Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 20, 2012 - Nature - 398 pages
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The author of Dirt and Oak brings to life this quickest, most sustaining, most communicative element of the earth.

Air sustains the living. Every creature breathes to live, exchanging and changing the atmosphere. Water and dust spin and rise, make clouds and fall again, fertilizing the dirt. Twenty thousand fungal spores and half a million bacteria travel in a square foot of summer air. The chemical sense of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s awareness of its mother’s breast—all take place in the medium of air.

Ignorance of the air is costly. The artist Eva Hesse died of inhaling her fiberglass medium. Thousands were sickened after 9/11 by supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought in part because we fill the air with industrial dusts. With the passionate narrative style and wide-ranging erudition that have made William Bryant Logan’s work a touchstone for nature lovers and environmentalists, Air is—like the contents of a bag of seaborne dust that Darwin collected aboard the Beagle—a treasure trove of discovery.
 

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User Review  - GeoffSC - LibraryThing

The Author expands the subject of "Air" in an amazing way. It's composition, extent, movement, life supporting, ... Very chatty style. Science for everyone. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Floating
20
The Spore Sucker
33
Where Fungi Are
48
The Ergot of the Rye
59
The Pollen Rain
66
Is the Furniture Poison?
76
The Air after 911
82
The Lee Wave
201
What Now?
216
The Wilderness of Pheromones
226
Mother and Child Communion
233
The Atmosphere of the Beloved
243
Aphids in the Invisible World
255
What Is Sound?
262
The Answered Question
272

Weaving
90
Vortices
99
Ground Truth
108
El Grecos Clouds
115
The Big Mistake
122
The Forecasters
128
The Weather on DDay
139
Forcing
146
The Winds
152
Firestorm
162
Dragged Aloft
168
The Common Crane
174
Stall Practice
181
The Bat the Bee the BarHeaded Goose
192
Enchanted
282
Sonata Form and Chaos
289
The Aeolian Harp
295
Fenchels Dance
305
The Quantity ofBreath
312
Fogging the Mirror
322
Shall These Bones Live?
328
Why the Daytime Sky Is Light
336
The Sap Rising
342
The Air Is a Slow Cold Flame
348
Bibliography
370
Index
385
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

William Bryant Logan is a Quill & Trowel Award-winning writer, a member of the faculty at the New York Botanical Garden, a sought-after lecturer and teacher, and a practicing arborist. He is the author of Oak and Dirt, the latter of which was made into an award-winning documentary. He lives in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

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