How Things Are Made
By Sharon Rose, Andrew Terranova
What are bulletproof vests made of? How do manufacturers get lipstick into the tube? How much brass does it take to make a trumpet? The answers-and so much more fascinating information-can be found in How Things Are Made, a behind-the-scenes look at the production everyday objects of all kinds, from guitars, sunscreen, and seismographs to running shoes, jetpacks, and chocolate.Each page of How Things Are Made features informative step-by-step text along with detailed but easy-to-follow illustrations, diagrams, and sidebars to tell the stories behind the things we sometimes take for granted but often wonder about. Did you know that Edison didn't really invent the light bulb? Or that the first bar code was on a pack of Wrigley Spearmint gum? Or that a maple seed inspired the design for the helicopter? Discover these fascinating anecdotes and much more in How Things Are Made.
How Much Brain Do We Really Need?
By Jenny Barnett, Alexis Willett
Your brain is shrinking. Does it matter?How Much Brain Do We Really Need? challenges us to think differently about the brain. Rather than just concentrating on the many wonderful things it can do, this entertaining insight into the complexities and contradictions of the human brain asks whether in fact we can live satisfactorily without some of it.The bad news is that our brains start to shrink from our mid-thirties. But the good news is that we still seem to generally muddle along and our brain is able to adapt in extraordinary ways when things going wrong.Alexis Willett and Jennifer Barnett shed light on what the human brain can do - in both optimal and suboptimal conditions - and consider what it can manage without. Through fascinating facts and figures, case studies and hypothetical scenarios, expert interviews and scientific principles, they take us on a journey from the ancient mists of time to the far reaches of the future, via different species and lands.Is brain training the key to healthy ageing? Do women really experience 'baby brain'? Is our brain at its evolutionary peak or do we have an even more brilliant future to look forward to? We discover the answers to these questions and more.
By John S. Allen
As the adage goes, home is where the heart is. This may seem self-explanatory, but none of our close primate cousins have anything like homes. Whether we live in an igloo or in Buckingham Palace, the fact that Homo sapiens create homes is one of the greatest puzzles of our evolution. In Home , neuroanthropologist John S. Allen marshals evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuroscience, the study of emotion, and modern sociology to argue that the home is one of the most important cognitive, technological, and cultural products of our species' evolution. It is because we have homes,relatively secure against whatever horrors lurk outside,that human civilizations have been able to achieve the periods of explosive cultural and creative progress that are our species' hallmark.Narratives of human evolution are dominated by the emergence of language, the importance of hunting and cooking, the control of fire, the centrality of cooperation, and the increasingly long time periods children need to develop. In Home , Allen argues that the home served as a nexus for these activities and developments, providing a stable and safe base from which forays into the unknown,both mental and physical,could be launched. But the power of the home is not just in what we accomplish while we have it, but in what goes wrong when we do not. According to Allen, insecure homes foster depression in adults and health problems in all ages, and homelessness is more than an economic tragedy: it is a developmental and psychological disaster.Home sheds new light on the deep pleasures we receive from our homes, rooting them in both our evolution and our identity as humans. Home is not simply where the heart is, but the mind too. No wonder we miss it so when we are gone.
How We Do It
By Robert Martin
Despite the widespread belief that natural is better when it comes to sex, pregnancy, and parenting, most of us have no idea what natural" really means the origins of our reproductive lives remain a mystery. Why are a quarter of a billion sperm cells needed to fertilize one egg? Are women really fertile for only a few days each month? How long should babies be breast-fed?In How We Do It , primatologist Robert Martin draws on forty years of research to locate the roots of everything from our sex cells to the way we care for newborns. He examines the procreative history of humans as well as that of our primate kin to reveal what's really natural when it comes to making and raising babies, and distinguish which behaviours we ought to continue,and which we should not. Although it's not realistic to raise our children like our ancestors did, Martin's investigation reveals surprising consequences of,and suggests ways to improve upon,the way we do things now. For instance, he explains why choosing a midwife rather than an obstetrician may have a greater impact than we think on our birthing experience, examines the advantages of breast-feeding for both mothers and babies, and suggests why babies may be ready for toilet training far earlier than is commonly practiced. How We Do It offers much-needed context for our reproductive and child-rearing practices, and shows that once we understand our evolutionary past, we can consider what worked, what didn't, and what it all means for the future of our species.
How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog
By Chad Orzel
They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But what about relativity? Physics professor Chad Orzel and his inquisitive canine companion, Emmy, tackle the concepts of general relativity in this irresistible introduction to Einstein's physics. Through armchair- and sometimes passenger-seat- conversations with Emmy about the relative speeds of dog and cat motion or the logistics of squirrel-chasing, Orzel translates complex Einsteinian ideas- the slowing of time for a moving observer, the shrinking of moving objects, the effects of gravity on light and time, black holes, the Big Bang, and of course, E=mc2- into examples simple enough for a dog to understand. A lively romp through one of the great theories of modern physics, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about space, time, and anything else you might have slept through in high school physics class.
Hockney On Art
By David Hockney
David Hockney is as fascinating as he is articulate on ways of seeing, and in this impressive book he leads us on an artistic journey where anything is possible. He considers the influence of Picasso and Rembrandt and speaks of Eastern conventions and perspective and of their relevance to his work. He points to Laurel and Hardy's lasting appeal in his conviction that popularity and art are not incompatible. Hockney and his work have long been the subjects of controversy; few twentieth century artists have so successfully surmounted their cult image for three decades, and he remains one of our most relentlessly dedicated, versatile and original painters.
The Heat Is On
By Ross Gelbspan
This book not only brings home the imminence of climate change but also examines the campaign of deception by big coal and big oil that is keeping the issue off the public agenda. It examines the various arenas in which the battle for control of the issue is being fought- a battle with surprising political alliances and relentless obstructionism. The story provides an ominous foretaste of the gathering threat of political chaos and totalitarianism. And it concludes by outlining a transistion to the future that contains, at least, the possibility of continuity for our organized civilization, and, at best, a vast increase in the stability, equity, and wealth of the global economy.
By John Holland
Explains how scientists who study complexity are convinced that certain constant processes are at work in all kinds of unrelated complex systems.
The Human Use Of Human Beings
By Norbert Wiener
Only a few books stand as landmarks in social and scientific upheaval. Norbert Wiener's classic is one in that small company. Founder of the science of cybernetics,the study of the relationship between computers and the human nervous system,Wiener was widely misunderstood as one who advocated the automation of human life. As this book reveals, his vision was much more complex and interesting. He hoped that machines would release people from relentless and repetitive drudgery in order to achieve more creative pursuits. At the same time he realized the danger of dehumanizing and displacement. His book examines the implications of cybernetics for education, law, language, science, technology, as he anticipates the enormous impact,in effect, a third industrial revolution,that the computer has had on our lives.