Science

The plant messiah : adventures in search of the world's rarest species book cover

The plant messiah : adventures in search of the world's rarest species

Carlos Magdalena

581.68 /Magdalena
Science, Nature

Carlos Magdalena is not your average horticulturist. He's a man on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants. First captivated by the flora and his native Spain, he has traveled to the remotest parts of the globe in search of exotic species. Renowned for his pioneering work, he has committed his life to protecting plants from man-made ecological destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. In The Plant Messiah, Magdalena takes readers from the Amazon to the jungles of Mauritius to deep within the Australian outback in search of the rare and the vulnerable. Back in the lab, we watch as he develops groundbreaking, left-field techniques for rescuing species from extinction, encouraging them to propagate and thrive once again. Along the way, he offers moving, heartfelt stories about the secrets contained within these incredible organisms. Passionate and absorbing, The Plant Messiah is a tribute to the diversity of life on our planet, and the importance of preserving it. -- from dust jacket.

Jason's picture

Autobiographical stories of his work as Tropical Senior Botanical Horticulturist for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England. Carlos describes coming from a family that encouraged exploration, as well as respect and caretaking for the plants and animals of Asturias in Northern Spain. When wanderlust overtook him at 28, he travelled to London where a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew changed his world. Their efforts to save highly endangered plants mirrored his passion for caring for the land back in Asturias. He has an energetic, driven personality that comes through in his recounts of his intense Kew education in the greenhouses and beyond. Most of the book recounts his journeys to save seeds or cuttings of rare plants found in the islands of the Republic of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, Amazon backwaters in Peru, and many other far flung locations. He’s a great storyteller and has set up each chapter as if he has to solve a puzzle with life or death stakes, how do these rare plants produce fruit, seed, and ultimately a new plant? He includes simple overviews of the science behind his a-ha moments, so even if you don’t have a botanical background you come away with an understanding for how these mysteries were solved. His passion for plants is infectious and it carries through in his writing, the stories are often zany and move quickly and you’re left feeling that we need many more people with the drive and desire of this plant messiah. -Jason

Why we sleep : unlocking the power of sleep and dreams book cover

Why we sleep : unlocking the power of sleep and dreams

Matthew P. Walker

612.821 /Walker
Science, Nonfiction

"The first sleep book by a leading scientific expert--Professor Matthew Walker, Director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab--reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better. Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when we don't sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life--eating, drinking, and reproducing--the purpose of sleep remained elusive. An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming mollifies painful memories and creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge to inspire creativity. Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses. Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book"--

Maeve's picture

If you have ever struggled to sleep or stay asleep Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep is well worth reading. He offers suggestions on how to improve your sleep and why sleep, especially uninterrupted sleep is so important. He also explores REM sleep and dreaming. -Maeve

The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation book cover

The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation

Kate Messner

jE Messner
Picture Books, Biographies, Nature, Science

Looks at the life of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer, from his early fascination with the ocean to his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs.

Casey's picture

Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe's new picture book biography about Ken Nedimyer is absolutely stunning. This is a perfect place to start learning about our rapidly changing oceans and the efforts being made to combat the bleaching of coral reefs. Parents and children will love this title, not only for it's beautiful artwork, but for the wealth of information and hope that it embodies. It's never too early or late to learn that individuals have the power to impact great change. -Casey

The undoing project : a friendship that changed our minds book cover

The undoing project : a friendship that changed our minds

Michael (Michael M.) Lewis

612.8233 /Lewis
Science, Biographies

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred, systematically, when forced to make judgments in uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis's own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms.The Undoing Project is about a compelling collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield--both had important careers in the Israeli military--and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. Amos Tversky was a brilliant, self-confident warrior and extrovert, the center of rapt attention in any room; Kahneman, a fugitive from the Nazis in his childhood, was an introvert whose questing self-doubt was the seedbed of his ideas. They became one of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, working together so closely that they couldn't remember whose brain originated which ideas, or who should claim credit. They flipped a coin to decide the lead authorship on the first paper they wrote, and simply alternated thereafter.This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals so fundamentally different from each other that they seem unlikely friends or colleagues. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind's view of its own mind.

Tom's picture

Added by Tom