What We Are Reading Today: Ice Rivers: A Story of Glaciers, Wilderness, and Humanity

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Updated 09 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Ice Rivers: A Story of Glaciers, Wilderness, and Humanity

Author: Jemma Wadham

The ice sheets and glaciers that cover 1/10th of Earth’s land surface are in grave peril. High in the Alps, Andes, and Himalaya, once-indomitable glaciers are retreating, even dying. Meanwhile, in Antarctica, thinning glaciers may be unlocking vast quantities of methane stored for millions of years beneath the ice. In Ice Rivers, renowned glaciologist Jemma Wadham offers a searing personal account of glaciers and the rapidly unfolding crisis that they—and we—face.
Taking readers on a personal journey from Europe and Asia to Antarctica and South America, Wadham introduces majestic glaciers around the globe as individuals—even friends—each with their own unique character and place in their community. She challenges their first appearance as silent, passive, and lifeless, and reveals that glaciers are, in fact, as alive as a forest or soil, teeming with microbial life and deeply connected to almost everything we know. They influence crucial systems on which people depend, from lucrative fisheries to fertile croplands.
, and represent some of the most sensitive and dynamic parts of our world. Their fate is inescapably entwined with our own, and unless we act to abate the greenhouse warming of our planet the potential consequences are almost unfathomable.


What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

Updated 04 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

Authors: Stephen J. Collier & Andrew Lakoff

From pandemic disease, to the disasters associated with global warming, to cyberattacks, today we face an increasing array of catastrophic threats. It is striking that, despite the diversity of these threats, experts and officials approach them in common terms — as future events that threaten to disrupt the vital, vulnerable systems upon which modern life depends.
The Government of Emergency tells the story of how this now taken-for-granted way of understanding and managing emergencies arose. Amid the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, an array of experts and officials working in obscure government offices developed a new understanding of the nation as a complex of vital, vulnerable systems. They invented technical and administrative devices to mitigate the nation’s vulnerability, and organized a distinctive form of emergency government that would make it possible to prepare for and manage potentially catastrophic events.


What We Are Reading Today: Managing Medical Authority by Daniel A. Menchik

Updated 02 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Managing Medical Authority by Daniel A. Menchik

Exploring how the authority of medicine is controlled, negotiated, and organized, Managing Medical Authority asks: How is knowledge shared throughout the profession? Who makes decisions when your heart malfunctions—physicians, hospital administrators, or private companies who sell pacemakers? How do physicians gain and keep their influence? Arguing that medicine’s authority is managed in collegial competition across venues, Daniel Menchik examines the full range of stakeholders driving the direction of the field: Medical trainees, clinicians, researchers, administrators, and even the corporations that develop groundbreaking technologies enabling longer and better lives.


What We Are Reading Today: Moving Up without Losing Your Way by Jennifer M. Morton

Updated 01 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Moving Up without Losing Your Way by Jennifer M. Morton

Upward mobility through higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, little attention has been paid to the personal compromises such students make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own.
Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Moving Up without Losing Your Way looks at the ethical dilemmas of upward mobility—the broken ties with family and friends, and the loss of community and identity—faced by students as they strive to earn a successful place in society. Drawing upon philosophy, social science, personal stories, and interviews, Jennifer Morton reframes the college experience.


What We Are Reading Today: Nature’s Palette by Patrick Baty

Updated 30 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Nature’s Palette by Patrick Baty

First published in 1814, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is a taxonomically organized guide to color in the natural world. Compiled by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, the book was expanded and enhanced in 1821 by Patrick Syme, who added color swatches and further color descriptions, bringing the total number of classified hues to 110. The resulting resource has been invaluable not only to artists and designers but also to zoologists, botanists, mineralogists, anatomists, and explorers, including Charles Darwin on the famous voyage of the Beagle.
Nature’s Palette makes this remarkable volume available to today’s readers, and is now fully enhanced with new illustrations of all the animals, plants, and minerals Werner referenced alongside each color swatch.


What We Are Reading Today: Alarums and Excursions by Luuk van Middelaar

Updated 29 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Alarums and Excursions by Luuk van Middelaar

Crisis after crisis has beset the EU in recent years – Greek sovereign debt, Russian annexation of Crimea, unprecedented levels of migration, and the turmoil created by Brexit.

In this candid and revealing portrayal of a Europe improvising its way through a politics of events and not rules, Luuk van Middelaar makes sense of the EU’s political metamorphosis over its past 10 years of crisis management, according to the review on goodreads.com. Forced into action by a tidal wave of emergencies, Van Middelaar shows how Europe has had to reinvent itself by casting off its legal straitjacket and confronting hard issues of power, territorial borders and public authority.

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