NEW BOOKS: Science. Medicine. Mathematics.

The Wizard and the Prophet; Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles Mann. Knopf, 2017. Two visions of what our world will be like forty years from now: our using more than what our planet has to give; vs. science and technology will save us.

Arithmetic by Paul Lockhart. Harvard University Press. A set of ideas which exhibit the surprising behaviors of numbers.

On the Other Hand; Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History by Howard Kushner. Johns Hopkins, 2017. About ten percent of humans are left-handed yet left-handedness has long been stigmatized.

China’s Hidden Children; Abandonment, Adoption, and the Human Costs of the One-Child Policy by Kay Johnson. University of Chicago Press, 2017 paper. It has been thirty-five years since China instituted its one-child policy. 120,000 children – mostly girls – have left China through international adoption. (The Chinese have always had a preference sons.)

On the Couch; A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud by Nathan Kravis. MIT Press, 2017.  The various methodologies of the psychoanalyst go back in time. For example, the practice of the patient lying on a couch and facing away. The couches of a Roman symposium?

The Fracking Debate; The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution by Daniel Raimi. Columbia University Press, 2017. US Oil and gas production has surged in the last decades with the use of hydraulic fracturing. But many worry about its downside.

Whitewash; The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science by Carey Gillam. Island Press, 2017. Roundup has been used everywhere from backyard gardens to golf courses to millions of acres of farmlands. How controversy over this questionable use has been suppressed.

 Big Chicken; The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats by Maryn McKenna. National Geographic, 2017. Modern agriculture has produced the modern chicken and introduced a new array of processing practices.

Firestorm; How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik. Island Press, 2017. As our rainfall becomes more erratic, we shall have to cope with “the Beast.” The wildfire problem is particularly acute in the northern forests of the US and Canada.

The Evolution of Beauty; How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us by Richard Prum. Doubleday, 2017. Sexual selection: females choosing males with whom to mate. Thus male ornamentation and strutting to advertise their good health.

Charles Darwin; Victorian Mythmaker by A.N. Wilson. Harper, 2017. Charles Darwin was, according to Wilson, a ruthless and determined self-promoter, who never gave full credit to those from whom he borrowed.

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