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Books, Journals, New Media
November 13, 2002


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2002;288(18):2340. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2340

This interesting book discusses the effects of temperature in humans, animals, and plants. The elegant prose engrosses the reader. Although the information presented is available and, in many respects, widely known among biologists and ecologists, the book is a useful compilation. It provokes our curiosity, which makes it well worth studying.

The book has nine sections, an introduction, and an epilogue. Each section addresses important aspects of life on earth vis-a-vis temperature measured and expressed as cold or warm according to human body norms. As Blumberg describes, the human body has a mechanism to maintain a constant core temperature around 37° Celsius for normal function of important biochemical and physicochemical reactions. This thermoregulatory mechanism attempts to maintain temperature in extreme external temperatures. Although other species and plants can exist in colder or warmer environments than can humans, the variations and adaptations of both animals and plants are well documented, especially in the sections of chapter 4 "Warming Up to Insects," "Hothouse Flowers," and "Fish Eyes."

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