In the mid-1860s, grapevines in southeastern France inexplicably began to wither and die. Jules-Émile Planchon, a botanist from Montpellier, was sent to investigate. He discovered that the vine roots were covered in microscopic yellow insects. What they were and where they had come from was a mystery. The infestation advanced with the relentlessness of an invading army and within a few years had spread across Europe, from Portugal to the Crimea. The wine industry was on the brink of disaster. The French government offered a prize of three hundred thousand gold francs for a remedy. Planchon believed he had the answer and set out to prove it. Gripping and intoxicating, The Botanist and the Vintner brings to life one of the most significant, though little-known, events in the history of wine.
Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet. They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes. Their sting—microscopic spears that pierce with five million times the acceleration of gravity—is the fastest known motion in the animal kingdom. Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology. Yet until recently, jellyfish were largely ignored by science, and they remain among the most poorly understood of ocean dwellers. More than a decade ago, Juli Berwald left a career in ocean science to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas, but jellyfish drew her back to the sea. Recent, massive blooms of billions of jellyfish have clogged power plants, decimated fisheries, and caused millions of dollars of damage. Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development, and climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, Juli embarked on a scientific odyssey. She traveled the globe to meet the biologists who devote their careers to jellies, hitched rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raised jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marveled at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders. Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, Spineless is the story of how Juli learned to navigate and ultimately embrace her ambition, her curiosity, and her passion for the natural world. She discovers that jellyfish science is more than just a quest for answers. It’s a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share.
From medieval bestiaries to Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, we’ve long been enchanted by extraordinary animals, be they terrifying three-headed dogs or asps impervious to a snake charmer’s song. But bestiaries are more than just zany zoology—they are artful attempts to convey broader beliefs about human beings and the natural order. Today, we no longer fear sea monsters or banshees. But from the infamous honey badger to the giant squid, animals continue to captivate us with the things they can do and the things they cannot, what we know about them and what we don’t. [more inside]
We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in mud huts rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than play football―or did we? Are our bodies and brains truly at odds with modern life? Although it may seem as though we have barely had time to shed our hunter-gatherer legacy, biologist Marlene Zuk reveals that the story is not so simple. Popular theories about how our ancestors lived―and why we should emulate them―are often based on speculation, not scientific evidence. [more inside]
Even when the floors are sparkling clean and the house seems silent, our domestic domain is wild beyond imagination. In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn introduces us to the nearly 200,000 species living with us in our own homes, from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards and camel crickets in our basements to the lactobacillus lounging on our kitchen counters. You are not alone. Yet, as we obsess over sterilizing our homes and separating our spaces from nature, we are unwittingly cultivating an entirely new playground for evolution. These changes are reshaping the organisms that live with us--prompting some to become more dangerous, while undermining those species that benefit our bodies or help us keep more threatening organisms at bay. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory book will look at their homes in the same way again.
A new vision is sweeping through ecological science: The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension-the dimension of time. Every field, forest, and park is full of living organisms adapted for relationships with creatures that are now extinct. In a vivid narrative, Connie Barlow shows how the idea of "missing partners" in nature evolved from isolated, curious examples into an idea that is transforming how ecologists understand the entire flora and fauna of the Americas. This fascinating book will enrich the experience of any amateur naturalist, as well as teach us that the ripples of biodiversity loss around us are just the leading edge of what may well become perilous cascades of extinction.
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” From IndieBound.org.
Elementary: Nobody Lives Forever Season 6, Ep 9
Holmes' former sobriety sponsor, Alfredo, asks for help with an illegal endeavor in order to save his brother. Also, Holmes and Watson investigate the poisoning of a biology professor who was working on a secret genetics project prior to being killed.
Blue Planet II: Blue Planet II Full Season Season 1, Ep 0
David Attenborough returns to the world's oceans in this sequel to the acclaimed documentary filming rare and unusual creatures of the deep, as well as documenting the problems our oceans face. [more inside]
A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie. Sure, it might seem like just another zombie movie, but this time with kids, instead it delves into complex issues like race, privilege, culture, immigration and especially biology. Also, Glenn Close, and an amazing first performance by Sennia Nanua, as the gifted girl. [more inside]
Helix: M. Domestica Season 2, Ep 6
Ilaria's crazy plan is revealed, as is Julia's non-role it and the cutest little immortal ever! Meanwhile, back on cult island, Brother Michael spins more lies, Alan tries to help himself out of handcuffs, Bro Landery makes a bid for his future, Kyle and Sarah do science things and Amy proves she's the sanest person in the land of crazy, besides being the a manipulative liar inciting mutiny.
Helix: Oubliette Season 2, Ep 5
Kyle and Peter leave the wounded Sarah in the care of Grandma Agnes. Brother Michael has a staff meeting to motivate Ann and Amy. Brother Landry and Amy experience ups and downs in their relationships. Alan and Peter try work on their sibling issues. Caleb and Julia have a nice chat around the campfire as he sews up her wounds. Everyone asks lots of questions and the matter of legacies keeps coming up.
Helix: Densho Season 2, Ep 4
The CDC team continues to not get off the island of Brother Michael and his scary disciples, insisting that they have to find the source of the virus that turns people stabby. Alan, the team's former leader, doesn't care much as he has own reasons for pretending to be a member of the cult. In the future, Hatake tries to bond with his daughter Julia, but she'd prefer her mummy. This continues to anger her dead brother. Sadly, Doreen from season 1 remains dead.
Helix: San Jose Season 2, Ep 1
There's a pandemic on an island with virtually no communications. Let's go there right now! And wander around! Oh, there's a cult there, that's going to go well.
Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried Season 2, Ep 10
In which Sarah makes a sacrifice for her daughter, Kira learns about Science! Cosima and Scott try to help Sarah and Rachel see eye to eye, a new dimension of the conspiracy behind Dyad is revealed, and the Clone Club has a dance party. Season finale.
Orphan Black: Governed as It Were by Chance Season 2, Ep 4
Sarah investigates Mrs. S's mysterious past while Cosima investigates the mysterious photograph, and Alison and Helena each awaken to find themselves under someone else's control.