One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the Earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism?
"Sums it up nicely"
The extraordinary Siddhartha Mukherjee has written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer. Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.
"An amazing book. Comprehensive, authoritative and very well written."
How do trees live? Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings? Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known. In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to.
What Doesn't Kill Us traces our evolutionary journey back to a time when survival depended on how well we adapted to the environment around us. Our ancestors crossed the Alps in animal skins and colonized the New World in loin cloths. They evaded predators and built civilizations with just their raw brainpower and inner grit.
"Entertaining and Inspiring"
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years.
Have you wondered why some 60-year-olds look and feel like 40-year-olds and why some 40-year-olds look and feel like 60-year-olds? While many factors contribute to aging and illness, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn discovered a biological indicator called telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes telomeres, which protect our genetic heritage. Dr. Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel's research shows that the length and health of one's telomeres are a biological underpinning of the long-hypothesized mind-body connection.
Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when medieval physicians boiled juniper berries with wine to treat stomach pain. The Drunken Botanist uncovers the surprising botanical history and fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even a few fungi).
"No more cheap tequila!"
Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands to rethink their beliefs about life.
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity's future and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Sparked by a provocative comment to BigThink.com last fall, and fueled by a highly controversial debate with Creation Museum curator Ken Ham, Bill Nye's campaign to confront the scientific shortcoming of creationism has exploded in just a few months into a national crusade.
"Leasurly read for those who don't want equations"
Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?
"Just two words needed."
Joining the ranks of popular science classics like The Botany of Desire and The Selfish Gene, a groundbreaking, wondrously informative, and vastly entertaining examination of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin - a "microbe's-eye view" of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on Earth.
"Undoes what you've learned from the headlines"
In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. Heinrich's observations lead to fascinating questions - and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher bringing food to the young acts surreptitiously and is attacked by the mate. Why? A pair of northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich's cabin delivers the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings.
"An Adventure In Nature"
In Brain Rules for Baby, Dr. John Medina shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five. This book is destined to revolutionize parenting. Just one of the surprises: The best way to get your children into the college of their choice? Teach them impulse control. Brain Rules for Baby bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice.
"The Only Baby Book I'd Recommend"
Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science - as well as religious and cultural institutions - has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing....
"Strawmen and Ad Hominems"
Since the publication of The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton has received widespread acclaim as one of the most accessible and knowledgeable voices of "new biology". The science is called epigenetics a revolutionary field that shows us how the energy of consciousness is as important in shaping life on earth as DNA and chemistry.
"Audiobook or speech?"
Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain, yet we know very little about how it works. Gut: The Inside Story is an entertaining, informative tour of the digestive system from the moment we raise a tasty morsel to our lips until the moment our body surrenders the remnants to the toilet bowl. No topic is too lowly for the author's wonder and admiration, from the careful choreography of breaking wind to the precise internal communication required for a cleansing vomit.
"Best Gut Microbe Book Around"
Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit rover's exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter's moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.
In the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule - what scientists know for sure about how our brains work - and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science.
"On my second read"
Sy Montgomery's popular 2011 Orion magazine piece, "Deep Intellect", about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death, went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practiced true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing these wild, solitary shape-shifters.
"Eight legs and so much more!"
In January 2006, a month or two after my father died, I thought I saw him again - a momentary impression of an old man, a little stooped, setting off for a walk in his characteristic fawn corduroys and shabby quilted jacket. After teenage rifts it was walking that brought us closer as father and son, and this ghost of Dad has been walking at my elbow since his death, as I have ruminated on his great love of walking, his prodigious need to do it - and how and why I walk myself.
A dialogue in which it is argued that the truth of the theory has always been known, if only unconsciously.
No matter how much time you spend in the present, there's no escaping the fact that your past has a great impact on your future. Have you ever wished you knew more about your family history? Genealogy explains all you need to know about DNA science. It explains the amazing relationship between DNA and inheritance.
Champions of synthetic biology believe that turning genetic code into Lego-like blocks to build never-before-seen organisms could solve the thorniest challenges in medicine, energy, and environmental protection. But as the hackers who cracked open the potential of the personal computer and the Internet proved, the most revolutionary discoveries often emerge from out-of-the-way places, forged by brilliant outsiders with few resources besides boundless energy and great ideas.
These are the hilarious adventures of a dog lover extraordinaire. Listening to this brilliant reading by Fenella Lee of this tale of life with all things dog - especially Airedale - will transport you to a gentle, fun-loving universe where dog-driven disaster is only a short walk away.
Professor Cuddlefish, professor of chemistry, biology, and the geography of coral reefs, has gathered his students for their class at Phylum Molluska University. Two of his students, Zostera and Sepia, are giving presentations on their wonderful ability to change color when graduate students Papuensa and Elegans burst into the classroom with alarming information on the breathable water.
Even though the purpose of science is to identify truths, its immediate objective must be to model data, since it is only by modeling data that theoretical truths can be discovered. It follows that even though biological entities are composed of microphysical entities, biological truths are not microphysical truths. It also follows that psychological truths are not biological truths.
Named one of the top books of 2009 by the Times Literary Supplement (London), this controversial and compelling audiobook from Dr. Stephen C. Meyer presents a convincing new case for intelligent design (ID) based on revolutionary discoveries in science and DNA. Along the way Meyer argues that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as expounded in The Origin of Species did not, in fact, refute ID.
When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the "Cambrian explosion", many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In Darwin's Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life.
"Intelligent design nonsense"
Long before space travel was possible, the idea of life beyond Earth transfixed humans. In this fascinating book, astronomer Jon Willis explores the science of astrobiology and the possibility of locating other life in our own galaxy. Describing the most recent discoveries by space exploration missions, including the Kepler space telescope, the Mars Curiosity rover, and the New Horizons probe, Willis asks listeners to imagine - and choose among-five scenarios for finding life.
In The Rights of Mice, Lawrence Wright, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower and Going Clear, takes listeners inside the war between science and anti-vivisection raging across the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and its great educational institutions, Harvard and MIT. As animal rights activists attempt to push through city council an ordinance restricting the use of animals in laboratory testing, leaders in the science and medical communities brace for a fight.
In Long Hops, physicist Mark Denny explains, in a clear, conversational style, the science of bird migration - from the intricacies of bird aeronautics to the newly unraveled mysteries of their magnetic compasses. While providing wherever possible examples of indigenous Hawaiian species, the book surveys the migration phenomenon as a whole, showing that birds are breathtaking works of engineering with spectacular capabilities for long-distance flights.
When Steve Jamieson met Bilbo, a chocolate Newfoundland puppy, little did he know that the small bundle of fluff would grow to take up a huge space in his heart and change his life forever. The pair were inseparable, with Bilbo accompanying Steve to his job as head lifeguard of Sennen beach in Cornwall every day. Bilbo was an excellent swimmer and he was soon promoted to honorary lifeguard. He was even credited with saving the lives of three people.
In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds and how it came about. Consider, as Ackerman does, the Clark's nutcracker, a bird that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and remember where it put them several months later; the mockingbirds and thrashers, species that can store 200 to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours; and the well-known pigeon, which knows where it's going, even thousands of miles from familiar territory.
The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.
"Challenging textbook more than an enjoyable listen"
The whole of Western natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change, forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory. At the same time, these findings have increased our doubt and uncertainty about traditional physical explanations of the universe's genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around.
"Mystical hogwash, but I loved it."
A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how other creatures - including humans - think, feel, and act. These tiny organisms can live only inside another animal, and, as McAuliffe reveals, they have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their host's behavior. Far more often than appreciated, these puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey.
"A parasitologist view of the world"
Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics - as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies.
"A Masterpiece of Science Writing"
The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies, and cities. Yet there's a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.
"A must read for the interested, literate nonscientist"
Why evolution is more than just a theory: it is a fact. In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant "intelligent design", there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned: the evidence, the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection.
"Perfect !! Just what I was looking for."
The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia - but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world.
"Fascinating, but not Riveting"
A dazzling tour of the universe as Einstein saw it. How did Albert Einstein come up with the theories that changed the way we look at the world? By thinking in pictures. Michio Kaku, leading theoretical physicist (a cofounder of string theory) and best-selling science storyteller, shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science. With originality and expertise, Kaku uncovers the surprising beauty that lies at the heart of Einstein's cosmos
A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves - and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine. Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health - for people and for plants - depends on Earth's smallest creatures. The Hidden Half of Nature tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut.
Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built - and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes.
"Best Science Book Ever Written. Period."
We have a lifetime's association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. In Adventures in Human Being, Gavin Francis leads the listener on a journey through health and illness, offering insights on everything from the ribbed surface of the brain to the secret workings of the heart and the womb; from the pulse of life at the wrist to the unique engineering of the foot.
"The anecdotes in this writing are entertaining."
Deep is a voyage from the ocean's surface to its darkest trenches, the most mysterious places on Earth. Fascinated by the sport of freediving - in which competitors descend to great depths on a single breath - James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and other strange phenomena.
"what a great book with scientific information"
The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. The media tells us that our genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise. So we've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work?
In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet", focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.
"Sky Hooks need not apply."
Rosemary and Peter Grant and those assisting them have spend 20 years on Daphne Major, an island in the Galapagos, studying natural selection. They recognize each individual bird on the island, when there are 400 at the time of the author's visit or when there are over a thousand. They have observed about 20 generations of finches - continuously.Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.
"Fascinating in-depth look at evolution in action"
In their latest audiobook, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen snowball Earth, and the seeds for life originating on Mars.
"Perspective worth reading"
By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.