Download Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan PDF

By William Bryant Logan

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to existence this fastest, such a lot maintaining, so much communicative component of the earth.

Air sustains the residing. each creature breathes to stay, changing and altering the ambience. Water and dirt spin and upward thrust, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part one million micro organism trip in a sq. foot of summer time air. The chemical feel of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s knowledge of its mother’s breast―all ensue within the medium of air.

lack of information of the air is dear. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. hundreds of thousands have been sickened after September 11 by means of supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partially simply because we fill the air with commercial dusts. With the passionate narrative variety and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature enthusiasts and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne airborne dirt and dust that Darwin gathered aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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Extra resources for Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

Sample text

Air that is hotter rises, and as it does, it flows north toward the cooler regions. As the warm air heads north, it cools. The rising air near the equator lowers the pressure beneath it at the planet’s surface. The colder air from the poles is denser and so under greater pressure. The cold dense air flows south along the surface, warming as it goes. Warm air heads north aloft and cools. Cool air heads south beneath and warms. This is the fundamental movement of the dance, but because the planet spins as this exchange occurs, the air is deflected west or east, according to where it is on the face of the globe.

Jesse Roman and Dr. Robert Powell, both prominent pulmonologists in Louisville, Kentucky, helped me to understand respiratory disease as it relates to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. I met both men at the wonderful Sacred Air Festival, organized as the latest in their annual Festivals of Faiths, by Christy and Owsley Brown. University of Washington astronomer Donald Brownlee—an important contributor to my favorite book, Global Biogeochemical Systems—helped me understand the different atmospheres on Earth, Venus, and Mars.

When that dust shifts north and reaches the Caribbean instead of the Amazon, it is the ultimate source of the island soils themselves. Based on formations of calcium carbonate, the islands have only a few of the resources needed for productive soils. The establishment of plant life and the encroachment of the oceans slowly bring organic matter and minerals necessary for a soil, but the main provider of clay minerals and of phosphorus are windborne dusts. Without these dusts, the islands would not have had enough clay for the native peoples to make pottery.

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