Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rhodes Library - some recently-added books: a selection

(View all the new titles for the week)

Antarctic ecosystems : an extreme environment in a changing world edited by Alex D. Rogers ... [et al.]. 

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Since its discovery Antarctica has held a deep fascination for biologists. Extreme environmental conditions, seasonality and isolation have lead to some of the most striking examples of natural selection and adaptation on Earth. Paradoxically, some of these adaptations may pose constraints on the ability of the Antarctic biota to respond to climate change. Parts of Antarctica are showing some of the largest changes in temperature and other environmental conditions in the world. In this volume, published in association with the Royal Society, leading polar scientists present a synthesis of the latest research on the biological systems in Antarctica, covering organisms from microbes to vertebrate higher predators. This book comes at a time when new technologies and approaches allow the implications of climate change and other direct human impacts on Antarctica to be viewed at a range of scales; across entire regions, whole ecosystems and down to the level of species and variation within their genomes. Chapters address both Antarctic terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and the scientific and management challenges of the future are explored.


Genetic Roulette: the gamble of our lives (DVD)

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Never-Before-Seen-Evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a  major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially  among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases,  and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets,  livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.



Near-Earth objects : finding them before they find us / Donald K. Yeomans. Cover Art

Of all the natural disasters that could befall us, only an Earth impact by a large comet or asteroid has the potential to end civilization in a single blow. Yet these near-Earth objects also offer tantalizing clues to our solar system's origins, and someday could even serve as stepping-stones for space exploration. In this book, Donald Yeomans introduces readers to the science of near-Earth objects--its history, applications, and ongoing quest to find near-Earth objects before they find us.

What's wrong with climate politics and how to fix it by Paul G. Harris.

WhatGovernments have failed to stem global emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases causing climate change. Indeed, climate-changing pollution is increasing globally, and will do so for decades to come without far more aggressive action. What explains this failure to effectively tackle one of the world's most serious problems? And what can we do about it?

To answer these questions, Paul G. Harris looks at climate politics as a doctor might look at a very sick patient. He performs urgent diagnoses and prescribes vital treatments to revive our ailing planet before it's too late. 


The race for what's left : the global scramble for the world's last resources by Michael T. Klare.

"A first-rate, well-researched wake-up call."---The Christian Science Monitor
"Outstanding…Exhaustively researched, beautifully written, and convincingly argued."---The Huffington Post
"Stunning."---Rolling Stone
"Reading this book, it’s hard not to think about postapocalyptic fiction….Think Margaret Atwood, Cormac McCarthy, and, most recent, Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games. Yet novelists often skip over the messy parts along the road to dystopia. It’s scary to think that Klare, far from crying wolf, might be providing the sordid details in real time."---Science News
"If you think oil is the only major thing we’re running short of, think again.…Crisp, authoritative…A guidebook to wars to come."---Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

The strangest man : the hidden life of Paul Dirac, quantum genius by Graham Farmelo

Cover ArtThe first full biography of Paul Dirac, the greatest British physicist since Newton - and one of the strangest geniuses of the twentieth century, who may have suffered from autism. Paul Dirac was a pioneer of quantum mechanics and was regarded as an equal by Albert Einstein. He predicted, purely from what he saw in his equations, the existence of antimatter. The youngest person ever to win the Nobel Prize for Physics, he was also pathologically reticent, strangely literal-minded and almost completely unable to communicate or empathise. His silences were legendary and when he spoke, he betrayed no emotion. Through his greatest period of productivity, his postcards home contained only remarks about the weather. He is said to have cried only once, when his friend Einstein died. 

Higgs : the invention and discovery of the 'God Particle' by Jim Baggott.

Cover ArtThe hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. So exactly what is this particle? Why does it matter so much? What does it tell us about the Universe? Did the discovery  finish the search? And was finding it really worth all the effort? The short answer is yes. The Higgs field is proposed as the way in which particles gain mass - a fundamental property of matter. It's the strongest indicator yet that the Standard Model of physics really does reflect the basic building blocks of our Universe. Little wonder the hunt and discovery of this new particle produced such intense media interest. Jim Baggott explains the science behind the discovery, looking at how the concept of a Higgs field was invented, how the vast experiment was carried out, and its implications on our understanding of all mass in the Universe.

Why animals matter : animal consciousness, animal welfare and human well-being by Marian Stamp Dawkins.

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In a world increasingly concerned with climate change, food security, and other human issues, the welfare of non-human animals is in danger of being overlooked and side-lined. Using the latest scientific research on animal consciousness and emotions, Marian Stamp Dawkins argues that if animal welfare is to be taken seriously by world opinion, it needs a complete rethink. She asks important questions such as: are we justified in projecting human emotions on to animals?


Cover Art Albatross : their world, their ways / Tui De Roy, Mark Jones, Julian Fitter.
The albatross is a creature of legend, of poetry and of dreams. It is the ultimate nomad, whose sailplane wings - the longest of any living bird - harness the shrieking winds of the southern ocean as it glides around the globe. This master of wind and wave is also the subject of intense scientificscrutiny and fascinating revelations. But just as we are discovering the magic of these glorious birds, they are becoming increasingly threatened; today, over three-quarters of all albatross species are edging towards extinction. A celebration of these amazing creatures and a call to ensure their future survival. 

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