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The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things

by

The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A mesmerizing expedition around our dusty world. Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Hannah Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force; Dust, we discover, built the planet we walk upon. And it tinkers with the weather and spices the air we breathe. Billions of tons of it rise annually into the air — the dust of deserts and forgotten kings mixing with volcanic ash, sea salt, leaf fragments, scales from butterfly wings, shreds of T-shirts, and fireplace soot. Eventually, though, all this dust must settle.

The story of restless dust begins among exploding stars, then treks through the dinosaur beds of the Gobi Desert, drills into Antarctic glaciers, filters living dusts from the wind, and probes the dark underbelly of the living-room couch. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters — the scientists who study dust. Some investigate its dark side: how it killed off dinosaurs and how its industrial descendents are killing us today. Others sample the shower of Saharan dust that nourishes Caribbean jungles, or venture into the microscopic jungle of the bedroom carpet. Like The Secret Life of Dust, however, all of them unveil the mayhem and magic wrought by little things.

Review:

"Dust. It's a blessing and a curse — and it gets the undivided, brightly humorous yet astute attention of Discovery Channel Online science writer Holmes....Holmes is a science writer to watch. Who ever thought dust could so shine?" Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"A gifted writer, Holmes turns a seemingly unremarkable substance into the stuff of a great story." Gregory Harris, BookPage

Review:

"It's an entertaining little book....After reading The Secret Life of Dust, the fluff in your vacuum cleaner will never look quite the same again". New Scientist

Review:

"Some readers may be turned off or sent on a wild cleaning frenzy by much of the information: 'you breathe about 700,000 of your own skin flakes each day,' for instance....While factoid set-pieces run the show here, Holmes's tours through the science behind them are lucid. Allergy sufferers and other interested parties will relish this book; others may prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of their particulate surroundings." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"To document the surprising powers of dust, Holmes has burrowed deep into a dozen disciplines, so turning a substance that we normally just sneeze at into a mysterious and fascinating force....[T]he same investigation that unravels dust's ancient riddles also delivers a big modern warning: human activity is making dust more lethal than ever before. The controversy over how to deal with this growing health threat will keep this book passing from hand to hand, ensuring that for all it has to teach about dust, this volume will collect none of it on the library shelf." Bryce Christensen, Booklist

Review:

"Can the ordinary subject of dust lead to discussions on planetary evolution, allergies, lung disease, dinosaurs, and pollution? Holmes...enthusiastically shows that it can, covering these areas and others in her enjoyable new book....Out to communicate straight facts and science, she considers technical points in language that is clear and comprehensible even for those lacking a science background....Strongly recommended for all popular science collections." Michael D. Cramer, Library Journal

Synopsis:

Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters--the scientists who study dust.

Synopsis:

Hannah Holmes A mesmerizing expedition around our dusty world

Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Hannah Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force; Dust, we discover, built the planet we walk upon. And it tinkers with the weather and spices the air we breathe. Billions of tons of it rise annually into the air--the dust of deserts and forgotten kings mixing with volcanic ash, sea salt, leaf fragments, scales from butterfly wings, shreds of T-shirts, and fireplace soot. Eventually, though, all this dust must settle.

The story of restless dust begins among exploding stars, then treks through the dinosaur beds of the Gobi Desert, drills into Antarctic glaciers, filters living dusts from the wind, and probes the dark underbelly of the living-room couch. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters--the scientists who study dust. Some investigate its dark side: how it killed off dinosaurs and how its industrial descendents are killing us today. Others sample the shower of Saharan dust that nourishes Caribbean jungles, or venture into the microscopic jungle of the bedroom carpet. Like The Secret Life of Dust, however, all of them unveil the mayhem and magic wrought by little things.

Hannah Holmes (Portland, ME) is a science and natural history writer for the Discovery Channel Online. Her freelance work has been widely published, appearing in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Escape. Her broadcast work has been featured on Living on Earth and the Discovery Channel Online's Science Live.

Synopsis:

"Nothing to sneeze at."–Time

Acclaim for The Secret Life of Dust

"You will never again look disparagingly upon dust. Hannah Holmes has written my favorite kind of book––one that takes a seemingly mundane subject and trumpets its significance in our lives not only on Earth, but in the Heavens."

–– Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson, Director, Hayden Planetarium and author of One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos

"A fascinating journey into the unseen flecks that underpin our world and those beyond."

–– Peter Tyson, author of The Eighth Continent

"Witty, interesting, and absolutely terrifying."

–– Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"An excellent work. Dust is small, but The Secret Life of Dust is a big, and fun, accomplishment."

–– Austin American-Statesman

"Few browsers will put science writer Hannah Holmes’ latest volume down without adding it to their to-be-read list."

–– Dallas Morning News

"Worth the price on its dust jacket. Holmes’ book belongs on your shelf, in a dusty nook between the works of Diane Ackerman and John McPhee."

–– Chicago Tribune

"It’s an entertaining little book. . . . After reading The Secret Life of Dust, the fluff in your vacuum cleaner will never look quite the same again."

–– New Scientist

"An unusual perspective on things we don’t notice."

–– The Sunday Times

"Hannah Holmes is a science writer to watch. Who ever thought dust could so shine?"

–– Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Hannah Holmes (Portland, ME) is a science and natural history writer for the Discovery Channel Online. Her freelance work has been widely published, appearing in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Escape. Her broadcast work has been featured on Living on Earth and the Discovery Channel Online's Science Live.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The World in a Grain of Dust 5
2 Life and Death among the Stars 14
3 A Light and Intriguing Rain of Space Dust 27
4 The (Deadly) Dust of Deserts 43
5 A Steady Upward Rain of Dust 59
6 Dust on the Wind Heeds No Borders 80
7 Did Dust Do In the Ice Age? 98
8 A Steady Downward Rain of Dust 118
9 A Few Unsavory Characters from the Neighborhood 140
10 Microscopic Monsters and Other Indoor Devils 164
11 Dust to Dust 193
Web Sites 205
Bibliography 211
Index 229

Product Details

ISBN:
9780471426356
Author:
Holmes, Hannah
Publisher:
Wiley (TP)
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Dust
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Subject:
General & Introductory Earth Sciences
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Print PDF
Series Volume:
107-292
Publication Date:
February 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.21 x 6.14 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Earth Sciences
Science and Mathematics » Physics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages John Wiley & Sons - English 9780471426356 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Dust. It's a blessing and a curse — and it gets the undivided, brightly humorous yet astute attention of Discovery Channel Online science writer Holmes....Holmes is a science writer to watch. Who ever thought dust could so shine?"
"Review" by , "A gifted writer, Holmes turns a seemingly unremarkable substance into the stuff of a great story."
"Review" by , "It's an entertaining little book....After reading The Secret Life of Dust, the fluff in your vacuum cleaner will never look quite the same again".
"Review" by , "Some readers may be turned off or sent on a wild cleaning frenzy by much of the information: 'you breathe about 700,000 of your own skin flakes each day,' for instance....While factoid set-pieces run the show here, Holmes's tours through the science behind them are lucid. Allergy sufferers and other interested parties will relish this book; others may prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of their particulate surroundings."
"Review" by , "To document the surprising powers of dust, Holmes has burrowed deep into a dozen disciplines, so turning a substance that we normally just sneeze at into a mysterious and fascinating force....[T]he same investigation that unravels dust's ancient riddles also delivers a big modern warning: human activity is making dust more lethal than ever before. The controversy over how to deal with this growing health threat will keep this book passing from hand to hand, ensuring that for all it has to teach about dust, this volume will collect none of it on the library shelf."
"Review" by , "Can the ordinary subject of dust lead to discussions on planetary evolution, allergies, lung disease, dinosaurs, and pollution? Holmes...enthusiastically shows that it can, covering these areas and others in her enjoyable new book....Out to communicate straight facts and science, she considers technical points in language that is clear and comprehensible even for those lacking a science background....Strongly recommended for all popular science collections."
"Synopsis" by , Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters--the scientists who study dust.
"Synopsis" by , Hannah Holmes A mesmerizing expedition around our dusty world

Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Hannah Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force; Dust, we discover, built the planet we walk upon. And it tinkers with the weather and spices the air we breathe. Billions of tons of it rise annually into the air--the dust of deserts and forgotten kings mixing with volcanic ash, sea salt, leaf fragments, scales from butterfly wings, shreds of T-shirts, and fireplace soot. Eventually, though, all this dust must settle.

The story of restless dust begins among exploding stars, then treks through the dinosaur beds of the Gobi Desert, drills into Antarctic glaciers, filters living dusts from the wind, and probes the dark underbelly of the living-room couch. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters--the scientists who study dust. Some investigate its dark side: how it killed off dinosaurs and how its industrial descendents are killing us today. Others sample the shower of Saharan dust that nourishes Caribbean jungles, or venture into the microscopic jungle of the bedroom carpet. Like The Secret Life of Dust, however, all of them unveil the mayhem and magic wrought by little things.

Hannah Holmes (Portland, ME) is a science and natural history writer for the Discovery Channel Online. Her freelance work has been widely published, appearing in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Escape. Her broadcast work has been featured on Living on Earth and the Discovery Channel Online's Science Live.

"Synopsis" by , "Nothing to sneeze at."–Time

Acclaim for The Secret Life of Dust

"You will never again look disparagingly upon dust. Hannah Holmes has written my favorite kind of book––one that takes a seemingly mundane subject and trumpets its significance in our lives not only on Earth, but in the Heavens."

–– Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson, Director, Hayden Planetarium and author of One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos

"A fascinating journey into the unseen flecks that underpin our world and those beyond."

–– Peter Tyson, author of The Eighth Continent

"Witty, interesting, and absolutely terrifying."

–– Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"An excellent work. Dust is small, but The Secret Life of Dust is a big, and fun, accomplishment."

–– Austin American-Statesman

"Few browsers will put science writer Hannah Holmes’ latest volume down without adding it to their to-be-read list."

–– Dallas Morning News

"Worth the price on its dust jacket. Holmes’ book belongs on your shelf, in a dusty nook between the works of Diane Ackerman and John McPhee."

–– Chicago Tribune

"It’s an entertaining little book. . . . After reading The Secret Life of Dust, the fluff in your vacuum cleaner will never look quite the same again."

–– New Scientist

"An unusual perspective on things we don’t notice."

–– The Sunday Times

"Hannah Holmes is a science writer to watch. Who ever thought dust could so shine?"

–– Kirkus Reviews

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