By Wallace J. Nichols
Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Grounded in cutting-edge studies in neurobiology, cognitive psychology, economics, and medicine, and made real by stories of innovative scientists, doctors, athletes, artists, environmentalists, businesspeople and lovers of nature - stories that fascinate the mind and touch the heart - Blue Mind will awaken readers to the vital importance of water to the health and happiness of us all.
By Lucy Maddox
From birth to adulthood, Blueprint tells you what you need to know about how you became who you areHave you ever wondered how your early life shaped you? From beginning to say simple words like 'mama' and learning how to walk around unaided, to the first day of school and forming new friendships, everyone has been a child. The roots of our adult selves go right back to our first experiences. How we think, act and interact is influenced by our early years, yet most people don't know the key findings from the juiciest child development studies that can give us insight into our adult selves. Weaving together cutting edge research, everyday experience and clinical examples, Dr Lucy Maddox explains how we develop from an unconscious bundle of cells floating about in the dark of the in uterine environment to to a fully grown complex adult, revealing fascinating insights about our personality, relationships and daily lives along the way.
A Brief History of Mathematical Thought
By Luke Heaton
Mathematics is a product of human culture which has developed along with our attempts to comprehend the world around us. In A Brief History of Mathematical Thought, Luke Heaton explores how the language of mathematics has evolved over time, enabling new technologies and shaping the way people think. From stone-age rituals to algebra, calculus, and the concept of computation, Heaton shows the enormous influence of mathematics on science, philosophy and the broader human story.The book traces the fascinating history of mathematical practice, focusing on the impact of key conceptual innovations. Its structure of thirteen chapters split between four sections is dictated by a combination of historical and thematic considerations. In the first section, Heaton illuminates the fundamental concept of number. He begins with a speculative and rhetorical account of prehistoric rituals, before describing the practice of mathematics in Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece. He then examines the relationship between counting and the continuum of measurement, and explains how the rise of algebra has dramatically transformed our world. In the second section, he explores the origins of calculus and the conceptual shift that accompanied the birth of non-Euclidean geometries. In the third section, he examines the concept of the infinite and the fundamentals of formal logic. Finally, in section four, he considers the limits of formal proof, and the critical role of mathematics in our ongoing attempts to comprehend the world around us. The story of mathematics is fascinating in its own right, but Heaton does more than simply outline a history of mathematical ideas. More importantly, he shows clearly how the history and philosophy of maths provides an invaluable perspective on human nature.
The Big Ratchet
By Ruth DeFries
Our species long lived on the edge of starvation. Now we produce enough food for all 7 billion of us to eat nearly 3,000 calories every day. This is such an astonishing thing in the history of life as to verge on the miraculous. The Big Ratchet is the story of how it happened, of the ratchets,the technologies and innovations, big and small,that propelled our species from hunters and gatherers on the savannahs of Africa to shoppers in the aisles of the supermarket. The Big Ratchet itself came in the twentieth century, when a range of technologies,from fossil fuels to scientific plant breeding to nitrogen fertilizers,combined to nearly quadruple our population in a century, and to grow our food supply even faster. To some, these technologies are a sign of our greatness to others, of our hubris. MacArthur fellow and Columbia University professor Ruth DeFries argues that the debate is the wrong one to have. Limits do exist, but every limit that has confronted us, we have surpassed. That cycle of crisis and growth is the story of our history indeed, it is the essence of The Big Ratchet. Understanding it will reveal not just how we reached this point in our history, but how we might survive it.
The Baron's Honourable Daughter
By Lynn Morris
Bestselling author Lynn Morris weaves an inspirational Regency era romance rich in period detail. The Honourable Miss Valeria Segrave is truly the unwanted stepchild. When her mother married the Earl of Maledon, he took Valeria into his home, but he never accepted her. When her stepfather suddenly dies, Valeria must take charge of her gentle, distraught mother and the vast estate that now belongs to her six-year-old half-brother, the new Earl of Maledon. Valeria finds every day a struggle as she tries to establish authority with servants, stewards, and solicitors--all men. The only person that can help her is a distant kinsman of the Earls of Maledon, Alastair, Lord Hylton. Handsome and noble, she senses under the veneer of his flawless and gentlemanly behavior that she does not quite measure up to Lord Hylton's expectations of a refined lady. In light of that, accepting his help and feeling under a burden of gratitude to him is almost unbearable. When at last Valeria goes to London for the glittering Season, she gets into a series of escapades. To her chagrin, it seems that Lord Hylton is always there to witness, criticize, and correct her behavior. But if she must engage in this battle of wits and wills with Alastair, Valeria vows she's going to win--one way or another.
By John Dickie
MAFIA. CAMORRA. 'NDRANGHETA.The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The country hosts two other major mafias: the camorra from Naples and, from the poor and isolated region of Calabria, the mysterious 'ndrangheta, which has now risen to become the most powerful mob group active today.Since they emerged, the mafias have all corrupted Italy's institutions, drastically curtailed the life-chances of its citizens, evaded justice, and set up their own self-interested meddling as an alternative to the courts. Yet each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity. Each is uniquely adapted to corrupt and exploit its own specific environment, as it collabourates with, learns from, and goes to war with the other mafias.Today, the shadow of organized crime hangs over a country racked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. The 'ndrangheta controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade and, by some estimates, 3 percent of Italy's total GDP. Blood Brotherhoods traces the origins of this national malaise back to Italy's roots as a united country in the nineteenth century, and shows how political violence incubated underworld sects among the lemon groves of Palermo, the fetid slums of Naples, and the harsh mountain villages of Calabria. Blood Brotherhoods is a book of breathtaking ambition, tracing for the first time the interlocking story of all three mafias from their origins to the present day. John Dickie is recognized in Italy as one of the foremost historians of organized crime. In these pages, he blends archival detective work, passionate narrative, and shrewd analysis to bring a unique criminal ecosystem,and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that have evolved within it,to life on the page.
By Eric Jager
A riveting true story of murder and detection in 15th-century Paris, by one of the most brilliant medievalists of his generation.On a chilly November night in 1407, Louis of Orleans was murdered by a band of masked men. The crime stunned and paralyzed France since Louis had often ruled in place of his brother King Charles, who had gone mad. As panic seized Paris, an investigation began. In charge was the Provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, the city's chief law enforcement officer--and one of history's first detectives. As de Tignonville began to investigate, he realized that his hunt for the truth was much more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.A rich portrait of a distant world, BLOOD ROYAL is a gripping story of conspiracy, crime and an increasingly desperate hunt for the truth. And in Guillaume de Tignonville, we have an unforgettable detective for the ages, a classic gumshoe for a cobblestoned era.
A Brief History of Painting
By Roy Bolton
The urge to create pictures of our world has been with us ever since early man daubed a fingerful of pigment on a rock, or used primitive colours to create exquisite images of the beasts he hunted - images so breathtakingly powerful they have never been surpassed, however sophisticated we have become. This book tells the story of what painting has meant to us, and how its role has changed over the centuries. In the crisp, unstuffy commentary on each of 150 landmark works, Christie's art expert Roy Bolton leads us through the development of painting until our own age, where painting as a painterly craft has been overtaken by a proliferation of new forms introduced by contemporary art. To the question, 'Is the death of painting upon us?' the introductory chapter by Matthew Collings, the multi-award-winning TV art presenter, art historian and cultural critic, gives an inspiring answer: 'Painting justifies itself. Rather than pathetically struggling to keep up with the new freak-show culture of videos and installations, painting will only be worth having if it reconnects with its own inner life, where the old and the new are the same.' Roy Bolton's selection takes us from the Ancient World, via the Italian Renaissance, Rococo and Classicism to Impressionism, Modernism and the Contemporary World. Each painting, with its context and artist, is explained in terms designed to encourage us to judge art for ourselves. Written with authority and full of original and helpful insights, this is a history of art for our times. 'While I find it interesting to think about all sorts of art, I prefer painting to any of it. Painting is soulful, important, serious and humane.' Matthew Collings 'We need to de-mystify art by stripping it down to its bare essentials, then rebuilding it ourselves, using our own minds and eyes, without all the pompous clutter.' Roy Bolton
A Brief Guide to Charles Darwin
By Cyril Aydon
Charles Darwin has become one of the most important men in history. The quiet, unsure polymath who avoided confrontation, ensconced in his family home at Down House in Kent, was also a revolutionary who developed his idea of Natural Selection in isolation. Cyril Aydon's short biography is considered one of the best introductions to the life and ideas of Darwin.With Darwin's legacy still in contention and the forthcoming anniversary of the publication of The Origins Species, Aydon's book is a perfect guide to the ideas as well as the man who was recently voted one of the greatest Britons of all time, and certainly one of the most influential thinkers ever.
The Believing Brain
By Michael Shermer
Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science historian, Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally looks for and finds patterns - and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed, our brains subconsciously seek out confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop.In The Believing Brain, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our belief matches reality.
A Brief History of Bad Medicine
By Ian Schott, Robert Youngston
A doctor removes the normal, healthy side of a patient's brain instead of the malignant tumor. A man whose leg is scheduled for amputation wakes up to find his healthy leg removed. These recent examples are part of a history of medical disasters and embarrassments as old as the profession itself.In Brief History of Bad Medicine, Robert M. Youngson and Ian Schott have written the definitive account of medical mishap in modern and not-so- modern times. From famous quacks to curious forms of sexual healing, from blunders with the brain to drugs worse than the diseases they are intended to treat, the book reveals shamefully dangerous doctors, human guinea pigs, and the legendary surgeon who was himself a craven morphine addict.Exploring the line between the comical and the tragic, the honest mistake and the intentional crime, Brief History of Bad Medicine illustrates once and for all that you can't always trust the people in white coats.
A Brief History of the Universe
By J.P. McEvoy
Since the dawn of humanity, men have attempted to divine the nature of the heavens. The first astronomers mapped the movement of the seasons and used the positions of the constellations for augurs and astrology. Today, the search goes ever deeper into the nature of reality and life itself. In this accessible overview, astrophysicist J.P. McEvoy tells the story of how our knowledge of the cosmos has developed. He puts in context many of the greatest discoveries of all time and many of the dominant personalities: Aristotle, Copernicus, and Isaac Newton, and as we approach the modern era, Einstein, Eddington, and Hawking.
A Bright and Guilty Place
By Richard Rayner
In the roaring twenties Los Angeles was the fastest growing city in the world, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, celebrity scandals, and religious fervor. It was also rife with organized crime, with a mayor in the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A Bright and Guilty Place, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of two men, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who were caught up in the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a few transformative years, as the boom times shaded into the Depression, the adventures of Clark and White would inspire pulp fiction and replace L.A.'s reckless optimism with a new cynicism. Together, theirs is the tale of how the city of sunshine got noir. When A Bright and Guilty Place begins, Leslie White is a naïve young photographer who lands a job as a crime-scene investigator in the L.A. district attorney's office. There he meets Dave Clark, a young, movie-star handsome lawyer and a rising star prosecutor with big ambitions. The cases they tried were some of the first "trials of the century," starring dark-hearted oil barons, sexually perverse starlets, and hookers with hearts of gold. Los Angeles was in the grip of organized crime, and White was dismayed to see that only the innocent paid while the powerful walked free. But Clark was entranced by L.A.'s dangerous lures and lived the high life, marrying a beautiful woman, wearing custom-made suits, yachting with the rich and powerful, and jaunting off to Mexico for gambling and girls. In a shocking twist, when Charlie Crawford, the Al Capone of L.A., was found dead, the chief suspect was none other than golden boy Dave Clark.A Bright and Guilty Place is narrative non-fiction at its most gripping. Richard Rayner portrays an L.A. controlled by organized crime, where brutal murders, spectacular trials, political misdeeds, and the sexual perversities of Hollywood starlets are chronicled in graphic detail in the tabloids; where writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett transformed a dark reality into gripping fiction; and whose events would inspire the shadowy L.A. of film noir.
A Brilliant Darkness
By Joao Magueijo
On the night of March 26, 1938, nuclear physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a ship, cash and passport in hand. He was never seen again. In A Brilliant Darkness , theoretical physicist João Magueijo tells the story of Majorana and his research group, the Via Panisperna Boys," who discovered atomic fission in 1934. As Majorana, the most brilliant of the group, began to realize the implications of what they had found, he became increasingly unstable. Did he commit suicide that night in Palermo? Was he kidnapped? Did he stage his own death? A Brilliant Darkness chronicles Majorana's invaluable contributions to science,including his major discovery, the Majorana neutrino,while revealing the truth behind his fascinating and tragic life.
The Black Hole War
By Leonard Susskind
At the beginning of the 21st century, physics is being driven to very unfamiliar territory - the domain of the incredibly small and the incredibly heavy. The new world is a world in which both quantum mechanics and gravity are equally important. But mysteries remain. One of the biggest involved black holes. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that anything sucked in a black hole was lost forever. For three decades, Leonard Susskind and Hawking clashed over the answer to this problem. Finally, in 2004, Hawking conceded. THE BLACK HOLE WAR will explain the mind-blowing science that finally won out and the emergence of a new paradigm that argues that the world - your home, your breakfast, you - is actually a hologram projected from the edges of space.
The Britannica Guide to Genetics
The Britannica Guide to Genetics is the ideal companion for students or general popular science readers who wish to know the facts behind the latest research and discoveries.After the Introduction from bestselling science writer and geneticist Steve Jones the book covers the entire history of genetics from Gregor Mendel's first experiments with peas at the end of the nineteenth century to the announcement of the Human Genome Project in 1998.Throughout the twentieth century new discoveries about the qualities of our genes have been heralded as essential leaps of progress in modern science forcing us to ask how much do our genes determine our personalities? What makes us different from other species? But as we enter the twenty-first century and we have begun to manipulate genes and the genome the questions have changed.
A Brief Guide to the Great Equations
By Robert Crease
Here are the stories of the ten most popular equations of all time as voted for by readers of Physics World, including - accessibly described here for the first time - the favourite equation of all, Euler's equation.Each is an equation that captures with beautiful simplicity what can only be described clumsily in words. Euler's equation [eip + 1 = 0] was described by respondents as 'the most profound mathematic statement ever written', 'uncanny and sublime', 'filled with cosmic beauty' and 'mind-blowing'. Collectively these equations also amount to the world's most concise and reliable body of knowledge.Many scientists and those with a mathematical bent have a soft spot for equations. This book explains both why these ten equations are so beautiful and significant, and the human stories behind them.
The Britannica Guide to 100 Most Influential Scientists
Who are the most important men and women whose notions and theories have changed the world? When Isaac Newton claimed that he only saw further because he stood on the shoulders of giants, he alluded to the long list of geniuses that came before him. The history of science is the story of great discoveries, flashes of intuition that have changed the way people see the world, hard work and arduous calculation in the laboratory.The Britannica Guide to 100 Most Influential Scientists is a celebration of the lives and work of the men and women who have changed the way we look at the world, the universe, and ourselves.Includes contributions from top name scientists and writers such James Gleick on Richard Feynman; Michio Kaky on Einstein and Sir Harold Kroton on the Fulleriene (for which he won an Nobel Prize).The Britannica Guide to 100 Most Influential Scientists is introduced by John Gribbin. He is the author of nearly 100 popular science books, including the best-selling IN SEARCH OF SCHRODINGER'S CAT. He has received awards for his writing both in the United States and in Britain. The holder of a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge, he still maintains links with research as a Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, and was a member of a team there that measured the age of the Universe. While still a student, he received the prestigious Annual Award of the Gravity Research Foundation in the United States, the only student, and the first Englishman working in England, ever to receive this award.
The Brothers Bulger
By Howie Carr
A portrait of two kids from South Boston who grew up to control a state: Whitey, in his position as Boston's most feared mobster, and Billy, from his gavel-wielding bastion in the Massachusetts State Senate. Eventually, Whitey becomes the FBI's second most wanted man behind Osama Bin Laden but Billy, though his influence put even presidents and governors at his beck and call, would eventually resign the Senate and take over the presidency of the University of Massachusetts. To those on the outside the storyline has always been the same: Whitey, 'the bad son', blazes a murderous trail to the top rung of the organized crime ladder and eventually goes on the lam; Billy, 'the good son', embraces the value of education, studies the classics and uses his mastery of the state's political machine to effect positive change in people's lives. This book shows that the real story is far more complex and that the brothers enjoyed an unholy and destructive alliance for decades, working both sides of Boston's Street of Power: political corruption and deadly force.
By James Ellroy, Jack Webb
Before Charlie's Angels, Miami Vice, or NYPD Blue, there was Dragnet. From 1951 to 1959, Jack Webb starred as Sergeant Joe Friday in the most successful police drama in television history. Webb ("Just the facts, ma'am") was also the creator of Dragnet, and what made the show so revolutionary was its documentary-style format and the fact that each episode was "ripped" from the files of the LAPD. But 1950s television censors deemed many of the stories in the LAPD's files too violent or sensational for the airwaves. The Badge is Webb's collection of stories that could not be presented on TV: untold, behind-the-scenes accounts of the Black Dahlia murder, the Brenda Allen confessions, Stephen Nash's "thrill murders," and Donald Bashor's "sleeping lady murders," to name just a few. Case by case, The Badge takes readers on a spine chilling police tour through the dark, shadowy world of Los Angeles crime. It is a journey that, even four decades after it originally appeared in print, no reader is likely to forget.