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Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

por Annalee Newitz

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3361759,879 (3.28)6
"In its 4.5 billion-year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?"--Dust jacket flap.… (mais)
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    Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 por Michio Kaku (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Both books take a survey of cutting edge science & technology in various fields and extrapolate on how these advancements might effect life in the future.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 17 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I don't often abandon books with this density of data but the opinions the author uses to interpret the facts just made me keep questioning the information so I gave up. Also, telling us the whole plot of your favourite scifi books in the middle of your book about extinction is just weird. I gave it a try - about 2/3rds of it - but moving on. Not recommended. ( )
  rickycatto | Sep 9, 2020 |
I picked this up in heavy anticipation because I've already read two of her SF novels. I thought to myself, HEY! We're going to get some cool speculation and have it backed up by science... right?

Ah, well, a bit. At the end.

Instead, we mainly focus on well-established extinction events from the past, a slightly optimistic, slightly rose-tinted outlook at life on geological scales, and the basic insistence that extinction happens over a great scale of time. Colony collapses are recoverable, mostly, over the long-run. Roger. That's pretty much standard science, but it has been used to argue both sides of the pessimistic fence in many different venues. I simplify, but let me be honest: these subjects are handled with more detail and slightly better writing in places such as [b:The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History|17910054|The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History|Elizabeth Kolbert|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1372677697l/17910054._SY75_.jpg|25095506] and Yuval Noah Harari's [b:of Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari: An Unofficial Summary and Analysis|27972572|of Sapiens A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari An Unofficial Summary and Analysis|SpeedReader Summaries|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1448513819l/27972572._SY75_.jpg|47976637] and [b:Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow|31138556|Homo Deus A History of Tomorrow|Yuval Noah Harari|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1468760805l/31138556._SY75_.jpg|45087110]. There are quite a few books that have a slightly more comprehensive optimistic outlook to offset the more alarmist (such as Sixth Extinction.)

I can understand why so much of this particular book needed to ground itself in past collapses in order to set the stage for coping strategies, but how it worked out here was kinda strange. Most were background stuff with old-hat science and the rest was just a small taste of the truly juicy bits.

If I was a little more cussed about it, I'd recommend reading Cixin Liu's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, starting with [b:The Three-Body Problem|20518872|The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1)|Liu Cixin|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1415428227l/20518872._SY75_.jpg|25696480] for some really juicy survival mechanisms. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This was an impulse buy at the bookstore. The title and blurb promised me exactly the sort of book I was looking for at that moment: an optimistic account of how humanity will realize its destiny as starseed. This book didn't exactly deliver on that, but it did deliver a fair amount of interesting information along the way.

The book is divided into five parts, but thematically, I think it's really three: 1) A history of mass-extinctions and crisis points. 2) Stories of how life itself, and later, humanity, survived these bottlenecks and crises. 3) Science and developments happening right now that may help us through our current age of extinction and global warming.

Some of Newitz's choices never seem fully justified. The book seems to exist in a muddled grey space between "my personal journey from despair to hope over the ultimate fate of humanity" and "an academic treatise on the possibilities of the continued existence of the human race." For instance, as an example of the survival of a particular human culture through multiple crises, she uses the Jewish diaspora. Which may be fully legitimate, but an academic text would have either discussed more examples or made a better case for why we're discussing this one in particular rather than giving the feeling that this is the case we're discussing because Newitz is Jewish and she knew the most about this one.

Lest you think I'm just being Anti-Semetic, Newitz also promises to plumb the world of science fiction for ideas of how humanity will survive. But this exploration is limited solely to the works of Octavia Butler. Now, I love Octavia Butler. She is hands-down one of my favorite writers and I referenced her idea of Earthseed or starseed in the beginning of this review. But really, why only Butler? The choice is never explained.

So mostly, the parts of the book I most enjoyed were those describing current science that may lend to our survival and imagining the future. There was some great stuff on living buildings (seriously, some Slonczewski references would have been great here!), and interesting discussion of the still theoretical space elevator, and the rarely made acknowledgement that humans are continuously evolving, and that even without genetic engineering or uploading ourselves into computers, should we survive, the humans of a million years from now will look radically different.

So, this wasn't exactly the book I was looking for. But that book would probably have been agonizingly long. This book was still a step in the right direction. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
How humans will survive a mass extinction
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
A positive book. It covered low tech to high tech options for our survival. Is pretty current. ( )
  clmerle | Jul 22, 2017 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 17 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Newitz is a fantastic science writer for the general reader, and she doesn't forget to include some purely speculative and sci-fi-sounding options: living without bodies (the "singularity") or spreading out across the solar system.
 
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Utopian speculations . . . must come back into fashion.
They are a way of affirming faith in the possibility of solving
problems that seem at the moment insoluble. Today
even the survival of humanity is a utopian hope.

- Norman O. Brown, from Life Against Death
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Introduction: Are We All Going to Die?

Humanity is at a crossroads.
1: THE APOCALYPSE THAT BROUGHT US TO LIFE

If you think that humans are destroying the planet in a way that's historically unprecedented, you're suffering from a species-level delusion of grandeur. We're not even the first creatures to pollute the Earth so much that other creatures go extinct. Weirdly, it turns out that's a good thing.
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"In its 4.5 billion-year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?"--Dust jacket flap.

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