The Physics of Everyday Things
By James Kakalios
Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What's the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens and toasters? How do we enter our offices using touch-on passes or find our way to new places using GPS? In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this 'narrative physics' The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that - far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs boson, black holes and gravity waves - sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives.
By Maryn McKenna
'This is an important book. You can't understand the radical cheapening of food, with all its unpleasant effects, for farm animals and our most cherished rural landscapes, until you begin to understand the industrialisation of chicken. Industrial chicken is now displacing many more sustainable farming systems, driving them out of business. This book explains how that happened and why we should all be worried about it and demand change' James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's LifePlucked! examines everything that has gone wrong in the modern agricultural system: overuse of antibiotics, threats to the environment, violations of animal welfare, destruction of farming communities, disruption of international trade and delivery of over-processed, obesity-promoting, nutritionally hollow food.Drawing on years of research into the 'big chicken' industry, acclaimed science writer Maryn McKenna uncovers the people searching for solutions and seeking to return chicken to a sustainable and honoured place on our plate and asking whether, with reform, chicken can safely feed the world. Rich with characters who together propelled the story of chicken's unintended consequences, Plucked! will reveal how the antibiotic era created modern agriculture. It is an eye-opening exploration of how the world's most popular meat came to define so much more than just chicken nuggets.
The Power of Different
By Gail Saltz
The Power of Different is an illuminating and uplifting examination of the link between brain differences and aptitude. Psychologist and bestselling author Gail Saltz presents the latest scientific research and profiles famous geniuses and lay individuals who have been diagnosed with all manner of brain 'problems' - including learning disabilities, ADD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism. Saltz shows that the source of our struggles can be the origin of our greatest strengths. Rooted in her experience as a professor and practicing psychiatrist, and based on the latest neurological research, Saltz demonstrates how specific deficits in certain areas of the brain are directly associated with the potential for great talent. She also shows how the very conditions that can cause difficulty at school, in social situations, at home or at work, are bound to creative, disciplinary, artistic, empathetic and cognitive abilities.In this pioneering work, readers will find engaging scientific research and stories from historical geniuses and everyday individuals who have not only made the most of their conditions, but who have flourished because of them. Enlightening and inspiring, The Power of Different shows how the unique wiring of every brain can be a source of strength and productivity, and can contribute to the richness of our world.
By Christine Temple
Where does creativity come from? Why are some people more creative than others?Eminent neuropsychologist Christine Temple navigates a wide range of factors from the hard science (visual memory, spatial ability, brain functions) to the environmental (the 'mad genius' myth, and Gladwell's 10,000 hours of practice) in her study of what contributes to creativity. Using Pablo Picasso as her model of a creative genius, she weighs up each theory as it applies to Picasso and shows how his own creativity came from a combination of many factors.In this book, she looks at Picasso's playful mindset and passionate relationships, investigates the possibility that genius is genetic and can be inherited in families, considers whether creative genii perceive the world in a different way, and determines whether single-mindedness and focus play a part. This is the first book to look at a multitude of traits in creativity, and nail down the key factors that matter (and also which ones don't) to provide an overall picture of this fascinating area, linking the science to the personal.
By Ian Bogost
Play Anything is nothing short of brilliant... I will be recommending this provocative and entertaining book to everyone I know." u- Jane McGonigal, bestselling author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter ife is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun . But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations . Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances, like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints,as sources for meaning and joy. We can play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears.Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed,and enjoyed,when we first impose boundaries on ourselves. "An essential read for those seeking to understand how a new idea of play can be positive for our lives." u- Library Journal (STARRED review) /u Play Anything is a profound book: both a striking assessment of our current cultural landscape, and at the same time a smart self-improvement guide, teaching us the virtues of a life lived playfully." u- Steven Johnson, author of How We Got To Now and Everything Bad Is Good For You /u
By Kate Elliott
"Jes will remind readers of fearless Katniss.... Let the games continue!" (Booklist starred review for Court of Fives)Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives--the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes's only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes's traveling party puts her at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos--the prince she still loves--is fighting against their country's enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal's life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion.... She must become a warrior.
Playing by the Rules
By Tracey Brown, Michael Hanlon
Does an airline pilot really need to surrender his tweezers at airport security when he's about to board an aircraft equipped with an axe on the back of the cockpit door?Can a mobile phone really cause a major explosion at a gas station?And is there really a good reason why you should be be prevented from swimming in a lake more than a foot deep?These rules exist, and they exist in the name of our own protection. But in this engrossing dissection of global health, safety and security regulations, authors Tracey Brown and Michael Hanlon dig a little deeper to discover the real reasons behind many of the instructions we obey without questioning their creators' motives. Their conclusions range from the startling to the staggering, and in presenting them the authors seek to empower readers to question the people and organisations who come up with them in the first place.Previously published as In the Interests of Safety.
Pigs Can't Swim
By Helen Peppe
An outrageous, hilarious, and touching memoir by the youngest of nine children in a hardscrabble, beyond-eccentric Maine family. With everything happening on Helen Peppe's backwoods Maine farm, life was wild- and not just for the animals. Sibling rivalry, rock-bottom poverty, feral male chauvinism, sex in the hayloft: everything seemed- and was- out of control. In telling her wayward family tale, Peppe manages deadpan humour, an unerring eye for the absurd, and poignant compassion for her utterly overwhelmed parents. While her feisty resilience and candour will inevitably remind readers of Jeannette Walls or Mary Karr, Peppe's wry insight and moments of tenderness with family and animals are entirely her own. As Richard Hoffman, the author of Half the House: A Memoir puts it: " Pigs Can't Swim is an unruly, joyous troublemaker of a book."
By Beccy Cole
Beccy Cole has country music in her blood. Daughter of a country music star, Carole Sturtzel, she is one of the most popular country singer-songwriters in Australia today. This is the story of her life - in her own words.At fourteen, Beccy was performing in her mother's group, Wild Oats. By her late teens, Beccy had teamed up with the Dead Ringer Band - Kasey Chambers' family band - and had attracted the attention of the country music world by winning the Star Maker quest: the same award that started the careers of Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell and Gina Jeffreys. It was just the first of many awards and accolades for this multitalented woman with a big heart.With refreshing candour, Beccy shares her story: leaving everything she knew to pursue her dream, making a name for herself with her own band; her marriage and motherhood; her subsequent divorce, becoming a single mother and maintaining the nurturing love of family. Performing for the Australian troops in Afghanistan. Coming out, and what it has meant for her and her fans. Taking control of her own life - and finding love.Heartfelt and honest, Poster Girl is the inspirational memoir of a strong woman who epitomises the authentic spirit of country music, and of Australia.
The Perfect Theory
By Pedro G. Ferreira
Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement in modern physics. Anything that involves gravity, the force that powers everything on the largest, hottest or densest of scales, can be explained by it. From the moment Einstein first proposed the theory in 1915, it was received with enthusiasm yet also with tremendous resistance, and for the following ninety years was the source of a series of feuds, vendettas, ideological battles and persecutions featuring a colourful cast of characters. A gripping, vividly told story, A Perfect Theory entangles itself with the flashpoints of modern history and is the first complete popular history of the theory, showing how it has informed our understanding of exactly what the universe is made of and how much is still undiscovered: from the work of the giant telescopes in the deserts of Chile to our newest ideas about black holes and the Large Hadron Collider deep under French and Swiss soil.
Probably Approximately Correct
By Leslie Valiant
From a leading computer scientist, a unifying theory that will revolutionize our understanding of how life evolves and learns.How does life prosper in a complex and erratic world? While we know that nature follows patterns,such as the law of gravity,our everyday lives are beyond what known science can predict. We nevertheless muddle through even in the absence of theories of how to act. But how do we do it?In Probably Approximately Correct , computer scientist Leslie Valiant presents a masterful synthesis of learning and evolution to show how both individually and collectively we not only survive, but prosper in a world as complex as our own. The key is probably approximately correct" algorithms, a concept Valiant developed to explain how effective behaviour can be learned. The model shows that pragmatically coping with a problem can provide a satisfactory solution in the absence of any theory of the problem. After all, finding a mate does not require a theory of mating. Valiant's theory reveals the shared computational nature of evolution and learning, and sheds light on perennial questions such as nature versus nurture and the limits of artificial intelligence.Offering a powerful and elegant model that encompasses life's complexity, Probably Approximately Correct has profound implications for how we think about behaviour, cognition, biological evolution, and the possibilities and limits of human and machine intelligence.
Permanent Present Tense
By Suzanne Corkin
In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental psychosurgical" procedure,a targeted lobotomy,in an effort to alleviate his debilitating epilepsy. The outcome was unexpected,when Henry awoke, he could no longer form new memories, and for the rest of his life would be trapped in the moment. But Henry's tragedy would prove a gift to humanity. As renowned neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin explains in Permanent Present Tense , she and her colleagues brought to light the sharp contrast between Henry's crippling memory impairment and his preserved intellect. This new insight that the capacity for remembering is housed in a specific brain area revolutionized the science of memory. The case of Henry,known only by his initials H. M. until his death in 2008,stands as one of the most consequential and widely referenced in the spiraling field of neuroscience. Corkin and her collabourators worked closely with Henry for nearly fifty years, and in Permanent Present Tense she tells the incredible story of the life and legacy of this intelligent, quiet, and remarkably good-humoured man. Henry never remembered Corkin from one meeting to the next and had only a dim conception of the importance of the work they were doing together, yet he was consistently happy to see her and always willing to participate in her research. His case afforded untold advances in the study of memory, including the discovery that even profound amnesia spares some kinds of learning, and that different memory processes are localized to separate circuits in the human brain. Henry taught us that learning can occur without conscious awareness, that short-term and long-term memory are distinct capacities, and that the effects of aging-related disease are detectable in an already damaged brain.Undergirded by rich details about the functions of the human brain, Permanent Present Tense pulls back the curtain on the man whose misfortune propelled a half-century of exciting research. With great clarity, sensitivity, and grace, Corkin brings readers to the cutting edge of neuroscience in this deeply felt elegy for her patient and friend.
Powering the Future
By Robert B. Laughlin
In Powering the Future , Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin transports us two centuries into the future, when we've ceased to use carbon from the ground- either because humans have banned carbon burning or because fuel has simply run out. Boldly, Laughlin predicts no earth-shattering transformations will have taken place. Six generations from now, there will still be soccer moms, shopping malls, and business trips. Firesides will still be snug and warm. How will we do it? Not by discovering a magic bullet to slay our energy problems, but through a slew of fascinating technologies, drawing on wind, water, and fire. Powering the Future is an objective yet optimistic tour through alternative fuel sources, set in a world where we've burned every last drop of petroleum and every last shovelful of coal. The Predictable: Fossil fuels will run out. The present flow of crude oil out of the ground equals in one day the average flow of the Mississippi River past New Orleans in thirteen minutes. If you add the energy equivalents of gas and coal, it's thirty-six minutes. At the present rate of consumption, we'll be out of fossil fuels in two centuries' time. We always choose the cheapest gas . From the nineteenth-century consolidation of the oil business to the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, the energy business has shown, time and again, how low prices dominate market share. Market forces- not green technology- will be the driver of energy innovation in the next 200 years. The laws of physics remain fixed. Energy will still be conserved, degrade entropically with use, and have to be disposed of as waste heat into outer space. How much energy a fuel can pack away in a given space is fixed by quantum mechanics- and if we want to keep flying jet planes, we will need carbon-based fuels. The Potential: Animal waste. If dried and burned, the world's agricultural manure would supply about one-third as much energy as all the coal we presently consume. Trash. The United States disposes of 88 million tons of carbon in its trash per year. While the incineration of waste trash is not enough to contribute meaningfully to the global demand for energy, it will constrain fuel prices by providing a cheap supply of carbon. Solar energy. The power used to light all the cities around the world is only one-millionth of the total power of sunlight pouring down on earth's daytime side. And the amount of hydropump storage required to store the world's daily electrical surge is equal to only eight times the volume of Lake Mead. PRAISE FOR ROBERT B. LAUGHLIN &ldquoPerhaps the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Richard Feynman&rdquo- George Chapline, Lawrence Livermore National labouratory &ldquoPowerful but controversial.&rdquo- Financial Times "[Laughlin's] company &hellip is inspirational.&rdquo - New Scientist
Physics in Mind
By Werner Loewenstein
No one can escape a sense of awe when reflecting on the workings of the mind: we see, we hear, we feel, we are aware of the world around us. But what is the mind? What do we mean when we say we are aware" of something? What is this peculiar state in our heads, at once utterly familiar and bewilderingly mysterious, that we call awareness or consciousness?In Physics in Mind , eminent biophysicist Werner R. Loewenstein argues that to answer these questions, we must first understand the physical mechanisms that underlie the workings of the mind. And so begins an exhilarating journey along the sensory data stream of the brain, which shows how our most complex organ processes the vast amounts of information coming in through our senses to create a coherent, meaningful picture of the world. Bringing information theory to bear on recent advances in the neurosciences, Loewenstein reveals a web of immense computational power inside the brain. He introduces the revolutionary idea that quantum mechanics could be fundamental to how our minds almost instantaneously deal with staggering amounts of information, as in the case of the information streaming through our eyes. Combining cutting-edge research in neuroscience and physics, Loewenstein presents an ambitious hypothesis about the parallel processing of sensory information that is the heart, hub, and pivot of the cognitive brain. Wide-ranging and brimming with insight, Physics in Mind breaks new ground in our understanding of how the mind works.
By John A. Jenkins
As a young lawyer practicing in Arizona, far from the political centre of the country, William Hubbs Rehnquist's iconoclasm made him a darling of Goldwater Republicans. He was brash and articulate. Although he was unquestionably ambitious and extraordinarily self-confident, his journey to Washington required a mixture of good-old-boy connections and rank good fortune. An outsider and often lone dissenter on his arrival, Rehnquist outlasted the liberal vestiges of the Warren Court and the collegiate conservatism of the Burger Court, until in 1986 he became the most overtly political conservative to sit as chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Over that time Rehnquist's thinking pointedly did not--indeed, could not--evolve. Dogma trumped leadership. So, despite his intellectual gifts, Rehnquist left no body of law or opinions that define his tenure as chief justice or even seem likely to endure. Instead, Rehnquist bestowed a different legacy: he made it respectable to be an expedient conservative on the Court. The Supreme Court now is as deeply divided politically as the executive and legislative branches of our government, and for this Rehnquist must receive the credit or the blame. His successor as chief justice, John Roberts, is his natural heir. Under Roberts, who clerked for Rehnquist, the Court remains unrecognizable as an agent of social balance. Gone are the majorities that expanded the Bill of Rights. The Rehnquist Court, which lasted almost twenty years, was moulded in his image. In thirty-three years on the Supreme Court, from 1972 until his death in 2005 at age 80, Rehnquist was at the centre of the Court's dramatic political transformation. He was a partisan, waging a quiet, constant battle to imbue the Court with a deep conservatism favouring government power over individual rights. The story of how and why Rehnquist rose to power is as compelling as it is improbable. Rehnquist left behind no memoir, and there has never been a substantial biography of him: Rehnquist was an uncooperative subject, and during his lifetime he made an effort to ensure that journalists would have scant material to work with. John A. Jenkins has produced the first full biography of Rehnquist, exploring the roots of his political and judicial convictions and showing how a brilliantly instinctive jurist, who began his career on the Court believing he would only ever be an isolated voice of right-wing objection, created the ethos of the modern Supreme Court.
Pale Girl Speaks
By Hillary Fogelson
Hillary Fogelson led a charmed life: as the young wife of a successful Hollywood executive, her only major concerns were her acting auditions, interior decorating, and unexpected visits from her high-maintenance parents. Then, one day, her doctor told her she had malignant melanoma,a cancer that leads to more deaths for women between the age of 25 and 30 than any other,and her life was forever changed. Pale Girl Speaks is the darkly funny story of Fogelson's neuroses and struggles after her diagnosis with melanoma. In her witty, wisecracking narrative, Fogelson recounts how her battle with cancer brings up other issues in her life that she's been ignoring, especially her anxieties about her relationship with her husband, her friends, and her parents. The apprehension she feels soon manifests itself in more concrete ways,panic attacks, heavy reliance on alcohol, and a compulsive need to constantly check in with her doctor,but when her father discovers that he has melanoma as well, Fogelson has to learn to lead by example and let go of her fear. A story that will appeal to anyone who has faced adversity and lived to tell jokes about it, Pale Girl Speaks is about one woman who experienced the worst possible fallout of being fair-skinned,and survived with her sense of humour intact.
The Perfect Swarm
By Len Fisher
The process of "self-organization" reveals itself in the inanimate worlds of crystals and seashells, but, as Len Fisher shows, it is also evident in living organisms, from fish to ants to human beings. Understanding the "swarm intelligence" inherent in groups can help us do everything from throw a better party to start a fad to make our interactions with others more powerful. humorous and enlightening, The Perfect Swarm demonstrates how complexity arises from nature's simple rules and how we can use their awesome power to untangle the frustrating complexities of life in our ever more chaotic world.
Photographic Card Deck Of The Elements
By Theodore Gray
A companion to the bestselling book The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, this beautiful photographic card deck features all 118 elements in the periodic table. One element per card appears as a full-size image on the front and fascinating information about the element on the back.The Photographic Card Deck of The Elements is the most detailed, lush, and beautiful set of cards ever produced on the subject of the periodic table. With 126, 5'X5' cards in all, it includes one card for every one of the 118 elements, plus additional cards that explain the arrangement of the periodic table, present the elements sorted by various properties, and suggest activities and uses for the cards. The front side of each card shows a full-size, photographic image of the element, while the back gives scientific information including atomic weight, density, melting and boiling point, valence, and the percent of the element found in the universe, in the Earth's crust, in oceans, and in humans. Graphics show melting/boiling points, density, electron configuration, and atomic radius. A fascinating fact about the element, as well as the date of its discovery, is also included.The cards are perfect for students but also make an excellent gift for a scientist or anyone who enjoys the beauty and diversity of the natural world.
Patti Smith's Horses
By Mark Paytress
Before The Sex Pistols, before The Clash, before The Ramones, there was Patti Smith. The poet laureate of punk, she burst onto a vacuous music scene in the mid-1970s with a raw and revolutionary sound. With the release of her debut album, Horses, rock music would simply never be the same.Using all-new interviews with those close to Smith, Mark Paytress puts the story of Horses into its full context: from the singer's early days to her rapid rise on New York's performance art scene and the key role she played in the emerging art-punk movement at CBGBs. PATTI SMITH'S HORSES tells the unforgettable story of a landmark album, the new rock aesthetic that it brought about, and how Patti Smith became the most influential female rock 'n' roller of all time.
The Poison Throne
By Celine Kiernan
YOUNG WYNTER MOOREHAWKE RETURNS TO COURT WITH HER DYING FATHER. BUT HER OLD HOME IS CLOAKED IN FEAR. Once benevolent King Jonathon is now a violent despot, terrorising his people while his son Alberon plots a coup from exile. Then darkness spreads as the King appoints Alberon's half-brother Razi as heir. Wynter must watch her friend obey his father's untenable commands, as those they love are held to ransom. And at the heart of matters lies a war machine so lethal that none dare speak of it. The kingdom would belong to its master, yet the consequences of using it are too dire to consider. But temptation has ever been the enemy of reason.