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Weird Life: The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own [Kindle Edition]

David Toomey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Science that sounds like science fiction.

In recent years, scientists have hypothesized life-forms that can only be called "weird": organisms that live off acid rather than water, microbes that thrive at temperatures and pressure levels so extreme that their cellular structures should break down, perhaps even organisms that reproduce without DNA. Some of these strange life-forms, unrelated to all life we know, might be nearby: on rock surfaces in the American southwest, hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, or even in our own bodies. Some, stranger still, might live in Martian permafrost, swim in the dark oceans of Jupiter's moons, or survive in the exotic ices on comets.  Others--the strangest of all--might inhabit the crusts of neutron stars, interstellar nebulae, or even other spatial dimensions.

In Weird Life, David Toomey takes us on a breathtaking tour of a universe of hypothetical life, a universe of life as we do not know it.

Product Description


"...Toomey allows himself to venture into the realms of science fiction, which makes for a fascinating aside." BBC Focus "Toomey is a superb explainer, firmly in command of the facts. Weird Life is remarkably comprehensive and written with considerable panache." Literary Review "It [Weird Life] does a grand job of introducing a few of the weirdest life forms on earth..." Times Higher Education "Weird indeed, and not a little wonderful." --Nature

About the Author

David Toomey is an associate professor of English and director of the Professional Writing and Technical Communication Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3485 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (26 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q6XLHA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #585,243 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!! 23 Mar. 2013
I find the book exciting because it makes me think about the complexity and beauty of things we take for granted in our everyday life. It is true that the author cites much the results of scientific research - that is exactly why the book is so valuable!!! It is based on scientific facts but on the other hand discusses the limits of contemporary science and tries to look beyond them. The book is easy to understand even to those far away from the field of biology. If you have an open mind you will enjoy it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alternative Life Forms 21 Dec. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this intriguing book David Toomey looks at some forms of alien (non-carbon based) life that the reader may have imagined and plenty that go far beyond.

He doesn't spend much time on machine intelligence but does devote a section to Seth Shostak and his assumption that, " Most technological civilizations created by biological beings will reach a point in their history at which they will cede their power to artificial beings."and, "We might add that there is every reason to expect that beings with a weird biology - say beings with a biochemistry based on silicon or ammonia (as long as they had an aptitude for technology) - would do the same."

Also intelligent machines are seen as capable of a highly accelerated Lamarkian self-directed type evolution that takes them far beyond humanity.

Would they care about human beings? We don't know.

The author also refers to the Australian physicist Brandon Carter, who drew attention in the late 1970's to the criticality of the exact laws of physics for complex chemistry and consequent biology (and us). Carter saw our universe with its particular laws as one among many, whereas astrophysicist Fred Hoyle took a different line and suggested that a very advanced intelligence had "set the dials" on our universe to permit the development of life (i.e. we are part of some kind of computer game Matrix).

Altogether an interesting book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird life 9 Dec. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this was more about interdimensional life than scientific, and was (I haven't finished it yet) so far mainly a science course in biology more than anything supernatural or beyond existing scientific knowledge. It does open some new possibilities but was not aimed as much at the enquirer into new realms than conventional academic research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars weird life 17 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The title was intriguing as was the newspaper review. Definietly content for animated discussion. The book was reasonably proced and very promptly delivered. Would recommend.
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