Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time to dust

This book by Hannah Holmes is very well-written and it certainly opens my eyes to how the universe, at least in our area, seems to work.
The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things

For my money, a succinct view of its contents can be found in this quote:

Happily, scientists receive a steady supply of clues. The Earth grows fatter every day, snowed under by a continuous microscopic flurry of space specks. Rare as they are, on average, every square yard of the planet should nonetheless receive one speck each day. Statistically, it's a good bet that there's a fresh piece of space dust on the hood of your car daily-and a dozen fresh specks on your roof. Lie on your lawn for a day and you stand a shot at being pelted by a glassy mini-marble or a delicate crumb of comet dust. "They're everywhere," Brownlee says. "You eat them all the time. Any carpet would have 'em."

Hannah Holmes. The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things (Kindle Locations 398-401). Kindle Edition.

It may be disquieting but Holmes makes clear that the fate of us all is exactly what Genesis indicates:

"Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return" (Genesis 3:19)

Go ahead, she says, buy that specially sealed super-coffin and place it in a pyramid just as big as Ramses the Great had built for himself.  You may indeed preserve parts of your body for a couple of thousand years, maybe billions of years.  But, she says, after about 5 billion years, the sun will die out, flaring up during its end and engulf close-by planets such as ours.  That process will vaporize everything on earth, turning everything into dust.

This book has another interesting side to it.  A friend said he was interested in the book in Kindle format and a couple of weeks later, I went to send it to him directly from the web site.  Imagine my surprise when I found the print version only.  No Kindle format available.  I still have it on my Kindle and I bought the book in that format on Oct. 8 of last year.  I phoned Amazon customer service and asked about the problem.  They told me that they had nothing to do with whether it was available in one format or another.  That was up to the publisher.  I called the publisher, John Wiley and Sons, a very important publisher of science and math books.  Their person seemed a little unsure of what I was talking about but assured me that Kindle format was a problem for Amazon, not them.  I called the author and emailed her after finding her web site and I called her literary agent who was listed on the author's site.  No Kindle format available yet.

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