Hawk Haiku

Hawk soars in the sky

As we watch branches whiten

She alights for now.

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The Nature Instinct – Tristan Gooley

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The Nature Instinct

Relearning Our Lost Intuition for the Inner Workings of the Natural World

Tristan Gooley

Genre: Nature

Price: $10.99

Publish Date: November 20, 2018

Publisher: The Experiment

Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.


The culmination of everything Tristan Gooley has written so far: How to take your knowledge about the outdoors—and make it second nature Readers of master outdoorsman Tristan Gooley have learned that the world is filled with clues to look for—we can use the Big Dipper to tell time, for example, and a budding flower to find south. But what about the innate survival instincts that told Gooley to move on one night, just as he was about to make camp? Everything looked perfect, but something felt wrong. When Gooley returned to his abandoned campsite to search for clues, there they were: All of the tree trunks were slightly bent. The ground had already shifted once in a storm—and could easily shift again, becoming treacherous in heavy rain. The Nature Instinct shows us how Gooley and other expert observers—from hunters in the English countryside to the Pygmy people in the Congo—have recovered and rekindled this lost “sixth sense;” a subconscious,deeper understanding of our surroundings. By training ourselves through slow, careful observation, we too can unlock this kind of intuition—for finding the forest’s edge when deep in the woods, or knowing when a wild animal might pose danger—without even having to stop to think about it.

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The Nature Instinct – Tristan Gooley

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Why We Dream – Alice Robb

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Why We Dream

The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey

Alice Robb

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: November 20, 2018

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company


A fresh, revelatory foray into the new science of dreams—how they work, what they’re for, and how we can reap the benefits of our own nocturnal life While on a research trip in Peru, science journalist Alice Robb became hooked on lucid dreaming—the uncanny phenomenon in which a sleeping person can realize that they’re dreaming and even control the dreamed experience. Finding these forays both puzzling and exhilarating, Robb dug deeper into the science of dreams at an extremely opportune moment: just as researchers began to understand why dreams exist. They aren’t just random events; they have clear purposes. They help us learn and even overcome psychic trauma. Robb draws on fresh and forgotten research, as well as her experience and that of other dream experts, to show why dreams are vital to our emotional and physical health. She explains how we can remember our dreams better—and why we should. She traces the intricate links between dreaming and creativity, and even offers advice on how we can relish the intense adventure of lucid dreaming for ourselves. Why We Dream is a clear-eyed, cutting-edge examination of the meaning and purpose of our nightly visions and a guide to changing our dream lives—and making our waking lives richer, healthier, and happier.

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Why We Dream – Alice Robb

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Who’s in Charge? – Michael S. Gazzaniga

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Who’s in Charge?

Free Will and the Science of the Brain

Michael S. Gazzaniga

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 15, 2011

Publisher: Ecco

Seller: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS


“Big questions are Gazzaniga’s stock in trade.” —New York Times “Gazzaniga is one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world.” —Tom Wolfe “Gazzaniga stands as a giant among neuroscientists, for both the quality of his research and his ability to communicate it to a general public with infectious enthusiasm.” —Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News The author of Human, Michael S. Gazzaniga has been called the “father of cognitive neuroscience.” In his remarkable book, Who’s in Charge?, he makes a powerful and provocative argument that counters the common wisdom that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes we cannot control. His well-reasoned case against the idea that we live in a “determined” world is fascinating and liberating, solidifying his place among the likes of Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, V.S. Ramachandran, and other bestselling science authors exploring the mysteries of the human brain.

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Who’s in Charge? – Michael S. Gazzaniga

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There’s a fight brewing in D.C. over the future of the green movement

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This post has been updated to include the actions Sunrise Movement held on Tuesday.

Something weird is happening around climate change right now — and it’s not just that rising average temperatures are throwing our entire planet out of whack. Typically an issue politicians on both sides of the aisle avoid, climate has been a topic of heated conversation on the Hill ever since the Democrats took the House on Nov. 6. What gives?

The reinvigorated dialogue around climate is due, at least in part, to a group called the Sunrise Movement. Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 150 Sunrise protestors in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office last week for a sit-in to demand an economy-wide plan to address climate change. The activists and a small number of progressive Congressional Democrats (most of them newly elected), are pushing for something called a Green New Deal — kind of like the 1930s version but for green jobs. (Sunrise Movement cofounder Varshini Prakash was a member of the 2018 Grist 50.)

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But if you think the plan went over well with everyone who understands climate change, you’d be mistaken. Many politicians on both sides of the aisle prefer a market-driven approach that could hypothetically garner bipartisan support. The activists argue that neither political party, especially not the Republicans, has come to the table with the kind of solution necessary to avert climate catastrophe. To that end, on Tuesday, Sunrise Movement members staked out Congressional representatives, like Democrats Barbara Lee of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, to ask them for their support on a Green New Deal.

The protests shine a spotlight on the rebirth of two very different approaches to climate change solutions: sticking with compromise tactics, such as a carbon tax that can appeal to people on either side of the political spectrum, versus a balls-out, last-ditch effort to create a green America. Proponents of each think they have the more realistic approach. As we hurtle closer to a 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the split between these two groups is widening into a chasm.

One of the people rankled by the activists’ efforts to strong-arm Pelosi is Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida, the Republican who co-founded a bipartisan climate change caucus in the House of Representatives two years ago (which earned him a spot on our 2017 Grist 50 list). This past Election Day, Curbelo lost his seat to a Democrat, Representative-elect Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. The Sunrise demonstrations still didn’t sit well with Curbelo, who called the protestors’ actions “truly deplorable.” In response, the young activists called him a phony.

There’s reason to think that Curbelo really believes his vision for reigning in emissions is the right one. This summer, he introduced the Market Choice Act — a carbon tax that went approximately nowhere, but, as Curbelo said, laid the groundwork for similar taxes in the future. He was one of only a handful of candidates, blue or red, who ran midterm ads that mentioned his position on climate change. And he wasn’t shy about bringing up climate change on the Hill over and over again, even while the rest of his Republican colleagues ignored the issue and condemned solutions.

But Curbelo’s political legacy isn’t all green. He voted in favor of President Trump’s tax plan that opened up parts of the Arctic Refuge for oil exploration, took money from energy companies in his bid for reelection, and recently caught flak for calling people who made the link between hurricanes and climate change “alarmists.”

Curbelo says he plans on continuing his climate-related work after he steps down in January — and he’s still got his eye on a carbon tax. But Sunrise activists aren’t giving up either. Serious climate legislation won’t get through the Republican-controlled Senate for a long time. In the meantime, the Democratic Party has a choice: stick with its old, bipartisan approach (albeit now with fewer Republican moderates to reach to across the aisle), or break off from the middle like a piece of Arctic ice.

We might not have to wait long to see which road Democrats take. Capitalizing on the zeitgeist, Senator Bernie Sanders announced on Monday that he’ll host a town hall dedicated to climate solutions next month. The 90-minute event is meant to galvanize support for fundamental changes in America’s energy policy — exactly the kind of solution for which Sunrise and Ocasio-Cortez are gunning. If this keeps up, veteran politicians may soon be forced to confront an approach that has been, until now, safely sequestered on the sidelines.

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There’s a fight brewing in D.C. over the future of the green movement

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Here’s how California could avoid wildfires (hint: It’s not raking)

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Nine months ago, when California wasn’t in flames, government investigators warned Governor Jerry Brown that an inferno loomed.

“California’s forests are reaching a breaking point,” the report said.

The report got about little media attention at the time, but it’s still worth taking seriously even now. It came from an independent oversight commission set up by the California government to sniff out ways the state was going bad, then make recommendations to Brown and the legislature. The commission spent a year interviewing experts and holding hearings.

If California doesn’t want a future wreathed in wildfire smoke, the report suggests, it will need to permit more tree thinning, more prescribed fires, and more burning of wood for electricity.

Wait a sec, you say. Does that mean President Donald Trump is right to blame the fires on California’s forest management? Hardly. Trump’s suggestion that California needed to spend more time “raking” the forest is comically wrong. The Paradise Camp Fire started on National Forest Land, which is managed by Trump’s own Department of Agriculture, not by California. The severity of the recent fires, burning areas surrounded by brushy chaparral rather than forest, can be blamed more accurately on climate change and also the sprawling development that puts houses in the wilderness.

That said, it’s also true that California — and the rest of the West — needs to change how it manages forests. Ever since the United States took control of the West, people have been putting out fires. Before 1800, California was a pretty smoky place — an estimated 7,000 square miles burned every year (1,000 have burned so far this year. This history of fire suppression has left us with a massive backlog of fuels that we will have to deal with … somehow.

California’s fire report, recommended big changes. For starters, the state should flip its traditional mode of suppressing fires and shift to using fire as a tool, it said. That would mean burning in a controlled manner, lighting prescribed fires and firing up biomass electricity generation plants. All that would let the government control the air pollution from blazes, allowing someone to plan and space out fires, instead of having raging wildfires bathe the state in smoke all at once.

The commission also suggested that California supply a greater percentage of the wood it uses for everything from paper to houses. The state has strict sustainability rules for logging but ends up importing 80 to 90 percent of its wood from other places that may have “weaker or nonexistent regulations,” the report said.

In short, California has a lot of hard, dirty work to do in its forests to avoid choking Californians with smoke every year. But here’s the rub: The federal government owns nearly 60 percent of the forest in California. And that, as the authors of the report delicately put it, “complicates a state response.” California has already instituted a suite of programs to restore forests, but Trump has yet to take a rake to the land under federal authority.

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Here’s how California could avoid wildfires (hint: It’s not raking)

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Pigeons – Andrew D. Blechman

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Pigeons

The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird

Andrew D. Blechman

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: December 1, 2007

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


A “quirky, endlessly entertaining” look at the surprising history of the pigeon (Simon Winchester).   Domesticated since the dawn of man, pigeons have been used as crucial communicators in war by every major historical superpower from ancient Egypt to the United States and are credited with saving thousands of lives. They have been worshipped as fertility goddesses and revered as symbols of peace. Charles Darwin relied heavily on pigeons to help formulate and support his theory of evolution. Yet today they are reviled as “rats with wings.”   To research this lively history of the humble pigeon, the author traveled across the United States and Europe to meet with pigeon fanciers and pigeon haters in a quest to find out how we came to misunderstand one of mankind’s most helpful and steadfast companions. Pigeons captures a Brooklyn man’s quest to win the Main Event (the pigeon world’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby), as well as a convention dedicated to breeding the perfect bird. The author participates in a live pigeon shoot where entrants pay $150; he tracks down Mike Tyson, the nation’s most famous pigeon lover; he spends time with Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Pigeon Handler; and he sheds light on a radical “pro-pigeon underground” in New York City. In Pigeons , Andrew Blechman reveals for the first time the remarkable story behind this seemingly unremarkable bird.   “A quick and thoroughly entertaining read, Pigeons will leave readers chuckling at the quirky characters and pondering surprising pigeon facts.” — Audubon Magazine   “Manages to illuminate not merely the ostensible subject of the book, but also something of the endearing, repellent, heroic, and dastardly nature of that most bizarre of breeds, Homo sapiens.” — Salon  

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Pigeons – Andrew D. Blechman

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Closing nuclear plants risks rise in greenhouse gas emissions, report warns

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This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Looming climate breakdown is opening fresh divisions among environmentalists over nuclear energy, with a major advocacy group calling for struggling nuclear plants to be propped up to avoid losing their low-carbon power.

Nuclear is the single largest source of low-carbon electricity in the U.S. But a third of nuclear plants are unprofitable or scheduled to close, risking a rise in greenhouse gas emissions if they are replaced by coal or natural gas, a major Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report has found.

U.S. emissions could increase by as much as 6 percent if struggling plants are shuttered early, the report warns. This scenario has put pressure on many environmental groups to reevaluate their intrinsic opposition to nuclear energy as a dangerous blight that must be eradicated.

“We are running out of time to make the emissions reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis,” said Steve Clemmer, director of energy research for the UCS climate and energy program. “Losing a low-carbon source of electricity like nuclear power is going to make decarbonization even harder than it already is. Nuclear has risks, it’s not a perfect technology, but there have to be trade-offs.”

The U.S., like the rest of the world, faces a steep challenge to avoid the worst ravages of heatwaves, drought, extreme weather, and flooding. The IPCC report states emissions must reach net zero by 2050 to avoid the most punishing climate change impacts, whereas the Trump administration is currently dismantling every major policy aimed at lowering emissions in the U.S.

The U.S. has an aging fleet of nearly 100 reactors at 60 nuclear plants, with many nearing the ends of their expected lifetimes. Five plants have shut down since 2013, with a further five set to shutter over the next eight years.

In total, a third of U.S. nuclear power plants are set to close down or are unprofitable largely due to a major shift to cheaper natural gas. As nuclear provides more than half of the United States’ low-carbon energy, this situation “raises serious concerns about our ability to achieve the deep cuts in carbon emissions needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change,” the UCS report states.

Replacements for nuclear will vary across the country. The huge Diablo Canyon plant in California, for example, will probably spawn a surge in renewable energy when it shuts in 2025. But in other states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, weak clean energy policies and the abundance of natural gas mean the closure of nuclear plants will probably raise emissions.

“Renewables can fill a lot of the gap but it’s a timing issue,” Clemmer said. “Over a long timeframe, we can ramp up renewables and phase out coal, gas, and nuclear generation, but we don’t have that time. We have to cut half of all emissions by 2030, according to the IPCC. We can’t physically ramp up renewables fast enough.”

Anti-nuclear campaigning has been a foundational shibboleth for groups such as Greenpeace, which has pointed to disasters such as Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011 as evidence that the sector should be shut down.

While the UCS have never been militant opponents of nuclear power, Clemmer said “we are getting a bit more vocal” about the benefits of keeping plants open as the scale of the climate crisis has become clearer.

Many opponents remain implacable, however.

“Nuclear reactors are a bad bet for a climate strategy,” said Gregory Jaczko, who was chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Obama administration. “The Union of Concerned Scientist models don’t reflect the reality of the United States electricity market. Renewables are getting cheaper faster than expected and are in some cases the least expensive source of electricity.”

Jaczko said new nuclear is a “financial boondoggle,” with investments better placed in solar or wind. “Employing nuclear for climate change is like Dorothy seeking the Wizard of Oz to get home,” he added. “It’s an expensive enticing mirage.”

Clemmer said he agreed that new nuclear plants are enormously expensive, but said there was a case for the U.S. government to invest around $814 million a year to keep existing unprofitable plants online, given the cleaner energy they provide. “Environmental groups may come round to this, but I’m just not sure,” he said.

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Closing nuclear plants risks rise in greenhouse gas emissions, report warns

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The science of self-care: How climate researchers are coping with the U.N. report

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The phrase “point of no return” may sound hyperbolic. But one month after the IPCC’s blockbuster report awakened the world to the urgency of climate change, the mood among top climate scientists has become increasingly restless.

I spoke with more than a dozen scientists about how their lives have changed since the release of the report in October. That report, assembled with input from thousands of scientists and signed off by representatives of every nation on Earth, reached a stark conclusion: We have to cut emissions in half by 2030 or risk a Mad Max-esque planet.

Their responses reflect the same internal tensions many of us have felt: relief that the true stakes of climate change are finally out there, grief and fear over our lack of action, impatience with leaders who continue to shirk their responsibilities, and excitement to get to work on a problem that affects us all.

Take Georgia Tech’s Kim Cobb, a climate scientist who studies corals near small island states. The IPCC report found that without a radical shift, those nations could disappear beneath the waves in our lifetimes. Cobb sees the findings putting into stark terms how much we need to step up: “Isn’t it so wonderful that science isn’t giving us a pass?”

Earlier this year, she pledged to sharply reduce her air travel. Cobb bikes to work in all kinds of weather, and recently trekked to Atlanta City Hall to advocate for bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Before the midterm elections, she spent a weekend campaigning for environmentally friendly politicians. Cobb is a testament to what she calls an “all-of-the-above” approach to bring about radical change.

Climate scientists like Cobb live in a world that’s still caught between where we are and where we need to be. Watching how they’re responding to the IPCC report is a good barometer for how thinking, feeling people with full knowledge of our society’s existential problem are coping with being alive at a moment when we’ve got 12 years to remake everything.

Ryan Jacobson

The scientists I talked to are doing more biking, meditating, wine drinking, and worrying about their children’s futures. They’ve tuned out the news, they’ve tweeted, and they’ve campaigned. They’ve purchased electric cars and talked from the heart about the stakes our civilization finds itself in. In short, they’re handling this new reality a lot like the rest of us.

Here are some of the (lightly edited and condensed) email responses I got:

Diana Liverman, University of Arizona (and a co-author of the IPCC report)

I’m still in full IPCC outreach mode, giving talks locally and in Europe as well. Things won’t wind down until Thanksgiving. I am refining my message and getting better at talking about the report and making its findings relevant for where I live.

Teaching my large undergrad class (160 students) is helpful at keeping things positive as they seem engaged and interested. I feel the need to give them hope.

Kate Marvel, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

I don’t think we should give in to despair. There’s no scientific support for the notion that we’re inevitably doomed and should just give up. There’s a lot of bad news, but look at the good news, too: new congresspeople who take climate change seriously, a very engaged and well-informed youth, new ways to talk about climate that link it to other issues people care deeply about.

I’m not saying this to minimize the terrifying reality. I miss California like I miss a person, and it’s devastating to see my beloved home burning.

Andrea Dutton, University of Florida

It is easier to ignore the problem than to take on the emotional burden of accepting something that seems quite scary at times.

The fundamental message has remained the same. The reason why it sounded so much more urgent this time is three-fold: (1) We are now several years further along, and each year makes a significant difference in calculating how much we would need to decrease our emissions to reach any target; (2) the 1.5 C target is lower than 2 C, so obviously trying to reach it means even more rapid and deep cuts to our emissions; and (3) the backwards progress on policies to address this in the U.S. makes the outlook even worse now.

So, what has changed for me? If anything I am working even more frantically than before. I devote even more time to public engagement on this issue.

I hope that we (meaning both scientists and journalists) can encourage others not to get stuck in despair, but to use their concern over climate change as fuel to take us to the next step on this journey to adapt, mitigate, and create a more sustainable and resilient society.

Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When things started going downhill a few years ago, I started planning for a temporary escape from the U.S. and am now happily in Paris for the fall. One cannot, of course, escape from all the bad news so easily, and it is hard to develop a positive outlook when almost nothing is actually happening to combat all the problems we face, including especially climate change.

Devaraju Narayanappa, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin (France)

I certainly think the report is shouting out loud across the Earth; more and more people are getting alerted. I hope the transformations, discussed in the IPCC report, might at least start to happen in some part of the world. Personally I’m trying my best to be eco-friendly and balancing the time for research, exercise, and for the family and friends.

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, University of New South Wales (Australia)

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The stakes are very different for me. I’m expecting my second daughter in three short months and the latest report is sobering about the future my children will have. I find myself constantly thinking about what the planet will look like in 50 or 100 years’ time when we haven’t curbed our emissions, at least enough to limit global warming to 1.5-2 C. And I don’t like what I see. However, I cannot (and will not) give up hope that changes will be made, at least in my lifetime, and if not that of my children. I’d be drinking (more) wine too if I could, but that’s not advised at 28 weeks pregnant 😉

Jeremy Shakun, Boston College

Everything climate is a long-term story, so I tend/try not to get too worked up/down by any particular moment. I increasingly think the public isn’t going to push for much action, at least on the scale needed, until they see a bunch more climate disruption/impacts. It’s just too theoretical otherwise and can’t compete with other issues.

I haven’t had much hope for 1.5 or 2 C for a while. I tend to think of this in 3 vs 6 C terms. So, bad news in some ways is good news, as it perhaps helps move public perception forward and increase chances of less than 3 C. I’ve been struck by how many people in my everyday life have been commenting this year on how bizarre the weather is. They don’t necessarily connect it to climate change yet, but I think it’s an important step.

Adam Sobel, Columbia University

At this point, I am most terrified by the failure of the United States’ system of democratic government. Of course that is not an entirely separate issue from global warming and the various other environmental catastrophes.

Since the 2016 election, I have had to limit my intake of news to a lower level than before.

Deke Arndt, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

I’m trying to talk with as many people as I can about climate. The solutions lay in the people who haven’t yet acted.

Abigail Swann, University of Washington

The Brazilian election has left a much more unexpected pit in my stomach because it wasn’t really on my radar until this fall. I’d also add to your list of difficult-to-stomach news the ongoing revelations about various academic and STEM #MeToo incidents, and some extremely disappointing responses to them.

The everyday of being a professor is hard, but also involves a lot of busy tasks with deadlines this time of year, so some of my coping is just to keep making sure that I don’t let other people down. I also have a toddler. The mundane sometimes feels like a respite, but with both students and family, it also feels really important, and therefore restorative (at least most of the time when dinner doesn’t get thrown all over the room).

Maskot / Getty Images

Valerie Trouet, University of Arizona

I admit that in the context of what we know, at times I find it hard to keep motivated to do my job. I focus more and more on aspects that seem more achievable and that I feel have a bigger chance of getting solved, such as diversity and equality in STEM fields and in academia.

I make more time to meditate, and make sure that I exercise and spend time with the people that I love. I also find that trying to find ways to further reduce my footprint, even in little ways, helps to give me a feeling of being in control.

Sara Vicca, University of Antwerp (Belgium)

Moments like these, when we are strongly reminded that a turbulent future may be ahead of us, do upset me and make me angry. When I put my kids in bed at night, I often catch myself thinking: “Oh dear, what will their life be like when they are adults?” (They are 6 and 9 now.)

On the other hand, news like this also stimulates me to contribute (more) to the solutions where I can. I think it’s really important not to lose hope and to keep on doing all we can to move to a sustainable future in a still friendly climate.

Mark Eakin, NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch

The years 2014-2017 have all been among the warmest years on record, and along with the high temperatures came the longest, most widespread global coral bleaching event on record. At NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, we’re right at the center of these events and received frequent reports from scientists and resource managers all over the world who reported coral bleaching as it was happening. There were many days I’d just walk away from the computer and look out the window when an especially devastating report of reef damage came in. I think it led to more self-medication as the bad news would literally drive me to drink (fortunately, not too much).

Terry Hughes, James Cook University (Australia)

The IPCC report singled out coral reefs as a vulnerable ecosystem. My worst fear is the growing likelihood of another extreme summer in Australia early next year that could damage the Reef again. Yet, Australian governments still promote the expansion of coal and gas. My personal response – publish our data as quickly as we can, to inform the voting public.

Eric Rignot, University of California-Irvine

Sea-level rise and flooding is one thing, people get wet, immigrate, and create huge problems. Loss of biodiversity means the human species as a whole is threatened to disappear. No joke. This is not discussed enough in the media. My uttermost concern goes to biodiversity more than ice sheets.

Now a lot of countries are pointing the finger at the U.S. but we are doing more in California than in any other country that signed the Paris agreement. I see an increasing concern from the public to do the right thing, so I am more hopeful now than 10 years ago when only visionary people cared and the rest did not.

skynesher / Getty Images

Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University

Next week, if the rains hold off, I should hit 2,500 miles for the year on my bicycle. A lot of those miles have been down the Spring Creek Canyon, watching the eagles and osprey and mink as the seasons turn, enjoying the beauty that still surrounds us.

In my public presentations, I now generally start with cellphones. Many of our fellow citizens do accuse scientists of not knowing what we’re doing. But, they do so by using cellphones, which are just a little sand, a little oil, and the right rocks, plus science and engineering, design and marketing. The cellphones rely on relativity and quantum mechanics. I think most of our fellow citizens really do know that they couldn’t build a cellphone from the sand, oil, and rocks, and that scientists really do have useful insights, including discovering medicines and medical procedures and devices that save lives and ease suffering. And that knowledge really does mean that there are ways back to using our knowledge more broadly to help us.

If we use our knowledge on energy and environment more efficiently, we will get a larger economy with more jobs, improved health, and greater national security in a cleaner environment more consistent with the Golden Rule.

Not a bad goal, is it?

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The science of self-care: How climate researchers are coping with the U.N. report

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Blueprint – Robert Plomin

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Blueprint
How DNA Makes Us Who We Are
Robert Plomin

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $27.99

Publish Date: November 13, 2018

Publisher: The MIT Press

Seller: The MIT Press


A top behavioral geneticist makes the case that DNA inherited from our parents at the moment of conception can predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses. In Blueprint , behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin describes how the DNA revolution has made DNA personal by giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. A century of genetic research shows that DNA differences inherited from our parents are the consistent life-long sources of our psychological individuality—the blueprint that makes us who we are. This, says Plomin, is a game changer. Plomin has been working on these issues for almost fifty years, conducting longitudinal studies of twins and adoptees. He reports that genetics explains more of the psychological differences among people than all other factors combined. Genetics accounts for fifty percent of psychological differences—not just mental health and school achievement but all psychological traits, from personality to intellectual abilities. Nature, not nurture is what makes us who we are. Plomin explores the implications of this, drawing some provocative conclusions—among them that parenting styles don’t really affect children’s outcomes once genetics is taken into effect. Neither tiger mothers nor attachment parenting affects children’s ability to get into Harvard. After describing why DNA matters, Plomin explains what DNA does, offering readers a unique insider’s view of the exciting synergies that came from combining genetics and psychology.

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Blueprint – Robert Plomin

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Sex on Six Legs – Marlene Zuk

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Sex on Six Legs
Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World
Marlene Zuk

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: August 2, 2011

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


A biologist presents a “consistently delightful” look at the mysteries of insect behavior ( The New York Times Book Review ).   Insects have inspired fear, fascination, and enlightenment for centuries. They are capable of incredibly complex behavior, even with brains often the size of a poppy seed. How do they accomplish feats that look like human activity—personality, language, childcare—with completely different pathways from our own? What is going on inside the mind of those ants that march like boot-camp graduates across your kitchen floor? How does the lead ant know exactly where to take her colony, to that one bread crumb that your nightly sweep missed? Can insects be taught new skills as easily as your new puppy?   Sex on Six Legs is a startling and exciting book that provides answers to these questions and many more, examining not only the bedroom lives of creepy crawlies but also some of our own long-held assumptions about learning, the nature of personality, and what our own large brains might be for.   “Smart, engaging . . . Zuk approaches her subject with such humor and enthusiasm for the intricacies of insect life, even bug-phobes will relish her account.” — Publishers Weekly , starred review

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Sex on Six Legs – Marlene Zuk

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