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Volume 96 | Number 2 | March-April 2008

An Urban Scientific Community

Anthony Grafton

A review of The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution, by Deborah Harkness. Harkness brings the scientific communities of 16th-century London "to quarrelsome, absorbing life," says Grafton

Nature's Awful Beauty

J. Scott Turner

A review of Built by Animals: The Natural History of Animal Architecture, by Mike Hansell. After surveying which animals build things and which do not, Hansell explores several interesting themes, including the role that appreciation of craft and beauty might have played in the evolution of these behaviors

The AIDS Industry in Africa

Robert L. Dorit

A review of The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS, by Helen Epstein. Epstein untangles the social, cultural, economic and political factors that have complicated efforts to combat the ferocious AIDS pandemic in Africa, providing insight into why large-scale foreign aid projects have so often failed

Bad Seeds

Robert J. Richards

A review of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend, by Barbara Oakley. Reviewed by Robert J. Richards. Oakley proposes that the component traits of the Machiavellian syndrome and borderline personality disorder derive from heritable pathologies of specific neural systems. Richards is skeptical

Semiconductor Real Estate

Brian Hayes

A review of Understanding Moore's Law: Four Decades of Innovation, edited by David C. Brock. This slim volume of essays by Moore and others commemorates the 40th anniversary of his observation that circuit density grows exponentially

Studying Big Science

Lillian Hoddeson

A review of Structures of Scientific COllaboration, by Wesley Shrum, Joel Genuth and Ivan Chompalov. The result of a project spanning nearly a decade, this book sums up what was learned by interviewing members of the various scientific teams that worked on 53 multi-institutional or computer-mediated collaborations in physics

Can't Get There from Here

Russell Greenberg

A review of No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations, by David S. Wilcove. The loosely organized stories in this book highlight the dramatic and emotional appeal of migrations in a variety of species worldwide, But how satisfying will it be to save all the migratory species from extinction, asks Greenberg, if the flow of migration nevertheless slows to a trickle?

Lessening the Impact of Disasters

Susan Cutter

A review of The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters, by Charles Perrow. An important source of vulnerability to disasters in the United States is that much of our critical infrastructure is concentrated in interdependent nodes, says Perrow

Short takes on three books

David Schneider, Anna Lena Phillips, Fenella Saunders

Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, and the End of the World, Transport Design: A Travel History and Skin: A Natural History


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