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Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2013
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In its 4.5 billion--year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet's turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference.It's a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth's past major disasters--from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation--resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet's species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz, science journalist and editor of the science Web site io9.com explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Life on Earth has come close to annihilation--humans have, more than once, narrowly avoided extinction just during the last million years--but every single time a few creatures survived, evolving to adapt to the harshest of conditions. This brilliantly speculative work of popular science focuses on humanity's long history of dodging the bullet, as well as on new threats that we may face in years to come. Most important, it explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow. From simulating tsunamis to studying central Turkey's ancient underground cities; from cultivating cyanobacteria for "living cities" to designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective; from using math to stop pandemics to studying the remarkable survival strategies of gray whales, scientists and researchers the world over are discovering the keys to long-term resilience and learning how humans can choose life over death. Newitz's remarkable and fascinating journey through the science of mass extinctions is a powerful argument about human ingenuity and our ability to change. In a world populated by doomsday preppers and media commentators obsessively forecasting our demise, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a compelling voice of hope. It leads us away from apocalyptic thinking into a future where we live to build a better world--on this planet and perhaps on others. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever the future holds.From the Hardcover edition.

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Street Date:
05/14/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385535922
ASIN:
B00A9ET57Q
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APA Citation (style guide)

Annalee Newitz. (2013). Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Annalee Newitz. 2013. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Annalee Newitz, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Annalee Newitz. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        ANNALEE NEWITZ is the founding editor of the science website io9.com and a journalist with a decade's experience in writing about science, culture, and the future for such publications as Wired, Popular Science, and TheWashington Post. She is the editor of the anthology She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Geeky Stuff (2006) and was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. She lives in San Francisco.

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Scatter, Adapt, and Remember
fullDescription

In its 4.5 billion--year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?

As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet's turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference.
It's a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth's past major disasters--from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation--resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet's species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz, science journalist and editor of the science Web site io9.com explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Life on Earth has come close to annihilation--humans have, more than once, narrowly avoided extinction just
during the last million years--but every single time a few creatures survived, evolving to adapt to the harshest of conditions.
This brilliantly speculative work of popular science focuses on humanity's long history of dodging the bullet, as well as on new threats that we may face in years to come. Most important, it explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow. From simulating tsunamis to studying central Turkey's ancient underground cities; from cultivating cyanobacteria for "living cities" to designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective; from using math to stop pandemics to studying the remarkable survival strategies of gray whales, scientists and researchers the world over are discovering the keys to long-term resilience and learning how humans can choose life over death.
Newitz's remarkable and fascinating journey through the science of mass extinctions is a powerful argument about human ingenuity and our ability to change. In a world populated by doomsday preppers and media commentators obsessively forecasting our demise, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a compelling voice of hope. It leads us away from apocalyptic thinking into a future where we live to build a better world--on this planet and perhaps on others. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever the future holds.

From the Hardcover edition.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Charles Mann, author of 1491
      • content: "As Walking Dead fans know, few things are more enjoyable than touring the apocalypse from the safety of your living room. Even as Scatter, Adapt, and Remember cheerfully reminds us that asteroid impacts, mega-volcanos and methane eruptions are certain to come, it suggests how humankind can survive and even thrive. Yes, Annalee Newitz promises, the world will end with a bang, but our species doesn't have to end with a whimper. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a guide to Homo sapiens' next million years. I had fun reading this book and you will too."
      • premium: False
      • source: Daniel H. Wilson, author of Robopocalypse and Amped
      • content: "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a refreshingly optimistic and well thought out dissection of that perennial worry: the coming apocalypse. While everyone else stridently shouts about the end of days, this book asks and answers a simple question: 'If it's so bad, then why are we still alive?' I found myself in awe of the incredible extinction events that humankind--and life in general--has already survived, and Newitz inspires us with engaging arguments that our race will keep reaching the end of the world and then keep living through it. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember intimately acquaints the reader with our two-hundred-thousand-year tradition of survival--nothing less than our shared heritage as human beings."
      • premium: False
      • source: Cory Doctorow, author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
      • content: "One part OMNI-grade optimistic futurism; one part terrifying disaster-history; entirely awesome and inspiring. A FTL rocket-ride through extinction and its discontents."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars Trilogy
      • content: "This book is not a survivalist guide but rather a grand historical overview that puts humanity in the middle of its evolution, with fascinating looks both back and forward in time. An enormous amount of knowledge is gathered here, and the book accomplishes something almost impossible, being extremely interesting on every single page. A real pleasure to read and think about."
      • premium: False
      • source: Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus
      • content: "One of the best popular science books I've read in a long, long time--and perhaps the only one that takes such a clear-eyed view of the future."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "An animated and absorbing account into how life has survived mass extinctions so far...and what we need to do to make sure humans don't perish in the next one... Humans may be experts at destroying the planet, but we are no slouches at preserving it, either, and Newitz's shrewd speculations are heartening."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 13, 2013
        "Earth has been many different planets with dramatically different climates and ecosystems," says Newitz, journalist and founding editor of io9.com. Finding a common ground between climate change arguments Newitz found a thread of hope while researching mass extinctions: that life has survived at least six such events thus far. Without addressing the cause of the current shift, she cites data that indicates we may already be in the midst of another period of mass extinction. Guiding readers through the science of previous mass extinctions, Newitz summarizes the characteristics that enabled species to survive: variable diet and habitat, and ability to learn from the past. "The urge to survive, not just as individuals but as a society and an ecosystem, is built into us as deeply as greed and cynicism are." She reviews theories of how Homo sapiens survived while Neanderthals did not, discusses how science may one day enable a disaster-proof city, and advocates geoengineering and research for eventual moves to other planets. "We'll strike out into space.... And eventually we'll evolve into beings suited to our new habitats among the stars." Newitz voice is fervent and earnest, and despite her gloomy topic, she leaves readers with hope for a long future.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2013
        An animated and absorbing account into "how life has survived mass extinctions so far...and what we need to do to make sure humans don't perish in the next one." Massive catastrophes leading to extinctions have already visited Earth at least five times, writes science writer Newitz (co-editor: She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff, 2006), who suggests we must distill all the strategies humans have used in the past and fashion a projection of them into the future--plus a whole new bag of tricks to devise from scratch so as to get by. Humans are the lucky ones, writes the author; we can live almost anywhere and eat nearly anything, and we tell stories, which contain experiences that will help save us. We are also able to wander, like our besieged ancestors fanning out of Africa 70,000 years ago, to fit in elsewhere. Newitz begins with an exceptional tour through the latest thinking on the great extinctions of the past, giving a wide-ranging view of exactly what extinction means. It doesn't necessarily require a decline in numbers but can mean a "depression of speciation," as when an invasive species wipes out all the other species. To the claim that we are headed for the most cataclysmic extinction of all, the author counters that that distinction likely belongs to the Permian period's "Great Dying," 250 million years ago, when more than 95 percent of the species on the planet died. She closes with hope, if not exactly completely convincing optimism: "Things are going to get weird. There may be horrific disasters, and many lives will be lost. But don't worry. As long as we keep exploring, humanity is going to survive." Humans may be experts at destroying the planet, but we are no slouches at preserving it, either, and Newitz's shrewd speculations are heartening.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 15, 2013

        Newitz (founding editor, io9.com) presents a speculative work of popular science, posing some possible eventualities in the future history of Homo sapiens living on a planet that has faced numerous extinction-level asteroid impacts. She begins with an overview of past extinction events, e.g., the global ice age, megavolcanoes, that eliminated a majority of species, leaving only a small portion to scatter and adapt. She then looks at human evolution, exploring the theory that Homo sapiens may have dwindled to merely thousands about 100,000 years ago owing to stressful migration and climate change. She moves on to look at how we and other species have used the survival strategies of scattering, adapting, and remembering. As to potential future strategies, Newitz discusses the ways in which scientists are seeking to make cities sustainable. In the last part of the book, she considers leaving for other planets, much as when we left Africa for other environments. She reminds readers that remembering is crucial in order to pass on stories about survival. VERDICT The overall message here is of hope rather than extinction. Recommended for fans of the study of extinction, fanciful evolutionary possibilities, and generally thinking outside the box where these subjects are concerned. Lay readers will find this accessible.--Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll.-Penn Valley, Kansas City, MO

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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In its 4.5 billion–year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?
As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet's turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference.
It's a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth's past major disasters—from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation—resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet's species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz, science journalist and editor of the science Web site io9.com explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival...
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