Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way we think about science— from fluids to fungi, poisons to pirates. Featuring noted authors and journalists as well as the brightest up-and-comers writing today, this collection provides a comprehensive look at the fascinating, innovative, and trailblazing scientific achievements and breakthroughs of 2011, along with elegant and thoughtprovoking new takes on favorite topics. This is the sixth anthology of online essays edited by Bora Zivkovic, the blogs editor at Scientific American, and with each new edition, Zivkovic expands his fan base and creates a surge of excitement about upcoming compilations. Now everyone's favorite collection will reach new horizons and even more readers. Guest-edited and with an introduction by the renowned science author and blogger Jennifer Ouellette, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 marries cutting-edge science with dynamic writing that will inspire us all.
The 51 pieces collected here are wide-ranging in both form and subject: there s poetry, short reflections, and in-depth scientific investigations; human and physical sciences, including anthropology, cognition, ecology, epidemiology, neuroscience, physics, and much more. The contributors, too, are a mix, from relatively new voices to veteran writers. Equally variable is the quality. The good are very good. Carl Zimmer, for example, in one of the book s longer pieces, takes an ecological approach to the microbiota present in humans and argues that such an analysis could dramatically help in treating a host of diseases. Andrea Kuszewski explores how the new sport of chess-boxing, where contestants alternate between playing chess and boxing, might help us understand how to control aggression and thus limit bullying. Maryn McKenn investigates reports that the CIA used a fake flu vaccination program to collect DNA in hopes of finding Osama bin Laden. The semiotics of pirate flags, the evolutionary reasons for menstruation, the surprising discovery by a 13-year-old Tanzanian student that hot water freezes faster than cold water, and possible ways to manipulate the environment to halt hurricanes are among the gems culled by Scientific American blogger Zivkovic from Web sites Boing Boing, Empirical Zeal, the Guardian Science Blog, and dozens of others.