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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Keri Arthur
Agent Sam Ryan is sick of feeling lonely. It's time to take control and get a life outside of work. But Stephan, her boss, won't let her go easily. Offered the choice between guarding a clone, or remaining stuck in her office, Sam reluctantly accepts the former, even though she suspects Stephan is using her as bait to draw out the dangerous Sethanon. Gabriel is relieved to discover he's finally shaken Sam as his partner, until he learns her new assignment is guarding Wetherton. He and Stephan know Wetherton could only have come from Hopeworth, the base involved in DNA experiments for decades, where it is more than likely that Sam was created. But there is a growing likelihood that the military base is also the home of Sethanon himself. Gabriel is determined to protect her, yet all too soon he discovers the connection between he and Sam is far deeper than anyone could ever have imagined.
The Plastic Mind
By Sharon Begley
For decades, the conventional wisdom of neuroscience held that the hardware of the brain is fixed - that we are stuck with what we were born with. But recent pioneering experiments in neuroplasticity reveal that the brain is capable not only of altering its structure but also of generating new neurons, even into old age. The brain can adapt, heal, renew itself after trauma and compensate for disability. In this groundbreaking book, highly respected science writer Sharon Begley documents how this fundamental paradigm shift is transforming both our understanding of the human mind and our approach to deep-seated emotional, cognitive and behavioural problems. These breakthroughs show that it is possible to reset our happiness meter, regain the use of limbs disabled by stroke, train the mind to break cycles of depression and OCD and reverse age-related changes in the brain.
By Robert Frenay
Bridges made with spider silk; ships that swim like fish; rubber as supple as a dragonfly's wing ... innovations like these are at the forefront of the concept of 'the new biology'. A way of using nature as a model for human designs, the new biology is a growing force in many different fields, and will have enormous impact on the development of the twenty-first century. Companies like IBM, Volvo and AT&T are already exploring how we can learn from and use properties that exist in nature, and how to improve cost-efficiency by using concepts like 'design for disassembly', whereby each component of a product can be recycled at the end of the product's natural life. Waste products, too, are increasingly being used as raw materials, so one industry's rubbish is another's power. Creating 'industrial ecologies' like these lies at the heart of the new biology: a new way of thinking for a new millennium.The essential introduction to this idea, PULSE is a fascinating look at how we might be living in the twenty-first century.
The Perversion Of Knowledge
By Vadim J. Birstein
During the Soviet years, Russian science was touted as one of the greatest successes of the regime. Russian science was considered to be equal, if not superior, to that of the wealthy western nations. The Perversion of Knowledge , a history of Soviet science that focuses on its control by the KGB and the Communist Party, reveals the dark side of this glittering achievement. Based on the author's firsthand experience as a Soviet scientist, and drawing on extensive Russian language sources not easily available to the Western reader, the book includes shocking new information on biomedical experimentation on humans as well as an examination of the pernicious effects of Trofim Lysenko's pseudo-biology. Also included are many poignant case histories of those who collaborated and those who managed to resist, focusing on the moral choices and consequences. The text is accompanied by the author's own translations of key archival materials, making this work an essential resource for all those with a serious interest in Russian history.
The Physics Of Consciousness
By Evan Harris Walker
For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and an army of brain researchers have been struggling, in vain, to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Now there is a clear trail to the answer, and it leads through the dense jungle of quantum physics, Zen, and subjective experience, and arrives at an unexpected destination. In this tour-de-force of scientific investigation, Evan Harris Walker shows how the operation of bizarre yet actual properties of elementary particles support a new and exciting theory of reality, based on the principles of quantum physics-a theory that answers questions such as "What is the nature of consciousness, of will?" "What is the source of material reality?" and "What is God?"
The Proof House
By K. J. Parker
COLOURS IN THE STEEL and THE BELLY OF THE BOW, the first two volumes of the Fencer Trilogy, introduced a remarkable new voice in fantasy fiction. THE PROOF HOUSE is the final volume in K.J. Parker's brilliant Fencer Trilogy.After years spent in the saps under the defences of the apparently impregnable city of Ap' Iscatoy, Bardas Loredan, sometime fencer-at-law and the betrayed defender of the famed Triple City, is suddenly a hero of the Empire. His reward is a boring administrative job in a backwater, watching armour tested to destruction in the Proof House. But the fall of Ap' Iscatoy has opened up unexpected possibilities for the expansion of the Empire into the land of the Plains people, and Bardas Loredan is the one man Temrai the Great, King of the Plains tribes, fears the most...Look out for more information on this book and others on the Orbit website at www.orbitbooks.co.uk