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Learning From the Octopus

How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease

Rafe Sagarin

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


How the study of ecology and evolution can fortify us against disaster and war.

Publishers Weekly Review

Feb 06, 2012 – A marine biologist applies his expertise to national security, delivering some ingenious ideas. He points out that 3.5 billion years of evolution have given plants and animals tactics that can serve us in dealing with terrorism, hurricanes, and epidemics. Sagarin, environment policy analyst at the University of Arizona, writes that, confronted with a threat, governments, inherently unadaptable, gather specialists to anticipate the next disaster and devise an often clunky plan. Organisms, on the other hand, never plan or anticipate; they adapt and also learn to live with a tolerable level of insecurity. Security in nature is never centralized; every herd animal keeps an eye out. Eradicating risk is impossible because the threat also adapts, e.g., insurgencies adapt faster than standing armies. Sagarin proposes that governments are too cumbersome to adapt, and that we should devise an “adaptable cascade” with decentralized multiple problem solvers. Occasionally, the theory misfires (a politician who advocates tolerating a modest level of terrorism will enjoy a short career), but few readers will deny that Sagarin is onto something.
Learning From the Octopus
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  • $17.99
  • Level: Grades 13 and Above
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Life Sciences
  • Published: Mar 27, 2012
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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