Rain

A Natural and Cultural History

Author: Cynthia Barnett

Publisher: Crown

ISBN: 0804137102

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 3070

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Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive. It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain. Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume. Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.

Rain

A Natural and Cultural History

Author: Cynthia Barnett

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 0804137110

Category: Science

Page: 355

View: 6353

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"It is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive. It is the subject of countless poems and paintings, the top of the weather report, the source of all the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain. Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science--the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of colored rains--with the human story of our attempts to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume. Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshipping it, burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it, mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains, even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it."

Rain

A Natural and Cultural History

Author: Cynthia Barnett

Publisher: Crown

ISBN: 9780804137096

Category: Nature

Page: 368

View: 1337

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A natural history of rain draws on myriad disciplines to trace the ocean-filling torrents from 4 billion years ago through the storms of the present world's climate change while sharing stories about humanity's efforts to control rain through science and magic.

Central America

A Natural and Cultural History

Author: Anthony G. Coates

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300080650

Category: History

Page: 277

View: 699

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Describes the cultural and natural history of Central America, covering such topics as the area's geological origins, natural corridors, native peoples, and conservation efforts.

The Mirage

Author: T.C. Bennett

Publisher: AuthorHouse

ISBN: 9781467046893

Category: Fiction

Page: 128

View: 9636

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The skies above the Angeles Crest mountains grew dark, an unending dark, while a lone campfile raged, illuminating half of Horse Flats camp area. The fames' tips rose upon their demonic haunches, hissing, whipping, and breathing, thawing the young blase faces, who with their multi-hued complexions lolled around the campfire. Finally these boys, who were from every region of Southern California, could take a break and smile-some for the first time.

Vanilla

The Cultural History of the World's Most Popular Flavor and Fragrance

Author: Patricia Rain

Publisher: Tarcher

ISBN: N.A

Category: History

Page: 371

View: 7911

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A history of the world's favorite scent and flavor looks at the diverse impact of vanilla on the worlds of medicine, psychology, politics, and food, tracing the history of vanilla through the centuries and offering a host of intriguing insights, trivia, lore, and recipes. 20,000 first printing.

The Weather Experiment

The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future

Author: Peter Moore

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374711275

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 2519

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A history of weather forecasting, and an animated portrait of the nineteenth-century pioneers who made it possible By the 1800s, a century of feverish discovery had launched the major branches of science. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy made the natural world explicable through experiment, observation, and categorization. And yet one scientific field remained in its infancy. Despite millennia of observation, mankind still had no understanding of the forces behind the weather. A century after the death of Newton, the laws that governed the heavens were entirely unknown, and weather forecasting was the stuff of folklore and superstition. Peter Moore's The Weather Experiment is the account of a group of naturalists, engineers, and artists who conquered the elements. It describes their travels and experiments, their breakthroughs and bankruptcies, with picaresque vigor. It takes readers from Irish bogs to a thunderstorm in Guanabara Bay to the basket of a hydrogen balloon 8,500 feet over Paris. And it captures the particular bent of mind—combining the Romantic love of Nature and the Enlightenment love of Reason—that allowed humanity to finally decipher the skies.

To Love the Wind and the Rain

African Americans and Environmental History

Author: Dianne D. Glave,Mark Stoll

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Pre

ISBN: 0822972905

Category: Social Science

Page: 288

View: 9014

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An analysis of the relationship between African Americans and the environment focuses on three major themes: African Americans in the rural environment, African Americans in the urban and suburban environments, and African Americans and the notion of environmental justice.

The Chocolate Tree

A Natural History of Cacao

Author: Allen M. Young

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780813030449

Category: History

Page: 218

View: 4658

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"Young's readers will thank him for making life a bit more pleasant, both by improving the production of chocolate and by providing such entertaining reading."--"The Sciences" "Informative, valuable, and original."--"Quarterly Review of Biology" "Young has new and important things to say about the ecology and biology of cacao."--"Times Higher Educational Supplement" "Engaging."--"Booklist" Young provides an overview of the fascinating natural and human history of one of the world's most intriguing commodities: chocolate. Cultivated for over 1,000 years in Latin America and the starting point for millions of tons of chocolate annually consumed worldwide, cacao beans have been used for beverages, as currency, and for regional trade. After the Spanish brought the delectable secret of the cacao tree back to Europe in the late 16th century, its seeds created and fed an insatiable worldwide appetite for chocolate. "The Chocolate Tree" chronicles the natural and cultural history of "Theobroma cacao" and explores its ecological niche. Tracing cacao's journey out of the rain forest, into pre-Columbian gardens, and then onto plantations adjacent to rain forests, Young describes the production of this essential crop, the environmental price of Europeanized cultivation, and ways that current reclamation efforts for New World rain forests can improve the natural ecology of the cacao tree. Amid encounters with sloths, toucans, butterflies, giant tarantula hawk wasps, and other creatures found in cacao groves, Young identifies a tiny fly that provides a vital link between the chocolate tree and its original rain forest habitat. This discovery leads him to conclude that cacao trees in cultivation today may have lost their original insect pollinators due to the plant's long history of agricultural manipulation. In addition to basic natural history of the cacao tree and the relationship between cacao production systems and the preservation of the rain forest, Young also presents a history of the use of cacao, from the archaeological evidence of Mesoamerica to contemporary evidence of the relationship between chocolate consumption and mental and physical health. A rich concoction of cultural and natural history, archaeological evidence, botanical research, environmental activism, and lush descriptions of a contemporary adventurer's encounters with tropical wonders, "The Chocolate Tree" offers an appreciation of the plant and the environment that provide us with this Mayan "food of the gods."

A Buzz in the Meadow

The Natural History of a French Farm

Author: Dave Goulson

Publisher: Picador

ISBN: 1250065895

Category: Nature

Page: 288

View: 5364

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A CONSERVATIONIST'S DEEPLY PERSONAL AND FASCINATING REFLECTION ON OWNING AND REVITALIZING A FARM IN RURAL FRANCE A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bees, was a powerful call to arms for nature lovers everywhere. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best nonfiction book of the year, and debuted the already renowned conservationist's ability to charm and educate, and tell an absorbing story. In A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson returns to tell the tale of how he bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France. Over the course of a decade, on thirty-three acres of meadow, he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive. But other creatures live there too, myriad insects of every kind, many of which Goulson had studied before in his career as a biologist. You'll learn how a deathwatch beetle finds its mate, why butterflies have spots on their wings, and see how a real scientist actually conducts his experiments. But this book is also a wake-up call, urging us to cherish and protect life in all its forms. Goulson has that rare ability to persuade you to go out into your garden or local park and observe the natural world. The undiscovered glory that is life in all its forms is there to be discovered. And if we learn to value what we have, perhaps we will find a way to keep it.

Coast Redwood

A Natural and Cultural History

Author: Michael G. Barbour,John Evarts,Marjorie Popper

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780962850554

Category: Nature

Page: 228

View: 7434

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Watering the Revolution

An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico

Author: Mikael D. Wolfe

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822373068

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 9364

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In Watering the Revolution Mikael D. Wolfe transforms our understanding of Mexican agrarian reform through an environmental and technological history of water management in the emblematic Laguna region. Drawing on extensive archival research in Mexico and the United States, Wolfe shows how during the long Mexican Revolution (1910-1940) engineers’ distribution of water paradoxically undermined land distribution. In so doing, he highlights the intrinsic tension engineers faced between the urgent need for water conservation and the imperative for development during the contentious modernization of the Laguna's existing flood irrigation method into one regulated by high dams, concrete-lined canals, and motorized groundwater pumps. This tension generally resolved in favor of development, which unintentionally diminished and contaminated the water supply while deepening existing rural social inequalities by dividing people into water haves and have-nots, regardless of their access to land. By uncovering the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were ecologically unsustainable, Wolfe tells a cautionary tale of the long-term consequences of short-sighted development policies.

Blue Revolution

Unmaking America's Water Crisis

Author: Cynthia Barnett

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 0807003182

Category: Nature

Page: 272

View: 3519

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Americans see water as abundant and cheap: we turn on the faucet and out it gushes, for less than a penny a gallon. We use more water than any other culture in the world, much to quench what’s now our largest crop—the lawn. Yet most Americans cannot name the river or aquifer that flows to our taps, irrigates our food, and produces our electricity. And most don’t realize these freshwater sources are in deep trouble. Blue Revolution exposes the truth about the water crisis—driven not as much by lawn sprinklers as by a tradition that has encouraged everyone, from homeowners to farmers to utilities, to tap more and more. But the book also offers much reason for hope. Award-winning journalist Cynthia Barnett argues that the best solution is also the simplest and least expensive: a water ethic for America. Just as the green movement helped build awareness about energy and sustainability, so a blue movement will reconnect Americans to their water, helping us value and conserve our most life-giving resource. Avoiding past mistakes, living within our water means, and turning to “local water” as we do local foods are all part of this new, blue revolution. Reporting from across the country and around the globe, Barnett shows how people, businesses, and governments have come together to dramatically reduce water use and reverse the water crisis. Entire metro areas, such as San Antonio, Texas, have halved per capita water use. Singapore’s “closed water loop” recycles every drop. New technologies can slash agricultural irrigation in half: businesses can save a lot of water—and a lot of money—with designs as simple as recycling air-conditioning condensate. The first book to call for a national water ethic, Blue Revolution is also a powerful meditation on water and community in America.

Fixing the Sky

The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control

Author: James Rodger Fleming

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 023114413X

Category: Science

Page: 325

View: 5377

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Weaving together stories from elite science, cutting-edge technology, and popular culture, Fleming examines issues of health and navigation in the 1830s, drought in the 1890s, aircraft safety in the 1930s, and world conflict since the 1940s.

Rising

Dispatches from the New American Shore

Author: Elizabeth Rush

Publisher: Milkweed Editions

ISBN: 1571319700

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 1233

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Harvey. Maria. Irma. Sandy. Katrina. We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events, a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant—and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In this highly original work of lyrical reportage, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place. Weaving firsthand accounts from those facing this choice—a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago—with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of the communities both currently at risk and already displaced, Rising privileges the voices of those usually kept at the margins. At once polyphonic and precise, Rising is a shimmering meditation on vulnerability and on vulnerable communities, both human and more than human, and on how to let go of the places we love.

The Smell of Rain on Dust

Grief and Praise

Author: Martín Prechtel

Publisher: North Atlantic Books

ISBN: 1583949402

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 184

View: 6085

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Inspiring hope, solace, and courage in living through our losses, author Martín Prechtel, trained in the Tzutujil Maya shamanic tradition, shares profound insights on the relationship between grief and praise in our culture--how the inability that many of us have to grieve and weep properly for the dead is deeply linked with the inability to give praise for living. In modern society, grief is something that we usually experience in private, alone, and without the support of a community. Yet, as Prechtel says, "Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses." Prechtel explains that the unexpressed grief prevalent in our society today is the reason for many of the social, cultural, and individual maladies that we are currently experiencing. According to Prechtel, "When you have two centuries of people who have not properly grieved the things that they have lost, the grief shows up as ghosts that inhabit their grandchildren." These "ghosts," he says, can also manifest as disease in the form of tumors, which the Maya refer to as "solidified tears," or in the form of behavioral issues and depression. He goes on to show how this collective, unexpressed energy is the long-held grief of our ancestors manifesting itself, and the work that can be done to liberate this energy so we can heal from the trauma of loss, war, and suffering. At base, this "little book," as the author calls it, can be seen as a companion of encouragement, a little extra light for those deep and noble parts in all of us. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Saved by the Sea

Hope, Heartbreak, and Wonder in the Blue World

Author: David Helvarg

Publisher: New World Library

ISBN: 160868329X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 304

View: 2324

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Acclaimed as “the premier chronicler of America’s complex relationship with our oceans” (Honolulu Weekly), David Helvarg has also been a war correspondent, investigative journalist, documentary producer, and private investigator. The one constant in his adventurous life has been love for the sea. His personal story of love, loss, and redemption, Saved by the Sea is also a profound, startling, and sometimes funny reflection on the state of our seas and the intimate ways in which our lives are linked to the natural world around us. “Amazing and often heartrending adventures in and around the ocean...A great read from an outstanding writer.” — Philippe Cousteau, ocean explorer “Read Saved by the Sea for pleasure, read it for adventure, read it because it conveys the gift of being allowed to slip into David Helvarg’s world and view the ocean, and humankind, with profound new understanding. But beware: This book has the power to change the way you think about the world, about yourself, and about the future of humankind.” — Sylvia Earle, ocean explorer and author of The World Is Blue

Juvenescence

A Cultural History of Our Age

Author: Robert Pogue Harrison

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022617199X

Category: History

Page: 215

View: 3048

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Argues that humanity is growing steadily younger, as society retains more physical and mental characteristics of youth, which is a luxury required for flashes of genius and innovative drive.

The Good Rain

Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest

Author: Timothy Egan

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307794717

Category: Nature

Page: 272

View: 3072

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A fantastic book! Timothy Egan describes his journeys in the Pacific Northwest through visits to salmon fisheries, redwood forests and the manicured English gardens of Vancouver. Here is a blend of history, anthropology and politics. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Rain

Four Walks in English Weather

Author: Melissa Harrison

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 0571328954

Category: Travel

Page: 64

View: 9515

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A wonderful meditation on the English landscape in wet weather by the acclaimed novelist and nature writer, Melissa Harrison. Whenever rain falls, our countryside changes. Fields, farms, hills and hedgerows appear altered, the wildlife behaves differently, and over time the terrain itself is transformed. In Rain, Melissa Harrison explores our relationship with the weather as she follows the course of four rain showers, in four seasons, across Wicken Fen, Shropshire, the Darent Valley and Dartmoor. Blending these expeditions with reading, research, memory and imagination, she reveals how rain is not just an essential element of the world around us, but a key part of our own identity too.