Download Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth by James E. Lovelock PDF

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By James E. Lovelock

During this paintings that keeps to motivate its many readers, Jim Lovelock places ahead his concept that lifestyles in the world features as a unmarried organism. Written for non-scientists, Gaia is a trip via time and house looking for proof with which to help a brand new and substantially varied version of our planet.

In distinction to standard trust that residing subject is passive within the face of threats to its life, the ebook explores the speculation that the Earth's residing topic air, ocean, and land surfaces varieties a fancy process that has the means to maintain the Earth a healthy position for all times. due to the fact that Gaia was once first released, a lot of Jim Lovelock's predictions have come real and his idea has develop into a hotly argued subject in clinical circles. This ebook is meant for college students in class or collage following classes in environmental experiences, ecology, or basic experiences; environmentalists.

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Extra resources for Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth

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It seems almost certain that close in time and space to the origin of our solar system, there was a supernova event. A supernova is the explosion of a large star. Astronomers speculate that this fate may overtake a star in the following manner: as a star burns, mostly by fusion of its hydrogen and, later, helium atoms, the ashes of its fire in the form of other heavier elements such as silicon and iron accumulate at the centre. If this core of dead elements, no longer generating heat and pressure, should much exceed the mass of our own sun, the inexorable force of its own weight will be enough to cause its collapse in a matter of seconds to a body no larger than a few thousand cubic miles in volume, although still as heavy as a star.

How, then, do we identify and distinguish between the works of Gaia and the chance structures of natural forces? And how do we recognize the presence of Gaia herself? Fortunately we are not, like those demented hunters of the Snark, entirely without a chart or means of recognition; we have some clues. At the end of the last century Boltzman made an elegant redefinition of entropy as a measure of the probability of a molecular distribution. It may seem at first obscure, but it leads directly to what we seek.

These are biosedimentary structures, often laminated and shaped like cones or cauliflowers, usually composed of calcium carbonate or silica and now recognized to be products of microbial activity. Some of these are found in ancient flint-like rocks over three aeons old. Their general form suggests that they were produced by photosynthesizers, like blue-green algae of today, converting sunlight to chemical potential energy. Indeed we can be fairly sure that some early life was photosynthetic, using sunlight as the prime source of energy, for there is no other energy supply of sufficiently high potential, constancy, and quantity.

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