Rule Makers, Rule Breakers
By Michele J. Gelfand
'A groundbreaking analysis of what used to be an impenetrable mystery: how and why do cultures differ? ... Anyone interested in our cultural divides will find tremendous insight in Rule Makers, Rule Breakers' - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment NowWhy are clocks in Germany always correct, while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why are Singaporeans jailed for selling gum? Why do women in New Zealand have three times the sex of females worldwide? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? And why does each generation of Americans give their kids weirder and weirder names? Curious about the answers to these and other questions, award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand has spent two decades studying both tight societies (with clearly stated rules and codes of ethics) and loose societies (more informal communities with weak or ambiguous norms). Putting each under the microscope, she conducted research in more than fifty countries and collaborated with political scientists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Her fascinating conclusion: behaviour seems largely dependent on perceived threats. It's why certain nations seem predisposed to tangle with others; some American states identify as "Red" and others as "Blue"; and those attending a sports contest, health club, or school function behave in prescribed ways. Rule Makers, Rule Breakers reveals how to predict national variations around the globe, why some leaders innovate and others don't, and even how a tight vs. loose system can determine happiness. Consistently riveting and always illuminating, Michele Gelfand's book helps us understand how a single cultural trait dramatically affects even the smallest aspects of our lives.'Fascinating and profound...It's quite possibly this year's best book on culture' - Roy F. Baumeister, bestselling co-author of Willpower and author of The Cultural Animal'This brilliant book is full of well-documented insights that will change the way you look at yourself and at the world around you' - Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work
By Matt Wilkinson
Most of us never think about how we get from one place to another. For most people, putting one foot in front of the other requires no thought at all. Yet the fact that we and other species are able to do so is one of the great triumphs of evolution. To truly understand how life evolved on Earth, it is crucial to understand movement. Restless Creatures makes the bold new argument that the true story of evolution is the story of locomotion, from the first stirrings of bacteria to the amazing feats of Olympic athletes. By retracing the four-billion-year history of locomotion, evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson shows how the physical challenges of moving from place to place,when coupled with the implacable logic of natural selection,offer a uniquely powerful means of illuminating the living world. Whales and dolphins look like fish because they have been moulded by the constraints of underwater locomotion. The unbending physical needs of flight have brought bats, birds, and pterodactyls to strikingly similar anatomies. Movement explains why we have opposable thumbs, why moving can make us feel good, how fish fins became limbs, and even why,classic fiction notwithstanding,there are no flying monkeys nor animals with wheels. Even plants aren't immune from locomotion's long reach: their seeds, pollen, and very form are all determined by their aptitude to disperse. From sprinting cheetah to spinning maple fruit, soaring albatross to burrowing worm, crawling amoeba to running human,all are the way they are because of how they move. There is a famous saying: nothing in biology makes sense unless in the light of evolution." As Wilkinson makes clear: little makes sense unless in the light of locomotion. A powerful yet accessible work of evolutionary biology, Restless Creatures is the essential guide for understanding how life on Earth was shaped by the simple need to move from point A to point B.
By Ed Regis, George M. Church
Bold and provocative, Regenesis tells of recent advances that may soon yield endless supplies of renewable energy, increased longevity and the return of long-extinct species.", New Scientist In Regenesis , Harvard biologist George Church and science writer Ed Regis explore the possibilities,and perils,of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. These technologies,far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction,have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.
By Sandra Steingraber
Nothing could be more important than the health of our children, and no one is better suited to examine the threats against it than Sandra Steingraber. Once called "a poet with a knife," she blends precise science with lyrical memoir. In Living Downstream she spoke as a biologist and cancer survivor in Having Faith she spoke as an ecologist and expectant mother, viewing her own body as a habitat. Now she speaks as the scientist mother of two young children, enjoying and celebrating their lives while searching for ways to protect them- and all children- from the toxic, climate-threatened world they inhabit Each chapter of this engaging and unique book focuses on one inevitable ingredient of childhood- everything from pizza to laundry to homework to the "Big Talk"- and explores the underlying social, political, and ecological forces behind it. Through these everyday moments, Steingraber demonstrates how closely the private, intimate world of parenting connects to the public world of policy-making and how the ongoing environmental crisis is, fundamentally, a crisis of family life.
By Roger Wiens
In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations,both as a destination for humankind and as a possible home to extraterrestrial life. It is our twenty-first century New World its explorers robots, shipped 350 million miles from Earth to uncover the distant planet's secrets.Its most recent scout is Curiosity,a one-ton, Jeep-sized nuclear-powered space labouratory,which is now roving the Martian surface to determine whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Red Rover , geochemist Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover and veteran of numerous robotic NASA missions, tells the unlikely story of his involvement in sending sophisticated hardware into space, culminating in the Curiosity rover's amazing journey to Mars.In so doing, Wiens paints the portrait of one of the most exciting scientific stories of our time: the new era of robotic space exploration. Starting with NASA's introduction of the Discovery Program in 1992, scrappier, more nimble missions became the order of the day, as manned missions were confined to Earth orbit, and behemoth projects went extinct. This strategic shift presented huge scientific opportunities, but tight budgets meant that success depended more than ever on creative engineering and human ingenuity. Beginning with the Genesis mission that launched his career, Wiens describes the competitive, DIY spirit of these robotic enterprises, from conception to construction, from launch to heart-stopping crashes and smooth landings.An inspiring account of the real-life challenges of space exploration, Red Rover vividly narrates what goes into answering the question: is there life elsewhere in the universe?
The Ravenous Brain
By Daniel Bor
Consciousness is our gateway to experience: it enables us to recognize Van Gogh's starry skies, be enraptured by Beethoven's Fifth, and stand in awe of a snowcapped mountain. Yet consciousness is subjective, personal, and famously difficult to examine: philosophers have for centuries declared this mental entity so mysterious as to be impenetrable to science. In The Ravenous Brain , neuroscientist Daniel Bor departs sharply from this historical view, and builds on the latest research to propose a new model for how consciousness works. Bor argues that this brain-based faculty evolved as an accelerated knowledge gathering tool. Consciousness is effectively an idea factory- that choice mental space dedicated to innovation, a key component of which is the discovery of deep structures within the contents of our awareness. This model explains our brains' ravenous appetite for information- and in particular, its constant search for patterns. Why, for instance, after all our physical needs have been met, do we recreationally solve crossword or Sudoku puzzles? Such behaviour may appear biologically wasteful, but, according to Bor, this search for structure can yield immense evolutionary benefits- it led our ancestors to discover fire and farming, pushed modern society to forge ahead in science and technology, and guides each one of us to understand and control the world around us. But the sheer innovative power of human consciousness carries with it the heavy cost of mental fragility. Bor discusses the medical implications of his theory of consciousness, and what it means for the origins and treatment of psychiatric ailments, including attention-deficit disorder, schizophrenia, manic depression, and autism. All mental illnesses, he argues, can be reformulated as disorders of consciousness- a perspective that opens up new avenues of treatment for alleviating mental suffering. A controversial view of consciousness, The Ravenous Brain links cognition to creativity in an ingenious solution to one of science's biggest mysteries.
Rise Of Empire
By Michael J Sullivan
The birth of the Nyphron Empire has brought war to Melengar. To save her kingdom, Princess Arista runs a desperate gamble when she defies her brother and hires Royce and Hadrian to perform a dangerous mission behind the enemy's lines. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce's suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own shadowy struggle for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian's past. What he discovers leads the thieves to the ends of the world on a journey amid treachery and betrayals, forcing Hadrian to face a past he hoped never to see again.
Reinventing the Sacred
By Stuart A. Kauffman
Consider the complexity of a living cell after 3.8 billion years of evolution. Is it more awesome to suppose that a transcendent God fashioned the cell at a stroke, or to realize that it evolved with no Almighty Hand, but arose on its own in the changing biosphere? In this bold and fresh look at science and religion, complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman argues that the qualities of divinity that we revere,creativity, meaning, purposeful action,are properties of the universe that can be investigated methodically. He offers stunning evidence for this idea in an abundance of fields, from cell biology to the philosophy of mind, and uses it to find common ground between belief systems often at odds with one another. A daring and ambitious argument for a new understanding of natural divinity, Reinventing the Sacred challenges readers both scientifically and philosophically.
The Republican War on Science
By Chris Mooney
Science has never been more crucial to deciding the political issues facing the country. Yet science and scientists have less influence with the federal government than at any time since Richard Nixon fired his science advisors. In the White House and Congress today, findings are reported in a politicized manner spun or distorted to fit the speaker's agenda or, when they're too inconvenient, ignored entirely. On a broad array of issues-stem cell research, climate change, evolution, sex education, product safety, environmental regulation, and many others-the Bush administration's positions fly in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus. Federal science agencies-once fiercely independent under both Republican and Democratic presidents-are increasingly staffed by political appointees who know industry lobbyists and evangelical activists far better than they know the science. This is not unique to the Bush administration, but it is largely a Republican phenomenon, born of a conservative dislike of environmental, health, and safety regulation, and at the extremes, of evolution and legalized abortion. In The Republican War on Science , Chris Mooney ties together the disparate strands of the attack on science into a compelling and frightening account of our government's increasing unwillingness to distinguish between legitimate research and ideologically driven pseudoscience.
The Recollections Of Eugene P. Wigner
By Andrew Szanton
One of the greatest physicists of the 20th century recounts his journey from Hungary and the Nazi invasion to the creation of the first atomic bomb.
The Red Glacier
By Julia Gray
Following his adventures in THE DARK MOON, THE JASPER FOREST and THE CRYSTAL DESERT, Terrel travels ever onwards, hoping that each step will take him closer to his homeland of Vadanis.Now Terrel finds himself in the war-torn land of Takkuk, where no one can remember a time before conflict, and no one but the powerful sorcerers know the cause of it. Horrified to learn that the powers of nature are being harnessed for use as weapons, Terrel discovers that a volcano among the glaciers is home to a deadly presence ...Look out for more information on this book and others on the Orbit website at www.orbitbooks.co.uk
Rattling The Cage
By Jane Goodall, Steven Wise
Rattling the Cage explains how the failure to recognize the basic legal rights of chimpanzees and bonobos in light of modern scientific findings creates a glaring contradiction in our law. In this witty, moving, persuasive, and impeccably researched argument, Wise demonstrates that the cognitive, emotional, and social capacities of these apes entitle them to freedom from imprisonment and abuse.
The Roosevelt Women
By Betty Boyd Caroli
The Roosevelt name conjures up images of powerful Presidents and dashing men of high society. But few people know much about the extraordinary network of women that held the Roosevelt clan together through war, scandal, and disease. In The Roosevelt Women , Betty Boyd Caroli weaves together stories culled from a rich store of letters, memoirs, and interviews to chronicle nine extraordinary Roosevelt women across a century and a half of turbulent history.She examines the Roosevelt women as mothers, daughters, wives, and, beyond that, as world travellers, authors, campaigners, and socialites,in short, as themselves. She reveals how they demonstrated the energy and intellectual curiosity that defined their famous family, as well as the roles they played in the intrigues, scandals, and accomplishments that were hallmarks of the Roosevelt clan. From the much maligned Sara Delano (who sired Franklin and by turns terrified and supported Eleanor) to Theodore's irrepressible daughter, Alice ("I can either rule the country or control Alice," Teddy once said) to the beloved Bamie, who was the only mother Alice ever knew, and the model of everything she never was in life, to the exceptionally beautiful but ultimately overwhelmed Mittie, Theodore's mother, The Roosevelt Women is an intricate portrait of bold and talented women, a grand tale of both unbearable tragedies and triumphant achievements.
Rain Of Iron And Ice
By John S. Lewis
By Orson Scott Card
Since the age of eleven, whe he saw the white men murder his father, the Red Indian Lolla-Wossiky has been a pathetic drunk. His brother, Ta-Kumsaw, wishes to see whites confined to the eastern lands. But Governor Bill Harrison of the rough frontier town of Carthage has far more brutal plans for the Indians.When he puts those plans into action, he unwittingly brings young Alvin Miller - a very special white boy with extraordinary magical powers - to Lolla-Wossiky and Ta-Kumsaw. And brings Alvin one more step on his magical odyssey.More information on this book and others can be found on the Orbit website at www.orbitbooks.co.uk