Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: The Cosmic Connection

By Sandy Amazeen Feb 20, 2009, 6:48 GMT

Book Review: The Cosmic Connection

In this sweeping tour of the cosmos and our place within it, acclaimed science writer Jeff Kanipe shows the many ways we are connected to the vast universe we inhabit. Long before our apelike ancestors dropped from the trees and began playing with fire, even before the Sun emerged from its chrysalis of dust and irradiated its brood of planets, numberless and nameless astronomical events affected Earth and its emerging ...more

In clear, concise language, Kanipe shows how life on our little planet owes an enormous debt of gratitude to a host of small but critical cosmic events that determined the entire course of evolution. From waxing poetic about glaciers, Kanipe goes on to demonstrate how sunspots and mini-ice ages may be linked by tracing the levels of carbon 14 found in ancient bristlecone pine tress. This kind of interconnectedness makes for fascinating reading and a renewed appreciation for our moon, earth’s axis and the role comets and asteroids played in hitting the reset button.

Using the 1989 blackout that affected most of northeast Canada and the United States caused by solar flares, Kanipe points out our dependence on an even tempered sun, not only for telecommunications but just about everything else as well. Our solar system, galaxy, black holes, dark matter, vacuums and possible alien contact are treated to thoughtful insights that will leave you alternately terrified of the vast number of things that could go wrong and thankful for our “quiet” little corner in space. This could be described as an absorbing cross between Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and the Connections series.

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