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The Wonderfully Weird World of Mary Roach

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Best American Science and Nature
by Mary Roach Details
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 includes Atul Gawande, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Blum, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks, Jon Mooallem, Jon Cohen, Luke Dittrich, and others.
Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
by Mary Roach Details
Can a person think herself to orgasm? Why doesn't Viagra help women-or, for that matter, pandas? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Mary Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm-two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth-can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
by Mary Roach Details
"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of--or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists--who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.
Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void
by Mary Roach Details
The author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As the author discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
Science Ink : Tattoos of the Science Obsessed
by Carl Zimmer Details
Forward by Mary Roach. Body art meets popular science in this elegant, mind-blowing collection, written by renowned science writer Carl Zimmer. This fascinating book showcases hundreds of eye-catching tattoos that pay tribute to various scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to mathematics and astrophysics and reveals the stories of the individuals who chose to inscribe their obsessions in their skin. Best of all, each tattoo provides a leaping-off point for bestselling essayist and lecturer Zimmer to reflect on the science in question, whether it's the importance of an image of Darwin's finches or the significance of the uranium atom inked into the chest of a young radiologist.
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
by Mary Roach Details
"What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that's that-- the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?" In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive"
Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach Details
A head is a terrible thing to waste : practicing surgery on the dead -- Crimes of anatomy : body snatching and other sordid tales from the dawn of human dissection -- Life after death : on human decay and what can be done about it -- Dead man driving : human crash test dummies and the ghastly, necessary science of impact tolerance -- Beyond the black box : when the bodies of the passengers must tell the story of a crash -- The cadaver that joined the army : the sticky ethics of bullets and bombs -- Holy cadaver : the crucifixion experiments -- How to know if you're dead : Beating-heart cadavers, live burial, and the scientific search for the soul -- Just a head : decapitation, reanimation, and the human head transplant -- Eat me : medicinal cannibalism and the case of the human dumplings -- Out of the fire, into the compost bin : and other new ways to end up -- Remains of the author : will she or won't she?
Updated 05/31/2015

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