The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 054400342X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Undeniably exquisite . . . The essays in the collection [are] meditations that reveal not only how science actually happens but also who or what propels its immutable humanity.” — Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

“A stimulating compendium.” — Kirkus Reviews

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author Deborah Blum selects the year’s top science and nature writing from writers who balance research with humanity and in the process uncover riveting stories of discovery across the disciplines.

Collected Essays

Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

Intersecting Philosophical Planes: Philosophical Essays

Mexico in Mind: An Anthology

The Cinema of Cruelty: From Buñuel to Hitchcock

The Berlin Novels of Alfred Döblin: Wadzek's Battle with the Steam Turbine, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Men without Mercy and November, 1918











secure the forest perimeter. The forest won’t be truly secure, though, until those who are destroying it are given alternatives. Tourism is part of Carr’s answer, but he has also hired teams to create numerous nurseries to grow seedlings of the rainforest trees and begin the decades-long, perhaps centuries-long process of returning the forest to its original area. The park is creating schools and health clinics for local people at the base of the mountain, below the rainforest. Finally, a center

in his office at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Entomology, did not fret about the bees’ safety. He knew that if you move bees to a new colony in their first day, the colony accepts them as its own. Nevertheless, Robinson did expect that the bees would be changed by their adoptive homes: he expected the killer bees to take on the European bees’ moderate ways and the European bees to assume the killer bees’ more violent temperament. Robinson had discovered this in

caregivers. My wife.” I asked about Brooke’s “Final Letter” from the previous summer. I was still trying to understand why Peggy had ignored it, just days after she typed it up for him, and instead took him to the ER to treat his pleural effusion. Why hadn’t she just let the infection end his life? “Brooke had always said, ‘I’m willing to go to the hospital for something that’s reversible, but I don’t want to die in the hospital,’” she said, as Brooke listened in on the speakerphone. So she had

down to male descendants forever, serving as a reliable marker of their paternal lineage. This was famously demonstrated in 1997, when researchers published a study of Jewish priests in the journal Nature. According to Jewish belief, the high priesthood began 3,300 years ago with Aaron, Moses’s older brother, and has been passed from father to son ever since. Today many Jews have the surname Cohen or Kohen, meaning “priest” in Hebrew. The researchers scraped a few skin cells from the inside of

the wake of the infant’s death. Although it is impossible to rule out an alternative explanation, the fact that the females had mounted a protective response against predators taking the baby makes it overwhelmingly likely that grief was involved at some level. Detailed observations of wild populations of animals, such as the ones Muller reported, are still relatively rare, for several reasons. Scientists may not be at the right place at the right time to observe post-death responses by

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