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The Agrarian Vision

Sustainability and Environmental Ethics

Paul Thompson

As industry and technology proliferate in modern society, sustainability has jumped to the forefront of contemporary political and environmental discussions. The balance between progress and the earth’s ability to provide for its inhabitants grows increasingly precarious as we attempt to achieve sustainable development. In The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics, Paul B. Thompson articulates a new agrarian philosophy, emphasizing the vital role of agrarianism in modern agricultural practices. Thompson, a highly regarded voice in environmental philosophy, unites concepts of agrarian philosophy, political theory, and environmental ethics to illustrate the importance of creating and maintaining environmentally conscious communities. Thompson describes the evolution of agrarian values in America, following the path blazed by Thomas Jefferson, John Steinbeck, and Wendell Berry. Providing a pragmatic approach to ecological responsibility and commitment, The Agrarian Vision is a significant, compelling argument for the practice of a reconfigured and expanded agrarianism in our efforts to support modern industrialized culture while also preserving the natural world.

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Agrarianism and the Good Society

Land, Culture, Conflict, and Hope

Eric Freyfogle

Every society expresses its fundamental values and hopes in the ways it inhabits its landscapes. In this literate and wide-ranging exploration, Eric T. Freyfogle raises difficult questions about America’s core values while illuminating the social origins of urban sprawl, dwindling wildlife habitats, and over-engineered rivers. These and other land-use crises, he contends, arise mostly because of cultural attitudes that made sense on the American frontier but now threaten the land’s ecological fabric. To support and sustain healthy communities, profound adjustments will be required. Freyfogle’s search leads him down unusual paths. He probes Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain for insights on the healing power of nature and tests the wisdom in Wendell Berry’s fiction. He challenges journalists writing about environmental issues to get beyond well-worn rhetoric and explain the true choices that Americans face. In an imaginary job advertisement, he issues a call for a national environmental leader, identifying the skills and knowledge required, taking note of cultural obstacles, and looking critically at supposed allies. Examining recent federal elections, he largely blames the conservation cause and its inattention to cultural issues for the diminished status of the environment as a decisive issue. Agrarianism and the Good Society identifies the social, historical, political, and cultural obstacles to humans’ harmony with nature and advocates a new orientation, one that begins with healthy land and that better reflects our utter dependence on it. In all, Agrarianism and the Good Society offers a critical yet hopeful guide for cultural change, essential for anyone interested in the benefits and creative possibilities of responsible land use.

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Agroterrorism

A Guide for First Responders

By Jason B. Moats

“In many cases, the communities most ill-prepared to deal with . . . terrorism incidents,” Jason B. Moats writes in the introduction to this book, “are the rural communities that provide . . . food and crops.” Having conducted training across the country for first responders in cities, small towns, and rural communities, Moats for the first time gathers here the knowledge gleaned from research and nearly twenty years’ experience in emergency services and emergency training. Whether used in the field or in the classroom, this manual is designed to help rural communities prepare for an act of agroterrorism. It explains why the U.S. agriculture industry is a target for terrorists and how farms and farming communities across the country are vulnerable. The author lists known biological and chemical agents and their effects, explains model systems for supporting emergency response efforts, and lays out proven plans for gathering personnel and other resources in an orderly, coordinated way. In Agroterrorism: A Guide for First Responders, Moats spells out who should do what and when, providing a critically needed path through the bureaucratic maze of state, national, and interagency homeland security directives. With this book, Moats empowers those on the front lines in rural America, those charged with the responsibility of handling emergency crises in agricultural communities. Armed with the information they need, emergency response agencies, emergency managers, public health professionals, veterinary and animal health practitioners, as well as farmers and producers, will be able to answer the questions: “Where do we start?” “What do we do?” “Who is going to do it?” and “How do we pay for it?” Closing with a complete training program that includes practical exercises formatted for easy use, Agroterrorism: A Guide for First Responders contains resources vital for America’s rural communities, emergency managers, and the agriculture sector that is so central to our national interest.  

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The Aha! Moment

A Scientist's Take on Creativity

David Jones

This book is about having ideas and—a much longer haul—making them work. David Jones, best known for his Daedalus column, tells many stories about creators and their creations, including his own fantastical-seeming contributions to mainstream science—such as unrideable bicycles and chemical gardens in space. His theory of creativity endows each of us with a Random-Ideas Generator, a Censor, and an Observer-Reasoner. Jones applies the theory to a wide range of weird scientific experiments that he has conducted for serious scientific papers, for challenging printed expositions, and for presentations to a TV audience. He even suggests new ones, not yet tried! Creativity is as essential to science as curiosity, physical intuition, and shrewd deduction from well-planned experiments. But, says Jones, ingenuity is very uncertain—even for the greatest inventors, about 80 percent of ideas fail. Jokiness can help, and so can lots of random data. Jones has copious clever advice that will help you have that madly brilliant private thought in the first place—and will encourage you to take it further! Neither dense nor demanding, The Aha! Moment is engrossing, edifying, and scientifically serious; yet it is lightly written, has many jokes, and asks lots of silly questions. As Jones shows, it can often pay to take an absurd idea seriously.

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Air Pollutant Deposition and Its Effects on Natural Resources in New York State

by Timothy J. Sullivan

Ecosystem effects from air pollution in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and elsewhere in New York have been substantial. Efforts to characterize and quantify these impacts, and to examine more recent recovery, have focused largely on surface waters, soils, and forests. Lakes, streams, and soils have acidified. Estuaries have become more eutrophic. Nutrient cycles have been disrupted. Mercury has bioaccumulated to toxic levels. Plant species composition has changed. Some surface waters show signs of partial chemical recovery in response to emissions control programs, but available data suggest that soil chemistry may continue to deteriorate under expected future emissions and deposition. Resource managers, policymakers, and scientists now need to know the extent to which current and projected future emissions reductions will lead to ecosystem recovery.

In this book, Timothy J. Sullivan provides a comprehensive synthesis of past, current, and potential future conditions regarding atmospheric sulfur, nitrogen oxides, ammonium, and mercury deposition; surface water chemistry; soil chemistry; forests; and aquatic biota in New York, providing much needed information to help set emissions reduction goals, evaluate incremental improvements, conduct cost/benefit analyses, and prioritize research needs. He draws upon a wealth of research conducted over the past thirty years that has categorized, quantified, and advanced understanding of ecosystem processes related to atmospheric deposition of strong acids, nutrients, and mercury and associated ecosystem effects. An important component of this volume is the new interest in the management and mitigation of ecosystem damage from air pollution stress, which builds on the "critical loads" approach pioneered in Europe and now gaining interest in the United States.

This book will inform scientists, resource managers, and policy analysts regarding the state of scientific knowledge on these complex topics and their policy relevance and will help to guide public policy assessment work in New York, the Northeast, and nationally.

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Airlines and Air Mail

The Post Office and the Birth of the Commercial Aviation Industry

F. Robert van der Linden

Conventional wisdom credits only entrepreneurs with the vision to create America's commercial airline industry and contends that it was not until Roosevelt's Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 that federal airline regulation began. In Airlines and Air Mail, F. Robert van der Linden persuasively argues that Progressive republican policies of Herbert Hoover actually fostered the growth of American commercial aviation. Air mail contracts provided a critical indirect subsidy and a solid financial foundation for this nascent industry. Postmaster General Walter F. Brown used these contracts as a carrot and a stick to ensure that the industry developed in the public interest while guaranteeing the survival of the pioneering companies. Bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, and politicians of all stripes are thoughtfully portrayed in this thorough chronicle of one of America's most resounding successes, the commercial aviation industry.

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Albert Meets America

How Journalists Treated Genius during Einstein's 1921 Travels

edited by J

In 1919, newspaper headlines said that a British expedition had confirmed Einstein's general theory of relativity. The news stirred the public imagination on both sides of the Atlantic and thrust the scientist into the spotlight of fame. Two years later, Chaim Weizmann led a fund-raising mission to the United States and invited Einstein to join it. The mission traveled to New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Hartford to campaign for public awareness and support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This brought Einstein within the grasp of the American media. His lectures delivered in New York, Princeton, and Chicago, and comments on the Jewish presence in Palestine, made Einstein, on his first trip to America, one of the first media stars. In Albert Meets America, József Illy presents a fascinating compilation of media stories of Einstein’s tour—which cover his science, his Zionism, and the anti-Semitism he encountered. As we travel with Einstein, from headline to headline, we experience his emotional connection with American Jews and his frustration at becoming world famous even though his theories were not truly understood. This exciting collection gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of one of the world’s first modern celebrities and a unique understanding of the media's power over both its subject and its audience.

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Aldo Leopold

His Life and Work

Curt D. Meine

This biography of Aldo Leopold follows him from his childhood as a precocious naturalist to his profoundly influential role in the development of conservation and modern environmentalism in the United States. This edition includes a new preface by author Curt Meine and an appreciation by acclaimed Kentucky writer and farmer Wendell Berry.

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Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism

Vol. 1 (2001) through current issue

Aleph is devoted to the exploration of the interface between Judaism and science in history. We welcome contributions on any chapter in the history of science in which Judaism played a significant role, or on any chapter in the history of Judaism in which science played a significant role. Science is conceived very broadly, including the social sciences and the humanities. History of science is also broadly construed within its social and cultural dimensions.

Aleph is a semi-annual, published jointly by the Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and by Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.

Please address all editorial correspondence to the editor, Dr. Gad Freudenthal: aleph.historical.studies@gmail.com.

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The Alewives' Tale

The Life History and Ecology of River Herring in the Northeast

Barbara Brennessel

While on vacation in 1980, biologist Barbara Brennessel and her family came across an amazing sight: hundreds of small silver fish migrating from the Atlantic Ocean, across a channel connecting two ponds in the town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod. She later learned that these tiny river herring were important for the ecology and economy of the region and that volunteers were counting fewer and fewer fish migrating each year. The Alewives’ Tale describes the plight of alewives and blueback herring, two fish species that have similar life histories and are difficult to distinguish by sight. Collectively referred to as river herring, they have been economically important since colonial times as food, fertilizer, and bait. In recent years they have attracted much attention from environmentalists, especially as attempts are being made, on and beyond Cape Cod, to restore the rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and estuaries that are crucial for their reproduction and survival. Brennessel provides an overview of the biology of the fish—from fertilized eggs to large schools of adults that migrate in the Atlantic Ocean—while describing the habitats at different stages of their life history. She explores the causes of the dramatic decline of river herring since the mid-twentieth century and the various efforts to restore these iconic fish to the historic populations that treated many onlookers to spectacular inland migrations each spring.

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