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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Struggling For Air


Struggling For Air: Power Plants and The "War On Coal", by Richard L. Revesz & Jack Lienke

Struggling For Air

"Revesz (New York Univ.) and Lienke (Institute for Policy Integrity, New York Univ.) aim to show readers that congressional politics and coal industry lobbying conspired to produce a clean air regulatory regime in the US that continues to produce high levels of criteria pollutants while reinforcing the nation’s contribution to global climate change. The book is a primer on the idiosyncrasies of congressional debates over air pollution policy since the 1970s, the regionalization of anti-environmental interests, and the often venomous attacks on environmental leadership (e.g., President Obama) by conservative elites (i.e., Republicans in Congress). The arguments are often convincing. Students and lay readers will learn useful things about the politics of coal—and air pollution policy."

- Feldman, D. L. "Struggling For Air: Power Plants and The "War On Coal." Choice: Current Reviews For Academic Libraries 53.11 (2016): 1671. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.”

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age


A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind, by David J. Helfand

Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age

"We live in the Information Age, with billions of bytes of data just two swipes away. Yet how much of this is mis- or even disinformation? A lot of it is, and your search engine can't tell the difference. As a result, an avalanche of misinformation threatens to overwhelm the discourse we so desperately need to address complex social problems such as climate change, the food and water crises, biodiversity collapse, and emerging threats to public health. This book provides an inoculation against the misinformation epidemic by cultivating scientific habits of mind. Anyone can do it—indeed, everyone must do it if our species is to survive on this crowded and finite planet.
This survival guide supplies an essential set of apps for the prefrontal cortex while making science both accessible and entertaining. It will dissolve your fear of numbers, demystify graphs, and elucidate the key concepts of probability, all while celebrating the precise use of language and logic. David Helfand, one of our nation's leading astronomers and science educators, has taught scientific habits of mind to generations in the classroom, where he continues to wage a provocative battle against sloppy thinking and the encroachment of misinformation."

- From the publisher’s website: https://cup.columbia.edu

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Being Wrong


Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz

Being Wrong

"To err is human. Yet most of us go through life tacitly assuming (and sometimes noisily insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken – and why do we typically react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness and shame?
In Being Wrong, journalist Kathryn Schulz explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes our relationships—whether between family members, colleagues, neighbors, or nations. Along the way, she takes us on a fascinating tour of human fallibility, from wrongful convictions to no-fault divorce, medical mistakes to misadventures at sea, failed prophecies to false memories, “I told you so!” to “Mistakes were made.” Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Gertrude Stein, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, she proposes a new way of looking at wrongness. In this view, error is both a given and a gift – one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves.
In the end, Being Wrong is not just an account of human error but a tribute to human creativity – to the ways we generate and revise our beliefs about ourselves and the world. At a moment when economic, political, and religious dogmatism increasingly divide us, Schulz explores the seduction of certainty and the crisis occasioned by error with uncommon humor and eloquence. A brilliant debut from a new voice in nonfiction, this book calls on us to ask one of life’s most challenging questions: what if I’m wrong."

- From the publisher’s website: http://beingwrongbook.com/synopsis

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Con Men


The Con Men: Hustling in New York City, by Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton

The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

"This vivid account of hustling in New York City explores the sociological reasons why con artists play their game and the psychological tricks they use to win it. Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton, two prominent sociologists and ethnographers, spent years with New York con artists to uncover their secrets. The result is an unprecedented view into how con games operate, whether in back alleys and side streets or in police precincts and Wall Street boiler rooms. Whether it's selling bootleg goods, playing the numbers, squatting rent-free, scamming tourists with bogus stories, selling knockoffs on Canal Street, or crafting Ponzi schemes, con artists use verbal persuasion, physical misdirection, and sheer charm to convince others to do what they want. Williams and Milton examine this act of performance art and find meaning in its methods to exact bounty from unsuspecting tourists and ordinary New Yorkers alike. Through their sophisticated exploration of the personal experiences and influences that create a successful hustler, they build a portrait of unusual emotional and psychological depth. Their work also offers a new take on structure and opportunity, showing how the city's unique urban and social architecture lends itself to the perfect con."

- From the publisher’s website: https://cup.columbia.edu

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