Crashes, Crises, and Calamities: How We Can Use Science to Read the Early-Warning Signs

Front Cover
Basic Books, Mar 29, 2011 - Science - 256 pages
Why do certain civilizations, societies, and ecosystems collapse? How does the domino effect relate to the credit crunch? When can mathematics help explain marriage? And how on earth do toads predict earthquakes? The future is uncertain. But science can help foretell what lies ahead.

Drawing on ecology and biology, math and physics, Crashes, Crises, and Calamities offers four fundamental tools that scientists and engineers use to forecast the likelihood of sudden change: stability, catastrophe, complexity, and game theories. In accessible prose, Len Fisher demonstrates how we can foresee and manage events that might otherwise catch us by surprise.

At the cutting edge of science, Fisher helps us find ways to act before a full-fledged catastrophe is upon us. Crashes, Crises, and Calamities is a witty and informative exploration of the chaos, complexity, and patterns of our daily lives.

 

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CRASHES, CRISES, AND CALAMITIES: Using Science to Anticipate Disasters

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Popular-science writer Fisher (The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life, 2009, etc.) examines the search for warning signals preceding disastrous events.The author ... Read full review

Contents

1 Do Animals Have Crystal Balls?
3
2 The Future Eclipsed
15
3 Galileos Hell
25
PART 2 HOW DISASTERS HAPPEN
33
4 The Stress of It All
35
5 Runaway Disaster
53
6 The Balance of Nature and the Nature of Balance
71
READING THE SIGNS
93
8 Teetering on the Brink of Catastrophe
109
9 Models and Supermodels
123
10 Beware of Mathematicians
135
11 Weak Signals as Major EarlyWarning Signs
151
The Future of Forecasting
169
NOTES
171
INDEX
219
Copyright

7 The Chaotic Ecology of Dragons
95

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