Tag Archives: human

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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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived – Adam Rutherford

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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes

Adam Rutherford

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: September 25, 2017

Publisher: The Experiment

Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.


“ An effervescent work, brimming with tales and confounding ideas carried in the ‘epic poem in our cells.’”— Guardian In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away—until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present. A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. (For example, we now know that at least four human species once roamed the earth.) Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas—one that’s still being writ-ten, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced. Rutherford closes with “A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind,” filled with provocative questions that we’re on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?

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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived – Adam Rutherford

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The Evolution of Beauty – Richard O. Prum

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The Evolution of Beauty

How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us

Richard O. Prum

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: May 9, 2017

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world. In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature?      Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin's own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change.     Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time.      The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.

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The Evolution of Beauty – Richard O. Prum

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius – Hans C. Ohanian

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius

Hans C. Ohanian

Genre: Physics

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: November 9, 2009

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


“A thought-provoking critique of Einstein’s tantalizing combination of brilliance and blunder.”—Andrew Robinson, New Scientist Although Einstein was the greatest genius of the twentieth century, many of his groundbreaking discoveries were blighted by mistakes, ranging from serious errors in mathematics to bad misconceptions in physics and failures to grasp the subtleties of his own creations. This forensic biography dissects Einstein’s scientific mistakes and places them in the context of his turbulent life and times. In lively, accessible prose, Hans C. Ohanian paints a fresh, insightful portrait of the real Einstein at work, in contrast to the uncritical celebrity worship found in many biographies. Of the approximately 180 original scientific papers that Einstein published in his lifetime, about 40 are infested with mistakes. For instance, Einstein’s first mathematical proof of the famous formula E = mc2 was incomplete and only approximately valid; he struggled with this problem for many years, but he never found a complete proof (better mathematicians did). Einstein was often lured by irrational and mystical inspirations, but his extraordinary intuition about physics permitted him to discover profound truths despite—and sometimes because of—the mistakes he made along the way. He was a sleepwalker: his intuition told him where he needed to go, and he somehow managed to get there without quite knowing how. As this book persuasively argues, the defining hallmark of Einstein’s genius was not any special mathematical ability but an uncanny talent to use his mistakes as stepping stones to formulate his revolutionary theories.

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius – Hans C. Ohanian

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What It’s Like to Be a Dog – Gregory Berns

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What It’s Like to Be a Dog

And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience

Gregory Berns

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $16.99

Publish Date: September 5, 2017

Publisher: Basic Books

Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.


A pathbreaking neuroscientist discovers the link between human and animal minds What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his team began with a radical step: they taught dogs to go into an MRI scanner–completely awake. They discovered what makes dogs individuals with varying capacities for self-control, different value systems, and a complex understanding of human speech. And dogs were just the beginning. In What It's Like to Be a Dog , Berns explores the fascinating inner lives of wild animals from dolphins and sea lions to the extinct Tasmanian tiger. Much as Silent Spring transformed how we thought about the environment, so What It's Like to Be a Dog will fundamentally reshape how we think about–and treat–animals. Groundbreaking and deeply humane, it is essential reading for animal lovers of all stripes.

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What It’s Like to Be a Dog – Gregory Berns

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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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Apparently, all it takes to fix strained relations in Washington is beer.

That’s the conclusion of a study led by Helen Harwatt, an environmental nutrition researcher at Loma Linda University.

You may feel paralyzed and powerless to save the human race from climate doom in the face of Trump’s exit from the Paris Agreement. As our favorite doctor-turned-journalist James Hamblin writes in The Atlantic: “The remedy … is knowing what can be done to mitigate environmental degradation, from within in a country singularly committed to it.”

This switch is a relatively easy suggestion!

Okay, one caveat before you start feeling too good. Making the transition from beef to beans could reduce carbon-equivalent emissions by 334 million metric tons — but the United States releases over 6 billion metric tons each year. It gets us closer to the goal Obama set at the 2009 Copenhagen talks, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

Still, it’s worth noting that the trend line on that big ugly graph is moving in the right direction and getting closer to the Copenhagen goal. Much of that can be attributed to (potentially threatened) EPA regulations and a switch from coal to natural gas, but small lifestyle changes on a large scale can nudge it further.

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Apparently, all it takes to fix strained relations in Washington is beer.

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The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel

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The Stranger in the Woods

The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Michael Finkel

Genre: Nature

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.   A  New York Times  bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

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The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel

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Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan

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Pale Blue Dot

A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan

Genre: Physics

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 8, 1994

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


"FASCINATING . . . MEMORABLE . . . REVEALING . . . PERHAPS THE BEST OF CARL SAGAN'S BOOKS." –The Washington Post Book World (front page review) In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time. Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier–space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race. "TAKES READERS FAR BEYOND Cosmos . . . Sagan sees humanity's future in the stars." –Chicago Tribune

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Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan

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