The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change
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The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Scientists and natives wrestle with our changing climate in the land where it has hit first--and hardest
A traditional Eskimo whale-hunting party races to shore near Barrow, Alaska--their comrades trapped on a floe drifting out to sea--as ice that should be solid this time of year gives way. Elsewhere, a team of scientists transverses the tundra, sleeping in tents, survivi...more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published April 21st 2004 by North Point Press
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I was sure I would love this book because of the subject matter. The author reports on the efforts of numerous scientists who are studying climate change in the field where it is happening most dramatically -- the arctic, especially Alaska. He also reports on how climate change is adversely affecting the native people who live there and who rely on a relatively stable climate or at least somewhat predictable weather cycles and patterns in order to sustain their centuries-old way of life. These t...more
A bit long in the baleen (yes I went there) but an overall very interesting read. Perhaps science and archaeology geeks would appreciate what I felt was just a bit too much information, but ultimately I did appreciate the point he finally makes--actually he never blatantly states his conclusion, but you should be able to figure it out. Lots of interesting science and climate change related stuffs.
M Grant
Scattered and unfocused, bouncing between colloquial stories, fact and research interspersed with anecdote and filler. Wasn't impressed, enjoyed some of the stories, but it was not as good as I hoped it would be. Could have used a great editor or college professor to focus this project a little more.
this book ranged from brilliant to rambly and tangential, and at times it seemed like wohlforth was trying to tell the complete story of everything, which, i guess, he kind of was--that was the point. i appreciated his telling of the story of arctic climate science, not just the results, and he effectively communicated just how complicated this process is, and at times, how mindnumbingly dull.
This book is about a tribe in Barrow, AK (Northernmost point in AK) who partake in subsistence hunting of marine mammals, specifically bowhead whales, to feed their village. It's interesting to read about their culture, how they depend on the food they get from these whales and how climate change is starting to take it's toll on the whales, the people, and the safety of the hunt.
Leonard Pierce
I read this when it first came out, and was really impressed with it. Wohlforth's writing reminds me a lot of Peter Matthiessen's, and it's a valuable read insofar as it takes you to a place where severe climate change isn't a possibility, a threat or an abstraction, but a daily reality.
I like this book, and am going to have to check it out again when it's hot outside. It's interesting, informative, and full of really cold situations! I just can't stick with it in February, but suspect I'll love it in August. :)
Kerry O'Connor
cool book which shows very explicitly how the scientific method and intuitive knowledge each are necessary.

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