A World From Dust is a popular science book about the chemical sequence behind the evolution of creation.
It’s about how geology, biology, and chemistry worked together over billions of years, providing a hidden order under the random flow of genes and lava and water.
It’s about the chemical job that each element takes up in life, and how that job is predictable from its place on the periodic table.
It can be told as the story of many elements: how iron and sulfur gave a spark of life; how manganese was a key for oxygen; and how copper and zinc formed the basis for your immune system and growth patterns.
It can be told as the story of one element: the story of how oxygen was hidden from life, then killed life, then gave new energy and new shapes for life to become more complex than before.
It’s also about how, if we rewound and replayed the “tape of life”, what we would “hear” in evolution would be much the same the second time around. It’s about how, at certain levels, life is predictable and ordered — and at other levels, it’s not.
To use big words, it’s about chemistry, convergence, and contingency. To use little words (that are probably better), it’s about fate and free will.
The book is written by Ben McFarland and illustrated by Gala Bent and Mary Anderson. Audiobook produced by Seattle Pacific University's department of Educational Technology and Media.
Kathleen Braden, Wilbur Zelinsky, Sergei Rogachev, Thomas Baerwald, Aleksei Naumov, John Florin, Raymond Krishchyunas, Aleksei Novikov, and Stanley Brunn
Is it possible to look out over the Ural Mountains and see Appalachia? To find the character of the American West in the vast open space of Siberia? To smell the citrus and feel the warm sun of the Black Sea coast and be struck with a sense of Florida?
This book is based on just such an idea: that we can look beyond our borders and discover fundamental realities about places that transcend differences of culture, language, and politics. Five American and four Russian geographers wrote this book to provide glimpses of understanding about the United States and Russia. Despite the size and power of our two nations and more than seventy years of cold war, we seem to have a meager comprehension of each other, perhaps because each country is so often viewed as a monolith and we emphasize our differences, rather than similarities.
The authors of this book worked together in the hopes of overcoming some misimpressions of the past. Beyond Borders became an experiment - an attempt to compare the United States and Russia by pairing up and analyzing eleven regions. We have therefore taken the rather risky step of suggesting similarities between New England and Novgorod, between Odessa and New Orleans, between Moscow and New York. But perhaps the time has never been more appropriate for such a new approach to geography because so many people seem adrift on the changing world map. In an era when establishes states are breaking up, new alliances are forming, and the very idea of state sovereignty is being transformed, we may begin to question whether all these lines on the map actually mean anything to people. Is there an underlying "real" geography which can provide an anchor?
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