By Carl Zimmer
Viruses are the smallest dwelling issues recognized to technology, but they carry the complete planet of their sway. we're so much conversant in the viruses that provide us colds or the flu, yet viruses additionally reason an enormous variety of alternative ailments, together with one affliction that makes humans sprout branch-like growths as though they have been timber. Viruses were part of our lives for therefore lengthy, actually, that we are literally half virus: the human genome includes extra DNA from viruses than our personal genes. in the meantime, scientists are learning viruses in all places they give the impression of being: within the soil, within the ocean, even in caves miles underground.
This interesting e-book explores the hidden international of viruses—a international that all of us inhabit. the following Carl Zimmer, well known technological know-how author and writer of Discover magazine’s award-winning web publication The Loom, offers the most recent study on how viruses carry sway over our lives and our biosphere, how viruses helped provide upward thrust to the 1st life-forms, how viruses are generating new ailments, how we will harness viruses for our personal ends, and the way viruses will proceed to manage our destiny for future years. during this eye-opening travel of the frontiers of biology, the place scientists are increasing our realizing of existence as we all know it, we examine that a few remedies for the typical chilly do extra damage than stable; that the world’s oceans are domestic to an stunning variety of viruses; and that the evolution of HIV is now in overdrive, spawning extra mutated traces than we care to imagine.
The New York occasions publication Review calls Carl Zimmer “as high quality a technology essayist as we have.” A Planet of Viruses is certain to delight his many fanatics and extra improve his attractiveness as considered one of America’s most useful and popular technology journalists.
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Extra info for A Planet of Viruses
The impact of this new perspective is comparable to other historical shifts in human thinking caused by dramatic changes in viewpoint. When explorers who followed Columbus brought home the startling news that there was a whole new continent sharing the planet with the Europeans, it contributed to a reawakening of the European mind, a burgeoning sense of the world's bigness and possibility. Likewise, when Copernicus shifted the earth from the center of the solar system, he effectively moved heaven and earth.
Always, as Mircea Eliade has so vividly described, the so-called "primitive" cultures arrange the world into a harmony of human and natural and supernatural. 1 All parts of existence are linked into a sacred pattern: the rules and mores of the tribe, the right way to grow or gather food, the identity of the sexes, the plants and animals, the earth and stars, the origins of things. And always the essential mysteriesthe strangeness of nature, the inexplicability of life and death, the relation of dream and realityare tamed by their containment within a sense of meaning, a cosmos.
This may be a historical exerciseevery idea has a genealogy of some kind. Or it may be contemporary: when ideas are derived from science, they may have fairly clear points of recent origin. Origins can be illuminating, but they don't tell all. They don't reveal why or where an idea is picked up from its hiding place in a scientific treatise or a forgotten philosophical controversy, and catapulted into public awareness. For this, one must turn to certain widely read or widely influential writings, seminal works that present the idea in a new, appealing, and relevant way, often in response to a particular public crisis.
A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer