increase lateron.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#ArbourDay #NonFiction Book Review | “Complexity: The Evolution of Earth’s Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity” by William C. BurgerComplexity
Subtitle: The Evolution of Earth's Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity
by William C. Burger
Source: Direct from Publisher

This very readable overview of natural history explores the dynamics that have made our planet so rich in biodiversity over time and supported the rise and dominance of our own species.

Tracing the arc of evolutionary history, biologist William C. Burger shows that cooperation and symbiosis have played a critical role in the ever increasing complexity of life on earth. Life may have started from the evolution of cooperating organic molecules, which outpaced their noncooperating neighbors. A prime example of symbiosis was the early incorporation of mitochondria into the eukaryotic cell (through a process called “endosymbiosis”). This event gave these cells a powerful new source of energy. Later, cooperation was again key when millions to trillions of individual eukaryotic cells eventually came together to build the unitary structures of large plants and animals. And cooperation between individuals of the same species resulted in complex animal societies, such as ant colonies and bee hives.

Turning to our own species, the author argues that our ability to cooperate, along with incessant inter-group conflict, has driven the advancement of cultures, the elaboration of our technologies, and made us the most “invasive” species on the planet. But our very success has now become a huge problem, as our world dominion threatens the future of the biosphere and confronts us with a very uncertain future.

Thought-provoking and full of fascinating detail, this eloquently told story of life on earth and our place within it presents a grand perspective and raises many important questions.

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ISBN: 9781633881938

Genres: Biological Diversity, Botany, Evolution, Life Science, Non-Fiction, Science


Published by Prometheus Books

on 14th June, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 380

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #Nature, #Conservation, #Biodiversity + #ScienceBooks

About William C. Burger

William C. Burger

William C. Burger is Curator Emeritus of the Department of Botany at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of the highly acclaimed Flowers: How They Changed the World and Perfect Planet, Clever Species.

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