BlueprintNicholas A. Christakis
The bestselling Science and Nature Ebooks at Apple's iBookstore. The chart list of the most popular science and nature iBooks updated daily.
Chart of the top selling science iBooks was last update: Wednesday, March 20 2019, 9:15 am
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BlueprintNicholas A. Christakis
Drawing on advances in social science, evolutionary biology, genetics, neuroscience, and network science, Blueprint shows how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity. For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society. In Blueprint , Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness. In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.
SapiensYuval Noah Harari
New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
New York Times best-selling author and primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions. New York Times best-selling author and primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions. New York Times best-selling author and primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions. Frans de Waal has spent four decades at the forefront of animal research. Following up on the best-selling Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, which investigated animal intelligence, Mama’s Last Hug delivers a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals. Mama’s Last Hug begins with the death of Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. When Mama was dying, van Hooff took the unusual step of visiting her in her night cage for a last hug. Their goodbyes were filmed and went viral. Millions of people were deeply moved by the way Mama embraced the professor, welcoming him with a big smile while reassuring him by patting his neck, in a gesture often considered typically human but that is in fact common to all primates. This story and others like it form the core of de Waal’s argument, showing that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy. De Waal discusses facial expressions, the emotions behind human politics, the illusion of free will, animal sentience, and, of course, Mama’s life and death. The message is one of continuity between us and other species, such as the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we don’t have a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same is true for our emotions. Mama’s Last Hug opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected, transforming how we view the living world around us.
The Uninhabitable EarthDavid Wallace-Wells
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER " The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon."—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, “500-year” storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually. This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century. In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today. Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation.
Biotechnology in Our LivesJeremy Gruber & Sheldon Krimsky
For a quarter of a century, the Council for Responsible Genetics has provided a unique historical lens into the modern history, science, ethics, and politics of genetic technologies. Since 1983 the Council has had leading scientists, activists, science writers, and public health advocates researching and reporting on a broad spectrum of issues, including genetically engineered foods, biological weapons, genetic privacy and discrimination, reproductive technologies, and human cloning. Biotechnology in Our Lives examines how these issues affect us daily whether we realize it or not. Written for the nonscientist, it looks at the many applications of genetics on the world around us by posing questions such as: • What should we know about genetics and childbirth? • Can our genes keep us from qualifying for health insurance? • Can gene therapy cure cancer? • Is behavior genetically determined? • Why would the FBI want our genes? • Are foreign genes in our food? • And much more Ultimately, this definitive book on the subject also encourages us to think about the social, environmental, and moral ramifications of where this technology is taking us.
Astrophysics for People in a HurryNeil de Grasse Tyson
Over a year on the New York Times bestseller list and more than a million copies sold. The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist. What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
The Joy of BirdingKate Rowinski
More than 50 million birders can’t be wrong. No matter where you live, you have the joy of hearing and seeing birds. This easy-to-use, full-color guide will provide you with the answers. Here you’ll learn how to identify different bird species by observing their body-parts, understand birds’ behavior and habits, get to know the birds around the home or a vacation spot, attract and make a good home for these new feathered friends, and much more! Designed especially for the home birdwatcher, but with information on destination vacations, this book teaches, “If you’re prepared to see them, they will come!”
The Joy of xSteven Strogatz
“Delightful . . . easily digestible chapters include plenty of helpful examples and illustrations. You'll never forget the Pythagorean theorem again!” — Scientific American Many people take math in high school and promptly forget much of it. But math plays a part in all of our lives all of the time, whether we know it or not. In The Joy of x , Steven Strogatz expands on his hit New York Times series to explain the big ideas of math gently and clearly, with wit, insight, and brilliant illustrations. Whether he is illuminating how often you should flip your mattress to get the maximum lifespan from it, explaining just how Google searches the internet, or determining how many people you should date before settling down, Strogatz shows how math connects to every aspect of life. Discussing pop culture, medicine, law, philosophy, art, and business, Strogatz is the math teacher you wish you’d had. Whether you aced integral calculus or aren’t sure what an integer is, you’ll find profound wisdom and persistent delight in The Joy of x .
The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksRebecca Skloot
Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
The Island of KnowledgeMarcelo Gleiser
Why discovering the limits to science may be the most powerful discovery of all How much can we know about the world? In this book, physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of existence, the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, and the limits of knowledge. In so doing, he reaches a provocative conclusion: science, like religion, is fundamentally limited as a tool for understanding the world. As science and its philosophical interpretations advance, we face the unsettling recognition of how much we don't know. Gleiser shows that by abandoning the dualistic model that divides reality into the known and the unknown, we can embark on a third way based on the acceptance of our limitations. Only then, he argues, will we be truly able to experience freedom; for to be free in an age of science we cannot turn science into a god. Gleiser ultimately offers an uplifting exploration of humanity's longing to conquer the unknown, and of science's power to transform and inspire.
An Elegant DefenseMatt Richtel
A magnificently reported and soulfully crafted exploration of the human immune system–the key to health and wellness, life and death. An epic, first-of-its-kind book, entwining leading-edge scientific discovery with the intimate stories of four individual lives, by the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist. “An Elegant Defense by Matt Richtel is one of those rare nonfiction books that transcends the genre. On one level it is a fascinating and engrossing account of the latest, and quite astonishing, discoveries involving the human immune system and how it works. But it is also a story about people facing mortality, about the passion of scientists searching for truth, and a meditation on death and how all of us struggle with the ultimate mystery. Heartfelt and moving, full of compassion, love, and the human drama, this is the work of a writer of high ethical character who is grappling with big issues and deep humanistic problems. What an inspiring and wonderful read. I highly recommend this extraordinary book.” —DOUGLAS PRESTON, #1 bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
Why We SleepMatthew Walker
A New York Times bestseller and international sensation, this “stimulating and important book” ( Financial Times ) from the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science is a fascinating dive into the purpose and power of slumber. As the Guardian said, Walker explains “how a good night's shut-eye can make us cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier, healthier, and ward off cancer.” With two appearances on CBS This Morning and Fresh Air 's most popular interview of 2017, Matthew Walker has made abundantly clear that sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when it is absent. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remains more elusive. Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity. In this “compelling and utterly convincing” ( The Sunday Times ) book, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker provides a revolutionary exploration of sleep, examining how it affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. Charting the most cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and marshalling his decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, slow the effects of aging, and increase longevity. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night’s sleep every night. Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book. Written with the precision of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Sherwin Nuland, it is “recommended for night-table reading in the most pragmatic sense” ( The New York Times Book Review ).
The Dancing Wu Li MastersGary Zukav
“The most exciting intellectual adventure I've been on since reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance .” — Times Gary Zukav’s timeless, humorous, New York Times bestselling masterpiece, The Dancing Wu Li Masters , is arguably the most widely acclaimed introduction to quantum physics ever written. Scientific American raves: “Zukav is such a skilled expositor, with such an amiable style, that it is hard to imagine a layman who would not find his book enjoyable and informative.” Accessible, edifying, and endlessly entertaining, The Dancing Wu Li Masters is back in a beautiful new edition—and the doors to the fascinating, dazzling, remarkable world of quantum physics are opened to all once again, no previous mathematical or technical expertise required.
FactfulnessHans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “One of the most important books I’ve ever read—an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates “Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” — Melinda Gates " Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." - Former U.S. President Barack Obama Factfulnes s: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends— what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school —we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. In Factfulness , Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens . They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective —from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them ) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. --- “This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance…Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.
The bestselling author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived investigates what it means to be human—and animal Publisher’s note: Humanimal was published in the UK under the title The Book of Humans. Evolutionary theory has long established that humans are animals: Modern Homo sapiens are primates who share an ancestor with monkeys and other great apes. Our genome is 98 percent identical to a chimpanzee’s. And yet we think of ourselves as exceptional. Are we? In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores the profound paradox of the “human animal.” Looking for answers across the animal kingdom, he finds that many things once considered exclusively human are not: In Australia, raptors have been observed starting fires to scatter prey; in Zambia, a chimp named Julie even started a “fashion” of wearing grass in one ear. We aren’t the only species that communicates, makes tools, or has sex for reasons other than procreation. But we have developed a culture far more complex than any other we’ve observed. Why has that happened, and what does it say about us? Humanimal is a new evolutionary history—a synthesis of the latest research on genetics, sex, migration, and much more. It reveals what unequivocally makes us animals—and also why we are truly extraordinary.
Brief Answers to the Big QuestionsStephen Hawking
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The world-famous cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the biggest questions facing humankind. “Hawking’s parting gift to humanity . . . a book every thinking person worried about humanity’s future should read.”—NPR NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Forbes • The Guardian • Wired Stephen Hawking was the most renowned scientist since Einstein, known both for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology and for his mischievous sense of humor. He educated millions of readers about the origins of the universe and the nature of black holes, and inspired millions more by defying a terrifying early prognosis of ALS, which originally gave him only two years to live. In later life he could communicate only by using a few facial muscles, but he continued to advance his field and serve as a revered voice on social and humanitarian issues. Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe’s greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet—including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence—he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us. Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history. Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world. Praise for Brief Answers to the Big Questions “[Hawking is] a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind.” — The Washington Post “Hawking’s final message to readers . . . is a hopeful one.” —CNN “Brisk, lucid peeks into the future of science and of humanity.” —The Wall Street Journal “Hawking pulls no punches on subjects like machines taking over, the biggest threat to Earth, and the possibilities of intelligent life in space.” —Quartz “Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and—where it matters—witty.” —The Guardian “This beautiful little book is a fitting last twinkle from a new star in the firmament above.” — The Telegraph
Genesis: The Deep Origin of SocietiesEdward O. Wilson
Forming a twenty-first-century statement on Darwinian evolution, one shorn of “religious and political dogma,” Edward O. Wilson offers a bold work of scientific thought and synthesis. Asserting that religious creeds and philosophical questions can be reduced to purely genetic and evolutionary components, and that the human body and mind have a physical base obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry, Genesis demonstrates that the only way for us to fully understand human behavior is to study the evolutionary histories of nonhuman species. Of these, Wilson demonstrates that at least seventeen—among them the African naked mole rat and the sponge- dwelling shrimp—have been found to have advanced societies based on altruism and cooperation. Whether writing about midges who “dance about like acrobats” or schools of anchovies who protectively huddle “to appear like a gigantic fish,” or proposing that human society owes a debt of gratitude to “postmenopausal grandmothers” and “childless homosexuals,” Genesis is a pithy yet path-breaking work of evolutionary theory, braiding twenty-first-century scientific theory with the lyrical biological and humanistic observations for which Wilson is known.
INCONVENIENT FACTSGregory Wrightstone
Well researched, clearly written, beautifully presented and, above all, fact-packed books such as Inconvenient Facts are absolutely essential to the very survival of democracy, to the restoration of true science, and to the ultimate triumph of objective truth. Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley You have been inundated with reports from media, governments, think tanks and “experts” saying that our climate is changing for the worse and it is our fault. Increases in droughts, heat waves, tornadoes and poison ivy—to name a few—are all blamed on our “sins of emissions” from burning fossil fuels and increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Yet, you don’t quite buy into this human-caused climate apocalypse. You aren’t sure about the details because you don’t have all the facts and likely aren’t a scientist. Inconvenient Facts was specifically created for you. Writing in plain English and providing easily understood charts and figures, Gregory Wrightstone presents the science to assess the basis of the threatened Thermageddon. The book’s 60 “inconvenient facts” come from government sources, peer-reviewed literature or scholarly works, set forth in a way that is lucid and entertaining. The information likely will challenge your current understanding of many apocalyptic predictions about our ever dynamic climate. You will learn that the planet is improving, not in spite of increasing CO2 and rising temperature, but because of it. The very framework of the climate-catastrophe argu-ment will be confronted with scientific fact. Arm yourself with the truth.
The Story of the Human BodyDaniel Lieberman
In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease. The Story of the Human Body brilliantly illuminates as never before the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies. Lieberman also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, Lieberman argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Lieberman proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution,” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment. (With charts and line drawings throughout.)
A Brief History of TimeStephen Hawking
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends? Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.
The Grand DesignStephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation? In this startling and lavishly illustrated book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about these and other abiding mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by brilliance and simplicity. According to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history. The authors explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. They conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a “theory of everything”: the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, which, if confirmed, would represent the ultimate triumph of human reason.
Feeding Everyone No Matter What David Denkenberger & Joshua M. Pearce
Feeding Everyone No Matter What presents a scientific approach to the practicalities of planning for long-term interruption to food production. The primary historic solution developed over the last several decades is increased food storage. However, storing up enough food to feed everyone would take a significant amount of time and would increase the price of food, killing additional people due to inadequate global access to affordable food. Humanity is far from doomed, however, in these situations - there are solutions. This book provides an order of magnitude technical analysis comparing caloric requirements of all humans for five years with conversion of existing vegetation and fossil fuels to edible food. It presents mechanisms for global-scale conversion including: natural gas-digesting bacteria, extracting food from leaves, and conversion of fiber by enzymes, mushroom or bacteria growth, or a two-step process involving partial decomposition of fiber by fungi and/or bacteria and feeding them to animals such as beetles, ruminants (cows, deer, etc), rats and chickens. It includes an analysis to determine the ramp rates for each option and the results show that careful planning and global cooperation could ensure the bulk of humanity and biodiversity could be maintained in even in the most extreme circumstances. Summarizes the severity and probabilities of global catastrophe scenarios, which could lead to a complete loss of agricultural productionMore than 10 detailed mechanisms for global-scale solutions to the food crisis and their evaluation to test their viabilityDetailed roadmap for future R&D for human survival after global catastrophe
The Male BrainLouann Brizendine, M.D.
From the author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Female Brain, here is the eagerly awaited follow-up book that demystifies the puzzling male brain. Dr. Louann Brizendine, the founder of the first clinic in the country to study gender differences in brain, behavior, and hormones, turns her attention to the male brain, showing how, through every phase of life, the "male reality" is fundamentally different from the female one. Exploring the latest breakthroughs in male psychology and neurology with her trademark accessibility and candor, she reveals that the male brain: -is a lean, mean, problem-solving machine. Faced with a personal problem, a man will use his analytical brain structures, not his emotional ones, to find a solution. -thrives under competition, instinctively plays rough and is obsessed with rank and hierarchy. -has an area for sexual pursuit that is 2.5 times larger than the female brain, consuming him with sexual fantasies about female body parts. -experiences such a massive increase in testosterone at puberty that he perceive others' faces to be more aggressive. The Male Brain finally overturns the stereotypes. Impeccably researched and at the cutting edge of scientific knowledge, this is a book that every man, and especially every woman bedeviled by a man, will need to own.
The Feather ThiefKirk Wallace Johnson
As heard on NPR's This American Life “Absorbing . . . Though it's non-fiction, The Feather Thief contains many of the elements of a classic thriller.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air “One of the most peculiar and memorable true-crime books ever.” — Christian Science Monitor A rollicking true-crime adventure and a captivating journey into an underground world of fanatical fly-tiers and plume peddlers, for readers of The Stranger in the Woods , The Lost City of Z , and The Orchid Thief . On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them—and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.
The One-Straw RevolutionMasanobu Fukuoka, Larry Korn, Wendell Berry & Frances Moore Lappé
Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book,” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture.” Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature’s own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort. Whether you’re a guerrilla gardener or a kitchen gardener, dedicated to slow food or simply looking to live a healthier life, you will find something here—you may even be moved to start a revolution of your own.
An Epidemic of AbsenceMoises Velasquez-Manoff
A brilliant, cutting-edge exploration of the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases and the controversial, potentially groundbreaking therapies that scientists are developing to correct these disorders Whether it is asthma, food or pollen allergies, type-1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? Science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff explains the latest thinking about this problem and explores the remarkable new treatments in the works. In the past 150 years, improved sanitation, water treatment, and the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have saved countless lives, nearly eradicating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But now, a growing body of evidence suggests that the very steps we took to combat infections also eliminated organisms that kept our bodies in balance. The idea that we have systematically cleaned ourselves to illness challenges deeply entrenched notions about the value of societal hygiene and the harmful nature of microbes. Yet scientists investigating the rampant immune dysfunction in the developed world have inevitably arrived at this conclusion. To address this global “epidemic of absence,” they must restore the human ecosystem. This groundbreaking book explores the promising but controversial “worm therapy”—deliberate infection with parasitic worms—in development to treat autoimmune disease. It explains why farmers’ children so rarely get hay fever, why allergy is less prevalent in former Eastern Bloc countries, and how one cancer-causing bacterium may be good for us. It probes the link between autism and a dysfunctional immune system. It investigates the newly apparent fetal origins of allergic disease—that a mother’s inflammatory response imprints on her unborn child, tipping the scales toward allergy. In the future, preventive treatment—something as simple as a probiotic—will necessarily begin before birth. An Epidemic of Absence asks what will happen in developing countries, which, as they become more affluent, have already seen an uptick in allergic disease: Will India end up more allergic than Europe? Velasquez-Manoff also details a controversial underground movement that has coalesced around the treatment of immune-mediated disorders with parasites. Against much of his better judgment, he joins these do-it-yourselfers and reports his surprising results. An Epidemic of Absence considers the critical immune stimuli we inadvertently lost as we modernized, and the modern ills we may be able to correct by restoring them. At stake is nothing less than our health, and that of our loved ones. Researchers, meanwhile, have the good fortune of living through a paradigm shift, one of those occasional moments in the progress of science when a radically new way of thinking emerges, shakes things up, and suggests new avenues of treatment. You’ll discover that you’re not you at all, but a bustling collection of organisms, an ecosystem whose preservation and integrity require the utmost attention and care.
Isaac Asimov's Guide to Earth and SpaceIsaac Asimov
A thrilling nonfiction tour of the cosmos that brings the universe down to Earth, from one of the all-time masters of science fiction. No one makes sense out of science like Isaac Asimov. Are you puzzled by pulsars? Baffled by black holes? Bewildered by the big bang? If so, here are succinct, crystal-clear answers to more than one hundred of the most significant questions about the essential nature of the universe—questions that have fired the imagination since the beginning of history. Over the course of this fantastic voyage, the origins, the discoveries, and the stunning achievements of astronomy will unfold before your eyes. You will experience close encounters with giant planets, exploding stars, distant galaxies, and more. For anyone who has ever asked the ultimate questions, who has ever looked up at the sky and asked What in heaven is going on? , Isaac Asimov’s unique vision, skill, and authority will bring the big picture into focus. “A fine introduction to modern astronomical theory.”— Library Journal
The Humane EconomyWayne Pacelle
A major new exploration of the economics of animal exploitation and a practical roadmap for how we can use the marketplace to promote the welfare of all living creatures, from the renowned animal-rights advocate Wayne Pacelle, President/CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and New York Times bestselling author of The Bond. In the mid-nineteenth century, New Bedford, Massachusetts was the whaling capital of the world. A half-gallon of sperm oil cost approximately $1,400 in today’s dollars, and whale populations were hunted to near extinction for profit. But with the advent of fossil fuels, the whaling industry collapsed, and today, the area around New Bedford is instead known as one of the best places in the world for whale watching. This transformation is emblematic of a new sort of economic revolution, one that has the power to transform the future of animal welfare. In The Humane Economy, Wayne Pacelle, President/CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, explores how our everyday economic decisions impact the survival and wellbeing of animals, and how we can make choices that better support them. Though most of us have never harpooned a sea creature, clubbed a seal, or killed an animal for profit, we are all part of an interconnected web that has a tremendous impact on animal welfare, and the decisions we make—whether supporting local, not industrial, farming; adopting a rescue dog or a shelter animal instead of one from a “puppy mill”; avoiding products that compromise the habitat of wild species; or even seeing Cirque du Soleil instead of Ringling Brothers—do matter. The Humane Economy shows us how what we do everyday as consumers can benefit animals, the environment, and human society, and why these decisions can make economic sense as well.
Game TheoryMorton D. Davis
"A lucid and penetrating development of game theory that will appeal to the intuition . . . a most valuable contribution." — Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach The foundations of game theory were laid by John von Neumann, who in 1928 proved the basic minimax theorem, and with the 1944 publication of the Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, the field was established. Since then, game theory has become an enormously important discipline because of its novel mathematical properties and its many applications to social, economic, and political problems. Game theory has been used to make investment decisions, pick jurors, commit tanks to battle, allocate business expenses equitably — even to measure a senator's power, among many other uses. In this revised edition of his highly regarded work, Morton Davis begins with an overview of game theory, then discusses the two-person zero-sum game with equilibrium points; the general, two-person zero-sum game; utility theory; the two-person, non-zero-sum game; and the n-person game. A number of problems are posed at the start of each chapter and readers are given a chance to solve them before moving on. (Unlike most mathematical problems, many problems in game theory are easily understood by the lay reader.) At the end of the chapter, where solutions are discussed, readers can compare their "common sense" solutions with those of the author. Brimming with applications to an enormous variety of everyday situations, this book offers readers a fascinating, accessible introduction to one of the most fruitful and interesting intellectual systems of our time.
"Theway Brockman interlaces essays about research on the frontiers of science withones on artistic vision, education, psychology and economics is sure to buzzany brain." —Chicago Sun-Times, on This Will Change Everything Launchinga hard-hitting new series from Edge.org and Harper Perennial, editor JohnBrockman delivers this cutting-edge master class covering everything you needto know about Culture. With original contributions by the world’sleading thinkers and scientists, including Jared Diamond, Daniel C. Dennett,Brian Eno, Jaron Lanier,Nicholas Christakis, and others, Culture offers a mind-expanding primeron a fundamental topic. Unparalleled in scope, depth, insight and quality, Edge.org’s Culture is not to be missed.
Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn AddictsLeigh Phillips
Economic growth, progress, industry and, erm, stuff have all come in for a sharp kicking from the green left and beyond in recent years. Everyone from black-hoodied Starbucks window-smashers to farmers' market heirloom-tomato-mongers to Prince Charles himself seem to be embracing 'degrowth' and anti-consumerism, which is nothing less than a form of ecological austerity. Meanwhile, the back-to-the-land ideology and aesthetic of locally-woven organic carrot-pants, pathogen-encrusted compost toilets and civilisational collapse is hegemonic. Yet modernity is not the cause of climate change and the wider biocrisis. It is indeed capitalism that is the source of our environmental woes, but capitalism as a mode of production, not the fuzzy understanding of capitalism of Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Derrick Jensen, Paul Kingsnorth and their anarcho-liberal epigones as a sort of globalist corporate malfeasance. In combative and puckish style, science journalist Leigh Phillips marshals evidence from climate science, ecology, paleoanthropology, agronomy, microbiology, psychology, history, the philosophy of mathematics, and heterodox economics to argue that progressives must rediscover their historic, Promethean ambitions and counter this reactionary neo-Malthusian ideology that not only retards human flourishing, but won't save the planet anyway. We want to take over the machine and run it rationally, not turn the machine off.
A Little Book of CoincidenceJohn Martineau
Venus draws a beautiful pentagram around Earth every eight years. Jupiter's two largest moons draw a perfect four-fold flower. The Planets grandly play out the slow Music of the Spheres. Is there a secret structure hidden in the Solar System? Packed with great illustrations and serious research from many sources, this internationally bestselling little book by cosmologist John Martineau will instantly retune your cosmological circuits to the extraordinary and primary patterns behind Life, the Universe and Everything. WOODEN BOOKS are small but packed with information. 'Fascinating' FINANCIAL TIMES. 'Beautiful' LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS. 'Rich and Artful' THE LANCET. 'Genuinely mind-expanding' FORTEAN TIMES. 'Excellent' NEW SCIENTIST. 'Stunning' NEW YORK TIMES. Small books, big ideas.
Homo DeusYuval Noah Harari
Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods. Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda. What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.
You Are the UniverseDeepak Chopra & Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D.
Now a New York Times Bestseller! "A riveting and absolutely fascinating adventure that will blow your mind wide open!" —Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi Deepak Chopra joins forces with leading physicist Menas Kafatos to explore some of the most important and baffling questions about our place in the world. What happens when modern science reaches a crucial turning point that challenges everything we know about reality? In this brilliant, timely, and practical work, Chopra and Kafatos tell us that we've reached just such a point. In the coming era, the universe will be completely redefined as a "human universe" radically unlike the cold, empty void where human life is barely a speck in the cosmos. You Are the Universe literally means what it says--each of us is a co-creator of reality extending to the vastest reaches of time and space. This seemingly impossible proposition follows from the current state of science, where outside the public eye, some key mysteries cannot be solved, even though they are the very issues that define reality itself: What Came Before the Big Bang? Why Does the Universe Fit Together So Perfectly? Where Did Time Come From? What Is the Universe Made Of? Is the Quantum World Linked to Everyday Life? Do We Live in a Conscious Universe? How Did Life First Begin? “The shift into a new paradigm is happening,” the authors write. “The answers offered in this book are not our invention or eccentric flights of fancy. All of us live in a participatory universe. Once you decide that you want to participate fully with mind, body, and soul, the paradigm shift becomes personal. The reality you inhabit will be yours either to embrace or to change.” What these two great minds offer is a bold, new understanding of who we are and how we can transform the world for the better while reaching our greatest potential.
The Sixth ExtinctionElizabeth Kolbert
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction , two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
The Stranger in the WoodsMichael Finkel
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. A New York Times bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The Order of TimeCarlo Rovelli
One of TIME’s Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2018 "Meet the new Stephen Hawking . . . The Order of Time is a dazzling book." -- The Sunday Times From the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics , comes a concise, elegant exploration of time. Why do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to "flow"? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe. Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.
InnumeracyJohn Allen Paulos
Why do even well-educated people understand so little about mathematics? And what are the costs of our innumeracy? John Allen Paulos, in his celebrated bestseller first published in 1988, argues that our inability to deal rationally with very large numbers and the probabilities associated with them results in misinformed governmental policies, confused personal decisions, and an increased susceptibility to pseudoscience of all kinds. Innumeracy lets us know what we're missing, and how we can do something about it. Sprinkling his discussion of numbers and probabilities with quirky stories and anecdotes, Paulos ranges freely over many aspects of modern life, from contested elections to sports stats, from stock scams and newspaper psychics to diet and medical claims, sex discrimination, insurance, lotteries, and drug testing. Readers of Innumeracy will be rewarded with scores of astonishing facts, a fistful of powerful ideas, and, most important, a clearer, more quantitative way of looking at their world.
Silent SpringRachel Carson
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.
Who We Are and How We Got HereDavid Reich
A groundbreaking book about how ancient DNA has profoundly changed our understanding of human history. Geneticists like David Reich have made astounding advances in the field of genomics, which is proving to be as important as archeology, linguistics, and written records as a means to understand our ancestry. In Who We Are and How We Got Here , Reich allows readers to discover how the human genome provides not only all the information a human embryo needs to develop but also the hidden story of our species. Reich delves into how the genomic revolution is transforming our understanding of modern humans and how DNA studies reveal deep inequalities among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals. Provocatively, Reich’s book suggests that there might very well be biological differences among human populations but that these differences are unlikely to conform to common stereotypes. Drawing upon revolutionary findings and unparalleled scientific studies, Who We Are and How We Got Here is a captivating glimpse into humankind—where we came from and what that says about our lives today.
Storytelling with DataCole Nussbaumer Knaflic
Don't simply show your data—tell a story with it! Storytelling with Data teaches you the fundamentals of data visualization and how to communicate effectively with data. You'll discover the power of storytelling and the way to make data a pivotal point in your story. The lessons in this illuminative text are grounded in theory, but made accessible through numerous real-world examples—ready for immediate application to your next graph or presentation. Storytelling is not an inherent skill, especially when it comes to data visualization, and the tools at our disposal don't make it any easier. This book demonstrates how to go beyond conventional tools to reach the root of your data, and how to use your data to create an engaging, informative, compelling story. Specifically, you'll learn how to: Understand the importance of context and audience Determine the appropriate type of graph for your situation Recognize and eliminate the clutter clouding your information Direct your audience's attention to the most important parts of your data Think like a designer and utilize concepts of design in data visualization Leverage the power of storytelling to help your message resonate with your audience Together, the lessons in this book will help you turn your data into high impact visual stories that stick with your audience. Rid your world of ineffective graphs, one exploding 3D pie chart at a time. There is a story in your data— Storytelling with Data will give you the skills and power to tell it!
A Tear at the Edge of CreationMarcelo Gleiser
For millennia, shamans and philosophers, believers and nonbelievers, artists and scientists have tried to make sense of our existence by suggesting that everything is connected, that a mysterious Oneness binds us to everything else. People go to temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues to pray to their divine incarnation of Oneness. Following a surprisingly similar notion, scientists have long asserted that under Nature’s apparent complexity there is a simpler underlying reality. In its modern incarnation, this Theory of Everything would unite the physical laws governing very large bodies (Einstein’s theory of relativity) and those governing tiny ones (quantum mechanics) into a single framework. But despite the brave efforts of many powerful minds, the Theory of Everything remains elusive. It turns out that the universe is not elegant. It is gloriously messy. Overturning more than twenty-five centuries of scientific thought, award-winning physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues that this quest for a Theory of Everything is fundamentally misguided, and he explains the volcanic implications this ideological shift has for humankind. All the evidence points to a scenario in which everything emerges from fundamental imperfections, primordial asymmetries in matter and time, cataclysmic accidents in Earth’s early life, and duplication errors in the genetic code. Imbalance spurs creation. Without asymmetries and imperfections, the universe would be filled with nothing but smooth radiation. A Tear at the Edge of Creation calls for nothing less than a new "humancentrism" to reflect our position in the universal order. All life, but intelligent life in particular, is a rare and precious accident. Our presence here has no meaning outside of itself, but it does have meaning. The unplanned complexity of humankind is all the more beautiful for its improbability. It’s time for science to let go of the old aesthetic that labels perfection beautiful and holds that "beauty is truth." It’s time to look at the evidence without centuries of monotheistic baggage. In this lucid, down-to-earth narrative, Gleiser walks us through the basic and cutting-edge science that fueled his own transformation from unifier to doubter—a fascinating scientific quest that led him to a new understanding of what it is to be human.
American BuffaloSteven Rinella
From the host of the Travel Channel’s “The Wild Within.” A hunt for the American buffalo—an adventurous, fascinating examination of an animal that has haunted the American imagination. In 2005, Steven Rinella won a lottery permit to hunt for a wild buffalo, or American bison, in the Alaskan wilderness. Despite the odds—there’s only a 2 percent chance of drawing the permit, and fewer than 20 percent of those hunters are successful—Rinella managed to kill a buffalo on a snow-covered mountainside and then raft the meat back to civilization while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Throughout these adventures, Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years’ worth of buffalo hunters in North America, as well as the buffalo’s place in the American experience. At the time of the Revolutionary War, North America was home to approximately 40 million buffalo, the largest herd of big mammals on the planet, but by the mid-1890s only a few hundred remained. Now that the buffalo is on the verge of a dramatic ecological recovery across the West, Americans are faced with the challenge of how, and if, we can dare to share our land with a beast that is the embodiment of the American wilderness. American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella’s hunt. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo’s past, present, and future: to the Bering Land Bridge, where scientists search for buffalo bones amid artifacts of the New World’s earliest human inhabitants; to buffalo jumps where Native Americans once ran buffalo over cliffs by the thousands; to the Detroit Carbon works, a “bone charcoal” plant that made fortunes in the late 1800s by turning millions of tons of buffalo bones into bone meal, black dye, and fine china; and even to an abattoir turned fashion mecca in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where a depressed buffalo named Black Diamond met his fate after serving as the model for the American nickel. Rinella’s erudition and exuberance, combined with his gift for storytelling, make him the perfect guide for a book that combines outdoor adventure with a quirky blend of facts and observations about history, biology, and the natural world. Both a captivating narrative and a book of environmental and historical significance, American Buffalo tells us as much about ourselves as Americans as it does about the creature who perhaps best of all embodies the American ethos.
Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive—even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
The Demon Under the MicroscopeThomas Hager
In The Demon Under the Microscope , Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of sulfa, the first antibiotic and the drug that shaped modern medicine. The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. Sulfa saved millions of lives—among them those of Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr.—but its real effects are even more far reaching. Sulfa changed the way new drugs were developed, approved, and sold; transformed the way doctors treated patients; and ushered in the era of modern medicine. The very concept that chemicals created in a lab could cure disease revolutionized medicine, taking it from the treatment of symptoms and discomfort to the eradication of the root cause of illness. A strange and colorful story, The Demon Under the Microscope illuminates the vivid characters, corporate strategy, individual idealism, careful planning, lucky breaks, cynicism, heroism, greed, hard work, and the central (though mistaken) idea that brought sulfa to the world. This is a fascinating scientific tale with all the excitement and intrigue of a great suspense novel.
Chesapeake RequiemEarl Swift
A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction. A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Washington Post, NPR, Outside, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Bloomberg, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Review of Books, Science Friday, and Kirkus "BEAUTIFUL, HAUNTING AND TRUE." — Hampton Sides • “GORGEOUS. A TRULY REMARKABLE BOOK.” — Beth Macy • "GRIPPING. FANTASTIC." — Outside • "CAPTIVATING." — Washington Post • "POWERFUL." — Bill McKibben • "VIVID. HARROWING AND MOVING." — Science • "A MASTERFUL NARRATIVE." — Christian Science Monitor • "THE BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR." — Stephen L. Carter/Bloomberg A Washington Post bestseller • An Indie Next List selection • An NPR All Things Considered and Axios "Book Club" pick Tangier Island, Virginia, is a community unique on the American landscape. Mapped by John Smith in 1608, settled during the American Revolution, the tiny sliver of mud is home to 470 hardy people who live an isolated and challenging existence, with one foot in the 21st century and another in times long passed. They are separated from their countrymen by the nation’s largest estuary, and a twelve-mile boat trip across often tempestuous water—the same water that for generations has made Tangier’s fleet of small fishing boats a chief source for the rightly prized Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and has lent the island its claim to fame as the softshell crab capital of the world. Yet for all of its long history, and despite its tenacity, Tangier is disappearing. The very water that has long sustained it is erasing the island day by day, wave by wave. It has lost two-thirds of its land since 1850, and still its shoreline retreats by fifteen feet a year—meaning this storied place will likely succumb first among U.S. towns to the effects of climate change. Experts reckon that, barring heroic intervention by the federal government, islanders could be forced to abandon their home within twenty-five years. Meanwhile, the graves of their forebears are being sprung open by encroaching tides, and the conservative and deeply religious Tangiermen ponder the end times. Chesapeake Requiem is an intimate look at the island’s past, present and tenuous future, by an acclaimed journalist who spent much of the past two years living among Tangier’s people, crabbing and oystering with its watermen, and observing its long traditions and odd ways. What emerges is the poignant tale of a world that has, quite nearly, gone by—and a leading-edge report on the coming fate of countless coastal communities.
The Neuroscience of MindfulnessDr Stan Rodski
Explore the benefits of a mindful approach to life Cutting-edge studies in neuroscience have in recent years proved what many doctors, therapists and other health professionals had long suspected: simple, repetitive tasks, performed with focus and attention - mindfulness, in other words - can not only quieten our noisy thought processes and help us relax but also improve our outlook on life and protect us against a range of life-threatening illnesses. A cognitive neuroscientist and a leading authority on mental performance, Stan Rodski sets out the science behind these remarkable discoveries in simple terms, and explains how you in turn can benefit from them. As well as examining the potentially pivotal role of mindfulness in alleviating stress and managing energy, Stan highlights the most effective mindfulness activities, guides you through quick and easy exercises, and shows you how to harness the power of mindfulness over the long term to forge mental and physical resilience - and create a happier, healthier, more compelling future.
The Elephant WhispererLawrence Anthony & Graham Spence
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of “rogue” wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd’s last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn’t take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom. The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad account of Anthony’s experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, it is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.
The Selfish GeneRichard Dawkins
The 40th anniversary edition of the million copy international bestseller, with a new epilogue from the author. As relevant and influential today as when it was first published, this classic exposition of evolutionary thought, widely hailed for its stylistic brilliance and deep scientific insights, stimulated whole new areas of research.
Compact FarmsJosh Volk
Small is beautiful, and these 15 real farm plans show that small-scale farmers can have big-time success. Compact Farms is an illustrated guide for anyone dreaming of starting, expanding, or perfecting a profitable farming enterprise on five acres or less. The farm plans explain how to harness an area’s water supply, orientation, and geography in order to maximize efficiency and productivity while minimizing effort. Profiles of well-known farmers such as Eliot Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier show that farming on a small scale in any region, in both urban and rural settings, can provide enough income to turn the endeavor from hobby to career. These real-life plans and down-and-dirty advice will equip you with everything you need to actually realize your farm dreams.
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