The award-winning journalist Lisa Margonelli, national bestselling author of Oil on the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank, investigates the environmental and economic impact termites inflict on human societies in this fascinating examination of one of nature's most misunderstood insects. Are we more like termites than we ever imagined? In Underbug, the award-winning journalist Lisa Margonelli introduces us to the enigmatic creatures that collectively outweigh human beings ten to one and consume $40 billion worth of valuable stuff annually?and yet, in Margonelli's telling, seem weirdly familiar. Over the course of a decade-long obsession with the little bugs, Margonelli pokes around termite mounds and high-tech research facilities, closely watching biologists, roboticists, and geneticists. Her globe-trotting journey veers into uncharted territory, from evolutionary theory to Edwardian science literature to the military industrial complex. What begins as a natural history of the termite becomes a personal exploration of the unnatural future we're building, with darker observations on power, technology, historical trauma, and the limits of human cognition. Whether in Namibia or Cambridge, Arizona or Australia, Margonelli turns up astounding facts and raises provocative questions. Is a termite an individual or a unit of a superorganism? Can we harness the termite's properties to change the world? If we build termite-like swarming robots, will they inevitably destroy us? Is it possible to think without having a mind? Underbug burrows into these questions and many others?unearthing disquieting answers about the world's most underrated insect and what it means to be human.
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by Lisa Lutz
by Joy Hakim
"An audiobook about termites may, understandably, give listeners pause. But those willing to delve into an unlikely subject will find a delightful and informative piece of popular science. Author Lisa Margonelli fully immerses herself in the world of termites, traveling the globe with leading scientists in the field to learn about their research and how these insects are connected to humans' past, present, and future. Narrator Christina Moore does a fine job capturing Margonelli's personal touch. There is a hint of knowing wryness in her voice--she's clearly aware of the idiosyncratic nature of the story she's telling. But that's not to say Moore narrates flippantly. She sounds welcoming and enthusiastic, making it nearly impossible to resist going on this journey. A.T.N. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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