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How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed (by Ray Kurzweil)

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed

~ Ray Kurzweil (author) More about this product
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Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential—and often controversial—futurist. In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines.

Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.

 

 

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The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis (by Ruth DeFries)

The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis

~ Ruth DeFries (author) More about this product
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Our species long lived on the edge of starvation. Now we produce enough food for all 7 billion of us to eat nearly 3,000 calories every day. This is such an astonishing thing in the history of life as to verge on the miraculous. The Big Ratchet is the story of how it happened, of the ratchets—the technologies and innovations, big and small—that propelled our species from hunters and gatherers on the savannahs of Africa to shoppers in the aisles of the supermarket.

The Big Ratchet itself came in the twentieth century, when a range of technologies—from fossil fuels to scientific plant breeding to nitrogen fertilizers—combined to nearly quadruple our population in a century, and to grow our food supply even faster. To some, these technologies are a sign of our greatness; to others, of our hubris. MacArthur fellow and Columbia University professor Ruth DeFries argues that the debate is the wrong one to have. Limits do exist, but every limit that has confronted us, we have surpassed. That cycle of crisis and growth is the story of our history; indeed, it is the essence of The Big Ratchet. Understanding it will reveal not just how we reached this point in our history, but how we might survive it.

 

 

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The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition (by Gregory Hickok)

The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition

~ Gregory Hickok (author) More about this product
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An essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology.

In 1992, a group of neuroscientists from Parma, Italy, reported a new class of brain cells discovered in the motor cortex of the macaque monkey. These cells, later dubbed mirror neurons, responded equally well during the monkey’s own motor actions, such as grabbing an object, and while the monkey watched someone else perform similar motor actions. Researchers speculated that the neurons allowed the monkey to understand others by simulating their actions in its own brain.

Mirror neurons soon jumped species and took human neuroscience and psychology by storm. In the late 1990s theorists showed how the cells provided an elegantly simple new way to explain the evolution of language, the development of human empathy, and the neural foundation of autism. In the years that followed, a stream of scientific studies implicated mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning.

In The Myth of Mirror Neurons, neuroscientist Gregory Hickok reexamines the mirror neuron story and finds that it is built on a tenuous foundation—a pair of codependent assumptions about mirror neuron activity and human understanding. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts. He then explores alternative explanations of mirror neuron function while illuminating crucial questions about human cognition and brain function: Why do humans imitate so prodigiously? How different are the left and right hemispheres of the brain? Why do we have two visual systems? Do we need to be able to talk to understand speech? What’s going wrong in autism? Can humans read minds?

 

 

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Growing Adaptive Machines: Combining Development and Learning in Artificial Neural Networks (by Taras Kowaliw et al.)

The pursuit of artificial intelligence has been a highly active domain of research for decades, yielding exciting scientific insights and productive new technologies. In terms of generating intelligence, however, this pursuit has yielded only limited success. This book explores the hypothesis that adaptive growth is a means of moving forward. By emulating the biological process of development, we can incorporate desirable characteristics of natural neural systems into engineered designs and thus move closer towards the creation of brain-like systems. The particular focus is on how to design artificial neural networks for engineering tasks.

The book consists of contributions from 18 researchers, ranging from detailed reviews of recent domains by senior scientists, to exciting new contributions representing the state of the art in machine learning research. The book begins with broad overviews of artificial neurogenesis and bio-inspired machine learning, suitable both as an introduction to the domains and as a reference for experts. Several contributions provide perspectives and future hypotheses on recent highly successful trains of research, including deep learning, the Hyper NEAT model of developmental neural network design, and a simulation of the visual cortex. Other contributions cover recent advances in the design of bio-inspired artificial neural networks, including the creation of machines for classification, the behavioural control of virtual agents, the design of virtual multi-component robots and morphologies and the creation of flexible intelligence. Throughout, the contributors share their vast expertise on the means and benefits of creating brain-like machines.

 

 

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Anthropology of the Brain: Consciousness, Culture, and Free Will (by Roger Bartra)

Anthropology of the Brain: Consciousness, Culture, and Free Will

~ Roger Bartra (author) More about this product
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In this unique exploration of the mysteries of the human brain, Roger Bartra shows that consciousness is a phenomenon that occurs not only in the mind but also in an external network, a symbolic system. He argues that the symbolic systems created by humans in art, language, in cooking or in dress, are the key to understanding human consciousness. Placing culture at the centre of his analysis, Bartra brings together findings from anthropology and cognitive science and offers an original vision of the continuity between the brain and its symbolic environment. The book is essential reading for neurologists, cognitive scientists and anthropologists alike.

 

 

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Complexity and the Human Experience: Modeling Complexity in the Humanities and Social Sciences (edited by Paul A. Youngman & Mirsad Hadzikadic)

Questions of values, ontologies, ethics, aesthetics, discourse, origins, language, literature, and meaning do not lend themselves readily, or traditionally, to equations, probabilities, and models. However, with the increased adoption of natural science tools in economics, anthropology, and political science—to name only a few social scientific fields highlighted in this volume—quantitative methods in the humanities are becoming more common.

The theory of complexity holds significant promise for better understanding social and human phenomena based on interactions among the participating "agents," whatever they may be: a thought, a person, a conversation, a sentence, or an email. Such systems can exhibit phase transitions, feedback loops, self-organization, and emergent properties. These dynamic systems lend themselves naturally to the kind of analysis made possible by models and simulations developed with complex science tools. This volume offers a tour of quantitative analyses, models, and simulations of humanities and social science phenomena that have been historically the purview of qualitative methods.

 

 

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Quantum Effects in Biology (edited by Masoud Mohseni et al.)

Quantum mechanics provides the most accurate microscopic description of the world around us, yet the interface between quantum mechanics and biology is only now being explored. This book uses a combination of experiment and theory to examine areas of biology believed to be strongly influenced by manifestly quantum phenomena. Covering subjects ranging from coherent energy transfer in photosynthetic light harvesting to spin coherence in the avian compass and the problem of molecular recognition in olfaction, the book is ideal for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in physics, biology and chemistry seeking to understand the applications of quantum mechanics to biology.

 

 

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Great Minds: Reflections of 111 Top Scientists (by Balazs Hargittai et al.)

Great Minds: Reflections of 111 Top Scientists

~ Istvan Hargittai (author) More about this product
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Throughout the 1990s and the 2000s, Istvan, Balazs, and Magdolna Hargittai conducted hundreds of interviews with leading scientists in physics, chemistry, materials, and biomedical research. These interviews appeared in a variety of publications, including Chemical Intelligencer, Mathematical Intelligencer, and Chemical Heritage. In four-thousand pages of interviews, the Hargittais had conversations with over a hundred Nobel laureates, along with many other top minds and personalities in various scientific fields.
Now, in a single volume, the Hargittais have gathered the best and most notable moments of these interviews, creating a survey of the past, present, and future of science, as told by some of the most influential members of many scientific disciplines. Figures like James D. Watson, Francis Crick, and Glenn T. Seaborg share their thoughts in these pages, in a collection that includes 68 Nobel Laureates. Without exaggeration, their backgrounds come from all over the globe: scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan are featured. These interviews discuss many of the most prominent debates and issues in today's scientific climate. Great Minds is a synthesis of scientific thought, as told by some of the most notable scientists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

 

 

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Time in Powers of Ten: Natural Phenomena and Their Timescales (by Gerard 't Hooft & Stefan Vandoren)

Time in Powers of Ten: Natural Phenomena and Their Timescales

~ Stefan Vandoren (author) More about this product
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In this richly illustrated book, Nobel Laureate Gerard 't Hooft and Theoretical Physicist Stefan Vandoren describe the enormous diversity of natural phenomena that take place at different time scales.

In the tradition of the bestseller Powers of Ten, the authors zoom in and out in time, each step with a factor of ten. Starting from one second, time scales are enlarged until processes are reached that take much longer than the age of the universe. After the largest possible eternities, the reader is treated to the shortest and fastest phenomena known. Then the authors increase with powers of ten, until again the second is reached at the end of the book.

At each time scale, interesting natural phenomena occur, spread over all scientific disciplines: orbital and rotation periods of planets and stars, decay times of elementary particles and atoms, biological rhythms and evolution processes, but also the different geological time scales.

 

 

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Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (by Nick Bostrom)

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

~ Nick Bostrom (author) More about this product
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Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.

But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?

This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.

 

 

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Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos: With Applications to Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering - 2nd edition (by Steven H. Strogatz)

This textbook is aimed at newcomers to nonlinear dynamics and chaos, especially students taking a first course in the subject. The presentation stresses analytical methods, concrete examples, and geometric intuition. The theory is developed systematically, starting with first-order differential equations and their bifurcations, followed by phase plane analysis, limit cycles and their bifurcations, and culminating with the Lorenz equations, chaos, iterated maps, period doubling, renormalization, fractals, and strange attractors.

A unique feature of the book is its emphasis on applications. These include mechanical vibrations, lasers, biological rhythms, superconducting circuits, insect outbreaks, chemical oscillators, genetic control systems, chaotic waterwheels, and even a technique for using chaos to send secret messages. In each case, the scientific background is explained at an elementary level and closely integrated with mathematical theory.

In the twenty years since the first edition of this book appeared, the ideas and techniques of nonlinear dynamics and chaos have found application to such exciting new fields as systems biology, evolutionary game theory, and sociophysics. This second edition includes new exercises on these cutting-edge developments, on topics as varied as the curiosities of visual perception and the tumultuous love dynamics in Gone With the Wind.

 

 

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The Arrow Impossibility Theorem (by Eric Maskin et al.)

The Arrow Impossibility Theorem (Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture Series)

~ Amartya Sen (author) More about this product
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Kenneth J. Arrow's pathbreaking "impossibility theorem" was a watershed innovation in the history of welfare economics, voting theory, and collective choice, demonstrating that there is no voting rule that satisfies the four desirable axioms of decisiveness, consensus, nondictatorship, and independence.

In this book Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen explore the implications of Arrow's theorem. Sen considers its ongoing utility, exploring the theorem's value and limitations in relation to recent research on social reasoning, and Maskin discusses how to design a voting rule that gets us closer to the ideal -- given the impossibility of achieving the ideal. The volume also contains a contextual introduction by social choice scholar Prasanta K. Pattanaik and commentaries from Joseph E. Stiglitz and Kenneth J. Arrow himself, as well as essays by Maskin, Dasgupta, and Sen outlining the mathematical proof and framework behind their assertions.

 

 

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The Social Metabolism: A Socio-Ecological Theory of Historical Change (by Manuel González de Molina & Víctor M. Toledo)

The Social Metabolism: A Socio-Ecological Theory of Historical Change (Environmental History)

~ Víctor M. Toledo (author) More about this product
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Today, the most notable feature of the modern world is the growing concern for the future, since human society is immersed in a “giant, uncontrolled experiment” (McNeill, 2000), which it has caused, where natural and social processes are connected in an unprecedented way, generating new unpredictable and surprising dynamics and synergies that are threatening the human species, planetary equilibrium and the whole of life itself. Faced with the above situation, science as a whole is compelled to look back in order to learn from the past (lessons), and to adopt a rigorous historical perspective that will provide a thorough understanding of current situations from a socio-ecological perspective, capable of orchestrating interdisciplinary research into relations between society and nature.

Over this last decade, the concept of social metabolism has gained prestige as a theoretical instrument for the required analysis, to such an extent that there are now dozens of researchers, hundreds of articles and several books that have adopted and use this concept. However, there is a great deal of variety in terms of definitions and interpretations, as well as different methodologies around this concept, which prevents the consolidation of a unified field of new knowledge. The fundamental aim of the book is to conduct a review of the past and present usage of the concept of social metabolism, its origins and history, as well as the main currents or schools that exist around this concept. At the same time, the reviews and discussions included are used by the authors as starting points to draw conclusions and propose a theory of socio-ecological transformations.      

The theoretical and methodological innovations of this book include: a. the rigorous definition of a basic model for the process of social metabolism;

b. the distinction of two types of metabolic processes: tangible and intangible;

c. detailed discussion regarding the concept of nature appropriation;

d. analysis of the social metabolism at different scales (spatial dimension);

e. historical analysis of the social metabolism (temporal dimension and socio-ecological change);

f. overcoming the merely “systemic” or “cybernetic” nature of approaches, giving protagonism to collective action; and consequence and explanation of the above:

g. integration of an ethical and political dimension to the theory.

 

 

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A Systems Theoretic Approach to Systems and Synthetic Biology II: Analysis and Design of Cellular Systems (edited by Vishwesh Kulkarni at al.)

Volume II contains chapters contributed by leading researchers in the field of systems and synthetic biology that concern modeling physiological processes and bottom-up constructions of scalable biological systems.  The modeling problems include characterisation and synthesis of memory, understanding how homoeostasis is maintained in the face of shocks and relatively gradual perturbations, understanding the functioning and robustness of biological clocks such as those at the core of circadian rhythms, and understanding how the cell cycles can be regulated, among others. Some of the bottom-up construction problems investigated in Volume II are as follows: How should biomacromolecules, platforms, and scalable architectures be chosen and synthesised in order to build programmable de novo biological systems? What are the types of constrained optimisation problems encountered in this process and how can these be solved efficiently?

 

 

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Morphogenesis in Living Systems (edited by Nadine Peyriéras)

Morphogenesis in Living Systems (Lecture Notes in Morphogenesis)

~ More about this product
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This contributed volume presents interdisciplinary approaches which currently revolutionize the representation of the morphogenesis of living systems. The book introduces concepts from complex systems theory and explores how these concepts lead to quantitative approaches of living systems dynamics. It discusses whether new trends in the quantitative observation of living systems indicate a new paradigm of formal and applied epistemology for the reconstruction of living systems multiscale dynamics. The volume collects a number of articles from interdisciplinary teams, most of the authors were contributors to the MLS09 or MLS10 conferences in Paris.

 

 

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One Plus One Equals One: Symbiosis and the evolution of complex life (by John Archibald)

One Plus One Equals One: Symbiosis and the evolution of complex life

~ John Archibald (author) More about this product
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We are in the midst of a revolution. It is a scientific revolution built upon the tools of molecular biology, with which we probe and prod the living world in ways unimaginable a few decades ago. Need to track a bacterium at the root of a hospital outbreak? No problem: the offending germ's complete genetic profile can be obtained in 24 hours. We insert human DNA into E. coli bacteria to produce our insulin.

It is natural to look at biotechnology in the 21st century with a mix of wonder and fear. But biotechnology is not as 'unnatural' as one might think. All living organisms use the same molecular processes to replicate their genetic material and the same basic code to 'read' their genes. The similarities can be seen in their DNA. Here, John Archibald shows how evolution has been 'plugging-and-playing' with the subcellular components of life from the very beginning and continues to do so today. For evidence, we need look no further than the inner workings of our own cells. Molecular biology has allowed us to gaze back more than three billion years, revealing the microbial mergers and acquisitions that underpin the development of complex life. One Plus One Equals One tells the story of how we have come to this realization and its implications.

 

 

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The Evolution of Sex Determination: (by Leo Beukeboom & Nicolas Perrin)

The Evolution of Sex Determination

~ Nicolas Perrin (author) More about this product
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Sexual reproduction is a fundamental aspect of life. It is defined by the occurrence of meiosis and the fusion of two gametes of different sexes or mating types. Sex-determination mechanisms are responsible for the sexual fate and development of sexual characteristics in an organism, be it a unicellular alga, a plant, or an animal. In many cases, sex determination is genetic: males and females have different alleles or different genes that specify their sexual morphology. In animals, this is often accompanied by chromosomal differences. In other cases, sex may be determined by environmental (e.g. temperature) or social variables (e.g. the size of an organism relative to other members of its population). Surprisingly, sex-determination mechanisms are not evolutionarily conserved but are bewilderingly diverse and appear to have had rapid turnover rates during evolution. Evolutionary biologists continue to seek a solution to this conundrum. What drives the surprising dynamics of such a fundamental process that always leads to the same outcome: two sex types, male and female? The answer is complex but the ongoing genomic revolution has already greatly increased our knowledge of sex-determination systems and sex chromosomes in recent years. This novel book presents and synthesizes our current understanding, and clearly shows that sex-determination evolution will remain a dynamic field of future research.

 

 

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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (by Daniel J. Levitin)

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

~ Daniel J. Levitin (author) More about this product
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The information age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, we’re expected to make more—and faster—decisions about our lives than ever before. No wonder, then, that the average American reports frequently losing car keys or reading glasses, missing appointments, and feeling worn out by the effort required just to keep up.

But somehow some people become quite accomplished at managing information flow. In The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel—and how readers can use their methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time.

With lively, entertaining chapters on everything from the kitchen junk drawer to health care to executive office workflow, Levitin reveals how new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives. This Is Your Brain on Music showed how to better play and appreciate music through an understanding of how the brain works. The Organized Mind shows how to navigate the churning flood of information in the twenty-first century with the same neuroscientific perspective.

 

 

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Beyond Bibliometrics: Harnessing Multidimensional Indicators of Scholarly Impact (edited by Blaise Cronin & Cassidy R. Sugimoto)

Bibliometrics has moved well beyond the mere tracking of bibliographic citations. The web enables new ways to measure scholarly productivity and impact, making available tools and data that can reveal patterns of intellectual activity and impact that were previously invisible: mentions, acknowledgments, endorsements, downloads, recommendations, blog posts, tweets. This book describes recent theoretical and practical advances in metrics-based research, examining a variety of alternative metrics -- or "altmetrics" -- while also considering the ethical and cultural consequences of relying on metrics to assess the quality of scholarship. Once the domain of information scientists and mathematicians, bibliometrics is now a fast-growing, multidisciplinary field that ranges from webometrics to scientometrics to influmetrics. The contributors to Beyond Bibliometrics discuss the changing environment of scholarly publishing, the effects of open access and Web 2.0 on genres of discourse, novel analytic methods, and the emergence of next-generation metrics in a performance-conscious age.

 

 

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Visual Ecology (by Thomas W. Cronin et al.)

Visual Ecology

~ Eric J. Warrant (author) More about this product
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Visual ecology is the study of how animals use visual systems to meet their ecological needs, how these systems have evolved, and how they are specialized for particular visual tasks. Visual Ecology provides the first up-to-date synthesis of the field to appear in more than three decades. Featuring some 225 illustrations, including more than 140 in color, spread throughout the text, this comprehensive and accessible book begins by discussing the basic properties of light and the optical environment. It then looks at how photoreceptors intercept light and convert it to usable biological signals, how the pigments and cells of vision vary among animals, and how the properties of these components affect a given receptor's sensitivity to light. The book goes on to examine how eyes and photoreceptors become specialized for an array of visual tasks, such as navigation, evading prey, mate choice, and communication.

 

 

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Enigmas of Health and Disease: How Epidemiology Helps Unravel Scientific Mysteries (by Alfredo Morabia)

This book is the principal account of epidemiology's role in the development of effective measures to identify, prevent, and treat diseases. Throughout history, epidemiologists have challenged conventional knowledge, elucidating mysteries of causality and paving the way for remedies. From the outbreak of the bubonic plague, cholera, and cancer to the search for an effective treatment of AIDS and the origins of Alzheimer's disease, epidemiological thought has been crucial in shaping our understanding of population health issues.

Alfredo Morabia's lucid retelling sheds new light on the historical triumphs of epidemiological research and allows for contemporary readers, patients, and nontechnical audiences to make sense of the immense amount of health information disseminated by the media. By drawing from both historical and contemporary sources, Morabia provides the reader with the tools to differentiate health beliefs from health knowledge. The book covers important topics, including the H1N1 swine flu epidemic, breast cancer, the effects of aspirin, and the link between cigarettes and lung cancer.

 

 

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Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections Between Cities and Oceans (by Timothy Beatley)

Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections Between Cities and Oceans

~ Timothy Beatley (author) More about this product
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What would it mean to live in cities designed to foster feelings of connectedness to the ocean? As coastal cities begin planning for climate change and rising sea levels, author Timothy Beatley sees opportunities for rethinking the relationship between urban development and the ocean. Modern society is more dependent upon ocean resources than people are commonly aware of—from oil and gas extraction to wind energy, to the vast amounts of fish harvested globally, to medicinal compounds derived from sea creatures, and more. In Blue Urbanism, Beatley argues that, given all we’ve gained from the sea, city policies, plans, and daily urban life should acknowledge and support a healthy ocean environment.

The book explores issues ranging from urban design and land use, to resource extraction and renewable energy, to educating urbanites about the wonders of marine life. Beatley looks at how emerging practices like “community supported fisheries” and aquaponics can provide a sustainable alternative to industrial fishing practices. Other chapters delve into incentives for increasing use of wind and tidal energy as renewable options to oil and gas extraction that damages ocean life, and how the shipping industry is becoming more “green.” Additionally, urban citizens, he explains, have many opportunities to interact meaningfully with the ocean, from beach cleanups to helping scientists gather data.

While no one city “has it all figured out,” Beatley finds evidence of a changing ethic in cities around the world: a marine biodiversity census in Singapore, decreasing support for shark-finning in Hong Kong, “water plazas” in Rotterdam, a new protected area along the rocky shore of Wellington, New Zealand, “bluebelt” planning in Staten Island, and more. Ultimately he explains we must create a culture of “ocean literacy” using a variety of approaches, from building design and art installations that draw inspiration from marine forms, to encouraging citizen volunteerism related to oceans, to city-sponsored research, and support for new laws that protect marine health.

 

 

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Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree: The Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order (by J. David. Archibald)

Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree: The Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order

~ J. David. Archibald (author) More about this product
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Leading paleontologist J. David Archibald explores the rich history of visual metaphors for biological order from ancient times to the present and their influence on humans' perception of their place in nature, offering uncommon insight into how we went from standing on the top rung of the biological ladder to embodying just one tiny twig on the tree of life. He begins with the ancient but still misguided use of ladders to show biological order, moving then to the use of trees to represent seasonal life cycles and genealogies by the Romans. The early Christian Church then appropriated trees to represent biblical genealogies. The late eighteenth century saw the tree reclaimed to visualize relationships in the natural world, sometimes with a creationist view, but in other instances suggesting evolution. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) exorcised the exclusively creationist view of the "tree of life," and his ideas sparked an explosion of trees, mostly by younger acolytes in Europe.

Although Darwin's influence waned in the early twentieth century, by midcentury his ideas held sway once again in time for another and even greater explosion of tree building, generated by the development of new theories on how to assemble trees, the birth of powerful computing, and the emergence of molecular technology. Throughout Archibald's far-reaching study, and with the use of many figures, the evolution of "tree of life" iconography becomes entwined with our changing perception of the world and ourselves.

 

 

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Social Dynamics (by Brian Skyrms)

Social Dynamics

~ Brian Skyrms (author) More about this product
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Brian Skyrms presents eighteen essays which apply adaptive dynamics (of cultural evolution and individual learning) to social theory. Altruism, spite, fairness, trust, division of labor, and signaling are treated from this perspective. Correlation is seen to be of fundamental importance. Interactions with neighbors in space, on static networks, and on co-evolving dynamics networks are investigated. Spontaneous emergence of social structure and of signaling systems are examined in the context of learning dynamics.

 

 

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Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space

Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space | CxBooks | Scoop.it
Humans might think we can figure out the ultimate mysteries, but there is no reason to believe that we have all the pieces necessary for a theory of everything.

Via Jorge Louçã
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Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness (by Joel Gold & Ian Gold)

Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness

~ Ian Gold (author) More about this product
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What if you woke up with the alarming suspicion that you were being watched?

One day in 2003, a patient unlike any other that Dr. Joel Gold had seen before was admitted to his unit at Bellevue Hospital. This man claimed he was being filmed constantly and that his life was being broadcast around the world like The Truman Show—the 1998 film depicting a man who is unknowingly living out his life as the star of a popular soap opera. Over the next few years, Dr. Gold saw a number of patients suffering from what he and his brother, Dr. Ian Gold, began calling the “Truman Show delusion,” launching them on a quest to understand the nature of this particular phenomenon, of delusions more generally, and of madness itself.

The current view of delusions is that they are the result of biology gone awry, of neurons in the brain misfiring. In contrast, the Golds argue that delusions are the result of the interaction between the brain and the social world. By exploring the major categories of delusion through fascinating case studies and marshaling the latest research in schizophrenia, the brothers reveal the role of culture and the social world in the development of psychosis—delusions in particular. Suspicious Minds presents a groundbreaking new vision of just how dramatically our surroundings can influence our brains.

 

 

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