A Planet of Viruses

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Why is Earth a Planet of Viruses?

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock A Planet of Viruses and learn more about the planet we call home, the earth. When you hear the word “virus", what image comes to mind? Perhaps you picture illness, injury, and death. Indeed, in the history of human civilization, viruses have been the cause of many destructive disasters. In fact, in 2020 as this Bookey is being written, the world is threatened by a new type of coronavirus known as COVID-19. This virus has infected a countless number of people, caused tens of thousands of casualties, and huge amounts of economic losses in all countries around the world. But are you aware that there’s also a good side to these viruses. Invisible to the naked eye and omnipresent on the planet, these viruses have survived for hundreds of millions of years and shaped all forms of life on earth. In fact, through the entire history of biological evolution, no animals or plants were able to exist without these tiny but influential viruses. For example, some viruses are involved in the transformation of the earth's atmosphere. And it is precisely because the atmosphere has been transformed that there is now an inhabitable environment for plants and animals on the earth. Although viruses have substantially influenced humans and continue to do so, most of us don’t know much about them. This book, A Planet of Viruses, will unveil the mystery behind viruses and help you understand the relationship between viruses and human beings. The author of the book, Carl Zimmer, is a writer of popular science who teaches scientific and environmental writing at Yale University. He has written a number of prominent works on popular sciences, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea, and Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed. In 2007 he won the National Academies Communication Award, which is the highest honor in this field. On a related note, Richard Preston, the author of another book on our platform, The Hot Zone, is a big fan of Carl Zimmer. He praised A Planet of Viruses for being thoughtful, precise, and engrossing page by page, and that Zimmer has an “uncanny ability to tell cool tales about nature that leave you with new thoughts and understanding, while always keeping precisely to the science.” Now, let’s explore A Planet of Viruses as told by Zimmer in three parts: First, the Earth is a planet of viruses; Second, the impact of viruses on living things; Third, the impact of viruses on human life.

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