Friday, 26 August 2011
With its trillions of connections, the human brain is more beautiful and complex than anything we could ever build, but it's far from perfect: our memory is unreliable; we can't multiply large sums in our heads; advertising manipulates our judgment; we tend to distrust people who are different from us; supernatural beliefs and superstitions are hard to shake; we prefer instant gratification to long-term gain; and what we presume to be rational decisions are often anything but. Drawing on striking examples and fascinating studies, neuroscientist Dean Buonomano illuminates the causes and consequences of these ''bugs'' in terms of the brain's innermost workings and their evolutionary purposes. He then goes one step further, examining how our brains function--and malfunction--in the digital, predator-free, information-saturated, special-effects-addled world that we have built for ourselves. Along the way, Brain Bugs gives us the tools to hone our cognitive strengths while recognizing our inherent weaknesses.
Journal of Biological Education
'The great strength of this book is that it provides a comprehensive and well written coverage of the entire field of biology, superbly illustrated in full colour and at an affordable price.
Product DescriptionThis is an authoritative introductory text that presents biological concepts through the research that revealed them. "Life" covers the full range of topics with an integrated experimental focus that flows naturally from the narrative. This approach helps to bring the drama of classic and cutting-edge research to the classroom, but always in the context of reinforcing core ideas and the innovative scientific thinking behind them. Students will experience biology not just as a litany of facts or a highlight reel of experiments, but as a rich, coherent discipline. The new edition contains new chapters and essays, an enhanced art programme, and standard setting media and supplements.
"[Graffin] explains how evolution can be a guide to life."
"Bucking authority and the religious views of his family, Graffin explains how he has developed a personal philosophy that celebrates the power of nature."
"Whether you’re a believer, an atheist, an agnostic, or anything in between, this is a necessary book."
Most people know Greg Graffin as the lead singer of the punk band Bad Religion, but few know that he also received a PhD from Cornell University and teaches evolution at the University of California at Los Angeles. In Anarchy Evolution, Graffin argues that art and science have a deep connection. As an adolescent growing up when "drugs, sex, and trouble could be had on any given night," Graffin discovered that the study of evolution provided a framework through which he could make sense of the world.
In this provocative and personal book, he describes his own coming of age as an artist and the formation of his naturalist worldview on questions involving God, science, and human existence. While the battle between religion and science is often displayed in the starkest of terms, Anarchy Evolution provides fresh and nuanced insights into the long-standing debate about atheism and the human condition. It is a book for anyone who has ever wondered if God really exists. Amazon
In this in-depth, lucid discussion of this fascinating and controversial topic, physicist and author Victor J. Stenger looks at the same evidence and comes to the opposite conclusion. He states at the outset that as a physicist he will go wherever the data takes him, even if it leads him to God. But after many years of research in particle physics and thinking about its implications, he finds that the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God, they provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist.
Although Stenger has touched on the subject of fine-tuning in other books, this is his most thorough exploration of a topic that continues to intrigue scientists and the lay public alike. Amazon
—Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park and the award-winning Broadway musical The Book of Mormon
"Penn Jillette is a twenty-first-century Lord of Misrule: big, boisterously anarchic, funny, Rabelaisian, impossible and unique. There isn't—couldn't be—better not be—anybody like him."
From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist's experience in the world. In this rollicking yet honest account of a godless existence, Penn takes readers on a roller coaster of exploration and flips conventional religious wisdom on its ear to reveal that doubt, skepticism, and wonder -- all signs of a general feeling of disbelief -- are to be celebrated and cherished, rather than suppressed. And he tells some pretty damn funny stories along the way. From performing blockbuster shows on the Vegas Strip to the adventures of fatherhood, from an on-going dialogue with proselytizers of the Christian Right to the joys of sex while scuba diving, Jillette's self-created Decalogue invites his reader on a journey of discovery that is equal parts wise and wisecracking. Amazon
Monday, 22 August 2011
It is a detailed survey of dinosaur origins, their diversity, and their eventual extinction.
The book can easily be used as a teaching textbook for a class, but it is also written as a series of readable, entertaining essays covering important and timely topics appealing to non-specialists and all dinosaur enthusiasts: birds as ‘living dinosaurs’, the new feathered dinosaurs from China, ‘warm-bloodedness’.
Along the way, the reader learns about dinosaur functional morphology, physiology, and systematics using cladistic methodology - in short, how professional paleontologists and dinosaur experts go about their work, and why they find it so rewarding.
The book is spectacularly illustrated by John Sibbick, a world-famous illustrator of dinosaurs, commissioned exclusively for this book.
This is a comprehensive student textbook on dinosaurs that non-specialists will also find fascinating.
The geological context of dinosaurs is also stressed, and dinosaurs are presented in the context of contemporary plate tectonic and climatic settings.
Often enduring years of heartache, couples with infertility number over 7.3 million. Enduring the daunting difficulties of treatment is something few women are prepared for. Based on the personal stories of 200 women determined to overcome infertility, this surprisingly upbeat survivors' guide gives the kind of hard-won wisdom essential to making it through the process. Not only does the book detail coping strategies, it also presents tips for strengthening stressed relationships and addresses the unique needs of single women and lesbians.
An essential guide for women and couples, friends and family, and health care providers and therapists, this book offers the solace and strength needed to prevail even after years of struggle.
Written by a therapist, consultant, and public speaker dedicated to the study of infertility and its emotional impact
Other titles by Shapiro: When Part of the Self Is Lost and Infertility and Pregnancy Loss
For any woman or couple who feel as if they're facing infertility alone, When You're Not Expecting is a must-have book.
The emotional and psychological elements of pregnancy are often overlooked in favor of hard facts and scientific evidence. This book redresses the balance and turns its attention to the conflicting feelings of exhilaration and anxiety, dreams and fears that so often characterize the nine months of pregnancy and gives parents-to-be inspiring guidance through these uncharted waters.
Now in its 4th Edition, this classic text covers the physical principles underlying the behavior of glaciers -- terrestrial ice bodies originating as accumulations of snow -- including mountain glaciers, small ice caps, ice sheets, and shelves. New material on climate change includes interactions between ice sheets and the ocean and atmosphere, paleoclimate reconstruction using ice cores, Quaternary climate history and the ice ages, and sea level rise. The book also explores topics of interest to geologists and geophysicists, including glacial connections to geomorphology, sedimentation, isostasy, and tectonics.
-Completely updated and revised, with 30% new material including climate change
-Accessible to students, and an essential guide for researchers
-Authored by preeminent glaciologists
Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to tackle its problems head-on, Nagel turns to some of the most important questions we can ask about ourselves. Do we really have free will? Why should we be moral? What is the relation between our minds and our brains? Is there life after death? How should we feel about death? In a universe so vast, billions of light years across, can anything we do with our lives really matter? And does it matter if it doesn't matter? These are perennial questions we ask about the human condition, and Nagel probes them, and others like them, thoughtfully, clearly, and with humor. He states his own opinions freely but with refreshing modesty, always leaving it open to readers to entertain other solutions, encouraging them to think for themselves.
The No-Nonsense Guide to Green Politics measures the rising tide of eco-activism and awareness and explains why it heralds a new political era worldwide.
Derek Wall is a former principal speaker of the British Green Party. He is the author of numerous books, including Babylon and Beyond: The Economics of Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Globalist and Radical Green Movements.
"Probably the book's most valuable contribution to the history of space physics is precisely the narration of the discovery of substorms.---The book has special features.---Akasofu's coverage of the history of pre-space age solar-terrestrial relations is the most comprehensive among books on the subject known to me.---It is a unique mix of science, history, philosophy, and exhortation."
George Siscoe, Center for Space Physics, Boston University
"The book documents the author’s celebrated contributions to understanding the aurora spanning many decades and revolving around some of the most notable space scientists the discipline has produced. … The author’s personal remarks and views sprinkled throughout the book are enjoyable. … Students who read this book will be amused and fascinated by the human side of the scientists … . there are important messages from which scientists of all ages will benefit. … all readers will find this book both fascinating and informative.
This comprehensive encyclopedic reference provides rapid access to focused information on topics of cancer research for clinicians, research scientists and advanced students. Given the overwhelming success of the first edition, which appeared in 2001, and fast development in the different fields of cancer research, it has been decided to publish a second fully revised and expanded edition. With an A-Z format of over 7,000 entries, more than 1,000 contributing authors provide a complete reference to cancer. The merging of different basic and clinical scientific disciplines towards the common goal of fighting cancer makes such a comprehensive reference source all the more timely.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
As scientists have become more capable of probing the structure of three-dimensional objects at the molecular level, the need to understand the concept and the consequences of mirror-image asymmetry—chirality—has increased enormously. Written at an introductory level, Mirror-Image Asymmetry provides an overview of the importance and effects of asymmetry from the atomic and molecular world of physics and chemistry to the organisms and structures that we see and use in our everyday life. The reader will develop a broad appreciation of three-dimensional asymmetry from the microscopic molecular world to the macroscopic world of handedness, automobile driving, windmills, sports, and similar phenomena.
Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices--past and present--that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, you'll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many others well-known and lesser known. And they're all set in context and commented upon as only Christopher Hitchens--"political and literary journalist extraordinaire". (Los Angeles Times)
Friday, 12 August 2011
The authors of this book also see a possibility of extraterrestrial life. "We now know that there are many planets out there in the galaxy, and we have good grounds for supposing that a number of these will have life." It may be strange life, though, they say, nothing like what we know on Earth. On those principles, Cohen and Stewart (respectively, a reproductive biologist and a professor of mathematics at Warwick University in England) lay a basis for what they call xenoscience--knowledge of the strange. They draw on serious science--biology, chemistry, astronomy and physics--and also on science fiction, because the best of it has "made some useful contributions to the scientific understanding of possibilities for alien lifeforms."
In Darwin’s Conjecture, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen reveal how the British naturalist’s core concepts apply to a wide range of phenomena, including business practices, legal systems, technology, and even science itself. They also critique some prominent objections to applying Darwin to social science, arguing that ultimately Darwinism functions as a general theoretical framework for stimulating further inquiry. Social scientists who adopt a Darwinian approach, they contend, can then use it to frame and help develop new explanatory theories and predictive models.
This truly pathbreaking work at long last makes the powerful conceptual tools of Darwin available to the social sciences and will be welcomed by scholars and students from a range of disciplines.
Maarten Troost has charmed legions of readers with his laugh-out-loud tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In Lost on Planet China, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.
Lost on Planet China finds Troost dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet; deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as Cattle Penis with Garlic); visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hiking (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, China’s most revered mountain. But in addition to his trademark gonzo adventures, the book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think. As Troost shows, while we may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a world—indeed, a planet--unto itself.
There was a time when “universe” meant all there is. Everything. Yet, in recent years discoveries in physics and cosmology have led a number of scientists to conclude that our universe may be one among many. With crystal-clear prose and inspired use of analogy, Brian Greene shows how a range of different “multiverse” proposals emerges from theories developed to explain the most refined observations of both subatomic particles and the dark depths of space: a multiverse in which you have an infinite number of doppelgangers, each reading this sentence in a distant universe; a multiverse comprising a vast ocean of bubble universes, of which ours is but one; a multiverse that endlessly cycles through time, or one that might be hovering millimeters away yet remains invisible; another in which every possibility allowed by quantum physics is brought to life. Or, perhaps strangest of all, a multiverse made purely of math.
Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a captivating exploration of these parallel worlds and reveals how much of reality’s true nature may be deeply hidden within them. And, with his unrivaled ability to make the most challenging of material accessible and entertaining, Greene tackles the core question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach?
Sparked by Greene’s trademark wit and precision, The Hidden Reality is at once a far-reaching survey of cutting-edge physics and a remarkable journey to the very edge of reality—a journey grounded firmly in science and limited only by our imagination.
Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving us fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays. He traces the evolution of linguistic complexity from an early "Me Tarzan" stage to such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't turn into a town dweller"). Arguing that destruction and creation in language are intimately entwined, Deutscher shows how these processes are continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new meanings.
The authors begin by inviting readers to step away from the Earth and reconsider our Sun. What we can directly observe of this star is limited to its surface, but with the advent of telescopes and spectroscopy, scientists know more than ever about its physical characteristics, origins, and projected lifetime. From the Sun, the authors journey further out into space to explore black holes. The Garfinkle brothers explain that our understanding of these astronomical oddities began in theory, and growing mathematical and physical evidence has unexpectedly supported it. From black holes, the authors lead us further into the unknown, to the dark matter and energy that pervade our universe, where science teeters on the edge of theory and discovery. Returning from the depths of space, the final section of the book brings the reader back down to Earth for a final look at the practice of science, ending with a practical guide to discerning real science from pseudoscience among the cacophony of print and online scientific sources.
Extensively revised, this latest edition includes broader and updated coverage of distance measures, gravitational lensing and waves, dark energy and quintessence, and the thermal history of the Universe
Named after a shallow river that cuts through the prairies of central Illinois, the Sangamo Country—an area that now encompasses the capital city of Springfield and present-day Sangamon County—was first colonized after the War of 1812. For the past fifteen years, Mazrim has conducted dozens of excavations there, digging up pieces of pioneer life, from hand-forged iron and locally made crockery to pewter spoons and Staffordshire teacups. And here, in beautifully illustrated stories of each dig, he shows how each of these small artifacts can teach us something about the lifestyles of people who lived on the frontier nearly two hundred years ago. Allowing us to see past the changed modern landscape and the clichés of pioneer history, Mazrim deftly uses his findings to portray the homes, farms, taverns, and pottery shops where Lincoln’s neighbors once lived and worked.
Drawing readers into the thrill of discovery, The Sangamo Frontier inaugurates a new kind of archaeological history that both enhances and challenges our written history. It imbues today’s landscape with an authentic ghostliness that will reawaken the curiosity of anyone interested in the forgotten people and places that helped shape our nation.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Sorry I havent been in here for quite some time, with one thing and another I guess my time just got used up elsewhere. So to recompense, Ive posted a mass of new ebooks on the subject of the blog. I'll try to keep up with the updates a bit more often from now on. Thanks for taking a look again.....
Biologists have a dirty little secret: while practically everyone knows of The Origin of Species (and owes much to it), almost nobody has read it. British geneticist Steve Jones wants to make the arguments contained in that great text accessible to modern audiences, and succeeds with the delightful Darwin's Ghost. Approximating the structure of Darwin's opus, Jones uses the original chapter headings and summaries as a scaffolding to build an up-to-date demonstration of the power of a few simple ideas. Heredity, variation, and natural selection are all you need to infer evolution over time, and now that Jones can fill in the gaps in Darwin's pre-Mendelian understanding of genetics, the case becomes airtight. More than a polemic, though, Darwin's Ghost is nearly as pleasurable a read as its ancestor is--one suspects that part of Jones's mission is to inspire today's readers to turn back to the grand but humble Origin of Species. While he may not be able to quite match Darwin's vast erudition or hawk's eye for detail, he still makes the theory of evolution shudder and breathe on the page. Dog breeding, mass extinctions, and weird fossils of tiny elephants all march to his drumbeat and--just when you least expect it--return to the main point that all living things share a common ancestor. Whether you're one of the elite who's had the pleasure of Darwin's literary company or you'd like a taste of what you're missing, Darwin's Ghost will bring the spirit of the great man back into your world of ideas.
In this third edition, Anne Thomson has updated and revised the book to include fresh and topical examples which will guide students through the processes of critical reasoning in a clear and engaging way. In addition, two new chapters on evaluating the credibility of evidence and decision making and dilemmas will fully equip students to reason well. By the end of the book students should be able to:
identify flaws in arguments
analyze the reasoning in newspaper articles, books and speeches
assess the credibilty of evidence and authorities
make sound decisions and solve dilemmas
approach any topic with the ability to reason and think critically.
Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction introduces all the main themes in the philosophy of science, including the nature of causation, explanation, laws, theory, models, evidence, reductionism, probability, teleology, realism and instrumentalism. This substantially revised and updated second edition of a highly successful, accessible and user-friendly text will be of value to any student getting to grips with the nature, methods and justification of science. Alex Rosenberg includes new material on a number of subjects, including: * The theory of natural selection * Popper, Lakatos and Leibniz * Feminist philosophy of science * Logical positivism * The origins of science In addition, helpful features add greatly to the ease and clarity of this second edition
The impacts of climate change are already being observed in a variety of sectors and there is greater clarity that these changes are being caused by human activities, mainly through release of greenhouse gases. In 2005 the UK Government hosted the Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change conference to take an in-depth look at the scientific issues associated with climate change. This volume presents the most recent findings from the leading international scientists that attended the conference. The topics addressed include critical thresholds and key vulnerabilities of the climate system, impacts on human and natural systems, socioeconomic costs and benefits of emissions pathways, and technological options for meeting different stabilisation levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The volume provides invaluable information for researchers in environmental science, climatology, and atmospheric chemistry, policy-makers in governments and environmental organizations, and scientists and engineers in industry.