What We Are Reading Today: Breathless

What We Are Reading Today: Breathless
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Updated 04 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Breathless

What We Are Reading Today: Breathless

Author: David Quammen

Breathless is the story of SARS-CoV-2 and its fierce journey through the human population, as seen by the scientists who study its origin, its ever-changing nature, and its capacity to kill us.

Veteran science journalist David Quammen expertly shows how strange new viruses emerge from animals into humans as we disrupt wild ecosystems, and how those viruses adapt to their human hosts, sometimes causing global catastrophe.  He explains why this coronavirus will probably be a “forever virus,” destined to circulate among humans and bedevil us endlessly, in one variant form or another.

As scientists labor to catch it, comprehend it, and control it, with their high-tech tools and methods, the virus finds ways of escape.

In his compelling and terrifying new book, Quammen demonstrates just how much was known — and expected — by infectious disease scientists long before patrons of the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market fell ill in December 2019 with a pneumonia-like virus.

He focuses his informed attention on the unsung heroes who dare to wrestle with viruses, those strange entities he calls “the dark angels of evolution.”

 


What We Are Reading Today: Insectpedia: A Brief Compendium of Insect Lore

What We Are Reading Today: Insectpedia: A Brief  Compendium of Insect Lore
Updated 28 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Insectpedia: A Brief Compendium of Insect Lore

What We Are Reading Today: Insectpedia: A Brief  Compendium of Insect Lore

Author: Eric R. Eaton

Insectpedia introduces you to the wonders of the insect world while inviting you to make discoveries of your own.

Featuring dozens of entries on topics ranging from murder hornets and the “insect apocalypse” to pioneering entomologists such as Margaret James Strickland Collins and Douglas Tallamy, this beautifully illustrated, pocket-friendly encyclopedia dispels many common myths about insects while offering new perspectives on the vital relationships we share with these incredible creatures.


What We Are Reading Today: Scientific Parallel Computing

What We Are Reading Today: Scientific Parallel Computing
Updated 28 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Scientific Parallel Computing

What We Are Reading Today: Scientific Parallel Computing

Edited by Larkin Ridgway Scott, Terry Clark, And Babak Bagheri

What does Google’s management of billions of Web pages have in common with analysis of a genome with billions of nucleotides? Both apply methods that coordinate many processors to accomplish a single task.

From mining genomes to the World Wide Web, from modeling financial markets to global weather patterns, parallel computing enables computations that would otherwise be impractical if not impossible with sequential approaches alone.

Scientific Parallel Computing is the first textbook to integrate all the fundamentals of parallel computing in a single volume while also providing a basis for a deeper understanding of the subject.


What We Are Reading Today: Microfinance and Its Discontents by Lamia Karim

What We Are Reading Today: Microfinance and Its Discontents by Lamia Karim
Updated 26 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Microfinance and Its Discontents by Lamia Karim

What We Are Reading Today: Microfinance and Its Discontents by Lamia Karim

In 2006, the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh won the Nobel Peace Prize for its innovative microfinancing operations.

This path-breaking study of gender, grassroots globalization, and neoliberalism in Bangladesh look critically at the Grameen Bank and three of the leading NGOs in the country.

Amid euphoria over the benefits of microfinance, Lamia Karim offers a timely and sobering perspective on the practical, and possibly detrimental, realities for poor women inducted into microfinance operations.

In a series of ethnographic cases, Karim shows how NGOs use social codes of honor and shame to shape the conduct of women and to further an agenda of capitalist expansion, according to a review on goodreads.com

These unwritten policies subordinate poor women to multiple levels of debt that often lead to increased violence at the household and community levels, thereby weakening women’s ability to resist the onslaught of market forces.


What We Are Reading Today: Tracers in the Dark

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Updated 26 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Tracers in the Dark

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Author: Andy Greenberg

This is a great book from an amazing technology journalist — specifically covering the tools and procedures used to trace cryptocurrency transactions (e.g. bitcoin) for law enforcement purposes.
With unprecedented access to the major players in federal law enforcement and private industry, veteran cybersecurity reporter Andy Greenberg tells an astonishing saga of criminal empires built and destroyed.
Greenberg is an award-winning senior writer for Wired, covering security, privacy, information freedom, and hacker culture.
While there are countless cryptocurrencies, the book focuses on the most famous one, bitcoin. The book focuses on the mechanics of crypto, and while it has revolutionized financial services, it has spawned a massive opportunity for illicit activities.
“His previous book Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers, reads like this one. Stories that sound like they are out
of a Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum novel, but are very nonfiction, and reflect a more significant problem facing society,” said a review on goodreads.com.

The story Greenberg tells so well encompasses a mixture of technology, international law enforcement, financial forensics, greed, and more.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Neuropedia: A Brief Compendium of Brain Phenomena

What We Are Reading Today: Neuropedia: A Brief Compendium of Brain Phenomena
Updated 24 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Neuropedia: A Brief Compendium of Brain Phenomena

What We Are Reading Today: Neuropedia: A Brief Compendium of Brain Phenomena

Author: Eric H. Chudler

Neuropedia journeys into the mysteries and marvels of the three pounds of tissue between your ears—the brain.

Eric Chudler takes you on a breathtaking tour of the nervous system with dozens of entries that explore the structure and function of the brain and cover topics such as the spinal cord and nerve cells, the methods of neuroscientific research, and the visionary scientists who have dedicated their lives to understanding what makes each of us who we are.

The brain has fascinated and puzzled researchers, physicians, and philosophers for thousands of years and captivated us with each new discovery.