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A book well worth reading
on 16 April 2010
This is a book well worth reading. It is intended for the non-scientist although not lacking in the scientific approach. I was at first expecting to see a wishy washy argument given the large amount of bad press this book has received. I found the opposite in fact, the book deals with the possibility that the entire biosphere of the planet is regulated through its living components in order to continue to sustain life within it. This is based on the ideas first developed to study feedback systems in engineering e.g. +ve and -ve feedback. These notions arose in the science of control systems where the input from one sensor can alter the output of a control e.g. a thermostat in an oven.
It takes this idea much further to a planetwide scale. The entire book firstly explains the ideas behind this hypothesis and then spends the remainder of the book considering possible evidence to support it. It ranges over all forms of life from algae, bacteria and other plant and animal life and how it influences the planet through the concentration of gases in the atmosphere for example or how excessive amounts of carbon are "sinked" and so on.
A fascinating book and remarkable especially for its time. In a sense it has defined the time as well and much of his ideas have preoccupied scientists from all walks of life.