The Avid Reader Show
Podcast af Samuel Hankin
The Avid Reader is a podcast for book lovers. Tune in for interviews, recommendations, and insider news from Sam Hankin, host and owner of independent bookstore Wellington Square Bookshop - www.wellingtonsquarebooks.com
Episode 731: Stephen Porder - Elemental: How Five Elements Changed Earth's Past and Will Shape Our Future
An ecologist explores how life itself shapes Earth using the elemental constituents we all share It is rare for life to change Earth, yet three organisms have profoundly transformed our planet over the long course of its history. Elemental reveals how microbes, plants, and people used the fundamental building blocks of life to alter the climate, and with it, the trajectory of life on Earth in the past, present, and future. Taking readers from the deep geologic past to our current era of human dominance, Stephen Porder focuses on five of life's essential elements--hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. He describes how single-celled cyanobacteria and plants harnessed them to wildly proliferate across the oceans and the land, only to eventually precipitate environmental catastrophes. He then brings us to the present, and shows how these elements underpin the success of human civilization, and how their mismanagement threatens similarly catastrophic unintended consequences. But, Porder argues, if we can learn from our world-changing predecessors, we can construct a more sustainable future. Blending conversational storytelling with the latest science, Porder takes us deep into the Amazon, across fresh lava flows in Hawaii, and to the cornfields of the American Midwest to illuminate a potential path to sustainability, informed by the constraints imposed by life's essential elements and the four-billion-year history of life on Earth. Stephen Porder is associate provost for sustainability and professor of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology at Brown University. He is also a fellow in the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Natural History, and other leading publications. He is cofounder of Possibly, which airs on The Public's Radio and provides practical advice on sustainability to a general audience. Buy the book from Wellington Square Bookshop - https://wellingtonsquarebooks.indiecommerce.com/book/9780691177298
52 min - 22. sep. 2023
Episode 730: Rafael Yuste - Lectures In Neuroscience
The human brain is perhaps the most intricate and fascinating object in the known universe. Through a mysterious process, the activity of billions of neurons within a few pounds of matter generates the unfathomable complexity of the mind. This book is a conversational and accessible introduction to the brain. Beginning from basic elements of neuroscience, the acclaimed scientist Rafael Yuste guides readers through increasingly sophisticated topics, developing a unified framework for how the brain functions. He describes how the brain is organized and how it develops, how neurons operate and form neural circuits, and how these circuits function as neural networks to generate behavior and mental states. Yuste challenges the traditional view that the brain is an input-output machine that reacts reflexively to sensory stimuli. Instead, he argues, the purpose of the brain is to make a predictive model of the world in order to anticipate the future and choose successful courses of action. He gives readers insight into the workings of sensory and motor systems and the neurobiological basis of our perceptions, thoughts, emotions, memories, and consciousness. Peppered with anecdotes and illustrated with elegant drawings and diagrams, this succinct and cohesive book is accessible to readers without previous background in the subject. It is written for anyone seeking to grasp the core principles of neuroscience or looking for a fresh and clear perspective on how the brain works. Rafael Yuste is professor of biological sciences and director of the NeuroTechnology Center at Columbia University. An expert on the function of the cerebral cortex, he also advocates for human rights protection of brain activity. Yuste is the chair of the NeuroRights Foundation and helped initiate the U.S. BRAIN Initiative and the International Brain Initiative. Buy the book from Wellington Square Bookshop - https://wellingtonsquarebooks.indiecommerce.com/book/9780231186476
46 min - 19. sep. 2023
Episode 729: Sarah Bernstein - Study For Obedience
A young woman moves from the place of her birth to the remote northern country of her forebears to be housekeeper to her brother, whose wife has recently left him. Soon after her arrival, a series of inexplicable events occurs - collective bovine hysteria; the demise of a ewe and her nearly born lamb; a local dog's phantom pregnancy; a potato blight. She notices that the local suspicion about incomers in general seems to be directed with some intensity at her and she senses a mounting threat that lies 'just beyond the garden gate.' And as she feels the hostility growing, pressing at the edges of her brother's property, she fears that, should the rumblings in the town gather themselves into a more defined shape, who knows what might happen, what one might be capable of doing. With a sharp, lyrical voice, Sarah Bernstein powerfully explores questions of complicity and power, displacement and inheritance. Study for Obedience is a finely tuned, unsettling novel that confirms Bernstein as one of the most exciting voices of her generation. SARAH BERNSTEIN is from Montreal, Canada, and lives in Scotland. Her writing has appeared in Granta among other publications. Her first novel, The Coming Bad Days, was published in 2021. In 2023 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Buy the book from Wellington Square Bookshop - https://wellingtonsquarebooks.indiecommerce.com/book/9781039009066
52 min - 19. sep. 2023
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