Archive for science

SKYLIT: Lucy J Santos, ”HALF LIVES”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, science, skylit by skylightbooks on September 3rd, 2021
Of all the radioactive elements discovered at the end of the nineteenth century, it was radium that became the focus of both public fascination and entrepreneurial zeal.

Half Lives tells the fascinating, curious, sometimes macabre story of the element through its ascendance as a desirable item – a present for a queen, a prize in a treasure hunt, a glow-in- the-dark dance costume – to its role as a supposed cure-all in everyday twentieth-century life, when medical practitioners and business people (reputable and otherwise) devised ingenious ways of commodifying the new wonder element, and enthusiastic customers welcomed their radioactive wares into their homes.

Lucy Jane Santos—herself the proud owner of a formidable collection of radium beauty treatments—delves into the stories of these products and details the gradual downfall and discredit of the radium industry through the eyes of the people who bought, sold and eventually came to fear the once-fetishized substance.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski.

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Lauren Aguirre, “THE MEMORY THIEF”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, health, science, skylit by skylightbooks on June 12th, 2021
How could you lose your memory overnight, and what would it mean? The day neurologist Jed Barash sees the baffling brain scan of a young patient with devastating amnesia marks the beginning of a quest to answer those questions. First detected in a cluster of stigmatized opioid overdose victims in Massachusetts with severe damage to the hippocampusthe brain’s memory centerthis rare syndrome reveals how the tragic plight of the unfortunate few can open the door to advances in medical science.

After overcoming initial skepticism that investigating the syndrome is worth the effort—and that fentanyl is the likely culpritBarash and a growing team of dedicated doctors explore the threat that people who take opioids chronically as prescribed to treat severe pain may gradually put their memories at risk. At the same time, they begin to grasp the potential for this syndrome to shed light on the most elusive memory thief of allAlzheimer’s disease.

Through the prism of this fascinating story, Lauren Aguirre goes on to examine how researchers tease out the fundamental nature of memory and the many mysteries still to be solved. Where do memories live? Why do we forget most of what happens in a day but remember some events with stunning clarity years later? How real are our memories? And what purpose do they actually serve?

Perhaps the greatest mystery in The Memory Thief is why Alzheimer’s has evaded capture for a century even though it afflicts tens of millions around the world and lies in wait for millions more. Aguirre deftly explores this question and reveals promising new strategies and developments that may finally break the long stalemate in the fight against this dreaded disease.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Jess Phoenix, “MS. ADVENTURE” w/ Branwen Williams

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, science, skylit by skylightbooks on May 1st, 2021
As a volcanologist, natural hazards expert, and founder of Blueprint Earth, Jess Phoenix has dedicated her life to scientific exploration. Her career path—hard earned in the male-dominated world of science—has led her into still-flowing Hawaiian lava fields, congressional races, glittering cocktail parties at Manhattan’s elite Explorers Club, and numerous pairs of Caterpillar work boots. It has also inspired her to devote her life to making science more inclusive and accessible.
 
Ms. Adventure skillfully blends personal memoir, daring adventure, and scientific exploration, following Phoenix’s journey from reality television sites deep in Ecuadorian jungles to Andean glaciers, university classrooms to Death Valley in summer. She has even chased down members of a Mexican cartel to retrieve a stolen favorite rock hammer. Readers will delight in her unbelievable adventures, all embarked on for the love of science.
 
Phoenix is in conversation with Branwen Williams.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Edward Melilo, “THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nature, science, skylit by skylightbooks on March 26th, 2021
Insects might make us shudder in disgust, but they are also responsible for many of the things we take for granted in our daily lives. When we bite into a shiny apple, listen to the resonant notes of a violin, get dressed, receive a dental implant, or get a manicure, we are the beneficiaries of a vast army of insects. Try as we might to replicate their raw material (silk, shellac, and cochineal, for instance), our artificial substitutes have proven subpar at best, and at worst toxic, ensuring our interdependence with the insect world for the foreseeable future.
     Drawing on research in laboratory science, agriculture, fashion, and international cuisine, Edward D. Melillo weaves a vibrant world history in The Butterfly Effect that illustrates the inextricable and fascinating bonds between humans and insects. Across time, we have not only coexisted with these creatures but have relied on them for, among other things, the key discoveries of modern medical science and the future of the world's food supply. Without insects, entire sectors of global industry would grind to a halt and essential features of modern life would disappear. Here is a beguiling appreciation of the ways in which these creatures have altered--and continue to shape--the very framework of our existence.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Amy Shira Teitel, “FIGHTING FOR SPACE”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, history, biography, science, skylit by skylightbooks on February 13th, 2021
When the space age dawned in the late 1950s, Jackie Cochran held more propeller and jet flying records than any pilot of the twentieth century—man or woman. She had led the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots during the Second World War, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, ran her own luxury cosmetics company, and counted multiple presidents among her personal friends. She was more qualified than any woman in the world to make the leap from atmosphere to orbit. Yet it was Jerrie Cobb, twenty-five years Jackie's junior and a record-holding pilot in her own right, who finagled her way into taking the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts. The prospect of flying in space quickly became her obsession.

While the American and international media spun the shocking story of a "woman astronaut" program, Jackie and Jerrie struggled to gain control of the narrative, each hoping to turn the rumored program into their own ideal reality—an issue that ultimately went all the way to Congress.

Fighting for Space, a dual biography of audacious trailblazers Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb presents these fascinating and fearless women in all their glory and grit, using their stories as guides through the shifting social, political, and technical landscape of the time.

 
Author Amy Shira Teitel is in conversation with Skylight's own Lance Morgan.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Unni Turrettini, “BETRAYING THE NOBEL” w/ Brian Keating

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, history, politics, science, skylit by skylightbooks on November 18th, 2020

The Nobel Prize, regardless of category, has always been surrounded by politics, intrigue, even scandal. But those pale in comparison to the Peace Prize.

In Betraying the Nobel, Norwegian writer Unni Turrettini completely upends what we thought we knew about the Peace Prize—both its history and how it is awarded.

As 1984’s winner, Desmond Tutu, put it, “No sooner had I got the Nobel Peace Prize than I became an instant oracle.” However, the Peace Prize as we know it is corrupt at its core.

In the years surrounding World War I and II, the Nobel Peace Prize became a beacon of hope, and, through its peace champions, became a reference and an inspiration around the world. But along the way, something went wrong. Alfred Nobel made the mistake of leaving it to the Norwegian Parliament to elect the members of the Peace Prize committee, which has filled the committee with politicians more loyal to their political party’s agenda than to Nobel’s prize's prerogative. As a result, winners are often a result of political expediency.

Betraying the Nobel will delve into the surprising, and often corrupt, history of the prize, and examine what the committee hoped to obtain by its choices, including the now-infamously awarded Cordell Hull, as well as Henry Kissinger, Al Gore, and Barack Obama.  Turrettini shows the effects of increased media attention, which have turned the Nobel into a popularity prize, and a controversial and provocative commendation.

Turrettini is in conversation with Brian Keating, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences at UC San Diego, and author of the book Losing the Nobel Prize.

Video chat between Turrettini and Keating: https://youtu.be/3CPfcHoZe7U?sub_confirmation=1

Free meditation download here: https://UnniTurrettini.simplero.com/page/183887-link-to-optin-page-for-free-meditation-download

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Roy A. Meals, “BONES” w/ Vernon Tolo

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, science, skylit by skylightbooks on October 21st, 2020

A lively, illustrated exploration of the 500-million-year history of bone, a touchstone for understanding vertebrate life and human culture.

 

Human bone is versatile and entirely unique: it repairs itself without scarring, it’s lightweight but responds to stresses, and it’s durable enough to survive for millennia. In Bones, orthopedic surgeon Roy A. Meals explores and extols this amazing material that both supports and records vertebrate life.

Inside the body, bone proves itself the world’s best building material. Meals examines the biological makeup of bones; demystifies how they grow, break, and heal; and compares the particulars of human bone to variations throughout the animal kingdom. In engaging and clear prose, he debunks familiar myths—humans don’t have exactly 206 bones—and illustrates common bone diseases, like osteoporosis and arthritis, and their treatments. Along the way, he highlights the medical innovations—from the first X-rays to advanced operative techniques—that enhance our lives and introduces the giants of orthopedic surgery who developed them.

After it has supported vertebrate life, bone reveals itself in surprising ways—sometimes hundreds of millions of years later. With enthusiasm and humor, Meals investigates the diverse roles bone has played in human culture throughout history. He highlights allusions to bone in religion and literature, from Adam’s rib to Hamlet’s skull, and uncovers its enduring presence as fossils, technological tools, and musical instruments ranging from the Tibetan thighbone kangling horn to everyday drumsticks. From the dawn of civilization through to the present day, humankind has repurposed bone to serve and protect, and even to teach, amuse, and inspire.

Approachable and entertaining, Bones richly illuminates our bodies’ essential framework.

Meals is in conversation with Dr. Vernon Tolo, MD.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Ben Ehrenreich, “DESERT NOTEBOOKS” w/ Anthony McCann

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, nature, climate change, science by skylightbooks on August 10th, 2020

National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich layers climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences into a stunning reckoning with our current moment and with the literal and figurative end of time. Desert Notebooks examines how the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment and an increasingly unstable geopolitical landscape have led us to the brink of a calamity greater than any humankind has confronted before. As inhabitants of the Anthropocene, what might some of our own histories tell us about how to confront apocalypse? And how might the geologies and ecologies of desert spaces inform how we see and act toward time—the pasts we have erased and paved over, this anxious present, the future we have no choice but to build? Ehrenreich draws on the stark grandeur of the desert to ask how we might reckon with the uncertainty that surrounds us and fight off the crises that have already begun.

In the canyons and oases of the Mojave and in Las Vegas’s neon apocalypse, Ehrenreich finds beauty, and even hope, surging up in the most unlikely places, from the most barren rocks, and the apparent emptiness of the sky. Desert Notebooks is a vital and necessary chronicle of our past and our present—unflinching, urgent—and yet timeless and profound.

Ehrenreich is in conversation with Anthony McCann, author of four collections of poetry.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

 

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

 

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




Nathaniel Rich, “LOSING EARTH” w/ Jane Smiley

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, history, nature, climate change, science by skylightbooks on May 13th, 2019

By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change--including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.

Nathaniel Rich reveals, in previously unreported detail, the birth of climate denialism and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry's coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. The book carries the story into the present day, wrestling with the long shadow of our past failures and asking crucial questions about how we make sense of our past, our future, and ourselves. Like John Hersey's Hiroshima and Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the EarthLosing Earth is the rarest of achievements: a riveting work of dramatic history that articulates a moral framework for understanding how we got here, and how we must go forward.

Rich is in conversation with Jane Smiley, author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Golden Age, the concluding volume of The Last Hundred Years trilogy.





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