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Oceanography

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  1. 4.3 hrs • 9/30/2015 • Unabridged

    Sitting on the beach on a sunny summer day, we enjoy the steady advance and retreat of the waves. In the water, enthusiastic waders jump and shriek with pleasure when a wave hits them. But where do these waves come from? How are they formed, and why do they break on the shore? In Waves Fredric Raichlen traces the evolution of waves, from their generation in the deep ocean to their effects on the coast. He explains in a way that is readily understandable to nonscientists both the science of waves themselves and the technology that can be used to protect us against their more extreme forms, including hurricanes and tsunamis. After offering a basic definition of waves and explaining the mechanics of wind-wave generation, Raichlen describes how waves travel, how they shoal (rise), how they break, and how they transform in other ways. He goes on to describe, among other things, the complicated sun-earth-moon combinations that create astronomical tides (the high and low tides that occur daily and predictably); the effects of waves on the beach, including rip currents and beach erosion, and on harbors and shipping; and the building of breakwaters to protect harbors and bays. He discusses hurricanes, storm surges, and hurricane-generated waves. He offers a brief history of tsunamis, including Sumatra’s in 2004 and Japan’s in 2011, and explains the mechanisms that generate them, including earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes. Waves can be little ripples that lap peacefully at the shore or monstrous tsunamis that destroy everything in their paths. Describing the science underlying this astonishing variety, Waves offers a different kind of beach reading.

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    Waves by Fredric Raichlen
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    Also: CD, MP3 CD
  2. 13.8 hrs • 8/29/2012 • Unabridged

    A Silent Spring for oceans, written by “the Rachel Carson of the fish world” (New York Times) Who can forget the sense of wonder with which they discovered the creatures of the deep? In this vibrant hymn to the sea, Callum Roberts—one of the world’s foremost conservation biologists—leads listeners on a fascinating tour of mankind’s relationship to the sea, from the earliest traces of water on earth to the oceans as we know them today. In the process, Roberts looks at how the taming of the oceans has shaped human civilization and affected marine life. We have always been fish eaters, from the dawn of civilization, but in the last twenty years we have transformed the oceans beyond recognition. Putting our exploitation of the seas into historical context, Roberts offers a devastating account of the impact of modern fishing techniques, pollution, and climate change and reveals what it would take to steer the right course while there is still time. Like Four Fish and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Ocean of Life takes a long view to tell a story in which each one of us has a role to play.

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    The Ocean of Life

    13.8 hrs • 8/29/12 • Unabridged
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  3. 15.6 hrs • 3/3/2011 • Unabridged

    A revelatory tale of science, adventure, and modern myth. When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn’s accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories. Moby-Duck is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable. With each new discovery, Hohn learns of another loose thread, and with each successive chase, he comes closer to understanding where his castaway quarry comes from and where it goes. In the grand tradition of Tony Horwitz and David Quammen, Moby-Duck is a compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity.

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    Moby-Duck

    15.6 hrs • 3/3/11 • Unabridged
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  4. 10.4 hrs • 9/14/2010 • Unabridged

    In her astonishing new book, Susan Casey captures colossal, ship-swallowing waves, and the surfers and scientists who seek them out.  For legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, hundred-foot waves represent the ultimate challenge. As Susan Casey travels the globe, hunting these monsters of the ocean with Hamilton’s crew, she witnesses first-hand the life or death stakes, the glory, and the mystery of impossibly mammoth waves. Yet for the scientists who study them, these waves represent something truly scary brewing in the planet’s waters.  With inexorable verve, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

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    The Wave

    10.4 hrs • 9/14/10 • Unabridged
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  5. 3.3 hrs • 10/2/2001 • Abridged

    Sometimes it pays to be in the right place at the right time. Certainly the mariners in Amalfi in the twelfth century were. Here the compass was first invented and used in navigation, eventually helping to make Italians the world’s greatest sailors. But the story of the compass is shrouded in mystery and myth. It begins in ancient China around the time of the birth of Christ. A mysterious lodestone whose powers affected metal was known to the Emperor. This piece of metal suspended in water always pointed north and was put to excellent use in feng shui, the Chinese art of finding the right location. However, it was the Italians who unleashed the compass’s formidable powers on ships at sea. Throughout the ancient world, sailors navigated by wind, and stars, and the routes of migrating birds, but bad weather and winter storms impeded their travels. When the compass migrated to Italy, the modern world began: Venice, trade with the East, the Age of Discovery. The compass made it all possible, and this is its fascinating story.

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    Riddle of the Compass

    3.3 hrs • 10/2/01 • Abridged
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