Sand: the never-ending story

sandSand: the never-ending story

By Michael Welland

From individual grains to desert dunes, from the bottom of the sea to the landscapes of Mars, and from billions of years in the past to the future, this is the extraordinary story of one of nature’s humblest, most powerful, and most ubiquitous materials. Told by a geologist with a novelist’s sense of language and narrative, Sand examines the science–sand forensics, the physics of granular materials, sedimentology, paleontology and archaeology, planetary exploration–and at the same time explores the rich human context of sand. Interwoven with tales of artists, mathematicians, explorers, and even a vampire, the story of sand is an epic of environmental construction and destruction, an adventure in staggering scales of time and distance, yet a tale that encompasses the ordinary and everyday. Sand, in fact, is all around us–it has made possible our computers, buildings and windows, toothpaste, cosmetics, and paper, and it has played dramatic roles in human history, commerce, and imagination. In this luminous, kinetic, revelatory account, we do indeed find the world in a grain of sand.

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Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

detroitthanksgivingDetroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

By Romie Minor, Laurie Anne Tamborino, and The Parade Company

Since 1924, Detroit’­s annual Thanksgiving parade has delighted people of all ages. The parade’­s spectacular balloons, floats, bands, special guests, and holiday spirit have made it the most celebrated civic event in Detroit. This book commemorates the parade tradition with a look back at over 75 years of magic and enchantment. A unique assortment of historic photographs leads readers on a nostalgic journey down Woodward Avenue and through the memories and hearts of generations.

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The matter of the gods: religion and the Roman Empire

The matter of the gods: religion and the Roman Empirematter_of_the_gods

by Clifford Ando

What did the Romans know about their gods? Why did they perform the rituals of their religion, and what motivated them to change those rituals? To these questions Clifford Ando proposes simple answers: In contrast to ancient Christians, who had faith, Romans had knowledge, and their knowledge was empirical in orientation. In other words, the Romans acquired knowledge of the gods through observation of the world, and their rituals were maintained or modified in light of what they learned. After a preface and opening chapters that lay out this argument about knowledge and place it in context, The Matter of the Gods pursues a variety of themes essential to the study of religion in history.

My word!: plagiarism and college culture

My word!: plagiarism and college culture

my_wordby Susan D. Blum

Professors are reminded almost daily that many of today’s college students operate under an entirely new set of assumptions about originality and ethics. Practices that even a decade ago would have been regarded almost universally as academically dishonest are now commonplace. Is this development an indication of dramatic shifts in education and the larger culture? In a book that dismisses hand-wringing in favor of a rich account of how students actually think and act, Susan D. Blum discovers two cultures that exist, often uneasily, side by side in the classroom.

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