Tag Archives: nature

Thirteen – Henry S. F. Cooper

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Thirteen
The Apollo Flight That Failed
Henry S. F. Cooper

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: December 31, 2013

Publisher: Open Road Media

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


An “exciting” minute-by-minute account of the Apollo 13 flight based on mission control transcripts from Houston ( The New York Times ).  On the evening of April 13, 1970, the three astronauts aboard Apollo 13 were just hours from the third lunar landing in history. But as they soared through space, two hundred thousand miles from earth, an explosion badly damaged their spacecraft. With compromised engines and failing life-support systems, the crew was in incomparably grave danger. Faced with below-freezing temperatures, a seriously ill crew member, and a dwindling water supply, a safe return seemed unlikely. Thirteen is the shocking, miraculous, and entirely true story of how the astronauts and ground crew guided Apollo 13 to a safe landing on earth. Expanding on dispatches written for the New Yorker , Henry S. F. Cooper Jr. brings readers unparalleled detail on the moment-by-moment developments of one of NASA’s most dramatic missions. “Cooper’s Thirteen is exciting. . . . Close to what may be an authentic poetry of our period.” — The New York Times “Make no mistake about it. Thirteen tells a marvelous story. A lot of readers will take the book at a single gulp, unable to stop reading.” — The Washington Post “[An] impressive piece of reportorial research . . . Compelling reading.” — Chicago Tribune Henry S. F. Cooper Jr. (1933–2016) was the author of eight books about NASA and space exploration, including Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed. After graduating from Yale, he spent thirty-five years covering the space program as a staff writer for the New Yorker . A descendant of writer and environmentalist James Fenimore Cooper, he fought to preserve Otsego Lake, also known as Glimmerglass, a prominent feature in his ancestor’s writing. Cooper retired in Cooperstown, New York, bordering the lake he and his ancestor had both protected.  

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Thirteen – Henry S. F. Cooper

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The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Signed Edition) – Michael Lewis

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The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Signed Edition)

Michael Lewis

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: December 6, 2016

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


How a Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality. Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred, systematically, when forced to make judgments in uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms. The Undoing Project is about a compelling collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield—both had important careers in the Israeli military—and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. Amos Tversky was a brilliant, self-confident warrior and extrovert, the center of rapt attention in any room; Kahneman, a fugitive from the Nazis in his childhood, was an introvert whose questing self-doubt was the seedbed of his ideas. They became one of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, working together so closely that they couldn’t remember whose brain originated which ideas, or who should claim credit. They flipped a coin to decide the lead authorship on the first paper they wrote, and simply alternated thereafter. This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals so fundamentally different from each other that they seem unlikely friends or colleagues. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind’s view of its own mind.

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The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Signed Edition) – Michael Lewis

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The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel

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The Stranger in the Woods

The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Michael Finkel

Genre: Nature

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.   A  New York Times  bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

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The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel

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Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

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Homo Deus

A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $17.99

Publish Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Harper

Seller: HarperCollins


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods. Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda. What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

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Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

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The Secret Life of the Forest – Richard M. Ketchum

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The Secret Life of the Forest
Richard M. Ketchum

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: March 1, 2017

Publisher: New Word City, Inc.

Seller: New Word City


In any given year, millions of people visit one or more of the 154 national forests in the United States, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who spend some time in the private forests of the nation. All of them – hikers, hunters, fishermen, campers, and canoeists – are drawn to the woods for some special reason. Yet few of them see the forest as a whole, as the web of life it truly is. Here, from New York Times bestselling author Richard M. Ketchum, is the extraordinary story of forests and the trees that comprise them.

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The Secret Life of the Forest – Richard M. Ketchum

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Why a Walk in the Woods is Vital for Your Health: The Science Behind Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is a concept originally developed in Japan in the 1980s. Its called shinrin-yoku in Japanese, which means taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing.

Its as simple as it sounds. Forest bathing involves relaxing in a forest or other natural area, often taking a slow walk while observing the environment around you. It has become such a respected practice in Japan and Korea that forest therapy is now covered under their medical insurance systems.

The healing power of nature has been known for millennia, but modern science is just discovering the importance of this ancient knowledge.

The Health Benefits of Forest Bathing

1. Lowers Stress

A Japanese study looked at the physiological effects of forest bathing. They found it promotes lower levels of stress hormones, lower pulse rate and blood pressure, as well as improved nervous system function.

In addition, these benefits were found after participants went forest bathing only once. They walked in a forest for about 15 minutes, then simply viewed it for another 15 minutes.

2. Improves Memory

One Stanford University study had participants do a memory test before and after either a nature walk or a walk in an urban area. Those who walked in nature improved their performance on the second memory test. Whereas, the urban walkers had no improvement.

3. Increases Vitality

Vitality means having physical and mental energy. When you feel vital, you experience a sense of enthusiasm, aliveness and energy.

Through a series of studies, a research group looked at the effect of nature on vitality. They found that walking outdoors increases your vitality, and it was not from the exercise or social interactions. It appeared to be the presence of nature that strengthened peoples sense of aliveness. Interestingly, viewing pictures of nature also had a positive effect.

Researchers concluded its important to spend at least 20 minutes each day interacting with nature to feel more energized.

4. Enhances Mental Wellness

A 2015 study found that forest bathing reduces repetitive, negative thoughts, which are a known risk factor for mental illness such as depression. Participants also had reduced activity in an area of the brain linked to mental illness.

Researchers pointed out that currently 50 percent of people live in urban areas. This is estimated to rise to 70 percent by 2050. Urbanization is also linked to higher levels of mental illness. They felt that access to natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

5. Boosts Immune Function

Forest bathing is shown to increase the activity of natural killer cells and anti-cancer proteins. Both of these compounds are important parts of your immune system. They actively target and destroy dangerous cells in your body, such as virus-infected cells or tumor cells.

Tips on Getting the Most Out of Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is about experiencing a natural space, not getting somewhere or achieving a goal. Low-impact ways of observing your surroundings work best, such as walking or simply sitting and touching the ground or plants around you.

More vigorous activities, like running or cycling, can also be beneficial when done in nature. Although, it is difficult to fully immerse yourself in a natural setting when youre moving through it quickly.

Exposure to any form of nature is shown to have health benefits. If you cant easily get to a forested area, going to a local park, your back yard, a river, or even a secluded beach are all great options.

Try one of these exercises next time youre out in nature:

Whether youre walking, sitting or standing, pay attention to the bottom of your feet. If your mind starts to drift towards a project you need to finish or other stressful thoughts, bring it back to the bottom of your feet.
Take in your surroundings with all your senses. Listen for birds and insects, smell the soil, touch the bark of a tree.
Pick up a rock and see whats underneath it.
Bring a field guide book with you to learn more about the plants and animals you see.
Choose a short nature trail or a garden path you know well. Challenge yourself to walk through it as slowly as possible.
At the beginning of your forest bathing session, take a moment to notice how you feel. Then, check in with yourself again at the end of the session. Is there a difference?

The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy offers a certification program on becoming a forest guide. Their video is a great overview of forest bathing fundamentals.

Related
Harness the Power of Daydreams and Your Brain Will Reap the Rewards
How to Benefit From Meditation in 3 Minutes or Less
11 Ways to Reduce Stress in 5 Minutes or Less

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Why a Walk in the Woods is Vital for Your Health: The Science Behind Forest Bathing

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Top Intel Official Won’t Deny Reports That Trump Pressured Him to Push Back on FBI Investigation

Mother Jones

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday refused to tell Senators whether President Donald Trump had asked him to push back against against the FBI investigation into potential links between Trump’s associates and Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, an allegation that was reported by the Washington Post Monday night.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked about the accuracy of Post‘s report that Trump had asked Coats and NSA director Michael Rogers to “publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.” According to the Post’s sources, both Coats and Rogers felt Trump’s request was “inappropriate” and refused to comply. Coats declined to answer McCain’s question.

“As the president’s principal intelligence adviser, I’m fortunate to be able and need to spend a significant amount of time with the president discussing national security interests and intelligence,” said Coats. “As it relates to those interests, we discuss a number of topics on a very regular basis. I have always believed that given the nature of my position and the information which we share, it’s not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of that. So on this topic, as well as other topics, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president.”

Trump’s alleged request to Coats and Rogers came after then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed publicly on March 20 that the FBI was investigating possible links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government, and whether any coordination between them existed during the 2016 campaign.

According to the Post, an internal NSA memo written by a “senior NSA official” documented Trump’s request at the time he made it. Of course, that memo wouldn’t be the only time a senior intelligence official apparently documented an inappropriate request made by Trump regarding the Russia investigation. As the New York Times revealed last week, Comey wrote a series of memos documenting his communications with Trump, including one in which he apparently wrote that Trump had asked him to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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Top Intel Official Won’t Deny Reports That Trump Pressured Him to Push Back on FBI Investigation

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Green Travel or ‘Greenwashing’?

Everyone is trying to cash in on the eco-tourism boom. Here are six tips to help you be a savvy eco-minded traveler.

As ecotourism has grown in popularity, many travel providers and hotels have jumped onto the green travel bandwagon while doing little to actually support its sustainable practices and conservation efforts.

Greenwashing claiming to be eco-friendly without making a significant effort to minimize environmental impact occurs in all industries, andtravelis no exception. A hotel chain, for example, might promote itself as green because it allows guests the option of reusing towels or sleeping on the same set of sheets for more than one night. But, according to the University of Oregons Greenwashing Index (GWI), this policy actually does very little to save water and energy where it counts on its grounds, with its appliances and lighting, in its kitchens, and with its vehicle fleet.

There is no internationally recognized group that certifies the environmental practices of the travel industry, so its mostly up to individual vacationers to make their getaways as green as possible. These suggestions can help you be a savvy eco-minded traveler:

  1. Research companiesthat market themselves as being green, advises the GWI. Can you easily find more information about the companys sustainable business practices on its website? Does it have a comprehensive environmental story? Is there credible information to substantiate its green claims? If not, let the buyer beware.
  2. Look for a seal or certification markfrom a recognized, independent third-party organization that specializes in verifying green advertising such as the U.S. Green Building Council or Rainforest Alliance and check with the certifier to verify the companys marketing claims.
  3. Ask tour operators and hotels directlyabout their waste-management operations and conservation policies, as well as the percentage of employees who are local residents and whether they support any projects that benefit the localcommunityor environment.
  4. Avoid tripsthat involve interacting with wild or captive animals, such as riding an elephant or petting a lion cub.
  5. Support local tradespeople and artisans,but dont buy products made from endangered plant or animal species or remove natural features, such as wildflowers, rocks, or shells, from the landscape.
  6. Consider purchasing carbon offsetsto minimize the environmental impact of vacation flights.

Find more tips atwww.responsiblevacation.com.

Written by Maggie Fazeli Fard. This post originally appeared onExperience Life.

Photo Credit: Trekking Rinjani/Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Green Travel or ‘Greenwashing’?

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Remember that money Congress approved to rebuild Flint’s water system? Some of it is finally on the way.

According to the cover article in today’s issue of the journal Nature, the iconic reef off the coast of Australia suffered unprecedented coral die-off after last year’s record-breaking bleaching event. Now, as the Southern Hemisphere hits late summer temperatures, central and southern sections of the reef — areas which avoided the worst of last year’s bleaching — are in trouble.

“We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” coral researcher Terry Hughes told the New York Times. Hughes led the team that conducted aerial surveys to document the bleaching last year, as well as subsequent surveys to assess just how much of that bleaching turned into dying.

Bleached corals don’t always turn into dead corals — some are able to recover when temperatures drop. Er, if temperatures drop. If water temperatures stay high and corals stay bleached, they will eventually starve to death. Without coral building reefs, whole ecosystems may disappear, along with the food, tourism, and jobs they support.

Hughes and his coauthors found that even corals in pristine, protected water were likely to be suffering from heat stress, meaning the only thing left to do to protect corals is, you know, address climate change.

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Remember that money Congress approved to rebuild Flint’s water system? Some of it is finally on the way.

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3 Ways Going Green Can Make a Significant Difference

The main reason most Americans dont live more sustainably? Many see it as either too hard or too expensive. Sure, it is easy to say buy solar panels and eat only at restaurants who have direct relationships with localfarms, but we dont all have that kind of cash. On the other side of the coin, going full-on zero wasteisnt a realisticoption for everyone either. So, how can the majority of us go greenwithout surrenderingto either extreme?

1. Take baby steps.

Baby steps are key to changing any habit, including our most ingrained, less-than-sustainable ones. For instance, instead of giving up all animal products cold turkey, choose to eat all-vegetarian meals for 3 or so days a week. Odds are, you can stick with this lifestyle change long-term, unlike an extreme experiment with avoiding all animal products, which 75 percent of people give up after a stint. If you do that calculation, a subtle, long-term change is more environmentally effective than an extreme, short-term one.

In your house, instead of worrying about not being able to afford solar panels, try making your house asenergy efficient as you can by replacing bulbs, reprogramingyour thermostat, and addressing excessive water usage and waste. Rather than deciding to only bike commute to work, start off by riding in on sunny, warm days and work your way up. Instead of going to the mall for new pants, make an effort to shop secondhand at places like ThredUp. You want your sustainability to become a integrated lifestyle choice, not a burden.

2. Support causes over products.

Great, you buyless-toxic, eco dish soap. That’s a good thing, but youll be disappointed to hear that those types of purchases dont really shrink your carbon footprint or offset climate change in any meaningful way. By all means, keep buying greener productsif you canthey are certainly healthier for your body and your immediate environment. But, many of us become content and complacent after buying green products, thinking we have done our small part in the challenge to salvage the environment. That couldnt be further from the truth.

Rather than solely using your purchasing power to try to evoke change, you are better off going straight to the source. Donate to causes and organizationswho are pushing the regulatorsthe FDA, the USDA, the EPAto make big changes that will improve health and environmentalregulationsnationwide. Continue to buy cleaner, organic products when you can afford to (they are usually a little more expensive), but make it a priority to educate, donate and push for change in our food system, environment and manufacturing procedures as much as you can.

3. Get involved locally.

Yeah, we love our glorious national parks, but dont you also want to keep your local environment clean and beautiful? Pay attention to what is going on in your community. It may be time to –gasp– go to a town hall meeting and pay attention to the initiatives and politics in your neighborhood. It may be a little less romantic than fighting for the great wild places of the West, but you can be most effective in creating change at a local level. Of course, if the national or state parks need your attention, by all means, they deserve everyone’s support.We need regulations and protections for all our environments.

You aren’t going to become a green machine overnight, but if you make it a conscious part of your lifestyle, it’s really not that hard. And maybe down the line you can buy solar panels and you’ll shop only in the bulk aisle and you’ll have a commuter bike and drive a Tesla. But, just because you don’t have these things shouldn’t stop you from embracing more a sustainable way of living. Every single one of us has a real responsibility now that climate change looms overhead, but moderatesustainabilityisn’t as overwhelming and difficult as you may think.

Related:
Being a Little More Selfish Is a Good Thing
Up Your Green Intake with Anti-Inflammatory Seaweed
How to Prep Your Body for Spring

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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3 Ways Going Green Can Make a Significant Difference

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