Tag Archives: history

Seeing Further – Bill Bryson

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Seeing Further – Bill Bryson

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The Origins of Creativity – Edward O. Wilson

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The Origins of Creativity

Edward O. Wilson

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $11.99

Publish Date: October 3, 2017

Publisher: Liveright

Seller: W. W. Norton


An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species. Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song. Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology. With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.

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The Origins of Creativity – Edward O. Wilson

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The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body – Frances Ashcroft

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The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body

Frances Ashcroft

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: September 24, 2012

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


"This is a wonderful book. Frances Ashcroft has a rare gift for making difficult subjects accessible and fascinating." —Bill Bryson, author of At Home: A Short History of Private Life What happens during a heart attack? Can someone really die of fright? What is death, anyway? How does electroshock treatment affect the brain? What is consciousness? The answers to these questions lie in the electrical signals constantly traveling through our bodies, driving our thoughts, our movements, and even the beating of our hearts. The history of how scientists discovered the role of electricity in the human body is a colorful one, filled with extraordinary personalities, fierce debates, and brilliant experiments. Moreover, present-day research on electricity and ion channels has created one of the most exciting fields in science, shedding light on conditions ranging from diabetes and allergies to cystic fibrosis, migraines, and male infertility. With inimitable wit and a clear, fresh voice, award-winning researcher Frances Ashcroft weaves together compelling real-life stories with the latest scientific findings, giving us a spectacular account of the body electric.

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The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body – Frances Ashcroft

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The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution – Jonathan Eig

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The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

Jonathan Eig

Genre: History

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 13, 2014

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


A Chicago Tribune "Best Books of 2014" • A Slate "Best Books 2014: Staff Picks" • A St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Best Books of 2014" The fascinating story of one of the most important scientific discoveries of the twentieth century. We know it simply as "the pill," yet its genesis was anything but simple. Jonathan Eig's masterful narrative revolves around four principal characters: the fiery feminist Margaret Sanger, who was a champion of birth control in her campaign for the rights of women but neglected her own children in pursuit of free love; the beautiful Katharine McCormick, who owed her fortune to her wealthy husband, the son of the founder of International Harvester and a schizophrenic; the visionary scientist Gregory Pincus, who was dismissed by Harvard in the 1930s as a result of his experimentation with in vitro fertilization but who, after he was approached by Sanger and McCormick, grew obsessed with the idea of inventing a drug that could stop ovulation; and the telegenic John Rock, a Catholic doctor from Boston who battled his own church to become an enormously effective advocate in the effort to win public approval for the drug that would be marketed by Searle as Enovid. Spanning the years from Sanger’s heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes. Brilliantly researched and briskly written, The Birth of the Pill is gripping social, cultural, and scientific history.

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The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution – Jonathan Eig

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How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival – David Kaiser

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How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

David Kaiser

Genre: History

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: June 27, 2011

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


"Meticulously researched and unapologetically romantic, How the Hippies Saved Physics makes the history of science fun again." —Science In the 1970s, an eccentric group of physicists in Berkeley, California, banded together to explore the wilder side of science. Dubbing themselves the "Fundamental Fysiks Group," they pursued an audacious, speculative approach to physics, studying quantum entanglement in terms of Eastern mysticism and psychic mind reading. As David Kaiser reveals, these unlikely heroes spun modern physics in a new direction, forcing mainstream physicists to pay attention to the strange but exciting underpinnings of quantum theory.

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How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival – David Kaiser

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Harvey dealt Houston catastrophic flooding, and it’s not over yet.

Over the past two days, the storm — anticipated to hit Texas later Friday — has rapidly strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane, packing 120 mph winds and a threatening a multi-day rainfall so heavy you’ll need a yardstick to measure it. The storm’s impact could be among the worst in U.S. weather history, rivaling even Hurricane Katrina.

The implications are hard to put into words, so I asked my meteorologist colleagues to describe them using one or two:

“Epic, unprecedented” — Brian McNoldy, hurricane specialist at University of Miami

“Unprecedented danger” — Marshall Shepherd, meteorology professor at University of Georgia

“In a word: life-changing. The question is where, how expansive, and how many people’s lives it will change. If nothing else this should be a big wake-up call to many.” — Anthony Fracasso, forecaster at the NOAA Weather Prediction Center

“Dangerous, scary” — Adam Sobel, hurricane expert, Columbia University

“Epic deluge” — Ryan Maue, hurricane expert, WeatherBELL analytics

“One word, given the storm’s longevity: torturous” — Jim Cantore, the Weather Channel

“Simply: overwhelming” — Taylor Trogdon, National Hurricane Center

“Prolonged misery” — Rick Smith, NWS meteorologist in Norman, Oklahoma

Two answers, not playing by the rules with both. 1.) Forecast challenge of a career. 2.) Enormously challenging.” — Matt Lanza, energy industry meteorologist based in Houston

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Harvey dealt Houston catastrophic flooding, and it’s not over yet.

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Darwin’s Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution – Iain Mccalman

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Darwin’s Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution

Iain Mccalman

Genre: History

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 15, 2010

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


"Sparkling…an extraordinary true-adventure story, complete with trials, tribulations and moments of exultation." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review Award-winning cultural historian Iain McCalman tells the stories of Charles Darwin and his staunchest supporters: Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Beginning with the somber morning of April 26, 1882—the day of Darwin's funeral—Darwin's Armada steps back and recounts the lives and scientific discoveries of each of these explorers, who campaigned passionately in the war of ideas over evolution and advanced the scope of Darwin's work.

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Darwin’s Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution – Iain Mccalman

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The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth – Richard Conniff

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The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth
Richard Conniff

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 1, 2010

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


The story of bold adventurers who risked death to discover strange life forms in the farthest corners of planet Earth. Beginning with Linnaeus, a colorful band of explorers made it their mission to travel to the most perilous corners of the planet and bring back astonishing new life forms. They attracted followers ranging from Thomas Jefferson, who laid out mastodon bones on the White House floor, to twentieth-century doctors who used their knowledge of new species to conquer epidemic diseases. Acclaimed science writer Richard Conniff brings these daredevil “species seekers” to vivid life. Alongside their globe-spanning tales of adventure, he recounts some of the most dramatic shifts in the history of human thought. At the start, everyone accepted that the Earth had been created for our benefit. We weren’t sure where vegetable ended and animal began, we couldn’t classify species, and we didn’t understand the causes of disease. But all that changed as the species seekers introduced us to the pantheon of life on Earth—and our place within it.

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The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth – Richard Conniff

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The Journey of Man – Spencer Wells

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The Journey of Man
A Genetic Odyssey
Spencer Wells

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 31, 2012

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Around 60,000 years ago, a man—genetically identical to us—lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up as the father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a single prehistoric ancestor, do we come in so many sizes, shapes, and races? Examining the hidden secrets of human evolution in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the revolutionary science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. Replete with marvelous anecdotes and remarkable information, from the truth about the real Adam and Eve to the way differing racial types emerged, The Journey of Man is an enthralling, epic tour through the history and development of early humankind.

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The Journey of Man – Spencer Wells

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Toms River – Dan Fagin

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Toms River

A Story of Science and Salvation

Dan Fagin

Genre: History

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: March 19, 2013

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE •  Winner of The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award • “A new classic of science reporting.”— The New York Times The riveting true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River melds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a fascinating scientific detective story, and an unforgettable cast of characters into a sweeping narrative in the tradition of A Civil Action, The Emperor of All Maladies, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks . One of New Jersey’s seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements in the annals of toxic dumping. A town that would rather have been known for its Little League World Series champions ended up making history for an entirely different reason: a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town’s namesake river. In an astonishing feat of investigative reporting, prize-winning journalist Dan Fagin recounts the sixty-year saga of rampant pollution and inadequate oversight that made Toms River a cautionary example for fast-growing industrial towns from South Jersey to South China. He tells the stories of the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer, and brings to life the everyday heroes in Toms River who struggled for justice: a young boy whose cherubic smile belied the fast-growing tumors that had decimated his body from birth; a nurse who fought to bring the alarming incidence of childhood cancers to the attention of authorities who didn’t want to listen; and a mother whose love for her stricken child transformed her into a tenacious advocate for change. A gripping human drama rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, Toms River is a tale of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND  KIRKUS REVIEWS “A thrilling journey full of twists and turns, Toms River is essential reading for our times. Dan Fagin handles topics of great complexity with the dexterity of a scholar, the honesty of a journalist, and the dramatic skill of a novelist.” —Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Emperor of All Maladies   “A complex tale of powerful industry, local politics, water rights, epidemiology, public health and cancer in a gripping, page-turning environmental thriller.” —NPR “Unstoppable reading.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer   “Meticulously researched and compellingly recounted . . . It’s every bit as important—and as well-written—as A Civil Action and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks .” — The Star-Ledger   “Fascinating . . . a gripping environmental thriller.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)   “An honest, thoroughly researched, intelligently written book.” — Slate   “[A] hard-hitting account . . . a triumph.” — Nature   “Absorbing and thoughtful.” — USA Today From the Hardcover edition.

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Toms River – Dan Fagin

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