The latest anthology of the finest science writing to be published in 2001 is edited by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and features an ecclectic array of works by notable authors--including Malcolm Gladwell, Joy Williams, Barbara Ehrenreich, an Dennis Overbye--on everything from the latest advances in medical research to the wonders of the natural world.
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: This year's Best American Science and Nature Writing is another "ecclectic, provocative collection" (Entertainment Weekly), full of writing that makes us feel, as Natalie Angier says, that we "have learned something and fallen in love all at once." Read on for the year's best writing on nature and science, work that originally appeared in Scientific American and Outside, The New Yorker and Harper's Magazine, Smithsonian and the New York Times, and many others. Here is Malcolm Gladwell on the subversive nonscience involved in standardized testing, Gordon Grice on the recent incursion of mountain lions into our suburbs, and Blaine Harden on how a gritty, superheavy mud from the Congo called coltan helps power the new economy. Barbara Ehrenreich gives a stinging indictment of the cancer establishment's endorsement of pink ribbons over the medical realities of being a cancer patient, and Gary Greenberg teases out the confounding -- and ethically and emotionally fraught -- science behind what we call brain death. Burkhard Bilger wonders why westerners happily eat catfish and frog's legs but continue to balk at braised possum and fried mink, and Eric Schlosser uncovers the dark side of the science involved in making McDonald's French fries taste so good. In two especially timely pieces, Dennis Overbye explores the rise and fall of Islamic science, and Anne Matthews, in an essay on the ecology of Manhattan, paints a haunting picture of still-warm bodies of songbirds littering the streets of Wall Street before dawn. These writers and many more give us the very best, very newest science and nature writing. As Natalie Angier writes, "The universe is expanding. May our minds follow suit."