Mapping the Next Millennium: The Discovery of New Geographies

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9780394576350: Mapping the Next Millennium: The Discovery of New Geographies

Discusses the use of innovative new technologies to map diverse areas of the universe, from the mathmatical constant pi, to human chromosomes, to the ocean floor

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From Kirkus Reviews:

In beautiful and sometimes moving prose, Hall (Invisible Frontiers, 1987) argues here that the common ground of space exploration, medical tomography, cosmology, greenhouse-effect modeling, and biotechnology is the map--and then offers a Grand Tour of the charting of these realms. It's a common story, but never better told, how the two Voyager spacecraft almost never made it off the ground because of wrangles deep within NASA; how a graduate student named Gary Flandro helped save the project when he stumbled onto the gravity- assist method of boosting trajectories, and saw how the planets lined up in the 1980's so that they could be visited in one mission. With a sort of inspired doodling, Flandro had produced a primitive navigational chart; the Voyagers plunged into the almost- unknown, and when they got there, Neptune wasn't where it was supposed to be. That's what maps are for, Hall says: To condense what we've said to be true into graphic, comprehensible form--and then, if necessary, we can change the map. Hall reflects passionately on the way exploration has generated maps that are then lost to imperial interests, or to the military (the US Navy, for example, resisted satellite mapping of the ocean floor because it feared it would make submarine routes obvious). Maps of genes, Hall says, point toward a sort of de facto eugenics, and there is precious little debate on the matter. And a new map of titanium deposits on the moon may only foster the sorts of abuses that Lewis and Clark inadvertently brought to the West. ``Maps inspire action,'' Hall says. It may even be, in a sick world, that better maps mean more sickness. Hall quotes the philosopher Sandra Harding: ``More science in a socially regressive society...will increase the movement of the resources from the many to the few.'' For the generalist striving mightily to keep up, this is a godsend. (Sixteen pages of color and 75 b&w illustrations--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

The title's "new geographies" encompass the furthest reaches of the universe and the "landscape of the chromosome," regions made newly visible with such imaging tools as the computer, Voyager 2 satellite and other remote sensors. Most of these new maps are the purest of data images, constructed of information gathered in galactic surveys, from mathematicians' computers and in the laboratories of molecular biologists. In the last 20 years, having developed the means to make its concepts visible and therefore more accessible, science offers maps of a moon of Neptune, the mathematical constant pi and a crooked string of DNA. Hall ( Invisible Frontiers ) is a knowledgeable guide and fluid writer; his introductory and concluding considerations of the map as an extended "tool of thought" are fluent science writing. But the sheer range of the areas he investigates--chaos theory to neurology--may overreach the limits of his theme and the comprehension of many readers. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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