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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
In this landmark work, V. S. Ramachandran investigates strange, unforgettable cases—from patients who believe they are dead to sufferers of phantom limb syndrome. With a storyteller’s eye for compelling case studies and a researcher’s flair for new approaches to age-old questions, Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in brain science, including language, creativity, and consciousness.
What would happen if you took a swim outside a deep-sea submarine wearing only a swimsuit? How long could you last if you stood on the surface of the sun? How far could you actually get in digging a hole to China? Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium Museum, and writer Cody Cassidy explore the real science behind these and other fantastical scenarios, offering insights into physics, astronomy, anatomy, and more along the way.
Is slipping on a banana peel really as hazardous to your health as the cartoons imply? Answer: Yes. Banana peels ooze a gel that turns out to be extremely slippery. Your foot and body weight provide the pressure. The gel provides the humor (and resulting head trauma).
Can you die by shaking someone’s hand? Answer: Yes. That’s because, due to atomic repulsion, you’ve never actually touched another person’s hand. If you could, the results would be as disastrous as a medium-sized hydrogen bomb.
If you were Cookie Monster, just how many cookies could you actually eat in one sitting? Answer: Most stomachs can hold up to sixty cookies, or around four liters. If you eat or drink more than that, you’re approaching the point at which the cookies would break through the lesser curvature of your stomach, and then you’d better call an ambulance to Sesame Street.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Science of Yoga draws on more than a century of painstaking research to present the first impartial evaluation of a practice thousands of years old. It celebrates what’s real and shows what’s illusory, describes what’s uplifting and beneficial and what’s flaky and dangerous—and why. Broad unveils a burgeoning global industry that attracts not only curious scientists but true believers and charismatic hustlers. He shatters myths, lays out unexpected benefits, and offers a compelling vision of how the ancient practice can be improved.
Neurobiology rolls the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system into one complex area of study. Neurobiology For Dummies breaks down the specifics of the topic in a fun, easy-to-understand manner. The book is perfect for students in a variety of scientific fields ranging from neuroscience and biology to pharmacology, health science, and more. With a complete overview of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the nervous system, this complete resource makes short work of the ins and outs of neurobiology so you can understand the details quickly.
Dive into this fascinating guide to an even more fascinating subject, which takes a step-by-step approach that naturally builds an understanding of how the nervous system ties into the very essence of human beings, and what that means for those working and studying in the field of neuroscience. The book includes a complete introduction to the subject of neurobiology.Gives you an overview of the human nervous system, along with a discussion of how it's similar to that of other animals Discusses various neurological disorders, such as strokes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia Leads you through a point-by-point approach to describe the science of perception, including how we think, learn, and remember
Neurobiology For Dummies is your key to mastering this complex topic, and will propel you to a greater understanding that can form the basis of your academic and career success.
From the dawn of our species, every human culture-no matter how isolated-has believed in some form of a spiritual realm. According to author Matthew Alper, this is no mere coincidence but rather due to the fact that humans, as a species, are genetically predisposed to believe in the universal concepts of a god, a soul and an afterlife. This instinct to believe is the result of an evolutionary adaptation-a coping mechanism-that emerged in our species to help us survive our unique and otherwise debilitating awareness of death.
Spiritual seekers and atheists alike will be compelled and transformed by Matthew Alper's classic study of science and religion. The 'God' Part of the Brain has gained critical acclaim from some of the world's leading scientists, secular humanists, and theologians, and is as a must read for anyone who has pondered the question of God's existence, as well as the meaning of our own.
Praise for The "God" Part of the Brain
"This cult classic in many ways parallels Rene Descartes' search for reliable and certain knowledge...Drawing on such disciplines as philosophy, psychology, and biology, Alper argues that belief in a spiritual realm is an evolutionary coping method that developed to help humankind deal with the fear of death...Highly recommended."— Library Journal
"I very much enjoyed the account of your spiritual journey and believe it would make excellent reading for every college student - the resultant residence-hall debates would be the best part of their education. It often occurs to me that if, against all odds, there is a judgmental God and heaven, it will come to pass that when the pearly gates open, those who had the valor to think for themselves will be escorted to the head of the line, garlanded, and given their own personal audience." — Edward O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize-Winner
"This is an essential book for those in search of a scientific understanding of man's spiritual nature. Matthew Alper navigates the reader through a labyrinth of intriguing questions and then offers undoubtedly clear answers that lead to a better understanding of our objective reality." — Elena Rusyn, MD, PhD; Gray Laboratory; Harvard Medical School
"What a wonderful book you have written. It was not only brilliant and provocative but also revolutionary in its approach to spirituality as an inherited trait."— Arnold Sadwin, MD, former chief of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania
"A lively manifesto...For the discipline's specific application to the matter at hand, I've seen nothing that matches the fury of The 'God' Part of the Brain, which perhaps explains why it's earned something of a cult following." — Salon.com
"All 6 billion plus inhabitants of Earth should be in possession of this book. Alper's tome should be placed in the sacred writings' section of libraries, bookstores, and dwellings throughout the world. Matthew Alper is the new Galileo...Immensely important...Defines in a clear and concise manner what each of us already knew but were afraid to admit and exclaim."— John Scoggins, PhD
"Vibrant ... vivacious. An entertaining and provocative introduction to speculations concerning the neural basis of spirituality."— Free Inquiry Magazine
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.
Through his voyage of discovery, international bestselling author Brian Cox explains how the astonishing inventiveness of nature came about and uncovers the milestones in the epic journey from the origin of life to our own lives, with beautiful full-color illustrations throughout. From spectacular fountains of superheated water at the bottom of the Atlantic to the deepest rainforest, Cox seeks out the places where the biggest questions about life may be answered: What is life? Why do we need water? Why does life end?
Physicist and professor Brian Cox uncovers the secrets of life in the most unexpected locations and in the most stunning detail in this beautiful full-color volume.
This much-anticipated third edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology is an essential and comprehensive resource for everyone interested in learning more about birds, from casual bird watchers to formal students of ornithology. Wherever you study birds your enjoyment will be enhanced by a better understanding of the incredible diversity of avian lifestyles. Arising from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology and authored by a team of experts from around the world, the Handbook covers all aspects of avian diversity, behaviour, ecology, evolution, physiology, and conservation. Using examples drawn from birds found in every corner of the globe, it explores and distills the many scientific discoveries that have made birds one of our best known - and best loved - parts of the natural world.
This edition has been completely revised and is presented with more than 800 full color images. It provides readers with a tool for life-long learning about birds and is suitable for bird watchers and ornithology students, as well as for ecologists, conservationists, and resource managers who work with birds.
The Handbook of Bird Biology is the companion volume to the Cornell Lab’s renowned distance learning course, Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology.
What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of the acclaimed science salon Edge.org (“The world’s smartest website”—The Guardian), presented to 205 of the world’s most influential thinkers from across the intellectual spectrum—award-winning physicists, economists, psychologists, philosophers, novelists, artists, and more. From the origins of the universe to the order of everyday life, This Idea Is Brilliant takes readers on a tour of the bold, exciting, and underappreciated scientific concepts that will enrich every mind.
Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel JARED DIAMOND on the lost brilliance of common sense * Oxford evolutionary biologist RICHARD DAWKINS on how The Genetic Book of the Dead could reconstruct ecological history * philosopher REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN on how to extend our grasp of reality beyond what we can see and touch * author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics CARLO ROVELLI on the interconnected fabric of information * Booker Prize–winning novelist IAN McEWAN on the Navier-Stokes equations, which govern everything from weather prediction to aircraft design and blood flow * cosmologist LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS on the hidden blessings of uncertainty * psychologist STEVEN PINKER on the fight against entropy * Nobel Prize–winning economist RICHARD THALER on the visionary power of the “premortem” * Grammy Award–winning musician BRIAN ENO on confirmation bias in the Internet age * advertising guru RORY SUTHERLAND on the world-changing power of sex appeal * Harvard physicist LISA RANDALL on the power of the obvious * Wired founding editor KEVIN KELLY on how to optimize your chances at success * Nobel Prize winner FRANK WILCZEK on the creative potential of complementarity * Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter JOHN MARKOFF on the synthetic metamaterials that soon will transform industry and technology * euroscientist SAM HARRIS on the lost art of intellectual honesty *Berkeley psychologist ALISON GOPNIK on the role of life history in the human story, and many others.
PHILOSOPHERS, THEOLOGIANS, ARTISTS, AND BOY BANDS HAVE WAXED poetic for centuries about the nature of love. But what does the brain have to say about the way we carry our hearts? In the wake of a divorce, science writer and single mother Kayt Sukel made herself a guinea pig in the labs of some unusual love experts to find out. This Is Your Brain on Sex is her lively and hilarious examination of the big questions about love and sex, previously published in hardcover as Dirty Minds.
Each chapter of this edgy romp through the romantic brain looks at a different aspect of love above the belt. What in your brain makes you love someone—or simply lust after them? Why do good girls like bad boys? Is monogamy practical? How thin is that line between love and hate? After reading this gimlet-eyed look at love, sex, and the brain, you’ll never look at romance the same way again.
So what if we stopped hedging? What if we grounded our efforts to solve environmental problems in hope instead, and let nature make our case for us? That’s what George Monbiot does in Feral, a lyrical, unabashedly romantic vision of how, by inviting nature back into our lives, we can simultaneously cure our “ecological boredom” and begin repairing centuries of environmental damage. Monbiot takes readers on an enchanting journey around the world to explore ecosystems that have been “rewilded”: freed from human intervention and allowed—in some cases for the first time in millennia—to resume their natural ecological processes. We share his awe, and wonder, as he kayaks among dolphins and seabirds off the coast of Wales and wanders the forests of Eastern Europe, where lynx and wolf packs are reclaiming their ancient hunting grounds. Through his eyes, we see environmental success—and begin to envision a future world where humans and nature are no longer separate and antagonistic, but are together part of a single, healing world.
Monbiot’s commitment is fierce, his passion infectious, his writing compelling. Readers willing to leave the confines of civilization and join him on his bewitching journey will emerge changed—and ready to change our world for the better.
Scientific developments radically change and enlighten our understanding of the world -- whether it's advances in technology and medical research or the latest revelations of neuroscience, psychology, physics, economics, anthropology, climatology, or genetics. And yet amid the flood of information today, it's often difficult to recognize the truly revolutionary ideas that will have lasting impact. In the spirit of identifying the most significant new theories and discoveries, John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website" -- The Guardian), asked 198 of the finest minds What do you consider the most interesting recent scientific news? What makes it important?
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond on the best way to understand complex problems * author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Carlo Rovelli on the mystery of black holes * Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on the quantification of human progress * TED Talks curator Chris J. Anderson on the growth of the global brain * Harvard cosmologist Lisa Randall on the true measure of breakthrough discoveries * Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on why the twenty-first century will be shaped by our mastery of the laws of matter * philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein on the underestimation of female genius * music legend Peter Gabriel on tearing down the barriers between imagination and reality * Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson on the surprising ability of small (and cheap) upstarts to compete with billion-dollar projects. Plus Nobel laureate John C. Mather, Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy, Wired founding editor Kevin Kelly, psychologist Alison Gopnik, Genome author Matt Ridley, Harvard geneticist George Church, Why Does the World Exist? author Jim Holt, anthropologist Helen Fisher, and more.
Experiments demonstrate that people are more distracted when they overhear a phone conversation—where they can know only one side of the dialogue—than when they overhear two people talking and know both sides. Why does half a conversation make us more curious than a whole conversation?
“Have you ever wondered why we wonder why? Mario Livio has, and he takes you on a fascinating quest to understand the origin and mechanisms of our curiosity. I thoroughly recommend it.” (Adam Riess, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, 2011). Curiosity is not only at the heart of mystery and suspense novels, it is also essential to other creative endeavors, from painting to sculpture to music. It is the principal driver of basic scientific research. Even so, there is still no definitive scientific consensus about why we humans are so curious, or about the mechanisms in our brain that are responsible for curiosity.
In the ever-fascinating Why? Livio interviewed scientists in several fields to explore the nature of curiosity. He examined the lives of two of history’s most curious geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci and Richard Feynman. He also talked to people with boundless curiosity: a superstar rock guitarist who is also an astrophysicist; an astronaut with degrees in computer science, biology, literature, and medicine. What drives these people to be curious about so many subjects?
An astrophysicist who has written about mathematics, biology, and now psychology and neuroscience, Livio has firsthand knowledge of his subject which he explores in a lucid, entertaining way that will captivate anyone who is curious about curiosity.
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 book gathers a diverse team of renowned scientists to capture the excitement of these new discoveries in a collection that is both accessible to students and an important contribution to the future of its field. Marshaling a range of disciplines—from paleobiology to phylogenetics, developmental biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology—the contributors attack particular transformations in the head and neck, trunk, appendages such as fins and limbs, and the whole body, as well as offer synthetic perspectives. Illustrated throughout, Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution not only reveals the true origins of whales with legs, fish with elbows, wrists, and necks, and feathered dinosaurs, but also the relevance to our lives today of these extraordinary narratives of change.
Artwork from the book is available to instructors online at www.blackwellpublishing.com/hunter and by request on CD-ROM.
Why do ravens, generally understood to be solitary creatures, share food between each other during winter? On the surface, there didn’t appear to be any biological or evolutionary imperative behind the raven’s willingness to share. The more Bernd Heinrich observed their habits, the more odd the bird’s behavior became. What started as mere curiosity turned into an impassioned research project, and Ravens In Winter, the first research of its kind, explores the fascinating biological puzzle of the raven’s rather unconventional social habits.
“Bernd Heinrich is no ordinary biologist. He’s the sort who combines formidable scientific rigor with a sense of irony and an unslaked, boyish enthusiasm for his subject, and who even at his current professorial age seems to do a lot of tree climbing in the line of research.” —David Quammen, The New York Times
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.
A number of ethical issues related to stem cells that spark debates are discussed, including risky treatments, cloning and embryonic stem cells. The author breaks new ground in a number of ways such as by suggesting reforms to the FDA, providing a new theory of aging based on stem cells, and including a revolutionary Stem Cell Patient Bill of Rights. More generally, the book is your guide to where the stem cell field will be in the near future as well as a thoughtful perspective on how stem cell therapies will ultimately change your life and our world.Contents:Meet Your Stem CellsThe Types of Stem Cells and Their Clinical PotentialStem Cell Treatments: Applications and ObstaclesStem Cell Models: Past, Present, and FutureAll in the Family: An Insider's Tale of Two Stem Cells and a Black SheepAging: The Stem Cell ConnectionLaw and Order Stem CellsStem Cells for Profit: An Ethical SpectrumPatient Bill of Rights and Guide to Stem Cell TreatmentsAre We There Yet? How Stem Cells Might Work to Treat Specific DiseasesStem Cell Cosmetics: More Than Skin Deep?Stem Cell Tests for HumanityGetting Your Stem Cell Geek OnConclusion: The Future of Stem Cells
Readership: A wide range of readers: patients, scientists, biotech and big pharma people, students, investors, lawyers, employees of funding agencies such as the National Institute for Health (NIH) and the California stem cell agency, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and researchers.
Keywords:Stem Cells;Stem Cell Treatments;Adult Stem Cells;Embryonic Stem Cells;Ips Cells;Stem Cell Tourism;Aging;Cancer;Medicine;Regenerative Medicine;Anti-AgingKey Features:Novel insider' guide to stem cells giving people an exciting look into the world of stem cells and stem cell researchTackles practical issues related to stem cell treatments including cosmetics and sports medicine, areas of intense interest to the publicWritten by a stem cell scientist and cancer survivor who can see health-related issues from both perspectives as patient and professorReviews:
“This is an opinionated but extremely knowledgeable introduction to the potentials and pitfalls of research in and applications of stem cells. The science is current, accessible, and well presented, but the best aspect of the book is its focus on ethical considerations associated with stem cell research. This is a fascinating book on important scientific, medical and consumer issues.”CHOICE
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?
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.
Importantly, the slides are editable, so they can be readily adapted to a lecturer’s personal style and course content needs. The lectures are based on excerpts from 12 of the first 13 chapters of DSBMS. They are designed to highlight the key course material, as a study guide and structure for students following the full text content.
The complete PowerPoint slide package (~25 MB) can be obtained by instructors (or prospective instructors) by emailing the author directly, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What makes us the way we are? Some say it’s the genes we inherit at conception. Others are sure it’s the environment we experience in childhood. But could it be that many of our individual characteristics—our health, our intelligence, our temperaments—are influenced by the conditions we encountered before birth?
That’s the claim of an exciting and provocative field known as fetal origins. Over the past twenty years, scientists have been developing a radically new understanding of our very earliest experiences and how they exert lasting effects on us from infancy well into adulthood. Their research offers a bold new view of pregnancy as a crucial staging ground for our health, ability, and well-being throughout life.
Author and journalist Annie Murphy Paul ventures into the laboratories of fetal researchers, interviews experts from around the world, and delves into the rich history of ideas about how we’re shaped before birth. She discovers dramatic stories: how individuals gestated during the Nazi siege of Holland in World War II are still feeling its consequences decades later; how pregnant women who experienced the 9/11 attacks passed their trauma on to their offspring in the womb; how a lab accident led to the discovery of a common household chemical that can harm the developing fetus; how the study of a century-old flu pandemic reveals the high personal and societal costs of poor prenatal experience.
Origins also brings to light astonishing scientific findings: how a single exposure to an environmental toxin may produce damage that is passed on to multiple generations; how conditions as varied as diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness may get their start in utero; why the womb is medicine’s latest target for the promotion of lifelong health, from preventing cancer to reducing obesity. The fetus is not an inert being, but an active and dynamic creature, responding and adapting as it readies itself for life in the particular world it will enter. The pregnant woman is not merely a source of potential harm to her fetus, as she is so often reminded, but a source of influence on her future child that is far more powerful and positive than we ever knew. And pregnancy is not a nine-month wait for the big event of birth, but a momentous period unto itself, a cradle of individual strength and wellness and a crucible of public health and social equality.
With the intimacy of a personal memoir and the sweep of a scientific revolution, Origins presents a stunning new vision of our beginnings that will change the way you think about yourself, your children, and human nature itself.
Widely received in its previous editions, Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics offers the most broad-based introduction to this explosive new discipline. Now in a thoroughly updated and expanded third edition, it continues to be the go-to source for students and professionals involved in biomedical research.
This book provides up-to-the-minute coverage of the fields of bioinformatics and genomics. Features new to this edition include: Extensive revisions and a slight reorder of chapters for a more effective organization A brand new chapter on next-generation sequencing An expanded companion website, also updated as and when new information becomes available Greater emphasis on a computational approach, with clear guidance of how software tools work and introductions to the use of command-line tools such as software for next-generation sequence analysis, the R programming language, and NCBI search utilities
The book is complemented by lavish illustrations and more than 500 figures and tables - many newly-created for the third edition to enhance clarity and understanding. Each chapter includes learning objectives, a problem set, pitfalls section, boxes explaining key techniques and mathematics/statistics principles, a summary, recommended reading, and a list of freely available software. Readers may visit a related Web page for supplemental information such as PowerPoints and audiovisual files of lectures, and videocasts of how to perform many basic operations: www.wiley.com/go/pevsnerbioinformatics.
Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics, Third Edition serves as an excellent single-source textbook for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate-level courses in the biological sciences and computer sciences. It is also an indispensable resource for biologists in a broad variety of disciplines who use the tools of bioinformatics and genomics to study particular research problems; bioinformaticists and computer scientists who develop computer algorithms and databases; and medical researchers and clinicians who want to understand the genomic basis of viral, bacterial, parasitic, or other diseases.
That’s the question that animates Jessica Pierce’s powerful Run, Spot, Run. A lover of pets herself (including, over the years, dogs, cats, fish, rats, hermit crabs, and more), Pierce understands the joys that pets bring us. But she also refuses to deny the ambiguous ethics at the heart of the relationship, and through a mix of personal stories, philosophical reflections, and scientifically informed analyses of animal behavior and natural history, she puts pet-keeping to the test. Is it ethical to keep pets at all? Are some species more suited to the relationship than others? Are there species one should never attempt to own? And are there ways that we can improve our pets’ lives, so that we can be confident that we are giving them as much as they give us?
Deeply empathetic, yet rigorous and unflinching in her thinking, Pierce has written a book that is sure to help any pet owner, unsettling assumptions but also giving them the knowledge to build deeper, better relationships with the animals with whom they’ve chosen to share their lives.
Throughout most of human history, babies were surprises. People knew the basics: men and women had sex, and sometimes babies followed. But beyond that the origins of life were a colossal mystery. The Seeds of Life is the remarkable and rollicking story of how a series of blundering geniuses and brilliant amateurs struggled for two centuries to discover where, exactly, babies come from.
Taking a page from investigative thrillers, acclaimed science writer Edward Dolnick looks to these early scientists as if they were detectives hot on the trail of a bedeviling and urgent mystery. These strange searchers included an Italian surgeon using shark teeth to prove that female reproductive organs were not 'failed' male genitalia, and a Catholic priest who designed ingenious miniature pants to prove that frogs required semen to fertilize their eggs.
A witty and rousing history of science, The Seeds of Life presents our greatest scientists struggling-against their perceptions, their religious beliefs, and their deep-seated prejudices-to uncover how and where we come from.
Internationally renowned veterinarian Dr. Nicholas Dodman breaks new ground with the practice of One Medicine, the profound recognition that humans’ and other animals’ minds and emotions work in similar ways.
Racehorses with Tourette’s Syndrome, spinning dogs with epilepsy, cats with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, feather-plucking parrots with anxiety, and a diffident Bull Terrier with autism—these astonishing cases were all helped by One Medicine. Traditional treatments did not cure the behaviors because they treated the symptoms as disorders of the body, rather than problems of the mind. “This book itself is powerful medicine,” writes Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus. “Compelling…Dodman injects empathy into a world where sympathy previously reigned,” praised Publishers Weekly.
“With much charm and compassion” (Susan Richards, author of Chosen by a Horse), Pets on the Couch raises our understanding of our pets’ complex interior lives and mental abilities, leading to a greater appreciation of them and the bonds we share.
The content of this new edition has been completely updated to include current information on all aspects of basic and clinical immunology. The superbly drawn figures are now in full color, complemented by full color plates throughout the book. The text is further enhanced by the inclusion of numerous tables, special topic boxes and brief notes that provide interesting insights. At the end of each chapter, a self-test quiz allows students to monitor their mastery of major concepts, while a set of conceptual questions prompts them to extrapolate further and extend their critical thinking. Moreover, as part of the Academic Cell line of textbooks, Primer to The Immune Response, 2nd Edition contains research passages that shine a spotlight on current experimental work reported in Cell Press articles. These articles also form the basis of case studies that are found in the associated online study guide and are designed to reinforce clinical connections.Complete yet concise coverage of the basic and clinical principles of immunologyEngaging conversational writing style that is to the point and very readableOver 200 clear, elegant color illustrationsComprehensive glossary and list of abbreviations
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.
This second edition of the Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants is created to assist the clinician in the initial response to the needs of a child or adult exposed to a poisonous or injurious plant. It lists common plants that might lead to the development of the symptom complex and describes the mechanisms of action of the implicated toxin, additional clinical manifestations, and specific therapeutics for each presentation. It has methodically enhanced the previous edition’s botanical rigor with insights from both pharmacognosy and clinical medicine to make it a truly comprehensive source.
With its thorough references and full-color photos of hundreds of potentially toxic and injurious plants inside the home, anyone who has an interest in plants will find this book useful outside in the garden or out in the wild.
This book will fascinate botanists, horticulturists, and naturalists as well as hikers, gardeners, and all those who simply enjoy the wonders of nature and the great outdoors!
With Foreword by Lewis R. Goldfrank, MD and Introduction by Andrew Weil, MD
Contributions come from leading voices in cell biology, who are defining the future of their field, including: - Tom Misteli, National Cancer Institute - Galit Lahav, Harvard Medical School - Scott D. Emr, Cornell University - David G. Drubin, University of California, Berkeley - Tom Rapoport, Harvard Medical School - Anthony A. Hyman, Max Planck Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Dresden
This publication is part of the Cell Press Reviews series, which features reviews published in Cell Press primary research and Trends reviews journals.Provides timely, comprehensive coverage across a broad range of cell biological topicsOffers foundational knowledge and expert insights to students and others new to the fieldFeatures reviews from leaders in cell biology research and discussion of future directions for the fieldIncludes articles originally published in Cell, Current Biology, Developmental Cell, and Trends in Cell Biology
The holy grail of psychologists and scientists for nearly a century has been to understand and replicate both human thought and the human mind. In fact, it's what attracted the now-legendary computer scientist and AI authority David Gelernter to the discipline in the first place. As a student and young researcher in the 1980s, Gelernter hoped to build a program with a dial marked "focus." At maximum "focus," the program would "think" rationally, formally, reasonably. As the dial was turned down and "focus" diminished, its "mind" would start to wander, and as you dialed even lower, this artificial mind would start to free-associate, eventually ignoring the user completely as it cruised off into the mental adventures we know as sleep.
While the program was a only a partial success, it laid the foundation for The Tides of Mind, a groundbreaking new exploration of the human psyche that shows us how the very purpose of the mind changes throughout the day. Indeed, as Gelernter explains, when we are at our most alert, when reasoning and creating new memories is our main mental business, the mind is a computer-like machine that keeps emotion on a short leash and attention on our surroundings. As we gradually tire, however, and descend the "mental spectrum," reasoning comes unglued. Memory ranges more freely, the mind wanders, and daydreams grow more insistent. Self-awareness fades, reflection blinks out, and at last we are completely immersed in our own minds.
With far-reaching implications, Gelernter’s landmark "Spectrum of Consciousness" finally helps decode some of the most mysterious wonders of the human mind, such as the numinous light of early childhood, why dreams are so often predictive, and why sadism and masochism underpin some of our greatest artistic achievements. It’s a theory that also challenges the very notion of the mind as a machine—and not through empirical studies or "hard science" but by listening to our great poets and novelists, who have proven themselves as humanity's most trusted guides to the subjective mind and inner self.
In the great introspective tradition of Wilhelm Wundt and René Descartes, David Gelernter promises to not only revolutionize our understanding of what it means to be human but also to help answer many of our most fundamental questions about the origins of creativity, thought, and consciousness.