Subscribe
Subscribe
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
Logo IMG
HOME > SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND > Scientists' Nightstand Detail

NANOVIEW

Winter 2008 Roundup: Coffee-Table Books

David Schoonmaker, Catherine Clabby, Fenella Saunders, Morgan Ryan, Anna Lena Phillips, Flora Taylor

The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We Live, by Daniel Dorling, Mark Newman and Anna Barford
From%20%3Cem%3EAn%20Atlas%20of%20the%20Real%20World%3C/em%3E.Click to Enlarge Image

If ever there was a time when we needed to understand the world on a global scale, it is now. Opportunities and troubles beyond any one country’s borders are closer than ever before. Swelling human populations, ease of international travel and the Internet’s distance-shrinking powers guarantee that this will continue to be the case. So do environmental threats on a scale never before encountered.

The Atlas of the Real World (Thames & Hudson, 2008, $50) is a pictorial primer on the similarities and differences between the world’s regions. Rather than merely telling, it shows what distinguishes a given place in scores of categories: wealth, natural resources, exports, health, scientific research, book authorship and more. The authors—British- and U.S.-based researchers Daniel Dorling, Mark Newman and Anna Barford—have produced an abundance of cartograms: colorful maps that represent data by varying the sizes of their elements—in this case, world regions, including Central America, Southeast Asia, Central Africa and Europe. (Many samples of their approach can be viewed at no cost at www.worldmapper.org .)

It’s no surprise that when it comes to the export of toys, East Asia (which includes factory-rich China) balloons up to dominate much of the planet—or that in an adjacent panel, North America and Europe swell as large toy importers. The shapes of continents morph again when the topic is nuclear arsenals—the United States, Russia and Israel dwarf everyone else. In the cartogram showing the availability of sewerage systems, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg all come out on top. And another map reveals the huge proportion of the world’s prisoners jailed in the U.S.

Many categories of serious concern are covered here. But in a truly comprehensive “atlas,” more positive aspects of life in so-called developing countries would surely also be displayed: self-reliance skills, say, or artistic engagement or strength of family ties. Still, this book will improve your view of a planet that feels as though it grows smaller every day.—Catherine Clabby


comments powered by Disqus
 

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed

Sigma Xi/Amazon Smile (SciNight)


Latest Multimedia

Alvin Sub

Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.

Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.

To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia"!


Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

  • Sigma Xi SmartBrief:

    A free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.

  • American Scientist Update

  • An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, Science Observers and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.

  • Scientists' Nightstand

  • News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.

    To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.


EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Of Possible Interest

Book Review: Of a Feather

Book Review: Don't Try This at Home

Book Review: The Cheese Plate Stands Alone

Subscribe to American Scientist