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Science

Adventures in the Anthropocene

Adventures in the Anthropocene

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We all know our planet is in crisis, and that it is largely our fault. But all too often the full picture of change is obstructed by dense data sets and particular catastrophes. Struggling with this obscurity in her role as an editor at Nature, Gaia Vince decided to travel the world and see for herself what life is really like for people on the frontline of this new reality. What she found was a number people doing the most extraordinary things.

During her journey she finds a man who is making artificial glaciers in Nepal along with an individual who is painting mountains white to attract snowfall; take the electrified reefs of the Maldives; or the man who's making islands out of rubbish in the Caribbean. These are ordinary people who are solving severe crises in crazy, ingenious, effective ways. While Vince does not mince words regarding the challenging position our species is in, these wonderful stories, combined with the new science that underpins Gaia's expertise and research, make for a persuasive, illuminating -- and strangely hopeful -- read on what the Anthropocene means for our future.

Aelian's On the Nature of Animals

Aelian's On the Nature of Animals

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Not much can be said with certainty about the life of Claudius Aelianus, known to us as Aelian. He was born sometime between A.D. 165 and 170 in the hill town of Praeneste, what is now Palestrina, about twenty-five miles from Rome, Italy. He grew up speaking that town's version of Latin, a dialect that other speakers of the language seem to have found curious, but--somewhat unusually for his generation, though not for Romans of earlier times--he preferred to communicate in Greek. Trained by a sophist named Pausanias of Caesarea, Aelian was known in his time for a work called Indictment of the Effeminate, an attack on the recently deceased emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who was nasty even by the standards of Imperial Rome. He was also fond of making almanac-like collections, only fragments of which survive, devoted to odd topics such as manifestations of the divine and the workings of the supernatural.

His De Natura Animalium (On the Nature of Animals) has a similar patchwork quality, but it was esteemed enough in his time to survive more or less whole, and it is about all that we know of Aelian's work today. A mostly randomly ordered collection of stories that he found interesting enough to relate about animals--whether or not he believed them--Aelian's book constitutes an early encyclopedia of animal behavior, affording unparalleled insight into what ancient Romans knew about and thought about animals--and, of particular interest to modern scholars, about animal minds.

If the science is sometimes sketchy, the facts often fanciful, and the history sometimes suspect, it is clear enough that Aelian had a fine time assembling the material, which can be said, in the most general terms, to support the notion of a kind of intelligence in nature and that extends human qualities, for good and bad, to animals. His stories, which extend across the known world of Aelian's time, tend to be brief and to the point, and many return to a trenchant question: If animals can respect their elders and live honorably within their own tribes, why must humans be so appallingly awful?

Aelian is as brisk, as entertaining, and as scholarly a writer as Pliny, the much better known Roman natural historian. That he is not better known is simply an accident: he has not been widely translated into English, or indeed any European language. This selection from his work will introduce readers to a lively mind and a witty writer who has much to tell us.

After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration

After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration

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What if the people seized the means of climate production?

The window for action on climate change is closing rapidly. We are hurtling ever faster towards climate catastrophe--the destruction of a habitable world for many species, perhaps the near-extinction of our own. As anxieties about global temperatures soar, demands for urgent action grow louder. What can be done? Can this process be reversed? Once temperatures rise, is there any going back? Some are thinking about releasing aerosols into the stratosphere in order to reflect sunlight back into space and cool the earth. And this may be necessary, if it actually works. But it would only be the beginning; it's what comes after that counts.

In this groundbreaking book, Holly Jean Buck charts a possible course to a liveable future. Climate restoration will require not just innovative technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere, but social and economic transformation. The steps we must take are enormous, and they must be taken soon. Looking at industrial-scale seaweed farms, the grinding of rocks to sequester carbon at the bottom of the sea, the restoration of wetlands, and reforestation, Buck examines possible methods for such transformations and meets the people developing them.

Both critical and utopian, speculative and realistic, After Geoengineering presents a series of possible futures. Rejecting the idea that technological solutions are some kind of easy workaround, Holly Jean Buck outlines the kind of social transformation that will be necessary to repair our relationship to the earth if we are to continue living here.

After You Get Your Puppy

After You Get Your Puppy

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Now you have your puppy, the clock is ticking and you need to meet three more Developmental Deadlines before your puppy is five months old.4th Developmental Deadline - Socializing Your Puppy to PeopleYour Most Urgent Priority is to socialize your puppy to a wide variety of people, especially children, men, and strangers, before he is twelve weeks old. Well-socialized puppies grow up to be wonderful companions, whereas antisocial dogs are difficult, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous. As a rule of thumb, your puppy needs to meet at least one hundred people before he is three months old. Since your puppy is still too young to venture out to dog parks and sidewalks, you'll need to start inviting people to your home right away.5th Developmental Deadline - Teaching Bite InhibitionYour Most Important Priority is that your puppy learns to inhibit the force of his bites and develop a "soft mouth"; before he is eighteen weeks old. Whenever a dog bites a person, or fights with another dog, the single most important prognostic factor is the degree of bite inhibition and hence, the likelihood and seriousness of injury. Accidents happen. Someone may tread on the dog's paw, or a child may trip over the dog while he's gnawing a bone. A dog may snap and lunge at a person when hurt or frightened, but if the dog has well-established bite inhibition, it is unlikely the dog's teeth will puncture, or even touch the skin.6th Developmental Deadline - Continuing Socialization in The World at LargeThe Most Enjoyable Priority of dog ownership is to introduce your well-socialized puppy to the world at large. Your dog will only remain sociable and confident if he continues to meet and greet at least three unfamiliar people and three unfamiliar dogs every day. Meeting the same people and dogs over and over is not sufficient. Your dog needs to practice meeting, greeting, and getting along with strangers, not simply getting along with old friends. Regular walks with your dog are as essential as they are enjoyable.
Afterglow a dog memoir

Afterglow a dog memoir

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Prolific and widely renowned, Eileen Myles is a trailblazer whose decades of literary and artistic work "set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match" (New York Review of Books). This newest book paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a beloved confidant: the pit bull called Rosie.

In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and their connection instantly became central to the writer's life and work. During the course of their sixteen years together, Myles was madly devoted to the dog's wellbeing, especially in her final days. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie's death, Afterglow (a dog memoir) launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles's experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, as well as the fantastical myths we spin to get to the heart of grief.

Moving from an imaginary talk show where Rosie is interviewed by Myles's childhood puppet to a critical reenactment of the night Rosie mated with another pit bull, from lyrical transcriptions of their walks to Rosie's enlightened narration from the afterlife, Afterglow (a dog memoir) illuminates all that it can mean when we dedicate our existence to a dog.

Age of Consequences

Age of Consequences

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Our planet is approaching a critical environmental juncture. Across the globe we continue to deplete the five pools of carbon - soil, wood, coal, oil, and natural gas - at an unsustainable rate. We've burned up half the planet's known reserves of oil - one trillion barrels - in less than a century. When these sources of energy-rich carbon go into severe decline, as they surely will, society will follow.

Former archeologist and Sierra Club activist Courtney White calls this moment the Age of Consequences--a time when the worrying consequences of our environmental actions- or inaction - have begun to raise unavoidable and difficult questions. How should we respond? What are effective (and realistic) solutions?

In exploring these questions, White draws on his formidable experience as an environmentalist and activist as well as his experience as a father to two children living through this vital moment in time. As a result, The Age of Consequences is a book of ideas and action, but it is also a chronicle of personal experience. Readers follow White as he travels the country --- from Kansas to Los Angeles, New York City, Italy, France, Yellowstone, and New England.

Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society

Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society

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"An important and timely message about the biological roots of human kindness."
--Desmond Morris, author of "The Naked Ape"
Are we our brothers' keepers? Do we have an instinct for compassion? Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests? In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of "Our Inner Ape" examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans.
By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals-and humans-are "preprogrammed to reach out." He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer "reassuring rumbles" to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water's surface to prevent them from drowning. From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we've been designed to feel for one another.
De Waal's theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish, which can be seen in the fields of politics, law, and finance, and whichseems to be evidenced by the current greed-driven stock market collapse. But he cites the public's outrage at the U.S. government's lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective-one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what may well become an Age of Empathy. Through a better understanding of empathy's survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature.
Written in layman's prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, "The Age of Empathy" is essential reading for our embattled times.
Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn

Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn

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In The Age of Entanglement, Louisa Gilder brings to life one of the pivotal debates in twentieth century physics. In 1935, Albert Einstein famously showed that, according to the quantum theory, separated particles could act as if intimately connected-a phenomenon which he derisively described as "spooky action at a distance." In that same year, Erwin Schrödinger christened this correlation "entanglement." Yet its existence was mostly ignored until 1964, when the Irish physicist John Bell demonstrated just how strange this entanglement really was. Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the twentieth century's greatest physicists, Gilder both humanizes and dramatizes the story by employing the scientists' own words in imagined face-to-face dialogues. The result is a richly illuminating exploration of one of the most exciting concepts of quantum physics.
Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn

Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn

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A brilliantly original and richly illuminating exploration of entanglement, the seemingly telepathic communication between two separated particles--one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics.
In 1935, in what would become the most cited of all of his papers, Albert Einstein showed that quantum mechanics predicted such a correlation, which he dubbed "spooky action at a distance." In that same year, Erwin Schrodinger christened this spooky correlation "entanglement." Yet its existence wasn't firmly established until 1964, in a groundbreaking paper by the Irish physicist John Bell. What happened during those years and what has happened since to refine the understanding of this phenomenon is the fascinating story told here.
We move from a coffee shop in Zurich, where Einstein and Max von Laue discuss the madness of quantum theory, to a bar in Brazil, as David Bohm and Richard Feynman chat over "cervejas." We travel to the campuses of American universities--from J. Robert Oppenheimer's Berkeley to the Princeton of Einstein and Bohm to Bell's Stanford sabbatical--and we visit centers of European physics: Copenhagen, home to Bohr's famous institute, and Munich, where Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli picnic on cheese and heady discussions of electron orbits.
Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the twentieth century's greatest physicists, Louisa Gilder both humanizes and dramatizes the story by employing their own words in imagined face-to-face dialogues. Here are Bohr and Einstein clashing, and Heisenberg and Pauli deciding which mysteries to pursue. We see Schrodinger and Louis de Broglie pave the way for Bell, whose work is here given a long-overdue revisiting. And with his characteristic matter-of-fact eloquence, Richard Feynman challenges his contemporaries to make something of this entanglement.
Age of Living Machines

Age of Living Machines

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A century ago, discoveries in physics came together with engineering to produce an array of astonishing new technologies that radically reshaped the world: radios, televisions, aircraft, computers, and a host of still-evolving digital tools. Today, a new technological convergence--of biology and engineering--promises to create the tools necessary to tackle the threats we now face, including climate change, drought, famine, and disease

World-renowned neuroscientist and academic leader Susan Hockfield describes the most exciting new developments and the scientists and engineers who helped to create them. Virus-built batteries. Cancer-detecting nanoparticles. 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.

Ageless

Ageless

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"A fascinating look at how scientists are working to help doctors treat the aging process itself, helping us all to lead longer, healthier lives." --Sanjay Gupta, MD

Aging--not cancer, not heart disease--is the underlying cause of most human death and suffering. The same cascade of biological changes that renders us wrinkled and gray also opens the door to dementia and disease. We work furiously to conquer each individual disease, but we never think to ask: Is aging itself necessary? Nature tells us it is not: there are tortoises and salamanders who are spry into old age and whose risk of dying is the same no matter how old they are, a phenomenon known as "biological immortality." In Ageless, Andrew Steelecharts the astounding progress science has made in recent years to secure the same for humans: to help us become old without getting frail, to live longer without ill health or disease.

Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old

Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old

$29.00
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"A fascinating look at how scientists are working to help doctors treat the aging process itself, helping us all to lead longer, healthier lives." --Sanjay Gupta, MD

Aging--not cancer, not heart disease--is the underlying cause of most human death and suffering. The same cascade of biological changes that renders us wrinkled and gray also opens the door to dementia and disease. We work furiously to conquer each individual disease, but we never think to ask: Is aging itself necessary? Nature tells us it is not: there are tortoises and salamanders who are spry into old age and whose risk of dying is the same no matter how old they are, a phenomenon known as "biological immortality." In Ageless, Andrew Steelecharts the astounding progress science has made in recent years to secure the same for humans: to help us become old without getting frail, to live longer without ill health or disease.

Alan Turing's Systems of Logic

Alan Turing's Systems of Logic

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A facsimile edition of Alan Turing's influential Princeton thesis

Between inventing the concept of a universal computer in 1936 and breaking the German Enigma code during World War II, Alan Turing (1912-1954), the British founder of computer science and artificial intelligence, came to Princeton University to study mathematical logic. Some of the greatest logicians in the world--including Alonzo Church, Kurt Gödel, John von Neumann, and Stephen Kleene--were at Princeton in the 1930s, and they were working on ideas that would lay the groundwork for what would become known as computer science. This book presents a facsimile of the original typescript of Turing's fascinating and influential 1938 Princeton PhD thesis, one of the key documents in the history of mathematics and computer science. The book also features essays by Andrew Appel and Solomon Feferman that explain the still-unfolding significance of the ideas Turing developed at Princeton.

A work of philosophy as well as mathematics, Turing's thesis envisions a practical goal--a logical system to formalize mathematical proofs so they can be checked mechanically. If every step of a theorem could be verified mechanically, the burden on intuition would be limited to the axioms. Turing's point, as Appel writes, is that mathematical reasoning can be done, and should be done, in mechanizable formal logic. Turing's vision of constructive systems of logic for practical use has become reality: in the twenty-first century, automated formal methods are now routine.

Presented here in its original form, this fascinating thesis is one of the key documents in the history of mathematics and computer science.

Alchemist's Kitchen: Extraordinary Potions and Curious Notions

Alchemist's Kitchen: Extraordinary Potions and Curious Notions

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Packed with everything from ancient recipes for glues, varnishes, and paints to spiritual preparations of herbal tinctures and oils, including magical formulae and practices of alchemy, The Alchemist's Kitchen will appeal to anyone fascinated by the past and by the occult world. Guy Ogilvy takes you inside medieval laboratories and kitchens, revealing the hows and whys of mythical recipes and concoctions.

Alex and Me

Alex and Me

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Alex & Me is the remarkable true story of an extraordinary relationship between psychologist Irene M. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot who proved scientists and accepted wisdom wrong by demonstrating an astonishing ability to communicate and understand complex ideas. A New York Times bestseller and selected as one of the paper's critic's Top Ten Books of the Year, Alex & Me is much more that the story of an incredible scientific breakthrough. It's a poignant love story and an affectionate remembrance of Pepperberg's irascible, unforgettable, and always surprising best friend.
Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal

Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal

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Alex & Me is the remarkable true story of an extraordinary relationship between psychologist Irene M. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot who proved scientists and accepted wisdom wrong by demonstrating an astonishing ability to communicate and understand complex ideas. A New York Times bestseller and selected as one of the paper's Top Ten Books of the Year, Alex & Me is much more that the story of an incredible scientific breakthrough. It's a poignant love story and an affectionate remembrance of Pepperberg's irascible, unforgettable, and always surprising best friend.

Algorithms to Live By

Algorithms to Live By

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An exploration of how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind.

What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of the new and familiar is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not. Computers, like us, confront limited space and time, so computer scientists have been grappling with similar problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.

In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths show how algorithms developed for computers also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to peering into the future, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

Algorithms to Live By : The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Algorithms to Live By : The Computer Science of Human Decisions

$28.00
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A fascinating exploration of how insights from computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such issues for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.

In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.