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Tag: science

Thor Hanson

In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid (Basic), beloved natural historian and biologist Thor Hanson — author of Buzz, The Triumph of Seeds, and Feathers — tells the remarkable story of how plants and animals are responding to climate change: adjusting, evolving, and sometimes dying out. Anole lizards have grown larger toe pads, to grip more tightly in frequent hurricanes. Warm waters have caused the development of Humboldt squid to alter so dramatically that fishermen mistake them for different species. Brown pelicans move north, and long-spined sea urchins south, to find cooler homes. And when coral reefs sicken, they leave no territory worth fighting for, so aggressive butterfly fish transform instantly into pacifists. A story of hope, resilience, and risk, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid is natural…

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Leigh Cowart in Conversation With Jess Zimmerman

Masochism is sexy, human, reviled, worshipped, and can be delightfully bizarre. Deliberate and consensual pain has been with us for millennia, encompassing everyone from Black Plague flagellants to ballerinas dancing on broken bones to competitive eaters choking down hot peppers while they cry. Masochism is a part of us. It lives inside workaholics, tattoo enthusiasts, and all manner of garden variety pain-seekers. At its core, masochism is about feeling bad, then better — a phenomenon that is long overdue for a heartfelt and hilarious investigation. And Leigh Cowart would know: they are not just a researcher and science writer — they’re an inveterate, high-sensation-seeking masochist. And they have a few questions: Why do people engage in masochism? What are the benefits and the costs? And…

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Suzanne Simard in Conversation With Aaron Scott

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. Now, in her first book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (Knopf), the world’s leading forest ecologist brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths — that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through…

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Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku, renowned theoretical physicist and New York Times bestselling author of Hyperspace and The Future of Humanity, tells the story of the greatest quest in all of science. When Newton discovered the laws of motion and gravity, he unified the rules of heaven and earth. From then on, physicists have been discovering new forces and incorporating them into ever-greater theories. But the major breakthroughs of the 20th century — relativity and quantum mechanics — are incompatible, and so since then, physicists have been endeavoring to combine these two theories. This would ultimately tie all the forces in the universe together into one beautiful equation that can unlock the deepest mysteries of space and time. That epic journey is the story of Kaku’s new book,…

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Jonathan Meiburg in Conversation With Michael Azerrad

In 1833, Charles Darwin was astonished by an animal he met in the Falkland Islands: handsome, social, and oddly crow-like falcons that were “tame and inquisitive… quarrelsome and passionate,” and so insatiably curious that they stole hats, compasses, and other valuables from the crew of the Beagle. Darwin wondered why these birds were confined to remote islands at the tip of South America, sensing a larger story, but he set this mystery aside and never returned to it. Almost 200 years later, Jonathan Meiburg takes up this chase. He takes us through South America, from the fog-bound coasts of Tierra del Fuego to the tropical forests of Guyana, in search of these birds: striated caracaras, which still exist, though they’re very rare. He reveals the…

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Brian David Johnson in Conversation With Cory Doctorow

If you’re like most people, thinking about tomorrow makes you anxious. You may have dreams of what you want to do or where you want to be in the next few months, years, or decade, but you’re fearful because you don’t know what may await. Unfortunately, this apprehension affects how you make decisions today — the kind of decisions that will impact your life tomorrow. Acclaimed futurist Brian David Johnson has spent a quarter century helping governments, Fortune 500 corporations, and other organizations chart successful paths forward by showing them what the world will soon look like. Now, he uses his prognosticator’s skill to help you be your best self — to help you see the future, and your place in it, in a new…

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Kale Williams in Conversation With Jon Mooallem

Six days after giving birth, a polar bear named Aurora got up and left her den at the Columbus Zoo, leaving her tiny, squealing cub to fend for herself. Hours later, Aurora still hadn’t returned. The cub was furless and blind, and with her temperature dropping dangerously, the zookeepers entrusted with her care felt they had no choice: They would have to raise one of the most dangerous predators in the world themselves, by hand. Over the next few weeks, a group of veterinarians and zookeepers would work around the clock to save the cub, whom they called Nora. Humans rarely get as close to a polar bear as Nora’s keepers got with their fuzzy charge. But the two species have long been intertwined. Three…

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Chanda Prescod-Weinstein in Conversation With Elissa Washuta

From a star theoretical physicist comes a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science. In The Disordered Cosmos (Bold Type Books), Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter — all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek. One of the leading physicists of her generation, Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than 100 Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in…

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ARMCHAIR ADVENTUERE SERIES: NANSEN OF THE NORTH

Nansen of the North is the story of Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, and humanitarian. Nansen’s story caught the imagination of Portland Story Theater co-founder and creator of the Armchair Adventurer series, Lawrence Howard. For the first time, Lawrence is telling an epic tale of the Arctic. A captivating performer, Howard holds audiences spellbound and has been called “the Homer of Portland” and “the master of nonfiction on the stage.” Nansen of the North is the seventh installment of his highly successful Armchair Adventurer series. Click here to learn more about Portland Story Theater and Lawrence Howard. Parking​ We encourage patrons to use public transportation or ride-sharing services. Our 50 space parking lot is open on a first-come, first-served, basis and limited street parking is available on SW 89th & 90th Avenues. Accessibility ​Nordia House…

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Michelle Nijhuis in Conversation With Elena Passarello

In the late 19th century, as humans came to realize that our rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving other animal species to extinction, a movement to protect and conserve them was born. In Beloved Beasts (W. W. Norton), acclaimed science journalist Michelle Nijhuis traces the movement’s history: from early battles to save charismatic species such as the American bison and bald eagle to today’s global effort to defend life on a larger scale. Nijhuis describes the vital role of scientists and activists such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, as well as lesser-known figures in conservation history; she reveals the origins of vital organizations like the Audubon Society and the World Wildlife Fund; she explores current efforts to protect species such as the whooping…

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