Read e-book online Air: The Restless Shaper of the World PDF

By William Bryant Logan

ISBN-10: 039306798X

ISBN-13: 9780393067989

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to existence this fastest, so much maintaining, such a lot communicative portion of the earth.

Air sustains the residing. each creature breathes to dwell, replacing and altering the ambience. Water and mud spin and upward thrust, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the airborne dirt and dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part 1000000 micro organism trip in a sq. foot of summer season air. The chemical feel of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s information of its mother’s breast―all ensue within the medium of air.

lack of knowledge of the air is expensive. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. hundreds of thousands have been sickened after September 11 via supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partially simply because we fill the air with commercial dusts. With the passionate narrative sort and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature fans and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne dirt that Darwin gathered aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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Additional info for Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

Sample text

Courtesy of NASA) Darwin would have been delighted to learn how his dust completed the worldwide concert of processes. Later scientists are scarcely less so. “We believe the dependence of one large ecosystem upon another separated by an ocean and coupled by the atmosphere to be fundamentally important to any view of how the global system functions,” wrote Robert Swap and his colleagues in 1992. ” When that dust shifts north and reaches the Caribbean instead of the Amazon, it is the ultimate source of the island soils themselves.

The air is set in motion when the sun strikes the sphere of the earth. Near the equator it strikes more directly, near the poles more obliquely. Therefore, the former is heated more than the latter. Air that is hotter rises, and as it does, it flows north toward the cooler regions. As the warm air heads north, it cools. The rising air near the equator lowers the pressure beneath it at the planet’s surface. The colder air from the poles is denser and so under greater pressure. The cold dense air flows south along the surface, warming as it goes.

Preferably, the solution should involve the making and sale of products and services. Yet every solution creates another problem, because in truth, both the air and the rest of us are not problems to be solved but mysteries in which we live. Mysteries, as the French existentialist Gabriel Marcel knew, are not matters that are beyond us. They are matters that envelop us. The air is the archetype of such a mystery. In this book, I propose that we get to know it not only as a problem, but also as a wonder.

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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan


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