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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007 (Best American Science and Nature Writing #2007)

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3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  304 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
"Science is about not knowing and wanting badly to know. Science is about flawed and complicated human beings trying to use whatever tools they've got, along with their minds, to see something strange and new. In that sense, writing about science is just another way of writing about the human condition." -- from the introduction by Richard Preston

The twenty-eight pieces in
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 10th 2007 by Mariner Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Buck
Feb 27, 2009 Buck rated it liked it
Shelves: pop-science
Nobody is hornier than a female macaque or bonobo (which mounts the males because the males are too exhausted to continue the fornication.)

See, that's what I love about this series. Who wouldn't want to know something like that? (But in defense of the wretched male bonobo, I wonder why it never occurred to any of these bigshot primatologists that maybe the poor guy was worn-out after a long day foraging for food and kowtowing to the dominant matriarch; maybe he had a lot of of other shit on his
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Andrew
Feb 09, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
I like to read all of the collections -- including "Best American Fiction" -- because it exposes the reader to new topics and new authors that you can explore later. There are always a few clunkers in the collection but you can breeze through those. And the collection provides a snapshot in time, showing what was current or worrisome at some point in the past.

I picked up this collection because it was the most-recent on my public library's shelves. It has a good range of topics, from astronomy t
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Dave
Jan 27, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
read these because i'm teaching "writing for the sciences" this semester and need stuff to pad out my syllabus. both volumes (science writing, and science and nature writing) are excellent compilations of average-joe articles, many of which take the term "science writing" very loosely. fascinating, even touching, at times. loved them both.
Andres
Jul 19, 2009 Andres rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthologies
28 articles from 20 publications, top contributor being Smithsonian Magazine with 4 articles.

I'm writing this review eight months after actually reading the book, but I wanted to do what I've done with the other anthologies: list the articles that---even after all this time---I remember clearly because they were so interesting.

In Rome's Basement by Paul Bennett
A look at urban spelunkers exploring the depths under Rome.

Plastic Ocean by Susan Casey
Disturbing look at what happens to plastic in the
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Ilia
Sep 14, 2008 Ilia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: out-on-loan, own
So many great stories. Some highlights:

"The Rape of Appalachia" - mind-opening article about the atrocities being done by the strip-mining corporations in our own East-coast back yard.

"In the Company of Bears" - a heart-felt and deeply personal account on one man's journey to get closer to nature - the wild nature outside and his own wild nature within.

"Plastic Ocean" - another moving article about the effect of our boundless production of plastic goods on our environment (both the oceans as wel
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Rebecca
Apr 02, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it
This series is like owning annual subscriptions to National Geographic, Scientific American, Discover, Smithsonian, Seed, and Atlantic Monthly, but without the ads and for only $14. There isn't a single place where you can find interesting, intelligent writing about a more diverse range of scientific topics than the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. This is the second volume I've read, and both of them have been 90% chock-full of cool science journalism -- the remaining 10% are ju ...more
Jessica
Jun 23, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: science
I do love this series, though part of me can't shake the feeling it's a cop out, like buying Greatest Hits albums. But the fact is, I don't subscribe to all of these primary sources, and even though many of these articles are available online, I really appreciate having someone knowledgeable sort out the most worthy.

MY votes for the most worthy of this collection:
-Plastic Ocean by Susan Casey. If you only read one piece from the book, read this one. A horrifying and sobering look at what plastic
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Gabriel C.
Feb 29, 2016 Gabriel C. rated it liked it
Some of these were incredibly entertaining, like the one about the ornithologist gentleman thief. Some of them were interesting and thrilling, like the one about lax security at uranium storage facilities in Russia. Most of them were surprisingly dated, occurring as they did before Obama, the iphone, or the opening of the LHC. I think that was the thing I liked best about this book, treating it like a historical document that revealed what things were new or undiscussed enough to be published in ...more
Jenni
May 20, 2008 Jenni rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the majority of these "stories" (and it's worth noting that most of these pieces read like stories). More so than with the 2006 edition, some of the editor's choices didn't move me to learn more about the subject. I'm still game for the 2008 edition, though.

Favorites:
- Plastic Ocean by Susan Casey (a must read for anyone interested in how human consumption affects the environment, which in turn affects human health)
- How to Get a Nuclear Bomb by William Langewiesche
- The Nature of Vio
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Jes
Jan 18, 2008 Jes rated it really liked it
An amazing variety of ideas related to science and nature all in one book.

The one page essay about a fisher was one of my favorites. To the point.

The Final Frontier by John Horgan makes you think about science.

The article, Plastic Ocean, by Susan Casey is eye opening. as is The Rape of Appalachia by Michael Shnayerson.

A few dull articles, like the one about the guy who practiced bad archeology to help Hitler out...not a guy I want to hear about indepth. On the other hand, the article, Ruffled
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Billie Pritchett
This is always fun for me to read, and I want to read every year's Best American Science and Nature Writing volume. This volume, though, was too niche-oriented for my taste. Of course, that was the goal of this volume's editor: to examine people and topics in situations where people are passionate about their topics. The editor satisfied that goal, then. I prefer, I think, more when this series takes a big-picture approach to science in a year's span. Some of the better pieces were, for example, ...more
Jessica
Sep 13, 2009 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Enjoy stores about: diving beneath Rome, an ocean of plastic, lemur obsessions, rabbits on Mars, fishing for fishers, dinosaur blood cells, the science behind the hardboiled egg, life behind the OED, the (possible) death of science, nuclear bombs 101, the queer king of the jungle, the exploration of violence in nature, germs in your belly, anthropological DNA, what your corpse says about you, Nazi lies and anthropology, Video Game Theatre, "be very quiet - I'm hunting the flu virus," monkeys lov ...more
Vince Darcangelo
Faves:

Susan Casey, "Plastic Ocean"
Patricia Gadsby, "Cooking for Eggheads"
James Gleick, "Cyber-Neologoliferation"
William Langewiesche, "How to Get a Nuclear Bomb"
Jeffrey A. Lockwood, "The Nature of Violence"
Michael Perry, "Health Secrets from the Morgue"
Jonathan Rauch, "Sex, Lies and Video Games"
Robert M. Sapolsky, "The Olfactory Lives of Primates"
Meredith F. Small, "First Soldier of the Gene Wars"
Steve
May 16, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it
A couple of articles in this are really excellent--compelling reading and important information. (Those are Susan Casey's "Plastic Ocean" and Michael Shnayerson's "Rape of Appalachia," both also online.) Many other articles are fascinating and enlightening. Most are at least interesting.

Totally worthwhile.
Melanie
Sep 17, 2008 Melanie rated it it was amazing
If you're fascinated by the wonders and curiosities of science and nature, then this book is for you. This annual anthology is full of short stories on a wide variety of topics. They are well-written and a pleasure to read. I always learn something from these books--and they leave me wanting to learn more.
Cooper
May 18, 2008 Cooper rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of some great articles. I like it because I don't have to spend my time reading all those weekly periodicals, but I still get some great articles. And it gives you all sorts of interesting tidbits to think about. I'm a big fan and look forward to reading this year's edition.
Todd
Aug 01, 2012 Todd rated it liked it
Biology sure is getting exciting these days! Also learned about advances in food science, artificial intelligence, ornithological fraud, how we are poisoning ourselves with plastics, and lots of other stuff. Good to keep up to date.
Richard
Jan 21, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it
Like the Best Travel Writing series, I read these every year. There's always a one or more 'gems' and the majority of the selections are well written and informative. "The Rape of Appalacia", "Dinosaur Shocker!", and "How to Get a Nuclear Bomb" were very good.
Ron
Nov 18, 2008 Ron rated it really liked it
Some very very good articles and some very good articles. Really enjoyed the essay's "Dinosaur Shocker", "Notes on the Space We Take" and "DNA Is Not Destiny". Also found the articles "Plastic Ocean" and "The Rape of Appalachia" as disturbing as they were informative.
Joe
Jun 05, 2011 Joe rated it it was amazing
I love this series! There are so many great pieces in this volume, as every year; ornithological dishonesty, strategies to tackle climate change, genome wrangling, stupid creationists... Something for everyone :)
John
May 20, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
A great collection of interesting articles, ranging from archeology to genetics. I've become a fan of the annual "best" series published by Houghton Mifflin. I think I'll try best travel writing next.
Dan
Jan 21, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it
I love this series of books. This one was particularly good. If you pick it up and have only time to read one piece, read the last one about epigenetics. I guarantee you will learn something you never knew before, and it's kind of hopeful and scary at the same time.
Jrobertus
Jun 29, 2008 Jrobertus rated it really liked it
The editor has compiled a number of interesting articles for this years collection. I found the section on epigenetics to be particularly useful, as I believe this new field will radically alter the nature/nurture debate. All the articles were interesting, really.
Grant
May 28, 2011 Grant rated it it was ok
I found it disappointing compared to the rest of the series which often dealt more with physics and mathematics.
Jeffrey
Mar 11, 2009 Jeffrey rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Interesting but nothing really knocked my socks off. A worthwhile read but don't expect anything revelatory...
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Just keeping up with the periodicals I don't have time (or subscriptions) to read throughout the year.
Audrey
Oct 31, 2007 Audrey rated it it was amazing
As always with these collections, there are some excellent articles and one or two that I skip over.

SO. MANY. TYPOS. drive me crazy. but not worth demoting from 5 stars.
Justin
Aug 10, 2008 Justin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Really hit or miss, but I enjoyed it, overall.

My favorites were:
Plastic Ocean
Cooking for Eggheads
The Effeminate Sheep
Sex, Lies, and Video Games
Notes on the Space We Take
DNA Is Not Destiny
Becky C. Hennessy
Oct 14, 2008 Becky C. Hennessy rated it it was amazing
The Best American Series (I read Science and Nature, and Essays) are always good to have on hand. A well-packaged series that showcases the very best in any given writing genre.
Susan
Apr 05, 2008 Susan added it
The section on plastics alone is worth the price of admission for this book.
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  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008
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Richard Preston is a journalist and nonfiction writer.

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Other Books in the Series

Best American Science and Nature Writing (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2001
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2002
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2003
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2005
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010

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