What We Are Reading Today: SPARK by Timothy J. Jorgensen

Short Url
Updated 17 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: SPARK by Timothy J. Jorgensen

When we think of electricity, we likely imagine the energy humming inside our home appliances or lighting up our electronic devices—or perhaps we envision the lightning-streaked clouds of a stormy sky. But electricity is more than an external source of power, heat, or illumination. Life at its essence is nothing if not electrical.

The story of how we came to understand electricity’s essential role in all life is rooted in our observations of its influences on the body—influences governed by the body’s central nervous system. Spark explains the science of electricity from this fresh, biological perspective. Through vivid tales of scientists and individuals—from Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk—Timothy Jorgensen shows how our views of electricity and the nervous system evolved in tandem, and how progress in one area enabled advancements in the other.


What We Are Reading Today: Work Matters by Maureen Perry-Jenkins

Updated 17 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Work Matters by Maureen Perry-Jenkins

Low-wage workers make up the largest group of employed parents in the US, yet scant attention has been given to their experiences as new mothers and fathers. Work Matters brings the unique stories of these diverse individuals to light. Drawing on years of research and more than 1,500 family interviews, Maureen Perry-Jenkins describes how new parents cope with the demands of infant care while holding down low-wage, full-time jobs, and she considers how managing all of these responsibilities has long-term implications for child development. She examines why some parents and children thrive while others struggle, demonstrates how specific job conditions impact parental engagement and child well-being, and discusses common-sense and affordable ways that employers can provide support.

In the US, federal parental leave policy is unfunded. As a result, many new parents, particularly hourly workers, return to their jobs just weeks after the birth because they cannot afford not to.

Related


What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

Updated 14 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

The Philippines is an eclectic and unique mix of culture, environment, people and politics. Known mostly for natural disasters, migrant labor and dictatorial presidents, in this book Philip Bowing shows how it is much, much more, according to a review on goodreads.com.

Deftly navigating the history of this populous island republic, the book traces its history to define and explain its position in the modern world.

Looking past the headlines of volcanoes, earthquakes and violence, it asks why has the Filipino economy lagged behind its neighbors, and explores the importance of its location in geopolitics.

Taking the history of the Philippines from its pre-colonial era, through its Spanish and American occupations and up to the modern day, it unravels the complex politics, culture, peoples and economy of this rich and unique nation.

Engaging with challenges the Filipino people face today such as federalism, revolution, Mindanao, the diaspora, capitalism and relations with China, it rediscovers the struggles, culture and history of its past to understand the present.

Related


What We Are Reading Today: Salmon Wars

Updated 12 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Salmon Wars

Authors: Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

In Salmon Wars, investigative journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins bring readers to massive ocean feedlots where millions of salmon are crammed into parasite-plagued cages and fed a chemical-laced diet.
The authors reveal the conditions inside hatcheries, and at the farms that threaten our fragile coasts. They draw colorful portraits of characters, such as the big salmon farmer who poisoned his own backyard and the American researcher driven out of Norway for raising the alarm about dangerous contaminants in the fish.
Frantz and Collins document how the industrialization of salmon threatens this keystone species, and they show how it doesn’t need to be this way.


What We Are Reading Today: African Democracy and Development

Updated 02 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: African Democracy and Development

Authors: Cassandra R. Veney and Dick Simpson

Various African nations have undergone conflict situations since they gained their independence. This book focuses on particular countries that have faced conflict (civil wars and genocide) and are now in the process of rebuilding their political, economic, social, and educational institutions.

The countries that are addressed in the book include: Rwanda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In addition, there is a chapter that addresses the role of the African Diaspora in conflict and post-conflict countries that include Eritrea, Liberia, and Somalia. The book includes an examination of the various actors who are involved in post-conflict rebuilding and reconstruction that involves internal and external participants. For example, it is clear that the internal actors involve Africans themselves as ordinary citizens, members of local and national governments, and members of non-governmental organizations. This allows the reader to understand the agency and empowerment of Africans in post-conflict reconstruction, according to a review on goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: Forgotten Continent by Michael Reid

Updated 01 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Forgotten Continent by Michael Reid

Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa’s moral crusade, nor as explosively booming as China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world’s largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape.

This book argues that Latin America’s efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world’s most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy, according to a review on goodreads.com.

In many countries —including Brazil, Chile and Mexico — democratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge.

Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the US and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world’s most majestic natural environments.

Related