Friday, 26 August 2011

The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century

In this long and astonishing narrative, British journalist Watson presents an unconventional history of the 20th century, which, he argues, "has been dominated by a coming to terms with science." Although this massive volume is packed with a multitude of events, ideas, and influential people, Watson's infectious writing carries the reader swiftly along. The mosaic he creates can best be illustrated by this typical sentence: "On 25 October 1900, only days after Max Planck sent his crucial equations on a postcard to Heinrich Rubens, Pablo Picasso stepped off the Barcelona train at the Gare d'Orsay in Paris." In 42 chapters, Watson travels from Freud to the Internet, from pragmatism and relativity to Brave New World and Hiroshima, while considering the impact of the arts, existentialism, feminism, sexuality, genetics, medicine, the Great Society, race, AIDS, and more. Key people and ideas are highlighted. It is hard to spot any major omissions, though post-World War II music seems to get overlooked. While this work is reminiscent of Paul Johnson's Modern Times, Watson's scope goes far beyond politics and history. This book will be read and consulted for many years.

Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives [Audiobook]

A lively, surprising tour of our mental glitches and how they arise.

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.

Ah-Choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold [Audiobook]

An entire arm of science—even a British research center called the Common Cold Unit (CCU)—dedicated to studying the common cold? Why not? Certainly an ailment that supports a multibillion-dollar industry of mostly quackery ought to inspire a certain amount of scientific interest. Indeed the common cold is far from being the stuffy subject one might expect. In the hands of gifted science writer Ackerman, the cold is addressed with dry wit while she covers every detail from soup (chicken, of course) to nuts (folk remedies). Only a science writer can find being intentionally inoculated with a cold virus and sequestered for a weekend entertaining. Among the lesser-known facts she reveals: colds are caused by more than 200 different viruses, one of which can even make you fat! What’s more, building up one’s immune system may exacerbate a cold’s symptoms; and as for those trendy antibacterial soaps and lotions, they are worthless against cold viruses. Amid all this “nasal gazing,” there is one folk remedy that may be worth considering. In Domestic Medicine (1772), William Buchan instructs, “Go to bed, hang your hat on the foot of the bed, and continue to drink until you see two hats.”

Life: The Science of Biology, 7th Edition

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 Description

This 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.

Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God

"[Graffin] explains how evolution can be a guide to life."
Scientific American

"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

The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us

"The faithful won't change their minds, of course (that is what faith means) but Victor Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide. I learned enormous amount from this splendid book."
Richard Dawkins

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

God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales (AUDIOBOOK AND EBOOK)

"People who say that libertarians have no heart or atheists have no soul need to read this book. Because Penn Jillette has a lot of both."
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."
Richard Dawkins

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

Social Psychology and Human Nature, 2 edition

You are a member of a social world on a planet containing about 7 billion people. This social world is filled with paradox, mystery, suspense, and outright absurdity. Explore how social psychology can help you make sense of your own social world with this engaging and accessible book. Roy F. Baumeister and Brad J. Bushman's SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HUMAN NATURE, 2ND EDITION can help you understand one of the most interesting topics of all--the sometimes bizarre and baffling but always fascinating diversity of human behavior, and how and why people act the way they do.

The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs, 2nd edition

This new edition of The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs is a unique, comprehensive treatment of this fascinating group of organisms.
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.

When You're Not Expecting: An Infertility Survival Guide

Surviving the challenges of infertility.

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 Long Shadow of Sexual Abuse

This book describes the profound interferences with normal developmental processes that occur throughout the life cycle as a result of chronic child sexual abuse. This conviction is supported by the presentation of detailed case histories of individuals ranging in age from five to sixty three.

Climate Change and Climate Modeling

Provides students with a solid foundation in climate science, with which to understand global warming, natural climate variations, and climate models. As climate models are one of our primary tools for predicting and adapting to climate change, it is vital we appreciate their strengths and limitations. Also key is understanding what aspects of climate science are well understood and where quantitative uncertainties arise. This textbook will inform the future users of climate models and the decision-makers of tomorrow by providing the depth they need, while requiring no background in atmospheric science and only basic calculus and physics. Developed from a course that the author teaches at UCLA, material has been extensively class-tested and with online resources of colour figures, Powerpoint slides, and problem sets, this is a complete package for students across all sciences wishing to gain a solid grounding in climate science.

Bonding Before Birth by Miriam Stoppard

Bonding Before Birth combines up-to-the-minute research with enlightened and compassionate wisdom. This book explores what science knows about babies in the womb and explains why mother-baby bonding is so vital for the future well-being of mother, father, and baby. Dr Stoppard writes about the feelings that expectant parents experience during the first, second and third trimesters and promotes the significance of rites of passage through pregnancy, from adjusting to the changes that parenthood brings to celebrating your future as a family.

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.

A Conceptual History of Psychology

A Conceptual History of Psychology is a broad historical survey that traces conceptual continuities and discontinuities in the history of psychological thought. The author connects the history of psychological theory with the development of the history of science, from the proto-scientific psychology of the 17th and 18th centuries to the institutionalized scientific psychology of the late 19th century to the present day. The lucid writing style and clear organization reflect the author's fifteen years' experience teaching the course.

The Physics of Glaciers, Fourth Edition

Costing $86 hardback, and $65 on Kindle...

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

Alternative Fuel

Renewable energy sources such as biodiesel, bioethanol, biomethane, biomass from wastes or hydrogen are subject of great interest in the current energy scene. These fuels contribute to the reduction of prices and dependence on fossil fuels. In addition, energy sources such as these could partially replace the use of what is considered as the major factor responsible for global warming and the main source of local environmental pollution. For these reasons they are known as “alternative fuels”. There is an urgent need to find and optimise the use of alternative fuels to provide a net energy gain, to be economically competitive and to be producible in large quantities without compromising food resources.

The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics

Robert Kaplan's The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero was an international best-seller, translated into eight languages. The Times called it "elegant, discursive, and littered with quotes and allusions from Aquinas via Gershwin to Woolf" and The Philadelphia Inquirer praised it as "absolutely scintillating." In this delightful new book, Robert Kaplan, writing together with his wife Ellen Kaplan, once again takes us on a witty, literate, and accessible tour of the world of mathematics. Where The Nothing That Is looked at math through the lens of zero, The Art of the Infinite takes infinity, in its countless guises, as a touchstone for understanding mathematical thinking. Tracing a path from Pythagoras, whose great Theorem led inexorably to a discovery that his followers tried in vain to keep secret (the existence of irrational numbers); through Descartes and Leibniz; to the brilliant, haunted Georg Cantor, who proved that infinity can come in different sizes, the Kaplans show how the attempt to grasp the ungraspable embodies the essence of mathematics. The Kaplans guide us through the "Republic of Numbers," where we meet both its upstanding citizens and more shadowy dwellers; and we travel across the plane of geometry into the unlikely realm where parallel lines meet. Along the way, deft character studies of great mathematicians (and equally colorful lesser ones) illustrate the opposed yet intertwined modes of mathematical thinking: the intutionist notion that we discover mathematical truth as it exists, and the formalist belief that math is true because we invent consistent rules for it. "Less than All," wrote William Blake, "cannot satisfy Man." The Art of the Infinite shows us some of the ways that Man has grappled with All, and reveals mathematics as one of the most exhilarating expressions of the human imagination.

What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

Should the hard questions of philosophy matter to ordinary people? In this down-to-earth, nonhistorical guide, Thomas Nagel, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere, brings philosophical problems to life, revealing in vivid, accessible prose why they have continued to fascinate and baffle thinkers across the centuries.
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.

Chemistry: The Practical Science

From core concepts to current applications, Chemistry: The Practical Science makes the connections from chemistry concepts to the world we live in, developing effective problem solvers and critical thinkers for today's visual, technology-driven world. Students learn to appreciate the role of asking questions in the process of chemistry and begin to think like chemists. In addition, real-world applications are interwoven throughout the narrative, examples, and exercises, presenting core chemical concepts in the context of everyday life. This integrated approach encourages curiosity and demonstrates the relevance of chemistry and its uses in students' lives, their future careers, and their world. For this Media Enhanced Edition, a wealth of online support is seamlessly integrated with the textbook content to complete this innovative program.

A Student's Guide to the Seashore

This unique, concise and beautifully illustrated guide allows students to identify over 650 of the common, widespread animals and seaweeds of the shore. User-friendly dichotomous keys are supported by details of diagnostic features and biology of each species. Now enhanced with 32 pages of colour, this much acclaimed guide is invaluable to students of marine biology at any level. Questions such as how does the species reproduce? What is its life-cycle? How does it feed? are answered in the notes accompanying each species to give a fascinating insight into the diversity and complexity of life on the shore. The text is supported by an extensive glossary of scientific terms and a comprehensive bibliography is included to aid further study. The third edition builds on the excellent reviews of earlier editions and will continue to appeal to a wide readership, including students, teachers and naturalists.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Green Politics

Climate chaos and pollution, deforestation and consumerism: the crisis facing human civilization is clear enough. But the response of politicians to it has been cowardly and inadequate, while environmental activists have tended to favor single-issue campaigns rather than electoral politics.

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.

Human Anatomy, 2nd Edition

From the most pedagogically sound organization to the exceptional art, to the complete integration of the text with technology, Saladin has formed a teaching system that will both motivate and enable students to understand and appreciate the wonders of human anatomy. This distinctive text was developed to stand apart from all other anatomy texts with an approach borne out of 25 years of teaching, unparalleled art, and a writing style that has been acclaimed by reviewers. Designed for a one-semester college anatomy course, Saladin requires no prior knowledge of college chemistry or cell biology.

Evolution: A Scientific American Reader

From the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925 to the court ruling against the Dover Area School Board’s proposed intelligent design curriculum in 2005, few scientific topics have engendered as much controversy—or grabbed as many headlines—as evolution. And since the debate shows no signs of abating, there is perhaps no better time to step back and ask: What is evolution? Defined as the gradual process by which something changes into a different and usually more complex and efficient form, evolution explains the formation of the universe, the nature of viruses, and the emergence of humans. A first-rate summary of the actual science of evolution, this Scientific American reader is a timely collection that gives readers an opportunity to consider evolution’s impact in various settings.

Exploring the Secrets of the Aurora

Another expensive book. Even on Kindle.

"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.

Climate Crash: Discovering Rapid Climate Change and What It Means to Our Future

As scientists carefully search for clues in the sun and storm patterns from our distant, past, they are gradually writing a new history of Earth's climate. Layers extracted from cores drilled into glaciers and ice sheets, sediments collected from the shores of lakes and oceans, and growth rings exposed in ancient corals and trees all tell the same surprising story. It is now apparent that alterations in our climate can happen quickly and dramatically. Physical evidence reveals that centuries of slow, creeping climate variations have actually been punctuated by far more rapid changes. While this new paradigm represents a significant shift in our picture of Earth's past, the real question is what it means for our future. Many researchers are now quietly abandoning the traditional vision of a long, slow waltz of slumbering ice ages and more temperate periods of interglacial warming. While they've long recognized the threats posed by global warming, they must now consider that the natural behavior of our climate is perhaps a greater threat than we'd imagined. And though there is no need for immediate alarm, the fact that changes in our climate can happen much more quickly than we'd originally thought--perhaps in the course of a human lifetime--makes it clear that science has a lot of questions to answer in this area. What are the mechanisms for triggering a significant climate change? In what ways should we expect this change to manifest itself? When will it likely happen? Climate Crash seeks to answer these questions, breaking the story of rapid climate change to general public that is already intensely curious about what science has to say on the topic.

Encyclopedia of Cancer

A very expensive book to buy this. Currently on Amazon UK at £1,439.

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

Women & Catholicism: Gender, Communion, and Authority

Award-winning Catholic scholar Phyllis Zagano investigates three distinct situations in the Catholic Church, each pointing to Catholicism's global weak spot: the role of women in the Church. Each of the three cases reflects the tension between communion and authority, particularly where women are concerned. The thread of women in the church weaves a tapestry that sheds light on the Catholic Church's hierarchically-imposed laws and sanctions that keep women at a distance from the holy, whether as liturgical ministers, as wives of priests, or as priests themselves.

Mirror-Image Asymmetry

An overview of the importance and consequences of asymmetry from molecules to the macroscopic world
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.

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of God Is Not Great, a provocative and entertaining guided tour of atheist and agnostic thought through the ages--with never-before-published pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
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

What Does a Martian Look Like? The Science of Extraterrestrial Life

From Scientific American...

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."

The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution"

Friedlander's study tracks the Nazi program of genocide back to 1940 with the murder of some 5000 handicapped children, euthanasia that was subsequently expanded to include disabled Jews and Gypsies. The targeting of these three groups was based on the Nazis' belief in human inequality and their determination to ``cleanse the gene pool of the German nation.'' Thus began the euthanasia program in which debate over the most efficient method of mass murder led to the construction of killing centers where crippled children were gassed and cremated. Friedlander shows that the success of the program convinced the Nazis that mass murder was technically workable, that ordinary citizens were willing to slaughter large numbers of innocent people. The killing centers became models for the extermination camps of the Final Solution. ``When all is said and done, we are still unable to grasp the reasons that seemingly normal men and women were able to commit such extraordinary crimes,'' concludes Friedlander, a history professor at Brooklyn College.

The Trouble With Testosterone: And Other Essays On The Biology Of The Human Predicament

As a professor of biology and neuroscience at Stanford and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," Robert Sapolsky carries impressive credentials. Best of all, he's a gifted writer who possesses a delightfully devilish sense of humor. In these essays, which range widely but mostly focus on the relationships between biology and human behavior, hard and intricate science is handled with a deft touch that makes it accessible to the general reader. In one memorable piece, Sapolsky compares the fascination with tabloid TV to behavior he's observed among wild African baboons. "Rubber necks," notes the professor, "seem to be a common feature of the primate order.

Racism: A Short History

An erudite comparison of racism and anti-Semitism throughout Western history, George M. Fredrickson's amazingly concise Racism: A Short History explains how medieval anti-Semitism influenced the racist rationalization of the African slave trade; shows how the Enlightenment and Romanticism opened up new avenues for thinking about Jews and slaves; and contrasts American Jim Crow laws, Nazi Germany's Aryan nation and South African apartheid. A U.S. history professor at Stanford and co-director of the Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, Fredrickson offers a scholarly but compelling and accessible narrative.

Darwin's Conjecture

Of paramount importance to the natural sciences, the principles of Darwinism, which involve variation, inheritance, and selection, are increasingly of interest to social scientists as well. But no one has provided a truly rigorous account of how the principles apply to the evolution of human society—until now.
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.

Lost on Planet China

The bestselling author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals returns with a sharply observed, hilarious account of his adventures in China—a complex, fascinating country with enough dangers and delicacies to keep him, and readers, endlessly entertained.

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.

Physics for Scientists & Engineers

This book aims to explain physics in a readable and interesting manner that is accessible and clear, and to teach readers by anticipating their needs and difficulties without oversimplifying. Physics is a description of reality, and thus each topic begins with concrete observations and experiences that readers can directly relate to. We then move on to the generalizations and more formal treatment of the topic. Not only does this make the material more interesting and easier to understand, but it is closer to the way physics is actually practiced.

Brains: How They Seem to Work

From the best-selling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos comes his most expansive and accessible book to date—a book that takes on the grandest question: Is ours the only universe?

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.

Physics of the Life Sciences

Originally developed for the author's course at Union College, this text is designed for life science students who need to understand the connections of fundamental physics to modern biology and medicine. Almost all areas of modern life sciences integrally involve physics in both experimental techniques and in basic understanding of structure and function. Physics of the Life Sciences is not a watered-down, algebra-based engineering physics book with sections on relevant biomedical topics added as an afterthought. This authoritative and engaging text, which is designed to be covered in a two-semester course, was written with a thoroughgoing commitment to the needs and interests of life science students.

The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention

Language is mankind's greatest invention-except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Guy Deutscher's enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning?

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.

Three Steps to the Universe: From the Sun to Black Holes to the Mystery of Dark Matter

If scientists can’t touch the Sun, how do they know what it’s made of? And if we can’t see black holes, how can we be confident they exist? Gravitational physicist David Garfinkle and his brother, science fiction writer Richard Garfinkle, tackle these questions and more in Three Steps to the Universe, a tour through some of the most complex phenomena in the cosmos and an accessible exploration of how scientists acquire knowledge about the universe through observation, indirect detection, and theory.
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.

Neuroscience of Rule-Guided Behavior

Neuroscience of Rule-Guided Behavior brings together, for the first time, the experiments and theories that have created the new science of rules. Rules are central to human behavior, but until now the field of neuroscience lacked a synthetic approach to understanding them. How are rules learned, retrieved from memory, maintained in consciousness and implemented? How are they used to solve problems and select among actions and activities? How are the various levels of rules represented in the brain, ranging from simple conditional ones if a traffic light turns red, then stop to rules and strategies of such sophistication that they defy description? And how do brain regions interact to produce rule-guided behavior? These are among the most fundamental questions facing neuroscience, but until recently there was relatively little progress in answering them. It was difficult to probe brain mechanisms in humans, and expert opinion held that animals lacked the capacity for such high-level behavior. However, rapid progress in neuroimaging technology has allowed investigators to explore brain mechanisms in humans, while increasingly sophisticated behavioral methods have revealed that animals can and do use high-level rules to control their behavior.

The Amateur Astronomer, 12th Edition

This 12th Edition of Sir Patrick Moore?s classic book has been completely revised in the light of changes in technology. Not only do these changes include commercially available astronomical telescopes and software, but also what we know and understand about the universe. There are many new photographs and illustrations. Writing in the easy-going style that made him famous as a writer and broadcaster, Sir Patrick introduced astronomy and amateur observing together, so that his reader gets an idea of what he is observing at the same time as how to observe. Almost half the book is Appendices. These are hugely comprehensive and provide hints and tips, as well as data for pretty well every aspect of amateur astronomy. This is probably the only book in which all this information is collected in one place.

Introduction to Cosmology

The Third Edition of the hugely successful Introduction to Cosmology provides a concise, authoritative study of cosmology at an introductory level. Starting from elementary principles and the history of cosmology, the text carefully guides the student on to curved spacetimes, general relativity, black holes, cosmological models, particles and symmetries, and phase transitions.

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

Philosophy of Mind A-Z

From Plato and Leibniz to externalism and the frame problem, from Husserl to neural Darwinism, from mental causation to the problem of consciousness, this guide outlines the main positions, key figures, important terms, and longstanding debates of the philosophy of mind.

History and Archaeology in the Shadow of Lincoln

When Abraham Lincoln moved to Illinois’ Sangamo Country in 1831, he found a pioneer community transforming from a cluster of log houses along an ancient trail to a community of new towns and state roads. But two of the towns vanished in a matter of years, and many of the activities and lifestyles that shaped them were almost entirely forgotten. In The Sangamo Frontier, archaeologist Robert Mazrim unearths the buried history of this early American community, breathing new life into a region that still rests in Lincoln’s shadow.

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..... :-)

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.....

Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of the Species Updated

Using contemporary examples, the AIDS virus, the rules of the American Kennel Club, the sheep who never forgot a face, and the garbage that floats in the Pacific, the author shows the power and the immediacy of Darwin's great argument; for mankind to see itself as part of the animal world. DLC: Natural selection.
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.

Critical Reasoning: A Practical Introduction

We all engage in the process of reasoning, but we don't always pay attention to whether we are doing it well. This book offers the opportunity to practise reasoning in a clear-headed and critical way, with the aims of developing an awareness of the importance of reasoning well and of improving the reader's skill in analyzing and evaluating arguments.

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.

Chemical Elements

Chemical Elements, 2nd Edition is designed as an introduction to the chemical elements. This new edition, presented in full color, updates the earlierearlier three-volume set, providing new information about the elements as well as many new photographs.

Philosophy of science: A contemporary introduction (2nd edition)

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

Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change

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.