Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 5)

THE PLANET REMADE by Oliver Morton
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers."
Economist briefings editor Morton (Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet, 2008, etc.) offers a calm, rational discussion of deliberate technological interventions to cool the planet's climate system.Read full book review >
THE REAL PLANET OF THE APES by David R. Begun
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"The questions of where, when, and how our species evolved are fascinating, but this well-developed, technically challenging account will be tough going for those without a background in the subject matter."
Paleoanthropologist Begun (Anthropology/Univ. of Toronto; editor: A Companion to Paleoanthropology, 2013, etc.) claims that the great ape ancestors of humans evolved in Europe and moved to Africa, not the other way around.Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"What does it mean to be human? Henrich's book, a pleasure for the biologically and scientifically inclined, doesn't provide the definitive answer, but it does offer plenty of material for a definition."
As Henrich (Evolutionary Biology/Harvard Univ.; co-author: Why Humans Cooperate, 2007, etc.) notes, we humans are big-brained but not big enough, for "our kind are not that bright, at least not innately smart enough to explain the immense success of our species."Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"A welcome, well-conceived contribution to the history of technology."
Creative destruction meets destructive creation in this economic-historical study of the Internet and its privatization. Read full book review >
LIGHTS OUT by Ted Koppel
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Koppel's case for the cyberthreat is strong; government officials seem (perhaps justifiably) preoccupied by other matters, or clueless, or both."
Award-winning journalist and longtime Nightline anchor Koppel (Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public, 2000, etc.) sounds the alarm over the likelihood of a devastating cyberattack on the infrastructure of the United States.Read full book review >

SCIENCE OF THE MAGICAL by Matt Kaplan
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A charming romp through the history of science."
How myths and magical beliefs may provide the first glimmers of scientific discovery. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A top-notch science book from a leading researcher."
Randall (Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology/Harvard Univ.; Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World, 2011, etc.) explores the causes of the fifth major extinction event, which occurred 66 million years ago and wiped out terrestrial dinosaurs and three-quarters of all other species living on Earth.Read full book review >
Chosen: Chronicles of an Alien Abductee by Byron W. Lacy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A far-out, disconcertingly readable memoir that flatly declares everything about aliens you read online or see dramatized on TV is true."
Lacy, a civil servant, musician, artist, and poet, (Heroes and Villains Down the Halls of Time, 2013) details a life as a recurring subject of so-called alien abduction phenomenon. Read full book review >
CRACK99 by David Locke Hall
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 19, 2015

"A quirky tale of international pursuit through a legal labyrinth with unsettling implications regarding proliferation of ominous technologies."
A jaunty yet disquieting tale of the first American prosecution of a Chinese software pirate. Read full book review >
FRACKING THE NEIGHBORHOOD by Jessica Smartt Gullion
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 16, 2015

"Likely to be well-received in the academy and elsewhere largely unread."
A sociologist offers an ethnography of an unlikely group of environmental health activists. Read full book review >
Evolution to Complexity by Edwin Herrera-Paz
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 14, 2015

"Thoughtful arguments, measured prose, and a point of view firmly rooted in the scientific method make this short popular-science book a delight."
Herrera-Paz's broad, engaging look at complexity examines the natural balance between entropy and order on a multitude of scales, ranging from the quantum to the universal. Read full book review >
OUR GRANDCHILDREN REDESIGNED by Michael Bess
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"In the future, accelerating technology and unexpected, revolutionary events—most of which will never be predicted by futurists—may produce a society as alien as some of our tools. Bess delivers an insightful philosophical analysis of how we must adjust."
An exuberant account of how biotechnology will vastly enhance not only our health, but our physical and mental abilities as well. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >