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Science Books

March 22, 2007

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures Of The Abyss
Claire Nouvian (2007)
ISBN: 0226595668

Why venture out into space to try and find bizarre life forms, when you can be assured of finding them right here on Earth? Earth's oceans support 99 percent of life on Earth, with 85 percent of their volume identified as deep sea regions. Surprisingly, award-winning wildlife journalist and producer Claire Nouvian, Expedition to the Abyss (Science Channel, 2004), found that only 5 percent of the ocean floor has been mapped so far, and that there may be anything from 10-30 million marine species for scientists yet to discover (my hopes are pinned on a lobster with succulent, foot-long legs). Of course, The Deep is about those deep sea creatures that scientists do know a little something about, which range from the odd, the beautiful, and the down-right ugly. Nouvian's The Deep includes over 200 stunning color photographs of these fantastic creatures - with names that seem to reflect the astonishment of their discoverers - including: the Spookfish, Cutthroat eels, "vampire squid from hell," Helmet jellies, the nightmarish Viper fish, Yeti crabs, and the infamous Giant squid, referred to as the Kraken in early myth. The Deep also goes into some detail regarding the history of marine biology exploration, right up to the relatively recent technologies developed to try and find these weird and wonderful creatures. The Deep is a rare chance to stare into the abyss and see what lurks there, and to muse over just what else might lie beneath the waves.

Nuclear Energy Now: Why The Time Has Come For The World's Most Misunderstood Energy Source
Alan M. Herbst (2007)
ISBN: 0470051361

Scientists, environmentalists, peak oil advocates, and Al Gore have all been saying it for years: fossil fuels are toast! Soaring oil prices, global warming, and foreign dependence on finite supplies of oil reserves mean that we will inevitably have to start searching for new energy sources. But just what will adequately fill what will be a colossal energy shortfall? Solar? Wind? Hydro? A mouse on a wheel, perhaps? Actually, none of these will suffice, according to energy expert Alan M. Herbst, a General Partner of Utilis Energy LLC, New York. The title of Herbst's book doesn't leave much doubt as to what energy source he's rooting for. With over 20 years experience in energy consulting, Herbst claims that now is the perfect time for the United States to accelerate and revitalize its nuclear energy program for more widespread domestic use. Herbst begins by taking us back to the grand old days of nuclear energy, when its commercial applications had just begun to be explored. He then turns his attentions to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 - which makes special provisions for the development of nuclear reactors, nuclear waste disposal, and nuclear security - and considers how the act might determine future nuclear energy policy. Nuclear Energy Now attempts to dispel many apparent misconceptions regarding nuclear energy while also highlighting the positives - such as its safety record, and efficiency levels. Herbst's unwavering fervor for nuclear power is, however, unlikely to sway those who hold less enthusiastic opinions. One would be hard-pressed to call this book a balanced account of the pros and cons of nuclear energy, and it's likely that it will mainly appeal to those already singing from the same songsheet.

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