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.
What is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge’s inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to dispel the myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends. Tracing the cat's evolution from lone predator to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that although cats and humans have been living together for at least eight thousand years, cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of contact with their own kind, qualities that often clash with our modern lifestyles. Cats still have three out of four paws firmly planted in the wild, and within only a few generations can easily revert back to the independent way of life that was the exclusive preserve of their predecessors some 10,000 years ago. Cats are astonishingly flexible, and given the right environment they can adapt to a life of domesticity with their owners-but to continue do so, they will increasingly need our help. If we're to live in harmony with our cats, Bradshaw explains, we first need to understand their inherited quirks: understanding their body language, keeping their environments-however small-sufficiently interesting, and becoming more proactive in managing both their natural hunting instincts and their relationships with other cats.
A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense offers humane, penetrating insights about the domestic cat that challenge our most basic assumptions and promise to dramatically improve our pets' lives-and ours.
By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.
"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.
Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.
The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.
For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?
The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.
Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life’s vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?
In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy—our hands, our jaws—and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. From our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system), he makes clear, through the working of our eyes, how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth.
From the Hardcover edition.
Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike -- strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents -- and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims' personalities. Parents suddenly couldn't recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing.
In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients' memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story of discovery that reaches back to the 1500s and the high-profile jousting accident that inspired this book's title.* With the lucid, masterful explanations and razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain's secret passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible.
*"The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons" refers to the case of French king Henri II, who in 1559 was lanced through the skull during a joust, resulting in one of the most significant cases in neuroscience history. For hundreds of years scientists have gained important lessons from traumatic accidents and illnesses, and such misfortunes still represent their greatest resource for discovery.
Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)
SPRING CHICKEN is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest obsession: How can we live longer? And better? In his funny, self-deprecating voice, veteran reporter Bill Gifford takes readers on a fascinating journey through the science of aging, from the obvious signs like wrinkles and baldness right down into the innermost workings of cells. We visit cutting-edge labs where scientists are working to "hack" the aging process, like purging "senescent" cells from mice to reverse the effects of aging. He'll reveal why some people live past 100 without even trying, what has happened with resveratrol, the "red wine pill" that made headlines a few years ago, how your fat tissue is trying to kill you, and how it's possible to unlock longevity-promoting pathways that are programmed into our very genes. Gifford separates the wheat from the chaff as he exposes hoaxes and scams foisted upon an aging society, and arms readers with the best possible advice on what to do, what not to do, and what life-changing treatments may be right around the corner.
An intoxicating mixture of deep reporting, fascinating science, and prescriptive takeaway, SPRING CHICKEN will reveal the extraordinary breakthroughs that may yet bring us eternal youth, while exposing dangerous deceptions that prey on the innocent and ignorant.
The first section of the Atlas contains photographs of all views of the skull; the second is made up of photos of the disarticulated bones. The next section pictures muscle attachments, and the final two show radiological and anthropological landmarks. Bones, sutures, landmarks, and foramina are identified in the sharp and detailed photographs, and legends on the facing pages group terms by category for easy and rapid identification. The radiology and anthropology sections focus on the requirements of the practitioner.
Two criteria guided the compilation of this atlas: ease of use and convenience as a study tool. The text--presented as legends keyed to the photographs--groups terms according to entries, such as bone, foramen, or landmark. Each foramen is supplied with a description of structures that it transmits. The keying of the features to legends on a facing page makes the book particularly easy to use as a study guide and avoids clutter or obscuring of detail on the pictures themselves. The size and clarity of the pictures allow easy viewing of each labeled structure. Small regions with many landmarks are enlarged to show detail. Multiple pictures are provided of any single complex view to prevent clutter and confusion. Such attention to detail and user needs makes this atlas is an excellent study and reference tool.
Research into the human brain has exploded in recent years, and neuroscience has become a major program at many universities and a required course for a wide range of studies. Neuroscience For Dummies tracks to an introductory neuroscience class, giving you an understanding of the brain's structure and function, as well as a look into the relationship between memory, learning, emotions, and the brain. Providing insight into the biology of mental illness and a glimpse at future treatments and applications of neuroscience, Neuroscience For Dummies is a fascinating read for students and general interest readers alike.
The brain holds the secrets to our personalities, our use of language, our love of music, and our memories. Neuroscience For Dummies looks at how this complex structure works, according to the most recent scientific discoveries, illustrated by helpful diagrams and engaging anecdotes.Helpful diagrams and engaging anecdotes enhance material The latest scientific discoveries are sprinkled throughout Tracks to a typical introductory neuroscience class
From how the brain works to how you feel emotions, Neuroscience For Dummies offers a comprehensive overview of the fascinating study of the human brain.
In Babel No More, Michael Erard, “a monolingual with benefits,” sets out on a quest to meet language superlearners and make sense of their mental powers. On the way he uncovers the secrets of historical figures like the nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Joseph Mezzofanti, who was said to speak seventy-two languages, as well as those of living language-superlearners such as Alexander Arguelles, a modern-day polyglot who knows dozens of languages and shows Erard the tricks of the trade to give him a dark glimpse into the life of obsessive language acquisition.
With his ambitious examination of what language is, where it lives in the brain, and the cultural implications of polyglots’ pursuits, Erard explores the upper limits of our ability to learn and use languages and illuminates the intellectual potential in everyone. How do some people escape the curse of Babel—and what might the gods have demanded of them in return?
In her third enthralling book about the brain, Judith Horstman takes us on a lively tour of our most important sex and love organ and the whole smorgasbord of our many kinds of love-from the bonding of parent and child to the passion of erotic love, the affectionate love of companionship, the role of animals in our lives, and the love of God.
Drawing on the latest neuroscience, she explores why and how we are born to love-how we're hardwired to crave the companionship of others, and how very badly things can go without love. Among the findings: parental love makes our brain bigger, sex and orgasm make it healthier, social isolation makes it miserable-and although the craving for romantic love can be described as an addiction, friendship may actually be the most important loving relationship of your life.
Based on recent studies and articles culled from the prestigious Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines, The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain offers a fascinating look at how the brain controls our loving relationships, most intimate moments, and our deep and basic need for connection.
By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow's intriguing and illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The common ancestry of all humanity
The role of genes in sickness and health
Debates over the use of genetic technology
Written in an engaging, narrative manner, this concise introduction is an ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, and the genetic ties that bind us all.
We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, with profound consequences to our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What we need is nothing short of a sleep revolution: only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.
In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream. She takes on the sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.
The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal exploration of sleep from all angles, from the history of sleep, to the role of dreams in our lives, to the consequences of sleep deprivation, and the new golden age of sleep science that reveals the vital role sleep plays in our every waking moment and every aspect of our health--from weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s.
In today's fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-harried and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important--and elusive--than ever. The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on our worldwide sleep crisis and provides a detailed road map to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.
In this second edition, the author includes greatly expanded treatments of families of lycophytes, ferns, gymnosperms, and flowering plants (all with full-color plates), a new chapter on species concepts and the role of systematics in conservation biology, and a new appendix summarizing basic statistical and morphometric techniques used in plant systematics studies. An explanation of maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference algorithms is included in methods of phylogenetic inference, and chapters on morphology and plant nomenclature have been augmented with new material.
The second edition of Plant Systematics has been expanded to include:
* Fifteen fern families, 9 gymnosperm families, and an increase of angiosperm family treatments from 100 to 129. Each family description includes a plate of full color photographs, illustrating exemplars of the group along with dissected and labeled material to show diagnostic features.
* A new chapter on species concepts and the role and impact of plant systematics in conservation biology.
* A new appendix on statistical and morphometric techniques in plant systematics.
* In addition, the second edition contains more detailed explanations of maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogeny inference methods, an expanded coverage and glossary of morphological terms, and an updated chapter on botanical nomenclature.
This major new edition features many topics not covered in the original, including graphical models, random forests, ensemble methods, least angle regression & path algorithms for the lasso, non-negative matrix factorization, and spectral clustering. There is also a chapter on methods for ``wide'' data (p bigger than n), including multiple testing and false discovery rates.
Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, and Jerome Friedman are professors of statistics at Stanford University. They are prominent researchers in this area: Hastie and Tibshirani developed generalized additive models and wrote a popular book of that title. Hastie co-developed much of the statistical modeling software and environment in R/S-PLUS and invented principal curves and surfaces. Tibshirani proposed the lasso and is co-author of the very successful An Introduction to the Bootstrap. Friedman is the co-inventor of many data-mining tools including CART, MARS, projection pursuit and gradient boosting.
Exploring the natural history of these animals, the Coppingers explain how the village dogs of Vietnam, India, Africa, and Mexico are strikingly similar. These feral dogs, argue the Coppingers, are in fact the truly archetypal dogs, nearly uniform in size and shape and incredibly self-sufficient. Drawing on nearly five decades of research, they show how dogs actually domesticated themselves in order to become such efficient scavengers of human refuse. The Coppingers also examine the behavioral characteristics that enable dogs to live successfully and to reproduce, unconstrained by humans, in environments that we ordinarily do not think of as dog friendly.
Providing a fascinating exploration of what it actually means—genetically and behaviorally—to be a dog, What Is a Dog? will undoubtedly change the way any beagle or bulldog owner will reflect on their four-legged friend.
You will follow your oxygen atoms through fire and water and from forests to your fingernails. Hydrogen atoms will wriggle into your hair and betray where you live and what you have been drinking. The carbon in your breath will become tree trunks, and the sodium in your tears will link you to long-dead oceans. The nitrogen in your muscles will help to turn the sky blue, the phosphorus in your bones will help to turn the coastal waters of North Carolina green, the calcium in your teeth will crush your food between atoms that were mined by mushrooms, and the iron in your blood will kill microbes as it once killed a star.
You will also discover that much of what death must inevitably do to your body is already happening among many of your atoms at this very moment and that, nonetheless, you and everyone else you know will always exist somewhere in the fabric of the universe.
You are not only made of atoms; you are atoms, and this book, in essence, is an atomic field guide to yourself.
BALANCE is the first book written for a general audience that examines the mysteries of the human balance system--the astonishingly complicated mechanisms that allow our bodies to counteract the force of gravity as we move through space. A scientific, historical, and practical exploration of how balance works, BALANCE also provides the keys to remaining upright for as long as humanly possible. From simple motion sickness to astronauts' "space stupids," and from fetal somersaults to the Flying Wallendas, McCredie guides readers on a delightful quest to elevate balance to its rightful place in the pantheon of the senses.
The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain reveals what’s going on in there while you sleep and dream, how your brain makes memories and forms addictions and why we sometimes make bad decisions. The book also offers intriguing information about your emotional brain, and what’s happening when you’re feeling love, lust, fear and anxiety—and how sex, drugs and rock and roll tickle the same spots.
Based on the latest scientific information, the book explores your brain’s remarkable ability to change, how your brain can make new neurons even into old age and why multitasking may be bad for you.
Your brain is uniquely yours – but research is showing many of its day-to-day cycles are universal. This book gives you a look inside your brain and some insights into why you may feel and act as you do.
The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain is written in the entertaining, informative and easy-to-understand style that fans of Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazine have come to expect.
So we've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work?
There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with myriad control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. Figuring out how it all works – how your genes build your body – is a major challenge for researchers around the world. And what they're discovering is that far from genes being a fixed, deterministic blueprint, things are much more random and wobbly than anyone expected.
Drawing on stories ranging from six toed cats and stickleback hips to Mickey Mouse mice and zombie genes – told by researchers working at the cutting edge of genetics – Kat Arney explores the mysteries in our genomes with clarity, flair and wit, creating a companion reader to the book of life itself.
An important resource for all those involved in rabbit production, this book is also vital reading for students and researchers of animal science and meat production, as well as the keen amateur rabbit enthusiast.
The book is divided into three sections covering optical principles in diffraction and image formation, basic modes of light microscopy, and components of modern electronic imaging systems and image processing operations. Each chapter introduces relevant theory, followed by descriptions of instrument alignment and image interpretation. This revision includes new chapters on live cell imaging, measurement of protein dynamics, deconvolution microscopy, and interference microscopy.
PowerPoint slides of the figures as well as other supplementary materials for instructors are available at a companion website:
This book can be used as a text for a year long graduate course in statistics, computer science, or mathematics, for self-study, and as an invaluable research reference on probabiliity and its applications. Particularly worth mentioning are the treatments of distribution theory, asymptotics, simulation and Markov Chain Monte Carlo, Markov chains and martingales, Gaussian processes, VC theory, probability metrics, large deviations, bootstrap, the EM algorithm, confidence intervals, maximum likelihood and Bayes estimates, exponential families, kernels, and Hilbert spaces, and a self contained complete review of univariate probability.