NEW BOOKS: Nature.

The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas by Agnia Grigas. Harvard University Press, 2017. We are aggressively expanding our exports of liquefied natural gas and will soon be a major supplier of energy. It comes from our shale gas production and that has enormous environmental consequences.

The Enigma of the Owl; An Illustrated Natural History by Mike Unwin, et alii Yale University Press, 2017. No other creature has such a wonderful stare, and it always seems that the gaze has intelligence behind it.

Mining North America; An Environmental History since 1522 by John McNeill & George Vrtis. University of California Press, 2017 paper. Five hundred years of digging and shaping nature.

 Wonderlandscape; A Cultural History of Yellowstone National Park by John Clayton. Pegasus, 2017. How this and other National Parks are being shaped by the visitors they attract and their expectations.

Tree by Matthew Battles, Christopher Schaberg, and Ian Bogost. The authors argue that we should have more respect for trees. They are our oldest allies on this earth, and yet we cut them down as though they were a nuisance.

Weird Dinosaurs; The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Though We Knew by John Pickrell. Columbia University Press, 2017. A wonderful travel opportunity: a world tour of new finds, such as a group of dwarf dinosaurs and a crocodile-snouted carnivore dinosaur bigger than T. Rex which once lurked in North African waterways.

Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Haupt. In May 1784 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came upon a flirtatious starling who sang an improvised version of a theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. A charming story; these days we would consider the starling an invasive.

The Evolution of Beauty; How Darwin’s Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World and Us. By Richard Prum. Doubleday, 2017.  Prum looks more carefully at Darwin’s theory of adaption of natural selection. Darwin referred mating preferences as a “taste for the beautiful.”

The Sensational Past; How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses by Carolyn Purnell. W.W. Norton, 2017. The theories of the eighteenth century Enlightenment and how they had an effect on an array of social institutions. 

Woolly; The True Story of the De-Extinction of One of History’s Most Iconic Creatures by Ben Mezrich. Atria Books, 2017. Can we restore the woolly mammoth, long lost to Earth but whose DNA was recovered from the Siberian tundra.

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