In recent years farming practices and food production have grown into an issue that concerns us all. We’ve had enough: What was considered a boring topic interesting only to farmers fifty years ago, is now driving young people to the streets in protest. In the near future, the world will be populated by 10 billion people – how can we produce enough food to feed them all? Is organic agriculture the holy grail? And is it ethically acceptable to eat animals? Would high-tech based industrial farming destroy all rural areas, use up all our natural resources, and drive even more people into cities?
Urs Niggli points out possible solutions to the dilemma. Be warned: none of them promise an easy way out.
Urs Niggli born 1953, in the idyllic rural landscape of the Swiss Plateau. Today the region forms the hectic connecting axis between the country’s urban centers Zurich, Bern, and Basel. Niggli studied Agricultural Sciences and is head of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL). Under his leadership, FiBL has become one of the top think tanks for organic farming, humane animal husbandry, and sustainable practices.
Human behaviour is driving our biosphere into the multiple crisis it is in today. But what is the evolutionary basis of human behaviour? And how much room for manoeuvre do we still have? The primary feature that distinguishes humans from other species is our rational potential, yet our everyday behaviour is shaped by irrational decisions. In view of the global survival problems we face, numerous and in some instances radical changes in behaviour are called for, both at an individual and a societal level. But most of all, we need a realistic perception of human nature. Never has it been more important to understand who we really are.
Is chemistry better than its reputation? When it comes to dealing with humankind's big challenges, chemistry is the key discipline. Award-winning chemist Nuno Maulide and physicist Tanja Traxler embark on a captivating journey into the fascinating world of syntheses, bonds and reactions. Entertaining and vivid, the authors describe how chemistry influences our everyday life. They discuss chemical approaches to solving global problems such as climate change, food security for Earth's growing population and waste production. For what is chemistry, after all? It is the science of ourselves, nature and the entire universe.
Is artificial intelligence replacing human practitioners?
The question concerns us all. What does the future of medicine look like and what does it mean for the patient? The use of artificial intelligence and big data for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes has the potential to shake the self-image of doctors to the core. Even today, machines are better at performing certain aspects of what for centuries has been described as the physician's art. Such tasks include diagnosing illnesses, selecting individual treatments and carrying out surgical interventions. Will doctors made of flesh and blood soon be superfluous? What can the patient of the future expect? Christian Maté, himself a doctor, takes a close look at the issues involved and develops compelling theses for a digital future.
Berlin before the fall of the wall, China before the massacre on Tiananmen Square – in a world full of irredeemable promises, a generation drifts along as it searches for a different life. Set in a wintry Berlin rich with dark taverns and opulent cafés, the narrator and his rag-tag circle of friends try to invent a new kind of freedom. At the heart of the clique is the dazzling Nina. She holds everyone in her spell, but is herself at the mercy of her inner voices and their dangerous insinuations. A one-way ticket to Beijing offers a way out. The narrator leaves everything behind and sets off to travel through a China in turmoil, but in this vast blue empire his attempt to forget remains futile.
Going beyond psychological speculation, the authors close a gap in historical research by portraying Hitler's family, childhood and youth in its social and cultural context. Focusing on Hitler's time in Braunau through to his experiences in Vienna, they offer an insight into his character traits and ideological imprints. The book closely examines Hitler's personal background as well as his social environment. National fanaticism, race hatred and anti-Semitism had become firmly established in society long before Hitler and the National Socialists started their ascent. Hitler's radicalised rhetoric could only gain potency when his audience already knew what he was speaking of. Taking a fresh look, Leidinger and Rapp detail Hitler's childhood and youth from a new angle.
Clara has always been fascinated by flying. Or is it just the ability to flee that attracts her? Now, it seems she has achieved her aim. As a pilot working for a budget airline she asserts herself in a ruthless male world, conquering the skies from Bangkok to Berlin, Colombo to Cancun and Mombasa to Madrid. She can deftly steer a Boeing 777 through violent turbulences, but her own life is rapidly sliding out of control. Torn between two men and haunted by memories of early abuse, she restlessly roams through the faceless airports and foreign cities of her itinerary. It's only when she retreats to the tropical island of Sri Lanka, an island ravaged by civil war, that Clara manages to confront the ghosts of her past.
Everyone senses it – the space for those who think differently, act differently and love differently is shrinking once more, the threat is increasing. But for now the 'Heaven Bound' still exists. Its glitzy stage is the home of the drag queens and a refuge for outsiders and night birds. Tucked out of sight, the bar is the only place where even Sylvia feels safe. As a young vixen on the run, Sylvia plucked a human skin from a clothes line and has lived as a woman among people ever since. She shares her live with Jonathan, a dreamer and self-professed world saviour. When a feathered tumour grows on Jonathan's back and his transformation begins, it becomes clear that not everything with wings can fly. But the utopia of the 'Heaven Bound' will always be worth fighting for.
The unique rationale behind Nikolaus Harnoncourt's practice of music brought him fame across the entire musical world. With his ensemble Concentus Musicus he broke established traditions and opened up new approaches to interpreting old music. This was in part the result of his intensive research into the sound produced by original period instruments, but more significantly came about as a consequence of questioning conventional hearing habits. What exactly is music? What effect does it have? And what were the intentions of its creators? Harnoncourt's writing on performance practices, baroque music and instruments such as the harpsichord reads like eloquent music making. A wondrous journey through the history of music.
The twelve nights between Christmas and Epiphany are a mystical time – a time in which nature stands still and the boundaries between our world and the supernatural realm appear suspended. In Alpine regions and Nordic countries, the Twelve Nights are the source of numerous fables. People talk to animals, goblins populate human dwellings, wishes come true and the Wild Hunt rides across the land. This openness to magic and folklore, this moment of pausing and taking stock, have long been a source of fascination to Harald Krassnitzer – and hold a special significance in our hectic times. In this book, Krassnitzer brings together his favourite legends and tales relating to the Twelve Nights, accompanied by personal reflections