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Science Books

March 15, 2007

When The Rivers Run Dry: Water - The Defining Crisis Of The 21st Century
Fred Pearce (2007)
ISBN: 0807085731

After visiting over 30 countries, renowned environmental writer Fred Pearce, With Speed and Violence, and Deep Jungle, provides a revealing snapshot of the current global water crisis. Approaching the crisis from a number of different angles - historic, economic and scientific - and the interdependence of each, Pearce's prognosis for our water supplies looks grim indeed. Far from political scare mongering, the sheer magnitude and veracity of data that Pearce introduces make his arguments both strong and compelling. Developments in this most desperate of environmental crises include the discovery of toxic levels of arsenic and fluoride in Bangladesh water wells, and the disturbing fact that the production of just one pound of coffee requires twenty tons of water. Of equal concern is the realization that many of the world's largest and most important rivers - such as The Nile and The Rio Grande - are beginning to succumb to damming and evaporation, and have slowed to all but a trickle at critical points. The dire flow-on effect of this human intervention is that residents of areas where water is now scarce or non-existent have had to tap underground water supplies that cannot meet demand. Considering that scientists have predicted that water in many large cities will run out within a decade, When The Rivers Run Dry is a biting account of a problem that should be getting far more attention than it is currently.

R. G. Grant (2007)
ISBN: 0756619025

From the earliest man-powered flying machines to today's advanced spaceflight technology, Flight covers the fascinating history of humanity's longing to soar with the birds. In this attractive and very substantial tome, veteran writer R. G. Grant, the author of over 20 books on social life and military conflicts of the twentieth century, uses a wealth of archival photos and diagrams to bring to life the heroes of the skies and the machines that carried them aloft. Having been produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Flight radiates a deserved encyclopedic authority. Its vast number of facts and figures regarding commercial travel, test pilots, space travel and the like are engrossing, but Grant's narrative threads on flight during the wars of the last century are even more so. As he relates the significance of the rise of the fighter pilot and the inevitable development of aerial weaponry, it's obvious that Grant is in his element. Whether he's discussing navigational technology, reconnaissance flights, Zeppelins, flight training, Hitler's rocket programs, or the designers, businessmen, racers and manufacturers that made it all possible, Grant's commentary is captivating. Sidebars on aviation heroes and sections on weird and wonderful custom designed planes - such as the Aerocar and the eight-engine triplane known as the Caproni Ca 60 Transaero - are surefire crowd pleasers.

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