What We Are Reading Today: Supertall

What We Are Reading Today: Supertall
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Updated 16 April 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Supertall

What We Are Reading Today: Supertall

Author: Stefan Al

Cities around the world are racing to build the first mile-high building, stretching the limits of engineering and design as never before.
In this fascinating work of urban history and design, Stefan Al — himself an experienced architect — explores the factors that have led to this worldwide boom.
He reveals the marvelous and underappreciated feats of engineering that make today’s supertalls a reality, from double-decker elevators that silently move up to 50 miles per hour to the sophisticated blend of polymers and steel fibers that enables concrete to withstand 8,000 tons of pressure per square meter.
Focusing on four global cities — London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore — Al examines the risks of wealth inequality, carbon emissions, and contagion that stem from supertalls.
And he uncovers the latest innovations in sustainable building, from skyscrapers made of wood to tree-covered buildings, that promise to yield a better urban future. Featuring more than 30 architectural drawings, Supertall is both a fascinating exploration of our greatest accomplishments and a powerful argument for a more equitable way forward.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Stochastic Thermodynamics

What We Are Reading Today: Stochastic Thermodynamics
Updated 27 June 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Stochastic Thermodynamics

What We Are Reading Today: Stochastic Thermodynamics

Authors: Luca Peliti and Simone Pigolotti

Stochastic thermodynamics is a well-defined subfield of statistical physics that aims to interpret thermodynamic concepts for systems ranging in size from a few to hundreds of nanometers, the behavior of which is inherently random due to thermal fluctuations.

This growing field therefore describes the non equilibrium dynamics of small systems, such as artificial nano devices and biological molecular machines, which are of increasing scientific and technological relevance.

This textbook provides an up-to-date pedagogical introduction to stochastic thermodynamics, guiding readers from basic concepts in statistical physics, probability theory, and thermodynamics to the most recent developments in the field.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales

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Updated 26 June 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales

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Author: June Zhang

The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales brings together 42 magical Chinese tales, most appearing for the first time in English.
These stories have been carefully selected from
more than a thousand originally published in the early 20th century under the pseudonyms Lin Lan and Lady Lin Lan—previously unknown in the West, and now acclaimed as the Brothers Grimm of China.
The birth of the tales began in 1924, when one author, Li Xiaofeng, published a set of literary stories under the Lin Lan pen name, an alias that would eventually be shared by an editorial team. Together, this group gathered fairy tales from rural regions across China.


What We Are Reading Today: Cults

What We Are Reading Today: Cults
Updated 25 June 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Cults

What We Are Reading Today: Cults

Author: Max Cutler

Max Cutler’s Cults looks closely at the lives of some of the most disreputable cult figures and tell the stories of their rise to power and fall from grace, sanity, and decency.
It is a study of humanity, an unflinching look at what happens when the most vulnerable recesses of the mind are manipulated and how the things we hold most sacred can be twisted into the lowest form of malevolence.
Cults prey on the very attributes that make us human: Our desire to belong; to find a deeper meaning in life; to live everyday with divine purpose.
Perhaps it’s this mindset that keeps us so utterly obsessed to learn more of the mechanics that make these infamous groups tick.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Dreams of a Lifetime

What We Are Reading Today: Dreams of a Lifetime
Updated 24 June 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Dreams of a Lifetime

What We Are Reading Today: Dreams of a Lifetime

Authors: Karen A. Cerulo and Janet M. Ruane

Most of us understand that a person’s place in society can close doors to opportunity, but anything is possible when we dream about what might be, or so we think.

Dreams of a Lifetime reveals that what and how we dream — and whether we believe our dreams can actually come true — are tied to our social class, gender, race, age, and life events.

Karen Cerulo and Janet Ruane argue that our social location shapes the seemingly private and unique life of our minds.

We are all free to dream about possibilities, but not all dreamers are equal. Cerulo and Ruane show how our social position ingrains itself on our mind’s eye, quietly influencing the nature of our dreams, whether we embrace dreaming or dream at all, and whether we believe that our dreams, from the attainable to the improbable, can become realities.


What We Are Reading Today: The Sky Is for Everyone

What We Are Reading Today: The Sky Is for Everyone
Updated 22 June 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Sky Is for Everyone

What We Are Reading Today: The Sky Is for Everyone

Authors: Virginia Trimble and David A. Weintraub

The Sky Is for Everyone is an internationally diverse collection of autobiographical essays by women who broke down barriers and changed the face of modern astronomy.

Virginia Trimble and David Weintraub vividly describe how, before 1900, a woman who wanted to study the stars had to have a father, brother, or husband to provide entry, and how the considerable intellectual skills of women astronomers were still not enough to enable them to pry open doors of opportunity for much of the 20th century.

After decades of difficult struggles, women are closer to equality in astronomy than ever before.