Book cover of Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet by Chelsea Wald
Biological Sciences

Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Most of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to the human life span by reducing disease. On the other hand, the toilet is also a tragic failure: less than half of the world’s population can access a toilet that safely manages body waste, including many right here in the United States. And it is inefficient, squandering clean water as well as the nutrients, energy, and information contained in the stuff we flush away. […Learn More]

Book cover of Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall by Alexandra Lange
Business & Money

Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall

Few places have been as nostalgized, or as maligned, as malls. Since their birth in the 1950s, they have loomed large as temples of commerce, the agora of the suburbs. In their prime, they proved a powerful draw for creative thinkers such as Joan Didion, Ray Bradbury, and George Romero, who understood the mall’s appeal as both critics and consumers. Yet today, amid the aftershocks of financial crises and a global pandemic, as well as the rise of online retail, the dystopian husk of an abandoned shopping center has become one of our era’s defining images. Conventional wisdom holds that the mall is dead. But what was the mall, really? And have rumors of its demise been greatly exaggerated? […Learn More]

Book cover of Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made Us Modern by Adam Rogers
Biological Sciences

Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made Us Modern

A lively account of our age-old quest for brighter colors, which changed the way we see the world, from the best-selling author of Proof: The Science of Booze

From kelly green to millennial pink, our world is graced with a richness of colors. But our human-made colors haven’t always matched nature’s kaleidoscopic array. To reach those brightest heights required millennia of remarkable innovation and a fascinating exchange of ideas between science and craft that’s allowed for the most luminous manifestations of our built and adorned world. […Learn More]

History

Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

Just as The Color of Law provided a vital understanding of redlining and racial segregation, Marcia Chatelain’s Franchise investigates the complex interrelationship between black communities and America’s largest, most popular fast food chain. Taking us from the first McDonald’s drive-in in San Bernardino to the franchise on Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014, Chatelain shows how fast food is a source of both power―economic and political―and despair for African Americans. As she contends, fast food is, more than ever before, a key battlefield in the fight for racial justice.  […Learn More]

Book cover of Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert
Earth Sciences

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

In Under a White Sky, Elizabeth Kolbert takes a hard look at the new world we are creating. Along the way, she meets biologists who are trying to preserve the world’s rarest fish, which lives in a single tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave; engineers who are turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland; Australian researchers who are trying to develop a “super coral” that can survive on a hotter globe; and physicists who are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth.  […Learn More]

Engineering & Transportation

The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness

Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships? […Learn More]

Book cover of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
Engineering & Transportation

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued.

If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman. […Learn More]