Friday, January 5, 2018

The Spinning Magnet: The Force That Created the Modern World--and Could Destroy ItThe Spinning Magnet: The Force That Created the Modern World--and Could Destroy It by Alanna Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe this one was just up my alley in all the right ways or maybe the author is pretty spot-on with her mix of science history, humanization of the players, and just the right dose of scientific explanation for laymen.

Maybe it was both.

Regardless, I seriously enjoyed this non-fiction all about magnetism. It shouldn't come as all that much surprise that it has serious biological roots and it's all about physics and chemistry, but the author balances everything in such a way that it's always interesting. I didn't realize that magnetism was under controversy back in the days of Galileo. The way that it all ties seamlessly into geology should also be obvious, but I never felt uncomfortable in the writing. Indeed, I was pretty much uniformly fascinated.

The big zinger about the poles reversing and the effects on modern society aren't sensationalized, either. There's a big "I Don't Know" in there, but so much of the evidence points to a protracted (say a few thousand years) time of less magnetic shielding as the poles do their thing. The fact they will flip is not in doubt. The fact that we might be undergoing a radical influx of harmful radiation because the Earth isn't going to be blocking solar storms is probably the scariest thing I can imagine.

That's even worse than losing all our electronics. I mean, that's bad enough and I'll have to go buy a bedpan and a shotgun to defend myself in my new dystopian nightmare, but we're talking about a mass-extinction event. Well, assuming we or the animals don't start breeding for rad-tolerant biologies or take rad-x.

Can you imagine a bunch of teens running around with early onset dementia?

Oh, wait, yeah. I've read quite a few YA novels.

Really fascinating non-fiction, here! It's right up there with some of the very best non-technical popular science books I've read! (That's saying a bit. I like good science books. :)

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!



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