Underbug

An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology by Lisa Margonelli

  • Published: Sep 27, 2020

The award-winning journalist Lisa Margonelli, national bestselling author of Oil on the Brain Petroleums Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank, investigates the environmental and economic impact termites inflict on human societies in this fascinating examination... read more

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Details of Underbug

Exact title of the book
Underbug
Book author
Lisa Margonelli
ISBN
9780374282073
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Aug 21, 2018
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
320
File size (in PDF)
2880 kB

Some brief overview of book

The award-winning journalist Lisa Margonelli, national bestselling author of Oil on the Brain Petroleums Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank, investigates the environmental and economic impact termites inflict on human societies in this fascinating examination of one of natures most misunderstood insects. Are we more like termites than we ever imagined? In Underbug, the award-winning journalist Lisa Margonelli introduces us to the enigmatic creatures that collectively outweigh human beings ten to one and consume 40 billion worth of valuable stuff annuallyand yet, in Margonellis telling, seem weirdly familiar.

Over the course of a decade-long obsession with the little bugs, Margonelli pokes around termite mounds and high-tech research facilities, closely watching biologists, roboticists, and geneticists. Her globe-trotting journey veers into uncharted territory, from evolutionary theory to Edwardian science literature to the military industrial complex. What begins as a natural history of the termite becomes a personal exploration of the unnatural future were building, with darker observations on power, technology, historical trauma, and the limits of human cognition.

Whether in Namibia or Cambridge, Arizona or Australia, Margonelli turns up astounding facts and raises provocative questions. Is a termite an individual or a unit of a superorganism? Can we harness the termites properties to change the world?

If we build termite-like swarming robots, will they inevitably destroy us? Is it possible to think without having a mind? Underbug burrows into these questions and many othersunearthing disquieting answers about the worlds most underrated insect and what it means to be human.

About author

Margonelli is the author of the national bestseller Oil on the Brain Petroleums Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank and writes the Small Science column for Zócalo Public Square, where she is a senior editor. From 2006 to 2012, she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. She has written for The Atlantic, Wired, Scientific American, The New York Times, and other publications.

She lives in Maine.

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