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."
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.
"Scientific history blended with humanity"
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 dead talk - to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces.
"Basic look into the history & science of forensics"
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.
We use DNA routinely - to cure diseases, solve crimes, and reunite families. Yet we've known about it for only 60 years. And what we're continuing to learn about it every day has the potential to transform our health, our nutrition, our society, and our future. But what, exactly is DNA, the self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms?
"Very good book on genetics"
Dish up the red meat, eggs, and whole milk! In this well-researched and captivating narrative, veteran food writer Nina Teicholz proves how everything we've been told about fat is wrong. For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full of "bad" saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional guidelines to eat "heart healthy" fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet the nation's health has declined. What is going on?
"Great book. Challenges your belief system."
In Faster, Higher, Stronger, veteran journalist Mark McClusky brings listeners behind the scenes with a new generation of athletes, coaches, and scientists whose accomplishments are changing our understanding of human physical achievement and completely redefining the limits of the human body.
"fascinating look at human excellence in sports"
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!"
Charles Darwin's theory of organic evolution-the idea that life on earth is the product of purely natural causes, not the hand of God-set off shock waves that continue to reverberate through Western society, and especially the United States. What makes evolution such a profoundly provocative concept, so convincing to most scientists, yet so socially and politically divisive? These 12 eye-opening lectures are an examination of the varied elements that so often make this science the object of strong sentiments and heated debate.
Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.
"Epstein writes! He scores!"
Seventy years ago, Erwin Schrdinger posed a simple, yet profound, question: What is life?. How could the very existence of such extraordinary chemical systems be understood? This problem has puzzled biologists and physical scientists both before, and ever since. Living things are hugely complex and have unique properties, such as self-maintenance and apparently purposeful behaviour which we do not see in inert matter. So how does chemistry give rise to biology?
"Profound & Life Changing..."
In Arrival of the Fittest, renowned evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner draws on over 15 years of research to present the missing piece in Darwin's theory. Using experimental and computational technologies that were heretofore unimagined, he has found that adaptations are not just driven by chance, but by a set of laws that allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take.
"Robustness makes for an interesting life and book"
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.
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.
"Better than print!"
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.
"seminal work but too political and elitist"
De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal - and human - intelligence.
"Incredibly insightful!!!! With great narration!!!"
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"
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.
"Bill Nye's case for evolution is Undeniably good"
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"
A heartwarming account of the trials and triumphs a hummingbird rehabber encounters while caring for her tiny, fragile patients. This personal narrative is filled with the science and magic surrounding these fascinating creatures.
A young man is murdered for his prized pet fish. An Asian tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish realm of obsession, paranoia, and criminality, The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other: a powerful predator dating to the age of the dinosaurs.
Award-winning journalist Hannah Nordhaus tells the remarkable story of John Miller, one of America's foremost migratory beekeepers, and the myriad and mysterious epidemics threatening American honeybee populations.
"If you are a bee enthusiasts this is a great book."
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.
In this landmark medical narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher chronicle the story of Nic Volker, the Wisconsin boy at the center of a daring breakthrough in medicine - a complete gene sequencing to discover the cure for an otherwise undiagnosable illness.
"Gripping True Story"
Perhaps the most influential science book ever written, On the Origin of Species has continued to fascinate for more than a century after its initial publication. Its controversial theory that populations evolve and adapt through a process known as natural selection led to heated scientific, philosophical, and religious debate, revolutionizing every discipline in its wake. With its clear, concise, and surprisingly enjoyable prose, On the Origin of Species is both captivating and edifying.
Richard Dawkins' 1976 investigation into the science of evolution has become an enormous success, selling over a million copies in 25 languages. Drawing on the work of renowned evolutionary scientists, Dawkins makes his argument about evolution by focusing on the gene itself. While others considered evolution to occur at the level of the individual or the group, here Dawkins sees the process of natural selection differently.
The brain gives us human potential - to learn, to dream, to achieve and grow. It is perhaps the most powerful and yet the most delicate organ in the body. For many years, it was assumed that brain cells could not grow past early childhood and would automatically degenerate as we reached our senior years. But recent scientific research has broken the bondage and fatalism of such beliefs and demonstrated ways in which the brain can be trained, enhanced, and kept agile and alert every day of our lives to empower whatever we do.
Drawing upon a lifetime of scientific expertise and an abiding love of nature, Richard Fortey uses his small wood to tell a wider story of the ever-changing British landscape, human influence on the countryside over many centuries and the vital interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. The trees provide a majestic stage for woodland animals and plants to reveal their own stories.
The first part of this work includes four original essays by Professor David Christopher Lane on the Darwin-Wallace debate, focusing on the contentious issue of whether or not natural selection can explain the human mind or soul. In part two we have included the two original essays by Darwin and Wallace in 1858 concerning their discovery of evolution by natural selection as presented to the Linnean Society in London, England.
In this witty, fact-packed A-Z, Newman takes the listener on a whirlwind tour from caring, sharing vampire bats to intelligent slime mould; from pacifist baboons to Richard Dawkins wrestling naked with his postman; from the invisibility cloak of the Hawaiian bobtail squid to Francis "DNA" Crick's belief that life on Earth began with alien spaceships.
This book provides a wide overview of Darwin's views on a variety of subjects. It also draws out some of the implications of his groundbreaking work on psychology and philosophy.
If you have ever wanted to know more about biology, but thought it would be too confusing, then this is the book for you. We take the concepts of biology and put them in simple terms, allowing you to better understand the amazing diversity of our planet! With An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Biology, you'll learn about how cells do the work that supports life.
As you read these words, planet Earth teems with trillions of life-forms, all going about their own business: eating, reproducing, thriving.... Yet the life of almost every single organism draws nearer to certain death. On the other hand, "suicide" inside the mitochondria that live within us results in the death of millions of cells each second for our own good! Why is death such a universal companion to life on Earth? Why haven't animals evolved to break free of its shackles?
Suddenly, research findings require a paradigm shift in our view of the microbial world. The Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health is well under way, and unprecedented scientific technology now allows the censusing of trillions of microbes inside and on our bodies as well as in the places where we live, work, and play. This intriguing, up-to-the-minute book for scientists and nonscientists alike explains what researchers are discovering about the microbe world and what the implications are for modern science and medicine.
An entertaining guide to some of our commonest and most curious coastal wildlife. Brett Westwood is joined by naturalist Phil Gates in this informative and entertaining guide to a variety of common coastal wildlife. Recorded in early summer along the coast of Northumberland, each programme focuses on a different habitat - rock pools, sandy beaches, sea cliffs, strandlines and mudflats adjoining saltmarshes.
Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. Like humans, many birds have enormous brains relative to their size. Although small, bird brains are packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight.
"Birds! Who knew"
Late one June night in 2011, a large animal collided with an SUV cruising down a Connecticut parkway. The creature appeared as something out of New England's forgotten past. Beside the road lay a 140-pound mountain lion. Speculations ran wild, the wildest of which figured him a ghostly survivor from a bygone century when lions last roamed the eastern United States. But a more fantastic scenario of facts soon unfolded.
"Riveting not for casual reader or feint of heart"
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 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 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.
"Very good book on this subject!"
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"
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."
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."
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
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"
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."
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.
In an engaging tour of the science and history of cheese, Michael Tunick explores the art of cheese making, the science that lies underneath the deliciousness, and the history behind how humanity came up with one of its most varied and versatile of foods. Dr. Tunick spends his everyday deep within the halls of the science of cheese, as a researcher who creates new dairy products, primarily, cheeses.
"Science, Humor, Education and Brilliance"
Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way.
"Great Scientific Writing/ Wrong Narrator"
Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners. In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to explain the true nature - and needs - of our feline friends. Tracing the cat’s evolution from solitary hunter to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of social contact.
"Not what I had expected"
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."
In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within. Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution. For many years, de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food. Now he delivers fascinating fresh evidence for the seeds of ethical behavior in primate societies that further cements the case for the biological origins of human fairness.
"Great research on apes, bad research on humans"