By Committee on the Importance of Deep-Time Geologic Records for Understanding Climate Change Impacts (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2011).
Another brief introduction to the earth's climate history.
The 1960s revealed a new and revolutionary idea in geological thought: that the continents drift with respect to one another. After having been dismissed for decades as absurd, the concept gradually became part of geology's basic principles. We now know that the Earth's crust and upper mantleconsist of a small number of rigid plates that move, and there are significant boundaries between pairs of plates, usually known as earthquake belts. Plate tectonics now explains much of the structure and phenomena we see today: how oceans form, widen, and disappear; why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct zones which follow plate boundaries; how the great mountain ranges of the world were built. The impact of plate tectonics isstudied closely as these processes continue: the Himalaya continues to grow, the Atlantic is widening, and new oceans are forming. In this Very Short Introduction Peter Molnar provides a succinct and authoritative account of the nature and mechanisms of plate tectonics and its impact on our understanding of Earth.
Call Number: QE721.2.E97 K65 2014; also available on library Kindles
Publication Date: 2014-02-11
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be humankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Call Number: online; in print at PR149 .F35 C36 2012
Publication Date: 2012
Fantasy is a creation of the Enlightenment, and the recognition that excitement and wonder can be found in imagining impossible things. From the ghost stories of the Gothic to the zombies and vampires of twenty-first-century popular literature, from Mrs Radcliffe to Ms Rowling, the fantastic has been popular with readers. Since Tolkien and his many imitators, however, it has become a major publishing phenomenon. In this volume, critics and authors of fantasy look at its history since the Enlightenment, introduce readers to some of the different codes for the reading and understanding of fantasy, and examine some of the many varieties and sub-genres of fantasy; from magical realism at the more literary end of the genre, to paranormal romance at the more popular end.
Science fiction is at the intersection of numerous fields. It is a literature which draws on popular culture, and which engages in speculation about science, history, and all types of social relations. This volume brings together essays by scholars and practitioners of science fiction, which look at the genre from these different angles. After an introduction to the nature of science fiction, historical chapters trace science fiction from Thomas More to more recent years, including a chapter on film and television. The second section introduces four important critical approaches to science fiction drawing their theoretical inspiration from Marxism, postmodernism, feminism and queer theory. The final and largest section of the book looks at various themes and sub-genres of science fiction. A number of well-known science fiction writers contribute to this volume, including Gwyneth Jones, Ken MacLeod, Brian Stableford Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Joan Slonczewski, and Damien Broderick.
Science Fiction has proved notoriously difficult to define. It has been explained as a combination of romance, science and prophecy; as a genre based on an imagined alternative to the reader's environment; and as a form of fantastic fiction and historical literature. It has also been argued that science fiction narratives are the most engaged, socially relevant, and responsive to the modern technological environment. This Very Short Introduction doesn't offer a history of science fiction, but instead ties examples of science fiction to different historicalmoments, in order to demonstrate how science fiction has evolved over time. David Seed looks not only at literature, but also at drama and poetry, as well as film. Examining recurrent themes in science fiction he looks at voyages into space, the concept of the alien and alternative social identities, the role of technology in science fiction, and its relation to time - inthe past, present, and future.