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Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth
 
 

Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth [Kindle Edition]

James Lovelock
4.3 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen


"This may turn out to be one of the epochal insights of the 20th century."--CoEvolution Quarterly


"The most fascinating book that I have read for a long time....Both original and well-written."--New Scientist


"Places a daring hypothesis before the general reader....[His book] is the exciting and personal argument of an original thinker caught up in wonder."--Philip Morrison, Scientific American


"A book that I have read with immense pleasure."--Ren Dubos, Nature


Kurzbeschreibung

In this classic work that continues to inspire its many readers, Jim Lovelock puts forward his idea that life on earth functions as a single organism. Written for non-scientists, Gaia is a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of our planet. In contrast to conventional belief that living matter is passive in the face of threats to its existence, the book explores the hypothesis that the earth's living
matter air, ocean, and land surfaces forms a complex system that has the capacity to keep the Earth a fit place for life.

Since Gaia was first published, many of Jim Lovelock's predictions have come true and his theory has become a hotly argued topic in scientific circles. In a new Preface to this reissued title, he outlines his present state of the debate.

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4.3 von 5 Sternen
4.3 von 5 Sternen
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
James Lovelock has created a powerful and interesting argument in this book that will keep scientists busy for centuries. He notices that there is an ability for the Earth to maintain relatively constant conditions in temperature, atmosphere, salinity and pH of the oceans, and reductions in pollutants that defies the simple observations of what "should" happen. From this, he concludes that there is a complex of physical, chemical and biological interrelationships that work like a living organism, which he defines as the Gaia Hypothesis. For defining that concept and providing some of the measurements to establish its premises, he deserves a 7 star rating.
Unfortunately, the argument is expressed in overlong and convoluted fashion. He deliberately limits himself to a nonscientific explanation in this book. The scientific version of the argument is in The Ages of Gaia. Although the book is not long, it certainly could have been condensed into a longish article for Scientific American or The Atlantic Monthly. My second quibble is that the editor was nowhere in sight on the organization of the book. The key point is often buried in the third sentence of the last paragraph in a chapter. The argument in between wanders into all kinds of places where it doesn't need to go. For organization and editing, I give this book a one star rating.
So the average is a 4 star rating. The writing itself is pleasant enough. Don't let the lack of organization and editing put you off, for it is worth your while to read this book. It will remind you of the benefits of the sort of sytems thinking that Peter Senge talks about in The Fifth Discipline.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Convincing and exquisite 19. Januar 2010
Format:Taschenbuch
This excellent book presents the theory that life on Earth has not "only" adapted to the existing environment it found but has actively modified the changing conditions on Earth over billions of years (aeons) so that they are suitable for the necessities of the living.

Lovelock is not only a passionate scientist, who precisely argues all of his assumptions, but also a good writer. Although the book tells us about a scientific theory, it is not written in a complex way, nor with scientific rigour, so you can not expect a journal paper on the Gaian hypothesis but a literary book about the history of life in our planet. In this sense I see absolutely no problem in the fact that main ideas are not always at the beginning of a chapter.

Some basic physical and chemical knowledge is conveyed in the book, you should not think that it is possible to understand how a planet and life on it work without basic chemistry and physics concepts such as entropy and chemical equilibrium, but a bit of extra reading would do, I think (although I am a chemist, so all concepts were natural to me).

In my opinion, this is an eye-opening and very recommendable book for everyone minimally interested in the welfare of the Earth and the environment. Undoubtedly 5 stars.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen How to change your outlook 10. September 1997
Format:Taschenbuch
Although parts of the text are confusing and too deep for a mere mortal like myself, this book changed the whole way I look at the earth and my own role upon it, not to mention the part my species is taking. Reading and re-reading yields great rewards, the arguments, whether agreed with or not, are cogent and thought provoking, and will provide for many a night spent in those deep discussions with friends
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  26 Rezensionen
53 von 58 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting Hypothesis in Somewhat Convoluted Form 18. Mai 2000
Von Donald Mitchell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
James Lovelock has created a powerful and interesting argument in this book that will keep scientists busy for centuries. He notices that there is an ability for the Earth to maintain relatively constant conditions in temperature, atmosphere, salinity and pH of the oceans, and reductions in pollutants that defies the simple observations of what "should" happen. From this, he concludes that there is a complex of physical, chemical and biological interrelationships that work like a living organism, which he defines as the Gaia Hypothesis. For defining that concept and providing some of the measurements to establish its premises, he deserves a 7 star rating.
Unfortunately, the argument is expressed in overlong and convoluted fashion. He deliberately limits himself to a nonscientific explanation in this book. The scientific version of the argument is in The Ages of Gaia. Although the book is not long, it certainly could have been condensed into a longish article for Scientific American or The Atlantic Monthly. My second quibble is that the editor was nowhere in sight on the organization of the book. The key point is often buried in the third sentence of the last paragraph in a chapter. The argument in between wanders into all kinds of places where it doesn't need to go. For organization and editing, I give this book a one star rating.
So the average is a 4 star rating. The writing itself is pleasant enough. Don't let the lack of organization and editing put you off, for it is worth your while to read this book. It will remind you of the benefits of the sort of sytems thinking that Peter Senge talks about in The Fifth Discipline.
The other thing you will learn is the weakness of scientific work that fails to develop enough field data and to connect enough with other disciplines. I was struck by the same observations recently while visiting environmental scientists at the Smithsonian Institution. The basics in many of these areas have yet to be measured and evaluated. This book will point countless generations forward in understanding how our plant maintains its environment that permits life to flourish. Clearly, it is a stallbusting effort to replace "stalled" thinking about the history and future of the Earth. I found the key questions (such as why doesn't the ocean become more saline?) to be irresistible. I think you will, too. Enjoy and think!
29 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen How to change your outlook 10. September 1997
Von nina_poppy.staniford@virgin.net - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Although parts of the text are confusing and too deep for a mere mortal like myself, this book changed the whole way I look at the earth and my own role upon it, not to mention the part my species is taking. Reading and re-reading yields great rewards, the arguments, whether agreed with or not, are cogent and thought provoking, and will provide for many a night spent in those deep discussions with friends
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A Guide to Mother Earth 2. Januar 2005
Von Cybele - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth is an overall good read. J.E. Lovelock gives valuable insight into the Gaia theory and supports it with convincing evidence of a surprisingly large variety. Proving that the life in Earth's biosphere may sound like a dauntingly complex task, but this little book presents information in a way that even the less scientifically minded can understand; high school and college students everywhere will applaud the lack of a dictionary in this particular reading experience. The analogies used throughout the book are creative and sometimes odd, but help immensely with the reader's understanding of the subject.

The content of this book is fascinating and highly credible. Even better, the chapters are well organized for a comprehensible read. Lovelock, while mostly concerned with explaining the Gaia theory itself, also endeavors to address questions the contemporary reader would present, such as what processes are a part of Gaia, what effect pollution has on Gaia, and what human population Gaia can sustain. He also hypothesizes on how Gaia came to be, what could injure Gaia on a global scale, and how humans can harmonize with Gaia.

Though this little layman's guide is very interesting and well-written, this high school student thinks that going a bit more in-depth and focusing instances of conjecture more if possible, though these suggestions may well have been addressed since the 1989 version. I'm sure there is much more information and support for the Gaia theory since then, and the recent edition even has a spiffy new cover.

I give this book a three for the fluency with which it presents an obscure theory to the masses, and the convincing evidence actually used. There is, however, room for more information, and sometimes it is unclear what is conjecture, what is known fact, and where some speculations fall in between. If you have an interest in the Gaia theory or just want to find out more about how you and fit into the world, or how the world fits in with you, I recommend Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth for an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
20 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Imagine an organism as big as Earth! 8. Juni 2003
Von Philip Carl - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Reading Edward Wilson's "The Future of Life" served as the spark to pick up and read this book. And its true, good things do come in small packages. The book is all of 140 pages, and is written in a lean, but not glossed-over style. Robert Lovelock (to my knowledge) is the contemporary father of the study of the earth as a complete living system.
Lovelock readily admits that the book serves more to promote the dialog about our planet as a living, breathing whole and to share key discoveries that support his concept. (He states in the Preface that his follow-on book, "The Ages of Gaia" aims to build the scientific argument to the Gaia theory.)

By no means, does Lovelock detour around the science that supports his case. With the scope of the topic requiring knowledge of both physical and biological science, and the small number of pages, he manages to instruct and create a sense of awe in a short amount of time.
The 3 major principles he brings to light about Gaia are:
1. Gaia exhibits a tendency to keep conditions (e.g., temperature, air quality) constant for all terrestrial life.
2. Like other living systems, Gaia has vital organs at the core, and expandable or redundant ones on the periphery.
3. Under the worse conditions, Gaia responses similar to other cybernetic systems (i.e., where time constant and loop gain are important)
The material is far reaching in both its scope and in shaping our understanding of where we stand. Put in the context of Gaia, we have straddled ourselves to the largest of all known living and breathing creatures.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Gaia: A Libertarian Manifesto 29. April 2005
Von John G. Cottone - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
James Lovelock's book "Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth" reads like a libertarian manifesto. No doubt, many well-intentioned liberal environmentalists will be turned off by his laissez-faire approach to polution, as he believes that Gaia (the Earth-organism) can, and has handled much worse than our man-made pollution of the present day. Likewise, self-absorbed capitalists and fiscal conservatives may feel redeemed by some of Lovelock's claims, and may quote passages of this book to their liberal family members to score points in some future debate.

However, it would be wrong to interpret Lovelock as condoning pollution and the misdeeds of mankind. Lovelock instead implores us to participate in Gaia from a Taoist perspective, by learning to work with, rather than against the ways of the Earth. He believes (as do I) that we can only do this when we fully understand how the Earth has changed throughout history (including the environmental holocausts that the Earth has already endured), and how it presently changes to maintain a global homeostasis.

After reading this book I felt encouraged by the strength and mother Earth, and impressed by her ability to adapt to a wide range of near-cataclysmic events. My only critique of the book is that Lovelock sometimes makes certain leaps in his explanations, which at times left me (a lay scientist) confused as I was reading through them.
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Beliebte Markierungen

 (Was ist das?)
&quote;
According to the Gaia Hypothesis, we are parts of a greater whole. Our destiny is not dependent merely on what we do for ourselves but also on what we do for Gaia as a whole. If we endanger her, she will dispense with us in the interests of a higher valuelife itself. &quote;
Markiert von 4 Kindle-Nutzern
&quote;
A rough paraphrase might be that life is one of those processes which are found whenever there is an abundant flow of energy. &quote;
Markiert von 3 Kindle-Nutzern
&quote;
Bernal, Schroedinger, and Wigner all came to the same general conclusion, that life is a member of the class of phenomena which are open or continuous systems able to decrease their internal entropy at the expense of substances or free energy taken in from the environment and subsequently rejected in a degraded form. &quote;
Markiert von 3 Kindle-Nutzern

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