30 March 2013, 16:15
Shearwater | 2011 | ISBN: 161091161X | EPUB | 519.23KB
Each day, headlines warn that baby bottles are leaching dangerous chemicals, nonstick pans are causing infertility, and plastic containers are making us fat. What if green chemistry could change all that? What if rather than toxics, our economy ran on harmless, environmentally-friendly materials?
Elizabeth Grossman, an acclaimed journalist who brought national attention to the contaminants hidden in computers and other high tech electronics, now tackles the hazards of ordinary consumer products. She shows that for the sake of convenience, efficiency, and short-term safety, we have created synthetic chemicals that fundamentally change, at a molecular level, the way our bodies work. The consequences range from diabetes to cancer, reproductive and neurological disorders.
Yet it’s hard to imagine life without the creature comforts current materials provide—and Grossman argues we do not have to. A scientific revolution is introducing products that are “benign by design,” developing manufacturing processes that consider health impacts at every stage, and is creating new compounds that mimic rather than disrupt natural systems. Through interviews with leading researchers, Grossman gives us a first look at this radical transformation.
Green chemistry is just getting underway, but it offers hope that we can indeed create products that benefit health, the environment, and industry.
Bottled and Sold
30 March 2013, 16:10
Island Press | 2010 | ISBN: 1597265284 | EPUB | 1.3MB
Peter Gleick knows water. A world-renowned scientist and freshwater expert, Gleick is a MacArthur Foundation "genius," and according to the BBC, an environmental visionary. And he drinks from the tap. Why don't the rest of us? Bottled and Sold shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last one hundred years-and why we are poorer for it. It's a big story and water is big business.
Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water, and every second of every day a thousand more throw one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than thirty billion bottles a year and tens of billions of dollars of sales. Are there legitimate reasons to buy all those bottles? With a scientist's eye and a natural storyteller's wit, Gleick investigates whether industry claims about the relative safety, convenience, and taste of bottled versus tap hold water. And he exposes the true reasons we've turned to the bottle, from fearmongering by business interests and our own vanity to the breakdown of public systems and global inequities.
"Designer" H2O may be laughable, but the debate over commodifying water is deadly serious. It comes down to society's choices about human rights, the role of government and free markets, the importance of being "green," and fundamental values. Gleick gets to the heart of the bottled water craze, exploring what it means for us to bottle and sell our most basic necessity.
Plutocrats The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich [Audiobook]
30 March 2013, 16:01
Tantor Media | 2012 | ISBN: 1452660425 | MP3@128 kbps | 11 hrs 39 mins | 640.82MB
The author is eminently qualified (as the editor of a number of top flight financial magazines) to comment on the subject of the dominance of our global economy by a very few hyper-rich entities.
Her thesis is that the 99% are dominated not just by the other 1%, but, by the upper .1% who control most of the resources in our global economy. Examples include the Red Chinese government, the top five oil companies, and the consortiums of health care finance companies.
What she points out is that these hyper-wealthy entities and consortiums serve only their own interests. They have no sense of responsibility to anyone other than themselves. In addition, although they control most of the resources of our race, they have no social responsibilities. The result is that these hyper-wealthy are more powerful than any of the governments on our planet. The hyper-wealthy have more economic power than any government precisely because, unlike governments, the hyper-wealthy have no responsibilities to ordinary people. Her conclusion is that the hyper-wealthy are really the entities that are "calling the shots" on our planet, instead of the people who inhabit it.
She has some fascinating insights such as her insight that "trickle-down" economics cannot work. The hyper-wealthy are not trickling down anything to the people. They are loaning back the resources of this planet to the people, at oppressive interest rates and under oppressive terms. This puts them in complete control of the world and our global economy.
She also points out that the hyper-wealthy did not gain their wealth by making contributions to the people of this planet - they acquired their wealth simply by manipulating markets to funnel wealth to themselves, without returning much of value to the people. This market manipulation does not provide additional water, food, shelter or transportation. The manipulation simply makes the hyper-wealthy, more wealthy, so that they can impose more and more oppressive terms, in their own favor, over the resources of our race and our planet. -- J. Preston
Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town
30 March 2013, 15:51
Audio Evolution | 2006 | ASIN: B000J20TZ0 | M4B | 13 hrs 54 mins | 233.07MB
Early one morning in the summer of 1999, authorities in the tiny west Texas town of Tulia began a roundup of suspected drug dealers. By the time the sweep was done, over 40 people had been arrested and one of every five black adults in town was behind bars, all accused of dealing cocaine to the same undercover officer, Tom Coleman. Coleman, the son of a well-known Texas Ranger, was named Officer of the Year in Texas. Not until after the trials, in which Coleman's uncorroborated testimony secured sentences as long as 361 years, did it become apparent that Tom Coleman was not the man he claimed to be.
Tulia is the story of the town, the bust, the trials, and the heroic legal battle to reverse the convictions that caught the attention of the nation in the spring of 2003. With a sure sense of history and of place, a great feel for the characters involved, and showdowns inside the courtroom and out.
Blakeslee's Tulia is contemporary journalism at its finest, and a thrilling read. The scandal changed the way narcotics enforcement is done in Texas, and has put the national drug war on trial at a time when incarceration rates in this country have never been higher. But the story is much bigger than the tale of just one bust. As Tulia makes clear, these events are the latest chapter in a story with themes as old as the country itself. It is a marvelously well-told tale about injustice, race, poverty, hysteria, desperation, and doing the right thing in America.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
30 March 2013, 15:44
HighBridge Audio | 2005 | ISBN: 1565119789 | MP3@64 kbps | 11 hrs 16 mins | 310.16MB
Based on the latest scientific findings, this breakthrough book argues that most of what we thought we knew about the Americas before Columbus was wrong.
In the last 20 years, archaeologists and anthropologists equipped with new scientific techniques have made far-reaching discoveries about the Americas. For example, Indians did not cross the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago, as most of us learned in school. They were already here. Their numbers were vast, not few. And instead of living lightly on the land, they managed it beautifully and left behind an enormous ecological legacy.
In this riveting, accessible work of science, Charles Mann takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.
Compelling and eye-opening, this book has the potential to vastly alter our understanding of our history and change the course of today’s environmental disputes.
The Professor and the Madman [Audiobook]
30 March 2013, 15:37
HarperAudio | 2005 | ISBN: 0060836261 | MP3@96 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 21 mins | 304.49MB
The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary -- and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W.C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
This audio also includes a conversation between Simon Winchester and John Simpson, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.
No Impact Man [Audiobook]
30 March 2013, 15:27
Macmillan Audio | 2009 | ASIN: B002NLSDNU | MP3@128 kbps | 7 hrs 50 mins | 430.3MB
A guilty liberal finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nut, turns off his power, and generally becomes a tree-hugging lunatic who tries to save the polar bears and the rest of the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his baby daughter and Prada-wearing, Four Seasons-loving wife along for the ride. And that's just the beginning.
Bill McKibben meets Bill Bryson in this seriously engaging look at one armchair liberal's decision to put his money where his mouth is and go off the grid for one year - while still living in New York City - and see if it's possible to make no net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no air-conditioning, no television....
What would it be like to try to live a no-impact lifestyle? Is it possible? Could it catch on? Is living this way more fun or less fun? More satisfying or less satisfying? Harder or easier? Is it worthwhile or senseless? Are we all doomed or can our culture reduce the barriers to sustainable living so it becomes as easy as falling off a log?
These are the questions at the heart of this whole mad endeavor, via which Colin Beavan hopes to explain to the rest of us how we can realistically live a more "eco-effective" and by turns more content life in an age of inconvenient truths.
The Blind Watchmaker [Audiobook]
30 March 2013, 15:19
Audible | 2011 | ASIN: B005ACDZX2 | MP3@96 kbps + PDF | 14 hrs 41 mins | 605.19MB
The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed.
Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered - is the blind watchmaker in nature.
The Master and Margarita [Audiobook]
30 March 2013, 15:03
Recorded Books | 2007 | MP3@128 kbps + EPUB | 17 hrs 02 mins | 686.71MB
Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts-one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow-the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) and his retinue-including the vodka-drinking, black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; and a writer known only as The Master, and his passionate companion, Margarita-exist in a world that blends fantasy and chilling realism, an artful collage of grostesqueries, dark comedy, and timeless ethical questions.
Although completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was not published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine Moskva. It was an immediate and enduring success: Audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom. This new translation has been created from the complete and unabridged Russian texts.
Crime and Punishment [Audiobook]
30 March 2013, 14:36
Recorded Books | 2011 | ISBN: 1449873324 | MP3@112 kbps | 25 hrs 06 mins | 1.18GB
One of the greatest works of fiction ever written, Crime and Punishment is an intense psychological study, a terrifying murder mystery, and a fascinating detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary.
Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately benefit humanity.
This new narration of Crime and Punishment takes the listener on a journey into the darkest recesses of the criminal and depraved mind and exposes the soul of a man possessed by both good and evil who cannot escape his own conscience.