Electrical charges pervade nature, including lightning in a thunderstorm and the signals within our own bodies. Electrical energy also powers many of the devices—refrigerators, televisions, and computers, to name a few—upon which modern life depends. This illuminating volume explores the various aspects of electricity, including electric fields, currents, and circuits, as well as the relationship of electricity and magnetism to the functioning of motors and generators.
A single cell can be a self-sustaining organism or one of trillions in a larger life form. Though visible only with the help of a microscope, cells are highly structured entities that perform a myriad of functions in every living thing and store critical genetic information. This fascinating volume examines the organization of various types of cells and provides an in-depth look at how cells operate alone to generate new cells and act as part of a larger network with others.
Fungi, protists, and algae are among the most diverse life forms on the planet. Tiny protists range from plants to animals. Algae range from single celled plants to 60-foot-long kelp. Fungi occupy a kingdom of their own. Although their place in nature—neither truly plants or animals—may make them seem strange, they are actually quite familiar to us for their use in various foods, medicines, and biotechnologies. Indeed, our consumption of bread or reliance on penicillin would not be possible without these diverse eukaryotic organisms. This intriguing volume delves into the taxonomy, structure, and function of each group and evaluates their wide-ranging natural and societal impact.
Boasting vivid graphics, rapid pacing, and complex narratives, electronic games have evolved both visually and substantially since the early days of Spacewar! and Pong. By allowing users to explore fictional universes, engage in stealth missions, play like their favorite athletes or musicians, and imagine realities both similar to and far-removed from their own, electronic games appeal to a variety of individuals and interests. This absorbing volume details the development of electronic gaming including arcade and early home video consoles through massive multiplayer online games, and examines some of the most popular games of all time.
Bacteria, algae, and protozoa—microorganisms that are easily overlooked in our daily lives—can be found in a wide variety of locations and serve innumerable ecological purposes. While some such organisms have been associated with disease, they have also been invaluable in agriculture and in the production of certain foods, medicines, and other necessities. This informative volume examines the properties and uses of these powerful and essential life forms. Graphic organizers and detailed images bring the miniscule details of these entities to the forefront.
The iconic pyramids and striking hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt are but a limited representation of the resplendent culture that once inhabited the Nile Valley. The ancient Egyptians developed sophisticated societies and belief systems, bestowing the world with plenitudes in the way of intellectual and cultural achievement. The vibrance of the ancient Egyptian life—from the dynasties to the masses—are captured in this volume, which also explores the political and social development of the region.
With music today available on YouTube, online and satellite radio, MTV, through digital downloads, and on iPods and other handheld devices, we may think that we have heard all there is to hear about modern artists. The stories behind the songs that keep us humming are less often explored. Readers will learn how some of the most popular musicians today—entertainers such as Madonna, Adele, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift—rose to fame and made important musical breakthroughs, all while paying tribute to those who came before them.
From the Mayan calendar to the Toltec architecture at Chichén Itzá, the bequests of ancient Mesoamerican civilizations have endured long after the societies that created them declined. The intellectual and cultural achievements of Pre-Columbian America rivaled those of ancient Rome and Egypt, and greatly enriched the landscape of present-day Mexico and Central America. The traditions, social organizations, languages, and ideas that shaped each of these cultures are examined in this fascinating volume.
Peering through a telescope, you are likely to encounter a host of celestial bodies—anything from another planet to a comet—speckling the night sky. Careful observation has shown that while each object follows a unique orbit or trajectory, these entities also share numerous qualities and together provide critical information about space and the universe as a whole. This engaging volume surveys the characteristics of the diverse objects that make up the solar system as well as their distinguishing features.
The endocrine system, comprised of a number of hormone-secreting glands, is vital to the functioning of the human body. In addition to its role in reproductive activity, the endocrine system regulates tissue growth, responses to injury and stress, and helps maintain necessary levels of chemicals throughout the body. This detailed volume carefully examines the major glands of the endocrine system as well as the consequences of its dysfunction and disorder.
The satisfaction derived from savoring a steak or indulging in an ice cream sundae is only one aspect of a larger process that occurs in the human digestive system. From the moment food enters our mouths until long after we have finished a meal, the body engages in an extensive routine designed to retain nutrients and discard waste. This comprehensive book examines all the vital components involved in consuming and digesting food as well as the diseases and disorders that can plague this frequently overlooked area of the human body.
Although its ubiquity in the human body may make it seem unremarkable, simply put, blood makes life possible. It nourishes cells throughout the body and transports carbon dioxide to the lungs. Without it, the body would be unable to fight disease and infection or function at all. Readers are invited to follow the course of this extraordinary fluid as it circulates through the body and learn about its component parts. Detailed diagrams supplement the text and allow readers a glimpse into the anatomy and life sustaining properties of human blood.
Though only about the size of a clenched fist, the human heart bears the immense burden of sustaining human life and activity. Functioning to circulate blood throughout the body, the heart is an organ on which all others intimately depend. This volume relates the anatomy of the heart and the effects of the diseases to which it is sometimes prone. Annotated diagrams and illustrations bolster the narrative and highlight significant aspects of cardiology and the incredible cardiovascular system.
Frequently cited as a land that birthed civilization and culture as we know it, the impact of ancient Greece on the world cannot be overstated. Its flourishing city-states laid the creative foundations for much of the literature, drama, art, and architecture we enjoy today, while advances in governance and law have shaped the development of democracy. This lively volume chronicles the major events and achievements of this dynamic society and profiles some of its most notable figures. Numerous maps, illustrations, and sidebars transport the reader to the ancient, awe-inspiring past of the Hellenic Republic.
With a following that remains unmatched by any other sport, soccer has commanded the loyalties of peoples of all backgrounds around the world, stirring the passions of all. National associations in countries across the globe have encouraged the emergence of numerous skilled players and advanced the level of competition and skill in the game, as is often demonstrated in each World Cup. The history, rules, and prominent players of this beloved sport are all examined in this exuberant volume.
So automatic and mechanical is breathing for most of us that we often fail to consider the complexities of respiration. Engaging the lungs, airways, and more, the intake of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide are only the most apparent aspects of a much longer routine. Although vulnerable to various infections and other disorders, the respiratory system by and large continues to function in order to sustain us. This book explores each element involved in this subconscious process and the factors that perpetuate human life.
Mesopotamian religion was one of the earliest religious systems to develop with—and in turn influence—a high civilization. Followed by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, Mesopotamian religion and mythology reflected the complexities of these societies and has been preserved in remnants of their cultural, economic, and political institutions. This absorbing volume provides a glimpse of the cradle of civilization by examining Mesopotamian religious and mythological beliefs as well as some of the many gods and goddesses at the core of their stories and also looks at epics—such as that of Gilgamesh—and other aspects of Mesopotamian life.
World War II was a very different war than had previously been fought in the course of history—new technologies and ideas were employed making way for widespread death and new atrocities. This book is a valuable resource that follows the war from the rise of Hitler to the dropping of the atomic bombs, through blitzkrieg and bombings, to the treaty that finally ended it all, noting the effects upon future world politics.
Given that Islam predominates in over thirty countries around the world, the history of the Islamic world requires a broad perspective. This in-depth look at the history of the religion and culture of Islam and the Muslim people covers the extreme breadth of the topic while still maintaining a detailed focus on the key people and events of the long and fascinating history of the Islamic World.
Although more than 200 years have passed since the death of the first U.S. president, the name George Washington still invokes deep patriotism and pride in the country he helped found. A leader on the battlefield as well as the halls of politics, Washington was a crucial figure during the American Revolution who helped define the American presidency, as we know it. Readers trace the life of the man known as the Father of the His Country, from his childhood to his military successes through his tenure as president.
Venerated as the cradle of civilization since the days of ancient Mesopotamia, Iraq served as an intellectual and cultural center in the Arab world for much of its history. Unwilling to let the turbulence of the 20th and 21st centuries eclipse their rich culture and society, the Iraqi people endeavor to secure a hopeful, prosperous future for their country. This thoughtful volume chronicles the major events in Iraqi history and the traditions, customs, and ideas that have shaped its trajectory since the Arab conquests.
It may be little exaggeration to say that the figure of Abraham Lincoln embodies the American ideal more so than any other U.S. president. Although he came from humble beginnings and held several odd jobs before launching his career in politics, Lincoln’s determination and natural abilities brought him to the White House, where he led the struggle to preserve the union and emancipate the country’s slaves. Lincoln’s remarkable life—from his childhood to his role as Commander in Chief during the Civil War to his tragic death—is chronicled in this captivating volume.
The system of courts in the United States serves to enforce the laws of the nation as well as act as a check to make sure the other branches of government obey the powers set forth by the Constitution. Through a series of landmark court cases, chronicled in this book with an explanation of their lasting impact, the judiciary has shaped the laws of the nation. In addition to the powers of the judiciary and information on important Supreme Court Justices, landmark cases such as Marbury v. Madison and Brown v. The Board of Education are covered.
Though he had less than three years in office, John F. Kennedy made a lasting and profound mark as U.S. president. Deftly handling the Cuban Missile Crisis and supporting civil rights laws and the space race, Kennedy represented the promise for a better future. Readers examine the life of the accomplished and charismatic 35th president whose life and term were tragically ended too soon.
As with novelists and short story writers, the job of poets and playwrights is to elicit emotion and generate thought. The difference is that the latter authors do so while adhering to rules different than those governing standard prose works. Where poets create rich verses loaded with subtext, playwrights rely largely on dialogue to create poignant scenes that become all the more powerful when performed onstage. This captivating collection of biographies profiles some of the greatest writers of poetry and drama, from Aeschylus to Diane Ackerman, Sophocles to David Mamet.
Although most people would scarcely be able to make it through the day without using some type of electronic device—computers, televisions, and MP3 players, to name a few—the inner workings of such devices remain a mystery to many. This insightful volume examines various components, such as electron tubes and semiconductors, that have been essential to electronics over the years, as well as the history of the field in general and its applications in everyday life.
Formalizing study of the natural world may seem like a daunting task considering the sheer breadth and variety of living things that inhabit the planet. From the microscopic organisms in the world’s most remote locations to those in the human body, evidence of the intricate structures and mechanisms that enable life are ubiquitous and new discoveries constantly reveal new possibilities that demand to be examined. This volume surveys the multitude of subjects that comprise the field of biology and includes an overview of the development of biology, microbiology, and cell theory.
When rock and roll first burst onto the scene in the 1950s, it was more than a new form of music—it was a rebellion against the past. With the music of such artists as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and the Supremes came a new attitude that allowed fans—many of them young—to look past the social norms of the time, a shift that included a greater interaction with and understanding between the races. This stunning, story-filled volume examines the phenomenon of rock and roll—the way it was before it crept into the mainstream it had once retaliated against—and the many musicians who made it into an art.
Although we often search social and historical documents for clues to our past, biological “documents” perhaps hold the most important evidence of our heritage. The traits we inherit from our parents and pass on to our offspring are encoded in our genes and DNA and reveal much about both our origins and our future. This volume examines the fascinating biology behind genetics and genetic disorders. It also carefully considers the principles of gene manipulation and genetic engineering whose potential to revolutionize medicine, industry, and agriculture is becoming increasingly evident with every new discovery.
Giving Western literature and art many of its most enduring themes and archetypes, Greek mythology and the gods and goddesses at its core are a fundamental part of the popular imagination. At the heart of Greek mythology are exciting stories of drama, action, and adventure featuring gods and goddesses, who, while physically superior to humans, share many of their weaknesses. Readers will be introduced to the many figures once believed to populate Mount Olympus as well as related concepts and facts about the Greek mythological tradition.
Fathoming the boundlessness of space and the universe, we are immediately filled with curiosity about our own origins and wonder about the objects, life forms, and matter that populate the cosmos. Through the observations and work of astronomers over time, we have slowly been able to reduce the number of unknowns and develop explanations or theories for some of the celestial objects and phenomena we see. This space-traveling survey recounts some of the major discovery milestones in the field of astronomy and examines the tools and techniques currently used by astronomers to study the universe.
The sometimes insidious effects of bacterial diseases and viral infections can obscure the incredible significance of the microscopic organisms that cause them. Bacteria and viruses are among the oldest agents on Earth and reveal much about the planet’s past and evolution. Moreover, their utility in the development of new cures and treatments signals much about the future of biotechnology and medicine. This penetrating volume takes readers under the lens of a microscope to explore the structure, nature, and role of both bacteria and viruses as well as all other aspects of microbiology.
Gods and goddesses—in human, animal, and other forms—were central to the ancient Egyptian way of life. Identified with the natural world, daily living, and the afterlife, they maintained order and prevented chaos from permeating the human world. The figures documented in ancient hieroglyphics are given dimension in this absorbing volume, which examines the characteristics and significance of many of the Egyptian gods and goddesses and also looks at related topics such as ancient symbols and the influence of Egyptian mythology on other cultures and belief systems.
Although much is now known about the biology of reproduction, a great deal remains to be discovered about the diseases and disorders that can damage the reproductive system. Ethical concerns surrounding the issues of birth control and abortion have also provoked much discussion in recent times. This comprehensive narrative details both the biological process of procreation and the often divisive debates on how best to approach matters related to the human body.
Celebrated for numerous developments in the areas of law, writing, religion, and mathematics, Mesopotamia has been immortalized as the cradle of civilization. Its fabled cities, including Babylon and Nineveh, spawned new cultures, traditions, and innovations in art and architecture, some of which can still be seen in present-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Readers will be captivated by this ancient culture’s rich history and breadth of accomplishment, as they marvel at images of the magnificent temples and artifacts left behind.
Even as airlines provide faster means of travel, ships and boats remain as important as ever in transporting passengers and cargo across the world’s bodies of water. While ship design has become increasingly sophisticated with time, everything including the luxury liners, warships, and sailboats of today owe much to the watercraft that facilitated travel, trade, and war among ancient cultures. This detailed volume examines the development of the different types of water vehicles and the design of related structures, including docks and quays.
Humans have long dreamt of communing with the skies and acquiring the ability to fly. The first experiments with balloon flight through the development of the Concorde and everything in between, aviation has transformed the way humans travel, especially over vast distances. This penetrating volume examines the various technologies and aircraft that have enabled human flight and includes a comprehensive section on the design and operation of airports.
While cracking a code might seem like something few of us would encounter in our daily lives, it is actually far more prevalent than we may realize. Anyone who has had personal information taken because of a hacked email account can understand the need for cryptography and the importance of encryption—essentially the need to code information to keep it safe. This detailed volume examines the logic and science behind various ciphers, their real world uses, how codes can be broken, and the use of technology in this oft-overlooked field.
While they share a border and a rich heritage, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are also a study in contrasts. Where Saudi Arabia has a largely urban population that enjoys the benefits of its thriving economy, Yemen is home to predominantly rural citizens and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Within these pages, readers will encounter the long, intertwined histories of these two nations, as well as their individual struggles for prosperity and peace—with each other and the rest of the world.
From a young age we have been told to take our vitamins, eat our fruits and vegetables, and limit sugar and fat. Readers examine what makes certain foods better nutritionally than others and how various foods affect the human body, including the role they can play in disease and illness. Tables in the appendix provide quick reference on vitamins and common food-related illnesses.
Because of its natural wealth, India has long been a tempting prize for invaders, yet foreign forces such as the Mughal Empire and the British did not destroy India’s vibrant spirit. Rather, external influences often became absorbed into the mix of different peoples, languages, religions, and regional traditions, creating a lasting culture of great depth. This book recounts the history of India and much of present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as the factors that have contributed to India’s epic economic successes in recent times. Memorable images texture the narrative and vividly animate the story of this unique nation.
Integral to the consciousness of the American people, the sport of baseball has become a steadfast institution in a nation whose identity is constantly evolving. Although the game has undergone its own share of changes since it first took center stage, baseball has maintained an unwavering devotion among fans and players alike. This comprehensive volume details the rules of baseball, introduces some of its key personalities, and examines the historical role of the game as it changed both the recreational and social landscapes of the country.
With the advent of European colonization, the North American landscape and the indigenous cultures that inhabited it changed irrevocably. While a large part of Native Americans’ past has been marked by struggles for equality and sovereignty, a survey of the early history of various tribes reveals prosperous societies that managed to live peaceably with each other and a parade of various interlopers. This volume examines the trajectory of Native American cultures over the centuries, detailing how they have retained their longstanding values and traditions in the face of war, disease, resettlement, and assimilation.
Necessary for everything from reflexes to reading to running, it’s no exaggeration to say that the brain and nervous system are responsible for nearly every endeavor of human activity. The sheer volume of information that the brain must process and respond to at every second of each day renders it one of the most remarkable systems of the human body. With illuminating diagrams and careful detail, this volume covers the amazing intricacies of this vital system as well as the effects of disease and damage.
One of the greatest economic crises in history, the Great Depression of the 1930s caused much hardship both in the United States and throughout the world. The economic impact of this difficult period was reflected not only in the job market of the era but in its art, society, and politics as well. Illuminating information allows readers to examine the economic causes and effects of the Great Depression, as well as the federal and global responses to the crisis, and gives an in-depth look at how literature, theater, film, and more began to reflect the new social realities of the time.
While the ancient Roman pantheon in many ways resembles that of ancient Greece, there is much that sets apart Roman mythology. Romans also borrowed from the religions of ancient Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Middle East, and legendary figures such as Romulus and Remus, tied closely to the history of Rome, feature prominently in ancient stories. The major and lesser figures of Roman mythology are presented in this vibrant volume with sidebars spotlighting related facts and concepts about Roman mythology and religion.
Most avid sky gazers wait until nightfall to catch a glimpse of the stars that are scattered across the heavens. The fact of the matter is that one needs only to feel the Sun’s rays in order to experience the presence of a star. The Sun is an ordinary star, a ball of hot gas much like millions of others in the universe, but as the center of the solar system, it is critical to the survival of all life forms on Earth. This comprehensive volume examines the nature of the Sun and details the properties and types of various stars, as well as the greater galaxies of which they are a part.
Some of the planet’s most destructive forces—including earthquakes and volcanic activity—are caused by the same factors that helped shape much of the Earth as it is today. Plate tectonics, or movement of the Earth’s outer layers, can occur in a number of different ways and produce a range of results, some minor and others far more considerable or devastating. Distinct maps, interesting sidebars, and annotated illustrations of the Earth’s layers are included in this volume, which details the motion of the planet and the nature and study of both earthquakes and volcanoes.
Together, minerals, rocks, and fossils communicate much about Earth’s history. Much more than ornaments on a landscape, minerals and rocks are significant components of the planet’s foundation, while fossils contain clues as to the various life forms that once inhabited the planet. Readers are invited to take a closer look at the materials that have, in many ways, facilitated life, and to explore the types and categories of minerals, rocks, and fossils alike.
The human eye has been the subject of endless fascination. Indeed, the very nature of sensory perception is shaped by the visual cues the brain receives, thus rendering the eye one of the most crucial elements in our comprehension of the world. The structures and functions of the eye are examined in this exhaustive volume that describes how we are able to process what we observe and react accordingly. Detailed diagrams accompany the text and encourage the reader to consider all aspects of this beautiful and complex area of human anatomy.