Explaining thermoregulation for a popular readership may seem a stretch, but the author succeeds admirably.

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HEARTWARMING

HOW OUR INNER THERMOSTAT MADE US HUMAN

According to this insightful exploration of how humans relate to temperature, warmth is essential for biological survival as well as the advancement of civilization.

In a narrative that combines hard science and accessibility for general readers, social psychology professor Ijzerman, one of the world’s leading experts on “social thermoregulation in humans,” begins by describing studies in which subjects exposed to heat felt more sociable and kind than those exposed to cold. Later, however, he warns that when other scientists have repeated similar studies, the majority were unable to confirm the original findings. As a result, the author treads carefully, emphasizing large-scale research and acknowledging that “we psychologists are better at research than we are at giving practical advice and furnishing simple remedies.” Generating their own heat allows warmblooded animals to be incredibly active, but the process requires huge quantities of fuel; on the other hand, some snakes can go a year without food. Infants of all species seek warmth, and this quest persists throughout life. Although humans are intensely social, most of us do not understand the links among physical temperature and concepts of trust, friendship, and love. Even though many people believe in the universality of the connection between warmth and affection, “human cultures diverge with respect to affection-is-warmth.” Readers may be surprised by Ijzerman’s claim that “modern human relationships are organized around body-temperature regulation,” but he marshals impressive evidence in such chapters as “People Are Penguins, Too” and “Rat Mamas Are Hot.” It turns out that an infant’s search for warmth plays an essential role in attachment behavior later, and adults proactively seek it out, if not from physical proximity then through a romantic partner or social network. As the author shows, conventional wisdom about humans and warmth is often wrong. For example, studies do not confirm that weather influences our moods or that depression peaks in winter.

Explaining thermoregulation for a popular readership may seem a stretch, but the author succeeds admirably.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

THE MEATEATER GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SKILLS AND SURVIVAL

The bad news: On any given outdoor expedition, you are your own worst enemy. The good news: If you are prepared, which this book helps you achieve, you might just live through it.

As MeatEater host and experienced outdoorsman Rinella notes, there are countless dangers attendant in going into mountains, woods, or deserts; he quotes journalist Wes Siler: “People have always managed to find stupid ways to die.” Avoiding stupid mistakes is the overarching point of Rinella’s latest book, full of provocative and helpful advice. One stupid way to die is not to have the proper equipment. There’s a complication built into the question, given that when humping gear into the outdoors, weight is always an issue. The author’s answer? “Build your gear list by prioritizing safety.” That entails having some means of communication, water, food, and shelter foremost and then adding on “extra shit.” As to that, he notes gravely, “a National Park Service geologist recently estimated that as much as 215,000 pounds of feces has been tossed haphazardly into crevasses along the climbing route on Denali National Park’s Kahiltna Glacier, where climbers melt snow for drinking water.” Ingesting fecal matter is a quick route to sickness, and Rinella adds, there are plenty of outdoorspeople who have no idea of how to keep their bodily wastes from ruining the scenery or poisoning the water supply. Throughout, the author provides precise information about wilderness first aid, ranging from irrigating wounds to applying arterial pressure to keeping someone experiencing a heart attack (a common event outdoors, given that so many people overexert without previous conditioning) alive. Some takeaways: Keep your crotch dry, don’t pitch a tent under a dead tree limb, walk side-hill across mountains, and “do not enter a marsh or swamp in flip-flops, and think twice before entering in strap-on sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.”

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12969-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.

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TEN LESSONS FOR A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

The CNN host and bestselling author delivers a pithy roundup of some of the inevitable global changes that will follow the current pandemic.

Examining issues both obvious and subtler, Zakaria sets out how and why the world has changed forever. The speed with which the Covid-19 virus spread around the world was shocking, and the fallout has been staggering. In fact, writes the author, “it may well turn out that this viral speck will cause the greatest economic, political, and social damage to humankind since World War II.” The U.S., in particular, was exposed as woefully unprepared, as government leadership failed to deliver a clear, practical message, and the nation’s vaunted medical institutions were caught flat-footed: "Before the pandemic…Americans might have taken solace in the country’s great research facilities or the huge amounts of money spent on health care, while forgetting about the waste, complexity and deeply unequal access that mark it as well." While American leaders wasted months denying the seriousness of Covid-19 and ignoring the advice of medical experts, other countries—e.g., South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan—acted swiftly and decisively, underscoring one of the author's main themes and second lesson: "What matters is not the quantity of government but the quality.” Discussing how “markets are not enough,” the author astutely shoots down the myth that throwing money at the problem can fix the situation; as such, he predicts a swing toward more socialist-friendly policies. Zakaria also delves into the significance of the digital economy, the resilience of cities (see the success of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taipei in suppressing the virus), the deepening of economic inequality around the world, how the pandemic has exacerbated the rift between China and the U.S. (and will continue to do so), and why “people should listen to the experts—and experts should listen to the people."

A cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-54213-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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