The Anxiety Epidemic
By Graham Davey
Are we living in an age of unprecedented anxiety, or has this always been a problem throughout history?We only need look around us to see anxieties: in the family home, the workplace, on social media, and especially in the news. It's true that everyone feels anxious at some time in their lives, but we're told we're all feeling more anxious than we've ever been before - and for longer than we've ever done before. It's even reported that anxiety is a modern epidemic significant enough to challenge the dominance of depression as the most common mental health problem.Much of this increase has been attributed to changes in lifestyles that have led to more stress and pressure being placed on people: from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood. But that's a big claim. Going back over the generations, how anxious were people in 1968 or 1818? Are people just anxious all the time - regardless of what they do or when they lived? Is anxiety an inevitable consequence of simply being alive?Graham Davey addresses many important questions about the role of anxiety. What is it good for? What are the unique modern-day causes of our anxieties and stresses? What turns normal everyday anxiety into the disabling disorders that many of us experience - distressing and debilitating conditions such as phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, pathological worrying and post-traumatic stress disorder? To truly conquer anxiety, we need to understand why it has established its prominent place in our modern world.
By Graham Easton
HIGHLY COMMENDED for the British Medical Awards book prize for Primary Health CareDespite the modern trend towards empowering patients and giving them more choice, the nuts and bolts of medical practice largely remain a mystery - a closed box. In fact, the more health information is available on the internet, the more patients can feel swamped and confused. The Appointment offers an intimate and honest account of how a typical GP tries to make sense of a patient's health problems and manage them within the constraints of their health system and the short ten minute appointment. We have always been fascinated by our own health but in recent years, especially for older people, seeing the GP has become a regular activity. In the past decade the average number of times a patient visits his or her GP has almost doubled. Despite this increasing demand, getting to see a GP is not always easy so those intimate ten minutes with the doctor are extremely precious, and there's more than ever to cram in. Taking the reader through a typical morning surgery, The Appointment shines a light onto what is really going on in those central ten minutes and lets the reader, for the first time, get inside the mind of the person sitting in front of them - the professional they rely on to look after their health. Experienced GP Dr Graham Easton shows how GPs really think, lays bare their professional strengths and weaknesses, and exposes what really influences their decisions about their patients' health.
The Amorous Heart
By Marilyn Yalom
The symmetrical, exuberant heart is everywhere: it gives shape to candy, pendants, the frothy milk on top of a cappuccino, and much else. How can we explain the ubiquity of what might be the most recognizable symbol in the world?In The Amorous Heart, Marilyn Yalom tracks the heart metaphor and heart iconography across two thousand years, through Christian theology, pagan love poetry, medieval painting, Shakespearean drama, Enlightenment science, and into the present. She argues that the symbol reveals a tension between love as romantic and sexual on the one hand, and as religious and spiritual on the other. Ultimately, the heart symbol is a guide to the astonishing variety of human affections, from the erotic to the chaste and from the unrequited to the conjugal.
The Aliens Are Coming!
By Ben Miller
Discover the fascinating and cutting-edge science behind the greatest question of all: is there life beyond Earth? For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe. In the last few years, scientists have made huge strides towards answering that question. In The Aliens are Coming!, comedian and bestselling science writer Ben Miller takes us on a fantastic voyage of discovery, from the beginnings of life on earth to the very latest search for alien intelligence. What soon becomes clear is that the hunt for extra-terrestrials is also an exploration of what we actually mean by life. What do you need to kickstart life? How did the teeming energy of the Big Bang end up as frogs, trees and quantity surveyors? How can evolution provide clues about alien life? What might it look like? (Probably not green and sexy, sadly.) As our probes and manned missions venture out into the solar system, and our telescopes image Earth-like planets with ever-increasing accuracy, our search for alien life has never been more exciting - or better funded. The Aliens are Coming! is a comprehensive, accessible and hugely entertaining guide to that search, and our quest to understand the very nature of life itself.
Are Numbers Real?
By Brian Clegg
Have you ever wondered what humans did before numbers existed? How they organized their lives, traded goods, or kept track of their treasures? What would your life be like without them? Numbers began as simple representations of everyday things, but mathematics rapidly took on a life of its own, occupying a parallel virtual world. In Are Numbers Real? Brian Clegg explores the way that maths has become more and more detached from reality, yet despite this is driving the development of modern physics. From devising a new counting system based on goats, through the weird and wonderful mathematics of imaginary numbers and infinity to the debate over whether mathematics has too much influence on the direction of science, this fascinating and accessible book opens the reader's eyes to the hidden reality of the strange yet familiar world of numbers.
By W. David Marx
Look closely at any typically "American" article of clothing these days, and you may be surprised to see a Japanese label inside. From high-end denim to oxford button-downs, Japanese designers have taken the classic American look-known as ametora , or "American traditional"-and turned it into a huge business for companies like Uniqlo, Kamakura Shirts, Evisu, and Kapital. This phenomenon is part of a long dialogue between Japanese and American fashion in fact, many of the basic items and traditions of the modern American wardrobe are alive and well today thanks to the stewardship of Japanese consumers and fashion cognoscenti, who ritualized and preserved these American styles during periods when they were out of vogue in their native land.In Ametora , cultural historian W. David Marx traces the Japanese assimilation of American fashion over the past hundred and fifty years, showing how Japanese trendsetters and entrepreneurs mimicked, adapted, imported, and ultimately perfected American style, dramatically reshaping not only Japan's culture but also our own in the process.
An End To Murder
By Colin Wilson, Damon Wilson
Creatively and intellectually there is no other species that has ever come close to equalling humanity's achievements, but nor is any other species as suicidally prone to internecine conflict. We are the only species on the planet whose ingrained habit of conflict constitutes the chief threat to our own survival. Human history can be seen as a catalogue of cold-hearted murders, mindless blood-feuds, appalling massacres and devastating wars, but, with developments in forensic science and modern psychology, and with raised education levels throughout the world, might it soon be possible to reign in humanity's homicidal habits? Falling violent crime statistics in every part of the world seem to indicate that something along those lines might indeed be happening. Colin and Damon Wilson, who between them have been covering the field of criminology for over fifty years, offer an analysis of the overall spectrum of human violence. They consider whether human beings are in reality as cruel and violent as is generally believed and they explore the possibility that humankind is on the verge of a fundamental change: that we are about to become truly civilised. As well as offering an overview of violence throughout our history - from the first hominids to the twenty-first century, touching on key moments of change and also indicating where things have not changed since the Stone Age - they explore the latest psychological, forensic and social attempts to understand and curb modern human violence. To begin with, they examine questions such as: Were the first humans cannibalistic? Did the birth of civilisation also lead to the invention of war and slavery? Priests and kings brought social stability, but were they also the instigators of the first mass murders? Is it in fact wealth that is the ultimate weapon? They look at slavery and ancient Roman sadism, but also the possibility that our own distaste for pain and cruelty is no more than a social construct. They show how the humanitarian ideas of the great religious innovators all too quickly became distorted by organised religious structures. The book ranges widely, from fifteenth-century Baron Gilles de Rais, 'Bluebeard', the first known and possibly most prolific serial killer in history, to Victorian domestic murder and the invention of psychiatry and Sherlock Holmes and the invention of forensic science; from the fifteenth-century Taiping Rebellion in China, in which up to 36 million died to the First and Second World Wars and more recent genocides and instances of 'ethnic cleansing', and contemporary terrorism. They conclude by assessing the very real possibility that the internet and the greater freedom of information it has brought is leading, gradually, to a profoundly more civilised world than at any time in the past.
American Museum Of Natural History Card Deck
By David Sobel
Created in partnership with the world-renowned American Museum of Natural History, this beautiful, informative card deck captures, in pictures and words, 100 of the museum's most important artifacts, specimens, and exhibits-from a fossilized dinosaur's nest to the largest blue star sapphire in the world (563 carats!). The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is one of the world's preeminent natural history museums and research institutions. Its collections contain more than 32 million specimens of plants, humans, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and cultural artifacts. Now, for the first time, this acclaimed collection is represented in a stunning and informative card deck featuring 100 treasures, hand-selected by the museum's curators, that encompass the most fascinating, iconic, and wide-ranging of the museum's artifacts. The card deck covers each of the museum's major areas of exhibition, including Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians; Earth and Planetary Science; Fossils; Human Origins and Culture; Mammals; Biodiversity and the Environmental; and the Hayden Planetarium. Some of the 100 objects include the Cape York Meteorite, discovered in Greenland in 1894; the Haida Canoe, built in 1878 by the Indians of the Pacific Northwest and carved from the trunk of a large cedar tree; the Blue Whale, a fiberglass replica of a 94-foot whale caught in 1925 off South George Island and the Warren Mastodon skeleton, the first complete mastodon skeleton discovered in the United States. Each card presents a full-frame photograph of the object on the front and a 200-word description on the back that tells of the origin and age of the object and its scientific and historic significance.
The Accidental Universe
By Alan Lightman
In The Accidental Universe, physicist and novelist Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by discoveries in science, focusing most intently on the human condition and the needs of humankind.Here, in a collection of exhilarating essays, Lightman shows us our own universe from a series of fascinating and diverse perspectives. He takes on the difficult dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has divorced us from enjoying a direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws alone.With his customary passion, precision, lyricism and imagination, in The Accidental Universe Alan Lightman leaves us with the suggestion - heady and humbling - that what we see and understand of the world and ourselves is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.Praise for Alan Lightman:'...a gem of a novel that is strange witty erudite and alive with Lightman's playful genius.' Junot Diaz.'It would not seem possible for Alan Lightman to match his earlier tour de force, Einstein's Dreams, but in Mr g he has done so - with wit, imagination, and transcendent beauty.' Anita Desai.
Answers for Aristotle
By Massimo Pigliucci
How should we live? According to philosopher and biologist Massimo Pigliucci, the greatest guidance to this essential question lies in combining the wisdom of 24 centuries of philosophy with the latest research from 21st century science. In Answers for Aristotle , Pigliucci argues that the combination of science and philosophy first pioneered by Aristotle offers us the best possible tool for understanding the world and ourselves. As Aristotle knew, each mode of thought has the power to clarify the other: science provides facts, and philosophy helps us reflect on the values with which to assess them. But over the centuries, the two have become uncoupled, leaving us with questions,about morality, love, friendship, justice, and politics,that neither field could fully answer on its own. Pigliucci argues that only by rejoining each other can modern science and philosophy reach their full potential, while we harness them to help us reach ours. Pigliucci discusses such essential issues as how to tell right from wrong, the nature of love and friendship, and whether we can really ever know ourselves,all in service of helping us find our path to the best possible life. Combining the two most powerful intellectual traditions in history, Answers for Aristotle is a remarkable guide to discovering what really matters and why.
By Carol Grant Gould, James L. Gould
Animal Architects masterfully investigates how the structure an animal builds reveals the inner workings of its mind. Beginning with instinct and the simple homes of solitary insects, and progressing to conditioning, the cognitive map," and the role of planning and insight, James and Carol Gould use the amazing engineering feats throughout the animal world to reach fascinating conclusions about animals' behavioural capabilities. From two of the world's most distinguished experts in animal behaviour, Animal Architects is a creative and accessible approach to understanding animal minds through the structures they build.
The Annotated Flatland
By Ian Stewart
Flatland is a unique, delightful satire that has charmed readers for over a century. Published in 1884 by the English clergyman and headmaster Edwin A. Abbott, it is the fanciful tale of A. Square, a two-dimensional being who is whisked away by a mysterious visitor to The Land of Three Dimensions, an experience that forever alters his worldview. Like the original, Ian Stewart's commentary takes readers on a strange and wonderful journey. With clarity and wit, Stewart illuminates Abbott's numerous Victorian references and touches on such diverse topics as ancient Babylon, Karl Marx, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , Mt. Everest, H.G. Wells, and phrenology. The Annotated Flatland makes fascinating connections between Flatland and Abbott's era, resulting in a classic to rival Abbott's own, and a book that will inspire and delight curious readers for generations to come.
An Obsession With Butterflies
By Sharman Apt Russell
Butterflies have always served as a metaphor for resurrection and transformation, but as Sharman Apt Russell points out in this lyrical meditation, butterflies are above all objects of obsession. She reveals the logic behind our endless fascination with butterflies and introduces us to the legendary collectors and dedicated scientists who have obsessively catalogueued new species of Lepidoptera. A luminous journey through an exotic world of passion and strange beauty, this is a book to be treasured by anyone who has ever experienced the enchantment of butterflies.
By Patricia Barnes-Svarney
A look at the creation and composition of asteroids and the frightening eventuality of a collision with the earth.
By Barry Parker
"Parker has done an outstanding job of pulling together the current scientific understanding of life on Earth and the possibilities of life elsewhere."- Christopher P. McKay, Research Scientist, NASA Ames Research centre
By Dorion Sagan, Lynn Margulis
How do new species evolve? Although Darwin identified inherited variation as the creative force in evolution, he never formally speculated where it comes from. His successors thought that new species arise from the gradual accumulation of random mutations of DNA. But despite its acceptance in every major textbook, there is no documented instance of it. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan take a radically new approach to this question. They show that speciation events are not, in fact, rare or hard to observe. Genomes are acquired by infection, by feeding, and by other ecological associations, and then inherited. Acquiring Genomes is the first work to integrate and analyze the overwhelming mass of evidence for the role of bacterial and other symbioses in the creation of plant and animal diversity. It provides the most powerful explanation of speciation yet given.
By Richard Morris
An exciting exploration of how complexity theory is answering all of our questions about evolution and might even show us how life developed.
By Albert A. Harrison
A realistic and down-to-earth assessment of the possibility of intelligent alien life.
Anatomy Of A Rose
By Sharman Apt Russell
In Anatomy of a Rose, Sharman Apt Russell eloquently unveils the "inner life" of flowers, showing them to be more individual, more enterprising, and more responsive than we ever imagined. From their diverse fragrances to their nasty deceptions, Russell proves that, where nature is concerned, "wonder is not only our starting point it can also be our destination." Throughout this botanical journey, she reveals that the science behind these intelligent plants- how they evolved, how they survive, how they heal- is even more awe-inspiring than their fleeting beauty. Russell helps us imagine what a field of snapdragons looks like to a honeybee she introduces us to flowers that regulate their own temperature, attract pollinating bats, even smell like a rotting corpse.In this poetic rumination, which combines graceful writing with a scientist's clarity, Russell brings together the work of botanists around the globe, and illuminates a world at once familiar and exotic.
The Age Of Science
By Gerard Piel
When historians of the future come to examine western civilization in the twentieth century, one area of intellectual accomplishment will stand out above all others: more than any other era before it, the twentieth century was an age of science. Not only were the practical details of daily life radically transformed by the application of scientific discoveries, but our very sense of who we are, how our minds work, how our world came to be, how it works and our proper role in it, our ultimate origins, and our ultimate fate were all influenced by scientific thinking as never before in human history.In The Age of Science, the former editor and publisher of Scientific American gives us a sweeping overview of the scientific achievements of the twentieth century, with chapters on the fundamental forces of nature, the subatomic world, cosmology, the cell and molecular biology, earth history and the evolution of life, and human evolution. Beautifully written and illustrated, this is a book for the connoisseur: an elegant, informative, magisterial summation of one of the twentieth century's greatest cultural achievements.