Even Kindle readers who read for pleasure like to dip into the heady realm of science nonfiction now and then to keep up with what's happening in a world scientists are still uncovering. Recent additions to the Kindle popular science shelves include:
Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird, by Tim Birkhead. Walker Books, 2012. Print length: 289 p. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (17 reviews). Kindle edition: $13.75. Text-to-Speech: Enabled. Lending: Enabled.
"What is it like to be a swift, flying at over one hundred kilometres an hour? Or a kiwi, plodding flightlessly among the humid undergrowth in the pitch dark of a New Zealand night? And what is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? Bird Sense addresses questions like these and many more, by describing the senses of birds that enable them to interpret their environment and to interact with each other. Our affinity for birds is often said to be the result of shared senses - vision and hearing - but how exactly do their senses compare with our own? And what about a bird's sense of taste, or smell, or touch, or the ability to detect the earth's magnetic field? Or the extraordinary ability of desert birds to detect rain hundreds of kilometres away - how do they do it? Bird Sense is based on a conviction that we have consistently underestimated what goes on in a bird's head. Our understanding of bird behaviour is simultaneously informed and constrained by the way we watch and study them. By drawing attention to the way these frameworks both facilitate and inhibit discovery, Birkhead identifies ways we can escape from them to explore new horizons in bird behaviour." - Publisher.
Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics, by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim. University of California Press, 2012. Print length: 304 p. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (6 reviews). Kindle edition: $16.47. Text-to-Speech: Enabled. Lending: Enabled.
"Calories - too few or too many - are the source of health problems affecting billions of people in today’s globalized world. Although calories are essential to human health and survival, they cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. They are also hard to understand. In Why Calories Count, Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim explain in clear and accessible language what calories are and how they work, both biologically and politically. As they take readers through the issues that are fundamental to our understanding of diet and food, weight gain, loss, and obesity, Nestle and Nesheim sort through a great deal of the misinformation put forth by food manufacturers and diet program promoters. They elucidate the political stakes and show how federal and corporate policies have come together to create an 'eat more' environment. Finally, having armed readers with the necessary information to interpret food labels, evaluate diet claims, and understand evidence as presented in popular media, the authors offer some candid advice: Get organized. Eat less. Eat better. Move more. Get political." - Publisher.
Masters of the Planet: The Search for our Human Origins, by Ian Tattersall. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print length: 288 p. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (3 reviews). Kindle edition: $12.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"50,000 years ago – merely a blip in evolutionary time – our Homo sapiens ancestors were competing for existence with several other human species, just as their own precursors had been doing for millions of years. Yet something about our species separated it from the pack, and led to its survival while the rest became extinct. So just what was it that allowed Homo sapiens to become Masters of the Planet? Curator Emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, Ian Tattersall takes us deep into the fossil record to uncover what made humans so special. Surveying a vast field from initial bipedality to language and intelligence, Tattersall argues that Homo sapiens acquired a winning combination of traits that was not the result of long term evolutionary refinement. Instead it emerged quickly, shocking their world and changing it forever..." - Publisher.
Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil, by Robert Rapier. Apress, 2012. Print length: 272 p. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (4 reviews). Kindle edition: $11.39. Text-to-Speech: Enabled. Lending: Enabled.
"Many people wonder: Are we really running out of oil, or is it all a ruse to drive prices up? Is nuclear power safe and economical? Is solar energy really the key to providing plenty of carbon-free energy? Do we have enough natural gas or coal to make any loss of oil production irrelevant? In Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil, energy expert Robert Rapier helps readers sort through energy hype, doom and gloom, and misinformation to understand what really matters in energy, and how it impacts individuals, investors, businesspeople, and policy makers worldwide. The book covers the overall global energy situation, the particular risks for the U.S. with its present energy mix, the energy outlook for the developed world and emerging economies like China and India, what peak oil really means, and the present and likely future of natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear power, and alternative energy sources." - Publisher.
The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places, by Bernie Krause. Publisher. Print length: 289 p. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (9 reviews). Kindle edition: $14.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"Musician and naturalist Bernie Krause is one of the world's leading experts in natural sound, and he's spent his life discovering and recording nature's rich chorus. Searching far beyond our modern world's honking horns and buzzing machinery, he has sought out the truly wild places that remain, where natural soundscapes exist virtually unchanged from when the earliest humans first inhabited the earth. Krause shares fascinating insight into how deeply animals rely on their aural habitat to survive and the damaging effects of extraneous noise on the delicate balance between predator and prey. But natural soundscapes aren't vital only to the animal kingdom; Krause explores how the myriad voices and rhythms of the natural world formed a basis from which our own musical expression emerged. From snapping shrimp, popping viruses, and the songs of humpback whales - whose voices, if unimpeded, could circle the earth in hours - to cracking glaciers, bubbling streams, and the roar of intense storms; from melody-singing birds to the organlike drone of wind blowing over reeds, the sounds Krause has experienced and describes are like no others. And from recording jaguars at night in the Amazon rain forest to encountering mountain gorillas in Africa's Virunga Mountains, Krause offers an intense and intensely personal narrative of the planet's deep and connected natural sounds and rhythm." - Publisher.
Note to readers: The book prices quoted here are the Amazon.com prices in effect at the time of the blog posting. Please follow the links to the individual book to check the current price.
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