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Air

Author: Peter Adey
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780232950
Size: 38.21 MB
Format: PDF
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Outside of yoga class, we don’t pay too much attention to the air we take in every day. Long one of the essential elements to life on earth—from the atmospheric composition that gave life to the coal-forming forests some three hundred million years ago to the air that fuels our most important technologies today—we think little of its incredible properties. In this innovative cultural and scientific history, Peter Adey takes stock of the great ocean of air that surrounds us, exploring our attempts to understand, engineer, make sense of, and find meaning in it. Adey examines how humans have managed and manipulated air as a natural resource and, in doing so, have been taken to the limits of survival, brought to high-altitude mountain peaks, subterranean worlds, and the troughs of new moral depths. Going beyond how vital air has been to our philosophical, scientific, and technological pursuits, he also reveals the way that the artistic and literary imagination has been lifted through air and how, in air, cultures have learned to express and inspire each other. Combining established figures such as Joseph Priestley, John Scott Haldane, and Marie Curie with unlikely individuals from painting, literature, and poetry, this richly illustrated book unlocks new perspectives into the science and culture of this pervasive but unnoticed substance.

Lightning

Author: Derek M. Elsom
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780235461
Size: 41.52 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Few phenomena inspire more awe than lightning. Streaking across the sky, it daunts us with its power and amazes us with its beauty. In Lightning, Derek M. Elsom explores this natural phenomenon and traces the long history of our study of it. From early civilizations’ assumptions that it was the work of gods, through eighteenth-century scientific analyses (and, yes, Ben Franklin’s kite), Elsom tells about our efforts to understand and explain lightning. He explores the many surprising folklore beliefs about lightning protection and contrasts these with today's scientific approaches. Alongside scientific explorations, he also tracks the path of lightning through our culture, from myths and legends to art and design. In addition, Elsom offers handy tips for avoiding getting struck by lightning. Beautifully illustrated with stunning photographs and artistic renderings, this striking book will appeal equally to weather buffs and folklorists, scientists and artists.

Volcano

Author: James Hamilton
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861899556
Size: 70.11 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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For years, tourists have trekked across cracked rock at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano to witness the awe-inspiring sight of creeping lava and its devastating effects on the landscape. In 2010, Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland, stranding travelers as a cloud of ash covered western and northern Europe, causing the largest disruption of air travel since World War II. And just a few months later, Mount Merapi blew in Indonesia, killing over 350 people and displacing over 350,000 others, awakening people once more to the dangerous potential of these sleeping giants. Though today largely dormant, volcanoes continue to erupt across the world, reminding us of their sheer physical power. In Volcano, James Hamilton explores the cultural history generated by the violence and terrifying beauty of volcanoes. He describes the reverberations of early eruptions of Vesuvius and Etna in Greek and Roman myth. He also examines the depiction of volcanoes in art—from the earliest known wall painting of an erupting volcano in 6200 BCE to the distinctive colors of Andy Warhol and Michael Sandle’s exploding mountains. Surveying a number of twenty-first-century works, Hamilton shows that volcanoes continue to influence the artistic imagination. Combining established figures such as Joseph Wright and J. M. W. Turner with previously unseen perspectives, this richly illustrated book will appeal to anyone interested in science as well as the cultural impact of these spectacular natural features.

Earth Air Fire Water

Author: Jill K. Conway
Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Press
ISBN: 9781558492219
Size: 43.59 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A collection of papers on alternative approaches to environmental issues, written in an accessible style and aimed at a general audience. Sections cover the elements and our understanding of them, social institutions and human-nature interactions, and modern technology's affect on our imagination.

Clouds

Author: Richard Hamblyn
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780237707
Size: 23.47 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Clouds have been objects of delight and fascination throughout human history, their fleeting magnificence and endless variety having inspired scientists and daydreamers alike. Described by Aristophanes as “the patron goddesses of idle men,” clouds and the ever-changing patterns they create have long symbolized the restlessness and unpredictability of nature, and yet they are also the source of life-giving rains. In this book, Richard Hamblyn examines clouds in their cultural, historic, and scientific contexts, exploring their prevalence in our skies as well as in our literature, art, and music. As Hamblyn shows, clouds function not only as a crucial means of circulating water around the globe but also as a finely tuned thermostat regulating the planet’s temperature. He discusses the many different kinds of clouds, from high, scattered cirrus clouds to the plump thought-bubbles of cumulus clouds, even exploring man-made clouds and clouds on other planets. He also shows how clouds have featured as meaningful symbols in human culture, whether as ominous portents of coming calamities or as ethereal figures giving shape to the heavens, whether in Wordsworth’s poetry or today’s tech speak. Comprehensive yet compact, cogent and beautifully illustrated, this is the ultimate guidebook to those shapeshifters of the sky.

Living In The Anthropocene

Author: W. John Kress
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
ISBN: 1588346021
Size: 66.59 MB
Format: PDF
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Explores the causes and implications of the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans, from multiple points of view including anthropological, scientific, social, artistic, and economic. Although we arrived only recently in Earth's timeline, humans are driving major changes to the planet's ecosystems. Even now, the basic requirements for human life--air, water, shelter, food, nature, and culture--are rapidly transforming the planet as billions of people compete for resources. These changes have become so noticeable on a global scale that scientists believe we are living in a new chapter in Earth's story: the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans is a vital look at this era. The book contextualizes the Anthropocene by presenting paleontological, historical, and contemporary views of various human effects on Earth. It discusses environmental and biological systems that have been changed and affected; the causes of the Anthropocene, such as agricultural spread, pollution, and urbanization; how societies are responding and adapting to these changes; how these changes have been represented in art, film, television, and literature; and finally, offers a look toward the future of our environment and our own lives.

Earth Air Fire Water

Author: Jill K. Conway
Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Press
ISBN: 9781558492219
Size: 48.68 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A collection of papers on alternative approaches to environmental issues, written in an accessible style and aimed at a general audience. Sections cover the elements and our understanding of them, social institutions and human-nature interactions, and modern technology's affect on our imagination.

Meteorite

Author: Maria Golia
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 178023547X
Size: 71.77 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Among the rarest things on earth, meteorites carry an air of mystery and drama while having left a pervasive, outsized mark on our planet and civilization. In Meteorite, Maria Golia tells the long history of our engagement with these sky-born space rocks. Arriving amid thunderous blasts and flame-streaked skies, meteorites were once thought to be messengers from the gods. Worshipped in the past, now scrutinized with equal zeal by scientists, meteorites helped sculpt Earth’s features and have shaped our understanding of the planet’s origins. Prized for their outlandish qualities, meteorites are a collectible and a commodity, objects of art and artists’ desires and a literary muse; and ‘meteorite hunting’ is an adventurous, lucrative profession for some and an addictive hobby for thousands of others. A richly illustrated, remarkably wide-ranging account of the culture and science surrounding meteorites, Golia’s book explores the ancient, lasting power of the meteorite to inspire and awe.

The World Without Us

Author: Alan Weisman
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780312347291
Size: 22.78 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A study of what would happen to Earth if the human presence was removed examines our legacy for the planet, from the objects that would vanish without human intervention to those that would become long-lasting remnants of humankind.

Listening To The Land

Author: Derrick Jensen
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 1603581189
Size: 17.29 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this far-ranging and heartening collection, Derrick Jensen gathers conversations with environmentalists, theologians, Native Americans, psychologists, and feminists, engaging some of our best minds in an exploration of more peaceful ways to live on Earth. Included here is Dave Foreman on biodiversity, Matthew Fox on Christianity and nature, Jerry Mander on technology, and Terry Tempest Williams on an erotic connection to the land. With intelligence and compassion, Listening to the Land moves from a look at the condition of the environment and the health of our spirit to a beautiful evocation of eros and a life based on love.