Life and death at the extreme – two studies of exploration.


Life at the extremes Frances Ashcroft Berkeley : University of  California Press, c 2000  Adaptation  (Physiology),     Extreme environments  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xxi, 326  p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical  references (p. [315]-317) and index. Clean,  tight and strong binding with clean dust  jacket. No highlighting, underlining or  marginalia in text.  VG/VG

The challenge of scaling the highest mountain, exploring the deepest ocean, crossing the hottest desert, or swimming in near-freezing water is irresistible to many people. Life at the Extremes is an engrossing exploration of what happens to our bodies in these seemingly uninhabitable environments. Frances Ashcroft weaves stories of extraordinary feats of endurance with historical material and the latest scientific findings as she investigates the limits of human survival and the remarkable adaptations that enable us to withstand extreme conditions.

What causes mountain sickness? How is it possible to reach the top of Everest without supplementary oxygen, when passengers in an airplane that depressurized at the same altitude would lose consciousness in seconds? Why do divers get the bends but sperm whales do not? How long you can survive immersion in freezing water? Why don’t penguins get frostbite? Will men always be faster runners than women? How far into deep space can a body travel?

As she considers these questions, Ashcroft introduces a cast of extraordinary scientific personalities–inventors and explorers who have charted the limits of human survival. She describes many intriguing experiments and shows how scientific knowledge has enabled us to venture toward and beyond ever greater limits. Life at the Extremes also considers what happens when athletes push their bodies to the edge, and tells of the remarkable adaptations that enable some organisms to live in boiling water, in highly acidic lakes, or deep in the middle of rocks.

Anyone who flies in an airplane, sails the high seas, goes skiing or walking in the mountains, or simply weathers subzero winters or sweltering summers will be captivated by this book. Full of scientific information, beautifully written, and packed with many fascinating digressions, Life at the Extremes lures us to the very edge of human survival.

Lost on Everest : the search for  Mallory & Irvine  Peter  Firstbrook London : BBC Worldwide, c 1999   Mountaineering  Everest, Mount (China and  Nepal)  History  20th century Hardcover.  224 p.,[16] p. of plates : maps ; 25 cm.   Includes bibliographical references and  index. Clean, tight and strong binding with  dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining  or marginalia in text. VG/G   

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