Ed. Bilger, Burkhard; Wilson, Edward O.
Date finished: 2002-01-03
A collection of lively pieces, heavier on the nature aspect than on the science, probably because guest editor Wilson is a biologist. This is the major flaw of the collection, really; there's only one essay each on math and physics (neither one very notable), Bill Joy's ruminations on the dangers of our current technology, none at all on chemistry, and 15 or so on biology. Most of the pieces are fine choices, with only a few disappointments. Ones I especially liked: Oliver Morton's "Ice Station Vostok", on the controversy about whether to explore the pristine ice lake Vostok, 2.5 miles below the Antarctic ice; Gregg Easterbrook's analysis of what scientific evidence says for the US debate over late-term abortions; Richard Preston's New Yorker profile of Craig Venter; and Bill Joy's essay "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us", a thought-provoking essay that's difficult to dismiss. Only two pieces were dull, Val Plumwood's "Being Prey" that somehow manages to take an account of being attacked by a saltwater crocodile and make it really boring (the only essay where I started skimming) and David Berlinski's pretentious yet utterly trivial piece on algorithms.
%T The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2001 %@ 2002-01-03 %E Bilger, Burkhard %E Wilson, Edward O. %G ISBN 0618153594 %K essays