Science and Technology

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How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

by Bill Gates, published in 2021

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical - and accessible - plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide toward certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal. He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions-suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise. As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.

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When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep

by Antonio Zadra, published in 2021

A comprehensive, eye-opening exploration of what dreams are, where they come from, what they mean, and why we have them. Questions on the origins and meaning of dreams are as old as humankind, and as confounding and exciting today as when nineteenth-century scientists first attempted to unravel them. Why do we dream? Do dreams hold psychological meaning or are they merely the reflection of random brain activity? What purpose do dreams serve? When Brains Dream addresses these core questions about dreams while illuminating the most up-to-date science in the field. Written by two world-renowned sleep and dream researchers, it debunks common myths?that we only dream in REM sleep, for example—while acknowledging the mysteries that persist around both the science and experience of dreaming. Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold bring together state-of-the-art neuroscientific ideas and findings to propose a new and innovative model of dream function called NEXTUP—Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities. By detailing this model’s workings, they help readers understand key features of several types of dreams, from prophetic dreams to nightmares and lucid dreams. When Brains Dream reveals recent discoveries about the sleeping brain and the many ways in which dreams are psychologically, and neurologically, meaningful experiences; explores a host of dream-related disorders; and explains how dreams can facilitate creativity and be a source of personal insight. Making an eloquent and engaging case for why the human brain needs to dream, When Brains Dream offers compelling answers to age-old questions about the mysteries of sleep.

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Narrative in the Age of the Genome: Genetic Worlds

by Lara Choksey, published in 2021

This book is available as open access through the Bloomsbury Open Access programme and is available on www.bloomsburycollections.com. It is funded by the Wellcome Trust. Genetic science has had a profound impact on our understanding of what it means to be human and our links to the world we inhabit. This book considers the impact of these ideas across a range of literary forms, cultural practices, and political imaginaries, and argues that new descriptions of biological value introduced through practices of genomic sequencing from the late 1970s registered a broader crisis of narrative form. Examining a wide range of texts by Doris Lessing, Samuel Delany, Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, Kir Bulychev, Kazuo Ishiguro, Saidiya Hartman, Yaa Gyasi, Svetlana Alexievich, and Jeff VanderMeer, Narrative in the Age of the Genome casts new light on some of the most important issues of our time: from racial, sexual and gender identities to neoliberal economics and environmental crisis.

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Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

by Avi Loeb, published in 2021

Harvard's top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star

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Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age

by Annalee Newitz, published in 2021

One of Apple's Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021 A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history—and figure out why people abandoned them. In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today. Newitz travels to all four sites and investigates the cutting-edge research in archaeology, revealing the mix of environmental changes and political turmoil that doomed these ancient settlements. Tracing the early development of urban planning, Newitz also introduces us to the often anonymous workers—slaves, women, immigrants, and manual laborers—who built these cities and created monuments that lasted millennia. Four Lost Cities is a journey into the forgotten past, but, foreseeing a future in which the majority of people on Earth will be living in cities, it may also reveal something of our own fate.

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This is the Voice

by John Colapinto, published in 2021

A New York Times bestselling writer explores what our unique sonic signature reveals about our species, our culture, and each one of us. Finally, a vital topic that has never had its own book gets its due. There’s no shortage of books about public speaking or language or song. But until now, there has been no book about the miracle that underlies them all—the human voice itself. And there are few writers who could take on this surprisingly vast topic with more artistry and expertise than John Colapinto. Beginning with the novel—and compelling—argument that our ability to speak is what made us the planet’s dominant species, he guides us from the voice’s beginnings in lungfish millions of years ago to its culmination in the talent of Pavoratti, Martin Luther King Jr., and Beyoncé—and each of us, every day. Along the way, he shows us why the voice is the most efficient, effective means of communication ever devised: it works in all directions, in all weathers, even in the dark, and it can be calibrated to reach one other person or thousands. He reveals why speech is the single most complex and intricate activity humans can perform. He travels up the Amazon to meet the Piraha, a reclusive tribe whose singular language, more musical than any other, can help us hear how melodic principles underpin every word we utter. He heads up to Harvard to see how professional voices are helped and healed, and he ventures out on the campaign trail to see how demagogues wield their voices as weapons. As far-reaching as this book is, much of the delight of reading it lies in how intimate it feels. Everything Colapinto tells us can be tested by our own lungs and mouths and ears and brains. He shows us that, for those who pay attention, the voice is an eloquent means of communicating not only what the speaker means, but also their mood, sexual preference, age, income, even psychological and physical illness. It overstates the case only slightly to say that anyone who talks, or sings, or listens will find a rich trove of thrills in This Is the Voice.

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The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women—and Women to Medicine

by Janice P. Nimura, published in 2021

One of Apple's Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021 "Janice P. Nimura has resurrected Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell in all their feisty, thrilling, trailblazing splendor." —Stacy Schiff Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for a mission beyond the scope of "ordinary" womanhood. Though the world at first recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity ultimately won her the acceptance of the male medical establishment. In 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her younger sister, Emily, who was actually the more brilliant physician. Exploring the sisters’ allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Janice P. Nimura presents a story of trial and triumph. Together, the Blackwells founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women. Both sisters were tenacious and visionary, but their convictions did not always align with the emergence of women’s rights—or with each other. From Bristol, Paris, and Edinburgh to the rising cities of antebellum America, this richly researched new biography celebrates two complicated pioneers who exploded the limits of possibility for women in medicine. As Elizabeth herself predicted, "a hundred years hence, women will not be what they are now."

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A Most Interesting Problem: What Darwin's Descent of Man Got Right and Wrong About Human Evolution

by Jeremy DeSilva, published in 2021

"In 1859, Charles Darwin proposed a mechanism for biological evolution in his most famous work, On the Origin of Species. However, Origin makes little mention of humans. Despite this, Darwin thought deeply about humans and in 1871 published The Descent of Man, his influential and controversial book in which he applied evolutionary theory to humans and detailed his theory of sexual selection. February 2021 will mark the 150th anniversay of it's publication. In A Most Interesting Problem, twelve leading anthropologists, biologists, and journalists revisit The Descent. Following the same organization as the first edition of Descent - less the large section on sexual selection -- each author reviews what Darwin wrote in Descent, comparing his words to what we now know now. There are chapters on evidence for human evolution, our place in the family tree, the origins of civilization, human races, intelligence, and sex differences. An introduction by Darwin biolographer and historian Janet Browne provides context for Descent and a conclusion by Science magazine journalist Ann Gibbons looks to the future of the study of human evolution. All the chapters are written with a broad audience in mind. Ultimately, readers learn that Darwin was remarkably prophetic in some of his predictions, such as that the earliest human fossils would be discovered in Africa. But he was wrong in other areas, particularly in regards to variations between the sexes and races. Thus, A Most Interesting Problem is not so much a celebration of Darwin as it is a tribute to how science works, how scientific ideas are tested, and the role of evidence in helping structure narratives of human origins. The reader is left with a view of how far we have come in our quest for understanding human origins, biological variation, behavior, and evolution"--

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The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

by Michael E. Mann, published in 2021

A renowned climate scientist shows how fossil fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet. Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we've been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on individual behavior is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Fossil fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame (think "guns don't kill people, people kill people") or greenwashing (think of the beverage industry's "Crying Indian" commercials of the 1970s). Meanwhile, they've blocked efforts to regulate or price carbon emissions, run PR campaigns aimed at discrediting viable alternatives, and have abdicated their responsibility in fixing the problem they've created. The result has been disastrous for our planet. In The New Climate War, Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters-fossil fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petrostates. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including: a common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing- and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal; allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate change solutions combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defense of the fossil fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won't happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet.

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Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet

by Tim Hwang, published in 2020

From FSGO x Logic: a revealing examination of digital advertising and the internet's precarious foundation In Subprime Attention Crisis, Tim Hwang investigates the way big tech financializes attention. In the process, he shows us how digital advertising—the beating heart of the internet—is at risk of collapsing, and that its potential demise bears an uncanny resemblance to the housing crisis of 2008. From the unreliability of advertising numbers and the unregulated automation of advertising bidding wars, to the simple fact that online ads mostly fail to work, Hwang demonstrates that while consumers’ attention has never been more prized, the true value of that attention itself—much like subprime mortgages—is wildly misrepresented. And if online advertising goes belly-up, the internet—and its free services—will suddenly be accessible only to those who can afford it. Deeply researched, convincing, and alarming, Subprime Attention Crisis will change the way you look at the internet, and its precarious future. FSG Originals × Logic dissects the way technology functions in everyday lives. The titans of Silicon Valley, for all their utopian imaginings, never really had our best interests at heart: recent threats to democracy, truth, privacy, and safety, as a result of tech’s reckless pursuit of progress, have shown as much. We present an alternate story, one that delights in capturing technology in all its contradictions and innovation, across borders and socioeconomic divisions, from history through the future, beyond platitudes and PR hype, and past doom and gloom. Our collaboration features four brief but provocative forays into the tech industry’s many worlds, and aspires to incite fresh conversations about technology focused on nuanced and accessible explorations of the emerging tools that reorganize and redefine life today.

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Death on Earth: Adventures in Evolution and Mortality

by Jules Howard, published in 2016

There is nothing more life-affirming than understanding death in all its forms. Natural selection depends on death; little would evolve without it. Every animal on Earth is shaped by its presence and fashioned by its spectre. We are all survivors of starvation, drought, volcanic eruptions, meteorites, plagues, parasites, predators, freak weather events, tussles and scraps, and our bodies are shaped by these ancient events. Some animals live for just a few hours as adults, others prefer to kill themselves rather than live unnecessarily for longer than they are needed, and there are a number of animals that can live for centuries. There are parasites that drive their hosts to die awful deaths, and parasites that manipulate their hosts to live longer, healthier lives. There is death in life. Amongst all of this, there is us, the upright ape; perhaps the first animal in the history of the universe fully conscious that death really is going to happen to us all in the end. With a narrative featuring a fish with a fake eye, the oldest animal in the world, the immortal jellyfish and some of the world's top death-investigating biologists, Death on Earth explores the never-ending cycle of death and the impact death has on the living, and muses on how evolution and death affect us every single day. Why are we so weird about death? Where does this fear come from? Why are we so afraid of ageing? And how might knowledge of ageing in other animals help us live better lives, free of the diseases of old age?

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🔑 DeathEvolution

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Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Our World

by Greg Milner, published in 2016

Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary global utility which is omnipresent, universal, and available to all: the Global Positioning System (GPS). A network of twenty-four satellites and their monitoring stations on Earth, it makes possible almost all modern technology, from the smartphone in your pocket to the Mars rover. Neither the internet nor the cloud would work without it. And it is changing us in profound ways we've yet to come to terms with. While GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate methods of timekeeping, navigation, and earthquake tracking, our overwhelming reliance on it is having unexpected consequences on our culture, and on ourselves. GPS is reshaping our thinking about privacy and surveillance, and brings with it the growing danger of GPS terrorism. Neuroscientists have even found that using GPS for navigation may be affecting our cognitive maps - possibly rearranging the grey matter in our heads - leading to the increasingly common phenomenon 'Death by GPS', in which drivers blindly follow their devices into deserts, lakes, and impassable mountains. Deeply researched, inventive and with fascinating insights into the way we think about our place in the world, Pinpoint reveals the way that the technologies we design to help us can end up shaping our lives. It is at once a grand history of science and a far-reaching book about contemporary culture.

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🔑 TechnologyTravel

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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

by Mary Roach, published in 2016

A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book Prize ‘The most entertaining writer in science’ – The Times, Books of the Year War. Mention it and most of us think of history, of conflicts on foreign soil, of heroism and compromise, of strategy and weapons. But there’s a whole other side to the gruesome business of the battlefield. In Grunt, the inimitable Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war. Setting about her task with infectious enthusiasm, she sniffs World War II stink bombs, tests earplugs in a simulated war zone and burns the midnight oil with the crew of a nuclear submarine. Speaking to the scientists and the soldiers, she learns about everything from life-changing medical procedures to innovations as esoteric as firing dead chickens at fighter jets. Engrossing, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, this is an irresistible ride to the wilder shores of modern military life.

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🔑 War

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Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story about Women and Economics

by Katrine Marçal, published in 2015

Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics, believed that our actions stem from self-interest and the world turns because of financial gain. But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest but out of love.Today, economics focuses on self-interest and excludes our other motivations. It disregards the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking and its influence has spread from the market to how we shop, think and date. In this engaging takedown of the economics that has failed us, Katrine Maral journeys from Adam Smith's dinner table to the recent financial crisis and shows us how different, how much better, things could be.

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🔑 EconomicsGender studies

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Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture

by David Kaiser, published in 2016

Groovy Science paints a decidedly different picture of the sixties counterculture by uncovering an unabashed embrace of certain kinds of science and technology. While many rejected science and technology that struck them as hulking, depersonalized, or militarized, theirs was a rejection of Cold War-era missiles and mainframes, not science and technology per se. We see in these pages the long-running annual workshops on quantum physics at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California; aerospace engineers turning their knowledge of high-tech materials to the short board revolution in surfing; Timothy Leary s championing of space colonization as the ultimate high; and midwives redirecting their medical knowledge to launch a home-birth movement. Groovy Science gathers intriguing examples like these from across the physical, biological, and social sciences and charts commonalities across these many domains, highlighting shared trends and themes during one of the most colorful periods of recent American history. The result reveals a much more diverse picture of how Americans sought and found alternative forms of science that resonated with their social and political goals."

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🔑 AmericaHistory of science

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Black Hole Blues And Other Songs from Outer Space

by Janna Levin, published in 2016

The full inside story of the detection of gravitational waves at LIGO, one of the most ambitious feats in scientific history *Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Sunday Times* 'This is empirical poetry. A fascinating tale of human curiosity beautifully told, and with black holes and lasers too' Robin Ince In 1916 Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves: miniscule ripples in the very fabric of spacetime generated by unfathomably powerful events. If such vibrations could somehow be recorded, we could observe our universe for the first time through sound: the hissing of the Big Bang, the low tones of merging galaxies, the drumbeat of two black holes collapsing into one... In 2016 a team of hundreds of scientists at work on a billion-dollar experiment made history when they announced the first ever detection of a gravitational wave, confirming Einstein’s prediction a century ago. Based on complete access to LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) and the scientists who created it, Black Hole Blues offers a first-hand account of this astonishing achievement: an intimate story of cutting-edge science at its most awe-inspiring and ambitious.

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🔑 Astrophysics

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Inside Graduate Admissions Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping

by Julie R. Posselt, published in 2016

How does graduate admissions work? Who does the system work for, and who falls through its cracks? More people than ever seek graduate degrees, but little has been written about who gets in and why. Drawing on firsthand observations of admission committees and interviews with faculty in 10 top-ranked doctoral programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, education professor Julie Posselt pulls back the curtain on a process usually conducted in secret. “Politicians, judges, journalists, parents and prospective students subject the admissions policies of undergraduate colleges and professional schools to considerable scrutiny, with much public debate over appropriate criteria. But the question of who gets into Ph.D. programs has by comparison escaped much discussion. That may change with the publication of Inside Graduate Admissions...While the departments reviewed in the book remain secret, the general process used by elite departments would now appear to be more open as a result of Posselt’s book.” —Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed “Revealing...Provide[s] clear, consistent insights into what admissions committees look for.” —Beryl Lieff Benderly, Science

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🔑 EducationGraduate school

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The Importance of Being Little What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups

by Erika Christakis, published in 2016

“Christakis . . . expertly weaves academic research, personal experience and anecdotal evidence into her book . . . a bracing and convincing case that early education has reached a point of crisis . . . her book is a rare thing: a serious work of research that also happens to be well-written and personal . . . engaging and important.” --Washington Post "What kids need from grown-ups (but aren't getting)...an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word: play." --NPR.org The New York Times bestseller that provides a bold challenge to the conventional wisdom about early childhood, with a pragmatic program to encourage parents and teachers to rethink how and where young children learn best by taking the child’s eye view of the learning environment To a four-year-old watching bulldozers at a construction site or chasing butterflies in flight, the world is awash with promise. Little children come into the world hardwired to learn in virtually any setting and about any matter. Yet in today’s preschool and kindergarten classrooms, learning has been reduced to scripted lessons and suspect metrics that too often undervalue a child’s intelligence while overtaxing the child’s growing brain. These mismatched expectations wreak havoc on the family: parents fear that if they choose the “wrong” program, their child won’t get into the “right” college. But Yale early childhood expert Erika Christakis says our fears are wildly misplaced. Our anxiety about preparing and safeguarding our children’s future seems to have reached a fever pitch at a time when, ironically, science gives us more certainty than ever before that young children are exceptionally strong thinkers. In her pathbreaking book, Christakis explains what it’s like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults, where we have confused schooling with learning. She offers real-life solutions to real-life issues, with nuance and direction that takes us far beyond the usual prescriptions for fewer tests, more play. She looks at children’s use of language, their artistic expressions, the way their imaginations grow, and how they build deep emotional bonds to stretch the boundaries of their small worlds. Rather than clutter their worlds with more and more stuff, sometimes the wisest course for us is to learn how to get out of their way. Christakis’s message is energizing and reassuring: young children are inherently powerful, and they (and their parents) will flourish when we learn new ways of restoring the vital early learning environment to one that is best suited to the littlest learners. This bold and pragmatic challenge to the conventional wisdom peels back the mystery of childhood, revealing a place that’s rich with possibility. From the Hardcover edition.

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🔑 Education

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Newton's Apple and Other Myths About Science

by Ronald L. Numbers, published in 2015

A falling apple inspired the law of gravity—or so the story goes. Is it true? Perhaps not. But why do such stories endure as explanations of how science happens? Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science brushes away popular misconceptions to provide a clearer picture of scientific breakthroughs from ancient times to the present.

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🔑 History of science

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Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us

by Sara E. Gorman, published in 2016

Why do some parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Why do some people keep guns at home, despite scientific evidence of risk to their family members? And why do people use antibiotics for illnesses they cannot possibly alleviate? When it comes to health, many people insist that science is wrong, that the evidence is incomplete, and that unidentified hazards lurk everywhere. In Denying to the Grave, Gorman and Gorman, a father-daughter team, explore the psychology of health science denial. Using several examples of such denial as test cases, they propose six key principles that may lead individuals to reject "accepted" health-related wisdom: the charismatic leader; fear of complexity; confirmation bias and the internet; fear of corporate and government conspiracies; causality and filling the ignorance gap; and the nature of risk prediction. The authors argue that the health sciences are especially vulnerable to our innate resistance to integrate new concepts with pre-existing beliefs. This psychological difficulty of incorporating new information is on the cutting edge of neuroscience research, as scientists continue to identify brain responses to new information that reveal deep-seated, innate discomfort with changing our minds. Denying to the Grave explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them and their loved ones, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with significant health decisions. This book points the way to a new and important understanding of how science should be conveyed to the public in order to save lives with existing knowledge and technology.

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🔑 NeurosciencePsychologyRisk theory

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Welcome to the Universe

by Neil deGrasse Tyson, published in 2016

The New York Times bestselling tour of the cosmos from three of today's leading astrophysicists Welcome to the Universe is a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today's leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all—from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, wormholes, and time travel. Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the informative and entertaining narrative propels you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. How do stars live and die? Why did Pluto lose its planetary status? What are the prospects of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? How did the universe begin? Why is it expanding and why is its expansion accelerating? Is our universe alone or part of an infinite multiverse? Answering these and many other questions, the authors open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos, sharing their knowledge of how the universe works. Breathtaking in scope and stunningly illustrated throughout, Welcome to the Universe is for those who hunger for insights into our evolving universe that only world-class astrophysicists can provide.

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🔑 AstrophysicsSpace

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What the F: What Swearing Reveals about Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves

by Benjamin K. Bergen, published in 2016

It may be starred, beeped, and censored -- yet profanity is so appealing that we can't stop using it. In the funniest, clearest study to date, Benjamin Bergen explains why, and what that tells us about our language and brains. Nearly everyone swears-whether it's over a few too many drinks, in reaction to a stubbed toe, or in flagrante delicto. And yet, we sit idly by as words are banned from television and censored in books. We insist that people excise profanity from their vocabularies and we punish children for yelling the very same dirty words that we'll mutter in relief seconds after they fall asleep. Swearing, it seems, is an intimate part of us that we have decided to selectively deny. That's a damn shame. Swearing is useful. It can be funny, cathartic, or emotionally arousing. As linguist and cognitive scientist Benjamin K. Bergen shows us, it also opens a new window onto how our brains process language and why languages vary around the world and over time. In this groundbreaking yet ebullient romp through the linguistic muck, Bergen answers intriguing questions: How can patients left otherwise speechless after a stroke still shout Goddamn! when they get upset? When did a cock grow to be more than merely a rooster? Why is crap vulgar when poo is just childish? Do slurs make you treat people differently? Why is the first word that Samoan children say not mommy but eat shit? And why do we extend a middle finger to flip someone the bird? Smart as hell and funny as fuck, What the F is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to know how and why we swear.

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🔑 Linguistics

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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

by Cathy O'Neil, published in 2016

A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters, and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.

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🔑 Data scienceMath

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Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead

by Hod Lipson, published in 2016

When human drivers let intelligent software take the wheel: the beginning of a new era in personal mobility.

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🔑 Artificial intelligenceComputer science

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Patient H.M. A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets

by Luke Dittrich, published in 2016

In the summer of 1953, maverick neurosurgeon William Beecher Scoville performed a groundbreaking operation on an epileptic patient named Henry Molaison. But it was a catastrophic failure, leaving Henry unable to create long-term memories. Scoville's grandson, Luke Dittrich, takes us on an astonishing journey through the history of neuroscience, from the first brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the New England asylum where his grandfather developed a taste for human experimentation. Dittrich's investigation confronts unsettling family secrets and reveals the dark roots of modern neuroscience, raising troubling questions that echo into the present day.

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🔑 EthicsMedicineNeuroscience

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The War on Science Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It

by Shawn Lawrence Otto, published in 2016

"Wherever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society--from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense--we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by avast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based more on the demands of the most strident voices. Shawn Otto's compelling new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right, and provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.

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🔑 Climate changeScience and SocietyScience policy

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The Unknown Universe: What We Don't Know About Time and Space in Ten Chapters

by Stuart Clark, published in 2015

On 21 March 2013, the European Space Agency released a map of the afterglow of the Big Bang. Taking in 440 sextillion kilometres of space and 13.8 billion years of time, it is physically impossible to make a better map: we will never see the early Universe in more detail. On the one hand, such a view is the apotheosis of modern cosmology, on the other, it threatens to undermine almost everything we hold cosmologically sacrosanct. The map contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the Universe. It will force us to revisit what is known and what is unknown, to construct a new model of our Universe. This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Stuart Clark will ask if Newton's famous laws of gravity need to be rewritten, if dark matter and dark energy are just celestial phantoms? Can we ever know what happened before the Big Bang? What's at the bottom of a black hole? Are there Universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?

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🔑 Space

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Listening to a Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific

by Donald Kroodsma, published in 2018

Join birdsong expert Donald Kroodsma on a ten-week, ten-state bicycle journey as he travels with his son from the Atlantic to the Pacific, lingering and listening to our continent sing as no one has before. On remote country roads, over terrain vast and spectacular, from dawn to dusk and sometimes through the night, you will gain a deep appreciation for the natural symphony of birdsong many of us take for granted. Come along and marvel at how expressive these creatures are as Kroodsma leads you west across nearly five thousand miles—at a leisurely pace that enables a deep listen. Listening to a Continent Sing is also a guided tour through the history of a young nation and the geology of an ancient landscape, and an invitation to set aside the bustle of everyday life to follow one's dreams. It is a celebration of flowers and trees, rocks and rivers, mountains and prairies, clouds and sky, headwinds and calm, and of local voices and the people you will meet along the way. It is also the story of a father and son deepening their bond as they travel the slow road together from coast to coast. Beautifully illustrated throughout with drawings of birds and scenes and featuring QR codes that link to audio birdsong, this poignant and insightful book takes you on a travel adventure unlike any other—accompanied on every leg of your journey by birdsong.

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🔑 OrnithologyTravel

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Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia

by Michael Shermer, published in 2018

A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

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🔑 DeathPsychology

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The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age

by David N. Schwartz, published in 2017

The definitive biography of the brilliant, charismatic, and very human physicist and innovator Enrico Fermi In 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved what no one had before: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi. Straddling the ages of classical physics and quantum mechanics, equally at ease with theory and experiment, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything--at least about physics. But he was also a complex figure who was a part of both the Italian Fascist Party and the Manhattan Project, and a less-than-ideal father and husband who nevertheless remained one of history's greatest mentors. Based on new archival material and exclusive interviews, The Last Man Who Knew Everything lays bare the enigmatic life of a colossus of twentieth century physics.

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🔑 Enrico FermiScience lives

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Quarks to Culture: How We Came to Be

by Tyler Volk, published in 2017

Our world is nested, both physically and socially, and at each level we find innovations that are necessary for the next. Consider: atoms combine to form molecules, molecules combine to form single-celled organisms; when people come together, they build societies. Physics has gone far in mapping the basic mechanics of the simplest things and the dynamics of the overall nesting, as have biology and the social sciences for their fields. But what can we say about this beautifully complex whole? How does one stage shape another, and what can we learn about human existence through understanding an enlarged field of creation and being? In Quarks to Culture, Tyler Volk answers these questions, revealing how a universal natural rhythm—building from smaller things into larger, more complex things—resulted in a grand sequence of twelve fundamental levels across the realms of physics, biology, and culture. He introduces the key concept of “combogenesis,” the building-up from combination and integration to produce new things with innovative relations. He explores common themes in how physics and chemistry led to biological evolution, and biological evolution to cultural evolution. Volk also provides insights into linkages across the sciences and fields of scholarship, and presents an exciting synthesis of ideas along a sequence of things and relations, from physical to living to cultural. The resulting inclusive natural philosophy brings clarity to our place in the world, offering a roadmap for those who seek to understand big history and wrestle with questions of how we came to be.

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🔑 ComplexityEmergence

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Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds

by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, published in 2017

Includes corrected 1818 text of the novel and seven essays about the novel.

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🔑 EthicsScience and Literature

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I, Mammal: The Story of What Makes Us Mammals

by Liam Drew, published in 2017

Humans are mammals. Most of us appreciate that at some level. But what does it mean for us to have more in common with a horse and an elephant than we do with a parrot, snake or frog? After a misdirected football left new father Liam Drew clutching a uniquely mammalian part of his anatomy, he decided to find out more. Considering himself as a mammal first and a human second, Liam delves into ancient biological history to understand what it means to be mammalian. In his humorous and engaging style, Liam explores the different characteristics that distinguish mammals from other types of animals. He charts the evolution of milk, warm blood and burgeoning brains, and examines the emergence of sophisticated teeth, exquisite ears, and elaborate reproductive biology, plus a host of other mammalian innovations. Entwined are tales of zoological peculiarities and reflections on how being a mammal has shaped the author's life. I, Mammal is a history of mammals and their ancestors and of how science came to grasp mammalian evolution. And in celebrating our mammalian-ness, Liam Drew binds us a little more tightly to the five and a half thousand other species of mammal on this planet and reveals the deep roots of many traits humans hold dear.

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🔑 Developmental BiologyEvolutionary Biology

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Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age

by Matthew J. Salganik, published in 2019

An innovative and accessible guide to doing social research in the digital age The rapid spread of social media, smartphones, and other digital wonders enables us to collect and process data about human behavior on a scale never before imaginable, offering entirely new approaches to core questions about social behavior. Bit by Bit is the key to unlocking these powerful methods. In this authoritative and accessible book, Matthew Salganik explains how the digital revolution is transforming the way social scientists observe behavior, ask questions, run experiments, and engage in mass collaborations. Featuring a wealth of real-world examples and invaluable advice on how to tackle the thorniest ethical challenges, Bit by Bit is the essential guide to doing social research in this fast-evolving digital age.

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🔑 Social Science

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Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change

by Michael P. Vandenbergh, published in 2017

Private sector action provides one of the most promising opportunities to reduce the risks of climate change, buying time while governments move slowly or even oppose climate mitigation. Starting with the insight that much of the resistance to climate mitigation is grounded in concern about the role of government, this books draws on law, policy, social science, and climate science to demonstrate how private initiatives are already bypassing government inaction in the US and around the globe. It makes a persuasive case that private governance can reduce global carbon emissions by a billion tons per year over the next decade. Combining an examination of the growth of private climate initiatives over the last decade, a theory of why private actors are motivated to reduce emissions, and a review of viable next steps, this book speaks to scholars, business and advocacy group managers, philanthropists, policymakers, and anyone interested in climate change.

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🔑 Climate change

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Robins!: How They Grow Up

by Eileen Christelow, published in 2017

"A look at the life cycle and habits of our most beloved and familiar bird"--

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🔑 Animal BiologyYoung Readers

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To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space

by Dafydd Rhys Williams, published in 2019

Join former NASA astronaut Dr. Dave Williams as he answers questions about how zero gravity affects the human body.

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🔑 PhysiologyYoung Readers

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The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures

by Hanoch Gutfreund, published in 2017

First published in 1922 and based on lectures delivered in May 1921, Albert Einstein’s The Meaning of Relativity offered an overview and explanation of the then new and controversial theory of relativity. The work would go on to become a monumental classic, printed in numerous editions and translations worldwide. Now, The Formative Years of Relativity introduces Einstein’s masterpiece to new audiences. This beautiful volume contains Einstein’s insightful text, accompanied by important historical materials and commentary looking at the origins and development of general relativity. Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn provide fresh, original perspectives, placing Einstein’s achievements into a broader context for all readers. In this book, Gutfreund and Renn tell the rich story behind the early reception, spread, and consequences of Einstein’s ideas during the formative years of general relativity in the late 1910s and 1920s. They show that relativity’s meaning changed radically throughout the nascent years of its development, and they describe in detail the transformation of Einstein’s work from the esoteric pursuit of one individual communicating with a handful of colleagues into the preoccupation of a growing community of physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, and philosophers. This handsome edition quotes extensively from Einstein’s correspondence and reproduces historical documents such as newspaper articles and letters. Inserts are featured in the main text giving concise explanations of basic concepts, and short biographical notes and photographs of some of Einstein’s contemporaries are included. The first-ever English translations of two of Einstein’s popular Princeton lectures are featured at the book’s end.

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🔑 EinsteinGeneral RelativityPhysics

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The Less You Know the Sounder You Sleep

by Juliet Butler, published in 2018

‘Do yourself a favour and read this wonderful book’ Scotsman Based on the true story of conjoined Russian twins, Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova, The Less You Know the Sounder You Sleep is a tale of survival and self-determination, innocence and lies.

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🔑 Human Subjects ResearchTwin Studies

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Inside the Lost Museum: Curating, Past and Present

by Steven D. Lubar, published in 2017

Museum lovers know that energy and mystery run through every exhibition. Steven Lubar explains work behind the scenes—collecting, preserving, displaying, and using art and artifacts in teaching, research, and community-building—through historical and contemporary examples, especially the lost but reimagined Jenks Museum at Brown University.

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🔑 CurationMuseum Science

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Life Through Time and Space

by Wallace Arthur, published in 2017

All humans share three origins: the beginning of our individual lives, the appearance of life on Earth, and the formation of our planetary home. Wallace Arthur combines embryological, evolutionary, and cosmological perspectives to tell the story of life on Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere in the universe.

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🔑 AstrobiologyDevelopmental Biology

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Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

by Max Tegmark, published in 2017

'This is the most important conversation of our time, and Tegmark's thought-provoking book will help you join it' Stephen Hawking THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER. DAILY TELEGRAPH AND THE TIMES BOOKS OF THE YEAR SELECTED AS ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2018 AI is the future - but what will that future look like? Will superhuman intelligence be our slave, or become our god? Taking us to the heart of the latest thinking about AI, Max Tegmark, the MIT professor whose work has helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial, separates myths from reality, utopias from dystopias, to explore the next phase of our existence. How can we grow our prosperity through automation, without leaving people lacking income or purpose? How can we ensure that future AI systems do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will AI help life flourish as never before, or will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, and even, perhaps, replace us altogether? 'This is a rich and visionary book and everyone should read it' The Times

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🔑 Artificial intelligenceComputer science

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Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States
Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States

by James C. Scott, published in 2017

An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative. Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today's states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family-all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction. Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the "barbarians" who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.

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🔑 Anthropology

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Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution

by Jonathan B. Losos, published in 2017

A Harvard museum curator draws on the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology to examine how tiny, random convergences, from mutations to butterfly sneezes, have triggered remarkable evolutionary changes.

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🔑 Evolution

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Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions

by Alexander Todorov, published in 2017

The scientific story of first impressions—and why the snap character judgments we make from faces are irresistible but usually incorrect We make up our minds about others after seeing their faces for a fraction of a second—and these snap judgments predict all kinds of important decisions. For example, politicians who simply look more competent are more likely to win elections. Yet the character judgments we make from faces are as inaccurate as they are irresistible; in most situations, we would guess more accurately if we ignored faces. So why do we put so much stock in these widely shared impressions? What is their purpose if they are completely unreliable? In this book, Alexander Todorov, one of the world's leading researchers on the subject, answers these questions as he tells the story of the modern science of first impressions. Drawing on psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, and other fields, this accessible and richly illustrated book describes cutting-edge research and puts it in the context of the history of efforts to read personality from faces. Todorov describes how we have evolved the ability to read basic social signals and momentary emotional states from faces, using a network of brain regions dedicated to the processing of faces. Yet contrary to the nineteenth-century pseudoscience of physiognomy and even some of today's psychologists, faces don't provide us a map to the personalities of others. Rather, the impressions we draw from faces reveal a map of our own biases and stereotypes. A fascinating scientific account of first impressions, Face Value explains why we pay so much attention to faces, why they lead us astray, and what our judgments actually tell us.

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🔑 Cognitive SciencePerceptionPsychology

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What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean From Africa?

by Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, published in 2017

Clapperton Mavhunga's collection of essays about science, technology, and innovation (STI) from an African perspective opens with the idea, "Things do not (always) mean the same from everywhere; when we insist that only 'our' meaning is the meaning, we silence other people's meanings." Mavhunga and his contributors argue that our contemporary definitions of STI are those of countries and cultures that have acquired their dominance of others through global empires, and as a counter to that, Mavhunga seeks to put the concepts of STI into question, exploring what the technological, scientific, and innovative might mean from Africa in lieu of outside introductions or influences. We strongly feel that this book is suited to the Knowledge Unlatched program because of the difficulty of reaching markets and readers in Africa with print books. We feel unlatching would go a long way toward helping Mavhunga reach an important audience for this work that we have been previously unable to reach.

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🔑 AfricaGlobal ScienceHistory of science

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Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals

by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, published in 2019

Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019 A New York Times Editor’s Pick People Best Books Fall 2019 Chicago Tribune 28 Books You Need to Read Now Booklist’s Top Ten Sci-Tech Books of 2019 “It blew my mind to discover that teenage animals and teenage humans are so similar. Both are naive risk-takers. I loved this book!” —Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human and Animals in Translation A revelatory investigation of human and animal adolescence and young adulthood from the New York Times bestselling authors of Zoobiquity. With Wildhood, Harvard evolutionary biologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and award-winning science writer Kathryn Bowers have created an entirely new way of thinking about the crucial, vulnerable, and exhilarating phase of life between childhood and adulthood across the animal kingdom. In their critically acclaimed bestseller, Zoobiquity, the authors revealed the essential connection between human and animal health. In Wildhood, they turn the same eye-opening, species-spanning lens to adolescent young adult life. Traveling around the world and drawing from their latest research, they find that the same four universal challenges are faced by every adolescent human and animal on earth: how to be safe, how to navigate hierarchy; how to court potential mates; and how to feed oneself. Safety. Status. Sex. Self-reliance. How human and animal adolescents and young adults confront the challenges of wildhood shapes their adult destinies. Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers illuminate these core challenges through the lives of four animals in the wild: Ursula, a young king penguin; Shrink, a charismatic hyena; Salt, a matriarchal humpback whale; and Slavc, a roaming European wolf. Through their riveting stories—and those of countless others, from adventurous eagles and rambunctious high schooler to inexperienced orcas and naive young soldiers—readers get a vivid and game-changing portrait of adolescent young adults as a horizontal tribe, sharing behaviors and challenges, setbacks and triumphs. Upending our understanding of everything from risk-taking and anxiety to the origins of privilege and the nature of sexual coercion and consent, Wildhood is a profound and necessary guide to the perilous, thrilling, and universal journey to adulthood on planet earth.

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End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World

by Bryan Walsh, published in 2019

In this history of extinction and existential risk, a Newsweek and Bloomberg popular science and investigative journalist examines our most dangerous mistakes -- and explores how we can protect and future-proof our civilization. End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable -- and inevitable -- end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race. In End Times, Walsh examines threats that emerge from nature and those of our own making: asteroids, supervolcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, disease pandemics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial intelligence. Walsh details the true probability of these world-ending catastrophes, the impact on our lives were they to happen, and the best strategies for saving ourselves, all pulled from his rigorous and deeply thoughtful reporting and research. Walsh goes into the room with the men and women whose job it is to imagine the unimaginable. He includes interviews with those on the front lines of prevention, actively working to head off existential threats in biotechnology labs and government hubs. Guided by Walsh's evocative, page-turning prose, we follow scientific stars like the asteroid hunters at NASA and the disease detectives on the trail of the next killer virus. Walsh explores the danger of apocalypse in all forms. In the end, it will be the depth of our knowledge, the height of our imagination, and our sheer will to survive that will decide the future.

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The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt

by Andrea Wulf, published in 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invention of Nature, comes a breathtakingly illustrated and brilliantly evocative recounting of Alexander Von Humboldt's five year expedition in South America. Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, but his most revolutionary idea was a radical vision of nature as a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone. His theories and ideas were profoundly influenced by a five-year exploration of South America. Now Andrea Wulf partners with artist Lillian Melcher to bring this daring expedition to life, complete with excerpts from Humboldt's own diaries, atlases, and publications. She gives us an intimate portrait of the man who predicted human-induced climate change, fashioned poetic narrative out of scientific observation, and influenced iconic figures such as Simón Bolívar, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, and John Muir. This gorgeous account of the expedition not only shows how Humboldt honed his groundbreaking understanding of the natural world but also illuminates the man and his passions.

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The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains

by Joseph LeDoux, published in 2019

Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award A leading neuroscientist offers a history of the evolution of the brain from unicellular organisms to the complexity of animals and human beings today Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This page-turning survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human. In The Deep History of Ourselves, LeDoux argues that the key to understanding human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single-cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve each day. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.

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The Republic of Color: Science, Perception, and the Making of Modern America

by Michael Rossi, published in 2019

The Republic of Color delves deep into the history of color science in the United States to unearth its origins and examine the scope of its influence on the industrial transformation of turn-of-the-century America. For a nation in the grip of profound economic, cultural, and demographic crises, the standardization of color became a means of social reform—a way of sculpting the American population into one more amenable to the needs of the emerging industrial order. Delineating color was also a way to characterize the vagaries of human nature, and to create ideal structures through which those humans would act in a newly modern American republic. Michael Rossi’s compelling history goes far beyond the culture of the visual to show readers how the control and regulation of color shaped the social contours of modern America—and redefined the way we see the world.

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Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes

by Dana Thomas, published in 2019

An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry – and the grassroots, high tech, international movement fighting to reform it. What should I wear? It's one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs every sixth person on Earth. Historically, the apparel trade has exploited labour, the environment, and intellectual property – and in the last three decades, with the simultaneous unfurling of fast fashion, globalization, and the tech revolution, those abuses have multiplied exponentially – and primarily out of view. We are in dire need of an entirely new human-scale model. Bestselling journalist Dana Thomas has travelled the globe to discover the visionary designers and companies who are propelling the industry toward that more positive future by reclaiming traditional craft and launching cutting-edge sustainable technologies to produce better fashion. In Fashionopolis, Thomas sees renewal in a host of developments, including printing 3-D clothes, clean denim processing, smart manufacturing, hyperlocalism, fabric recycling – even lab-grown materials. From small-town makers and Silicon Valley whizzes to household names such as Stella McCartney, Levi's and Selfridges, Thomas highlights the companies big and small that are leading the crusade. We all have been casual about our clothes. It's time to get dressed with intention. Fashionopolis is the first comprehensive look at how to start.

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The Nature of Life and Death: Every Body Leaves a Trace

by Patricia Wiltshire, published in 2019

A riveting blend of science writing and true-crime narrative that explores the valuable but often shocking interface between crime and nature--and the secrets each can reveal about the other--from a pioneer in forensic ecology and a trailblazing female scientist. From mud tracks on a quiet country road to dirt specks on the soles of walking boots, forensic ecologist Patricia Wiltshire uses her decades of scientific expertise to find often-overlooked clues left behind by criminal activity. She detects evidence and eliminates hypotheses armed with little more than a microscope, eventually developing a compelling thesis of the who, what, how, and when of a crime. Wiltshire's remarkable accuracy has made her one of the most in-demand police consultants in the world, and her curiosity, humility, and passion for the truth have guided her every step of the way. A riveting blend of science writing and true-crime narrative, The Nature of Life and Death details Wiltshire's unique journey from college professor to crime fighter: solving murders, locating corpses, and exonerating the falsely accused. Along the way, she introduces us to the unseen world all around us and underneath our feet: plants, animals, pollen, spores, fungi, and microbes that we move through every day. Her story is a testament to the power of persistence and reveals how our relationship with the vast natural world reaches far deeper than we might think.

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Why Trust Science?

by Naomi Oreskes, published in 2021

Why the social character of scientific knowledge makes it trustworthy Are doctors right when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when so many of our political leaders don't? Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength—and the greatest reason we can trust it. Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late nineteenth century to today, this timely and provocative book features a new preface by Oreskes and critical responses by climate experts Ottmar Edenhofer and Martin Kowarsch, political scientist Jon Krosnick, philosopher of science Marc Lange, and science historian Susan Lindee, as well as a foreword by political theorist Stephen Macedo.

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Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table

by Kit Chapman, published in 2019

Shortlisted for the 2020 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books Creating an element is no easy feat. It's the equivalent of firing six trillion bullets a second at a needle in a haystack, hoping the bullet and needle somehow fuse together, then catching it in less than a thousandth of a second – after which it's gone forever. Welcome to the world of the superheavy elements: a realm where scientists use giant machines and spend years trying to make a single atom of mysterious artefacts that have never existed on Earth. From the first elements past uranium and their role in the atomic bomb to the latest discoveries stretching our chemical world, Superheavy will reveal the hidden stories lurking at the edges of the periodic table. Why did the US Air Force fly planes into mushroom clouds? Who won the transfermium wars? How did an earthquake help give Japan its first element? And what happened when Superman almost spilled nuclear secrets? In a globe-trotting adventure that stretches from the United States to Russia, Sweden to Australia, Superheavy is your guide to the amazing science filling in the missing pieces of the periodic table. By the end you'll not only marvel at how nuclear science has changed our lives – you'll wonder where it's going to take us in the future.

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Try This! Extreme: 50 Fun & Safe Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You

by Karen Romano Young, published in 2017

"Experiments for young children to conduct to learn about science"--

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🔑 DIY ScienceYoung Readers

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Darwin’s Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Change

by James T. Costa, published in 2017

“If you’ve ever fantasized walking and conversing with the great scientist on the subjects that consumed him, and now wish to add the fullness of reality, read this book.” —Edward O. Wilson, author of Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin’s childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle, where his ideas on evolution began, and on to Down House, his bustling home of forty years. Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even the cellar and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution through an astonishing array of experiments without using specialized equipment. From those results, he plumbed the laws of nature and drew evidence for the revolutionary arguments of On the Origin of Species and other watershed works. This unique perspective introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, collaborator, and, especially, an incorrigible observer and experimenter. And it includes eighteen experiments for home, school, or garden. Finalist for the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books.

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🔑 DarwinYoung Adult

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Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home

by Claire Eamer, published in 2016

None of us are ever really alone — not with the trillions and trillions of microbes that call our bodies home. Recent scientific research has uncovered just how interdependent our relationships with these tiny “hitchhikers” are, and that lots of them are actually good for us! Filled with intriguing information and just enough yuck factor, kids will be thrilled to discover what a big deal these small “critters” who live in and on their bodies are. No hand sanitizer required!

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🔑 MicrobiomeYoung Readers

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Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle

by Deborah Lee Rose, published in 2019

This California Reads-recommended title of the California Teachers Association chronicles the story of the wild bald eagle that made world news when she was illegally shot, rescued, and received a pioneering, 3D-printed prosthetic beak. Full color.

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🔑 EngineeringYoung Readers

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Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

by Sam Kean, published in 2017

** GUARDIAN SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 ** ‘Popular science at its best’ Mail on Sunday ‘Eminently accessible and enjoyable’ Observer With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds in the Roman Senate, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding. In fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might also bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. In Caesar’s Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe and across time to tell the epic story of the air we breathe.

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🔑 GasesYoung Adult

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If You Were the Moon
If You Were the Moon

by Laura Purdie Salas, published in 2018

An inventive and spirited exploration that combines poetic elements and science to introduce young readers to the role of the moon in our lives here on Earth.

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🔑 AstronomyYoung Readers

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Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics

by Steve Jenkins, published in 2016

How many species are there across the globe? How much do all of the insects in the world collectively weigh? How far can animals travel? Steve Jenkins answers these questions and many more with numbers, images, innovation, and authoritative science in his latest work of illustrated nonfiction. Jenkins layers his signature cut-paper illustrations alongside computer graphics and a text that is teeming with fresh, unexpected, and accurate zoological information ready for readers to easily devour. The level of scientific research paired with Jenkins’ creativity and accessible infographics is unmatched and sure to wow fans old and new.

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🔑 AnimalsData VisualizationYoung Readers

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Droughts

by Michael Woods, published in 2006

Explains what droughts are and what causes them, provides the history of droughts around the world, and describes how scientists study them and what can be done to relieve or prevent them.

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🔑 WeatherYoung Readers

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Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist

by Jess Keating, published in 2017

One of New York Times' Twelve Books for Feminist Boys and Girls! This is the story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover, and inspire. This is the story of Shark Lady. One of the best science picture books for children, Shark Lady is a must for both teachers and parents alike! An Amazon Best Book of the Month Named a Best Children's Book of 2017 by Parents magazine Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn't imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary—and they didn't think women should be scientists. Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname "Shark Lady." Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to. An inspiring story by critically acclaimed zoologist Jess Keating about finding the strength to discover truths that others aren't daring enough to see. Includes a timeline of Eugenie's life and many fin-tastic shark facts! The perfect choice for parents looking for: Books about sharks Inspiring nonfiction narrative books Role model books for girls and boys Kids STEM books

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🔑 Marine BiologyYoung Readers

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This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash

by Sarah Wassner Flynn, published in 2017

Get up close and personal with a wonderful world of waste. From composting and recycling, to landfills and dumps, to how creative people are finding new ways to reuse rubbish. It's fun to talk trash when it's jam-packed with infographics, thematic spreads, wow-worthy photos, sidebars, serious stats, and fabulous facts. Also included are quizzes and activities to inspire kids to take action, be proactive, and rethink the things we throw away.

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🔑 Waste RecyclingYoung Readers

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Why Torture Doesn't Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation

by Shane O'Mara, published in 2015

Besides being cruel and inhumane, torture does not work the way torturers assume it does. As Shane O’Mara’s account of the neuroscience of suffering reveals, extreme stress creates profound problems for memory, mood, and thinking, and sufferers predictably produce information that is deeply unreliable, or even counterproductive and dangerous.

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🔑 Neuroscience

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Networking for Nerds: Find, Access and Land Hidden Game-Changing Career Opportunities Everywhere

by Alaina G. Levine, published in 2015

Networking for Nerds provides a step-by-step guide to understanding how to access hidden professional opportunities through networking. With an emphasis on practical advice on how and why to network, you will learn how to formulate and execute a strategic networking plan that is dynamic, multidimensional, and leverages social media platforms and other networking channels. An invaluable resource for both established and early-career scientists and engineers (as well as networking neophytes!), Networking for Nerds offers concrete insight on crafting professional networks that are mutually beneficial and support the advancement of both your career goals and your scholarly ambitions. “Networking” does not mean going to one reception or speaking with a few people at one conference, and never contacting them again. Rather, “networking” involves a spectrum of activities that engages both parties, ensures everyone’s value is appropriately communicated, and allows for the exploration of a win-win collaboration of some kind. Written by award-winning entrepreneur and strategic career planning expert Alaina G. Levine, Networking for Nerds is an essential resource for anyone working in scientific and engineering fields looking to enhance their professional planning for a truly fulfilling, exciting, and stimulating career. professional planning for a truly fulfilling, exciting, and stimulating career.Networking for Nerds provides a step-by-step guide to understanding how to access hidden professionalopportunities through networking. With an emphasis on practical advice on how and why to network, youwill learn how to formulate and execute a strategic networking plan that is dynamic, multidimensional, andleverages social media platforms and other networking channels.An invaluable resource for both established and early-career scientists and engineers (as well as networkingneophytes!), Networking for Nerds offers concrete insight on crafting professional networks that aremutually beneficial and support the advancement of both your career goals and your scholarly ambitions.“Networking” does not mean going to one reception or speaking with a few people at one conference, andnever contacting them again. Rather, “networking” involves a spectrum of activities that engages bothparties, ensures everyone’s value is appropriately communicated, and allows for the exploration of a win-wincollaboration of some kind.Written by award-winning entrepreneur and strategic career planning expert Alaina G. Levine, Networking forNerds is an essential resource for anyone working in scientific and engineering fields looking to enhance theirprofessional planning for a truly fulfilling, exciting, and stimulating career.

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🔑 Professional Development

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Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization

by Andrew Lawler, published in 2016

"Beginning in the jungles of Southeast Asia, trekking through the Middle East, traversing the Pacific, Lawler discovers the secrets behind the chicken's transformation from a shy, wild bird into an animal of astonishing versatility, capable of serving our species' changing needs. Across the ages, it has been an all-purpose medicine, sex symbol, gambling aid, inspiration for bravery, and of course, the star of the world's most famous joke. Only recently has it become humanity's most important single source of protein. Most surprisingly, the chicken--more than the horse, cow , or dog-- has been a remarkable constant in the sperad of civilization across the globe"--Page 4 of cover.

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🔑 Ornithology

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I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That

by Ben Goldacre, published in 2014

The very best journalism from one of Britain’s most admired and outspoken science writers, author of the bestselling Bad Science and Bad Pharma.

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🔑 Science and SocietyStatistics

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The Peripheral

by William Gibson, published in 2014

Flynne Fisher lives in rural near-future America where jobs are scarce and veterans from the wars are finding it hard to recover. She scrapes a living doing some freelance online game-playing, participating in some pretty weird stuff. Wilf Netherton lives in London, seventy-some years later, on the far side of decades of slow-motion apocalypse. Things though are good for the haves, and there aren't many have-nots left. Flynne and Wilf are about to meet one another. Her world will be altered utterly, and Wilf's, for all its decadence and power, will learn that some of these third-world types from the distant past can be real badass.

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🔑 Science and SocietyScience Fiction

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Energy: A Human History

by Richard Rhodes, published in 2018

A “meticulously researched” (The New York Times Book Review) examination of energy transitions over time and an exploration of the current challenges presented by global warming, a surging world population, and renewable energy—from Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes. People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and failed, and nations have risen to world power and declined, all over energy challenges. Through an unforgettable cast of characters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes explains how wood gave way to coal and coal made room for oil, as we now turn to natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy. “Entertaining and informative…a powerful look at the importance of science” (NPR.org), Rhodes looks back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford. In his “magisterial history…a tour de force of popular science” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Rhodes shows how breakthroughs in energy production occurred; from animal and waterpower to the steam engine, from internal-combustion to the electric motor. He looks at the current energy landscape, with a focus on how wind energy is competing for dominance with cast supplies of coal and natural gas. He also addresses the specter of global warming, and a population hurtling towards ten billion by 2100. Human beings have confronted the problem of how to draw energy from raw material since the beginning of time. Each invention, each discovery, each adaptation brought further challenges, and through such transformations, we arrived at where we are today. “A beautifully written, often inspiring saga of ingenuity and progress…Energy brings facts, context, and clarity to a key, often contentious subject” (Booklist, starred review).

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🔑 Energy

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Fundamentals of Microbiome Science: How Microbes Shape Animal Biology

by Angela E. Douglas, published in 2021

An essential introduction to microbiome science, a new cutting-edge discipline that is transforming the life sciences This book provides an accessible and authoritative guide to the fundamental principles of microbiome science, an exciting and fast-emerging new discipline that is reshaping many aspects of the life sciences. Resident microbes in healthy animals--including humans—can dictate many traits of the animal host. This animal microbiome is a second immune system conferring protection against pathogens; it can structure host metabolism in animals as diverse as reef corals and hibernating mammals; and it may influence animal behavior, from social recognition to emotional states. These microbial partners can also drive ecologically important traits, from thermal tolerance to diet, and have contributed to animal diversification over long evolutionary timescales. Drawing on concepts and data across a broad range of disciplines and systems, Angela Douglas provides a conceptual framework for understanding these animal-microbe interactions while shedding critical light on the scientific challenges that lie ahead. Douglas explains why microbiome science demands creative and interdisciplinary thinking—the capacity to combine microbiology with animal physiology, ecological theory with immunology, and evolutionary perspectives with metabolic science. An essential introduction to a cutting-edge field that is revolutionizing the life sciences, this book explains why microbiome science presents a more complete picture of the biology of humans and other animals, and how it can deliver novel therapies for many medical conditions and new strategies for pest control.

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🔑 MicrobiologyMicrobiome

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Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator

by Jason Michael Colby, published in 2018

Drawing on interviews, official records, private archives, and the author's own family history, this is the definitive story of how the feared and despised "killer" became the beloved "orca", and what that has meant for our relationship with the ocean and its creatures

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🔑 Marine Biology

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Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain

by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, published in 2018

'You will understand your children better for reading it.' The Times 'Beautifully written with clarity, expertise and honesty about the most important subject for all of us. I couldn't put it down.' Professor Robert Winston An insightful and inspiring read from award-winning neuroscienist, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains: · What makes the adolescent brain different? · Why does an easy child become a challenging teenager? · What drives the excessive risk-taking and the need for intense friendships common to teenagers? · Why it is that many mental illnesses – depression, addiction, schizophrenia – begin during these formative years. And she shows that while adolescence is a period of vulnerability, it is also a time of enormous creativity and opportunity. What readers are saying: *****'An accessible, optimistic and illuminating book.' *****'Essential reading for parents and teachers of adolescents.' *****'Relevant, fascinating and captivating.'

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🔑 Neuroscience

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The Ashtray (Or the Man Who Denied Reality)

by Errol Morris, published in 2018

In 1972, philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn threw an ashtray at Errol Morris. This book is the result. At the time, Morris was a graduate student. Now we know him as one of the most celebrated and restlessly probing filmmakers of our time, the creator of such classics of documentary investigation as The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War. Kuhn, meanwhile, was—and, posthumously, remains—a star in his field, the author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a landmark book that has sold well over a million copies and introduced the concept of “paradigm shifts” to the larger culture. And Morris thought the idea was bunk. The Ashtray tells why—and in doing so, it makes a powerful case for Morris’s way of viewing the world, and the centrality to that view of a fundamental conception of the necessity of truth. “For me,” Morris writes, “truth is about the relationship between language and the world: a correspondence idea of truth.” He has no patience for philosophical systems that aim for internal coherence and disdain the world itself. Morris is after bigger game: he wants to establish as clearly as possible what we know and can say about the world, reality, history, our actions and interactions. It’s the fundamental desire that animates his filmmaking, whether he’s probing Robert McNamara about Vietnam or the oddball owner of a pet cemetery. Truth may be slippery, but that doesn’t mean we have to grease its path of escape through philosophical evasions. Rather, Morris argues powerfully, it is our duty to do everything we can to establish and support it. In a time when truth feels ever more embattled, under siege from political lies and virtual lives alike, The Ashtray is a bracing reminder of its value, delivered by a figure who has, over decades, uniquely earned our trust through his commitment to truth. No Morris fan should miss it.

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🔑 Philosophy

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She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

by Carl Zimmer, published in 2020

The untold story of how hereditary data in mental hospitals gave rise to the science of human heredity In the early 1800s, a century before there was any concept of the gene, physicians in insane asylums began to record causes of madness in their admission books. Almost from the beginning, they pointed to heredity as the most important of these causes. Genetics in the Madhouse is the untold story of how the collection of hereditary data in asylums and prisons gave rise to a new science of human heredity. Theodore Porter looks at the institutional use of innovative quantitative practices—such as pedigree charts and censuses of mental illness—that were worked out in the madhouse long before the manipulation of DNA became possible in the lab. Genetics in the Madhouse brings to light the hidden history behind modern genetics and deepens our appreciation of the moral issues at stake in data work conducted at the border of subjectivity and science.

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🔑 GeneticsHeredity

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The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine, and Spain, 1922–1923

by Albert Einstein, published in 2018

The first publication of Albert Einstein’s travel diary to the Far East and Middle East In the fall of 1922, Albert Einstein, along with his then-wife, Elsa Einstein, embarked on a five-and-a-half-month voyage to the Far East and Middle East, regions that the renowned physicist had never visited before. Einstein's lengthy itinerary consisted of stops in Hong Kong and Singapore, two brief stays in China, a six-week whirlwind lecture tour of Japan, a twelve-day tour of Palestine, and a three-week visit to Spain. This handsome edition makes available, for the first time, the complete journal that Einstein kept on this momentous journey. The telegraphic-style diary entries--quirky, succinct, and at times irreverent—record Einstein's musings on science, philosophy, art, and politics, as well as his immediate impressions and broader thoughts on such events as his inaugural lecture at the future site of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a garden party hosted by the Japanese Empress, an audience with the King of Spain, and meetings with other prominent colleagues and statesmen. Entries also contain passages that reveal Einstein's stereotyping of members of various nations and raise questions about his attitudes on race. This beautiful edition features stunning facsimiles of the diary's pages, accompanied by an English translation, an extensive historical introduction, numerous illustrations, and annotations. Supplementary materials include letters, postcards, speeches, and articles, a map of the voyage, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. Einstein would go on to keep a journal for all succeeding trips abroad, and this first volume of his travel diaries offers an initial, intimate glimpse into a brilliant mind encountering the great, wide world.

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🔑 EinsteinScience lives

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Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

by John Carreyrou, published in 2018

'I couldn’t put down this thriller . . . the perfect book to read by the fire this winter.' Bill Gates, '5 books I loved in 2018' WINNER OF THE FINANCIAL TIMES/MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2018 The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. In Bad Blood, John Carreyrou tells the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley. Now to be adapted into a film, with Jennifer Lawrence to star. 'Chilling . . . Reads like a West Coast version of All the President’s Men.' New York Times Book Review

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🔑 BiotechnologyMedical DiagnosticsSilicon Valley

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The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World

by Steve Brusatte, published in 2018

The Times Science Book of the Year A Sunday Times Bestseller 'Thrilling . . . the best book on the subject written for the general reader since the 1980s.' The Sunday Times 66 million years ago the dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the earth. Today, Dr. Steve Brusatte, one of the leading scientists of a new generation of dinosaur hunters, armed with cutting edge technology, is piecing together the complete story of how the dinosaurs ruled the earth for 150 million years. The world of the dinosaurs has fascinated on book and screen for decades – from early science fiction classics like The Lost World, to Godzilla terrorizing the streets of Tokyo, and the monsters of Jurassic Park. But what if we got it wrong? In The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, top dinosaur expert Brusatte, tells the real story of how dinosaurs rose to dominate the planet. Using the fossil clues that have been gathered using state of the art technology, Brusatte follows these magnificent creatures from their beginnings in the Early Triassic period, through the Jurassic period to their final days in the Cretaceous and the legacy that they left behind. Along the way, Brusatte introduces us to modern day dinosaur hunters and gives an insight into what it’s like to be a paleontologist. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is full of thrilling accounts of some of his personal discoveries, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs, monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex, and feathered raptor dinosaurs preserved in lava from China. At a time when Homo sapiens has existed for less than 200,000 years and we are already talking about planetary extinction, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a timely reminder of what humans can learn from the magnificent creatures who ruled the earth before us.

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🔑 Paleontology

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How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

by Michael Pollan, published in 2019

'It's as if we made entering gothic cathedrals illegal, or museums, or sunsets!' When LSD was first discovered in the 1940s, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as if the world might be on the cusp of psychological revolution. It promised to shed light on the deep mysteries of consciousness, as well as offer relief to addicts and the mentally ill. But in the 1960s, with the vicious backlash against the counter-culture, all further research was banned. In recent years, however, work has quietly begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Could these drugs in fact improve the lives of many people? Diving deep into this extraordinary world and putting himself forward as a guinea-pig, Michael Pollan has written a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs. How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of human consciousness.

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🔑 ConsciousnessNeurosciencePsychopharmacology

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Dinner with Darwin: Food, Drink, and Evolution

by Jonathan Silvertown, published in 2017

What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of waffles, of course, but these staples of breakfast bounty also share an evolutionary function: eggs, seeds (from which we derive flour by grinding), and milk have each evolved to nourish offspring. Indeed, ponder the genesis of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you’ll soon realize that everything we eat and drink has an evolutionary history. In Dinner with Darwin, join Jonathan Silvertown for a multicourse meal of evolutionary gastronomy, a tantalizing tour of human taste that helps us to understand the origins of our diets and the foods that have been central to them for millennia—from spices to spirits. A delectable concoction of coevolution and cookery, gut microbiomes and microherbs, and both the chicken and its egg, Dinner with Darwin reveals that our shopping lists, recipe cards, and restaurant menus don’t just contain the ingredients for culinary delight. They also tell a fascinating story about natural selection and its influence on our plates—and palates. Digging deeper, Silvertown’s repast includes entrées into GMOs and hybrids, and looks at the science of our sensory interactions with foods and cooking—the sights, aromas, and tastes we experience in our kitchens and dining rooms. As is the wont of any true chef, Silvertown packs his menu with eclectic components, dishing on everything from Charles Darwin’s intestinal maladies to taste bud anatomy and turducken. Our evolutionary relationship with food and drink stretches from the days of cooking cave dwellers to contemporary crêperies and beyond, and Dinner with Darwin serves up scintillating insight into the entire, awesome span. This feast of soup, science, and human society is one to savor. With a wit as dry as a fine pinot noir and a cache of evolutionary knowledge as vast as the most discerning connoisseur’s wine cellar, Silvertown whets our appetites—and leaves us hungry for more.

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🔑 EvolutionGastronomy

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The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between

by Abigail Marsh, published in 2017

How the brains of psychopaths and heroes show that humans are wired to be good At fourteen, Amber could boast of killing her guinea pig, threatening to burn down her home, and seducing men in exchange for gifts. She used the tools she had available to get what she wanted, like all children. But unlike other children, she didn't care about the damage she inflicted. A few miles away, Lenny Skutnik cared so much about others that he jumped into an ice-cold river to save a drowning woman. What is responsible for the extremes of generosity and cruelty humans are capable of? By putting psychopathic children and extreme altruists in an fMRI, acclaimed psychologist Abigail Marsh found that the answer lies in how our brain responds to others' fear. While the brain's amygdala makes most of us hardwired for good, its variations can explain heroic and psychopathic behavior. A path-breaking read, The Fear Factor is essential for anyone seeking to understand the heights and depths of human nature. "A riveting ride through your own brain."--Adam Grant "You won't be able to put it down."--Daniel Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness "[It] reads like a thriller... One of the most mind-opening books I have read in years." --Matthieu Ricard, Author of Altruism

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🔑 NeurosciencePsychology

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Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World

by Brandy Schillace, published in 2017

Airships and electric submarines, automatons and mesmerists?welcome to the wild world of steampunk. It is all speculative?or is it? Meet the intrepid souls who pushed Victorian technology to its limits and paved the way for our present age. The gear turns, the whistle blows, and the billows expand with electro-mechanical whirring. The shimmering halo of Victorian technology lures us with the stuff of dreams, of nostalgia, of alternate pasts and futures that entice with the suave of James Bond and the savvy of Sherlock Holmes. Fiction, surely. But what if the unusual gadgetry so often depicted as “steampunk” actually made an appearance in history? Zeppelins and steam-trains; arc-lights and magnetic rays: these fascinating (and sometimes doomed) inventions bounded from the tireless minds of unlikely heroes. Such men and women served no secret societies and fought no super-villains, but they did build engines, craft automatons, and engineer a future they hoped would run like clockwork. Along the way, however, these same inventors ushered in a contest between desire and dread. From Newton to Tesla, from candle and clockwork to the age of electricity and manufactured power, technology teetered between the bright dials of fantastic futures and the dark alleyways of industrial catastrophe. In the mesmerizing Clockwork Futures, Brandy Schillace reveals the science behind steampunk, which is every bit as extraordinary as what we might find in the work of Jules Verne, and sometimes, just as fearful. These stories spring from the scientific framework we have inherited. They shed light on how we pursue science, and how we grapple with our destiny—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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🔑 Science FictionSteampunk

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Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

by Kelly Weinersmith, published in 2019

What will the world of tomorrow be like? How does progress happen? And why don't we have a lunar colony already? In this witty and entertaining book, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith give us a snapshot of the transformative technologies that are coming next - from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters - and explain how they will change our world in astonishing ways. By weaving together their own research, interviews with pioneering scientists and Zach's trademark comics, the Weinersmiths investigate why these innovations are needed, how they would work, and what is standing in their way.

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🔑 InventionTechnology

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Planet Hunters: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life

by Lucas Ellerbroek, published in 2017

Astronomers are on the verge of answering one of our most profound questions: are we alone in the universe? The ability to detect life in remote solar systems is at last within sight, and its discovery—even if only in microbial form—would revolutionize our self-image. Planet Hunters is the rollicking tale of the search for extraterrestrial life and the history of an academic discipline. Astronomer Lucas Ellerbroek takes readers on a fantastic voyage through space, time, history, and even to the future as he describes the field of exoplanet research, from the early ideas of sixteenth-century heretic Giordano Bruno to the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995 to the invention of the Kepler Space Telescope. We join him on his travels as he meets with leading scientists in the field, including Michel Mayor, who discovered the first exoplanet, and Bill Borucki, principal investigator for NASA’s Kepler mission. Taken together, the experiences, passion, and perseverance of the scientists featured here make the book an exciting and compelling read. Presenting cutting-edge research in a dynamic and accessible way, Planet Hunters is a refreshing look into a field where new discoveries come every week and paradigms shift every year.

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🔑 AstrobiologyExoplanets

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Insider Trading: How Mortuaries, Medicine and Money Have Built a Global Market in Human Cadaver Parts

by Naomi Pfeffer, published in 2017

The cadaver industry in Britain and the United States, its processes and profits Except for organ transplantation little is known about the variety of stuff extracted from corpses and repurposed for medicine. A single body might be disassembled to provide hundreds of products for the millions of medical treatments performed each year. Cadaver skin can be used in wound dressings, corneas used to restore sight. Parts may even be used for aesthetic enhancement, such as liquefied skin injections to smooth wrinkles. This book is a history of the nameless corpses from which cadaver stuff is extracted and the entities involved in removing, processing, and distributing it. Pfeffer goes behind the mortuary door to reveal the technical, imaginative, and sometimes underhanded practices that have facilitated the global industry of transforming human fragments into branded convenience products. The dead have no need of cash, but money changes hands at every link of the supply chain. This book refocuses attention away from individual altruism and onto professional and corporate ethics.

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🔑 Health and MedicineOrgan Transplants

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Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis

by Kathryn Lougheed, published in 2017

Tuberculosis is an ancient disease, but it's not a disease of history. With more than a million victims every year – more than any other disease, including malaria – and antibiotic resistance now found in every country worldwide, tuberculosis is once again proving itself to be one of the smartest killers humanity has ever faced. But it's hardly surprising considering how long it's had to hone its skills. Forty-thousand years ago, our ancestors set off from the cradle of civilisation on their journey towards populating the planet. Tuberculosis hitched a lift and came with us, and it's been there ever since; waiting, watching, and learning. In The Robber of Youth, Kathryn Lougheed, a former TB research scientist, tells the story of how tuberculosis and humanity have grown up together, with each being shaped by the other in more ways than you could imagine. This relationship between man and microbe has spanned many millennia and has left its mark on both species. We can see evidence of its constant shadow in our genes; in the bones of the ancient dead; in art, music and literature. Tuberculosis has shaped societies - and it continues to do so today. The organism responsible for TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has had plenty of time to adapt to its chosen habitat – human lungs – and has learnt through natural selection to be an almost perfect pathogen. Using our own immune cells as a Trojan Horse to aid its spread, it's come up with clever ways to avoid being killed by antibiotics. But patience has been its biggest lesson - the bacterium can enter into a latent state when times are tough, only to come back to life when a host's immune system can no longer put up a fight. Today, more than one million people die of the disease every year and around one-third of the world's population are believed to be infected. That's more than two billion people. Throw in the compounding problems of drug resistance, the HIV epidemic and poverty, and it's clear that tuberculosis remains one of the most serious problems in world medicine. The Robber of Youth follows the history of TB through the ages, from its time as an infection of hunter-gatherers to the first human villages, which set it up with everything it needed to become the monstrous disease it is today, through to the perils of industrialisation and urbanisation. It goes on to look at the latest research in fighting the disease, with stories of modern scientific research, interviews doctors on the frontline treating the disease, and the personal experiences of those affected by TB.

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🔑 Public HealthTubercolosis

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Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

by Chris D. Thomas, published in 2017

It is accepted wisdom today that human beings have irrevocably damaged the natural world. Yet what if this narrative obscures a more hopeful truth? In Inheritors of the Earth, renowned ecologist and environmentalist Chris D. Thomas overturns the accepted story, revealing how nature is fighting back. Many animals and plants actually benefit from our presence, raising biological diversity in most parts of the world and increasing the rate at which new species are formed, perhaps to the highest level in Earth's history. From Costa Rican tropical forests to the thoroughly transformed British landscape, nature is coping surprisingly well in the human epoch. Chris Thomas takes us on a gripping round-the-world journey to meet the enterprising creatures that are thriving in the Anthropocene, from York's ochre-coloured comma butterfly to hybrid bison in North America, scarlet-beaked pukekos in New Zealand, and Asian palms forming thickets in the European Alps. In so doing, he questions our irrational persecution of so-called 'invasive species', and shows us that we should not treat the Earth as a faded masterpiece that we need to restore. After all, if life can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, might it not be able to survive the onslaughts of a technological ape? Combining a naturalist's eye for wildlife with an ecologist's wide lens, Chris Thomas forces us to re-examine humanity's relationship with nature, and reminds us that the story of life is the story of change.

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🔑 AdaptationBiodiversityClimate change

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The Emoji Code: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats

by Vyvyan Evans, published in 2017

Drawing from disciplines as diverse as linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience, The Emoji Code explores how emojis are expanding communication and not ending it. For all the handwringing about the imminent death of written language, emoji—those happy faces and hearts—is not taking us backward to the dark ages of illiteracy. Every day 41.5 billion texts are sent by one quarter of the world, using 6 million emoji. Evans argues that these symbols enrich our ability to communicate and allow us to express our emotions and induce empathy—ultimately making us all better communicators. The Emoji Code charts the evolutionary origins of language, the social and cultural factors that govern its use, change, and development; as well as what it reveals about the human mind. In most communication, nonverbal cues are our emotional expression, signal our personality, and are our attitude toward our addressee. They provide the essential means of nuance and are essential to getting our ideas across. But in digital communication, these cues are missing, which can lead to miscommunication. The explosion of emoji, in less than four years, has arisen precisely because it fulfills exactly these functions which are essential for communication but are otherwise absent in texts and emails. Evans persuasively argues that emoji add tone and an emotional voice and nuance, making us more effective communicators in the digital age.

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🔑 LinguisticsSocial Science

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Grand Canyon for Sale: : Public Lands versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change

by Stephen Nash, published in 2017

Grand Canyon For Sale is a carefully researched investigation of the precarious future of America's public lands: our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, and wildernesses. Taking the Grand Canyon as its key example, and using on-the-ground reporting as well as science research, the book makes plain that accelerating climate change will dislocate wildlife populations and vegetation across hundreds of thousands of square miles of the national landscape. So what’s the plan, as the next phase of our political history begins? Consolidating protected areas and prioritizing natural systems over mining, grazing, drilling and logging will be essential. But a growing political movement, well financed and occasionally violent, is fighting to break up these federal lands and return them to state, local, and private control. That scheme would foreclose the future for many wild species, which are part of our irreplaceable natural heritage, and would lead directly to the ruin of our national parks and forests. Grand Canyon For Sale is an excellent overview of the physical, biological, and political challenges facing our national parks and U.S. public lands today.

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🔑 Environmental PolicyPublic Lands

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Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle

by Erica Fyvie, published in 2018

"The Waste Cycle covers the entire life cycle from beginning to end - and back again - for a truly big-picture look at how things are sourced, made, used and then trashed and/or recycled into new materials. Plastic plates made from pig pee? Drinkable wastewater? Strange (and gross!) but soon-to-be true! Divided into 9 chapters, The Waste Cycle explores the life cycle of a different raw material a kid might typically tote in his or her backpack on any given school day (water, food, clothing, paper, plastics, metals and electronics.) The application of each raw material is presented as a 'recipe, ' with each component itemized to reveal the big picture, e.g., what goes into making (and subsequently recycling) a basic cotton T-shirt, a PET plastic water bottle or a cell phone. Two additional chapters explore the ultimate closed loop system setting of space, and the concept of zero waste. Back matter includes glossary, select bibliography and other information resources, and index."--

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🔑 Environmental Science

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A House in the Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Houses

by Steve Jenkins, published in 2020

Caldecott Honor recipient Steve Jenkins shines as the author of this amusing and thorough introduction to animal homes. Turtles, birds, fish, beavers, and kangaroos are just like people--they need homes, and take up residence in unusual places. A simple main text introduces similarities between human and animal homes while sidebars detail the unique qualities of each animal and its home. Stylized yet realistic watercolor illustrations prove that nonfiction can be accurate and elegant, and readers of all ages will appreciate this layered narrative.

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🔑 Animal Habitats

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Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet

by Elizabeth Suneby, published in 2018

A boy, a science project and an answer to a critical problem. During monsoon season in Bangladesh, Iqbal’s mother must cook the family’s meals indoors, over an open fire, even though the smoke makes her and the family sick. So when Iqbal hears that his school’s science fair has the theme of sustainability, he comes up with the perfect idea for his entry: he’ll design a stove that doesn’t produce smoke! Has Iqbal found a way to win first prize in the science fair while providing cleaner air and better health for his family at the same time? Sometimes it takes a kid to imagine a better idea — make that an ingenious one!

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🔑 Sustainability

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My First Book of Quantum Physics

by Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferrón, published in 2018

Everything around us - trees, buildings, food, light, water, air and even ourselves - is composed of minute particles, smaller than a nanometre (a billionth of a metre). Quantum physics is the science of these particles and without it none of our electronic devices, from smartphones to computers and microwave ovens, would exist. But quantum physics also pushes us to the very boundaries of what we know about science, reality and the structure of the universe. The world of quantum physics is an amazing place, where quantum particles can do weird and wonderful things, acting totally unlike the objects we experience in day-to-day life. How can atoms exist in two places at once? And just how can a cat be dead and alive at the same time? Find out more with this entertaining illustrated guide to the fascinating, mysterious world of quantum physics.

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🔑 Physics

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Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon

by Robert Kurson, published in 2018

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind’s historic first mission to the Moon, from the bestselling author of Shadow Divers. “Robert Kurson tells the tale of Apollo 8 with novelistic detail and immediacy.”—Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian and Artemis By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon—in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas. In a year of historic violence and discord—the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago—the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America’s greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who’d dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight. Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America’s finest hours. In this real-life thriller, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first time—and arrive at a new world. “Rocket Men is a riveting introduction to the [Apollo 8] flight. . . . Kurson details the mission in crisp, suspenseful scenes. . . . [A] gripping book.”—The New York Times Book Review

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🔑 Aeronautical Engineering

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Bug Lab for Kids: Family-Friendly Activities for Exploring the Amazing World of Beetles, Butterflies, Spiders, and Other Arthropods

by John W. Guyton, published in 2018

Your bug adventure starts here! Bug Lab for Kids is a collection of more than 40 fun activities for exploring the exciting world of arthropods, which makes up more than 90 percent of all animals on earth, including insects, spiders, centipedes, butterflies, bees, ants, and many others! Written by entomologist and educator Dr. John W. Guyton, this fascinating and informative book teaches young bug enthusiasts how to find, interact with, and collect arthropods safely. Begin Your Adventure. Learn how to dress to collect, start a field notebook, and use the scientific method, as well as the best places to look for bugs. Also, make and use an insect net, collecting jars, pitfall traps, and more, and investigate how to care for live arthropods. Preserving Insects. Find out the best ways to photograph insects, make a spreading board, and pin insects. The Most Common Insect Orders. Explore Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies and mosquitos), Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), and many more. Other Arthropods. Conduct experiments with centipedes and millipedes, sow bugs and pill bugs, granddaddy longlegs, and others. Creative Projects. Re-create a paper wasp's nest with papier-mache, make a pitcher plant and fly game, and set up a butterfly watering station. Butterflies, Bees & Other Pollinators. Learn how to rear butterflies and explore their migration patterns, conduct a local survey of pollinators, host a honey tasting, and make a pollinator habitat. Turn a fascination for bugs into a love of science and nature with Bug Lab for Kids! The popular Lab for Kids series features a growing list of books that share hands-on activities and projects on a wide host of topics, including art, astronomy, clay, geology, math, and even how to create your own circus—all authored by established experts in their fields. Each lab contains a complete materials list, clear step-by-step photographs of the process, as well as finished samples. The labs can be used as singular projects or as part of a yearlong curriculum of experiential learning. The activities are open-ended, designed to be explored over and over, often with different results. Geared toward being taught or guided by adults, they are enriching for a range of ages and skill levels. Gain firsthand knowledge on your favorite topic with Lab for Kids.

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🔑 Entomology

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Itch!: Everything You Didn’t Want to Know about What Makes You Scratch

by Anita Sanchez, published in 2018

Everybody gets itchy, and every kid will love this title that scratches the itch to know more and about the history, anatomy, botany, biology behind it. Perfect for fans of Grossology books looking for something more substantive and dynamic. You can feel it coming on--that terrible, tortuous ITCH. As irritating as an itch is, it is also your body's way of sending you a message you can't miss, like you've brushed up against poison ivy or lice have taken up residence in your hair. None of which you'd know without that telltale itch! And there are so many things that make us itch--from fungus to fleas, mosquitoes to nettles, poison ivy to tarantulas! Combining history, anatomy, laugh-out-loud illustrations, and even tips to avoid--and soothe--the itch, Anita Sanchez and Gilbert Ford take readers on an intriguing (and sometimes disgusting) look into what makes you scratch.

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🔑 Human Physiology

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What Do They Do with All that Poo?

by Jane Kurtz, published in 2018

Find out what happens to all of the poo at the zoo in this funny and factual picture book! There are so many different kinds of animals at the zoo, and they each make lots and lots (and sometimes LOTS!) of poo. So what do zoos do with all of that poo? This zany, fact-filled romp explores zoo poo, from cube-shaped wombat poo to white hyena scat, and all of the places it ends up, including in science labs and elephant-poo paper—even backyard gardens!

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🔑 Animal Biology

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Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science

by Audra J. Wolfe, published in 2020

Closing in the present day with a discussion of the 2017 March for Science and the prospects for science and science diplomacy in the Trump era, the book demonstrates the continued hold of Cold War thinking on ideas about science and politics in the United States.

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🔑 History of science

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In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World

by Lauren E. Oakes, published in 2018

The award-winning and surprisingly hopeful story of one woman's search for resiliency in a warming world Several years ago, ecologist Lauren E. Oakes set out from California for Alaska's old-growth forests to hunt for a dying tree: the yellow-cedar. With climate change as the culprit, the death of this species meant loss for many Alaskans. Oakes and her research team wanted to chronicle how plants and people could cope with their rapidly changing world. Amidst the standing dead, she discovered the resiliency of forgotten forests, flourishing again in the wake of destruction, and a diverse community of people who persevered to create new relationships with the emerging environment. Eloquent, insightful, and deeply heartening, In Search of the Canary Tree is a case for hope in a warming world.

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🔑 Ecology

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The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life

by Jack Challoner, published in 2015

The cell is the basic building block of life. In its 3.5 billion years on the planet, it has proven to be a powerhouse, spreading life first throughout the seas, then across land, developing the rich and complex diversity of life that populates the planet today. With The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life, Jack Challoner treats readers to a visually stunning tour of these remarkable molecular machines. Most of the living things we’re familiar with—the plants in our gardens, the animals we eat—are composed of billions or trillions of cells. Most multicellular organisms consist of many different types of cells, each highly specialized to play a particular role—from building bones or producing the pigment in flower petals to fighting disease or sensing environmental cues. But the great majority of living things on our planet exist as single cell. These cellular singletons are every bit as successful and diverse as multicellular organisms, and our very existence relies on them. The book is an authoritative yet accessible account of what goes on inside every living cell—from building proteins and producing energy to making identical copies of themselves—and the importance of these chemical reactions both on the familiar everyday scale and on the global scale. Along the way, Challoner sheds light on many of the most intriguing questions guiding current scientific research: What special properties make stem cells so promising in the treatment of injury and disease? How and when did single-celled organisms first come together to form multicellular ones? And how might scientists soon be prepared to build on the basic principles of cell biology to build similar living cells from scratch.

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🔑 Cell BiologyYoung AdultYoung Readers

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Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice: New Conversations Across the Disciplines

by Mara Buchbinder, published in 2016

The need for informed analyses of health policy is now greater than ever. The twelve essays in this volume show that public debates routinely bypass complex ethical, sociocultural, historical, and political questions about how we should address ideals of justice and equality in health care. Integrating perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, medicine, and public health, this volume illuminates the relationships between justice and health inequalities to enrich debates. Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice explores three questions: How do scholars approach relations between health inequalities and ideals of justice? When do justice considerations inform solutions to health inequalities, and how do specific health inequalities affect perceptions of injustice? And how can diverse scholarly approaches contribute to better health policy? From addressing patient agency in an inequitable health care environment to examining how scholars of social justice and health care amass evidence, this volume promotes a richer understanding of health and justice and how to achieve both. The contributors are Judith C. Barker, Paula Braveman, Paul Brodwin, Jami Suki Chang, Debra DeBruin, Leslie A. Dubbin, Sarah Horton, Carla C. Keirns, J. Paul Kelleher, Nicholas B. King, Eva Feder Kittay, Joan Liaschenko, Anne Drapkin Lyerly, Mary Faith Marshall, Carolyn Moxley Rouse, Jennifer Prah Ruger, and Janet K. Shim.

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🔑 InequalityPublic HealthSocial Justice

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The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life

by Jonathan F. P. Rose, published in 2016

2017 PROSE Award Winner: Outstanding Scholarly Work by a Trade Publisher In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century. Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and the home of eighty percent of the world’s population by 2050. As the 21st century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migrations, education and health disparities, among many others. In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament” as a way to achieve harmony, Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. These goals may never be fully achieved, but our cities will be richer and happier if we aspire to them, and if we infuse our every plan and constructive step with this intention. A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing the important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis—and the future.

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🔑 InequalitySocial JusticeSustainabilityUrban PlanningUrbanization

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The Aliens Are Coming! The Extraordinary Science Behind Our Search for Life in the Universe

by Ben Miller, published in 2016

Discover the fascinating and cutting-edge science behind the greatest question of all: is there life beyond Earth? For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe. In the last few years, scientists have made huge strides towards answering that question. In The Aliens are Coming!, comedian and bestselling science writer Ben Miller takes us on a fantastic voyage of discovery, from the beginnings of life on earth to the very latest search for alien intelligence. What soon becomes clear is that the hunt for extra-terrestrials is also an exploration of what we actually mean by life. What do you need to kickstart life? How did the teeming energy of the Big Bang end up as frogs, trees and quantity surveyors? How can evolution provide clues about alien life? What might it look like? (Probably not green and sexy, sadly.) As our probes and manned missions venture out into the solar system, and our telescopes image Earth-like planets with ever-increasing accuracy, our search for alien life has never been more exciting - or better funded. The Aliens are Coming! is a comprehensive, accessible and hugely entertaining guide to that search, and our quest to understand the very nature of life itself.

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🔑 AstronomyCosmologyPlanetary Studies

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Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe

by Roger Penrose, published in 2017

One of the world's leading physicists questions some of the most fashionable ideas in physics today, including string theory What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy possibly have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe? Surely, theoretical physicists are immune to mere trends, dogmatic beliefs, or flights of fancy? In fact, acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Roger Penrose argues that researchers working at the extreme frontiers of physics are just as susceptible to these forces as anyone else. In this provocative book, he argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today's researchers astray in three of the field's most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment of its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects, and Penrose responds by suggesting possible changes in quantum theory. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true, but that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Finally, Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work, from twistor theory, a possible alternative to string theory that is beginning to acquire a fashionable status, to "conformal cyclic cosmology," an idea so fantastic that it could be called "conformal crazy cosmology." The result is an important critique of some of the most significant developments in physics today from one of its most eminent figures.

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🔑 CosmologyPhysics

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Now: The Physics of Time

by Richard A. Muller, published in 2017

You are reading the word "now" right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment "now" so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of "now." Equally puzzling: why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand, and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it. InNow, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out--with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful--a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the Big Bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward. Muller's monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe, and may crack one of physics's longest-standing enigmas

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🔑 PhilosophyPhysics

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Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

by Mary Ellen Hannibal, published in 2017

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2016: “Intelligent and impassioned, Citizen Scientist is essential reading for anyone interested in the natural world.” Award-winning writer Mary Ellen Hannibal has long reported on scientists’ efforts to protect vanishing species, but it was only through citizen science that she found she could take action herself. As she wades into tide pools, spots hawks, and scours mountains, she discovers the power of the heroic volunteers who are helping scientists measure—and even slow—today’s unprecedented mass extinction. Citizen science may be the future of large-scale field research—and our planet’s last, best hope.

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🔑 Conservation

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A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy's Gift to Medical Science

by Sarah Gray, published in 2016

A donor mother’s powerful memoir of grief and rebirth that is also a fascinating medical science whodunit, taking us inside the world of organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation and cutting-edge scientific research. When Sarah Gray received the devastating news that her unborn son Thomas was diagnosed with anencephaly, a terminal condition, she decided she wanted his death—and life—to have meaning. In the weeks before she gave birth to her twin sons in 2010, she arranged to donate Thomas’s organs. Due to his low birth weight, they would go to research rather than transplant. As transplant donors have the opportunity to meet recipients, Sarah wanted to know how Thomas's donation would be used. That curiosity fueled a scientific odyssey that leads Sarah to some of the most prestigious scientific facilities in the country, including Harvard, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania. Pulling back the curtain of protocol and confidentiality, she introduces the researchers who received Thomas’s donations, held his liver in their hands, studied his cells under the microscope. Sarah’s journey to find solace and understanding takes her beyond her son’s donations—offering a breathtaking overview of the world of medical research and the valiant scientists on the horizon of discovery. She goes behind the scenes at organ procurement organizations, introducing skilled technicians for whom death means saving lives, empathetic counselors, and the brilliant minds who are finding surprising and inventive ways to treat and cure disease through these donations. She also shares the moving stories of other donor families. A Life Everlasting is an unforgettable testament to hope, a tribute to life and discovery, and a portrait of unsung heroes pushing the boundaries of medical science for the benefit of all humanity.

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🔑 Medicine

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Chickenizing Farms and Food: How Industrial Meat Production Endangers Workers, Animals, and Consumers

by Ellen K. Silbergeld, published in 2016

Over the past century, new farming methods, feed additives, and social and economic structures have radically transformed agriculture around the globe, often at the expense of human health. In Chickenizing Farms and Food, Ellen K. Silbergeld reveals the unsafe world of chickenization—big agriculture’s top-down, contract-based factory farming system—and its negative consequences for workers, consumers, and the environment. Drawing on her deep knowledge of and experience in environmental engineering and toxicology, Silbergeld examines the complex history of the modern industrial food animal production industry and describes the widespread effects of Arthur Perdue’s remarkable agricultural innovations, which were so important that the US Department of Agriculture uses the term chickenization to cover the transformation of all farm animal production. Silbergeld tells the real story of how antibiotics were first introduced into animal feeds in the 1940s, which has led to the emergence of multi-drug-resistant pathogens, such as MRSA. Along the way, she talks with poultry growers, farmers, and slaughterhouse workers on the front lines of exposure, moving from the Chesapeake Bay peninsula that gave birth to the modern livestock and poultry industry to North Carolina, Brazil, and China. Arguing that the agricultural industry is in desperate need of reform, the book searches through the fog of illusion that obscures most of what has happened to agriculture in the twentieth century and untangles the history of how laws, regulations, and policies have stripped government agencies of the power to protect workers and consumers alike from occupational and food-borne hazards. Chickenizing Farms and Food also explores the limits of some popular alternatives to industrial farming, including organic production, nonmeat diets, locavorism, and small-scale agriculture. Silbergeld’s provocative but pragmatic call to action is tempered by real challenges: how can we ensure a safe and accessible food system that can feed everyone, including consumers in developing countries with new tastes for western diets, without hurting workers, sickening consumers, and undermining some of our most powerful medicines?

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🔑 AgricultureFood

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The Cure for Catastrophe

by Robert Muir-Wood, published in 2016

Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons – we watch in horror before springing into action with aid and support, shocked again and again by the destructive power of the earth. Except these disasters aren’t only the earth’s doing, they are ours too. Why did no one consider that a tsunami could disable the nuclear power plants in Fukushima? Why did so many die when Katrina flooded New Orleans? Not so long ago we could only focus on rescuing and sheltering survivors – now we can anticipate many natural disasters and plan for them. In dozens of cities around the world, we’re able to identify the specific buildings that will be shaken apart, blown down or reduced to rubble. Yet every year, thanks to politics and inertia, we fail to act. Traversing continents and history, Robert Muir-Wood blends gripping storytelling with scientific insights to detail our efforts to tame the most extreme forces of nature. At the frontlines, the predictive powers of new technologies mean we can foresee a future where there is an end to the pain and destruction wrought by these devastating cataclysms. As The Cure for Catastrophe makes clear, we have an extraordinary opportunity before us – to make the decisions about what we build, where we live and how warnings are communicated that could save millions of lives.

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🔑 Natural hazards

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Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography

by Rebecca M. Jordan-Young, published in 2019

Testosterone is neither the biological essence of manliness nor even the "male sex hormone." It doesn't predict competitiveness or aggressiveness, strength or sex drive. Rebecca Jordan-Young and Katrina Karkazis pry testosterone loose from more than a century of misconceptions that undermine science while making social fables seem scientific.

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🔑

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How to Grow a Human: Adventures in How We Are Made and Who We Are

by Philip Ball, published in 2019

The bestselling author of Critical Mass offers a cutting-edge examination of what it means to be human in the face of the latest technical developments and research in cell biology, tissue growth, organ regeneration, and treatments of cancer and dementia.

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🔑

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Ahab’s Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick

by Richard J. King, published in 2019

Although Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most profound and enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing—or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the “best book ever written about nature,” and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves, with scarcely a whiff of land. In fact, Ishmael’s sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851. A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville’s novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow’s nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851—at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab’s and Ishmael’s worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been entirely foreign, if not absurd, to Melville, King argues that Melville’s narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism. Featuring a coffer of illustrations and an array of interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab’s Rolling Sea offers new insight not only into a cherished masterwork and its author but also into our evolving relationship with the briny deep—from whale hunters to climate refugees.

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Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events

by Robert J. Shiller, published in 2019

"Economists have long based their forecasts on financial aggregates such as price-earnings ratios, asset prices, and exchange rate fluctuations, and used them to produce statistically informed speculations about the future--with limited success. Robert Shiller employs such aggregates in his own forecasts, but has famously complemented them with observations about the influence of mass psychology on certain events. This approach has come to be known as behavioral economics. How can economists effectively capture the effects of psychology and its influence on economic events and change? Shiller attempts to help us better understand how psychology affects events by explaining how popular economic stories arise, how they grow viral, and ultimately how they drive economic developments. After defining narrative economics in the book's preface with allusions to the advent of both the Great Depression and to World War II, Shiller presents an example of a recent economic narrative gone viral in the story of Bitcoin. Next, he explains how narrative economics works with reference to how other disciplines incorporate narrative into their analyses and also to how epidemiology explains how disease goes viral. He then presents accounts of recurring economic narratives, including the gold standard, real estate booms, war and depression, and stock market booms and crashes. He ends his book with a blueprint for future research by economists on narrative economics"--

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Golden Rice: The Imperiled Birth of a GMO Superfood

by Ed Regis, published in 2019

Anyone interested in GMOs, social justice, or world hunger will find Golden Rice a compelling, sad, and maddening true-life science tale.

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What is Life?

by Erwin Schrodinger, published in 2012

"What Is Life?" is Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger's exploration of the question which lies at the heart of biology. His essay, "Mind and Matter," investigates what place consciousness occupies in the evolution of life, and what part the state of development of the human mind plays in moral questions. "Autobiographical Sketches" offers a fascinating fragmentary account of his life as a background to his scientific writings.

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🔑

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Altered Inheritance: CRISPR and the Ethics of Human Genome Editing

by Françoise Baylis, published in 2019

With the advent of CRISPR gene-editing technology, designer babies have become a reality. Françoise Baylis insists that scientists alone cannot decide the terms of this new era in human evolution. Members of the public, with diverse interests and perspectives, must have a role in determining our future as a species.

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Mobilizing Mutations: Human Genetics in the Age of Patient Advocacy

by Daniel Navon, published in 2019

With every passing year, more and more people learn that they or their young or unborn children carries a genetic mutation. But what does this mean for the way we understand a person? Today, genetic mutations are being used to diagnose novel conditions like the XYY, Fragile X, NGLY1 mutation, and 22q11.2 Deletion syndromes, carving out rich new categories of human disease and difference. Daniel Navon calls this form of categorization “genomic designation,” and in Mobilizing Mutations he shows how mutations, and the social factors that surround them, are reshaping human classification. Drawing on a wealth of fieldwork and historical material, Navon presents a sociological account of the ways genetic mutations have been mobilized and transformed in the sixty years since it became possible to see abnormal human genomes, providing a new vista onto the myriad ways contemporary genetic testing can transform people’s lives. Taking us inside these shifting worlds of research and advocacy over the last half century, Navon reveals the ways in which knowledge about genetic mutations can redefine what it means to be ill, different, and ultimately, human.

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Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity

by Rowan Hooper, published in 2019

From evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper, an awe-inspiring look into the extremes of human ability—and what they tell us about our own potential—“an intriguing…look at some of the things that make us human—and more” (Kirkus Reviews). In 1997, an endurance runner named Yiannis Kouros ran 188 miles in twenty-four hours. Akira Haraguchi can recite pi to the 100,000th decimal point. John Nunn was accepted to Oxford University at age fifteen. After a horrific attack by her estranged husband, Carmen Tarleton was left with burns to more than eighty percent of her body. After a three-month coma, multiple skin grafts, and successful face transplant, Tarleton is now a motivational speaker. What does it feel like to be exceptional? And what does it take to get there? Why can some people achieve greatness when others can’t, no matter how hard they try? Just how much potential does our species have? Evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper has the answers. In Superhuman he takes us on a breathtaking tour of the peaks of human achievement that shows us what it feels like to be extraordinary—and what it takes to get there. Drawing on interviews with these “superhumans” and those who have studied them, Hooper assesses the science and genetics of peak potential. His case studies are as inspirational as they are varied, highlighting feats of endurance, strength, intelligence, and memory. Superhuman is “terrifically entertaining. Hooper is that precious thing; an easy, fluent, and funny scientist. The message from this upbeat, clever, feel good book is that we all have greater capacity than we realize. Spectacularly enjoyable” (The London Times), this is a fascinating, eye-opening, and inspiring celebration for anyone who ever felt that they might be able to do something extraordinary in life, for those who simply want to succeed, and for anyone interested in the sublime possibilities of humankind.

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🔑 Human Physiology

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Vaquita: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez

by Brooke Bessesen, published in 2018

In 2006, vaquita, a diminutive porpoise making its home in the Upper Gulf of California, inherited the dubious title of world's most endangered marine mammal. Vaquita have been in decline for decades, dying in illegal gillnets intended for a giant fish, totoaba. Author Brooke Bessesen takes us to the Upper Gulf region in search of answers to a heart-wrenching dilemma. When diplomatic efforts to save the porpoise failed, Bessesen followed a scientific team in a binational effort to capture remaining vaquita and breed them in captivity--the only hope for their survival. In this fast-paced, soul-searing tale, she learned that there are no easy answers when extinction is profitable.

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🔑 Marine Conservation

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The New Mind Readers: What Neuroimaging Can and Cannot Reveal About Our Thoughts

by Russell A. Poldrack, published in 2020

A revealing insider's account of the power—and limitations—of functional MRI The ability to read minds has long been a fascination of science fiction, but revolutionary new brain-imaging methods are bringing it closer to scientific reality. The New Mind Readers looks at the origins, development, and future of these extraordinary tools, revealing how they are increasingly being used to decode our thoughts and experiences—and how this raises sometimes troubling questions about their application in domains such as marketing, politics, and the law. Written by one of the world's leading pioneers in cognitive neuroscience, this book offers needed perspective on what these emerging methods can and cannot do, and demonstrates how they can provide answers to age-old questions about the nature of consciousness and what it means to be human.

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🔑 Neuroscience

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Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military

by Neil deGrasse Tyson, published in 2018

“Extraordinary.… A feast of history, an expert tour through thousands of years of war and conquest.” —Jennifer Carson, New York Times Book Review In this far-reaching foray into the millennia-long relationship between science and military power, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-author Avis Lang examine how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted in the service of war. Spanning early celestial navigation to satellite-enabled warfare, Accessory to War is a richly researched and provocative examination of the intersection of science, technology, industry, and power that will introduce Tyson’s millions of fans to yet another dimension of how the universe has shaped our lives and our world.

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🔑 AstrophysicsMilitary Science

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The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist

by Ben Barres, published in 2020

A leading scientist describes his life, his gender transition, his scientific work, and his advocacy for gender equality in science. Ben Barres was known for his groundbreaking scientific work and for his groundbreaking advocacy for gender equality in science. In this book, completed shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer in December 2017, Barres (born in 1954) describes a life full of remarkable accomplishments--from his childhood as a precocious math and science whiz to his experiences as a female student at MIT in the 1970s to his female-to-male transition in his forties, to his scientific work and role as teacher and mentor at Stanford. Barres recounts his early life--his interest in science, first manifested as a fascination with the mad scientist in Superman; his academic successes; and his gender confusion. Barres felt even as a very young child that he was assigned the wrong gender. After years of being acutely uncomfortable in his own skin, Barres transitioned from female to male. He reports he felt nothing but relief on becoming his true self. He was proud to be a role model for transgender scientists. As an undergraduate at MIT, Barres experienced discrimination, but it was after transitioning that he realized how differently male and female scientists are treated. He became an advocate for gender equality in science, and later in life responded pointedly to Larry Summers's speculation that women were innately unsuited to be scientists. Privileged white men, Barres writes, "miss the basic point that in the face of negative stereotyping, talented women will not be recognized." At Stanford, Barres made important discoveries about glia, the most numerous cells in the brain, and he describes some of his work. "The most rewarding part of his job," however, was mentoring young scientists. That, and his advocacy for women and transgender scientists, ensures his legacy.

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🔑 NeuroscienceScience lives

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Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms

by Hannah Fry, published in 2018

‘One of the best books yet written on data and algorithms. . .deserves a place on the bestseller charts.’ (The Times) You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate – a human or an algorithm? An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgement. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence. Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions – in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want? Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing. A BBC RADIO 4: BOOK OF THE WEEK SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE AND 2018 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE

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🔑 Computer science

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Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology

by Lisa Margonelli, published in 2018

Who has the answer to the world's fuel problems? How can we bring ruined land back to life? Where do roboticists turn when they try to engineer a hive mind? Termites. Strange though it seems, scientists look to tiny termites for answers to some big ideas. Lisa Margonelli tracks them, deep into their mounds to find out how termites can change the world. Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology touches on everything from meditation, innovation and the psychology of obsession to good old-fashioned biology.

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🔑 Artificial intelligenceEntomologyRobotics

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The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

by Deborah Blum, published in 2019

Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley set out to ensure food safety. The tasters were recognized for their courage, and became known as the poison squad.

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🔑 ChemistryFood Science

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Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World

by Marcia Bjornerud, published in 2020

Why an awareness of Earth's temporal rhythms is critical to our planetary survival Few of us have any conception of the enormous timescales of our planet's long history, and this narrow perspective underlies many of the environmental problems we are creating. The lifespan of Earth can seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth's history—and the magnitude of our effects on the planet. Timefulness reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth's deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future. Featuring illustrations by Haley Hagerman, this compelling book offers a new way of thinking about our place in time, showing how our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and how our actions today will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations.

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🔑 Geology

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The Beautiful Cure: The Revolution in Immunology and What It Means for Your Health

by Daniel M. Davis, published in 2018

The immune system holds the key to human health. In The Beautiful Cure, leading immunologist Daniel M. Davis describes how the scientific quest to understand how the immune system works—and how it is affected by stress, sleep, age, and our state of mind—is now unlocking a revolutionary new approach to medicine and well-being. The body’s ability to fight disease and heal itself is one of the great mysteries and marvels of nature. But in recent years, painstaking research has resulted in major advances in our grasp of this breathtakingly beautiful inner world: a vast and intricate network of specialist cells, regulatory proteins, and dedicated genes that are continually protecting our bodies. Far more powerful than any medicine ever invented, the immune system plays a crucial role in our daily lives. We have found ways to harness these natural defenses to create breakthrough drugs and so-called immunotherapies that help us fight cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many age-related diseases, and we are starting to understand whether activities such as mindfulness might play a role in enhancing our physical resilience. Written by a researcher at the forefront of this adventure, The Beautiful Cure tells a dramatic story of scientific detective work and discovery, of puzzles solved and mysteries that linger, of lives sacrificed and saved. With expertise and eloquence, Davis introduces us to this revelatory new understanding of the human body and what it takes to be healthy.

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🔑 Human HealthImmunology

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The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution

by Susan Hockfield, published in 2019

From the former president of MIT, the story of the next technology revolution, and how it will change our lives. A century ago, discoveries in physics came together with engineering to produce an array of astonishing new technologies: radios, telephones, televisions, aircraft, radar, nuclear power, computers, the Internet, and a host of still-evolving digital tools. These technologies so radically reshaped our world that we can no longer conceive of life without them. Today, the world’s population is projected to rise to well over 9.5 billion by 2050, and we are currently faced with the consequences of producing the energy that fuels, heats, and cools us. With temperatures and sea levels rising, and large portions of the globe plagued with drought, famine, and drug-resistant diseases, we need new technologies to tackle these problems. But we are on the cusp of a new convergence, argues world-renowned neuroscientist Susan Hockfield, with discoveries in biology coming together with engineering to produce another array of almost inconceivable technologies—next-generation products that have the potential to be every bit as paradigm shifting as the twentieth century’s digital wonders. The Age of Living Machines describes some of the most exciting new developments and the scientists and engineers who helped create them. Virus-built batteries. Protein-based water filters. Cancer-detecting nanoparticles. Mind-reading bionic limbs. Computer-engineered crops. Together they highlight the promise of the technology revolution of the twenty-first century to overcome some of the greatest humanitarian, medical, and environmental challenges of our time.

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🔑 Bioengineering

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Cities: The First 6,000 Years

by Monica L. Smith, published in 2019

A FASCINATING INVESTIGATION INTO THE HISTORY OF CITIES: WHY DID THEY OCCUR, HOW HAVE THEY EVOLVED, WHY DO SO MANY OF US CHOOSE TO LIVE IN THEM AND HOW DO THEY AFFECT US? ‘Monica Smith is the person best qualified to write a book about the big problems raised by the increasing concentration of the human population into cities. She also has a gift for vivid writing that will make the science of cities come to life for the broad public. I expect that CITIES will be a great read and will sell well.’ Jared Diamond, author of Collapse Over half of the world’s population lives in an urban area and cities around the globe are getting bigger and bigger. Love them or hate them, more and more of us are choosing to live in them. Cities investigates the following intriguing questions: why did cities start to occur around 6,000 years ago, how have they evolved, why do so many of us choose to live in them, how do they affect us, and what does the future hold at a time when we’re increasingly connected by technology? In Cities, Monica L. Smith points out that, even if you don’t live in a city, your life is inevitably affected by one, whether you commute into one for work, sell coffee beans to a company that supplies urban coffee shops, or host city-dwelling tourists seeking adventure and respite from the city in your remote village. Using fascinating anecdotes and research findings from her work as an archaeologist, Smith also reveals that many of the problems that we associate with modern cities (violence, hyperconsumption, etc.) have, in fact, always existed. And, more positively, how many of the things that draw us to cities in modern times (educational and economic opportunities, social mobility, culture) are the things that have drawn us to them since they first appeared. She also makes the controversial argument that it’s down to cities that the middle class exists and she examines why social movements flourish in cities in a way they rarely do in rural settings.

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🔑 Urbanization

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Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean

by Joy McCann, published in 2019

“The Southern Ocean is a wild and elusive place, an ocean like no other. With its waters lying between the Antarctic continent and the southern coastlines of Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa, it is the most remote and inaccessible part of the planetary ocean, the only part that flows around Earth unimpeded by any landmass. It is notorious amongst sailors for its tempestuous winds and hazardous fog and ice. Yet it is a difficult ocean to pin down. Its southern boundary, defined by the icy continent of Antarctica, is constantly moving in a seasonal dance of freeze and thaw. To the north, its waters meet and mingle with those of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans along a fluid boundary that defies the neat lines of a cartographer.” So begins Joy McCann’s Wild Sea, the remarkable story of the world’s remote Southern, or Antarctic, Ocean. Unlike the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans with their long maritime histories, little is known about the Southern Ocean. This book takes readers beyond the familiar heroic narratives of polar exploration to explore the nature of this stormy circumpolar ocean and its place in Western and Indigenous histories. Drawing from a vast archive of charts and maps, sea captains’ journals, whalers’ log books, missionaries’ correspondence, voyagers’ letters, scientific reports, stories, myths, and her own experiences, McCann embarks on a voyage of discovery across its surfaces and into its depths, revealing its distinctive physical and biological processes as well as the people, species, events, and ideas that have shaped our perceptions of it. The result is both a global story of changing scientific knowledge about oceans and their vulnerability to human actions and a local one, showing how the Southern Ocean has defined and sustained southern environments and people over time. Beautifully and powerfully written, Wild Sea will raise a broader awareness and appreciation of the natural and cultural history of this little-known ocean and its emerging importance as a barometer of planetary climate change.

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🔑 Marine BiologyOceanography

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Einstein’s Wife: The Real Story of Mileva Einstein-Marić

by Allen Esterson, published in 2020

Albert Einstein's first wife, Mileva Einstein-Maric, was forgotten by history for decades, But when a trove of correspondence between them beginning in their student days at the Zurich Polytechnic was discovered in 1986, her story began to be told. Mileva was one of the few women of her era to pursue higher education in science. Her ambitions for a science career, however, suffered a series of setbacks, including an out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Einstein. Some of the tellers of the "Mileva Story" made startling claims: that she was a brilliant mathematician who surpassed her husband, and that she made uncredited contributions to his most celebrated papers in 1905, including his paper on special relativity. The authors of Einstein's Wife look at the actual evidence, and a chapter by Ruth Lewin Sime offers important historical context. The story they tell is that of a brave and determined young woman who struggled against a variety of obstacles at a time when science was not very welcoming to women. Book jacket.

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🔑 Science lives

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Hacking Life: Systematized Living and Its Discontents

by Joseph M. Reagl Jr., published in 2020

Life hackers track and analyze the food they eat, the hours they sleep, the money they spend, and how they're feeling on any given day. They share tips on the most efficient ways to tie shoelaces and load the dishwasher. They see everything as a system composed of parts that can be decomposed and recomposed, with algorithmic rules that can be understood, optimized, and subverted. In this book, Joseph Reagle examines how life hacking is self-help for the digital age's creative class. Life hacks can be useful, useless, and sometimes harmful: being efficient is not the same thing as being effective; being precious about minimalism does not mean you are living life unfettered; and compulsively checking your vital signs is its own sort of illness. With Hacking Life, Reagle sheds light on a question even non-hackers ponder: what does it mean to live a good life in the new millennium? Book jacket.

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🔑 Data

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Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again

by Eric Topol, published in 2019

A Science Friday pick for book of the year, 2019 One of America's top doctors reveals how AI will empower physicians and revolutionize patient care Medicine has become inhuman, to disastrous effect. The doctor-patient relationship--the heart of medicine--is broken: doctors are too distracted and overwhelmed to truly connect with their patients, and medical errors and misdiagnoses abound. In Deep Medicine, leading physician Eric Topol reveals how artificial intelligence can help. AI has the potential to transform everything doctors do, from notetaking and medical scans to diagnosis and treatment, greatly cutting down the cost of medicine and reducing human mortality. By freeing physicians from the tasks that interfere with human connection, AI will create space for the real healing that takes place between a doctor who can listen and a patient who needs to be heard. Innovative, provocative, and hopeful, Deep Medicine shows us how the awesome power of AI can make medicine better, for all the humans involved.

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🔑 Human HealthMedicine

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The Adjunct Underclass: How America's Colleges Betrayed Their Faculty, Their Students, and Their Mission

by Herb Childress, published in 2019

Class ends. Students pack up and head back to their dorms. The professor, meanwhile, goes to her car . . . to catch a little sleep, and then eat a cheeseburger in her lap before driving across the city to a different university to teach another, wholly different class. All for a paycheck that, once prep and grading are factored in, barely reaches minimum wage. Welcome to the life of the mind in the gig economy. Over the past few decades, the job of college professor has been utterly transformed—for the worse. America’s colleges and universities were designed to serve students and create knowledge through the teaching, research, and stability that come with the longevity of tenured faculty, but higher education today is dominated by adjuncts. In 1975, only thirty percent of faculty held temporary or part-time positions. By 2011, as universities faced both a decrease in public support and ballooning administrative costs, that number topped fifty percent. Now, some surveys suggest that as many as seventy percent of American professors are working course-to-course, with few benefits, little to no security, and extremely low pay. In The Adjunct Underclass, Herb Childress draws on his own firsthand experience and that of other adjuncts to tell the story of how higher education reached this sorry state. Pinpointing numerous forces within and beyond higher ed that have driven this shift, he shows us the damage wrought by contingency, not only on the adjunct faculty themselves, but also on students, the permanent faculty and administration, and the nation. How can we say that we value higher education when we treat educators like desperate day laborers? Measured but passionate, rooted in facts but sure to shock, The Adjunct Underclass reveals the conflicting values, strangled resources, and competing goals that have fundamentally changed our idea of what college should be. This book is a call to arms for anyone who believes that strong colleges are vital to society.

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🔑 Academia

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Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

by George Estreich, published in 2019

How new biomedical technologies—from prenatal testing to gene-editing techniques—require us to imagine who counts as human and what it means to belong. From next-generation prenatal tests, to virtual children, to the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, new biotechnologies grant us unprecedented power to predict and shape future people. That power implies a question about belonging: which people, which variations, will we welcome? How will we square new biotech advances with the real but fragile gains for people with disabilities—especially when their voices are all but absent from the conversation? This book explores that conversation, the troubled territory where biotechnology and disability meet. In it, George Estreich—an award-winning poet and memoirist, and the father of a young woman with Down syndrome—delves into popular representations of cutting-edge biotech: websites advertising next-generation prenatal tests, feature articles on “three-parent IVF,” a scientist's memoir of constructing a semisynthetic cell, and more. As Estreich shows, each new application of biotechnology is accompanied by a persuasive story, one that minimizes downsides and promises enormous benefits. In this story, people with disabilities are both invisible and essential: a key promise of new technologies is that disability will be repaired or prevented. In chapters that blend personal narrative and scholarship, Estreich restores disability to our narratives of technology. He also considers broader themes: the place of people with disabilities in a world built for the able; the echoes of eugenic history in the genomic present; and the equation of intellect and human value. Examining the stories we tell ourselves, the fables already creating our futures, Estreich argues that, given biotech that can select and shape who we are, we need to imagine, as broadly as possible, what it means to belong.

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🔑 Genetic TestingMedical Ethics

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Skeleton Keys: The Secret Life of Bone

by Riley Black (Brian Switek), published in 2019

“A provocative and entertaining magical mineral tour through the life and afterlife of bone.” —Wall Street Journal Our bones have many stories to tell, if you know how to listen. Bone is a marvel, an adaptable and resilient building material developed over more than four hundred million years of evolutionary history. It gives your body its shape and the ability to move. It grows and changes with you, an undeniable document of who you are and how you lived. Arguably, no other part of the human anatomy has such rich scientific and cultural significance, both brimming with life and a potent symbol of death. In this delightful natural and cultural history of bone, Brian Switek explains where our skeletons came from, what they do inside us, and what others can learn about us when these artifacts of mineral and protein are all we've left behind. Bone is as embedded in our culture as it is in our bodies. Our species has made instruments and jewelry from bone, treated the dead like collectors' items, put our faith in skull bumps as guides to human behavior, and arranged skeletons into macabre tributes to the afterlife. Switek makes a compelling case for getting better acquainted with our skeletons, in all their surprising roles. Bridging the worlds of paleontology, anthropology, medicine, and forensics, Skeleton Keys illuminates the complex life of bones inside our bodies and out.

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🔑 Paleoanthropology

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Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies

by Geoffrey B. West, published in 2017

"Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks... Fascinated by issues of aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science, creating a new understanding of energy use and metabolism: West found that despite the riotous diversity in the sizes of mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other... West's work has been gaming changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work's applicability...and applied...[it] to the business and social world."--

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🔑 AllometryComplexity

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American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

by David Baron, published in 2017

This “suspenseful narrative history” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR) brings to life the momentous eclipse that enthralled a nation and thrust American science onto the world stage. On a scorching July afternoon in 1878, at the dawn of the Gilded Age, the moon’s shadow descended on the American West, darkening skies from Montana Territory to Texas. This rare celestial event—a total solar eclipse—offered a priceless opportunity to solve some of the solar system’s most enduring riddles, and it prompted a clutch of enterprising scientists to brave the wild frontier in a grueling race to the Rocky Mountains. Acclaimed science journalist David Baron, long fascinated by eclipses, re-creates this epic tale of ambition, failure, and glory in a narrative that reveals as much about the historical trajectory of a striving young nation as it does about those scant three minutes when the blue sky blackened and stars appeared in mid-afternoon. Lauded as a “sweeping, compelling” (Wall Street Journal) work of science history, American Eclipse tells the story of the three tenacious and brilliant scientists who raced to Wyoming and Colorado to observe the rare event. Dedicating years of “exhaustive research to reconstruct a remarkable chapter of U.S. history” (Scientific American), award-winning writer David Baron brings to three-dimensional life these competitors—the planet-hunter James Craig Watson, pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell, and the ambitious young inventor Thomas Edison—to thrillingly re-create the fierce jockeying of nineteenth-century American astronomy. With spellbinding accounts of train robberies and Indian skirmishes, the mythologized age of the Wild West comes alive as never before. An “enthralling” (Daniel Kevles) and magnificent portrayal of America’s dawn as a scientific superpower, American Eclipse depicts a young nation that looked to the skies to reveal its towering ambition and expose its latent genius.

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🔑 AstronomyHistory of science

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Why: What Makes Us Curious

by Mario Livio, published in 2017

Astrophysicist and author Mario Livio investigates perhaps the most human of all our characteristics—curiosity—in this “lively, expert, and definitely not dumbed-down account” (Kirkus Reviews) as he explores our innate desire to know why. 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.

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🔑 NeurosciencePsychology

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Rising Tides: Climate Refugees in the Twenty-First Century

by John R. Wennersten, published in 2017

Global climate change and global refugee crises will soon become inextricably interlinked. A new tsunami of climate refugees flows across the earth. We are now at the moment of truth."Climate change is with us and we need to think about the next big disturbing idea the potentially disastrous consequences of massive numbers of environmental refugees at large on the planet. In 2020 the United Nations projects that we will have 50 million environmental refugees mostly from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. How will people be relocated and settled? Is it possible to offer environmental refugees temporary or permanent asylum? Will these refugees have any collective rights in the new areas they inhabit? And lastly, who will pay the costs of all the affected countries during the process of resettlement? Environmental refugees are a problem beyond the scope of a single country or agency."John R. Wennersten and Denise Robbins, from the book

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🔑 Climate changeMigration

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If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

by Alan Alda, published in 2017

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor. “Invaluable.”—Deborah Tannen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of You’re the Only One I Can Tell and You Just Don’t Understand Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us. In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another’s face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become “in sync” with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling—especially when you’re talking about the hard stuff. Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond. “Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us.”—Forbes “Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now.”—Charlie Rose

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🔑 PodcastScience Communication

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Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton

by Rob Iliffe, published in 2017

For centuries, the exact nature of Isaac Newton's religious beliefs has been a matter of intense debate, in part because so very few of his theological works were accessible to public scrutiny. During his lifetime Newton carefully monitored what he published, and with good reason. Hisreligious writings, which comprise a major part of the manuscripts-containing millions of words-that are now available for view reveal markedly unorthodox views, such as the denial of the Trinity, an admission that would have substantially damaged his public reputation and perhaps endangered hislife. In Priest of Nature, historian Rob Iliffe examines all the evidence and offers the definitive work on the religious views of the man who fundamentally changed how we look at the universe. Tracing Newton's life from his birth through his years at Cambridge, his tenure as Warden and Master of the Mint, and his twenty-four years as president of the Royal Society, continuing to his death in 1727, Iliffe examines how Newton managed the complex boundaries between private and publicprofessions of belief. While previous scholars and biographers have attempted to find coherence in his intellectual pursuits, Iliffe shows how wide-ranging and Catholic Newton's views and interests in fact were, taking issue with those who have attempted to underestimate their range and complexity.Arguing that there is no simplistic coherence between Newton's philosophical and religious views, Priest of Nature delves into the religious writings Newton produced during his life, from his account of the sexually depraved lives of the early monks to his views about the creation of the world andthe Apocalypse, showing that Newton's techniques for prosecuting those he saw as the corrupters of Christianity were identical to the ones he used against those who attacked his science. A portrait of the religious and spiritual life of Newton, Priest of Nature is at the same time a vibrant biography of one of history's towering scientific figures.

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🔑 History of scienceScience and Religion

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Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen

by James Suzman, published in 2020

A revolutionary new history of humankind through the prism of work, from the origins of life on Earth to our ever-more automated present, that challenges some of our deepest assumptions about who we are. The work we do brings us meaning, moulds our values, determines our social status and dictates how we spend most of our time. But this wasn't always the case: for 95% of our species' history, work held a radically different importance. How, then, did work become the central organisational principle of our societies? How did it transform our bodies, our environments, our views on equality and our sense of time? And why, in a time of material abundance, are we working more than ever before? 'For too long, our notions of work have been dominated by economists obsessed with scarcity and productivity. As an anthropologist, James Suzman is here to change that . . . This book is a tour de force' Adam Grant 'Groundbreaking . . . Exposes the productivity-at-all-costs mindset to strike a blow at the myth of the economic problem. I learned something new on every page' Grace Blakeley 'Brilliant . . . I thought I had read enough by now to know what work is and why we so often feel compelled to work – but I was wrong' Danny Dorling

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🔑 Anthropology

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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

by Robert M. Sapolsky, published in 2017

Why do we do the things we do? Over a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance. And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. What goes on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happens? Then he pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell triggers the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones act hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli which trigger the nervous system? By now, he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going--next to what features of the environment affected that person's brain, and then back to the childhood of the individual, and then to their genetic makeup. Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than that one individual. How culture has shaped that individual's group, what ecological factors helped shape that culture, and on and on, back to evolutionary factors thousands and even millions of years old. The result is one of the most dazzling tours de horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

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🔑 Human BehaviorNeuroscience

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The Evolution of Imagination

by Stephen T. Asma, published in 2017

Consider Miles Davis, horn held high, sculpting a powerful musical statement full of tonal patterns, inside jokes, and thrilling climactic phrases—all on the fly. Or think of a comedy troupe riffing on a couple of cues from the audience until the whole room is erupting with laughter. Or maybe it’s a team of software engineers brainstorming their way to the next Google, or the Einsteins of the world code-cracking the mysteries of nature. Maybe it’s simply a child playing with her toys. What do all of these activities share? With wisdom, humor, and joy, philosopher Stephen T. Asma answers that question in this book: imagination. And from there he takes us on an extraordinary tour of the human creative spirit. Guided by neuroscience, animal behavior, evolution, philosophy, and psychology, Asma burrows deep into the human psyche to look right at the enigmatic but powerful engine that is our improvisational creativity—the source, he argues, of our remarkable imaginational capacity. How is it, he asks, that a story can evoke a whole world inside of us? How are we able to rehearse a skill, a speech, or even an entire scenario simply by thinking about it? How does creativity go beyond experience and help us make something completely new? And how does our moral imagination help us sculpt a better society? As he shows, we live in a world that is only partly happening in reality. Huge swaths of our cognitive experiences are made up by “what-ifs,” “almosts,” and “maybes,” an imagined terrain that churns out one of the most overlooked but necessary resources for our flourishing: possibilities. Considering everything from how imagination works in our physical bodies to the ways we make images, from the mechanics of language and our ability to tell stories to the creative composition of self-consciousness, Asma expands our personal and day-to-day forms of imagination into a grand scale: as one of the decisive evolutionary forces that has guided human development from the Paleolithic era to today. The result is an inspiring look at the rich relationships among improvisation, imagination, and culture, and a privileged glimpse into the unique nature of our evolved minds.

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🔑 Cognitive ScienceEvolution

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Natural Defense: Enlisting Bugs and Germs to Protect Our Food and Health

by Emily Monosson, published in 2017

For more than a century, we have relied on chemical cures to keep our bodies free from disease and our farms free from bugs and weeds. We rarely consider human and agricultural health together, but both are based on the same ecology, and both are being threatened by organisms that have evolved to resist our antibiotics and pesticides. Patients suffer fromC.diff, a painful, potentially lethal gut infection associated with multiple rounds of antibiotics; orange groves rot from insect-borne bacteria; and the blight responsible for the Irish potato famine outmaneuvers fungicides. Our chemicals are failing us. Fortunately, scientists are finding new solutions that work with, rather than against, nature. Emily Monosson explores science's minnovative strategies, from high-tech gene editing to the ancipractice of fecal transplants. There are viruses that infect and bust apart bacteria; vaccines engineered to better provoke our natural defenses; and insect pheromones that throw crop-destroying moths into a misguided sexual frenzy. Some technologies will ultimately fizzle; others may hold the key to abundant food and unprecedented health. Each represents a growing understanding of how to employ ecology for our own protection. Monosson gives readers a peek into the fascinating and hopeful world of natural defenses. Her book is full of optimism, not simply for particular cures, but for a sustainable approach to human welfare that will benefit generations to come.

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🔑 Microbiology

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Immersion: The Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels

by Abbie Gascho Landis, published in 2017

Abbie Gascho Landis first fell for freshwater mussels while submerged in an Alabama creek, her pregnant belly squeezed into a wetsuit. After an hour of fruitless scanning, a mussel materialized from the rocks—a little spectaclecase, herself pregnant, filtering the river water through a delicate body while her gills bulged with offspring. In that moment of connection, Landis became a mussel groupie, obsessed with learning more about the creatures' hidden lives. She isn't the only fanatic; the shy mollusks, so vital to the health of rivers around the world, have a way of inspiring unusual devotion. In Immersion: The Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels, Landis brings readers to a hotbed of mussel diversity, the American Southeast, to seek mussels where they eat, procreate, and, too often, perish. Accompanied often by her husband, a mussel scientist, and her young children, she learned to see mussels on the creekbed, to tell a spectaclecase from a pigtoe, and to worry what vanishing mussels—70 percent of North American species are imperiled—will mean for humans and wildlife alike. In Immersion, Landis shares this journey, traveling from perilous river surveys to dry streambeds and into laboratories where endangered mussels are raised one precious life at a time. Mussels have much to teach us about the health of our watersheds if we step into the creek and take a closer look at their lives. In the tradition of writers like Terry Tempest Williams and Sy Montgomery, Landis gracefully chronicles these untold stories with a veterinarian's careful eye and the curiosity of a naturalist. In turns joyful and sobering, Immersion is an invitation to see rivers from a mussel's perspective, a celebration of the wild lives visible to those who learn to search.

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🔑 Freshwater ecology

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Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture

by Chip Colwell, published in 2017

Who owns the past and the objects that physically connect us to history? And who has the right to decide this ownership, particularly when the objects are sacred or, in the case of skeletal remains, human? Is it the museums that care for the objects or the communities whose ancestors made them? These questions are at the heart of Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits, an unflinching insider account by a leading curator who has spent years learning how to balance these controversial considerations. Five decades ago, Native American leaders launched a crusade to force museums to return their sacred objects and allow them to rebury their kin. Today, hundreds of tribes use the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to help them recover their looted heritage from museums across the country. As senior curator of anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Chip Colwell has navigated firsthand the questions of how to weigh the religious freedom of Native Americans against the academic freedom of scientists and whether the emptying of museum shelves elevates human rights or destroys a common heritage. This book offers his personal account of the process of repatriation, following the trail of four objects as they were created, collected, and ultimately returned to their sources: a sculpture that is a living god, the scalp of a massacre victim, a ceremonial blanket, and a skeleton from a tribe considered by some to be extinct. These specific stories reveal a dramatic process that involves not merely obeying the law, but negotiating the blurry lines between identity and morality, spirituality and politics. Things, like people, have biographies. Repatriation, Colwell argues, is a difficult but vitally important way for museums and tribes to acknowledge that fact—and heal the wounds of the past while creating a respectful approach to caring for these rich artifacts of history.

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🔑 Museum ScienceRepatriationScience and Society

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Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River

by David Owen, published in 2017

An eye-opening account of where our water comes from and where it all goes. The Colorado River is an essential resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado’s headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry. Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on. The story Owen tells in Where the Water Goes is crucial to our future: how a patchwork of engineering marvels, byzantine legal agreements, aging infrastructure, and neighborly cooperation enables life to flourish in the desert —and the disastrous consequences we face when any part of this tenuous system fails.

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🔑 Freshwater ecology

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The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats Are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas

by Daniel W. Drezner, published in 2017

"Daniel W. Drezner's The Ideas Industry traces the trajectory of the public intellectual from the early 20th century to its present form of the "thought leader." It will reshape our understanding of contemporary public intellectual life in America and the West"--

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🔑 Modern Thought

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Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hopes, and Wastes Billions

by Richard Harris, published in 2017

An essential book to understanding whether the new miracle cure is good science or simply too good to be true American taxpayers spend $30 billion annually funding biomedical research, but over half of these studies can't be replicated due to poor experimental design, improper methods, and sloppy statistics. Bad science doesn't just hold back medical progress, it can sign the equivalent of a death sentence for terminal patients. In Rigor Mortis, Richard Harris explores these urgent issues with vivid anecdotes, personal stories, and interviews with the top biomedical researchers. We need to fix our dysfunctional biomedical system--before it's too late.

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🔑 Biomedical ResearchReproducibility

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Gravity's Kiss: The Detection of Gravitational Waves

by Harry Collins, published in 2017

A fascinating account, written in real time, of the unfolding of a scientific discovery: the first detection of gravitational waves.

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🔑 Gravitational WavesPhysicsSociology of Science

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The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far

by Lawrence M. Krauss, published in 2017

Internationally renowned, award-winning theoretical physicist, New York Times bestselling author of A Universe from Nothing, and passionate advocate for reason, Lawrence Krauss tells the dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality—a grand poetic vision of nature—and how we find our place within it. In the beginning there was light. But more than this, there was gravity. After that, all hell broke loose… In A Universe from Nothing, Krauss revealed how our entire universe could arise from nothing. Now, he reveals what that something—reality—is. And, reality is not what we think or sense—it’s weird, wild, and counterintuitive; it’s hidden beneath everyday experience; and its inner workings seem even stranger than the idea that something can come from nothing. In a landmark, unprecedented work of scientific history, Krauss leads us to the furthest reaches of space and time, to scales so small they are invisible to microscopes, to the birth and rebirth of light, and into the natural forces that govern our existence. His unique blend of rigorous research and engaging storytelling invites us into the lives and minds of the remarkable, creative scientists who have helped to unravel the unexpected fabric of reality—with reason rather than superstition and dogma. Krauss has himself been an active participant in this effort, and he knows many of them well. The Greatest Story challenges us to re-envision ourselves and our place within the universe, as it appears that “God” does play dice with the universe. In the incisive style of his scintillating essays for The New Yorker, Krauss celebrates the greatest intellectual adventure ever undertaken—to understand why we are here in a universe where fact is stranger than fiction.

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🔑 History of sciencePhysics

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Make It Rain: State Control of the Atmosphere in Twentieth-Century America

by Kristine C. Harper, published in 2017

Weather control. Juxtaposing those two words is enough to raise eyebrows in a world where even the best weather models still fail to nail every forecast, and when the effects of climate change on sea level height, seasonal averages of weather phenomena, and biological behavior are being watched with interest by all, regardless of political or scientific persuasion. But between the late nineteenth century—when the United States first funded an attempt to “shock” rain out of clouds—and the late 1940s, rainmaking (as it had been known) became weather control. And then things got out of control. In Make It Rain, Kristine C. Harper tells the long and somewhat ludicrous history of state-funded attempts to manage, manipulate, and deploy the weather in America. Harper shows that governments from the federal to the local became helplessly captivated by the idea that weather control could promote agriculture, health, industrial output, and economic growth at home, or even be used as a military weapon and diplomatic tool abroad. Clear fog for landing aircraft? There’s a project for that. Gentle rain for strawberries? Let’s do it! Enhanced snowpacks for hydroelectric utilities? Check. The heyday of these weather control programs came during the Cold War, as the atmosphere came to be seen as something to be defended, weaponized, and manipulated. Yet Harper demonstrates that today there are clear implications for our attempts to solve the problems of climate change.

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🔑 Atmospheric ScienceScience policy

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Synthetic: How Life Got Made

by Sophia Roosth, published in 2017

In the final years of the twentieth century, emigres from mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science resolved that if the aim of biology was to understand life, then making life would yield better theories than experimentation. Sophia Roosth, a cultural anthropologist, takes us into the world of these self-named synthetic biologists who, she shows, advocate not experiment but manufacture, not reduction but construction, not analysis but synthesis. Roosth reveals how synthetic biologists make new living things in order to understand better how life works. What we see through her careful questioning is that the biological features, theories, and limits they fasten upon are determined circularly by their own experimental tactics. This is a story of broad interest, because the active, interested making of the synthetic biologists is endemic to the sciences of our time."

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🔑 Synthetic Biology

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Silk Roads: Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes

by Susan Whitfield, published in 2019

As world powers realign their cultural, economic and political outlooks, there is no better time to consider how Afro-Eurasia's complex network of ancient trade routes - which spanned the vastness of the steppe, vertiginous mountain ranges, fertile river plains and forbidding deserts across the continents and on to the seas beyond - fostered economic activity and cultural, political and technological communication. From silk to slaves, fashion to music, religion to science the movement of interaction of goods, people and ideas was crucial to the flourishing of peoples and their cultures across this vast region. Edited by Susan Whitfield, an established authority on the subject, with contributions from over 80 leading scholars from across the globe, Silk Roads situates the ancient routes against the landscapes that defined them, to reveal the raw materials that they produced, the means of travel that were employed to traverse them and the communities that were shaped by them. Organized by terrain, from steppe to desert to ocean, each section includes detailed maps, a historical overview, thematic essays and features showcasing art, buildings and archaeological discoveries. A wealth of photographs reveals the breathtaking and often forbidding landscapes encountered by travellers and traders through the millennia. With one section inscribed as a World Heritage Corridor by UNESCO in 2014 and others to follow, and China claiming the Silk Roads as the precursor of its Belt Road Initiative, this network of ancient trade routes and the interaction along them has never been of greater interest or importance than today. This beautiful publication honours the astonishing diversity in the way cultures advance and flourish not in spite of their differences, but because of them.

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Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption

by Alice C. Hill, published in 2019

Climate change impacts-more heat, drought, extreme rainfall, and stronger storms-have already harmed communities around the globe. Even if the world could cut its carbon emissions to zero tomorrow, further significant global climate change is now inevitable. Although we cannot tell with certainty how much average global temperatures will rise, we do know that the warming we have experienced to date has caused significant losses, and that the failure to prepare for the consequences of further warming may prove to be staggering. Building a Resilient Tomorrow does not dwell on overhyped descriptions of apocalyptic climate scenarios, nor does it travel down well-trodden paths surrounding the politics of reducing carbon emissions. Instead, it starts with two central facts: climate impacts will continue to occur, and we can make changes now to mitigate their effects. While squarely confronting the scale of the risks we face, this pragmatic guide focuses on solutions-some gradual and some more revolutionary-currently being deployed around the globe. Each chapter presents a thematic lesson for decision-makers and engaged citizens to consider, outlining replicable successes and identifying provocative recommendations to strengthen climate resilience. Between animated discussions of ideas as wide-ranging as managed retreat from coastal hot-zones to biological approaches for resurgent climate-related disease threats, Alice Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz draw on their personal experiences as senior officials in the Obama Administration to tell behind-the-scenes stories of what it really takes to advance progress on these issues. The narrative is dotted with tales of on-the-ground citizenry, from small-town mayors and bankers to generals and engineers, who are chipping away at financial disincentives and bureaucratic hurdles to prepare for life on a warmer planet. For readers exhausted by today's paralyzing debates on yearly "fluke" storms or the existence of climate change, Building a Resilient Tomorrow offers better ways to manage the risks in a warming planet, even as we work to limit global temperature rise.

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Owling: Enter the World of the Mysterious Birds of the Night

by Mark Wilson, published in 2019

From Hedwig, the Snowy Owl of Harry Potter fame, to Winnie-the-Pooh’s beloved friend Owl, this wide-eyed bird of the night has found its way into young hearts and imaginations everywhere. Owling invites young readers into the world of real-life owls, to learn about their fascinating behaviors and abilities. Wildlife photojournalist and nature educator Mark Wilson presents a one-of-a-kind look into the mysterious lives of these distinctive birds. Dramatic images of the 19 owl species of North America nesting, flying, hunting, and catching prey are accompanied by information about the birds’ silent flight, remarkable eyes and ears, haunting calls, and fascinating night life. Kids will learn how to spot owls; identify their calls, plumage, and pellets; and even carry on a hooting conversation with a nearby owl. This publication conforms to the EPUB Accessibility specification at WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

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When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex

by Toni Buzzeo, published in 2019

From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. When Sue Found Sue inspires readers to take a closer look at the world around them and to never lose their brave, adventurous spirits.

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Moth: An Evolution Story

by Isabel Thomas, published in 2018

Powerful and visually spectacular, Moth is the remarkable evolution story that captures the struggle of animal survival against the background of an evolving human world in a unique and atmospheric introduction to Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. "This is a story of light and dark..."Against a lush backdrop of lichen-covered trees, the peppered moth lies hidden. Until the world begins to change...Along come people with their magnificent machines which stain the land with soot. In a beautiful landscape changed by humans how will one little moth survive?A clever picture book text about the extraordinary way in which animals have evolved, intertwined with the complication of human intervention. This remarkable retelling of the story of the peppered moth is the perfect introduction to natural selection and evolution for children.

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Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science Superstars

by David Stabler, published in 2018

Funny and totally true childhood biographies and full-color illustrations tell tales from the challenging yet defining growing-up years of Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, and 12 other brilliant scientists. Every great scientist started out as a kid. Before their experiments, inventions, and discoveries that changed the world, the world's most celebrated scientists had regular-kid problems just like you. Stephen Hawking hated school, and preferred to spend his free time building model airplanes, inventing board games, and even building his own computer. Jane Goodall got in trouble for bringing worms and snails into her house. And Neil deGrasse Tyson had to start a dog-walking business to save up money to buy a telescope. Kid Scientists tells the stories of a diverse and inclusive group—also including Temple Grandin, Nikola Tesla, Ada Lovelace, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Rosalind Franklin, Sally Ride, Rachel Carson, George Washington Carver, and Vera Rubin—through kid-friendly texts and full-color cartoon illustrations on nearly every page.

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Science in a Jar: 35+ Experiments in Biology, Chemistry, Weather, the Environment, and More!

by Julia Garstecki, published in 2019

With Science in a Jar, kids and grown-ups need only gather a jar and a few other inexpensive and readily available household objects to begin investigating and confirming the science at work all around them. The 30 experiments included cover various scientific disciplines: life science, earth science, physical science, weather, and more. Some activities, like creating a cloud in a jar, are quick experiments that can be performed over and over again. Others, like the earthworm habitat, will be enjoyed over time. Science in a Jar also features several projects that help demonstrate how science and art intertwine—the sometimes overlooked “A” in STEAM! Each experiment is headed by a supplies list and difficulty level, as well as a short description of the project to be undertaken and the scientific principles with which the readers will interact. Directions and photographs guide readers through the scientific method in each experiment, while short features offer multileveled reading opportunities with explanations of terms, interesting quick facts, and brief descriptions of how scientists apply the specific concepts that readers just witnessed in the larger world today. In addition to providing readers with a better understanding of basic scientific concepts, Science in a Jar ignites curiosity, increases confidence to investigate scientific concepts, and fosters a love of science.

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Follow That Bee! A First Book of Bees in the City

by Scot Ritchie, published in 2019

A fun introduction to why the world needs bees. Pedro, Nick, Yulee, Sally and Martin are buzzing with excitement today! The five friends are visiting Martin’s neighbor, Mr. Cardinal. He keeps beehives in his backyard, and he’s offered to show the friends how honeybees live. Mr. Cardinal explains how bees feed and pollinate, what happens inside their colony, how they build their hives and even why they like to dance! He also describes why some bees are in trouble and what people can do to help. And the day’s perfect sweet ending? Honey, of course! Kids will delight in the message: it’s best to “bee a friend” to bees everywhere!

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How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future

by David Hu, published in 2020

Discovering the secrets of animal movement and what they can teach us Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls takes readers on a wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, David Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency. Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable secrets behind animal locomotion.

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The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

by Kirk Wallace Johnson, published in 2018

'A tale of obsession ... vivid and arresting' - The Times One summer evening in 2009, twenty-year-old musical prodigy Edwin Rist broke into theNatural History Museum at Tring, home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world. Once inside, Rist grabbed as many rare bird specimens as he was able to carry before escaping into the darkness. Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist-deep in a river in New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide first told him about the heist. But what would possess a person to steal dead birds? And had Rist paid for his crime? In search of answers, Johnson embarked upon a worldwide investigation, leading him into the fiercely secretive underground community obsessed with the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Was Edwin Rist a genius or narcissist? Mastermind or pawn?

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🔑 Museum ScienceNatural History

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The Order of Time

by Carlo Rovelli, published in 2018

'A dazzling book ... the new Stephen Hawking' Sunday Times The bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics takes us on an enchanting, consoling journey to discover the meaning of time 'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come.' Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe. With his extraordinary charm and sense of wonder, bringing together science, philosophy and art, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery. Enlightening and consoling, The Order of Time shows that to understand ourselves we need to reflect on time -- and to understand time we need to reflect on ourselves. Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre

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🔑 PhysicsTime

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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife

by Lucy Cooke, published in 2018

Mary Roach meets Bill Bryson in this "surefire summer winner" (Janet Maslin, New York Times), an uproarious tour of the basest instincts and biggest mysteries of the animal world Humans have gone to the Moon and discovered the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, we've still got a long way to go. Whether we're seeing a viral video of romping baby pandas or a picture of penguins "holding hands," it's hard for us not to project our own values--innocence, fidelity, temperance, hard work--onto animals. So you've probably never considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants lay about. They do--and that's just for starters. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a worldwide journey to meet everyone from a Colombian hippo castrator to a Chinese panda porn peddler, all to lay bare the secret--and often hilarious--habits of the animal kingdom. Charming and at times downright weird, this modern bestiary is perfect for anyone who has ever suspected that virtue might be unnatural.

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Superbugs: An Arms Race Against Bacteria

by William Hall, published in 2018

Antibiotics are powerful drugs that can prevent and treat infections, but they are becoming less effective as a result of drug resistance. Resistance develops because the bacteria that antibiotics target can evolve ways to defend themselves against these drugs. When antibiotics fail, there is very little else to prevent an infection from spreading. Unnecessary use of antibiotics in both humans and animals accelerates the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, with potentially catastrophic personal and global consequences. Our best defenses against infectious disease could cease to work, surgical procedures would become deadly, and we might return to a world where even small cuts are life-threatening. The problem of drug resistance already kills over one million people across the world every year and has huge economic costs. Without action, this problem will become significantly worse. Following from their work on the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, William Hall, Anthony McDonnell, and Jim O’Neill outline the major systematic failures that have led to this growing crisis. They also provide a set of solutions to tackle these global issues that governments, industry, and public health specialists can adopt. In addition to personal behavioral modifications, such as better handwashing regimens, Superbugs argues for mounting an offense against this threat through agricultural policy changes, an industrial research stimulus, and other broad-scale economic and social incentives.

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🔑 AntibioticsAntimicrobial ResistanceScience policy

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Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War

by Paul Scharre, published in 2019

A Pentagon defense expert and former U.S. Army Ranger explores what it would mean to give machines authority over the ultimate decision of life or death.

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🔑 Artificial intelligenceAutonomous Warfare

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Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

by David Reich, published in 2018

David Reich describes how the revolution in the ability to sequence ancient DNA has changed our understanding of the deep human past. This book tells the emerging story of our often surprising ancestry - the extraordinary ancient migrations and mixtures of populations that have made us who we are.

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🔑 Ancient DNAGenomicsHuman Origins

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Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor

by Brian Keating, published in 2018

A Forbes, Physics Today, Science News, and Science Friday Best Science Book Of 2018 The inside story of a quest to unlock one of cosmology’s biggest mysteries, derailed by the lure of the Nobel Prize. What would it have been like to be an eyewitness to the Big Bang? In 2014, astronomers wielding BICEP2, the most powerful cosmology telescope ever made, revealed that they’d glimpsed the spark that ignited the Big Bang. Millions around the world tuned in to the announcement broadcast live from Harvard University, immediately igniting rumors of an imminent Nobel Prize. But had these cosmologists truly read the cosmic prologue or, swept up in Nobel dreams, had they been deceived by a galactic mirage? In Losing the Nobel Prize, cosmologist and inventor of the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) experiment Brian Keating tells the inside story of BICEP2’s mesmerizing discovery and the scientific drama that ensued. In an adventure story that spans the globe from Rhode Island to the South Pole, from California to Chile, Keating takes us on a personal journey of revelation and discovery, bringing to vivid life the highly competitive, take-no-prisoners, publish-or-perish world of modern science. Along the way, he provocatively argues that the Nobel Prize, instead of advancing scientific progress, may actually hamper it, encouraging speed and greed while punishing collaboration and bold innovation. In a thoughtful reappraisal of the wishes of Alfred Nobel, Keating offers practical solutions for reforming the prize, providing a vision of a scientific future in which cosmologists may, finally, be able to see all the way back to the very beginning.

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🔑 CosmologyNobel PrizePhysics

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Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution

by Menno Schilthuizen, published in 2018

See your city through fresh eyes We are marching towards a future in which three-quarters of humans live in cities, and a large portion of the planet's landmass is urbanized. With much of the rest covered by human-shaped farms, pasture, and plantations, where can nature still go? To the cities -- is Menno Schilthuizen's answer in this remarkable book. And with more and more wildlife carving out new niches among humans, evolution takes a surprising turn. Urban animals evolve to become more cheeky and resourceful, city pigeons develop detox-plumage, and weeds growing from cracks in the pavement get a new type of seeds. City blackbirds are even on their way of becoming an entirely new species, which we could name Turdus urbanicus. Thanks to evolutionary adaptation taking place at unprecedented speeds, plants and animals are coming up with new ways of living in the seemingly hostile environments of asphalt and steel that we humans have created. We are on the verge of a new chapter in the history of life, Schilthuizen says -- a chapter in which much old biodiversity is, sadly, disappearing, but also one in which a new and exciting set of life forms is being born. Menno Schilthuizen shows us that evolution in cities can happen far more rapidly, and strangely, than Darwin had dared dream.

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🔑 City PlanningEvolution

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Fishing Lessons: Artisanal Fisheries and the Future of Our Oceans

by Kevin M. Bailey, published in 2018

Fish bones in the caves of East Timor reveal that humans have systematically fished the seas for at least 42,000 years. But in recent centuries, our ancient, vital relationship with the oceans has changed faster than the tides. As boats and fishing technology have evolved, traditional fishermen have been challenged both at sea and in the marketplace by large-scale fishing companies whose lower overhead and greater efficiency guarantee lower prices. In Fishing Lessons, Kevin M. Bailey captains a voyage through the deep history and present course of this sea change—a change that has seen species depleted, ecosystems devastated, and artisanal fisheries transformed into a global industry afloat with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Bailey knows these waters, the artisanal fisheries, and their relationship with larger ocean ecology intimately. In a series of place-based portraits, he shares stories of decline and success as told by those at the ends of the long lines and hand lines, channeling us through the changing dynamics of small-scale fisheries and the sustainability issues they face—both fiscal and ecological. We encounter Paolo Vespoli and his tiny boat, the Giovanni Padre,in the Gulf of Naples; Wenche, a sea Sámi, one of the indigenous fisherwomen of Norway; and many more. From salmon to abalone, the Bay of Fundy to Monterey and the Amazon, Bailey’s catch is no fish tale. It is a global story, casting a net across waters as vast and distinct as Puget Sound and the Chilean coast. Sailing across the world, Bailey explores the fast-shifting current of how we gather food from the sea, what we gain and what we lose with these shifts, and potential solutions for the murky passage ahead.

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🔑 Fisheries Science

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Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece

by Michael Benson, published in 2019

The definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, and of director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke—“a tremendous explication of a tremendous film….Breathtaking” (The Washington Post). Fifty years ago a strikingly original film had its premiere. Still acclaimed as one of the most remarkable and important motion pictures ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey depicted the first contacts between humanity and extraterrestrial intelligence. The movie was the product of a singular collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and science fiction visionary Arthur C. Clarke. Fresh off the success of his cold war satire Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick wanted to make the first truly first-rate science fiction film. Drawing from Clarke’s ideas and with one of the author’s short stories as the initial inspiration, their bold vision benefited from pioneering special effects that still look extraordinary today, even in an age of computer-generated images. In Space Odyssey, author, artist, and award-winning filmmaker Michael Benson “delivers expert inside stuff” (San Francisco Chronicle) from his extensive research of Kubrick’s and Clarke’s archives. He has had the cooperation of Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, and interviewed most of the key people still alive who worked on the film. Drawing also from other previously unpublished interviews, Space Odyssey provides a 360-degree view of the film from its genesis to its legacy, including many previously untold stories. And it features dozens of photos from the making of the film, most never previously published. “At last! The dense, intense, detailed, and authoritative saga of the making of the greatest motion picture I’ve ever seen…Michael Benson has done the Cosmos a great service” (Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks).

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🔑 Science Fiction

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The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet

by James Griffiths, published in 2019

‘Readers will come away startled at just how fragile the online infrastructure we all depend on is and how much influence China wields – both technically and politically' – Jason Q. Ng, author of Blocked on Weibo 'An urgent and much needed reminder about how China's quest for cyber sovereignty is undermining global Internet freedom’ – Kristie Lu Stout, CNN ‘An important and incisive history of the Chinese internet that introduces us to the government officials, business leaders, and technology activists struggling over access to information within the Great Firewall’ – Adam M. Segal, author of The Hacked World Order Once little more than a glorified porn filter, China’s ‘Great Firewall’ has evolved into the most sophisticated system of online censorship in the world. As the Chinese internet grows and online businesses thrive, speech is controlled, dissent quashed, and attempts to organise outside the official Communist Party are quickly stamped out. But the effects of the Great Firewall are not confined to China itself. Through years of investigation James Griffiths gained unprecedented access to the Great Firewall and the politicians, tech leaders, dissidents and hackers whose lives revolve around it. As distortion, post-truth and fake news become old news James Griffiths shows just how far the Great Firewall has spread. Now is the time for a radical new vision of online liberty.

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🔑 CensorshipComputer science

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Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future

by Kate Brown, published in 2019

'Remarkable . . . grips with the force of a thriller' Robert MacFarlane An astonishing exposé of the aftermath of Chernobyl - and the plot to cover up the truth The official death toll of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, 'the worst nuclear disaster in history', is only 54, and stories today commonly suggest that nature is thriving there. Yet award-winning historian Kate Brown uncovers a much more disturbing story, one in which radioactive isotopes caused hundreds of thousands of casualties, and the magnitude of this human and ecological catastrophe has been actively suppressed. Based on a decade of archival and on-the-ground research, Manual for Survival is a gripping account of the consequences of nuclear radiation in the wake of Chernobyl - and the plot to cover it up. As Brown discovers, Soviet scientists, bureaucrats, and civilians documented staggering increases in cases of birth defects, child mortality, cancers and a multitude of life-altering diseases years after the disaster. Worried that this evidence would blow the lid on the effects of massive radiation release from weapons-testing during the Cold War, scientists and diplomats from international organizations, including the UN, tried to bury or discredit it. Yet Brown also encounters many everyday heroes, often women, who fought to bring attention to the ballooning health catastrophe, and adapt to life in a post-nuclear landscape, where dangerously radioactive radioactive berries, distorted trees and birth defects still persist today. An astonishing historical detective story, Manual for Survival makes clear the irreversible impact of nuclear energy on every living thing, not just from Chernobyl, but from eight decades of radiaoactive fallout from weapons development.

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🔑 History of science

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March 4 Scientists, Students, and Society

by Jonathan Allen, published in 2019

Scientists debate the role of scientific research in the military-industrial complex and consider the complicity of academic science in American wars. On March 4, 1969, MIT faculty and students joined together for an extraordinary day of protest. Growing out of the MIT community's anguish over the Vietnam War and concern over the perceived complicity of academic science with the American war machine, the events of March 4 and the days following were a “positive protest”—a forum not only for addressing political and moral priorities but also for mapping out a course of action. Soon afterward, some of the participants founded the Union of Concerned Scientists. This book documents the March 4 protest with transcripts of talks and panel discussions. Speakers included Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Lionel Trilling, and Nobel Laureate George Wald, whose memorable speech, “A Generation in Search of a Future,” was widely circulated. Topics of discussion ranged from general considerations of the intellectuals' political responsibility to specific comments on the Vietnam War and nuclear disarmament. This fiftieth anniversary edition adds a foreword by Kurt Gottfried, a physicist, participant in the March 4 protest, and cofounder of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He writes, forcefully and hopefully, “Fifty years ago, a remarkable awakening was occurring among American scientists about their role in society. This volume offers a fascinating snapshot of that moment on March 4, 1969, and the activities and discussions collected here remain relevant and resonant today.” In an era when many politicians routinely devalue science, we can take inspiration from the March 4 protests.

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🔑 History of scienceScience and Society

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Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age

by Sue Armstrong, published in 2019

As featured on BBC Radio 4's Start the Week 'A rich, timely study for the era of "global ageing"' Nature The ageing of the world population is one of the most important issues facing humanity in the 21st century – up there with climate change in its potential global impact. Sometime before 2020, the number of people over 65 worldwide will, for the first time, be greater than the number of 0–4 year olds, and it will keep on rising. The strains this is causing on society are already evident as health and social services everywhere struggle to cope with the care needs of the elderly. But why and how do we age? Scientists have been asking this question for centuries, yet there is still no agreement. There are a myriad competing theories, from the idea that our bodies simply wear out with the rough and tumble of living, like well-worn shoes or a rusting car, to the belief that ageing and death are genetically programmed and controlled. In Borrowed Time, Sue Armstrong tells the story of science's quest to understand ageing and to prevent or delay the crippling conditions so often associated with old age. She focusses inward – on what is going on in our bodies at the most basic level of the cells and genes as the years pass – to look for answers to why and how our skin wrinkles with age, our wounds take much longer to heal than they did when we were kids, and why words escape us at crucial moments in conversation.This book explores these questions and many others through interviews with key scientists in the field of gerontology and with people who have interesting and important stories to tell about their personal experiences of ageing.

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🔑 GerontologyHealth and Medicine

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Figuring

by Maria Popova, published in 2019

Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries—beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists—mostly women, mostly queer—whose public contribution have risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson. Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman—and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.

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🔑 History of scienceScience lives

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The Snow Leopard Project: And Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation

by Alex Dehgan, published in 2019

The remarkable story of the heroic effort to save and preserve Afghanistan's wildlife-and a culture that derives immense pride and a sense of national identity from its natural landscape. Postwar Afghanistan is fragile, volatile, and perilous. It is also a place of extraordinary beauty. Evolutionary biologist Alex Dehgan arrived in the country in 2006 to build the Wildlife Conservation Society's Afghanistan Program, and preserve and protect Afghanistan's unique and extraordinary environment, which had been decimated after decades of war. Conservation, it turned out, provided a common bond between Alex's team and the people of Afghanistan. His international team worked unarmed in some of the most dangerous places in the country-places so remote that winding roads would abruptly disappear, and travel was on foot, yak, or mule. In The Snow Leopard Project, Dehgan takes readers along with him on his adventure as his team helps create the country's first national park, completes the some of the first extensive wildlife surveys in thirty years, and works to stop the poaching of the country's iconic endangered animals, including the elusive snow leopard. In doing so, they help restore a part of Afghan identity that is ineffably tied to the land itself.

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🔑 Conservation

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Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution

by Michael J. Behe, published in 2019

The scientist who has been dubbed the “Father of Intelligent Design” and author of the groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box contends that recent scientific discoveries further disprove Darwinism and strengthen the case for an intelligent creator. In his controversial bestseller Darwin’s Black Box, biochemist Michael Behe challenged Darwin’s theory of evolution, arguing that science itself has proven that intelligent design is a better explanation for the origin of life. In Darwin Devolves, Behe advances his argument, presenting new research that offers a startling reconsideration of how Darwin’s mechanism works, weakening the theory’s validity even more. A system of natural selection acting on random mutation, evolution can help make something look and act differently. But evolution never creates something organically. Behe contends that Darwinism actually works by a process of devolution—damaging cells in DNA in order to create something new at the lowest biological levels. This is important, he makes clear, because it shows the Darwinian process cannot explain the creation of life itself. “A process that so easily tears down sophisticated machinery is not one which will build complex, functional systems,” he writes. In addition to disputing the methodology of Darwinism and how it conflicts with the concept of creation, Behe reveals that what makes Intelligent Design unique—and right—is that it acknowledges causation. Evolution proposes that organisms living today are descended with modification from organisms that lived in the distant past. But Intelligent Design goes a step further asking, what caused such astounding changes to take place? What is the reason or mechanism for evolution? For Behe, this is what makes Intelligent Design so important.

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🔑 Evolutionary Biology

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Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives

by Mark Miodownik, published in 2018

Sometimes explosive, often delightful, occasionally poisonous, but always fascinating: the secret lives of liquids, from one of our best-known scientists A series of glasses of transparent liquids is in front of you: but which will quench your thirst and which will kill you? And why? Why does one liquid make us drunk, and another power a jumbo jet? From the bestselling author of Stuff Matters comes a fascinating tour of the world of these surprising or sinister substances - the droplets, heartbeats and ocean waves we all encounter every day. Structured around a plane journey which sees encounters with water, wine, oil and more, Miodownik shows that liquids are agents of death and destruction as well as substances of wonder and fascination, and - just as in Stuff Matters - his unique brand of scientific storytelling brings them and their mysterious properties alive in a captivating new way.

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🔑 Fluid DynamicsMaterials Science

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Nature’s Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present

by Philipp Blom, published in 2019

'Europe where the sun dares scarce appear For freezing meteors and congealed cold.' - Christopher Marlowe In this innovative and compelling work of environmental history, Philipp Blom chronicles the great climate crisis of the 1600s, a crisis that would transform the entire social and political fabric of Europe. While hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, by the end of the sixteenth century the temperature plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbours were covered with ice, birds literally dropped out of the sky, and ‘frost fairs’ were erected on a frozen Thames – with kiosks, taverns, and even brothels that become a semi-permanent part of the city. Recounting the deep legacy and sweeping consequences of this ‘Little Ice Age’, acclaimed historian Philipp Blom reveals how the European landscape had ineradicably changed by the mid-seventeenth century. While apocalyptic weather patterns destroyed entire harvests and incited mass migrations, Blom brilliantly shows how they also gave rise to the growth of European cities, the appearance of early capitalism, and the vigorous stirrings of the Enlightenment. A sweeping examination of how a society responds to profound and unexpected change, Nature’s Mutiny will transform the way we think about climate change in the twenty-first century and beyond.

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🔑 Climate change

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Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery

by Christie Aschwanden, published in 2020

"Deeply researched and artfully written. . . . A must-read for all athletes." -- Wall Street Journal

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🔑 Health and Medicine

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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

by Carlo Rovelli, published in 2015

THE PHENOMENAL BESTSELLER 'There's a book I've been carrying around like a small Bible, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics' - Benedict Cumberbatch Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and your place in the world in seven enlightening lessons These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this beautiful and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, Carlo Rovelli explains Einstein's theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of the mind. In under eighty pages, readers will understand the most transformative scientific discoveries of the twentieth century and what they mean for us. Not since Richard Feynman's celebrated best-seller Six Easy Pieces has physics been so vividly, intelligently and entertainingly revealed.

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🔑 CosmologyPhysicsYoung AdultYoung Readers

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Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature

by Maria Ana Peixe Dias, published in 2016

Who does this footprint belong to? What is this worm up to? What is the name of this tree? Even if we live in the city, nature is still all around us: clouds and stars, trees and flowers, rocks and beaches, birds, reptiles or mammals. What are we waiting for? Let's jump off the couch and begin exploring! Created in collaboration with a team of Portuguese experts, this book, which won the coveted Bologna Regazzi award, aims to arouse your curiosity about fauna, flora and other aspects of the natural world. It includes suggestions for activities and many illustrations to help the whole family get started, leave the house, and go out to discover - or simply admire - the amazing world that exists outdoors.

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🔑 EcologyHands-On ScienceYoung Readers

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Faster Higher Smarter: Bright Ideas that Transformed Sports

by Simon Shapiro, published in 2016

What do athletes and rocket scientists have in common? It takes a lot of talent, skill, and hard work to become a world-class athlete. But it takes even more to make a sport better: it takes smarts! And whether innovators are aware of it or not, it takes an understanding of physics, mechanics, and aerodynamics to come up with better techniques and equipment. From swimming, soccer, and basketball to skateboarding and wheelchair sports, Faster, Higher, Smarter looks at the hard science behind many inventions and improvements in sports. Readers will find out how the introduction of the aluminum bat changed baseball; how a slapshot works, and what’s involved in bending a ball like Beckham. It also covers the history of such milestones as the introduction of diversity, disabled athletes, and women in sport. Entertaining, informative, and highly visual, this book is the perfect way to introduce scientific concepts to kids who love sports.

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🔑 Middle Grades Science BookSportsYoung Readers

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Lab Girl

by Hope Jahren, published in 2016

Lab Girl is a book about work and about love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren's remarkable stories: about the discoveries she has made in her lab, as well as her struggle to get there; about her childhood playing in her father's laboratory; about how lab work became a sanctuary for both her heart and her hands; about Bill, the brilliant, wounded man who became her loyal colleague and best friend; about their field trips - sometimes authorised, sometimes very much not - that took them from the Midwest across the USA, to Norway and to Ireland, from the pale skies of North Pole to tropical Hawaii; and about her constant striving to do and be her best, and her unswerving dedication to her life's work. Visceral, intimate, gloriously candid and sometimes extremely funny, Jahren's descriptions of her work, her intense relationship with the plants, seeds and soil she studies, and her insights on nature enliven every page of this thrilling book. In Lab Girl, we see anew the complicated power of the natural world, and the power that can come from facing with bravery and conviction the challenge of discovering who you are.

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🔑 BiographyPlant ScienceYoung Readers

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Hopping Ahead of Climate Change: Snowshoe hares, Science and Survival

by Sneed B. Collard, published in 2016

Scientists seek to answer the critical question: Can snowshoe hares and other animals with seasonal coat color changes adapt to shorter winters caused by climate change?

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🔑 Animal BiologyClimate changeMiddle Grades Science BookYoung Readers

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Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests

by Monica Russo, published in 2016

Presents facts about trees and forest ecology, describing their biology; environment; and the wildlife that live near, on, and off them.

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🔑 EcologyHands-On ScienceYoung Readers

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The Great Monkey Rescue: Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins

by Sandra Markle, published in 2017

Audisee® eBooks with Audio combine professional narration and sentence highlighting to engage reluctant readers! Golden lion tamarins are found only in Brazilian forests. These small, remarkable monkeys once had plenty of space to roam and claim family territories. But years of deforestation caused their numbers to shrink. They were in serious danger of becoming extinct. To help, scientists studied the animals in zoo settings. But they faced several mysteries. Why weren't golden lion tamarins reproducing in zoos? If scientists reintroduced zoo-raised tamarins to the wild, would those monkeys survive? And how could scientists give tamarins enough forest area for the population to grow? Find out how scientists and concerned citizens worked together to give golden lion tamarins a hopeful future.

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🔑 Animal BiologyConservationMiddle Grades Science BookYoung Readers

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Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World's Brightest Bird

by Pamela S. Turner, published in 2016

One of the biggest differences between humans and animals is the ability to understand the idea of “If I do X, Y might happen.” New Caledonian crows seem to possess the intelligence to understand this “causal” concept. Why do crows have this ability? What does the crow know and what does it tell us about brain size, the evolution of intelligence, and just who is the smartest creature on the planet? In the latest addition to the Scientists in the Field series, the creators of The Frog Scientist take us to a beautiful Pacific island, where a lively cast of both crows and scientists is waiting to amuse and enlighten us.

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🔑 Animal cognitionMiddle Grades Science BookOrnithologyYoung Readers

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Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction, and the Precarious Future of Wild Things

by M. R. O'Connor, published in 2015

**A Library Journal Best Book of 2015 ** **A Christian Science Monitor Top Ten Book of September** In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O'Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction. Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations, panther-tracking in Florida swamps, ancient African rainforests, Neanderthal tool-making, and cryogenic DNA banks, O'Connor investigates the philosophical questions of an age in which we "play god" with earth's biodiversity. Each chapter in this beautifully written book focuses on a unique species--from the charismatic northern white rhinoceros to the infamous passenger pigeon--and the people entwined in the animals' fates. Incorporating natural history and evolutionary biology with conversations with eminent ethicists, O'Connor's narrative goes to the heart of the human enterprise: What should we preserve of wilderness as we hurtle toward a future in which technology is present in nearly every aspect of our lives? How can we co-exist with species when our existence and their survival appear to be pitted against one another?

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🔑 Animal BiologyDe-ExtinctionYoung AdultYoung Readers

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The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future

by Jon Gertner, published in 2019

Greenland: a remote, mysterious, ice-covered rock with a population of just 56,000, has evolved from one of earth’s last physical frontiers to its largest scientific laboratory. Locked within that vast ‘white desert’ are some of our planet’s most profound secrets. As the Arctic climate warms, and Greenland’s ice melts at an accelerating rate, the island is evolving into an economic and climatological hub, on which the future of the world turns. Journalist and historian Jon Gertner reconstructs in vivid, thrilling detail the heroic efforts of the scientists and explorers who have visited Greenland over the past 150 years – on skis, sleds, and now with planes and satellites, utilising every tool available to uncover the pressing secrets revealed by the ice before, thanks to climate change, it’s too late. This is a story of epic adventures, populated by a colourful cast of scientists racing to get a handle on what will become of Greenland’s ice and, ultimately, the world.

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Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World

by Pamela Hickman, published in 1998

Introduces how such animals as frogs, bats, butterflies, and deer use their senses to explore their environment.

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Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table

by Kit Chapman, published in 2019

Shortlisted for the 2020 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books Creating an element is no easy feat. It's the equivalent of firing six trillion bullets a second at a needle in a haystack, hoping the bullet and needle somehow fuse together, then catching it in less than a thousandth of a second – after which it's gone forever. Welcome to the world of the superheavy elements: a realm where scientists use giant machines and spend years trying to make a single atom of mysterious artefacts that have never existed on Earth. From the first elements past uranium and their role in the atomic bomb to the latest discoveries stretching our chemical world, Superheavy will reveal the hidden stories lurking at the edges of the periodic table. Why did the US Air Force fly planes into mushroom clouds? Who won the transfermium wars? How did an earthquake help give Japan its first element? And what happened when Superman almost spilled nuclear secrets? In a globe-trotting adventure that stretches from the United States to Russia, Sweden to Australia, Superheavy is your guide to the amazing science filling in the missing pieces of the periodic table. By the end you'll not only marvel at how nuclear science has changed our lives – you'll wonder where it's going to take us in the future.

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Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

by Rob Dunn, published in 2018

Discover the "fascinating" and surprising science of the creepers, crawlers, wrigglers, and runners that live in our homes (The Washington Post) -- and learn why they're essential to our everyday lives. However domesticated our houses appear, they are wild beyond imagination. Look down in the basement, up in the attic, under the floorboards, and even in the showerhead, and you'll find life everywhere. Biologist Rob Dunn and his team have done it in homes worldwide, and they found nearly 200,000 species! In Never Home Alone, Dunn introduces us to these tiny tenants and shows us how -- in almost every case -- they make our lives better, and explains why trying to eradicate the bad ones just makes our lives worse. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory, and just plain fun book will look at their home, or the life in it, in the same way again. A New York Times Book Review's "Editor's Choice" "Excellent." -- Wall Street Journal "You'll love Never Home Alone." -- Bustle

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George Washington Carver for Kids: His Life and Discoveries with 21 Activities

by Peggy Thomas, published in 2019

George Washington Carver was born into the violent era of slavery, yet he had big ideas. The first was to get an education. That meant leaving his Missouri home at a young age, washing people's clothes to pay for school, moving from town to town, and fleeing a lynch mob. Carver's second big idea was to serve others. After becoming the first black graduate from Iowa Agricultural College, Carver took a teaching position at the Tuskegee Institute founded by Booker T. Washington. Carver taught farmers how to nourish the soil, conserve waste, and feed their families. He developed hundreds of new products from the sweet potato, peanut, and other crops, and his discoveries gained him a place in the national spotlight. Today his concepts of conservation, zero waste, and plant-based products are on the cutting edge of science. George Washington Carver for Kids tells his inspiring story and includes a timeline, resources for further research, and 21 hands-on activities to better appreciate Carver's genius.

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Butterflies in Room 6: See How They Grow

by Caroline Arnold, published in 2019

Kindergarteners raise butterflies from egg to adult in this close-up look at the insect life cycle. Follow a classroom of real kindergartners as they participate in a popular activity: raising butterflies. Astonishing photographs show the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult. Engaging text captures the children's wonder and explains the science behind metamorphosis.

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Can You Crack the Code? A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography

by Ella Schwartz, published in 2019

Codes can carry big secrets! Throughout history, lots of good guys and lots of bad guys have used codes to keep their messages under wraps. This fun and flippable nonfiction features stories of hidden treasures, war-time maneuverings, and contemporary hacking as well as explaining the mechanics behind the codes in accessible and kid friendly forms. Sidebars call out activities that invite the reader to try their own hand at cracking and crafting their own secret messages. This is the launch of an exciting new series that invites readers into a STEM topic through compelling historical anecdotes, scientific backup, and DIY projects.

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Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants

by Michael Elsohn Ross, published in 2019

Plantology guides young nature enthusiasts on a journey into the world of plants and the role they play in our lives. Full of colorful photos and illustrations, this fun and interactive resource presents clear, kid-friendly discussions of plant topics from the underground up—from seeds, roots, and sprouts to plant skeletons, leaves, petals, flowers, and fruits. But naturalist Michael Elsohn Ross goes beyond plant basics to explore the unknown world of common weeds, fascinating plant defense systems, the marvelous mechanisms of seed dispersal and pollination, and the history of everyday plant products in our homes. Plantology also illuminates humans' connections with plants and the solutions they offer, from low-cost sewage treatment and toxic waste removal to providing new medical cures. With encouragement to "Try This" and "Look For," kids participate in 30 hands-on activities that promote observation and analysis, writing and drawing, math and science, and nature literacy skills. They will keep a plant journal, examine and sketch plant shapes, colors, and structures; start a seed collection, make tasty plant dishes, and more. Readers from any region will start to take notice of the plants around them—not just in parks, gardens, and woods but also around the schools, buildings, and sidewalks of their town, and in their own backyards. Useful resources include a glossary of plant terms, a list of plant and nature organizations and groups, and a teacher's guide to initiate classroom discussion and investigation.

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Planetarium

by Raman Prinja, published in 2018

Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore... Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of galactic matter, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the comfort of your own home. Planetarium features all aspects of space, from the Sun and our Solar System, to the lives of stars, the Milky Way and the Universe beyond. With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell and informative text by Professor Raman Prinja, Planetarium is the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field.

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Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts

by Bruno Latour, published in 2013

This highly original work presents laboratory science in a deliberately skeptical way: as an anthropological approach to the culture of the scientist. Drawing on recent work in literary criticism, the authors study how the social world of the laboratory produces papers and other "texts,"' and how the scientific vision of reality becomes that set of statements considered, for the time being, too expensive to change. The book is based on field work done by Bruno Latour in Roger Guillemin's laboratory at the Salk Institute and provides an important link between the sociology of modern sciences and laboratory studies in the history of science.

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Waters of the World

by Sarah Dry, published in 2019

From the glaciers of the Alps to the towering cumulonimbus clouds of the Caribbean and the unexpectedly chaotic flows of the North Atlantic, Waters of the World is a tour through 150 years of the history of a significant but underappreciated idea: that the Earth has a global climate system made up of interconnected parts, constantly changing on all scales of both time and space. A prerequisite for the discovery of global warming and climate change, this idea was forged by scientists studying water in its myriad forms. This is their story. Linking the history of the planet with the lives of those who studied it, Sarah Dry follows the remarkable scientists who summited volcanic peaks to peer through an atmosphere’s worth of water vapor, cored mile-thick ice sheets to uncover the Earth’s ancient climate history, and flew inside storm clouds to understand how small changes in energy can produce both massive storms and the general circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere. Each toiled on his or her own corner of the planetary puzzle. Gradually, their cumulative discoveries coalesced into a unified working theory of our planet’s climate. We now call this field climate science, and in recent years it has provoked great passions, anxieties, and warnings. But no less than the object of its study, the science of water and climate is—and always has been—evolving. By revealing the complexity of this history, Waters of the World delivers a better understanding of our planet’s climate at a time when we need it the most.

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Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale

by Adam Minter, published in 2019

"Revelatory, terrifying, but, ultimately, hopeful." -Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE SIXTH EXTINCTION From the author of Junkyard Planet, a journey into the surprising afterlives of our former possessions. Downsizing. Decluttering. Discarding. Sooner or later, all of us are faced with things we no longer need or want. But when we drop our old clothes and other items off at a local donation center, where do they go? Sometimes across the country-or even halfway across the world-to people and places who find value in what we leave behind. In Secondhand, journalist Adam Minter takes us on an unexpected adventure into the often-hidden, multibillion-dollar industry of reuse: thrift stores in the American Southwest to vintage shops in Tokyo, flea markets in Southeast Asia to used-goods enterprises in Ghana, and more. Along the way, Minter meets the fascinating people who handle-and profit from-our rising tide of discarded stuff, and asks a pressing question: In a world that craves shiny and new, is there room for it all? Secondhand offers hopeful answers and hard truths. A history of the stuff we've used and a contemplation of why we keep buying more, it also reveals the marketing practices, design failures, and racial prejudices that push used items into landfills instead of new homes. Secondhand shows us that it doesn't have to be this way, and what really needs to change to build a sustainable future free of excess stuff.

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Uruk: First City of the Ancient World

by Nicola Crüsemann, published in 2019

This abundantly illustrated volume explores the genesis and flourishing of Uruk, the first known metropolis in the history of humankind. More than one hundred years ago, discoveries from a German archaeological dig at Uruk, roughly two hundred miles south of present-day Baghdad, sent shock waves through the scholarly world. Founded at the end of the fifth millennium BCE, Uruk was the main force for urbanization in what has come to be called the Uruk period (4000–3200 BCE), during which small, agricultural villages gave way to a larger urban center with a stratified society, complex governmental bureaucracy, and monumental architecture and art. It was here that proto-cuneiform script—the earliest known form of writing—was developed around 3400 BCE. Uruk is known too for the epic tale of its hero-king Gilgamesh, among the earliest masterpieces of world literature. Containing 480 images, this volume represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the archaeological evidence gathered at Uruk. More than sixty essays by renowned scholars provide glimpses into the life, culture, and art of the first great city of the ancient world. This volume will be an indispensable reference for readers interested in the ancient Near East and the origins of urbanism.

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Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists

by Audrey Kurth Cronin, published in 2019

Never have so many possessed the means to be so lethal. The diffusion of modern technology (robotics, cyber weapons, 3-D printing, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence) to ordinary people has given them access to weapons of mass violence previously monopolized by the state. In recent years, states have attempted to stem the flow of such weapons to individuals and non-state groups, but their efforts are failing. As Audrey Kurth Cronin explains in Power to the People, what we are seeing now is an exacerbation of an age-old trend. Over the centuries, the most surprising developments in warfare have occurred because of advances in technologies combined with changes in who can use them. Indeed, accessible innovations in destructive force have long driven new patterns of political violence. When Nobel invented dynamite and Kalashnikov designed the AK-47, each inadvertently spurred terrorist and insurgent movements that killed millions and upended the international system. That history illuminates our own situation, in which emerging technologies are altering society and redistributing power. The twenty-first century "sharing economy" has already disrupted every institution, including the armed forces. New "open" technologies are transforming access to the means of violence. Just as importantly, higher-order functions that previously had been exclusively under state military control - mass mobilization, force projection, and systems integration - are being harnessed by non-state actors. Cronin closes by focusing on how to respond so that we both preserve the benefits of emerging technologies yet reduce the risks. Power, in the form of lethal technology, is flowing to the people, but the same technologies that empower can imperil global security - unless we act strategically.

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What Remains: Bringing America’s Missing Home from the Vietnam War

by Sarah E. Wagner, published in 2019

Nearly 1,600 Americans who took part in the Vietnam War are still missing and presumed dead. Sarah Wagner tells the stories of those who mourn and continue to search for them. Today's forensic science can identify remains from mere traces, raising expectations for repatriation and forcing a new reckoning with the toll of America's most fraught war.

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The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness

by Susannah Cahalan, published in 2020

'Destined to become a popular and important book' Jon Ronson 'Fascinating' Sunday Times In the early 1970s, Stanford professor Dr Rosenhan conducted an experiment, sending sane patients into psychiatric wards; the result of which was a damning paper about psychiatric practises. The ripple effects of this paper helped bring the field of psychiatry to its knees, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever. But what if that ground-breaking and now-famous experiment was itself deeply flawed? And what does that mean for our understanding of mental illness today? These are the questions Susannah Cahalan asks in her completely engrossing investigation into this staggering case, where nothing is quite as it seems.

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Extraterrestrial Languages

by Daniel Oberhaus, published in 2019

If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand? The endlessly fascinating question of whether we are alone in the universe has always been accompanied by another, more complicated one: if there is extraterrestrial life, how would we communicate with it? In this book, Daniel Oberhaus leads readers on a quest for extraterrestrial communication. Exploring Earthlings' various attempts to reach out to non-Earthlings over the centuries, he poses some not entirely answerable questions: If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand? What languages will they (and we) speak? Is there not only a universal grammar (as Noam Chomsky has posited), but also a grammar of the universe? Oberhaus describes, among other things, a late-nineteenth-century idea to communicate with Martians via Morse code and mirrors; the emergence in the twentieth century of SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), CETI (communication with extraterrestrial intelligence), and finally METI (messaging extraterrestrial intelligence); the one-way space voyage of Ella, an artificial intelligence agent that can play cards, tell fortunes, and recite poetry; and the launching of a theremin concert for aliens. He considers media used in attempts at extraterrestrial communication, from microwave systems to plaques on spacecrafts to formal logic, and discusses attempts to formulate a language for our message, including the Astraglossa and two generations of Lincos (lingua cosmica). The chosen medium for interstellar communication reveals much about the technological sophistication of the civilization that sends it, Oberhaus observes, but even more interesting is the information embedded in the message itself. In Extraterrestrial Languages, he considers how philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, science, and art have informed the design or limited the effectiveness of our interstellar messaging.

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18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics

by Bruce Goldfarb, published in 2020

For most of human history, sudden and unexpected deaths of a suspicious nature, when they were investigated at all, were examined by lay persons without any formal training. People often got away with murder. Modern forensic investigation originates with Frances Glessner Lee - a pivotal figure in police science. 'Disturbing dioramas created by an American millionairess revolutionised the art of modern forensics.' DAILY TELEGRAPH Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962), born a socialite to a wealthy and influential Chicago family, was never meant to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity. Yet she became the mother of modern forensics and was instrumental in elevating homicide investigation to a scientific discipline. Frances Glessner Lee learned forensic science under the tutelage of pioneering medical examiner Magrath - he told her about his cases, gave her access to the autopsy room to observe post-mortems and taught her about poisons and patterns of injury. A voracious reader too, Lee acquired and read books on criminology and forensic science - eventually establishing the largest library of legal medicine. Lee went on to create The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death - a series of dollhouse-sized crime scene dioramas depicting the facts of actual cases in exquisitely detailed miniature - and perhaps the thing she is most famous for. Celebrated by artists, miniaturists and scientists, the Nutshell Studies are a singularly unusual collection. They were first used as a teaching tool in homicide seminars at Harvard Medical School in the 1930s, and then in 1945 the homicide seminar for police detectives that is the longest-running and still the highest-regarded training of its kind in America. Both of which were established by the pioneering Lee. In 18 Tiny Deaths, Bruce Goldfarb weaves Lee's remarkable story with the advances in forensics made in her lifetime to tell the tale of the birth of modern forensics.

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The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, The FBI, and Industrial Espionage

by Mara Hvistendahl, published in 2011

"Lianyungang, a booming port city, has China's most extreme gender ratio for children under four: 163 boys for every 100 girls. These numbers don't seem terribly grim, but in ten years, the skewed sex ratio will pose a colossal challenge. By the time those children reach adulthood, their generation will have twenty-four million more men than women. The prognosis for China's neighbors is no less bleak: Asia now has 163 million females "missing" from its population. Gender imbalance reaches far beyond Asia, affecting Georgia, Eastern Europe, and cities in the U.S. where there are significant immigrant populations. The world, therefore, is becoming increasingly male, and this mismatch is likely to create profound social upheaval. Historically, eras in which there have been an excess of men have produced periods of violent conflict and instability. Mara Hvistendahl has written a stunning, impeccably-researched book that does not flinch from examining not only the consequences of the misbegotten policies of sex selection but Western complicity with them"--

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A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Young Women Who Played to Win WWII

by Simon Parkin, published in 2019

'Compelling' Sunday Times 'A triumph' Daily Mirror 'Gripping' Jonathan Dimbleby 1941. The Battle of the Atlantic is a disaster. Thousands of supply ships ferrying vital food and fuel from North America to Britain are being torpedoed by German U-boats. Britain is only weeks away from starvation - and with that, crushing defeat. In the first week of 1942 a group of unlikely heroes - a retired naval captain and a clutch of brilliant young women - gather to form a secret strategy unit. On the top floor of a bomb-bruised HQ in Liverpool, the Western Approaches Tactical Unit spends days and nights designing and playing wargames in an effort to crack the U-boat tactics. As the U-boat wolfpacks continue to prey upon the supply ships, the Wrens race against time to save Britain. With novelistic flair, investigative journalist Simon Parkin shines a light on Operation Raspberry and these unsung heroines in this riveting true story of war at sea. 'History writing at its best' Booklist 'Splendid . . . Simon Parkin's book rips along at full sail and is full of personality and personalities' Sunday Express 'Vivid, engaging' New Yorker

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Mengele: Unmasking the “Angel of Death”

by David G. Marwell, published in 2020

A gripping biography of the infamous Nazi doctor, from a former Justice Department official tasked with uncovering his fate. Perhaps the most notorious war criminal of all time, Josef Mengele was the embodiment of bloodless efficiency and passionate devotion to a grotesque worldview. Aided by the role he has assumed in works of popular culture, Mengele has come to symbolize the Holocaust itself as well as the failure of justice that allowed countless Nazi murderers and their accomplices to escape justice. Whether as the demonic doctor who directed mass killings or the elusive fugitive who escaped capture, Mengele has loomed so large that even with conclusive proof, many refused to believe that he had died. As chief of investigative research at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations in the 1980s, David G. Marwell worked on the Mengele case, interviewing his victims, visiting the scenes of his crimes, and ultimately holding his bones in his hands. Drawing on his own experience as well as new scholarship and sources, Marwell examines in scrupulous detail Mengele’s life and career. He chronicles Mengele’s university studies, which led to two PhDs and a promising career as a scientist; his wartime service both in frontline combat and at Auschwitz, where his “selections” sent innumerable innocents to their deaths and his “scientific” pursuits—including his studies of twins and eye color—traumatized or killed countless more; and his postwar flight from Europe and refuge in South America. Mengele describes the international search for the Nazi doctor in 1985 that ended in a cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the dogged forensic investigation that produced overwhelming evidence that Mengele had died—but failed to convince those who, arguably, most wanted him dead. This is the riveting story of science without limits, escape without freedom, and resolution without justice.

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Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus

by Jennifer S. Hirsch, published in 2020

A groundbreaking study that transforms how we see and address the most misunderstood problem on college campuses: widespread sexual assault. The fear of campus sexual assault has become an inextricable part of the college experience. And for far too many students, that fear is realized. Research has shown that by the time they graduate, as many as one in three women and almost one in six men will have been sexually assaulted. But why is sexual assault such a common feature of college life? And what can be done to prevent it? Sexual Citizens provides answers. Drawing on the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) at Columbia University, the most comprehensive study of sexual assault on a campus to date, Jennifer S. Hirsch and Shamus Khan present an entirely new framework that emphasizes sexual assault’s social roots, transcending current debates about consent, predators in a “hunting ground,” and the dangers of hooking up. Sexual Citizens is based on years of research interviewing and observing college life—with students of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Hirsch and Khan’s landmark study reveals the social ecosystem that makes sexual assault so predictable, explaining how physical spaces, alcohol, peer groups, and cultural norms influence young people’s experiences and interpretations of both sex and sexual assault. Through the powerful concepts of “sexual projects,” “sexual citizenship,” and “sexual geographies,” the authors offer a new and widely-accessible language for understanding the forces that shape young people’s sexual relationships. Empathetic, insightful, and far-ranging, Sexual Citizens transforms our understanding of sexual assault and offers a roadmap for how to address it.

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A Scheme of Heaven: The History of Astrology and the Search for our Destiny in Data

by Alexander Boxer, published in 2020

An illuminating look at the surprising history and science of astrology, civilization’s first system of algorithms, from Babylon to the present day. Humans are pattern-matching creatures, and astrology is the universe’s grandest pattern-matching game. In this refreshing work of history and analysis, data scientist Alexander Boxer examines classical texts on astrology to expose its underlying scientific and mathematical framework. Astrology, he argues, was the ancient world’s most ambitious applied mathematics problem, a monumental data-analysis enterprise sustained by some of history’s most brilliant minds, from Ptolemy to al-Kindi to Kepler. Thousands of years ago, astrologers became the first to stumble upon the powerful storytelling possibilities inherent in numerical data. To correlate the configurations of the cosmos with our day-to-day lives, astrologers relied upon a “scheme of heaven,” or horoscope, showing the precise configuration of the planets at a particular instant in time as viewed from a particular place on Earth. Although recognized as pseudoscience today, horoscopes were once considered a cutting-edge scientific tool. Boxer teaches us how to read these esoteric charts—and appreciate the complex astronomical calculations needed to generate them—by diagramming how the heavens appeared at important moments in astrology’s history, from the assassination of Julius Caesar as viewed from Rome to the Apollo 11 lunar landing as seen from the surface of the Moon. He then puts these horoscopes to the test using modern data sets and statistical science, arguing that today’s data scientists do work similar to astrologers of yore. By looking back at the algorithms of ancient astrology, he suggests, we can better recognize the patterns that are timeless characteristics of our own pattern-matching tendencies. At once critical, rigorous, and far ranging, A Scheme of Heaven recontextualizes astrology as a vast, technological project—spanning continents and centuries—that foreshadowed our data-driven world today.

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The Evolution of Knowledge: Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene

by Jürgen Renn, published in 2020

A fundamentally new approach to the history of science and technology This book presents a new way of thinking about the history of science and technology, one that offers a grand narrative of human history in which knowledge serves as a critical factor of cultural evolution. Jürgen Renn examines the role of knowledge in global transformations going back to the dawn of civilization while providing vital perspectives on the complex challenges confronting us today in the Anthropocene—this new geological epoch shaped by humankind. Renn reframes the history of science and technology within a much broader history of knowledge, analyzing key episodes such as the evolution of writing, the emergence of science in the ancient world, the Scientific Revolution of early modernity, the globalization of knowledge, industrialization, and the profound transformations wrought by modern science. He investigates the evolution of knowledge using an array of disciplines and methods, from cognitive science and experimental psychology to earth science and evolutionary biology. The result is an entirely new framework for understanding structural changes in systems of knowledge—and a bold new approach to the history and philosophy of science. Written by one of today's preeminent historians of science, The Evolution of Knowledge features discussions of historiographical themes, a glossary of key terms, and practical insights on global issues ranging from climate change to digital capitalism. This incisive book also serves as an invaluable introduction to the history of knowledge.

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Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games

by Alenda Y. Chang, published in 2019

A potent new book examines the overlap between our ecological crisis and video games Video games may be fun and immersive diversions from daily life, but can they go beyond the realm of entertainment to do something serious—like help us save the planet? As one of the signature issues of the twenty-first century, ecological deterioration is seemingly everywhere, but it is rarely considered via the realm of interactive digital play. In Playing Nature, Alenda Y. Chang offers groundbreaking methods for exploring this vital overlap. Arguing that games need to be understood as part of a cultural response to the growing ecological crisis, Playing Nature seeds conversations around key environmental science concepts and terms. Chang suggests several ways to rethink existing game taxonomies and theories of agency while revealing surprising fundamental similarities between game play and scientific work. Gracefully reconciling new media theory with environmental criticism, Playing Nature examines an exciting range of games and related art forms, including historical and contemporary analog and digital games, alternate- and augmented-reality games, museum exhibitions, film, and science fiction. Chang puts her surprising ideas into conversation with leading media studies and environmental humanities scholars like Alexander Galloway, Donna Haraway, and Ursula Heise, ultimately exploring manifold ecological futures—not all of them dystopian.

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The Crowd and the Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse

by Chris Lintott, published in 2019

The world of science has been transformed. Where once astronomers sat at the controls of giant telescopes in remote locations, praying for clear skies, now they have no need to budge from their desks, as data arrives in their inbox. And what they receive is overwhelming; projects now being built provide more data in a few nights than in the whole of humanity's history of observing the Universe. It's not just astronomy either - dealing with this deluge of data is the major challenge for scientists at CERN, and for biologists who use automated cameras to spy on animals in their natural habitats. Artificial intelligence is one part of the solution - but will it spell the end of human involvement in scientific discovery? No, argues Chris Lintott. We humans still have unique capabilities to bring to bear - our curiosity, our capacity for wonder, and, most importantly, our capacity for surprise. It seems that humans and computers working together do better than computers can on their own. But with so much scientific data, you need a lot of scientists - a crowd, in fact. Lintott found such a crowd in the Zooniverse, the web-based project that allows hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to science. In this book, Lintott describes the exciting discoveries that people all over the world have made, from galaxies to pulsars, exoplanets to moons, and from penguin behavior to old ship's logs. This approach builds on a long history of so-called "citizen science," given new power by fast internet and distributed data. Discovery is no longer the remit only of scientists in specialist labs or academics in ivory towers. It's something we can all take part in. As Lintott shows, it's a wonderful way to engage with science, yielding new insights daily. You, too, can help explore the Universe in your lunch hour.

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Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food

by Benjamin R. Cohen, published in 2019

In the latter nineteenth century, extraordinary changes in food and agriculture gave rise to new tensions in the ways people understood, obtained, trusted, and ate their food. This was the Era of Adulteration, and its concerns have carried forward to today: How could you tell the food you bought was the food you thought you bought? Could something manufactured still be pure? Is it okay to manipulate nature far enough to produce new foods but not so far that you question its safety and health? How do you know where the line is? And who decides? In Pure Adulteration, Benjamin R. Cohen uses the pure food crusades to provide a captivating window onto the origins of manufactured foods and the perceived problems they wrought. Cohen follows farmers, manufacturers, grocers, hucksters, housewives, politicians, and scientific analysts as they struggled to demarcate and patrol the ever-contingent, always contested border between purity and adulteration, and as, at the end of the nineteenth century, the very notion of a pure food changed. In the end, there is (and was) no natural, prehuman distinction between pure and adulterated to uncover and enforce; we have to decide. Today’s world is different from that of our nineteenth-century forebears in many ways, but the challenge of policing the difference between acceptable and unacceptable practices remains central to daily decisions about the foods we eat, how we produce them, and what choices we make when buying them.

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The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World

by Jamil Zaki, published in 2019

'In this masterpiece, Jamil Zaki weaves together the very latest science with stories that will stay in your heart forever' - Angela Duckworth, author of Grit 'Scientific, gripping, groundbreaking and hopeful. The War for Kindness is the message for our times' - Carol Dweck, author of Mindset Empathy has been on people's mind a lot lately. Philosophers, evolutionary scientists and indeed former President Obama agree that an increase in empathy could advance us beyond the hatred, violence and polarization in which the world seems caught. Others disagree, arguing it is easiest to empathize with people who look, talk or think like us. As a result, empathy can inspire nepotism, racism and worse. Having studied the neuroscience and psychology of empathy for over a decade, Jamil Zaki thinks both sides of this debate have a point. Empathy is sometimes an engine for moral progress, and other times for moral failure. But Zaki also thinks that both sides are wrong about how empathy works. Both scientists and non-scientists commonly argue that empathy is something that happens to you, sort of like an emotional knee-jerk reflex. Second, they believe it happens more to some people than others. This lines people up along a spectrum, with deep empaths on one end and psychopaths on the other. What's more, wherever we are on that spectrum, we're stuck there. In The War for Kindness, Zaki lays out a very different view of how empathy works, one that breaks these two assumptions. Empathy is not a reflex; it's a choice. We choose empathy (or apathy) constantly: when we read a tragic novel, or cross the street to avoid a homeless person, or ask a distraught friend what's the matter. This view has crucial consequences: if empathy is less a trait (like height), and more a skill (like being good at word games), then we can improve at it. By choosing it more often, we can flex our capabilities and grow more empathic over time. We can also "tune" empathy, ramping it up in situations where it will help and turning it down when it might backfire. Zaki takes us from the world of doctors who train medical students to empathise better to social workers who help each other survive empathising too much. From police trainers who help cadets avoid becoming violent cops to political advocates who ask white Americans to literally walk a (dusty) mile in Mexican immigrants' shoes. This book will give you a deepened understanding of how empathy works, how to control it and how to become the type of empathiser you want to be.

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🔑 Social Science

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Assembling the Dinosaur: Fossil Hunters, Tycoons, and the Making of a Spectacle

by Lukas Rieppel, published in 2019

Lukas Rieppel shows how dinosaurs gripped the popular imagination and became emblems of America’s industrial power and economic prosperity during the Gilded Age. Spectacular fossils were displayed in museums financed by North America’s wealthiest tycoons, to cement their reputation as both benefactors of science and fierce capitalists.

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🔑 Paleontology

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How We Teach Science: What's Changed and Why It Matters

by John L. Rudolph, published in 2019

Despite an enduring belief that science should be taught, there has been no enduring consensus about how or why. This is especially true when it comes to teaching scientific process. John Rudolph shows that how we think about and teach science will either sustain or thwart future innovation, and determine how science is perceived by the public.

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🔑 Education

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The Spectacle of Illusion: Deception, Magic and the Paranormal

by Matthew Tompkins, published in 2019

In 'The Spectacle of Illusion', professional magician-turned experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins investigates the arts of deception as practised and popularised by mesmerists, magicians and psychics since the early 18th century. Organised thematically within a broadly chronological trajectory, this compelling book explores how illusions perpetuated by magicians and fraudulent mystics can not only deceive our senses but also teach us about the inner workings of our minds. Indeed, modern scientists are increasingly turning to magic tricks to develop new techniques to examine human perception, memory and belief.0Beginning by discussing mesmerism and spiritualism, the book moves on to consider how professional magicians such as John Nevil Maskelyne and Harry Houdini engaged with these movements ? particularly how they set out to challenge and debunk paranormal claims. It also relates the interactions between magicians, mystics and scientists over the past 200 years, and reveals how the researchers who attempted to investigate magical and paranormal phenomena were themselves deceived, and what this can teach us about deception. 00Exhibition: Wellcome Collection, London, UK (11.04.-15.09.2019).

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🔑 Psychology

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Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us

by Ruth Kassinger, published in 2019

Say "algae" and most people think of pond scum. What they don't know is that without algae, none of us would exist.

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Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language

by Gretchen McCulloch, published in 2019

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!! Named a Best Book of 2019 by TIME, Amazon, and The Washington Post A Wired Must-Read Book of Summer “Gretchen McCulloch is the internet’s favorite linguist, and this book is essential reading. Reading her work is like suddenly being able to see the matrix.” —Jonny Sun, author of everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It's the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that's a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are. Language is humanity's most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online communities spread new slang and jargon with dizzying speed. What's more, social media is a vast laboratory of unedited, unfiltered words where we can watch language evolve in real time. Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer "LOL" or "lol," why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

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Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past

by Sarah Parcak, published in 2020

A Science Friday Best Science Book of 2019 • A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2019 • Nature's Top Ten Books of 2019 • A Science News Best Book of 2019 "A crash course in the amazing new science of space archaeology that only Sarah Parcak can give. This book will awaken the explorer in all of us." —Chris Anderson, Head of TED National Geographic Fellow and TED Prize–winner Sarah Parcak pioneers the young field of satellite archaeology, using futuristic tools to unlock secrets from the past and transform how discoveries are made. As an archaeologist, she has worked on remote sensing projects across twelve countries and four continents, using multispectral and high-resolution satellite imagery analysis to identify thousands of potential archaeological sites. These include previously unknown settlements, roads, fortresses, palaces, tombs, and even potential pyramids. She presently directs major crowdsourcing efforts to map ancient civilizations across Peru and India. In Archaeology from Space, Sarah describes the field’s evolution, major discoveries, and future potential. From surprise advancements after the declassification of spy photography, to a new map of the mythical Egyptian city of Tanis, she shares her field’s biggest discoveries, revealing why space archaeology is not only exciting but also essential to the preservation of the world’s ancient treasures for future generations. Sarah’s stories take readers back in time and across borders, into the day-to-day lives of ancient humans who displayed grit, ingenuity, and brilliance across the millennia. We share those same traits, and those same underlying genes. If we heed the lessons of the past, we can shape a vibrant future.

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Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Built Cryptocurrency

by Finn Brunton, published in 2020

The fascinating untold story of digital cash and its creators—from experiments in the 1970s to the mania over Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies Bitcoin may appear to be a revolutionary form of digital cash without precedent or prehistory. In fact, it is only the best-known recent experiment in a long line of similar efforts going back to the 1970s. But the story behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and its blockchain technology has largely been untold—until now. In Digital Cash, Finn Brunton reveals how technological utopians and political radicals created experimental money to bring about their visions of the future: to protect privacy, bring down governments, prepare for apocalypse, or launch a civilization of innovation and abundance that would make its creators immortal. Filled with marvelous characters, stories, and ideas, Digital Cash is an engaging and accessible account of the strange origins and remarkable technologies behind today's cryptocurrency explosion.

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The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World

by Amanda Little, published in 2019

WINNER OF THE 2019 NAUTILUS BOOK AWARD In the fascinating story of the sustainable food revolution, an environmental journalist and professor asks the question: Is the future of food looking bleak—or better than ever? “In The Fate of Food, Amanda Little takes us on a tour of the future. The journey is scary, exciting, and, ultimately, encouraging.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction Climate models show that global crop production will decline every decade for the rest of this century due to drought, heat, and flooding. Water supplies are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to grow another 30 percent by midcentury. So how, really, will we feed nine billion people sustainably in the coming decades? Amanda Little, a professor at Vanderbilt University and an award-winning journalist, spent three years traveling through a dozen countries and as many U.S. states in search of answers to this question. Her journey took her from an apple orchard in Wisconsin to a remote control organic farm in Shanghai, from Norwegian fish farms to famine-stricken regions of Ethiopia. The race to reinvent the global food system is on, and the challenge is twofold: We must solve the existing problems of industrial agriculture while also preparing for the pressures ahead. Through her interviews and adventures with farmers, scientists, activists, and engineers, Little tells the fascinating story of human innovation and explores new and old approaches to food production while charting the growth of a movement that could redefine sustainable food on a grand scale. She meets small permaculture farmers and “Big Food” executives, botanists studying ancient superfoods and Kenyan farmers growing the country's first GMO corn. She travels to places that might seem irrelevant to the future of food yet surprisingly play a critical role—a California sewage plant, a U.S. Army research lab, even the inside of a monsoon cloud above Mumbai. Little asks tough questions: Can GMOs actually be good for the environment—and for us? Are we facing the end of animal meat? What will it take to eliminate harmful chemicals from farming? How can a clean, climate-resilient food supply become accessible to all? Throughout her journey, Little finds and shares a deeper understanding of the threats of climate change and encounters a sense of awe and optimism about the lessons of our past and the scope of human ingenuity.

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Fall; or, Dodge in Hell

by Neal Stephenson, published in 2020

From the New York Times bestselling author of SEVENEVES 'One of the great novels of our time' Wall Street Journal 'Wonderful' Guardian 'Staggering' New York Times 'Captivating' Washington Post 'Cutting-edge' Booklist 'Mind-blowing' Slate What if we could live forever? What if we did? In Fall or, Dodge in Hell exists a world where we hold the keys to our own mortality, where the limits of survival no longer exist, and the potential to decide our fates lies in our corruptible hands. From one of the greatest speculative writers of our time comes an epic saga of life and death, power and technology, and a future that isn't as far away as it seems...

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Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

by Sean Carroll, published in 2019

Quantum physics is not mystifying. The implications are mind-bending, and not yet fully understood, but this revolutionary theory is truly illuminating. It stands as the best explanation of the fundamental nature of our world. Spanning the history of quantum discoveries, from Einstein and Bohr to the present day, Something Deeply Hidden is the essential guide to the most intriguing subject in science. Acclaimed physicist and writer Sean Carroll debunks the myths, resurrects and reinstates the Many-Worlds interpretation, and presents a new path towards solving the apparent conflict between quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In doing so, he fills a gap in the science that has existed for almost a century. A magisterial tour, Something Deeply Hidden encompasses the cosmological and everyday implications of quantum reality and multiple universes. And – finally – it all makes sense.

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Meat Planet: Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food

by Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft, published in 2019

In 2013, a Dutch scientist unveiled the world’s first laboratory-created hamburger. Since then, the idea of producing meat, not from live animals but from carefully cultured tissues, has spread like wildfire through the media. Meanwhile, cultured meat researchers race against population growth and climate change in an effort to make sustainable protein. Meat Planet explores the quest to generate meat in the lab—a substance sometimes called “cultured meat”—and asks what it means to imagine that this is the future of food. Neither an advocate nor a critic of cultured meat, Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft spent five years researching the phenomenon. In Meat Planet, he reveals how debates about lab-grown meat reach beyond debates about food, examining the links between appetite, growth, and capitalism. Could satiating the growing appetite for meat actually lead to our undoing? Are we simply using one technology to undo the damage caused by another? Like all problems in our food system, the meat problem is not merely a problem of production. It is intrinsically social and political, and it demands that we examine questions of justice and desirable modes of living in a shared and finite world. Benjamin Wurgaft tells a story that could utterly transform the way we think of animals, the way we relate to farmland, the way we use water, and the way we think about population and our fragile ecosystem’s capacity to sustain life. He argues that even if cultured meat does not “succeed,” it functions—much like science fiction—as a crucial mirror that we can hold up to our contemporary fleshy dysfunctions.

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How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems

by Randall Munroe, published in 2015

From the No. 1 bestselling author of What If? - the man who created xkcd and explained the laws of science with cartoons - comes a series of brilliantly simple diagrams ('blueprints' if you want to be complicated about it) that show how important things work: from the nuclear bomb to the biro. It's good to know what the parts of a thing are called, but it's much more interesting to know what they do. Richard Feynman once said that if you can't explain something to a first-year student, you don't really get it. In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe takes a quantum leap past this: he explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1,000 (or the ten hundred) most common words. Many of the things we use every day - like our food-heating radio boxes ('microwaves'), our very tall roads ('bridges'), and our computer rooms ('datacentres') - are strange to us. So are the other worlds around our sun (the solar system), the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), and even the stuff inside us (cells). Where do these things come from? How do they work? What do they look like if you open them up? And what would happen if we heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and many, many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone -- age 5 to 105 -- who has ever wondered how things work, and why.

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Higher and Colder: A History of Extreme Physiology and Exploration

by Vanessa Heggie, published in 2019

During the long twentieth century, explorers went in unprecedented numbers to the hottest, coldest, and highest points on the globe. Taking us from the Himalaya to Antarctica and beyond, Higher and Colder presents the first history of extreme physiology, the study of the human body at its physical limits. Each chapter explores a seminal question in the history of science, while also showing how the apparently exotic locations and experiments contributed to broader political and social shifts in twentieth-century scientific thinking. Unlike most books on modern biomedicine, Higher and Colder focuses on fieldwork, expeditions, and exploration, and in doing so provides a welcome alternative to laboratory-dominated accounts of the history of modern life sciences. Though centered on male-dominated practices--science and exploration--it recovers the stories of women's contributions that were sometimes accidentally, and sometimes deliberately, erased. Engaging and provocative, this book is a history of the scientists and physiologists who face challenges that are physically demanding, frequently dangerous, and sometimes fatal, in the interest of advancing modern science and pushing the boundaries of human ability.

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Making Black Scientists: A Call to Action

by Marybeth Gasman, published in 2019

Historically black colleges and universities are adept at training scientists. Marybeth Gasman and Thai-Huy Nguyen follow ten HBCU programs that have grown their student cohorts and improved performance. These science departments furnish a bold new model for other colleges that want to better serve African American students.

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The Pursuit of Parenthood: Reproductive Technology from Test-Tube Babies to Uterus Transplants

by Margaret Marsh, published in 2019

Since the 1978 birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in England, more than eight million children have been born with the help of assisted reproductive technologies. From the start, they have stirred controversy and raised profound questions: Should there be limits to the lengths to which people can go to make their idea of family a reality? Who should pay for treatment? How can we ensure the ethical use of these technologies? And what can be done to address the racial and economic disparities in access to care that enable some to have children while others go without? In The Pursuit of Parenthood, historian Margaret Marsh and gynecologist Wanda Ronner seek to answer these challenging questions. Bringing their unique expertise in gender history and women's health to the subject, Marsh and Ronner examine the unprecedented means—liberating for some and deeply unsettling for others—by which families can now be created. Beginning with the early efforts to create embryos outside a woman's body and ending with such new developments as mitochondrial replacement techniques and uterus transplants, the authors assess the impact of contemporary reproductive technology in the United States. In this volume, we meet the scientists and physicians who have developed these technologies and the women and men who have used them. Along the way, the book dispels a number of fertility myths, offers policy recommendations that are intended to bring clarity and judgment to this complicated medical history, and reveals why the United States is still known as the "Wild West" of reproductive medicine.

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Collecting Experiments: Making Big Data Biology

by Bruno J. Strasser, published in 2019

Databases have revolutionized nearly every aspect of our lives. Information of all sorts is being collected on a massive scale, from Google to Facebook and well beyond. But as the amount of information in databases explodes, we are forced to reassess our ideas about what knowledge is, how it is produced, to whom it belongs, and who can be credited for producing it. Every scientist working today draws on databases to produce scientific knowledge. Databases have become more common than microscopes, voltmeters, and test tubes, and the increasing amount of data has led to major changes in research practices and profound reflections on the proper professional roles of data producers, collectors, curators, and analysts. Collecting Experiments traces the development and use of data collections, especially in the experimental life sciences, from the early twentieth century to the present. It shows that the current revolution is best understood as the coming together of two older ways of knowing—collecting and experimenting, the museum and the laboratory. Ultimately, Bruno J. Strasser argues that by serving as knowledge repositories, as well as indispensable tools for producing new knowledge, these databases function as digital museums for the twenty-first century.

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Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry

by Julie Guthman, published in 2019

Strawberries are big business in California. They are the sixth‐highest‐grossing crop in the state, which produces 88 percent of the nation’s favorite berry. Yet the industry is often criticized for its backbreaking labor conditions and dependence on highly toxic soil fumigants used to control fungal pathogens and other soilborne pests. In Wilted, Julie Guthman tells the story of how the strawberry industry came to rely on soil fumigants, and how that reliance reverberated throughout the rest of the fruit’s production system. The particular conditions of plants, soils, chemicals, climate, and laboring bodies that once made strawberry production so lucrative in the Golden State have now changed and become a set of related threats that jeopardize the future of the industry.

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🔑 Environmental Toxicology

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The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes

by David Robson, published in 2019

An eye-opening examination of the stupid things smart people do—and how to cultivate skills to protect ourselves from error. Smart people are not only just as prone to making mistakes as everyone else, they may be even more susceptible to them. This is the "intelligence trap," the subject of David Robson’s fascinating and provocative book. The Intelligence Trap explores cutting-edge ideas in our understanding of intelligence and expertise, including "strategic ignorance," "meta-forgetfulness," and "functional stupidity." Robson reveals the surprising ways that even the brightest minds and most talented organizations can go wrong—from some of Thomas Edison’s worst ideas to failures at NASA, Nokia, and the FBI. And he offers practical advice to avoid mistakes based on the timeless lessons of Benjamin Franklin, Richard Feynman, and Daniel Kahneman.

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🔑 Cognitive Science

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The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

by Timothy C. Winegard, published in 2019

**The instant New York Times bestseller.** *An international bestseller.* “Hugely impressive, a major work.”—NPR A pioneering and groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction that offers a dramatic new perspective on the history of humankind, showing how through millennia, the mosquito has been the single most powerful force in determining humanity’s fate Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination? What has protected the lives of popes for millennia? Why did Scotland surrender its sovereignty to England? What was George Washington's secret weapon during the American Revolution? The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito. Across our planet since the dawn of humankind, this nefarious pest, roughly the size and weight of a grape seed, has been at the frontlines of history as the grim reaper, the harvester of human populations, and the ultimate agent of historical change. As the mosquito transformed the landscapes of civilization, humans were unwittingly required to respond to its piercing impact and universal projection of power. The mosquito has determined the fates of empires and nations, razed and crippled economies, and decided the outcome of pivotal wars, killing nearly half of humanity along the way. She (only females bite) has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion throughout our relatively brief existence. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have ever known, she has played a greater role in shaping our human story than any other living thing with which we share our global village. Imagine for a moment a world without deadly mosquitoes, or any mosquitoes, for that matter? Our history and the world we know, or think we know, would be completely unrecognizable. Driven by surprising insights and fast-paced storytelling, The Mosquito is the extraordinary untold story of the mosquito’s reign through human history and her indelible impact on our modern world order.

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Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating

by Charles Spence, published in 2017

A ground-breaking book by the world-leading expert in sensory science: Freakonomics for food Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with one more person, and 75% more when with three? Why are 27% of drinks bought on aeroplanes tomato juice? How are chefs and companies planning to transform our dining experiences, and what can we learn from their cutting-edge insights to make memorable meals at home? These are just some of the ingredients of Gastrophysics, in which the pioneering Oxford professor Charles Spence shows how our senses link up in the most extraordinary ways, and reveals the importance of all the "off-the-plate" elements of a meal: the weight of cutlery, the colour of the plate (his lab showed that red is associated with sweetness - we perceive salty popcorn as tasting sweet when served in a red bowl), the background music and much more. Whether dining alone or at a dinner party, on a plane or in front of the TV, he reveals how to understand what we're tasting and influence what others experience. Meal-times will genuinely never be the same again.

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🔑 Food ScienceGastronomyPsychology

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The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions

by Peter Brannen, published in 2017

Apocalypse, now? Death by fire, ice, poison gas, suffocation, asteroid. At five moments through history life on Earth was dragged to the very edge of extinction. Now, armed with revolutionary technology, scientists are uncovering clues about what caused these catastrophes. Deep-diving into past worlds of dragonflies the size of seagulls and fishes with guillotines for mouths, they explore how – against all the odds – life survived and what these ominous chapters can tell us about our future.

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🔑 Earth ScienceEcologyExtinction

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Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-Created

by Patrick E. McGovern, published in 2017

One of Smithsonian Magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year about Food A Forbes Best Booze Book of the Year Interweaving archaeology and science, Patrick E. McGovern tells the enthralling story of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages and the cultures that created them. Humans invented heady concoctions, experimenting with fruits, honey, cereals, tree resins, botanicals, and more. These “liquid time capsules” carried social, medicinal, and religious significance with far-reaching consequences for our species. McGovern describes nine extreme fermented beverages of our ancestors, including the Midas Touch from Turkey and the 9000-year-old Chateau Jiahu from Neolithic China, the earliest chemically identified alcoholic drink yet discovered. For the adventuresome, homebrew interpretations of the ancient drinks are provided, with matching meal recipes.

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🔑 AnthropologyArchaeology

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The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks’ Teeth to Frogs’ Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From

by Edward Dolnick, published in 2017

Why cracking the code of human conception took centuries of wild theories, misogynist blunders, and ludicrous mistakes 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.

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🔑 EmbryologyHistory of science

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4th Rock from the Sun: The Story of Mars

by Nicky Jenner, published in 2017

Mars is ingrained in our culture, from David Bowie's extra-terrestrial spiders to H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. The red planet has inspired hundreds of scientists, authors and filmmakers - but why? What is it about this particular planet that makes it so intriguing? Ancient mythologies defined Mars as a violent harbinger of war, and astrologers found meaning in the planet's dance through the sky. Stargazers puzzled over Mars's unfamiliar properties; some claimed to see canals criss-crossing its surface, while images from early spacecraft showed startling faced and pyramids carved out of rusty rock. Did Martians exist? If so, were they intelligent, civilised beings? We now have a better understanding of Mars: its red hue, small moons, atmosphere (or lack of it), and mysterious past. Robots have trundled across the planet's surface, beaming back astonishing views of the alien landscape and seeking clues on how it has evolved. While little green Martians are now firmly the preserve of literature, evidence is growing that the now arid, frozen planet was once warmer, wetter, and possibly thronging with microbial life. Soon, we may set food on the planet. What challenges are involved, and how are we preparing for them? Is there a future for humanity on Mars? In 4th Rock from the Sun, Nicky Jenner reviews Mars in its entirety, exploring its nature, attributes, potential as a human colony and impact on 3rd Rock-culture - everything you need to know about the Red Planet.

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🔑 AstrophysicsPlanetary Studies

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A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

by Jennifer Doudna, published in 2017

Jennifer Doudna, the world-famous scientist behind CRISPR, ‘one of the most monumental discoveries in biology’ (New York Times), explains its discovery, describes its power to reshape the future of all life and warns of its use. 'Urgent, riveting and endlessly fascinating, this book is destined to become an instant classic. Read it if you want to understand our biological future' Siddhartha Mukherjee 'In this wonderful book ... Doudna’s and Sternberg’s simple but compelling exploration of this hugely important subject offers and excellent overview of this startling and unprecedented discovery' Literary Review A handful of discoveries have changed the course of human history. This book is about the most recent and potentially the most powerful and dangerous of them all. It is an invention that allows us to rewrite the genetic code that shapes and controls all living beings with astonishing accuracy and ease. Thanks to it, the dreams of genetic manipulation have become a stark reality: the power to cure disease and alleviate suffering, to create new sources of food and energy, as well as to re-design any species, including humans, for our own ends. Jennifer Doudna is the co-inventor of this technology - known as CRISPR - and a scientist of worldwide renown. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, here she provides the definitive account of her discovery, explaining how this wondrous invention works and what it is capable of. She also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers? The future of humankind – and of all life on Earth – is at stake. This book is an essential guide to the path that now lies ahead. 'A scientific thriller and a gripping read by a brilliant scientist' Venki Ramakrishnan

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🔑 CRISPRGene EditingGenetic Engineering

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Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

by Sam Kean, published in 2017

** GUARDIAN SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 ** ‘Popular science at its best’ Mail on Sunday ‘Eminently accessible and enjoyable’ Observer With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds in the Roman Senate, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding. In fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might also bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. In Caesar’s Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe and across time to tell the epic story of the air we breathe.

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🔑 Atmospheric ScienceHistory of Scence

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Bugged: The Insects Who Rule the World and the People Obsessed with Them

by David MacNeal, published in 2017

"Creepy, beautiful, icky and amazing." —Penny Le Couteur, author of Napoleon's Button Insects have been shaping our ecological world and plant life for over 400 million years. In fact, our world is essentially run by bugs—there are 1.4 billion for every human on the planet. In Bugged, journalist David MacNeal takes us on an off-beat scientific journey that weaves together history, travel, and culture in order to define our relationship with these mini-monsters. MacNeal introduces a cast of bug-lovers—from a woman facilitating tarantula sex and an exterminator nursing bedbugs (on his own blood), to a kingpin of the black market insect trade and a “maggotologist”—who obsess over the crucial role insects play in our everyday lives. Just like bugs, this book is global in its scope, diversity, and intrigue. Hands-on with pet beetles in Japan, releasing lab-raised mosquitoes in Brazil, beekeeping on a Greek island, or using urine and antlers as means of ancient pest control, MacNeal’s quest appeals to the squeamish and brave alike. Demonstrating insects’ amazingly complex mechanics, he strings together varied interactions we humans have with them, like extermination, epidemics, and biomimicry. And, when the journey comes to an end, MacNeal examines their commercial role in our world in an effort to help us ultimately cherish (and maybe even eat) bugs.

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🔑 Entomology

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Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder—A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science

by James Mahaffey, published in 2017

The latest investigation from acclaimed nuclear engineer and author James Mahaffey unearths forgotten nuclear endeavors throughout history that were sometimes hair-brained, often risky, and always fascinating. Whether you are a scientist or a poet, pro-nuclear energy or staunch opponent, conspiracy theorist or pragmatist, James Mahaffey's books have served to open up the world of nuclear science like never before. With clear explanations of some of the most complex scientific endeavors in history, Mahaffey's new book looks back at the atom's wild, secretive past and then toward its potentially bright future. Mahaffey unearths lost reactors on far flung Pacific islands and trees that were exposed to active fission that changed gender or bloomed in the dead of winter. He explains why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear aircraft and why cold fusion doesn't exist. And who knew that radiation counting was once a fashionable trend? Though parts of the nuclear history might seem like a fiction mash-up, where cowboys somehow got a hold of a reactor, Mahaffey's vivid prose holds the reader in thrall of the infectious energy of scientific curiosity and ingenuity that may one day hold the key to solving our energy crisis or sending us to Mars.

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🔑 Nuclear History

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The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides

by Mariano Sigman, published in 2017

• Where do our thoughts come from? • How can we manipulate our dreams? • What is the role of the unconscious? • How do we make choices and trust the judgement of both others and ourselves? These are some of the questions in this groundbreaking, personal and comprehensive guide into understanding our thoughts.

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🔑 NeurosciencePsychology

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The Women of the Moon: Tales of Science, Love, Sorrow, and Courage

by Daniel R. Altschuler, published in 2019

Of the 1586 lunar craters that have been named to honour scientists and philosophers, only 28 honor a woman. Who were these women? What has happened to make women

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In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids

by Travis Rieder, published in 2019

A bioethicist’s eloquent and riveting memoir of opioid dependence and withdrawal—a harrowing personal reckoning and clarion call for change not only for government but medicine itself, revealing the lack of crucial resources and structures to handle this insidious nationwide epidemic. Travis Rieder’s terrifying journey down the rabbit hole of opioid dependence began with a motorcycle accident in 2015. Enduring half a dozen surgeries, the drugs he received were both miraculous and essential to his recovery. But his most profound suffering came several months later when he went into acute opioid withdrawal while following his physician’s orders. Over the course of four excruciating weeks, Rieder learned what it means to be “dope sick”—the physical and mental agony caused by opioid dependence. Clueless how to manage his opioid taper, Travis’s doctors suggested he go back on the drugs and try again later. Yet returning to pills out of fear of withdrawal is one route to full-blown addiction. Instead, Rieder continued the painful process of weaning himself. Rieder’s experience exposes a dark secret of American pain management: a healthcare system so conflicted about opioids, and so inept at managing them, that the crisis currently facing us is both unsurprising and inevitable. As he recounts his story, Rieder provides a fascinating look at the history of these drugs first invented in the 1800s, changing attitudes about pain management over the following decades, and the implementation of the pain scale at the beginning of the twenty-first century. He explores both the science of addiction and the systemic and cultural barriers we must overcome if we are to address the problem effectively in the contemporary American healthcare system. In Pain is not only a gripping personal account of dependence, but a groundbreaking exploration of the intractable causes of America’s opioid problem and their implications for resolving the crisis. Rieder makes clear that the opioid crisis exists against a backdrop of real, debilitating pain—and that anyone can fall victim to this epidemic.

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Are We There Yet? The American Automobile Past, Present, and Driverless

by Daniel Albert, published in 2019

Tech giants and automakers have been teaching robots to drive.

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Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything

by Robert Hazen, published in 2019

An enchanting biography of the most resonant – and most necessary – chemical element on Earth.

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🔑 Chemistry

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The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future

by Jon Gertner, published in 2019

Greenland: a remote, mysterious, ice-covered rock with a population of just 56,000, has evolved from one of earth’s last physical frontiers to its largest scientific laboratory. Locked within that vast ‘white desert’ are some of our planet’s most profound secrets. As the Arctic climate warms, and Greenland’s ice melts at an accelerating rate, the island is evolving into an economic and climatological hub, on which the future of the world turns. Journalist and historian Jon Gertner reconstructs in vivid, thrilling detail the heroic efforts of the scientists and explorers who have visited Greenland over the past 150 years – on skis, sleds, and now with planes and satellites, utilising every tool available to uncover the pressing secrets revealed by the ice before, thanks to climate change, it’s too late. This is a story of epic adventures, populated by a colourful cast of scientists racing to get a handle on what will become of Greenland’s ice and, ultimately, the world.

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Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants

by Jacob Shell, published in 2019

“No one who loves elephants or how humans interact with wildlife should pass up Jacob Shell’s remarkable book.” —Dan Flores, author of Coyote America Giants of the Monsoon Forest journeys deep into the mountainous rainforests of Burma and India to explore the world of teak logging elephants and their intriguing alliance with humans. Jacob Shell’s narrative vividly depicts elephants’ extraordinary intelligence, and the complicated bond with individual human riders, a partnership that can last for decades. Giants of the Monsoon Forest reveals an unexpected relationship between evolution in the natural world and political struggles in the human one, while considering how Asia’s secret forest culture might offer a way to help protect the fragile spaces both elephants and humans need to survive.

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🔑 Conservation

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Bedeviled: A Shadow History of Demons in Science

by Jimena Canales, published in 2020

How scientists through the ages have conducted thought experiments using imaginary entities—demons—to test the laws of nature and push the frontiers of what is possible Science may be known for banishing the demons of superstition from the modern world. Yet just as the demon-haunted world was being exorcized by the enlightening power of reason, a new kind of demon mischievously materialized in the scientific imagination itself. Scientists began to employ hypothetical beings to perform certain roles in thought experiments—experiments that can only be done in the imagination—and these impish assistants helped scientists achieve major breakthroughs that pushed forward the frontiers of science and technology. Spanning four centuries of discovery—from René Descartes, whose demon could hijack sensorial reality, to James Clerk Maxwell, whose molecular-sized demon deftly broke the second law of thermodynamics, to Darwin, Einstein, Feynman, and beyond—Jimena Canales tells a shadow history of science and the demons that bedevil it. She reveals how the greatest scientific thinkers used demons to explore problems, test the limits of what is possible, and better understand nature. Their imaginary familiars helped unlock the secrets of entropy, heredity, relativity, quantum mechanics, and other scientific wonders—and continue to inspire breakthroughs in the realms of computer science, artificial intelligence, and economics today. The world may no longer be haunted as it once was, but the demons of the scientific imagination are alive and well, continuing to play a vital role in scientists' efforts to explore the unknown and make the impossible real.

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Against Method

by Paul Feyerabend, published in 1993

Modern philosophy of science has paid great attention to the understanding of scientific 'practice', in contrast to concentration on scientific 'method'. Paul Feyerabend's acclaimed work, which has contributed greatly to this new emphasis, shows the deficiencies of some widespread ideas about the nature of knowledge. He argues that the only feasible explanations of scientific successes are historical explanations, and that anarchism must now replace rationalism in the theory of knowledge. The third edition of this classic text contains a new preface and additional reflections at various points in which the author takes account both of recent debates on science and on the impact of scientific products and practices on the human community. While disavowing populism or relativism, Feyerabend continues to insist that the voice of the inexpert must be heard. Thus many environmental perils were first identified by non-experts against prevailing assumptions in the scientific community. Feyerabend's challenging reassessment of scientific claims and understandings are as pungent and timely as ever.

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Rebels, Scholars, Explorers: Women in Vertebrate Paleontology

by Annalisa Berta, published in 2020

Illuminating the discoveries, collections, and studies of fossil vertebrates conducted by women in vertebrate paleontology, Rebels, Scholars, Explorers will be on every paleontologist's most-wanted list and should find a broader audience in the burgeoning sector of readers from all backgrounds eager to learn about women in the sciences.

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Wikipedia @ 20: Stories of an Incomplete Revoluton

by Joseph Reagle, published in 2020

"Founders, contributors, scholars, teachers, and students reflect on Wikipedia's first 20 years"--

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Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine

by Michael Brenner, published in 2020

Based on the popular Harvard University and edX course, Science and Cooking explores the scientific basis of why recipes work. The spectacular culinary creations of modern cuisine are the stuff of countless articles and social media feeds. But to a scientist they are also perfect pedagogical explorations into the basic scientific principles of cooking. In Science and Cooking, Harvard professors Michael Brenner, Pia Sörensen, and David Weitz bring the classroom to your kitchen to teach the physics and chemistry underlying every recipe. Why do we knead bread? What determines the temperature at which we cook a steak, or the amount of time our chocolate chip cookies spend in the oven? Science and Cooking answers these questions and more through hands-on experiments and recipes from renowned chefs such as Christina Tosi, Joanne Chang, and Wylie Dufresne, all beautifully illustrated in full color. With engaging introductions from revolutionary chefs and collaborators Ferran Adria and José Andrés, Science and Cooking will change the way you approach both subjects—in your kitchen and beyond.

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Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World's Oceans

by Deborah Rowan Wright, published in 2020

The world’s oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Confronted with the immensity of these challenges and of the oceans themselves, we might wonder what more can be done to stop their decline and better protect the sea and marine life. Such widespread environmental threats call for a simple but significant shift in reasoning to bring about long-overdue, elemental change in the way we use ocean resources. In Future Sea, ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright provides the tools for that shift. Questioning the underlying philosophy of established ocean conservation approaches, Rowan Wright lays out a radical alternative: a bold and far-reaching strategy of 100 percent ocean protection that would put an end to destructive industrial activities, better safeguard marine biodiversity, and enable ocean wildlife to return and thrive along coasts and in seas around the globe. Future Sea is essentially concerned with the solutions and not the problems. Rowan Wright shines a light on existing international laws intended to keep marine environments safe that could underpin this new strategy. She gathers inspiring stories of communities and countries using ocean resources wisely, as well as of successful conservation projects, to build up a cautiously optimistic picture of the future for our oceans—counteracting all-too-prevalent reports of doom and gloom. A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, Future Sea not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife.

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Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

by Rebecca Wragg Sykes, published in 2020

'Beautiful, evocative, authoritative.' Professor Brian Cox 'Important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity.' Yuval Noah Harari Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals. Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins.Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside clichés of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them to be curious, clever connoisseurs of their world, technologically inventive and ecologically adaptable. Above all, they were successful survivors for more than 300,000 years, during times of massive climatic upheaval. Much of what defines us was also in Neanderthals, and their DNA is still inside us. Planning, co-operation, altruism, craftsmanship, aesthetic sense, imagination, perhaps even a desire for transcendence beyond mortality. Kindred does for Neanderthals what Sapiens did for us, revealing a deeper, more nuanced story where humanity itself is our ancient, shared inheritance.

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The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again

by Robert D. Putnam, published in 2020

An eminent political scientist’s brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation—from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids. Deep and accelerating inequality; unprecedented political polarization; vitriolic public discourse; a fraying social fabric; public and private narcissism—Americans today seem to agree on only one thing: This is the worst of times. But we’ve been here before. During the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarized, and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However as the twentieth century opened, America became—slowly, unevenly, but steadily—more egalitarian, more cooperative, more generous; a society on the upswing, more focused on our responsibilities to one another and less focused on our narrower self-interest. Sometime during the 1960s, however, these trends reversed, leaving us in today’s disarray. In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Robert Putnam analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. He draws inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting us on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. Engaging, revelatory, and timely, this is Putnam’s most ambitious work yet, a fitting capstone to a brilliant career.

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Wall Disease: The Psychological Toll of Living Up Against a Border

by Jessica Wapner, published in 2020

We build border walls to keep danger out. But do we understand the danger posed by walls themselves? East Germans were the first to give the crisis a name: Mauerkrankheit, or “wall disease.” The afflicted—everyday citizens living on both sides of the Berlin wall—displayed some combination of depression, anxiety, excitability, suicidal ideation, and paranoia. The Berlin Wall is no more, but today there are at least seventy policed borders like it. What are they doing to our minds? Jessica Wapner investigates, following a trail of psychological harm around the world. In Brownsville, Texas, the hotly contested US-Mexico border wall instills more feelings of fear than of safety. And in eastern Europe, a Georgian grandfather pines for his homeland—cut off from his daughters, his baker, and his bank by the arbitrary path of a razor-wire fence built in 2013. Even in borderlands riven by conflict, the same walls that once offered relief become enduring reminders of trauma and helplessness. Our brains, Wapner writes, devote “border cells” to where we can and cannot go safely—so, a wall that goes up in our town also goes up in our minds. Weaving together interviews with those living up against walls and expert testimonies from geographers, scientists, psychologists, and other specialists, she explores the growing epidemic of wall disease—and illuminates how neither those “outside” nor “inside” are immune.

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The Sediments of Time: My Lifelong Search for the Past

by Meave Leakey, published in 2020

Meave Leakey's thrilling, high-stakes memoir--written with her daughter Samira--encapsulates her distinguished life and career on the front lines of the hunt for our human origins, a quest made all the more notable by her stature as a woman in a highly competitive, male-dominated field.

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Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots

by Kate Devlin, published in 2018

'Illuminating, witty and written with a wide open mind' Sunday Times The idea of the seductive sex robot is the stuff of myth, legend and science fiction. From the myth of Laodamia in Ancient Greece to twenty-first century shows such as Westworld, robots in human form have captured our imagination, our hopes and our fears. But beyond the fantasies there are real and fundamental questions about our relationship with technology as it moves into the realm of robotics. Turned On explores how the emerging and future development of sexual companion robots might affect us and the society in which we live. It explores the social changes arising from emerging technologies, and our relationships with the machines that someday may care for us and about us. Sex robots are here, and here to stay, and more are coming. Computer scientist and sex-robot expert Kate Devlin is our guide as we seek to understand how this technology is developing. From robots in Greek myth and the fantastical automata of the Middle Ages through to the sentient machines of the future that embody the prominent AI debate, she explores the 'modern' robot versus the robot servants we were promised by twentieth century sci-fi, and delves into the psychological effects of the technology, and issues raised around gender politics, diversity, surveillance and violence. This book answers all the questions you've ever had about sex robots, as well as all the ones you haven't yet thought of.

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🔑 Computer science

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The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer

by Charles Graeber, published in 2018

New York Times bestselling author Charles Graeber tells the astonishing story of the group of scientists working on a code that can enable the human immune system to fight — and perhaps even cure — cancer. For decades, scientists have puzzled over one of medicine’s greatest mysteries: why doesn’t our immune system fight cancer the way it does other diseases? The answer is a series of tricks that cancer has developed to turn off normal immune responses — tricks that scientists have only recently discovered, and now are learning to defeat. We are in the midst of a revolution in our understanding of cancer and how to beat it. Groundbreaking, riveting, and expertly told, The Breakthrough is the story of the game-changing and Nobel Prize-winning scientific discoveries that unleash our natural ability to recognise and defeat cancer, as told through the experiences of the patients, physicians, and immunotherapy researchers who are on the front lines. This is the incredible true story of the race to find a cure, and the definitive account of a historic moment in medical science.

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🔑 Health and MedicineImmunology

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The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success

by Albert-László Barabási, published in 2018

In the bestselling tradition of Malcom Gladwell, James Gleick, and Nate Silver, prominent professor László Barabási gives us a trailblazing book that promises to transform the very foundations of how our success-obsessed society approaches their professional careers, life pursuits and long-term goals. Too often, accomplishment does not equal success. We did the work but didn't get the promotion; we played hard but weren't recognized; we had the idea but didn't get the credit. We convince ourselves that talent combined with a strong work ethic is the key to getting ahead, but also realize that combination often fails to yield results, without any deeper understanding as to why. Recognizing this striking disconnect, the author, along with a team of renowned researchers and some of the most advanced data-crunching systems on the planet, dedicated themselves to one goal: uncovering that ever-elusive link between performance and success. Now, based on years of academic research, The Formula finally unveils the groundbreaking discoveries of their pioneering study, not only highlighting the scientific and mathematic principles that underpin success, but also revolutionizing our understanding of: Why performance is necessary but not adequate Why "Experts" are often wrong How to assemble a creative team primed for success How to most effectively engage our networks "This is not just an important but an imperative project: to approach the problem of randomness and success using the state of the art scientific arsenal we have. Barabasi is the person."-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the New York Times bestselling The Black Swan and Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at NYU

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🔑 Social Science

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Einstein's Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable

by Seth Fletcher, published in 2018

A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE Einstein’s Shadow follows a team of elite scientists on their historic mission to take the first picture of a black hole, putting Einstein’s theory of relativity to its ultimate test and helping to answer our deepest questions about space, time, the origins of the universe, and the nature of reality Photographing a black hole sounds impossible, a contradiction in terms. But Shep Doeleman and a global coalition of scientists are on the cusp of doing just that. With exclusive access to the team, journalist Seth Fletcher spent five years following Shep and an extraordinary cast of characters as they assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a virtual radio observatory the size of the Earth. He witnessed their struggles, setbacks, and breakthroughs, and along the way, he explored the latest thinking on the most profound questions about black holes. Do they represent a limit to our ability to understand reality? Or will they reveal the clues that lead to the long-sought Theory of Everything? Fletcher transforms astrophysics into something exciting, accessible, and immediate, taking us on an incredible adventure to better understand the complexity of our galaxy, the boundaries of human perception and knowledge, and how the messy human endeavor of science really works. Weaving a compelling narrative account of human ingenuity with excursions into cutting-edge science, Einstein’s Shadow is a tale of great minds on a mission to change the way we understand our universe—and our place in it.

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🔑 Astrophysics

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Rewilding: Giving Nature a Second Chance

by Love, published in 2017

It's not too late! The natural world may be ailing, but it can still be healed.

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🔑 Conservation

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Light Waves

by Julia Garstecki, published in 2020

You see your shadow outside on a sunny day. A rainbow appears in the sky after a storm. Light waves are all around us, even when it's dark. With engaging, at-level text and colorful images, readers will learn about light waves and how we use them every day.

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🔑 Optics

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Living Things and Nonliving Things: A Compare and Contrast Book

by Kevin Kurtz, published in 2017

Using a wide variety of stunning photographs, author Kevin Kurtz poses thought-provoking questions to help readers determine if things are living or nonliving. For example, if most (but not all) living things can move, can any nonliving things move? As part of the Compare and Contrast series, this is a unique look at determining whether something is living or nonliving. This nonfiction picture book with a cuddle factor includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. Living Things and Nonliving Things is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension. Tap animals and other things that make noise to hear their sounds.

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🔑 Biology

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Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth

by Nicola Davies, published in 2017

The more we study the world around us, the more living things we discover every day. The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one including us is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one?--

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🔑 Biodiversity

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Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to Do with Your Canine Companion

by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen, published in 2018

Offers twenty-two dog-friendly activities that demonstrate different properties of a dog's habits and behavior, including how they move, drink, stay warm, and get clean.

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🔑 Animal Biology

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Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

by Alan Stern, published in 2018

Called "spellbinding" (Scientific American) and "thrilling...a future classic of popular science" (PW), the up close, inside story of the greatest space exploration project of our time, New Horizons’ mission to Pluto, as shared with David Grinspoon by mission leader Alan Stern and other key players. On July 14, 2015, something amazing happened. More than 3 billion miles from Earth, a small NASA spacecraft called New Horizons screamed past Pluto at more than 32,000 miles per hour, focusing its instruments on the long mysterious icy worlds of the Pluto system, and then, just as quickly, continued on its journey out into the beyond. Nothing like this has occurred in a generation—a raw exploration of new worlds unparalleled since NASA’s Voyager missions to Uranus and Neptune—and nothing quite like it is planned to happen ever again. The photos that New Horizons sent back to Earth graced the front pages of newspapers on all 7 continents, and NASA’s website for the mission received more than 2 billion hits in the days surrounding the flyby. At a time when so many think that our most historic achievements are in the past, the most distant planetary exploration ever attempted not only succeeded in 2015 but made history and captured the world’s imagination. How did this happen? Chasing New Horizons is the story of the men and women behind this amazing mission: of their decades-long commitment and persistence; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission; and of the plans for New Horizons’ next encounter, 1 billion miles past Pluto in 2019. Told from the insider’s perspective of mission leader Dr. Alan Stern and others on New Horizons, and including two stunning 16-page full-color inserts of images, Chasing New Horizons is a riveting account of scientific discovery, and of how much we humans can achieve when people focused on a dream work together toward their incredible goal.

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🔑 Astronomy

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Bradbury Beyond Apollo

by Jonathan R. Eller, published in 2020

Celebrated storyteller, cultural commentator, friend of astronauts, prophet of the Space Age—by the end of the 1960s, Ray Bradbury had attained a level of fame and success rarely achieved by authors, let alone authors of science fiction and fantasy. He had also embarked on a phase of his career that found him exploring new creative outlets while reinterpreting his classic tales for generations of new fans. Drawing on numerous interviews with Bradbury and privileged access to personal papers and private collections, Jonathan R. Eller examines the often-overlooked second half of Bradbury's working life. As Bradbury's dreams took him into a wider range of nonfiction writing and public lectures, the diminishing time that remained for creative pursuits went toward Hollywood productions like the award-winning series Ray Bradbury Theater. Bradbury developed the Spaceship Earth narration at Disney's EPCOT Center; appeared everywhere from public television to NASA events to comic conventions; published poetry; and mined past triumphs for stage productions that enjoyed mixed success. Distracted from storytelling as he became more famous, Bradbury nonetheless published innovative experiments in autobiography masked as detective novels, the well-received fantasy The Halloween Tree and the masterful time travel story "The Toynbee Convector." Yet his embrace of celebrity was often at odds with his passion for writing, and the resulting tension continuously pulled at his sense of self. The revelatory conclusion to the acclaimed three-part biography, Bradbury Beyond Apollo tells the story of an inexhaustible creative force seeking new frontiers.

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Shortcircuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States

by Leah Cardamore Stokes, published in 2020

"Short Circuiting Policy examines clean energy policies to understand why US states are not on track to meet the climate crisis. After two decades of leadership, American states are slipping in their commitment to transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels towards cleaner energy sources, including wind and solar. I argue that organized combat between advocate and opponent interest groups is central to explaining why US states have stopped expanding and even started weakening their renewable energy policies. Fossil fuel companies and electric utilities played a key role in spreading climate denial. Now, they have turned to climate delay, working to block clean energy policies from passing or being implemented, and driving retrenchment. Clean energy advocates typically lack sufficient power to overcome electric utilities' opposition to climate policy. Short Circuiting Policy builds on policy feedback theory, showing the conditions under which retrenchment is more likely. Depending on their relative political influence, interest groups will work to drive retrenchment either directly by working with legislators, their staff and regulators; or, indirectly through the parties, the public and the courts. I also argue that policies likely effects are not easy to predict-an effect I term "the fog of enactment." But overtime, federated interest groups can learn to anticipate policies' consequences through networks that cross states-lines. Examining US energy policy over the past century, and Texas, Kansas, Arizona and Ohio's clean energy laws over the past two decades, I show how opponents have thwarted progress on climate policy"--

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A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of J.B.S. Haldane

by Samanth Subramanian, published in 2020

'A wonderful book about one of the most important, brilliant and flawed scientists of the 20th century.' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads J.B.S. Haldane's life was rich and strange, never short on genius, never lacking for drama. He is best remembered as a geneticist who revolutionized our understanding of evolution, but his peers thought him a polymath; one student called him 'the last man who knew all there was to be known'. Beginning in the 1930s, Haldane was also a staunch Communist - a stance that enhanced his public profile, led him into trouble, and even drew suspicions that he was spying for the Soviets. He wrote copiously on science and politics for the layman, in newspapers and magazines, and he gave speeches in town halls and on the radio, all of which made him, in his day, as famous in Britain as Einstein. Arthur C. Clarke called Haldane 'the most brilliant science popularizer of his generation'. He frequently narrated aspects of his life: of his childhood, as the son of a famous scientist; of his time in the trenches in the First World War and in Spain during the Civil War; of his experiments upon himself; of his secret research for the British Admiralty; of his final move to India, in 1957. A Dominant Character unpacks Haldane's boisterous life in detail, and it examines the questions he raised about the intersections of genetics and politics - questions that resonate all the more strongly today.

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The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)

by Katie Mack, published in 2020

From one of the most dynamic rising stars in astrophysics, an eye-opening look at five ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important ideas in cosmology We know the universe had a beginning. But what happens at the end of the story? With lively wit and wry humour, astrophysicist Katie Mack takes us on a mind-bending tour through each of the cosmos' possible finales: the Big Crunch, Heat Death, Vacuum Decay, the Big Rip and the Bounce. Guiding us through major concepts in quantum mechanics, cosmology, string theory and much more, she describes how small tweaks to our incomplete understanding of reality can result in starkly different futures. Our universe could collapse in upon itself, or rip itself apart, or even - in the next five minutes - succumb to an inescapable expanding bubble of doom. This captivating story of cosmic escapism examines a mesmerizing yet unfamiliar physics landscape while sharing the excitement a leading astrophysicist feels when thinking about the universe and our place in it. Amid stellar explosions and bouncing universes, Mack shows that even though we puny humans have no chance of changing how it all ends, we can at least begin to understand it. The End of Everything is a wildly fun, surprisingly upbeat ride to the farthest reaches of all that we know.

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Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity from Darwin to the Anthropocene

by David Sepkoski, published in 2020

Introduction: Why Extinction Matters -- The Meaning of Extinction: Catastrophe, Equilibrium, and Diversity -- Extinction in a Victorian Key -- Catastrophe and Modernity -- Extinction in the Shadow of the Bomb -- The Asteroid and the Dinosaur -- A Sixth Extinction? The Making of a Biodiversity Crisis -- Epilogue: Extinction in the Anthropocene.

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Smellosophy: What the Nose Tells the Mind

by A. S. Barwich, published in 2020

A pioneering exploration of olfaction that upsets settled notions of how the brain translates sensory information. Decades of cognition research have shown that external stimuli "spark" neural patterns in particular regions of the brain. This has fostered a view of the brain as a space that we can map: here the brain responds to faces, there it perceives a sensation in your left hand. But it turns out that the sense of smell--only recently attracting broader attention in neuroscience--doesn't work this way. A. S. Barwich asks a deceptively simple question: What does the nose tell the brain, and how does the brain understand it? Barwich interviews experts in neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, and perfumery in an effort to understand the biological mechanics and myriad meanings of odors. She argues that it is time to stop recycling ideas based on the paradigm of vision for the olfactory system. Scents are often fickle and boundless in comparison with visual images, and they do not line up with well-defined neural regions. Although olfaction remains a puzzle, Barwich proposes that what we know suggests the brain acts not only like a map but also as a measuring device, one that senses and processes simple and complex odors. Accounting for the sense of smell upsets theories of perception philosophers have developed. In their place, Smellosophy articulates a new model for understanding how the brain represents sensory information.

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The Sensitives: The Rise of Environmental Illness and the Search for America's Last Pure Place

by Oliver Broudy, published in 2020

A compelling exploration of the mysteries of environmental toxicity and the community of “sensitives”—people with powerful, puzzling symptoms resulting from exposure to chemicals, fragrances, and cell phone signals, that have no effect on “normals.” They call themselves “sensitives.” Over fifty million Americans endure a mysterious environmental illness that renders them allergic to chemicals. Innocuous staples from deodorant to garbage bags wreak havoc on sensitives. For them, the enemy is modernity itself. No one is born with EI. It often starts with a single toxic exposure. Then the symptoms hit: extreme fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches, inability to tolerate certain foods. With over 85,000 chemicals in the environment, danger lurks around every corner. Largely ignored by the medical establishment and dismissed by family and friends, sensitives often resort to odd ersatz remedies, like lining their walls with aluminum foil or hanging mail on a clothesline for days so it can “off-gas” before they open it. Broudy encounters Brian Welsh, a prominent figure in the EI community, and quickly becomes fascinated by his plight. When Brian goes missing, Broudy travels with James, an eager, trusting sensitive to find Brian, investigate this disease, and delve into the intricate, ardent subculture that surrounds it. Their destination: Snowflake, the capital of the EI world. Located in eastern Arizona, it is a haven where sensitives can live openly without fear of toxins or the judgment of insensitive “normals.” While Broudy’s book is wry, pacey, and down-to-earth, it also dives deeply into compelling corners of medical and American history. He finds telling parallels between sensitives and their cultural forebears, from the Puritans to those refugees and dreamers who settled the West. Ousted from mainstream society, these latter-day exiles nonetheless shed bright light on the anxious, noxious world we all inhabit now.

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Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution

by P. W. Singer, published in 2020

An FBI agent hunts a new kind of terrorist through a Washington, DC, of the future in this groundbreaking book - at once a gripping technothriller and a fact-based tour of tomorrow America is on the brink of a revolution, one both technological and political. The science fiction of AI and robotics has finally come true, but millions are angry and fearful that the future has left them behind. After narrowly stopping a bombing at Washington’s Union Station, FBI Special Agent Lara Keegan receives a new assignment: to field-test an advanced police robot. As a series of shocking catastrophes unfolds, the two find themselves investigating a conspiracy whose mastermind is using cutting-edge tech to rip the nation apart. To stop this new breed of terrorist, their only hope is to forge a new type of partnership. Burn-In is especially chilling because it is something more than a pulse-pounding read: every tech, trend, and scene is drawn from real world research on the ways that our politics, our economy, and even our family lives will soon be transformed. Blending a techno-thriller’s excitement with nonfiction’s insight, Singer and Cole illuminate the darkest corners of the world soon to come.

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A Natural History of Color

by Victoria Finlay, published in 2007

In this vivid and captivating journey through the colors of an artist’s palette, Victoria Finlay takes us on an enthralling adventure around the world and through the ages, illuminating how the colors we choose to value have determined the history of culture itself. How did the most precious color blue travel all the way from remote lapis mines in Afghanistan to Michelangelo’s brush? What is the connection between brown paint and ancient Egyptian mummies? Why did Robin Hood wear Lincoln green? In Color, Finlay explores the physical materials that color our world, such as precious minerals and insect blood, as well as the social and political meanings that color has carried through time. Roman emperors used to wear togas dyed with a purple color that was made from an odorous Lebanese shellfish–which probably meant their scent preceded them. In the eighteenth century, black dye was called logwood and grew along the Spanish Main. Some of the first indigo plantations were started in America, amazingly enough, by a seventeen-year-old girl named Eliza. And the popular van Gogh painting White Roses at Washington’s National Gallery had to be renamed after a researcher discovered that the flowers were originally done in a pink paint that had faded nearly a century ago. Color is full of extraordinary people, events, and anecdotes–painted all the more dazzling by Finlay’s engaging style. Embark upon a thrilling adventure with this intrepid journalist as she travels on a donkey along ancient silk trade routes; with the Phoenicians sailing the Mediterranean in search of a special purple shell that garners wealth, sustenance, and prestige; with modern Chilean farmers breeding and bleeding insects for their viscous red blood. The colors that craft our world have never looked so bright. From the Hardcover edition.

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The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society

by William R. Kerr, published in 2021

The race for global talent is on, but it often gets bogged down in the thorny policy debate on immigration. While the U.S. has been the top destination for the world's star workforce, its future position is uncertain. William R. Kerr examines popular ideas that have taken hold and synthesizes economic research across academic silos to give voice to data that should drive the next wave of policies on high-skilled migration.

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🔑 Science and Society

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Red Moon

by M.a. Grant, published in 2013

Dark, moving and original, a story of family, survival, and getting on with life... Flynn Sinclair understands pack loyalty – for years as his Alpha father's enforcer, he has done things in the name of duty that he can't ever forget. But the vast expanse of Alaska offers him a peace he's never known. Alone, removed from pack life, he can focus on his research and try to forget his life before. But duty has a way of inviting itself in, and Flynn finds himself doing two reckless things in one week: leaving the safety of Alaska to save his brother Connor's life, and unwittingly falling in love with Evie Thompson, a woman who doesn't deserve to be drawn into his terrifying world. Connor carries news of their father's descent into madness, and it looks like neither geography nor Flynn's attempts at disengagement will put off a confrontation. Flynn had finally begun to believe that he might deserve something good in his life – something like Evie – but to move forward in the light, he must first reconcile with the dark.

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🔑 Political scienceScience Fiction

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Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication

by Thomas Abraham, published in 2018

In 1988, the World Health Organization launched a twelve-year campaign to wipe out polio. Thirty years and several billion dollars over budget later, the campaign grinds on, vaccinating millions of children and hoping that each new year might see an end to the disease. But success remains elusive, against a surprisingly resilient virus, an unexpectedly weak vaccine and the vagaries of global politics, meeting with indifference from governments and populations alike. How did an innocuous campaign to rid the world of a crippling disease become a hostage of geopolitics? Why do parents refuse to vaccinate their children against polio? And why have poorly paid door-to-door healthworkers been assassinated? Thomas Abraham reports on the ground in search of answers.

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🔑 Infectious DiseasePublic Health

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Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology

by Adrienne Mayor, published in 2020

Traces the story of how ancient cultures envisioned artificial life, automata, self-moving devices and human enhancements, sharing insights into how the mythologies of the past related to and shaped ancient machine innovations.

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🔑 Artificial intelligenceLiteratureRobotics

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Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat

by Marion Nestle, published in 2018

A James Beard Award-winner and the author of What to Eat and Soda Politics, leading nutritionist Marion Nestle exposes how the food industry corrupts scientific research for profit. Is chocolate heart-healthy? Does yogurt prevent type 2 diabetes? Do pomegranates help cheat death? News accounts bombard us with such amazing claims, report them as science, and influence what we eat. Yet, as Marion Nestle explains, these studies are more about marketing than science; they are often paid for by companies that sell those foods. Whether it's a Coca-Cola-backed study hailing light exercise as a calorie neutralizer, or blueberry-sponsored investigators proclaiming that this fruit prevents erectile dysfunction, every corner of the food industry knows how to turn conflicted research into big profit. As Nestle argues, it's time to put public health first. Written with unmatched rigor and insight, Unsavory Truth reveals how the food industry manipulates nutrition science -- and suggests what we can do about it.

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🔑 Food ScienceNutrition

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How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions

by Damon Centola, published in 2020

A new, counterintuitive theory for how social networks influence the spread of behavior New social movements, technologies, and public-health initiatives often struggle to take off, yet many diseases disperse rapidly without issue. Can the lessons learned from the viral diffusion of diseases improve the spread of beneficial behaviors and innovations? How Behavior Spreads presents over a decade of original research examining how changes in societal behavior—in voting, health, technology, and finance—occur and the ways social networks can be used to influence how they propagate. Damon Centola's startling findings show that the same conditions that accelerate the viral expansion of an epidemic unexpectedly inhibit the spread of behaviors. How Behavior Spreads is a must-read for anyone interested in how the theory of social networks can transform our world.

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You: A Natural History

by William B. Irvine, published in 2018

What are you? Obviously, you are a person with human ancestors that can be plotted on a family tree, but you have other identities as well. According to evolutionary biologists, you are a member of the species Homo sapiens and as such have ancestral species that can be plotted on the tree of life. According to microbiologists, you are a collection of cells, each of which has a cellular ancestry that goes back billions of years. A geneticist, though, will think of you primarily as a gene-replication machine and might produce a tree that reveals the history of any given gene. And finally, a physicist will give a rather different answer to the identity question: you can best be understood as a collection of atoms, each of which has a very long history. Some have been around since the Big Bang, and others are the result of nuclear fusion that took place within a star. Not only that, but most of your atoms belonged to other living things before joining you. From your atoms' point of view, then, you are just a way station on a multibillion-year-long journey. You: A Natural History offers a multidisciplinary investigation of your hyperextended family tree, going all the way back to the Big Bang. And while your family tree may contain surprises, your hyperextended history contains some truly amazing stories. As the result of learning more about who and what you are, and about how you came to be here, you will likely see the world around you with fresh eyes. You will also become aware of all the one-off events that had to take place for your existence to be possible: stars had to explode, the earth had to be hit 4.5 billion years ago by a planetesimal and 65 million years ago by an asteroid, microbes had to engulf microbes, the African savanna had to undergo climate change, and of course, any number of your direct ancestors had to meet and mate. It is difficult, on becoming aware of just how contingent your own existence is, not to feel very lucky to be part of our universe.

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🔑 EvolutionHuman Origins

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Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood

by Rose George, published in 2019

An eye-opening exploration of blood, the lifegiving substance with the power of taboo, the value of diamonds and the promise of breakthrough science Blood carries life, yet the sight of it makes people faint. It is a waste product and a commodity pricier than oil. It can save lives and transmit deadly infections. Each one of us has roughly nine pints of it, yet many don’t even know their own blood type. And for all its ubiquitousness, the few tablespoons of blood discharged by 800 million women are still regarded as taboo: menstruation is perhaps the single most demonized biological event. Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, is renowned for her intrepid work on topics that are invisible but vitally important. In Nine Pints, she takes us from ancient practices of bloodletting to the breakthough of the "liquid biopsy," which promises to diagnose cancer and other diseases with a simple blood test. She introduces Janet Vaughan, who set up the world’s first system of mass blood donation during the Blitz, and Arunachalam Muruganantham, known as “Menstrual Man” for his work on sanitary pads for developing countries. She probes the lucrative business of plasma transfusions, in which the US is known as the “OPEC of plasma.” And she looks to the future, as researchers seek to bring synthetic blood to a hospital near you. Spanning science and politics, stories and global epidemics, Nine Pints reveals our life's blood in an entirely new light.

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🔑 Health and Medicine

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Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking

by Rachel Love Nuwer, published in 2018

An intrepid investigation of the criminal world of wildlife trafficking--the poachers, the traders, and the customers--and of those fighting against it Journalist Rachel Nuwer plunges the reader into the underground of global wildlife trafficking, a topic she has been investigating for nearly a decade. Our insatiable demand for animals -- for jewelry, pets, medicine, meat, trophies, and fur -- is driving a worldwide poaching epidemic, threatening the continued existence of countless species. Illegal wildlife trade now ranks among the largest contraband industries in the world, yet compared to drug, arms, or human trafficking, the wildlife crisis has received scant attention and support, leaving it up to passionate individuals fighting on the ground to try to ensure that elephants, tigers, rhinos, and more are still around for future generations. As Reefer Madness (Schlosser) took us into the drug market, or Susan Orlean descended into the swampy obsessions of TheOrchid Thief, Nuwer--an award-winning science journalist with a background in ecology--takes readers on a narrative journey to the front lines of the trade: to killing fields in Africa, traditional medicine black markets in China, and wild meat restaurants in Vietnam. Through exhaustive first-hand reporting that took her to ten countries, Nuwer explores the forces currently driving demand for animals and their parts; the toll that demand is extracting on species across the planet; and the conservationists, rangers, and activists who believe it is not too late to stop the impending extinctions. More than a depressing list of statistics, Poached is the story of the people who believe this is a battle that can be won, that our animals are not beyond salvation.

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🔑 Conservation

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On the Future: Prospects for Humanity

by Martin Rees, published in 2018

A provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity and science from world-renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes—good and bad—are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterized by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. In this short, exhilarating book, renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that humanity’s prospects depend on our taking a very different approach to planning for tomorrow. The future of humanity is bound to the future of science and hinges on how successfully we harness technological advances to address our challenges. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, we must think rationally, globally, collectively, and optimistically about the long term. Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence—if pursued and applied wisely—could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war. At the same time, further advances in space science will allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond with robots and AI. But there is no “Plan B” for Earth—no viable alternative within reach if we do not care for our home planet. Rich with fascinating insights into cutting-edge science and technology, this accessible book will captivate anyone who wants to understand the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.

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🔑 Science and Society

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Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome

by Venki Ramakrishnan, published in 2018

From Nobel Prize winner Venki Ramakrishnan ‘Beyond superb’ Bill Bryson ‘A wonderful book’ Ian McEwan Everyone knows about DNA, the essence of our being, the molecule where our genes reside. But DNA by itself is useless without a machine to decode the genetic information it contains. The ribosome is that machine. Venki Ramakrishnan tells the story of the race to uncover its enormously complex structure, a fundamental breakthrough that resolves an ancient mystery of life itself.

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🔑 Structural Biology

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Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes

by Chris Impey, published in 2018

The astonishing science of black holes and their role in understanding the history and future of our universe. Black holes are the most extreme objects in the universe, and yet they are ubiquitous. Every massive star leaves behind a black hole when it dies, and every galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole at its center. Frighteningly enigmatic, these dark giants continue to astound even the scientists who spend their careers studying them. Which came first, the galaxy or its central black hole? What happens if you travel into one—instant death or something weirder? And, perhaps most important, how can we ever know anything for sure about black holes when they destroy information by their very nature? In Einstein’s Monsters, distinguished astronomer Chris Impey takes readers on an exploration of these and other questions at the cutting edge of astrophysics, as well as the history of black holes’ role in theoretical physics—from confirming Einstein’s equations for general relativity to testing string theory. He blends this history with a poignant account of the phenomena scientists have witnessed while observing black holes: stars swarming like bees around the center of our galaxy; black holes performing gravitational waltzes with visible stars; the cymbal clash of two black holes colliding, releasing ripples in space-time. Clear, compelling, and profound, Einstein’s Monsters reveals how our comprehension of black holes is intrinsically linked to how we make sense of the universe and our place within it. From the small questions to the big ones—from the tiniest particles to the nature of space-time itself—black holes might be the key to a deeper understanding of the cosmos.

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🔑 Astrophysics

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Brief Answers to the Big Questions

by Stephen Hawking, published in 2018

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'A beautiful little book by a brilliant mind' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and - where it matters - witty' GUARDIAN The world-famous cosmologist and #1 bestselling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe's biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work. Is there a God? How did it all begin? Can we predict the future? What is inside a black hole? Is there other intelligent life in the universe? Will artificial intelligence outsmart us? How do we shape the future? Will we survive on Earth? Should we colonise space? Is time travel possible? Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its greatest mysteries. But even as his theoretical work on black holes, imaginary time and multiple histories took his mind to the furthest reaches of space, Hawking always believed that science could also be used to fix the problems on our planet. And now, as we face potentially catastrophic changes here on Earth - from climate change to dwindling natural resources to the threat of artificial super-intelligence - Stephen Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind. Wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, passionately argued, and infused with his characteristic humour, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, the final book from one of the greatest minds in history, is a personal view on the challenges we face as a human race, and where we, as a planet, are heading next. A percentage of all royalties will go to charity.

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🔑 Science lives

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century

by Yuval Noah Harari, published in 2018

**THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER** In twenty-one bite-sized lessons, Yuval Noah Harari explores what it means to be human in an age of bewilderment. '21 Lessons is, simply put, a crucial book' Adam Kay How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today's most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created? 'Fascinating... compelling... [Harari] has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century' Bill Gates, New York Times 'Truly mind-expanding... Ultra-topical' Guardian

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🔑 BiotechnologyData science

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The Republican Reversal: Conservatives and the Environment from Nixon to Trump

by James Morton Turner, published in 2018

Not long ago Republicans took pride in their tradition of environmental leadership. The GOP helped create the EPA, extend the Clean Air Act, and protect endangered species. Today Republicans denounce climate change as a “hoax” and seek to dismantle environmental regulations. What happened? James Morton Turner and Andrew C. Isenberg provide answers.

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🔑 Environmental Policy

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Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic

by Pardis Sabeti, published in 2018

An award-winning genetic researcher and a tenacious journalist examine each phase of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the largest and deadliest of its kind. Their postmortem identifies factors that kept key information from reaching doctors, complicated the government's response to the crisis, and left responders unprepared for the next outbreak.

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🔑 Infectious DiseasePublic Health

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The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy

by Paige Williams, published in 2018

In this 2018 New York Times Notable Book, Paige Williams "does for fossils what Susan Orlean did for orchids" (Book Riot) in her account of one Florida man's reckless attempt to sell a dinosaur skeleton from Mongolia--a story "steeped in natural history, human nature, commerce, crime, science, and politics" (Rebecca Skloot). In 2012, a New York auction catalogue boasted an unusual offering: "a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton." In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. The fossils now on display in a Manhattan event space had been unearthed in Mongolia, more than 6,000 miles away. At eight-feet high and twenty-four feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded, the winning bid was over $1 million. Eric Prokopi, a thirty-eight-year-old Floridian, was the man who had brought this extraordinary skeleton to market. A onetime collegiate-level swimmer who spent his teenage years diving for shark teeth, Prokopi's singular obsession with fossils fueled a thriving business hunting, preparing, and selling specimens, to clients ranging from natural history museums to avid private collectors like actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage. But there was a problem. This time, facing financial strain, had Prokopi gone too far? As the T. bataar went to auction, a network of paleontologists alerted the government of Mongolia to the eye-catching lot. An international custody battle ensued, and Prokopi watched his own world unravel. In the tradition of The Orchid Thief, The Dinosaur Artist is a stunning work of narrative journalism about humans' relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce. A story that stretches from Florida's Land O' Lakes to the Gobi Desert, The Dinosaur Artist illuminates the history of fossil collecting--a murky, sometimes risky business, populated by eccentrics and obsessives, where the lines between poacher and hunter, collector and smuggler, enthusiast and opportunist, can easily blur. In her first book, Paige Williams has given readers an irresistible story that spans continents, cultures, and millennia as she examines the question of who, ultimately, owns the past.

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🔑 Paleontology

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Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy

by Michael A. Neblo, published in 2018

Ideal for scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students of democratic theory and political behavior, while engaging for policy makers and concerned citizens. Politics with the People develops and tests a new model of politics - 'directly representative democracy' - connecting citizens and officials to improve representative government.

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🔑

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Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics

by Avidit Acharya, published in 2020

The lasting effects of slavery on contemporary political attitudes in the American South Despite dramatic social transformations in the United States during the last 150 years, the South has remained staunchly conservative. Southerners are more likely to support Republican candidates, gun rights, and the death penalty, and southern whites harbor higher levels of racial resentment than whites in other parts of the country. Why haven't these sentiments evolved? Deep Roots shows that the entrenched views of white southerners are a direct consequence of the region's slaveholding history. Today, southern whites who live in areas once reliant on slavery—compared to areas that were not—are more racially hostile and less amenable to policies that could promote black progress. A groundbreaking look at the ways institutions of the past continue to sway attitudes of the present, Deep Roots demonstrates how social beliefs persist long after the formal policies that created those beliefs have been eradicated.

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🔑 Political AttitudesSocial Science

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Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity

by Lilliana Mason, published in 2018

Political polarization in America is at an all-time high, and the conflict has moved beyond disagreements about matters of policy. For the first time in more than twenty years, research has shown that members of both parties hold strongly unfavorable views of their opponents. This is polarization rooted in social identity, and it is growing. The campaign and election of Donald Trump laid bare this fact of the American electorate, its successful rhetoric of “us versus them” tapping into a powerful current of anger and resentment. With Uncivil Agreement, Lilliana Mason looks at the growing social gulf across racial, religious, and cultural lines, which have recently come to divide neatly between the two major political parties. She argues that group identifications have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves and our opponents. Even when Democrats and Republicans can agree on policy outcomes, they tend to view one other with distrust and to work for party victory over all else. Although the polarizing effects of social divisions have simplified our electoral choices and increased political engagement, they have not been a force that is, on balance, helpful for American democracy. Bringing together theory from political science and social psychology, Uncivil Agreement clearly describes this increasingly “social” type of polarization in American politics and will add much to our understanding of contemporary politics.

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🔑 PartisanshipSocial Science

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The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation

by Randall Fuller, published in 2018

A compelling portrait of a unique moment in American history when the ideas of Charles Darwin reshaped American notions about nature, religion, science and race "A lively and informative history." - The New York Times Book Review Throughout its history America has been torn in two by debates over ideals and beliefs. Randall Fuller takes us back to one of those turning points, in 1860, with the story of the influence of Charles Darwin's just-published On the Origin of Species on five American intellectuals, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, and the abolitionist Franklin Sanborn. Each of these figures seized on the book's assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery, one that helped provide scientific credibility to the cause of abolition. Darwin's depiction of constant struggle and endless competition described America on the brink of civil war. But some had difficulty aligning the new theory to their religious convictions and their faith in a higher power. Thoreau, perhaps the most profoundly affected all, absorbed Darwin's views into his mysterious final work on species migration and the interconnectedness of all living things. Creating a rich tableau of nineteenth-century American intellectual culture, as well as providing a fascinating biography of perhaps the single most important idea of that time, The Book That Changed America is also an account of issues and concerns still with us today, including racism and the enduring conflict between science and religion.

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🔑 DarwinEvolutionHistory of science

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Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations

by Anthony McMichael, published in 2017

When we think of "climate change," we think of man-made global warming, caused by greenhouse gas emissions. But natural climate change has occurred throughout human history, and populations have had to adapt to the climate's vicissitudes. Anthony J. McMichael, a renowned epidemiologist and a pioneer in the field of how human health relates to climate change, is the ideal person to tell this story. Climate Change and the Health of Nations shows how the natural environment has vast direct and indirect repercussions for human health and welfare. McMichael takes us on a tour of human history through the lens of major transformations in climate. From the very beginning of our species some five million years ago, human biology has evolved in response to cooling temperatures, new food sources, and changing geography. As societies began to form, they too adapted in relation to their environments, most notably with the development of agriculture eleven thousand years ago. Agricultural civilization was a Faustian bargain, however: the prosperity and comfort that an agrarian society provides relies on the assumption that the environment will largely remain stable. Indeed, for agriculture to succeed, environmental conditions must be just right, which McMichael refers to as the "Goldilocks phenomenon." Global warming is disrupting this balance, just as other climate-related upheavals have tested human societies throughout history. As McMichael shows, the break-up of the Roman Empire, the bubonic Plague of Justinian, and the mysterious collapse of Mayan civilization all have roots in climate change. Why devote so much analysis to the past, when the daunting future of climate change is already here? Because the story of mankind�s previous survival in the face of an unpredictable and unstable climate, and of the terrible toll that climate change can take, could not be more important as we face the realities of a warming planet. This sweeping magnum opus is not only a rigorous, innovative, and fascinating exploration of how the climate affects the human condition, but also an urgent call to recognize our species' utter reliance on the earth as it is.

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🔑 Climate changeHuman Health

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Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society

by Cordelia Fine, published in 2017

“Beliefs about men and women are as old as humanity itself, but Fine’s funny, spiky book gives reason to hope that we’ve heard Testosterone rex’s last roar.” —Annie Murphy Paul, New York Times Book Review Many people believe that, at its core, biological sex is a fundamental force in human development. According to this false-yet-familiar story, the divisions between men and women are in nature alone and not part of culture. Drawing on evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, and philosophy, Testosterone Rex disproves this ingrained myth and calls for a more equal society based on both sexes’ full human potential.

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🔑 BiologyGender studiesPsychology

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Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life

by Matin Durrani, published in 2018

The principles of physics lie behind many of the ways animals go about their daily lives. Scientists have discovered that the way cats and dogs lap up liquids can be explained by the laws of surface tension, how ants navigate is due to polarized light, and why pistol shrimps can generate enough force to destroy aquarium glass using their ”elbows!” Each of Furry Logic's six chapters tackles a separate branch of physics and, through more than 30 animal case studies, examines each creature's key features before describing the ways physics is at play in its life, how the connection between physics and animal behavior was discovered, and what remains to be found out. Science journalists Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher make the incredible interdisciplinary world of animals accessible to all, in an enthralling and entertaining read.

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🔑 Animal BiologyPhysics

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Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation

by Alan Burdick, published in 2017

“[Why Time Flies] captures us. Because it opens up a well of fascinating queries and gives us a glimpse of what has become an ever more deepening mystery for humans: the nature of time.” —The New York Review of Books “Erudite and informative, a joy with many small treasures.” —Science “Time” is the most commonly used noun in the English language; it’s always on our minds and it advances through every living moment. But what is time, exactly? Do children experience it the same way adults do? Why does it seem to slow down when we’re bored and speed by as we get older? How and why does time fly? In this witty and meditative exploration, award-winning author and New Yorker staff writer Alan Burdick takes readers on a personal quest to understand how time gets in us and why we perceive it the way we do. In the company of scientists, he visits the most accurate clock in the world (which exists only on paper); discovers that “now” actually happened a split-second ago; finds a twenty-fifth hour in the day; lives in the Arctic to lose all sense of time; and, for one fleeting moment in a neuroscientist’s lab, even makes time go backward. Why Time Flies is an instant classic, a vivid and intimate examination of the clocks that tick inside us all.

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🔑 Circadian RhythmsMultidisciplinary StudiesPhysicsTime

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Data For the People: How to Make Our Post-Privacy Economy Work for You

by Andreas Weigend, published in 2017

A long-time chief data scientist at Amazon shows how open data can make everyone, not just corporations, richer Every time we Google something, Facebook someone, Uber somewhere, or even just turn on a light, we create data that businesses collect and use to make decisions about us. In many ways this has improved our lives, yet, we as individuals do not benefit from this wealth of data as much as we could. Moreover, whether it is a bank evaluating our credit worthiness, an insurance company determining our risk level, or a potential employer deciding whether we get a job, it is likely that this data will be used against us rather than for us. In Data for the People, Andreas Weigend draws on his years as a consultant for commerce, education, healthcare, travel and finance companies to outline how Big Data can work better for all of us. As of today, how much we benefit from Big Data depends on how closely the interests of big companies align with our own. Too often, outdated standards of control and privacy force us into unfair contracts with data companies, but it doesn't have to be this way. Weigend makes a powerful argument that we need to take control of how our data is used to actually make it work for us. Only then can we the people get back more from Big Data than we give it. Big Data is here to stay. Now is the time to find out how we can be empowered by it.

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🔑 Big DataInequalityPrivacy

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Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

by Helen Czerski, published in 2016

Just as Freakonomics brought economics to life, so Storm in a Teacup brings physics into our daily lives and makes it fascinating. What is it that helps both scorpions and cyclists to survive? What do raw eggs and gyroscopes have in common? And why does it matter? In an age of string theory, fluid dynamics and biophysics, it can seem as if the science of our world is only for specialists and academics. Not so, insists Helen Czerski - and in this sparkling new book she explores the patterns and connections that illustrate the grandest theories in the smallest everyday objects and experiences. Linking what makes popcorn pop to Antarctic winds, coffee stains to blood tests or ketchup bottles to aliens in space, every thread you pull in the fabric of everyday life shows you something new about the intricate patterns of our world. Read Storm in a Teacup and you will see and understand the world as you never did before.

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🔑 Physics

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Before Nature: Cuneiform Knowledge and the History of Science

by Francesca Rochberg, published in 2017

In the modern West, we take for granted that what we call the “natural world” confronts us all and always has—but Before Nature explores that almost unimaginable time when there was no such conception of “nature”—no word, reference, or sense for it. Before the concept of nature formed over the long history of European philosophy and science, our ancestors in ancient Assyria and Babylonia developed an inquiry into the world in a way that is kindred to our modern science. With Before Nature, Francesca Rochberg explores that Assyro-Babylonian knowledge tradition and shows how it relates to the entire history of science. From a modern, Western perspective, a world not conceived somehow within the framework of physical nature is difficult—if not impossible—to imagine. Yet, as Rochberg lays out, ancient investigations of regularity and irregularity, norms and anomalies clearly established an axis of knowledge between the knower and an intelligible, ordered world. Rochberg is the first scholar to make a case for how exactly we can understand cuneiform knowledge, observation, prediction, and explanation in relation to science—without recourse to later ideas of nature. Systematically examining the whole of Mesopotamian science with a distinctive historical and methodological approach, Before Nature will open up surprising new pathways for studying the history of science.

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🔑 History of science

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HIV/AIDS in China: Beyond the Numbers

by Zunyou Wu, published in 2017

This book presents the history of HIV/AIDS in China, which over the last three decades has been a gripping tale of exclusion and fear, and then, by turns, of involuntary tragedy, cautious experimentation and finally vigorous response. It discusses the occurrence, development and epidemic studies and also introduces China’s policies and measures to conquer this epidemic, offering readers valuable insights into China’s approach to prevention in this field.

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🔑 AIDSChinaPublic Health

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Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media

by Tarleton Gillespie, published in 2018

A revealing and gripping investigation into how social media platforms police what we post online--and the large societal impact of these decisions Most users want their Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube comments to be free of harassment and porn. Whether faced with "fake news" or livestreamed violence, "content moderators"--who censor or promote user-posted content--have never been more important. This is especially true when the tools that social media platforms use to curb trolling, ban hate speech, and censor pornography can also silence the speech you need to hear. In this revealing and nuanced exploration, award-winning sociologist and cultural observer Tarleton Gillespie provides an overview of current social media practices and explains the underlying rationales for how, when, and why these policies are enforced. In doing so, Gillespie highlights that content moderation receives too little public scrutiny even as it is shapes social norms and creates consequences for public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society. Based on interviews with content moderators, creators, and consumers, this accessible, timely book is a must-read for anyone who's ever clicked "like" or "retweet."

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🔑 Computer scienceContent Moderation

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Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna

by Edith Sheffer, published in 2018

Shortlisted for the 2019 Mark Lynton History Prize A groundbreaking exploration of the chilling history behind an increasingly common diagnosis. Hans Asperger, the pioneer of autism and Asperger syndrome in Nazi Vienna, has been celebrated for his compassionate defense of children with disabilities. But in this groundbreaking book, prize-winning historian Edith Sheffer exposes that Asperger was not only involved in the racial policies of Hitler’s Third Reich, he was complicit in the murder of children. As the Nazi regime slaughtered millions across Europe during World War Two, it sorted people according to race, religion, behavior, and physical condition for either treatment or elimination. Nazi psychiatrists targeted children with different kinds of minds—especially those thought to lack social skills—claiming the Reich had no place for them. Asperger and his colleagues endeavored to mold certain "autistic" children into productive citizens, while transferring others they deemed untreatable to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich’s deadliest child-killing centers. In the first comprehensive history of the links between autism and Nazism, Sheffer uncovers how a diagnosis common today emerged from the atrocities of the Third Reich. With vivid storytelling and wide-ranging research, Asperger’s Children will move readers to rethink how societies assess, label, and treat those diagnosed with disabilities.

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🔑 AutismHuman HealthMedical Ethics

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Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

by Sabine Hossenfelder, published in 2020

A contrarian argues that modern physicists' obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.

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🔑 PhysicsTheoretical Physics

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The Shipwreck Hunter: A Lifetime of Extraordinary Discoveries on the Ocean Floor

by David L. Mearns, published in 2017

David Mearns has discovered some of the world's most fascinating and elusive shipwrecks. From the mighty battlecruiser HMS Hood to the crumbling wooden skeletons of Vasco da Gama's 16th century fleet, David has searched for and found dozens of sunken vessels in every ocean of the world. The Shipwreck Hunter is an account of David's most intriguing and fascinating finds. It details both the meticulous research and the mid-ocean stamina and courage required to find a wreck miles beneath the sea, as well as the moving human stories that lie behind each of these oceanic tragedies. Combining the derring-do of Indiana Jones with the precision of a surgeon, in The Shipwreck Hunter David Mearns opens a porthole into the shadowy depths of the ocean.

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🔑 ArchaeologyMarine Science

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Finding Einstein’s Brain

by Frederick E. Lepore, published in 2018

Albert Einstein remains the quintessential icon of modern genius. Like Newton and many others, his seminal work in physics includes the General Theory of Relativity, the Absolute Nature of Light, and perhaps the most famous equation of all time: E=mc2. Following his death in 1955, Einstein’s brain was removed and preserved, but has never been fully or systematically studied. In fact, the sections are not even all in one place, and some are mysteriously unaccounted for! In this compelling tale, Frederick E. Lepore delves into the strange, elusive afterlife of Einstein’s brain, the controversy surrounding its use, and what its study represents for brain and/or intelligence studies. Carefully reacting to the skepticism of 21st century neuroscience, Lepore more broadly examines the philosophical, medical, and scientific implications of brain-examination. Is the brain simply a computer? If so, how close are we to artificially creating a human brain? Could scientists create a second Einstein? This “biography of a brain” attempts to answer these questions, exploring what made Einstein’s brain anatomy exceptional, and how “found” photographs--discovered more than a half a century after his death--may begin to uncover the nature of genius.

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🔑 EinsteinNeuroanatomyNeuroscience

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Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity

by Theodore M. Porter, published in 2020

The untold story of how hereditary data in mental hospitals gave rise to the science of human heredity In the early 1800s, a century before there was any concept of the gene, physicians in insane asylums began to record causes of madness in their admission books. Almost from the beginning, they pointed to heredity as the most important of these causes. Genetics in the Madhouse is the untold story of how the collection of hereditary data in asylums and prisons gave rise to a new science of human heredity. Theodore Porter looks at the institutional use of innovative quantitative practices—such as pedigree charts and censuses of mental illness—that were worked out in the madhouse long before the manipulation of DNA became possible in the lab. Genetics in the Madhouse brings to light the hidden history behind modern genetics and deepens our appreciation of the moral issues at stake in data work conducted at the border of subjectivity and science.

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🔑 GeneticsHuman Health

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Luminous Creatures: The History and Science of Light Production in Living Organisms

by Michel Anctil, published in 2018

Naturalists in antiquity worked hard to dispel fanciful ideas about the meaning of living lights, but remained bewildered by them. Even Charles Darwin was perplexed by the chaotic diversity of luminous organisms, which he found difficult to reconcile with his evolutionary theory. It fell to naturalists and scientists to make sense of the dazzling displays of fireflies and other organisms. In Luminous Creatures Michel Anctil shows how mythical perceptions of bioluminescence gradually gave way to a scientific understanding of its mechanisms, functions, and evolution, and to the recognition of its usefulness for biomedical and other applied fields. Following the rise of the modern scientific method and the circumnavigations and oceanographic expeditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, biologists began to realize the diversity of bioluminescence's expressions in light organs and ecological imprints, and how widespread it is on the planet. By the end of the nineteenth century an understanding of the chemical nature and physiological control of the phenomenon was at hand. Technological developments led to an explosion of knowledge on the ecology, evolution, and molecular biology of bioluminescence. Luminous Creatures tracks these historical events and illuminates the lives and the trail-blazing accomplishments of the scientists involved. It offers a unique window into the awe-inspiring, phantasmagorical world of light-producing organisms, viewed from the perspectives of casual observers and scientists alike.

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🔑 BiologyBioluminescence

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Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything

by Helen Scales, published in 2018

'Scales's genuine appreciation and awe for fish are contagious.' Science 'Delightful' New Scientist Seventy per cent of the earth's surface is covered by water. This vast aquatic realm is inhabited by a multitude of strange creatures and reigning supreme among them are the fish. There are giants that live for centuries and thumb-sized tiddlers that survive only weeks; they can be pancake-flat or inflatable balloons; they can shout with colours or hide in plain sight, cheat and dance, remember and say sorry; some rarely budge while others travel the globe restlessly. And yet the mesmerising and complex lives of fish remain largely underrated and unseen, living hidden beneath the waterline, out of sight and out of mind. Helen Scales is our guide on an underwater journey, as we fathom the depths and watch these animals going about the glorious business of being fish. As well as the fish, we meet devoted fishwatchers past and present, from voodoo zombie potion hunters and scientists who taught fish how to walk to nonagenarian explorers of the deep sea. Woven throughout are vignettes of Helen's own aquatic explorations, from eerie nighttime dives with glowing fish and up-close encounters with giant manta rays, to floating in the middle of a swirling shoal being watched by thousands of inquisitive eyes. As well as being a rich and entertaining read, this book will inspire readers to think again about these animals and the seas they inhabit, and to go out and appreciate the wonders of fish, whether through the glass walls of an aquarium or, better still, by gazing into the fishes' wild world and swimming through it. 'Engaging and informative' The Economist

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🔑 IchthyologyMarine Biology

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Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor & the Search for the Origins of Wine

by Kevin Begos, published in 2018

"A vintner’s blend of science, history, travel, and tantalizing drink recommendations." --Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist In search of a mysterious wine he once tasted in a hotel room minibar, journalist Kevin Begos travels along the original wine routes—from the Caucasus Mountains, where wine grapes were first domesticated eight thousand years ago, crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, and then America—and unearths a whole world of forgotten grapes, each with distinctive tastes and aromas. We meet the scientists who are decoding the DNA of wine grapes, and the historians who are searching for ancient vineyards and the flavors cultivated there. Begos discovers wines that go far beyond the bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants, and he offers suggestions for wines that are at once ancient and new.

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🔑 VinicultureWine Science

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Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids and the Birth of the Solar System

by Natalie Starkey, published in 2018

'A promising debut.' New Scientist Icy, rocky, sometimes dusty, always mysterious – comets and asteroids are among the Solar System's very oldest inhabitants, formed within a swirling cloud of gas and dust in the area of space that eventually hosted the Sun and its planets. Locked within each of these extra-terrestrial objects is the 4.6-billion-year wisdom of Solar System events, and by studying them at close quarters using spacecraft we can coerce them into revealing their closely-guarded secrets. This offers us the chance to answer some fundamental questions about our planet and its inhabitants. Exploring comets and asteroids also allows us to shape the story of Earth's future, enabling us to protect our precious planet from the threat of a catastrophic impact from space, and maybe to even recover valuable raw materials from them. This cosmic bounty could be as useful in space as it is on Earth, providing the necessary fuel and supplies for humans as they voyage into deep space to explore more distant locations within the Solar System. Catching Stardust tells the story of these enigmatic celestial objects, revealing how scientists are using them to help understand a crucial time in our history – the birth of the Solar System, and everything contained within it.

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🔑 AstronomyGeology

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A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You

by Sean B. Carroll, published in 2020

"Fascinating and exhilarating—Sean B. Carroll at his very best."—Bill Bryson, author of The Body: A Guide for Occupants From acclaimed writer and biologist Sean B. Carroll, a rollicking, awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but startling scientific discoveries over the past half century are revealing that we live in a world driven by chance. A Series of Fortunate Events tells the story of the awesome power of chance and how it is the surprising source of all the beauty and diversity in the living world. Like every other species, we humans are here by accident. But it is shocking just how many things—any of which might never have occurred—had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. From an extremely improbable asteroid impact, to the wild gyrations of the Ice Age, to invisible accidents in our parents' gonads, we are all here through an astonishing series of fortunate events. And chance continues to reign every day over the razor-thin line between our life and death. This is a relatively small book about a really big idea. It is also a spirited tale. Drawing inspiration from Monty Python, Kurt Vonnegut, and other great thinkers, and crafted by one of today's most accomplished science storytellers, A Series of Fortunate Events is an irresistibly entertaining and thought-provoking account of one of the most important but least appreciated facts of life.

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Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can't Transform Education

by Justin Reich, published in 2020

From MOOCs to autograders to computerized tutors, technologies designed for large-scale learning have never lived up to the hype. Justin Reich once promoted these "transformative" novelties; now he reveals their failures. Successful education reform, he concludes, will focus on incremental institutional change, not the next killer app.

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Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China's Countryside

by Xiaowei Wang, published in 2020

From FSGO x Logic: stories about rural China, food, and tech that reveal new truths about the globalized world In Blockchain Chicken Farm, the technologist and writer Xiaowei Wang explores the political and social entanglements of technology in rural China. Their discoveries force them to challenge the standard idea that rural culture and people are backward, conservative, and intolerant. Instead, they find that rural China has not only adapted to rapid globalization but has actually innovated the technology we all use today. From pork farmers using AI to produce the perfect pig, to disruptive luxury counterfeits and the political intersections of e-commerce villages, Wang unravels the ties between globalization, technology, agriculture, and commerce in unprecedented fashion. Accompanied by humorous “Sinofuturist” recipes that frame meals as they transform under new technology, Blockchain Chicken Farm is an original and probing look into innovation, connectivity, and collaboration in the digitized rural world. FSG Originals × Logic dissects the way technology functions in everyday lives. The titans of Silicon Valley, for all their utopian imaginings, never really had our best interests at heart: recent threats to democracy, truth, privacy, and safety, as a result of tech’s reckless pursuit of progress, have shown as much. We present an alternate story, one that delights in capturing technology in all its contradictions and innovation, across borders and socioeconomic divisions, from history through the future, beyond platitudes and PR hype, and past doom and gloom. Our collaboration features four brief but provocative forays into the tech industry’s many worlds, and aspires to incite fresh conversations about technology focused on nuanced and accessible explorations of the emerging tools that reorganize and redefine life today.

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The Secret Lives of Planets: Order, Chaos, and Uniqueness in the Solar System

by Paul Murdin, published in 2020

An insider's guide to astronomy reveals everything you need to know about the planets, their satellites, and our place in the solar system.

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The Great Secret:The Classified World War II Disaster That Launched the War on Cancer

by Jennet Conant, published in 2007

From the bestselling author of Tuxedo Park, the fascinating story of the 3,000 people who lived together in near confinement for more than two intense and conflicted years under J. Robert Oppenheimer and the world's best scientists to produce the Atomic Bomb and win World War II. They were told as little as possible. Their orders were to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and report for work at a classified Manhattan Project site, a location so covert it was known to them only by the mysterious address: 109 East Palace. There, behind a wrought-iron gate and narrow passageway just off the touristy old plaza, they were greeted by Dorothy McKibbin, an attractive widow who was the least likely person imaginable to run a front for a clandestine defense laboratory. They stepped across her threshold into a parallel universe--the desert hideaway where Robert Oppenheimer and a team of world-famous scientists raced to build the first atomic bomb before Germany and bring World War II to an end. Brilliant, handsome, extraordinarily charismatic, Oppenheimer based his unprecedented scientific enterprise in the high reaches of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, hoping that the land of enchantment would conceal and inspire their bold mission. Oppenheimer was as arrogant as he was inexperienced, and few believed the thirty-eight-year-old theoretical physicist would succeed. Jennet Conant captures all the exhilaration and drama of those perilous twenty-seven months at Los Alamos, a secret city cut off from the rest of society, ringed by barbed wire, where Oppenheimer and his young recruits lived as virtual prisoners of the U.S. government. With her dry humor and eye for detail, Conant chronicles the chaotic beginnings of Oppenheimer's by-the-seat-of-his-pants operation, where freshly minted secretaries and worldly scientists had to contend with living conditions straight out of pioneer days. Despite all the obstacles, Oppie managed to forge a vibrant community at Los Alamos through the sheer force of his personality. Dorothy, who fell for him at first sight, devoted herself to taking care of him and his crew and supported him through the terrifying preparations for the test explosion at Trinity and the harrowing aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Less than a decade later, Oppenheimer became the focus of suspicion during the McCarthy witch hunts. When he and James B. Conant, one of the top administrators of the Manhattan Project (and the author's grandfather), led the campaign against the hydrogen bomb, Oppenheimer's past left-wing sympathies were used against him, and he was found to be a security risk and stripped of his clearance. Though Dorothy tried to help clear his name, she saw the man she loved disgraced. In this riveting and deeply moving account, drawing on a wealth of research and interviews with close family and colleagues, Jennet Conant reveals an exceptionally gifted and enigmatic man who served his country at tremendous personal cost and whose singular achievement, and subsequent undoing, is at the root of our present nuclear predicament.

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Entanglements: Tomorrow's Lovers, Families, and Friends

by Sheila Williams, published in 2020

At the intersection of Soonish and Netflix's Black Mirror, award-winning science fiction authors from around the world offer original tales of relationships in a future world of evolving technology. In a future world dominated by the technological, people will still be entangled in relationships--in romances, friendships, and families. This volume in the Twelve Tomorrows series considers the effects that scientific and technological discoveries will have on the emotional bonds that hold us together. The strange new worlds in these stories feature AI family therapy, floating fungitecture, and a futuristic love potion. Contributions include Xia Jia's novelette set in a Buddhist monastery, translated by the Hugo Award-winning writer Ken Liu; and a story by Nancy Kress, winner of six Hugos and two Nebulas.

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Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing

by Sarah Brayne, published in 2020

Predict and Surveil offers an unprecedented, inside look at how police use big data and new surveillance technologies. Sarah Brayne conducted years of fieldwork with the LAPD--one of the largest and most technically advanced law enforcement agencies in the world-to reveal the unmet promises and very real perils of police use of data--driven surveillance and analytics.

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The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa, and Other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot

by Yolande Strengers, published in 2020

"A fascinating look at the gendering of smart homes, how they came to be so, and how modern households can and should be domains of equality"--

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Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

by Neil Price, published in 2020

'As brilliant a history of the Vikings as one could possibly hope to read' Tom Holland The 'Viking Age' is traditionally held to begin in June 793 when Scandinavian raiders attacked the monastery of Lindisfarne in Northumbria, and to end in September 1066, when King Harald Hardrada of Norway died leading the charge against the English line at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. This book, the most wide-ranging and comprehensive assessment of the current state of our knowledge, takes a refreshingly different view. It shows that the Viking expansion began generations before the Lindisfarne raid, and traces Scandinavian history back centuries further to see how these people came to be who they were. The narrative ranges across the whole of the Viking diaspora, from Vinland on the eastern American seaboard to Constantinople and Uzbekistan, with contacts as far away as China. Based on the latest archaeology, it explores the complex origins of the Viking phenomenon and traces the seismic shifts in Scandinavian society that resulted from an economy geared to maritime war. Some of its most striking discoveries include the central role of slavery in Viking life and trade, and the previously unsuspected pirate communities and family migrations that were part of the Viking 'armies' - not least in England. Especially, Neil Price takes us inside the Norse mind and spirit-world, and across their borders of identity and gender, to reveal startlingly different Vikings to the barbarian marauders of stereotype. He cuts through centuries of received wisdom to try to see the Vikings as they saw themselves - descendants of the first human couple, the Children of Ash and Elm. Healso reminds us of the simultaneous familiarity and strangeness of the past, of how much we cannot know, alongside the discoveries that change the landscape of our understanding. This is an eye-opening and surprisingly moving book.

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The Polymath: A Cultural History from Leonardo da Vinci to Susan Sontag

by Peter Burke, published in 2020

The first history of the western polymath, from the fifteenth century to the present day From Leonardo Da Vinci to John Dee and Comenius, from George Eliot to Oliver Sacks and Susan Sontag, polymaths have moved the frontiers of knowledge in countless ways. But history can be unkind to scholars with such encyclopaedic interests. All too often these individuals are remembered for just one part of their valuable achievements. In this engaging, erudite account, renowned cultural historian Peter Burke argues for a more rounded view. Identifying 500 western polymaths, Burke explores their wide-ranging successes and shows how their rise matched a rapid growth of knowledge in the age of the invention of printing, the discovery of the New World and the Scientific Revolution. It is only more recently that the further acceleration of knowledge has led to increased specialisation and to an environment that is less supportive of wide-ranging scholars and scientists. Spanning the Renaissance to the present day, Burke changes our understanding of this remarkable intellectual species.

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Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality

by Anil Ananthaswamy, published in 2020

The clearest, most accessible explanation yet of the amazing world of quantum mechanics. How can matter behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it or does the very act of looking bring it into reality? Are there hidden elements to reality missing from the orthodox view of quantum physics? And is there a place where the quantum world ends and our perceivable world begins? Many of science's greatest minds have grappled with these questions embodied by the simple yet elusive "double-slit" experiment. Thomas Young devised it in the early 1800s to show that light behaves like a wave, and in doing so opposed Isaac Newton’s theories. Nearly a century later, Albert Einstein showed that light comes in particles, and the experiment became key to a fierce debate with Niels Bohr over the nature of reality. Richard Feynman held that the double slit embodies the central mystery of the quantum world. Hypothesis after hypothesis, scientists have returned to this ingenious experiment to help them answer the deep questions about the fabric of our universe. With his extraordinary gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to the smallest scales of physical reality we have yet fathomed for the answers. ***PRAISE FOR THROUGH TWO DOORS AT ONCE*** A Physics Book of the Year A Forbes Best Book of the Year A Kirkus Best Book of the Year A Smithsonian Favourite Book of the Year Publisher's Weekly Best Books of Autumn 'A fascinating read and a must for anyone who would like to find out the latest experimental advances made in this most fundamental of quantum experiments.' Physics World 'Ananthaswamy cleverly comes at quantum physics from a different direction... An excellent addition to the 'Quantum physics for the rest of us' shelf.' Brian Clegg, author of Are Numbers Real? and The Quantum Age 'A challenging and rewarding survey of how scientists are grappling with nature’s deepest, strangest secrets.' Wall Street Journal 'A fascinating tour through the cutting-edge physics the experiment keeps on spawning.' Scientific American 'Ananthaswamy gives an absolutely mind-boggling tour of how quantum physicists try to explain this “reality” that one of the most powerful scientific models of our era.' Smithsonian 'Offers beginners the tools they need to seriously engage with the philosophical questions that likely drew them to quantum mechanics.' Science 'At a time when popular physics writing so valorizes theory, a quietly welcome strength of Ananthaswamy’s book is how much human construction comes into focus here. This is not “nature” showing us, but us pressing “nature” for answers to our increasingly obsessional questions.' Washington Post 'Ananthaswamy's book is simply an outstanding exploration of the double slit experiment and what makes it so weird.' Forbes 'A thrilling survey of the most famous, enduring, and enigmatic experiment in the history of science.' Kirkus, starred review

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🔑 PhysicsQuantum Mechanics

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Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future

by Mary Robinson, published in 2018

An urgent call to arms by one of the most important voices in the international fight against climate change, sharing inspiring stories and offering vital lessons for the path forward Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people – people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal. Mary Robinson's mission would lead her all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. From Sharon Hanshaw, the Mississippi matriarch whose campaign began in her East Biloxi hair salon and culminated in her speaking at the United Nations, to Constance Okollet, a small farmer who transformed the fortunes of her ailing community in rural Uganda, Robinson met with ordinary people whose resilience and ingenuity had already unlocked extraordinary change. Powerful and deeply humane, Climate Justice is a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope.

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🔑 Climate changeScience policy

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The Fight Against Doubt: How to Bridge the Gap Between Scientists and the Public

by Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, published in 2018

The lack of public support for climate change policies and refusals to vaccinate children are just two alarming illustrations of the impacts of dissent about scientific claims. Dissent can lead to confusion, false beliefs, and widespread public doubt about highly justified scientific evidence. Even more dangerously, it has begun to corrode the very authority of scientific consensus and knowledge. Deployed aggressively and to political ends, some dissent can intimidate scientists, stymie research, and lead both the public and policymakers to oppose important public policies firmly rooted in science. To criticize dissent is, however, a fraught exercise. Skepticism and fearless debate are key to the scientific process, making it both vital and incredibly difficult to characterize and identify dissent that is problematic in its approach and consequences. Indeed, as de Melo-Martín and Intemann show, the criteria commonly proposed as means of identifying inappropriate dissent are flawed and the strategies generally recommended to tackle such dissent are not only ineffective but could even make the situation worse. The Fight Against Doubt proposes that progress on this front can best be achieved by enhancing the trustworthiness of the scientific community and by being more realistic about the limits of science when it comes to policymaking. It shows that a richer understanding of the context in which science operates is needed to disarm problematic dissent and those who deploy it. This, the authors argue, is the best way forward, rather than diagnosing the many instances of wrong-headed dissent.

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🔑 Science and SocietyScience Communication

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Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

by Earl Swift, published in 2020

A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction. A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Washington Post, NPR, Outside, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Bloomberg, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Review of Books, Science Friday, and Kirkus "BEAUTIFUL, HAUNTING AND TRUE." — Hampton Sides • “GORGEOUS. A TRULY REMARKABLE BOOK.” — Beth Macy • "GRIPPING. FANTASTIC." — Outside • "CAPTIVATING." — Washington Post • "POWERFUL." — Bill McKibben • "VIVID. HARROWING AND MOVING." — Science • "A MASTERFUL NARRATIVE." — Christian Science Monitor • "THE BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR." — Stephen L. Carter/Bloomberg A Washington Post bestseller • An Indie Next List selection • An NPR All Things Considered and Axios "Book Club" pick Tangier Island, Virginia, is a community unique on the American landscape. Mapped by John Smith in 1608, settled during the American Revolution, the tiny sliver of mud is home to 470 hardy people who live an isolated and challenging existence, with one foot in the 21st century and another in times long passed. They are separated from their countrymen by the nation’s largest estuary, and a twelve-mile boat trip across often tempestuous water—the same water that for generations has made Tangier’s fleet of small fishing boats a chief source for the rightly prized Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and has lent the island its claim to fame as the softshell crab capital of the world. Yet for all of its long history, and despite its tenacity, Tangier is disappearing. The very water that has long sustained it is erasing the island day by day, wave by wave. It has lost two-thirds of its land since 1850, and still its shoreline retreats by fifteen feet a year—meaning this storied place will likely succumb first among U.S. towns to the effects of climate change. Experts reckon that, barring heroic intervention by the federal government, islanders could be forced to abandon their home within twenty-five years. Meanwhile, the graves of their forebears are being sprung open by encroaching tides, and the conservative and deeply religious Tangiermen ponder the end times. Chesapeake Requiem is an intimate look at the island’s past, present and tenuous future, by an acclaimed journalist who spent much of the past two years living among Tangier’s people, crabbing and oystering with its watermen, and observing its long traditions and odd ways. What emerges is the poignant tale of a world that has, quite nearly, gone by—and a leading-edge report on the coming fate of countless coastal communities.

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🔑 Climate changeScience policy

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The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

by David Quammen, published in 2019

In this New York Times bestseller and longlist nominee for the National Book Award, “our greatest living chronicler of the natural world” (The New York Times), David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology affect our understanding of evolution and life’s history. In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important; we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT. In The Tangled Tree, “the grandest tale in biology….David Quammen presents the science—and the scientists involved—with patience, candor, and flair” (Nature). We learn about the major players, such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health. “David Quammen proves to be an immensely well-informed guide to a complex story” (The Wall Street Journal). In The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life—including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition—through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. “The Tangled Tree is a source of wonder….Quammen has written a deep and daring intellectual adventure” (The Boston Globe).

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🔑 Evolutionary BiologyGenetics

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When the Uncertainty Principle Goes to 11: Or How to Explain Quantum Physics with Heavy Metal

by Philip Moriarty, published in 2018

There are deep and fascinating links between heavy metal and quantum physics. No, there are. Really. While teaching at the University of Nottingham, physicist Philip Moriarty noticed something odd—a surprising number of his students were heavily into metal music. Colleagues, too: a Venn diagram of physicists and metal fans would show a shocking amount of overlap. What’s more, it turns out that heavy metal music is uniquely well-suited to explaining quantum principles. In When the Uncertainty Principle Goes Up to Eleven, Moriarty explains the mysteries of the universe’s inner workings via drum beats and feedback: You’ll discover how the Heisenberg uncertainty principle comes into play with every chugging guitar riff, what wave interference has to do with Iron Maiden, and why metalheads in mosh pits behave just like molecules in a gas. If you're a metal fan trying to grasp the complexities of quantum physics, a quantum physicist baffled by heavy metal, or just someone who'd like to know how the fundamental science underpinning our world connects to rock music, this book will take you, in the words of a pioneering Texas thrash band, to A New Level. For those who think quantum physics is too mind-bendingly complex to grasp, or too focused on the invisibly small to be relevant to our full-sized lives, this funny, fascinating book will show you that physics is all around us . . . and it rocks.

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🔑 PhysicsQuantum Mechanics

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Third Thoughts

by Steven Weinberg, published in 2018

One of the world’s most captivating scientists challenges us to think about nature’s foundations and the entanglement of science and society. Steven Weinberg, author of The First Three Minutes, offers his views on fascinating aspects of physics and the universe, but does not seclude science behind disciplinary walls, or shy away from politics.

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🔑 PhysicsScience livesScientific Community

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What Stars Are Made Of: The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, published in 1996

Scientific and personal autobiography of the greatest woman astronomer of all time. The most famous graduate from Newnham College.

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The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court

by Richard J. Lazarus, published in 2020

A renowned Supreme Court advocate tells the inside story of Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark case that made it possible for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gasses--from the Bush administration's fierce opposition, to the internecine conflicts among the petitioners, to the razor-thin 5-4 victory.

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Transcendence: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time

by Gaia Vince, published in 2019

* A TIMES BEST SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR * From the prize-winning author of Adventures in the Anthropocene, the astonishing story of how culture enabled us to become the most successful species on Earth 'A wondrous, visionary work' Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers Humans are a planet-altering force. Gaia Vince argues that our unique ability - compared with other species - to determine the course of our own destiny rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture going back into deep time. It is our collective culture, rather than our individual intelligence, that makes humans unique. Vince shows how four evolutionary drivers - Fire, Language, Beauty and Time - are further transforming our species into a transcendent superorganism: a hyper-cooperative mass of humanity that she calls Homo omnis. Drawing on leading-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology and neuroscience, Transcendence compels us to reimagine ourselves, showing us to be on the brink of something grander - and potentially more destructive. 'Richly informed by the latest research, Gaia Vince's colourful survey fizzes like a zip-wire as it tours our species' story from the Big Bang to the coming age of hypercooperation' Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox 'Wonderful ... enlightening' Robin Ince, The Infinite Monkey Cage

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The Dance of Life: The New Science of How a Single Cell Becomes a Human Being

by Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, published in 2020

'Quite simply the best book about science and life that I have ever read' - Alice Roberts How does life begin? What drives a newly fertilized egg to keep dividing and growing until it becomes 40 trillion cells, a greater number than stars in the galaxy? How do these cells know how to make a human, from lips to heart to toes? How does your body build itself? Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz was pregnant at 42 when a routine genetic test came back with that dreaded word: abnormal. A quarter of sampled cells contained abnormalities and she was warned her baby had an increased risk of being miscarried or born with birth defects. Six months later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy and her research on mice embryos went on to prove that – as she had suspected – the embryo has an amazing and previously unknown ability to correct abnormal cells at an early stage of its development. The Dance of Life will take you inside the incredible world of life just as it begins and reveal the wonder of the earliest and most profound moments in how we become human. Through Magda’s trailblazing research as a professor at Cambridge – where she has doubled the survival time of human embryos in the laboratory, and made the first artificial embryo-like structures from stem cells – you’ll discover how early life is programmed to repair and organise itself, what this means for the future of pregnancy, and how we might one day solve IVF disorders, prevent miscarriages and learn more about the dance of life as it starts to take shape. The Dance of Life is a moving celebration of the balletic beauty of life’s beginnings.

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Stealth: The Secret Contest to Invent Invisible Aircraft

by Peter Westwick, published in 2020

The story behind the technology that revolutionized both aeronautics, and the course of history.On a moonless night in January 1991, a dozen airplanes appeared in the skies over Baghdad. Or, rather, didn't appear. They arrived in the dark, their black outlines cloaking them from sight. More importantly, their odd, angular shapes, which made them look like flying origami, rendered themundetectable to Iraq's formidable air defenses. Stealth technology, developed during the decades before Desert Storm, had arrived. To American planners and strategists at the outset of the Cold War, this seemingly ultimate way to gain ascendance over the USSR was only a question. What if the UnitedStates could defend its airspace while at the same time send a plane through Soviet skies undetected? A craft with such capacity would have to be essentially invisible to radar - an apparently miraculous feat of physics and engineering. In Stealth, Peter Westwick unveils the process by which theimpossible was achieved.At heart, Stealth is a tale of two aerospace companies, Lockheed and Northrop, and their fierce competition - with each other and with themselves - to obtain what was estimated one of the largest procurement contracts in history. Westwick's book fully explores the individual and collective ingenuityand determination required to make these planes and in the process provides a fresh view of the period leading up to the end of the Soviet Union. Taking into account the role of technology, as well as the art and science of physics and engineering, Westwick offers an engaging narrative, one thatimmerses readers in the race to produce a weapon that some thought might save the world, and which certainly changed it.

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Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter's Wolf: How the Elements Were Named

by Peter Wothers, published in 2020

The iconic Periodic Table of the Elements is probably in its most satisfactory, elegant form it will ever have. This is because all the "gaps" corresponding to missing elements in the seventh row, or period, have recently been filled and the elements named. But where do these names come from?For some (usually the most recent), the origins are quite obvious, such as germanium or californium, but for others - even the well-known elements, such as oxygen or nitrogen - their roots are less clear.Here, Peter Wothers explores the fascinating and often surprising stories behind how the chemical elements received their names. Delving back in time to explore the history and gradual development of chemistry, he sifts through medieval manuscripts for clues to the stories surrounding the discoveryof the elements, showing how they were first encountered or created, and how they were used in everyday lives. As he reveals, the oldest-known elements were often associated with astronomical bodies, and the connections with the heavens influenced the naming of a number of elements. Following this,a number of elements, including hydrogen and oxygen, were named during the great reform of chemistry, set amidst the French revolution. Whilst some of the origins of the names were controversial (and, indeed incorrect - some saying, for instance, that oxygen might be literally taken to mean "the sonof a vinegar merchant"), they have nonetheless influenced the language used throughout the world to this very day. Throughout, Wothers delights in dusting off the original sources, and bringing to light the astonishing, the unusual, and the downright weird origins behind the names of the elements wetake for granted today.

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Electric Brain: How the New Science of Brainwaves Reads Minds, Tells Us How We Learn, and Helps Us Change for the Better

by R. Douglas Fields,, published in 2020

What is as unique as your fingerprints and more revealing than your diary? Hint: Your body is emitting them right now and has been every single day of your life. Brainwaves. Analyzing brainwaves, the imperceptible waves of electricity surging across your scalp, has been possible for nearly a century. But only now are neuroscientists becoming aware of the wealth of information brainwaves hold about a person’s life, thoughts, and future health. From the moment a reclusive German doctor discovered waves of electricity radiating from the heads of his patients in the 1920s, brainwaves have sparked astonishment and intrigue, yet the significance of the discovery and its momentous implications have been poorly understood. Now, it is clear that these silent broadcasts can actually reveal a stunning wealth of information about any one of us. In Electric Brain, world-renowned neuroscientist and author R. Douglas Fields takes us on an enthralling journey into the world of brainwaves, detailing how new brain science could fundamentally change society, separating fact from hyperbole along the way. In this eye-opening and in-depth look at the most recent findings in brain science, Fields explores groundbreaking research that shows brainwaves can: Reveal the type of brain you have—its strengths and weaknesses and your aptitude for learning different types of information Allow scientists to watch your brain learn, glean your intelligence, and even tell how adventurous you are Expose hidden dysfunctions—including signifiers of mental illness and neurological disorders Render your thoughts and transmit them to machines and back from machines into your brain Meld minds by telepathically transmitting information from one brain to another Enable individuals to rewire their own brains and improve cognitive performance Written by one of the neuroscientists on the cutting edge of brainwave research, Electric Brain tells a fascinating and obscure story of discovery, explains the latest science, and looks to the future—and the exciting possibilities in store for medicine, technology, and our understanding of ourselves.

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Einstein in Bohemia

by Michael D. Gordin, published in 2020

A finely drawn portrait of Einstein's sixteen months in Prague In the spring of 1911, Albert Einstein moved with his wife and two sons to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, where he accepted a post as a professor of theoretical physics. Though he intended to make Prague his home, he lived there for just sixteen months, an interlude that his biographies typically dismiss as a brief and inconsequential episode. Einstein in Bohemia is a spellbinding portrait of the city that touched Einstein's life in unexpected ways—and of the gifted young scientist who left his mark on the science, literature, and politics of Prague. Michael Gordin's narrative is a masterfully crafted account of a person encountering a particular place at a specific moment in time. Despite being heir to almost a millennium of history, Einstein's Prague was a relatively marginal city within the sprawling Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yet Prague, its history, and its multifaceted culture changed the trajectories of Einstein's personal and scientific life. It was here that his marriage unraveled, where he first began thinking seriously about his Jewish identity, and where he embarked on the project of general relativity. Prague was also where he formed lasting friendships with novelist Max Brod, Zionist intellectual Hugo Bergmann, physicist Philipp Frank, and other important figures. Einstein in Bohemia sheds light on this transformative period of Einstein's life and career, and brings vividly to life a beguiling city in the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception

by David Michaels, published in 2020

Opioids. Concussions. Obesity. Climate change. America is a country of everyday crises -- big, long-spanning problems that persist, mostly unregulated, despite their toll on the country's health and vitality. And for every case of government inaction on one of these issues, there is a set of familiar, doubtful refrains: The science is unclear. The data is inconclusive. Regulation is unjustified. It's a slippery slope. Is it? The Triumph of Doubt traces the ascendance of science-for-hire in American life and government, from its origins in the tobacco industry in the 1950s to its current manifestations across government, public policy, and even professional sports. Well-heeled American corporations have long had a financial stake in undermining scientific consensus and manufacturing uncertainty; in The Triumph of Doubt, former Obama and Clinton official David Michaels details how bad science becomes public policy -- and where it's happening today. Amid fraught conversations of "alternative facts" and "truth decay," The Triumph of Doubt wields its unprecedented access to shine a light on the machinations and scope of manipulated science in American society. It is an urgent, revelatory work, one that promises to reorient conversations around science and the public good for the foreseeable future.

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The Uncounted

by Alex Cobham, published in 2020

What we count matters - and in a world where policies and decisions are underpinned by numbers, statistics and data, if you’re not counted, you don’t count. Alex Cobham argues that systematic gaps in economic and demographic data not only lead us to understate a wide range of damaging inequalities, but also to actively exacerbate them. He shows how, in statistics ranging from electoral registers to household surveys and census data, people from disadvantaged groups, such as indigenous populations, women, and disabled people, are consistently underrepresented. This further marginalizes them, reducing everything from their political power to their weight in public spending decisions. Meanwhile, corporations and the ultra-rich seek ever greater complexity and opacity in their financial affairs - and when their wealth goes untallied, it means they can avoid regulation and taxation. This brilliantly researched book shows how what we do and don’t count is not a neutral or ‘technical’ question: the numbers that rule our world are skewed by raw politics. Cobham forensically lays bare how these issues strike at the heart of our democracy, entrenching inequality and injustice – and outlines what we can do about it.

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The Earth Gazers: On Seeing Ourselves

by Christopher Potter, published in 2017

The most beautiful and influential photographs ever made were of the whole earth seen from space. They were taken from the moon, almost as an afterthought, by the astronauts of the Apollo space programme. They inspired a generation to think more seriously about our responsibility for this tiny oasis in space, the 'blue marble' falling through empty darkness. This is a book about the long road to the capture of those unforgettable images. It is a history of the space programme and of the ways in which it transformed our view of the earth and changed the lives of the astronauts who walked in space and on the moon. It is the story of the often blemished visionaries who inspired that journey into space: Charles Lindbergh, Robert Goddard and Wernher Von Braun, and of the courageous pilots who were the first humans to escape the Earth's orbit.

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🔑 History of scienceSpaceflight

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A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice

by William E. Glassley, published in 2018

John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Book New Mexico-Arizona Book Award Winner Saroyan Prize Shortlist Kirkus Reviews "Best Book of the Year" selection "A richly literary account. . . . Anchored by deep reflection and scientific knowledge, A Wilder Time is a portrait of an ancient, nearly untrammeled world that holds the secrets of our planet's deepest past, even as it accelerates into our rapidly changing future. The book bears the literary, scientific, philosophic, and poetic qualities of a nature-writing classic, the rarest mixture of beauty and scholarship, told with the deftest touch." —John Burroughs Medal judges’ citation Greenland, one of the last truly wild places, contains a treasure trove of information on Earth's early history embedded in its pristine landscape. Over numerous seasons, William E. Glassley and two fellow geologists traveled there to collect samples and observe rock formations for evidence to prove a contested theory that plate tectonics, the movement of Earth's crust over its molten core, is a much more ancient process than some believed. As their research drove the scientists ever farther into regions barely explored by humans for millennia—if ever—Glassley encountered wondrous creatures and natural phenomena that gave him unexpected insight into the origins of myth, the virtues and boundaries of science, and the importance of seeking the wilderness within. An invitation to experience a breathtaking place and the fascinating science behind its creation, A Wilder Time is nature writing at its best. William E. Glassley is a geologist at the University of California, Davis, and an emeritus researcher at Aarhus University, Denmark, focusing on the evolution of continents and the processes that energize them. He is the author of over seventy research articles and a textbook on geothermal energy. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

by Steven Pinker, published in 2018

'My new favourite book of all time' Bill Gates TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible? If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, more peaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress. The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved other problems in the past. In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but - defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction - we can continue to make it a better one.

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🔑 History of scienceHumanism

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Silencing the Bomb: One Scientist’s Quest to Halt Nuclear Testing

by Lynn R. Sykes, published in 2017

In December 2016, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved their iconic “Doomsday Clock” thirty seconds forward to two and a half minutes to midnight, the latest it has been set since 1952, the year of the first United States hydrogen bomb test. But a group of scientists—geologists, engineers, and physicists—has been fighting to turn back the clock. Since the dawn of the Cold War, they have advocated a halt to nuclear testing, their work culminating in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which still awaits ratification from China, Iran, North Korea—and the United States. The backbone of the treaty is every nation’s ability to independently monitor the nuclear activity of the others. The noted seismologist Lynn R. Sykes, one of the central figures in the development of the science and technology used in monitoring, has dedicated his career to halting nuclear testing. In Silencing the Bomb, he tells the inside story behind scientists’ quest for disarmament. Called upon time and again to testify before Congress and to inform the public, Sykes and his colleagues were, for much of the Cold War, among the only people on earth able to say with certainty when and where a bomb was tested and how large it was. Methods of measuring earthquakes, researchers realized, could also detect underground nuclear explosions. When politicians on both sides of the Iron Curtain attempted to sidestep disarmament or test ban treaties, Sykes was able to deploy the nascent science of plate tectonics to reveal the truth. Seismologists’ discoveries helped bring about treaties limiting nuclear testing, but it was their activism that played a key role in the effort for peace. Full of intrigue, international politics, and hard science used for the global good, Silencing the Bomb is a timely and necessary chronicle of one scientist’s efforts to keep the clock from striking midnight.

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🔑 Nuclear Weapons

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Managing the Wild: Stories of People and Plants and Tropical Forests

by Charles M. Peters, published in 2018

Based on more than three decades of fieldwork in tropical forests around the globe, the stories in this absorbing book provide a look at how local communities subtly manage the forest resources on which they depend.

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🔑 Forest ManagementSustainabilityTropical Forests

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The Spinning Magnet: The Electromagnetic Force That Created the Modern World--and Could Destroy It

by Alanna Mitchell, published in 2018

An engrossing history of the science of one of the four fundamental physical forces in the universe, electromagnetism, right up to the latest indications that the poles are soon to reverse and destroy the world's power grids and electronic communications A cataclysmic planetary phenomenon is gathering force deep within the Earth. The magnetic North Pole will eventually trade places with the South Pole. Satellite evidence suggests to some scientists that the move has already begun, but most still think it won't happen for many decades. All agree that it has happened many times before and will happen again. But this time it will be different. It will be a very bad day for modern civilization. Award-winning science journalist Alanna Mitchell's delightful storytelling introduces enchanting characters from investigations into magnetism in thirteenth-century France to the discovery in the Victorian era that electricity and magnetism emerge from the same force. No one has ever told so eloquently how the Earth itself came to be seen as a magnet, spinning in space with two poles, and that those poles dramatically, catastrophically reverse now and then... The recent finding that Earth's magnetic force field is decaying faster than previously thought, raising fears of an imminent pole reversal, ultimately gives The Spinning Magnet a spine-tingling urgency. When the poles switch, a process that takes many years, Earth is unprotected from solar radiation storms that would, among other things, wipe out all electromagnetic technology. No satellites, no Internet, no smartphones--maybe no power grid at all. Alanna Mitchell offers a beautifully crafted narrative history of ideas and science that readers of Stephen Greenblatt and Sam Kean will love.

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🔑 Geomagnetism

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Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data

by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, published in 2018

Markets have long been acknowledged to be a superior mechanism for managing resources but until the advent of big data, they largely functioned better in theory than in practice. Now, as ideal markets are within reach because of vastly greater access to information, we are on the verge of a major disruption. As data becomes a more valuable asset than cash, the rules for surviving and thriving are changing. Reinventing Capitalism is a provocative look at how data is reinventing markets and, in so doing, is ushering in an era where the firm is no longer predominant. With richer and more comprehensive information about human wants and needs, an economy powered by data offers the possibility of increased abundance, equality, and resilience. The data-driven markets that will thrive in this environment are far better than firms at organizing human endeavors, meaning that finance driven capitalism is being displaced by its more efficient, moresustainable, and more democratic disruptor: data capitalism.

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🔑 Big DataEconomics

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The Strength in Numbers: The New Science of Team Science

by Barry Bozeman, published in 2020

Why collaborations in STEM fields succeed or fail and how to ensure success Once upon a time, it was the lone scientist who achieved brilliant breakthroughs. No longer. Today, science is done in teams of as many as hundreds of researchers who may be scattered across continents. These collaborations can be powerful, but they also demand new ways of thinking. The Strength in Numbers illuminates the nascent science of team science by synthesizing the results of the most far-reaching study to date on collaboration among university scientists. Drawing on a national survey with responses from researchers at more than one hundred universities, archival data, and extensive interviews with scientists and engineers in over a dozen STEM disciplines, Barry Bozeman and Jan Youtie establish a framework for characterizing different collaborations and their outcomes, and lay out what they have found to be the gold-standard approach: consultative collaboration management. The Strength in Numbers is an indispensable guide for scientists interested in maximizing collaborative success.

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🔑 CollaborationTeam Science

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The Tyranny of Metrics

by Jerry Z. Muller, published in 2019

Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we've gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most important institutions. In this timely and powerful book, Jerry Muller uncovers the damage our obsession with metrics is causing--and shows how we can begin to fix the problem. Filled with examples from education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid, this brief and accessible book explains why the seemingly irresistible pressure to quantify performance distorts and distracts, whether by encouraging "gaming the stats" or "teaching to the test." That's because what can and does get measured is not always worth measuring, may not be what we really want to know, and may draw effort away from the things we care about. Along the way, we learn why paying for measured performance doesn't work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But metrics can be good when used as a complement to--rather than a replacement for--judgment based on personal experience, and Muller also gives examples of when metrics have been beneficial. Complete with a checklist of when and how to use metrics, The Tyranny of Metrics is an essential corrective to a rarely questioned trend that increasingly affects us all.

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🔑 EvaluationMeasurementMetrics

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The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World

by Charles C. Mann, published in 2018

From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493--an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow's world. In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups--Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces--food, water, energy, climate change--grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.

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🔑 EnvironmentalismScience lives

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Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

by Richard A. McKay, published in 2017

The search for a “patient zero”—popularly understood to be the first person infected in an epidemic—has been key to media coverage of major infectious disease outbreaks for more than three decades. Yet the term itself did not exist before the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. How did this idea so swiftly come to exert such a strong grip on the scientific, media, and popular consciousness? In Patient Zero, Richard A. McKay interprets a wealth of archival sources and interviews to demonstrate how this seemingly new concept drew upon centuries-old ideas—and fears—about contagion and social disorder. McKay presents a carefully documented and sensitively written account of the life of Gaétan Dugas, a gay man whose skin cancer diagnosis in 1980 took on very different meanings as the HIV/AIDS epidemic developed—and who received widespread posthumous infamy when he was incorrectly identified as patient zero of the North American outbreak. McKay shows how investigators from the US Centers for Disease Control inadvertently created the term amid their early research into the emerging health crisis; how an ambitious journalist dramatically amplified the idea in his determination to reframe national debates about AIDS; and how many individuals grappled with the notion of patient zero—adopting, challenging and redirecting its powerful meanings—as they tried to make sense of and respond to the first fifteen years of an unfolding epidemic. With important insights for our interconnected age, Patient Zero untangles the complex process by which individuals and groups create meaning and allocate blame when faced with new disease threats. What McKay gives us here is myth-smashing revisionist history at its best.

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🔑 HIV/AIDSPublic Health

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The Planet Factory: Exoplanets and the Search for a Second Earth

by Elizabeth Tasker, published in 2017

Twenty years ago, the search for planets outside the Solar System was a job restricted to science-fiction writers. Now it's one of the fastest-growing fields in astronomy with thousands of exoplanets discovered to date, and the number is rising fast. These new-found worlds are more alien than anything in fiction. Planets larger than Jupiter with years lasting a week; others with two suns lighting their skies, or with no sun at all. Planets with diamond mantles supporting oceans of tar; possible Earth-sized worlds with split hemispheres of perpetual day and night; waterworlds drowning under global oceans and volcanic lava planets awash with seas of magma. The discovery of this diversity is just the beginning. There is a whole galaxy of possibilities. The Planet Factory tells the story of these exoplanets. Each planetary system is different, but in the beginning most if not all young stars are circled by clouds of dust, specks that come together in a violent building project that can form colossal worlds hundreds of times the size of the Earth. The changing orbits of young planets risk dooming any life evolving on neighbouring worlds or, alternatively, can deliver the key ingredients needed to seed its beginnings. Planet formation is one of the greatest construction schemes in the Universe, and it occurred around nearly every star you see. Each results in an alien landscape, but is it possible that one of these could be like our own home world?

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🔑 AstronomyExoplanets

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Living with Robots

by Paul Dumouchel, published in 2017

Living with Robots recounts a foundational shift in robotics, from artificial intelligence to artificial empathy, and foreshadows an inflection point in human evolution. As robots engage with people in socially meaningful ways, social robotics probes the nature of the human emotions that social robots are designed to emulate.

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🔑 EthicsRobotics

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The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums

by Christopher Kemp, published in 2017

The tiny, lungless Thorius salamander from southern Mexico, thinner than a match and smaller than a quarter. The lushly white-coated Saki, an arboreal monkey from the Brazilian rainforests. The olinguito, a native of the Andes, which looks part mongoose, part teddy bear. These fantastic species are all new to science—at least newly named and identified; but they weren’t discovered in the wild, instead, they were unearthed in the drawers and cavernous basements of natural history museums. As Christopher Kemp reveals in The Lost Species, hiding in the cabinets and storage units of natural history museums is a treasure trove of discovery waiting to happen. With Kemp as our guide, we go spelunking into museum basements, dig through specimen trays, and inspect the drawers and jars of collections, scientific detectives on the hunt for new species. We discover king crabs from 1906, unidentified tarantulas, mislabeled Himalayan landsnails, an unknown rove beetle originally collected by Darwin, and an overlooked squeaker frog, among other curiosities. In each case, these specimens sat quietly for decades—sometimes longer than a century—within the collections of museums, before sharp-eyed scientists understood they were new. Each year, scientists continue to encounter new species in museum collections—a stark reminder that we have named only a fraction of the world’s biodiversity. Sadly, some specimens have waited so long to be named that they are gone from the wild before they were identified, victims of climate change and habitat loss. As Kemp shows, these stories showcase the enduring importance of these very collections. The Lost Species vividly tells these stories of discovery—from the latest information on each creature to the people who collected them and the scientists who finally realized what they had unearthed—and will inspire many a museumgoer to want to peek behind the closed doors and rummage through the archives.

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🔑 BiodiversityMuseum Science

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Planet of Microbes: The Perils and Potential of Earth’s Essential Life Forms

by Ted Anton, published in 2017

This book takes readers into the latest discoveries about early microbial life, where findings from the earth's furthest extremes are seeking to reshape the future of our planet and ourselves. As scientists take the next step in applying the lessons of popular and controversial research, the world's tiniest, and sometimes most dangerous, microorganisms are being tapped as allies in achieving better health and sustainable energy, while revealing fundamental clues to the mystery of where we came from.--Provided by publisher.

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🔑 MicrobiologyOrigin of Life

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The Aliens Among Us: How Invasive Species Are Transforming the Planet—and Ourselves

by Leslie Anthony, published in 2017

A thoughtful, accessible look at the rapidly growing issue of invasive plants, animals, and microbes around the globe with a focus on the scientific issues and ecological, health, and other challenges From an award-winning adventure and science journalist comes an eye-opening exploration of a burgeoning environmental phenomenon and the science coalescing around it. Leslie Anthony leads readers on adventures physical and philosophical as he explores how and why invasive species are hijacking ecosystems around the globe. Weaving science, travel, history, and humor with diverse examples to chart and describe the phases of species invasion and human response, Anthony introduces field researchers and managers who seek to understand the biological, social, and economic aspects of this complex issue, and whose work collectively suggests the emergence of a global shadow economy centered on invasives. With tales of pythons in the Everglades, Asian carp and lamprey in the Great Lakes, Japanese knotweed seemingly everywhere, and the invasive organisms we don't see--pathogens and microbes such as the Zika virus--this book rivets attention on a new ecological reality.

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🔑 Ecosystem ManagementInvasive Species

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Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech

by Sara Wachter-Boettcher, published in 2017

“An entertaining romp that tells us where and why the tech industry, once America’s darling, went wrong, and what it might do to recover its good graces.” —Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch Buying groceries, tracking our health, finding a date: whatever we want to do, odds are that we can now do it online. But few of us realize just how many oversights, biases, and downright ethical nightmares are baked inside the tech products we use every day. It’s time we change that. In Technically Wrong, Sara Wachter-Boettcher demystifies the tech industry, leaving those of us on the other side of the screen better prepared to make informed choices about the services we use—and to demand more from the companies behind them. A Wired Top Tech Book of the Year A Fast Company Best Business and Leadership Book of the Year

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🔑 BiasDiscriminationTechnology

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The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World

by Jeff Goodell, published in 2018

An eye-opening and essential tour of the vanishing world What if Atlantis wasn’t a myth, but an early precursor to a new age of great flooding? Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels, and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctica, and each tick upwards of Earth's thermometer, we are moving closer to the brink of broad disaster. By century’s end, hundreds of millions of people will be retreating from the world's shores as our coasts become inundated and our landscapes transformed. From island nations to the world's major cities, coastal regions will disappear. Engineering projects to hold back the water are bold and may buy some time. Yet despite international efforts and tireless research, there is no permanent solution – no barriers to erect or walls to build – that will protect us in the end from the drowning of the world as we know it. The Water Will Come is the definitive account of the coming water, why and how this will happen, and what it will all mean. As he travels across twelve countries and reports from the front lines, acclaimed journalist Jeff Goodell employs fact, science, and first-person, on-the-ground journalism to show vivid scenes from what already is becoming a water world. ‘This harrowing, compulsively readable, and carefully researched book lays out in clear-eyed detail what Earth’s changing climate means for us today, and what it will mean for future generations ... It’s a thriller in which the hero in peril is us.’ ―John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars ‘Jeff Goodell grabs you on the first page and doesn't hold up until this essential story is told. He presents a vivid warning and a call to arms to the generation that gets to decide how fast, and how high, the water will come.’ ―Scott Ludlam, former Australian Greens Senator ‘A well-rounded, persuasive survey.... A frightening, scientifically grounded, and starkly relevant look at how climate change will affect coastal cities.’ ―Kirkus, Starred Review ‘In this engaging book, environmental writer Goodell points out that while sea levels have always risen and fallen, the current rise is driven primarily by the dramatically accelerating melting of the arctic ice caps, and with so many cities on seashores, this will be devastating.’ ―Booklist, Starred Review

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🔑 Global Warming

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Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future

by Edward Struzik, published in 2017

"Frightening...Firestorm comes alive when Struzik discusses the work of offbeat scientists." --New York Times Book Review "Comprehensive and compelling." --Booklist "A powerful message." --Kirkus "Should be required reading." --Library Journal In the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire "the Beast." It seemed to be alive with destructive energy, and they hoped never to see anything like it again. Yet it's not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like the Beast are commonplace. In Firestorm, Edward Struzik confronts this new reality, offering a deftly woven tale of science, economics, politics, and human determination. It's possible for us to flourish in the coming age of megafires--but it will take a radical new approach that requires acknowledging that fires are no longer avoidable. Living with fire also means, Struzik reveals, that we must better understand how the surprising, far-reaching impacts of these massive fires will linger long after the smoke eventually clears.

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🔑 Forest ManagementWildfire

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Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics

by James;Uberti Cheshire, published in 2018

For thousands of years, tracking animals meant following footprints. Now satellites, drones, camera traps, cellphone networks, apps and accelerometers allow us to see the natural world like never before. Geographer James Cheshire and designer Oliver Uberti take you to the forefront of this animal-tracking revolution. Meet the scientists gathering wild data - from seals mapping the sea to baboons making decisions, from birds dodging tornadoes to jaguars taking selfies. Join the journeys of sharks, elephants, bumblebees, snowy owls, and a wolf looking for love. Find an armchair, cancel your plans and go where the animals go.

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🔑 EcologyWildlife Tracking

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Creek Critters

by Jennifer Keats Curtis, published in 2020

Do you like scavenger hunts? How do you tell if creek water is clean and healthy? Join Lucas and his sister as they act like scientists looking for certain kinds of stream bugs (aquatic macroinvertebrates) that need clean, unpolluted water to survive. What will they find as they turn over rocks, pick up leaves and sort through the mud? Read along to find out if their creek gets a passing grade.

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The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity

by Amy Alznauer, published in 2020

A young mathematical genius from India searches for the secrets hidden inside numbers -- and for someone who understands him -- in this gorgeous picture-book biography. A mango . . . is just one thing. But if I chop it in two, then chop the half in two, and keep on chopping, I get more and more bits, on and on, endlessly, to an infinity I could never ever reach. In 1887 in India, a boy named Ramanujan is born with a passion for numbers. He sees numbers in the squares of light pricking his thatched roof and in the beasts dancing on the temple tower. He writes mathematics with his finger in the sand, across the pages of his notebooks, and with chalk on the temple floor. "What is small?" he wonders. "What is big?" Head in the clouds, Ramanujan struggles in school -- but his mother knows that her son and his ideas have a purpose. As he grows up, Ramanujan reinvents much of modern mathematics, but where in the world could he find someone to understand what he has conceived? Author Amy Alznauer gently introduces young readers to math concepts while Daniel Miyares's illustrations bring the wonder of Ramanujan's world to life in the inspiring real-life story of a boy who changed mathematics and science forever. Back matter includes a bibliography and an author's note recounting more of Ramanujan's life and accomplishments, as well as the author's father's remarkable discovery of Ramanujan's Lost Notebook.

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Borrowing Life: How Scientists, Surgeons, and a War Hero Made the First Successful Organ Transplant

by Shelley Fraser Mickle, published in 2020

Against a global backdrop of wartime suffering and postwar hope, Borrowing Life gathers the personal histories of the men and women behind the team that enabled and performed the modern medical miracle of the world's first successful organ transplant. "An extraordinary work. Shelley Fraser Mickle has not only provided a detailed, fascinating documentation of the world's first successful organ transplant, but she has also painted the lives of those involved--doctors, patients, family members--so vividly that the reader is completely enthralled and emotionally invested in their grieved losses as well as their successes. The result is a beautiful tribute to medical science as well as to humanity." Jill McCorkle, NYT bestselling author of Life After Life "Working with Dr. Moore, Dr. Murray and Dr, Vandam to create the painting commemorating their historic operation and the research leading up to it was the greatest adventure of my artistic career. Having my painting on the cover of Borrowing Life renews that excitement, for I know what grand adventure is waiting for the reader." Joel Babb, artist "I was so very pleased to be involved with Shelley as she wrote her captivating, compelling book. I only wish that Ron could be here with me to read it." Cynthia Herrick, wife of the first successful organ transplant donor "Had these men and women not worked diligently to save the life of Charles Woods, I and my 5 brothers and 3 sisters, would not have been born. Charles Woods and Miriam Woods are my parents. It is thrilling to read Ms Mickle's book as it closely mirrors the stories our dad and mom shared with us as children. The amazing thing is that as a disfigured war hero, our dad embraced his appearance as a badge of honor." David Woods Performed at Boston's Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1954, the first successful kidney transplant was the culmination of years of grit, compassion, and the pursuit of excellence by a remarkable medical team--Nobel Prize-winning surgeon Joseph Murray, his boss and fellow surgeon Francis Moore, and British scientist and fellow Nobel laureate Peter Medawar. Drawing on the lives of these members of the Greatest Generation, Borrowing Life creates a compelling narrative that begins in wartime and tracks decades of the ups and downs, personal and professional, of these inspiring men and their achievements, which continue to benefit humankind in so many ways.

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Chemistry for Kids: Homemade Science Experiments and Activities Inspired by Awesome Chemists, Past and Present

by Liz Lee Heinecke, published in 2020

Replicate a chemical reaction similar to one Marie Curie used to purify radioactive elements! Distill perfume using a method created in ancient Mesopotamia by a woman named Tapputi! Aspiring chemists will discover these and more amazing role models and memorable experiments in Chemistry for Kids. This engaging guide offers a series of snapshots of 25 scientists famous for their work with chemistry, from ancient history through today. Each lab tells the story of a scientist along with some background about the importance of their work, and a description of where it is still being used or reflected in today’s world. A step-by-step illustrated experiment paired with each story offers kids a hands-on opportunity for exploring concepts the scientists pursued, or are working on today. Experiments range from very simple projects using materials you probably already have on hand, to more complicated ones that may require a few inexpensive items you can purchase online. Just a few of the incredible people and scientific concepts you'll explore: Galan b. 129 AD Make soap from soap base, oil and citrus peels. Modern application: medical disinfectants Joseph Priestly b. 1733 Carbonate a beverage using CO2 from yeast or baking soda and vinegar mixture. Modern application: soda fountains Alessandra Volta b. 1745 Make a battery using a series of lemons and use it to light a LED. Modern application: car battery Tu Youyou b. 1930 Extract compounds from plants. Modern application: pharmaceuticals and cosmetics People have been tinkering with chemistry for thousands of years. Whether out of curiosity or by necessity, Homo sapiens have long loved to play with fire: mixing and boiling concoctions to see what interesting, beautiful, and useful amalgamations they could create. Early humans ground pigments to create durable paint for cave walls, and over the next 70 thousand years or so as civilizations took hold around the globe, people learned to make better medicines and discovered how to extract, mix, and smelt metals for cooking vessels, weapons, and jewelry. Early chemists distilled perfume, made soap, and perfected natural inks and dyes. Modern chemistry was born around 250 years ago, when measurement, mathematics, and the scientific method were officially applied to experimentation. In 1896, after the first draft of the periodic table was published, scientists rushed to fill in the blanks. The elemental discoveries that followed gave scientists the tools to visualize the building blocks of matter for the first time in history, and they proceeded to deconstruct the atom. Since then, discovery has accelerated at an unprecedented rate. At times, modern chemistry and its creations have caused heartbreaking, unthinkable harm, but more often than not, it makes our lives better. With this fascinating, hands-on exploration of the history of chemistry, inspire the next generation of great scientists.

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Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet

by Elizabeth Rusch, published in 2019

The true story of how a scientist saved the planet from environmental disaster. Mexican American Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth's protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned--and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

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What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times

by Ruth DeFries, published in 2020

Not long ago, the future seemed predictable. Now, certainty about the course of civilization has given way to fear and doubt. Raging fires, ravaging storms, political upheavals, financial collapse, and deadly pandemics lie ahead—or are already here. The world feels less comprehensible and more dangerous, and no one, from individuals to businesses and governments, knows how to navigate the path forward. Ruth DeFries argues that a surprising set of time-tested strategies from the natural world can help humanity weather these crises. Through trial and error over the eons, life has evolved astonishing and counterintuitive tricks in order to survive. DeFries details how a handful of fundamental strategies—investments in diversity, redundancy over efficiency, self-correcting feedbacks, and decisions based on bottom-up knowledge—enable life to persist through unpredictable, sudden shocks. Lessons for supply chains from a leaf’s intricate network of veins and stock market-saving “circuit breakers” patterned on planetary cycles reveal the power of these approaches for modern life. With humility and willingness to apply nature’s experience to our human-constructed world, DeFries demonstrates, we can withstand uncertain and perilous times. Exploring the lessons that life on Earth can teach us about coping with complexity, What Would Nature Do? offers timely options for civilization to reorganize for a safe and prosperous future.

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The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans

by Kirksey, Eben, published in 2021

An anthropologist visits the frontiers of genetics, medicine, and technology to ask: whose values are guiding gene-editing experiments, and what are the implications for humanity? At a conference in Hong Kong in November 2018, Dr. Jiankui He announced that he had created the first genetically modified babies—twin girls named Lulu and Nana—sending shockwaves around the world. A year later, a Chinese court sentenced Dr. He to three years in prison for “illegal medical practice.” As scientists elsewhere start to catch up with China’s vast genetic research programme, gene editing is fuelling an innovation economy that threatens to widen racial and economic inequality. Fundamental questions about science, health, and social justice are at stake. Who gets access to gene-editing technologies? As countries loosen regulations around the globe, can we shape research agendas to promote an ethical and fair society? Professor Eben Kirksey takes us on a groundbreaking journey to meet the key scientists, lobbyists, and entrepreneurs who are bringing cutting-edge genetic modification tools like CRISPR to your local clinic. He also ventures beyond the scientific echo chamber, talking to doctors, hackers, chronically ill patients, disabled scholars, and activists and who have alternative visions of a genetically modified future for humanity. The Mutant Project empowers us to ask the right questions, uncover the truth, and navigate this new era of scientific enquiry.

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Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now

by Vincent Ialenti, published in 2020

A guide to long-term thinking: how to envision the far future of Earth. We live on a planet careening toward environmental collapse that will be largely brought about by our own actions. And yet we struggle to grasp the scale of the crisis, barely able to imagine the effects of climate change just ten years from now, let alone the multi-millennial timescales of Earth's past and future life span. In this book, Vincent Ialenti offers a guide for envisioning the planet's far future--to become, as he terms it, more skilled deep time reckoners. The challenge, he says, is to learn to inhabit a longer now.

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Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live

by Nicholas A. Christakis, published in 2020

A piercing and scientifically grounded look at the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and how it will change the way we live — "excellent and timely." (The New Yorker) Apollo's Arrow offers a riveting account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as it swept through American society in 2020, and of how the recovery will unfold in the coming years. Drawing on momentous (yet dimly remembered) historical epidemics, contemporary analyses, and cutting-edge research from a range of scientific disciplines, bestselling author, physician, sociologist, and public health expert Nicholas A. Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of plague — an experience that is paradoxically uncommon to the vast majority of humans who are alive, yet deeply fundamental to our species. Unleashing new divisions in our society as well as opportunities for cooperation, this 21st-century pandemic has upended our lives in ways that will test, but not vanquish, our already frayed collective culture. Featuring new, provocative arguments and vivid examples ranging across medicine, history, sociology, epidemiology, data science, and genetics, Apollo's Arrow envisions what happens when the great force of a deadly germ meets the enduring reality of our evolved social nature.

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Condor Comeback

by Sy Montgomery, published in 2020

Award-winning and best-selling author Sy Montgomery turns her talents to the story of California condors and the scientists who have fought against their extinction.

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The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers

by Emily Levesque, published in 2020

The story of the people who see beyond the stars Humans from the earliest civilizations were spellbound by the night sky-craning their necks each night, they used the stars to orient themselves in the large, strange world around them. Stargazing is a pursuit that continues to fascinate us: from Copernicus to Carl Sagan, astronomers throughout history have spent their lives trying to answer the biggest questions in the universe. Now, award-winning astronomer Emily Levesque shares the stories of modern-day stargazers, the people willing to adventure across high mountaintops and to some of the most remote corners of the planet, all in the name of science. From the lonely quiet of midnight stargazing to tall tales of wild bears loose in the observatory, The Last Stargazers is a love letter to astronomy and an affirmation of the crucial role that humans can and must play in the future of scientific discovery. In this sweeping work of narrative science, Levesque shows how astronomers in this scrappy and evolving field are going beyond the machines to infuse creativity and passion into the stars and inspires us all to peer skyward in pursuit of the universe's secrets.

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Eclipse Chaser: Science in the Moon's Shadow

by Ilima Loomis, published in 2019

The August 2017 solar eclipse is the chance of a lifetime for astronomer Shadia Habbal—years of planning come down to one moment of totality. Will everything go off as planned? On August 21, 2017, much of America stood still and looked up as a wide swath of the country experienced totality—a full solar eclipse. Even in areas outside the path of totality, people watched in awe as the moon cast its shadow on the sun. For most, this was simply a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not so for Shadia Habbal, who travels the world in search of solar eclipses in order to study the sun’s corona. Solar wind and storms originating in the corona can have big effects on our planet. They can disrupt technology, expose aircraft to radiation, and even influence global climate change. In the months leading up to the 2017 eclipse, Shadia assembles a team of scientists to set up camp with her in Mitchell, Oregon. Years earlier, a long, expensive trip to Indonesia to study an eclipse failed when the skies remained too cloudy to see it. Shadia is determined to have the 2017 eclipse be a success. Will the computers fail? Will smoke from nearby fires change direction? Will the cloudy skies clear in time? Readers will be on the edge of their seats as they count down the months, days, hours, and finally minutes until totality.

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The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another

by Ainissa Ramirez, published in 2020

In the bestselling tradition of Stuff Matters and The Disappearing Spoon: a clever and engaging look at materials, the innovations they made possible, and how these technologies changed us. In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions—clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips—and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway's writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid's cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies. Ramirez shows not only how materials were shaped by inventors but also how those materials shaped culture, chronicling each invention and its consequences—intended and unintended. Filling in the gaps left by other books about technology, Ramirez showcases little-known inventors—particularly people of color and women—who had a significant impact but whose accomplishments have been hidden by mythmaking, bias, and convention. Doing so, she shows us the power of telling inclusive stories about technology. She also shows that innovation is universal—whether it's splicing beats with two turntables and a microphone or splicing genes with two test tubes and CRISPR.

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This Is a Book to Read with a Worm

by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen, published in 2020

If you can find a worm, then you can be a biologist! Foster a love of animals and science with this charming activity guide for finding and observing earthworms. Hands-on experiments help young biologists answer questions like "Which end is which?" and "Do worms make noise?" Insider tips encourage readers to think like a scientist and handle living things with care. Equally entertaining with or without a worm friend.

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Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together

by Clare Hodgson Meeker, published in 2020

Audisee® eBooks with Audio combine professional narration and sentence highlighting to engage reluctant readers! This heartwarming true story chronicles what happened after a mother gorilla gave birth for the first time and then walked away from her newborn baby at Seattle's Woodland Park. The dedicated staff worked tirelessly to find innovative ways for mother and baby to build a relationship. The efforts were ultimately successful, as baby Yola bonded with her mother and the rest of the family group.

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Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

by Candace Fleming, published in 2020

Get up close and personal with Apis, one honeybee, as she embarks on her journey through life, complete with exquisitely detailed illustrations. Beginning at birth, the honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell and is driven to protect and take care of her hive. She cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet She builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage. She defends the hive from invaders. Apis accomplishes all of this before beginning her life outdoors as an adventurer, seeking nectar to bring back to her hive. Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann describe the life cycle of the hard-working honeybee in this poetically written, thoroughly researched picture book, similar in form and concept to the Sibert and Orbis Pictus award book Giant Squid, complete with stunning gatefold and an essay on the plight of honeybees. A Junior Library Guild Selection

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You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration

by Loree Griffin Burns, published in 2020

RSVP and have a ball--a moth ball--while studying moths in your own backyard! Kids are usually asleep when moths come out at night. But discovering the diverse moth population is simple--stay up late and set up a party for moths! Nature centers and museums host events called moth balls each summer, but kids can create their own right at home. Captivating photographs show how to lure in moths to study them. Direct address to the reader shows kids the magic of science found at home.

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Can You Hear the Trees Talking? Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest

by Peter Wohlleben, published in 2019

Based on the New York Times bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees, this interactive, illustrated book for ages 8-10 introduces kids to the forest through outdoor activities, quizzes, fun facts, photographs, and more! Discover the secret life of trees with this nature and science book for kids: Can You Hear the Trees Talking? shares the mysteries and magic of the forest with young readers, revealing what trees feel, how they communicate, and the ways trees take care of their families. The author of The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben, tells kids about the forest internet, aphids who keep ants as pets, nature’s water filters, and more fascinating things that happen under the canopy. Featuring simple activities kids can try on their own or with parents, along with quizzes, photographs, and more, Can You Hear the Trees Talking? covers a range of amazing topics including: : How trees talk to each other (hint: through the wood wide web!) Why trees are important in the city How trees make us healthy and strong How trees get sick, and how we can help them get better This engaging and visually stunning book encourages at-home learning and fun as kids discover the wonder of the natural world outside their windows. "Lush full-color photos and pictures create an immersive experience and the layout facilitates engaged, delighted learning. ...this book may prompt frequent family visits to, and a new appreciation for, neighborhood trees and local forests.” —Washington Parent

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Wading Right In: Discovering the Nature of Wetlands

by Catherine Owen Koning, published in 2019

Where can you find mosses that change landscapes, salamanders with algae in their skin, and carnivorous plants containing whole ecosystems in their furled leaves? Where can you find swamp-trompers, wildlife watchers, marsh managers, and mud-mad scientists? In wetlands, those complex habitats that play such vital ecological roles. In Wading Right In, Catherine Owen Koning and Sharon M. Ashworth take us on a journey into wetlands through stories from the people who wade in the muck. Traveling alongside scientists, explorers, and kids with waders and nets, the authors uncover the inextricably entwined relationships between the water flows, natural chemistry, soils, flora, and fauna of our floodplain forests, fens, bogs, marshes, and mires. Tales of mighty efforts to protect rare orchids, restore salt marshes, and preserve sedge meadows become portals through which we visit major wetland types and discover their secrets, while also learning critical ecological lessons. The United States still loses wetlands at a rate of 13,800 acres per year. Such loss diminishes the water quality of our rivers and lakes, depletes our capacity for flood control, reduces our ability to mitigate climate change, and further impoverishes our biodiversity. Koning and Ashworth's stories captivate the imagination and inspire the emotional and intellectual connections we need to commit to protecting these magical and mysterious places.

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From Here to There: The Art and Science of Finding and Losing Our Way

by Michael Bond, published in 2020

Navigation skills are easy to take for granted, but the ability to find our way is a key to humanity's evolutionary success. Sharing illustrative stories of the lost and found, Michael Bond explores the science of our mental maps and their vital relationship with imagination, memory, abstract thinking, and other cognitive functions.

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The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness

by Emily Anthes, published in 2020

A fascinating, thought-provoking journey into our built environment Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships? In this wide-ranging, character-driven book, science journalist Emily Anthes takes us on an adventure into the buildings in which we spend our days, exploring the profound, and sometimes unexpected, ways that they shape our lives. Drawing on cutting-edge research, she probes the pain-killing power of a well-placed window and examines how the right office layout can expand our social networks. She investigates how room temperature regulates our cognitive performance, how the microbes hiding in our homes influence our immune systems, and how cafeteria design affects what—and how much—we eat. Along the way, Anthes takes readers into an operating room designed to minimize medical errors, a school designed to boost students’ physical fitness, and a prison designed to support inmates’ psychological needs. And she previews the homes of the future, from the high-tech houses that could monitor our health to the 3D-printed structures that might allow us to live on the Moon. The Great Indoors provides a fresh perspective on our most familiar surroundings and a new understanding of the power of architecture and design. It's an argument for thoughtful interventions into the built environment and a story about how to build a better world—one room at a time.

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Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World

by David Kaiser, published in 2020

"Physicists have grappled with quantum theory for over a century. They have learned to wring precise answers from the theory's governing equations, and no experiment to date has found compelling evidence to contradict it. Even so, the conceptual apparatus remains stubbornly, famously bizarre. Physicists have tackled these conceptual uncertainties while navigating still larger ones: the rise of fascism, cataclysmic world wars and a new nuclear age, an unsteady Cold War stand-off and its unexpected end. Quantum Legacies introduces readers to physics' still-unfolding quest by treating iconic moments of discovery and debate among well-known figures like Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and Stephen Hawking, and many others whose contributions have indelibly shaped our understanding of nature"--

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The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move

by Sonia Shah, published in 2020

A prize-winning journalist upends our centuries-long assumptions about migration through science, history, and reporting--predicting its lifesaving power in the face of climate change. The news today is full of stories of dislocated people on the move. Wild species, too, are escaping warming seas and desiccated lands, creeping, swimming, and flying in a mass exodus from their past habitats. News media presents this scrambling of the planet's migration patterns as unprecedented, provoking fears of the spread of disease and conflict and waves of anxiety across the Western world. On both sides of the Atlantic, experts issue alarmed predictions of millions of invading aliens, unstoppable as an advancing tsunami, and countries respond by electing anti-immigration leaders who slam closed borders that were historically porous. But the science and history of migration in animals, plants, and humans tell a different story. Far from being a disruptive behavior to be quelled at any cost, migration is an ancient and lifesaving response to environmental change, a biological imperative as necessary as breathing. Climate changes triggered the first human migrations out of Africa. Falling sea levels allowed our passage across the Bering Sea. Unhampered by barbed wire, migration allowed our ancestors to people the planet, catapulting us into the highest reaches of the Himalayan mountains and the most remote islands of the Pacific, creating and disseminating the biological, cultural, and social diversity that ecosystems and societies depend upon. In other words, migration is not the crisis--it is the solution. Conclusively tracking the history of misinformation from the 18th century through today's anti-immigration policies, The Next Great Migration makes the case for a future in which migration is not a source of fear, but of hope.

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Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias

by Pragya Agarwal, published in 2020

'Passionate and urgent.' Guardian, Book of the Week 'A must-read for all.' Stylist, best new books for 2020 'Cogently argued and intensely persuasive. Groundbreaking Work.' Waterstones, best new books of April 'Impressive and much-needed.' Financial Times, Best Business Books April to June 'Admirably detailed.' Prospect Magazine 'Practical, useful, readable and essential for the times we are living in.' Nikesh Shukla 'An eye-opening book that I hope will be widely read.' Angela Saini 'If you think you don't need to read this book, you really need to read this book.' Jane Garvey 'An eye-opening book looking at unconscious bias. Meticulously researched and well written. It will make you think hard about the judgements you make. An essential read for our times.' Kavita Puri, BBC Journalist and author For the first time, behavioural and data scientist, activist and writer Dr Pragya Agarwal unravels the way our implicit or 'unintentional' biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, how they affect our decision-making, and how they reinforce and perpetuate systemic and structural inequalities. Sway is a thoroughly researched and comprehensive look at unconscious bias and how it impacts day-to-day life, from job interviews to romantic relationships to saving for retirement. It covers a huge number of sensitive topics - sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, colourism - with tact, and combines statistics with stories to paint a fuller picture and enhance understanding. Throughout, Pragya clearly delineates theories with a solid grounding in science, answering questions such as: do our roots for prejudice lie in our evolutionary past? What happens in our brains when we are biased? How has bias affected technology? If we don't know about it, are we really responsible for it? At a time when partisan political ideologies are taking centre stage, and we struggle to make sense of who we are and who we want to be, it is crucial that we understand why we act the way we do. This book will enables us to open our eyes to our own biases in a scientific and non-judgmental way.

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Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom

by James Danckert, published in 2020

Usually when we're bored, we try to distract ourselves. But soon enough, boredom returns. James Danckert and John Eastwood argue that we can learn to handle boredom more effectively by recognizing what research shows: boredom indicates unmet psychological needs. Boredom, therefore, can motivate us to change what isn't working in our lives.

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Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

by Lulu Miller, published in 2020

A wondrous debut from an extraordinary new voice in nonfiction, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even murder. David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake—which sent more than a thousand of his discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life’s work was shattered. Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan? He surveyed the wreckage at his feet, found the first fish he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection. And this time, he introduced one clever innovation that he believed would at last protect his work against the chaos of the world. When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool—a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Perhaps instead he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost. What she would unearth about his life would transform her understanding of history, morality, and the world beneath her feet. Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don’t Exist reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

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Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait

by Bathsheba Demuth, published in 2019

A groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between capitalism, communism, and Arctic ecology since the dawn of the industrial age. Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years. The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans—the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia—before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved? Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history. Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.

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Girl Decoded: A Scientist's Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity By Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology

by Rana el Kaliouby, published in 2020

In a captivating memoir, an Egyptian American visionary and scientist provides an intimate view of her personal transformation as she follows her calling—to humanize our technology and how we connect with one another. LONGLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • “A vivid coming-of-age story and a call to each of us to be more mindful and compassionate when we interact online.”—Arianna Huffington Rana el Kaliouby is a rarity in both the tech world and her native Middle East: a Muslim woman in charge in a field that is still overwhelmingly white and male. Growing up in Egypt and Kuwait, el Kaliouby was raised by a strict father who valued tradition—yet also had high expectations for his daughters—and a mother who was one of the first female computer programmers in the Middle East. Even before el Kaliouby broke ground as a scientist, she broke the rules of what it meant to be an obedient daughter and, later, an obedient wife to pursue her own daring dream. After earning her PhD at Cambridge, el Kaliouby, now the divorced mother of two, moved to America to pursue her mission to humanize technology before it dehumanizes us. The majority of our communication is conveyed through nonverbal cues: facial expressions, tone of voice, body language. But that communication is lost when we interact with others through our smartphones and devices. The result is an emotion-blind digital universe that impairs the very intelligence and capabilities—including empathy—that distinguish human beings from our machines. To combat our fundamental loss of emotional intelligence online, she cofounded Affectiva, the pioneer in the new field of Emotion AI, allowing our technology to understand humans the way we understand one another. Girl Decoded chronicles el Kaliouby’s journey from being a “nice Egyptian girl” to becoming a woman, carving her own path as she revolutionizes technology. But decoding herself—learning to express and act on her own emotions—would prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

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Game Changers: Stories of the Revolutionary Minds Behind Game Theory

by Rudolf Taschner, published in 2017

In this lively history of game theory, a gifted math educator and science writer explains for lay readers the uses and value of this innovative yet easy-to-understand approach to mathematical modeling. Essentially, game theory interprets life as a game with mathematical rules. By following the rules, decisions can be calculated that result in the greatest benefit for all participants. The author takes the reader from the 17th century through the Cold War to today's age of turbo capitalism. Along the way he introduces such leading contributors as Blaise Pascal in the 17th century, who invented the theory of probability; Ludwig Wittgenstein in the 20th century, who conceived of the world as a play of words; John Nash (the subject of A Beautiful Mind) in the 1950s, who laid the foundation of modern game theory; and today's practitioners who apply the theory to global finance and military strategy. As the author shows, game theory is more than a type of cost-benefit analysis; ultimately, it is a quest for meaning.

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🔑 Game TheoryHistory of Mathematics

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Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods

by Danna Staaf, published in 2017

Before there were mammals on land, there were dinosaurs. And before there were fish in the sea, there were cephalopods-the ancestors of modern squid and Earth's first truly substantial animals. Cephalopods became the first creatures to rise from the seafloor, essentially inventing the act of swimming. With dozens of tentacles and formidable shells, they presided over an undersea empire for millions of years. But when fish evolved jaws, the ocean's former top predator became its most delicious snack. Cephalopods had to step up their game. Many species streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, but these enhancements only provided a brief advantage. Some cephalopods then abandoned the shell entirely, which opened the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, perhaps even dolphin-like intelligence. Squid Empire is an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight's menu. Anyone who enjoys the undersea world-along with all those obsessed with things prehistoric-will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.

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🔑 Marine Biology

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The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others

by Tali Sharot, published in 2017

Selected as a best book of 2017 by Forbes, The Times, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Greater Good Magazine, Stanford Business School and more. 'A timely, intriguing book' Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take 'This profound book will change your life. An instant classic' Cass R. Sunstein, bestselling co-author of Nudge Part of our daily job as humans is to influence others; we teach our children, guide our patients, advise our clients, help our friends and inform our online followers. We do this because we each have unique experiences and knowledge that others may not. But how good are we at this role? It turns out we systematically fall back on suboptimal habits when trying to change other's beliefs and behaviors. Many of these instincts-from trying to scare people into action, to insisting the other is wrong or attempting to exert control-are ineffective, because they are incompatible with how the mind operates.

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🔑 Psychology

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Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats

by Maryn McKenna, published in 2017

"Americans eat chicken more than any other meat. But our nation's favorite food comes with an invisible cost: its insidious effect on our health. In this extraordinary narrative, acclaimed journalist Maryn McKenna reveals how antibiotic use has altered the way we consume industrially raised meat, and its impact on our daily lives. Drawing on decades of research, as well as interviews with entrepreneurs, epidemiologists, and other specialists, McKenna spins an astonishing story of science gone wrong. In the middle of the last century, antibiotics fueled the rapid rise of chicken from local delicacy to everyday protein source. But with that spectacular growth came great risk. As resistance to new wonder drugs crept into the farming process, bacterial outbreaks became harder to treat. And the consequences-to agriculture, to human health, and to modern medicine-were devastating. Beginning with the push to make chicken the affordable entrée of choice and tracing its evolution to a global commodity and carrier of foodborne illness, McKenna shines a light on the hidden forces of industrialization, the repercussions of runaway antibiotic use, and the outcome for future generations. Taking readers from the first poultry farms on the Delmarva Peninsula to the little-known lab where the chicken nugget was invented and into today's factory farms, McKenna reveals that the history of chicken is as much about economics, politics, and culture as it is about what we eat. In these vivid pages, she gives voice to a vanguard of farmers, chefs, and activists who are seeking to return poultry to an honored place at the table-and are changing the way we think about food. Incisive and beautifully written, Big Chicken is a cautionary tale of an industry that lost its way-and shows us the way back to healthier eating"--Back cover.

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🔑 Animal AgricultureAntibiotics

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On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History

by Howard I. Kushner, published in 2017

Since the late Stone Age, approximately 10 percent of humans have been left-handed, yet for most of human history left-handedness has been stigmatized. In On the Other Hand, Howard I. Kushner traces the impact of left-handedness on human cognition, behavior, culture, and health. A left-hander himself, Kushner has long been interested in the meanings associated with left-handedness, and ultimately with whether hand preference can even be defined in a significant way. As he explores the medical and cultural history of left-handedness, Kushner describes the associated taboos, rituals, and stigma from around the globe. The words "left" and "left hand" have negative connotations in all languages, and left-handers have even historically been viewed as disabled. In this comprehensive history of left-handedness, Kushner asks why left-handedness exists. He examines the relationship—if any—between handedness, linguistics, and learning disabilities, reveals how toleration of left-handedness serves as a barometer of wider cultural toleration and permissiveness, and wonders why the reported number of left-handers is significantly lower in Asia and Africa than in the West. Written in a lively style that mixes personal biography with scholarly research, On the Other Hand tells a comprehensive story about the science, traditions, and prejudices surrounding left-handedness.

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🔑 HandednessPrejudicePsychology

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Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World

by Laura Spinney, published in 2017

Read the devastating story of the Spanish flu - the twentieth century's greatest killer – and discover what it can teach us about the current Covid-19 pandemic. 'Both a saga of tragedies and a detective story... Pale Rider is not just an excavation but a reimagining of the past' Guardian With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I. In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pandemic, tracing it from Alaska to Brazil, from Persia to Spain, and from South Africa to Odessa. She shows how the pandemic was shaped by the interaction of a virus and the humans it encountered; and how this devastating natural experiment put both the ingenuity and the vulnerability of humans to the test. Laura Spinney demonstrates that the Spanish flu was as significant – if not more so – as two world wars in shaping the modern world; in disrupting, and often permanently altering, global politics, race relations, family structures, and thinking across medicine, religion and the arts. ‘Weaves together global history and medical science to great effect ... Riveting.’ Sunday Times

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🔑 Public HealthSpanish Flu

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Darwin’s Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory

by James T. Costa, published in 2017

“If you’ve ever fantasized walking and conversing with the great scientist on the subjects that consumed him, and now wish to add the fullness of reality, read this book.” —Edward O. Wilson, author of Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin’s childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle, where his ideas on evolution began, and on to Down House, his bustling home of forty years. Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even the cellar and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution through an astonishing array of experiments without using specialized equipment. From those results, he plumbed the laws of nature and drew evidence for the revolutionary arguments of On the Origin of Species and other watershed works. This unique perspective introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, collaborator, and, especially, an incorrigible observer and experimenter. And it includes eighteen experiments for home, school, or garden. Finalist for the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books.

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🔑 DarwinScience lives

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Mate Choice: The Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans

by Gil G. Rosenthal, published in 2017

A major new look at the evolution of mating decisions in organisms from protozoans to humans The popular consensus on mate choice has long been that females select mates likely to pass good genes to offspring. In Mate Choice, Gil Rosenthal overturns much of this conventional wisdom. Providing the first synthesis of the topic in more than three decades, and drawing from a wide range of fields, including animal behavior, evolutionary biology, social psychology, neuroscience, and economics, Rosenthal argues that "good genes" play a relatively minor role in shaping mate choice decisions and demonstrates how mate choice is influenced by genetic factors, environmental effects, and social interactions. Looking at diverse organisms, from protozoans to humans, Rosenthal explores how factors beyond the hunt for good genes combine to produce an endless array of preferences among species and individuals. He explains how mating decisions originate from structural constraints on perception and from nonsexual functions, and how single organisms benefit or lose from their choices. Both the origin of species and their fusion through hybridization are strongly influenced by direct selection on preferences in sexual and nonsexual contexts. Rosenthal broadens the traditional scope of mate choice research to encompass not just animal behavior and behavioral ecology but also neurobiology, the social sciences, and other areas. Focusing on mate choice mechanisms, rather than the traits they target, Mate Choice offers a groundbreaking perspective on the proximate and ultimate forces determining the evolutionary fate of species and populations.

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🔑 EvolutionSexual Selection

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The Monastery and the Microscope: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mind, Mindfulness, and the Nature of Reality

by Wendy Hasenkamp, published in 2017

An illuminating record of dialogues between the Dalai Lama and some of today’s most prominent scientists, philosophers, and contemplatives In 2013, during a historic six-day meeting at a Tibetan monastery in southern India, the Dalai Lama gathered with leading scientists, philosophers, and monks for in-depth discussions on the nature of reality, consciousness, and the human mind. This eye-opening book presents a record of those spirited and wide-ranging dialogues, featuring contributions from prominent scholars like Richard Davidson, Matthieu Ricard, Tania Singer, and Arthur Zajonc as they address such questions as: Does nature have a nature? Do you need a brain to be conscious? Can we change our minds and brains through meditation? Throughout, the contributors explore the exciting and sometimes surprising commonalities between Western scientific and Tibetan Buddhist methods of perceiving, investigating, and knowing. Part history, part state-of-the-field, part inspiration for the future, this book rigorously and accessibly explores what these two investigative traditions can teach each other, and what that can tell us about ourselves and the world.

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🔑 NeuroscienceScience and Religion

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American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

by Nate Blakeslee, published in 2017

A New Statesman Book of the Year The wolf stands at the forefront of the debate about our impact on the natural world. In one of the most celebrated successes of modern conservation, it has been reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. What unfolds is a riveting multi-generational saga, at the centre of which is O-Six, a charismatic alpha female beloved by park rangers and amateur spotters alike. As elk numbers decline and the wolf population rises, those committed to restoring an iconic landscape clash with those fighting for a vanishing way of life; hunters stalk the park fringes and O-Six’s rivals seek to bring an end to her dominance of the stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

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🔑 ConservationPredator Reintroduction

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Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture

by W. Patrick Mccray, published in 2020

"Electrifying the World of Art explores the history of the contemporary art and technology movement-and the people involved-in the pursuit of new art, commercial innovation, and creative collaborations"--

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The Ministry for the Future: A Novel

by Kim Stanley Robinson, published in 2020

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organisation was simple: To advocate for the world's future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future. It soon became known as the Ministry for the Future, and this is its story. From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a vision of climate change unlike any ever imagined. Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts, The Ministry For The Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, the story of how climate change will affect us all over the decades to come. Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us - and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face. It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written. Also by Kim Stanley Robinson: Red Moon New York 2140 2312 Aurora Shaman

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Equity in Science: Representation, Culture, and the Dynamics of Change in Graduate Education

by Julie R. Posselt, published in 2020

STEM disciplines are believed to be founded on the idea of meritocracy; recognition earned by the value of the data, which is objective. Such disciplinary cultures resist concerns about implicit or structural biases, and yet, year after year, scientists observe persistent gender and racial inequalities in their labs, departments, and programs. In Equity in Science, Julie Posselt makes the case that understanding how field-specific cultures develop is a crucial step for bringing about real change. She does this by examining existing equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts across astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, and psychology. These ethnographic case studies reveal the subtle ways that exclusion and power operate in scientific organizations and, sometimes, within change efforts themselves. Posselt argues that accelerating the movement for inclusion in science requires more effective collaboration across boundaries that typically separate people and scholars—across the social and natural sciences, across the faculty-student-administrator roles, and across race, gender, and other social identities. Ultimately this book is a call for academia to place equal value on expertise, and on those who do the work of cultural translation. Posselt closes with targeted recommendations for individuals, departments, and disciplinary societies for creating systemic, sustainable change.

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The Doctor Who Fooled the World: Science, Deception, and the War on Vaccines

by Brian Deer, published in 2020

A reporter uncovers the secrets behind the scientific scam of the century. The news breaks first as a tale of fear and pity. Doctors at a London hospital claim a link between autism and a vaccine given to millions of children: MMR. Young parents are terrified. Immunisation rates slump. And as a worldwide ‘anti-vax’ movement kicks off, old diseases return to sicken and kill. But a veteran reporter isn’t so sure, and sets out on an epic investigation. Battling establishment cover-ups, smear campaigns, and gagging lawsuits, he exposes rigged research and secret schemes, the heartbreaking plight of families struggling with disability, and the scientific deception of our time. Here’s the story of Andrew Wakefield: a man in search of greatness, who stakes his soul on big ideas that, if right, might transform lives. But when the facts don’t fit, he can’t face failure. He’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.

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Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect

by Paul Halpern, published in 2020

From Aristotle's Physics to quantum teleportation, learn about the scientific pursuit of instantaneous connections in this insightful examination of our world. For millennia, scientists have puzzled over a simple question: Does the universe have a speed limit? If not, some effects could happen at the same instant as the actions that caused them -- and some effects, ludicrously, might even happen before their causes. By one hundred years ago, it seemed clear that the speed of light was the fastest possible speed. Causality was safe. And then quantum mechanics happened, introducing spooky connections that seemed to circumvent the law of cause and effect. Inspired by the new physics, psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli explored a concept called synchronicity, a weird phenomenon they thought could link events without causes. Synchronicity tells that sprawling tale of insight and creativity, and asks where these ideas -- some plain crazy, and others crazy powerful -- are taking the human story next.

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The Riddle of the Rosetta: How an English Polymath and a French Polyglot Discovered the Meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphs

by Jed Z. Buchwald, published in 2020

"In 1799, a French officer was clearing debris from a military installation when he discovered a stele bearing three scripts: ancient Greek, hieroglyphic, and a third that could not be definitively identified. This artifact, which came to be known as the Rosetta Stone, has traditionally played the starring role in the history of decipherment, which has until now been understood as an instance of code-breaking, a kind of Bletchley Park avant la lettre. In The Riddle of the Rosetta, Buchwald and Josefowicz delve into a wide array of British and French sources as well as archival material to produce a comprehensive new history of the decipherment. More than a puzzle-solving exercise based on a single artifact, the decipherment engaged with the era's social, cultural and intellectual contexts. It grew in the midst of heated disputes about language, historical evidence, the status of the Bible, the nature of polytheism, and the importance of classical learning. Jean-François Champollion in France and his British rival, the medical doctor and polymath Thomas Young, approached the decipherment from different standpoints derived from their contrasting temperaments, educational experiences, and attitudes to antiquity. Imbued with reverence for Greek culture and raised a Quaker, Young disdained Egyptian culture and saw Egyptian writing principally as a way to uncover new knowledge about Greco-Roman antiquity. To him, the decipherment was akin to a challenge posed by a problem in mathematics or science. Champollion's altogether different motivations and attitude unfolded amidst the political chaos of Restoration France, in fierce response to the intrigues of opposing scholars aligned with throne and altar. Unlike Young, Champollion admired ancient Egypt, and this sympathy, coupled with his willingness to upend conventional wisdom about the enigmatic Egyptian signs, freed him to travel a path down which Young refused to go. A remarkable intellectual adventure reaching from the filthy back streets of Georgian London to the hushed lecture rooms of the Institut de France, from the forgotten byways of provincial France to the splendor of the Valley of the Kings, this book reveals the decipherment in its full historical complexity"--

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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

by Oliver Sacks, published in 2012

Have you ever seen something that wasn't really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing? Hallucinations don't belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one's own body. Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them. In Hallucinations, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr Oliver Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture's folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.

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The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

by Joseph Henrich, published in 2020

'Phenomenal ... The only theory I am aware of that attempts to explain broad patterns of human psychology on a global scale' Coren Apicella, Washington Post Do you identify yourself by your profession, rather than your family? Do you consider yourself unique? Do you have personal goals? If so, perhaps you are WEIRD: raised in a society that is Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. Unlike most who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, self-involved, control-oriented, nonconformist and analytical. They focus on themselves - their attributes, accomplishments and aspirations - over their social roles. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically peculiar? What part did these differences play in the industrial revolution and the expansion of European power? And what do they mean for our sense of who we are now? Joseph Henrich, who developed the influential concept of WEIRD, explores the historical evolution of family structures, marriage and religion, and draws on leading-edge research in anthropology, psychology, economics and evolutionary biology to analyse how these institutions shaped the Western mind. Brilliant, provocative, engaging and surprising, The Weirdest People in the World will transform your understanding of how we behave. 'Illuminates a journey into human nature that is more exciting, more complex and ultimately more consequential than has previously been suspected' Nature

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Unsustainable Inequalities: Social Justice and the Environment

by Lucas Chancel, published in 2020

The greatest dilemma our planet faces is the tradeoff between poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, and climate change. In Unsustainable Inequalities, economist Lucas Chancel confronts how to share prosperity without furthering environmental harm, arguing for policies that would direct the benefits of environmental protection to the poor.

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Natural: How Faith in Nature's Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science

by Alan Levinovitz, published in 2020

"The widespread confusion of Nature with God and "natural" with holy has far-reaching negative consequences, from misinformation about everyday food and health choices to mistaken justifications of sexism, racism, and flawed economic policies"--

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Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings

by Valerie Trouet, published in 2020

Trouet delights us with her dedication to the tangible appeal of studying trees, a discipline that has taken her to austere and beautiful landscapes around the globe and has enabled scientists to solve long-pondered mysteries of Earth and its human inhabitants.

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The Future of Brain Repair: A Realist's Guide to Stem Cell Therapy

by Jack Price, published in 2020

"The Ultimate Therapy addresses the question: will stem cells bring about new, effective therapies for brain disorders? Stem cell therapies are the subject of enormous hype. The International Society for Stem Cell Research notes the 'near magical hold' that stem cell therapies have over patients' imaginations. This is not healthy. The intention with this book is to try to introduce some realism into this discussion. Certainly, stem cell therapies have real therapeutic promise, but it is impor