Related to: 'Superhuman'

Basic Books

The Gap

Thomas Suddendorf
Authors:
Thomas Suddendorf

There exists an undeniable chasm between the capacities of humans and those of animals. Our minds have spawned civilizations and technologies that have changed the face of the Earth, whereas even our closest animal relatives sit unobtrusively in their dwindling habitats. Yet despite longstanding debates, the nature of this apparent gap has remained unclear. What exactly is the difference between our minds and theirs?In The Gap , psychologist Thomas Suddendorf provides a definitive account of the mental qualities that separate humans from other animals, as well as how these differences arose. Drawing on two decades of research on apes, children, and human evolution, he surveys the abilities most often cited as uniquely human,language, intelligence, morality, culture, theory of mind, and mental time travel,and finds that two traits account for most of the ways in which our minds appear so distinct: Namely, our open-ended ability to imagine and reflect on scenarios, and our insatiable drive to link our minds together. These two traits explain how our species was able to amplify qualities that we inherited in parallel with our animal counterparts transforming animal communication into language, memory into mental time travel, sociality into mind reading, problem solving into abstract reasoning, traditions into culture, and empathy into morality.Suddendorf concludes with the provocative suggestion that our unrivalled status may be our own creation,and that the gap is growing wider not so much because we are becoming smarter but because we are killing off our closest intelligent animal relatives.Weaving together the latest findings in animal behaviour, child development, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience, this book will change the way we think about our place in nature. A major argument for reconsidering what makes us human, The Gap is essential reading for anyone interested in our evolutionary origins and our relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom.

Basic Books

Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life

Douglas T. Kenrick
Authors:
Douglas T. Kenrick
Basic Books

How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog

Chad Orzel
Authors:
Chad Orzel
Basic Books

The Mommy Brain

Katherine Ellison
Authors:
Katherine Ellison
Basic Books

A Different Universe

Robert B. Laughlin
Authors:
Robert B. Laughlin
Basic Books

The Cichlid Fishes

George Barlow
Authors:
George Barlow

Cichlid fishes are amazing creatures. In terms of sheer number of species, they are the most successful of all families of vertebrate animals, and the extent and speed with which they have evolved in some African lakes has made them the darlings of evolutionary biologists. With warmth and wit, Barlow describes the remarkably high intelligence of these fishes, their complex mating and parenting rituals, their bizarre feeding and fighting habits, and their highly unusual adaptations. A celebration of their diversity, The Cichlid Fishes is also a marvellous exploration of how these animals might help resolve the age-old puzzle of how species arise and evolve.

Basic Books

Mining the Sky

John S. Lewis
Authors:
John S. Lewis
Basic Books

The Quest For Life In Amber

George Poinar
Authors:
George Poinar

George Poinar began collecting amber specimins over thirty years ago, but it was only recently that he, Roberta Poinar, and the rest of his research team astounded the scientific community with the news that they had obtained "live" DNA strands from an insect over 40 million years old. The news was so significant that it made headlines throughout the world. Since that time, their lab has remained extraordinarily active, and in the summer of 1993, they were able to announce the successful extraction of preserved DNA strands over 125 million years old. Thus, there is now DNA available for study dating from the early dinosaur period.In passages that read more like an Indiana Jones screenplay than a story about scientific research, the Poinars describe how what began as a hobby grew into a semi-obsession which ultimately led to a breakthrough scientific discovery. Along the way, they encounter all manner of unusual characters, from threatening black marketeers and gun-toting guerrillas to extraordinarily talented scientists, and of course, the luminously beautiful specimins captured in the still-life of amber.

Da Capo Press

The Human Use Of Human Beings

Norbert Wiener
Authors:
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.

Brian J. Robb

Brian J. Robb is the editor in chief of Titan Magazines and has been the editor of Star Wars magazine for over a decade. He is also the author of the BGT Star Trek - planned to publish alongside new film in summer 2012.

Honest Lee

Honest Lee is a liar! You can't trust a thing he writes. He insists that his stories are true. And they're totally not! Then again, I could be Honest Lee, which would mean I'm lying and my stories are true. What's the truth? I have no idea. Honestly.

James M. Russell

JAMES M. RUSSELL has a philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge, a post-graduate qualification in critical theory, and has taught at the Open University in the UK. He currently works as director of a media-related business. He is the author of Brief Guides to Philosophical Classics, Spiritual Classics and Business Classics. He lives in north London with his wife, daughter and two cats.

João Medeiros

João Medeiros is Features Director for Wired magazine. He was born in Portugal, and came to the UK at eighteen. He has a PhD in theoretical physics at Imperial College. He has written widely for publications including The Economist, GQ and Nature. This is his first book.

Joelle Dreidemy

Joelle Dreidemy spent her childhood in the countryside among cows and books, and has been drawing since she learned to walk. She lives in France, where she makes art for books, magazines, greeting cards, and more. When she's not illustrating, she sings and plays guitar in a rock band.

Lynn Picknett

Lynn Picknett is author of Mary Magdalene: Christianity's Hidden Goddess and (with Clive Prince) Turin Shroud: How Leonardo da Vinci Fooled History and its sequel, The Templar Revelation.She is also a lecturer and consultant on UFOs and the paranormal (Meridien/Anglia TV, Talk Radio, LBC, the Museum of Photography and the British UFO Research Association). She lives in London.

Matthew J. Gilbert

Matthew J. Gilbert is one of many Matthew Gilberts. Seriously. There's like a trillion of them. This particular Matthew Gilbert writes stories and has a nearly perfect mustache. When he's not writing about Classroom 13, he's watching monster movies, eating tacos, and singing made-up songs about his cats.

Michael Fry

Michael Fry has been a cartoonist for over 30 years, and is the co-creator and writer of the Over the Hedge comic strip which was turned into a Dreamworks film starring Bruce Willis and William Shatner. He lives near Austin, TX.

Mick Dawson

MICK DAWSON is one of the most experienced and successful ocean rowers in the world. To date, he has spent over 440 days at sea in rowing boats, covering a distance of over 18,000 nautical miles. He is a former Royal Marines commando, who saw active service both in the Falklands War and the Middle East. His lifelong passion for the ocean continued after his time in the Royal Marines when he went on to become a professional sailor and ultimately record-breaking ocean rower. He is currently working with veterans on maritime projects to assist with their recovery from PTSD and combat injuries.

Rowan Hooper

Rowan Hooper is Managing Editor of New Scientist magazine, where he has spent more than ten years writing about all aspects of science. He has a PhD in evolutionary biology, and worked as a biologist in Japan for five years, before joining the Japan Times newspaper in Tokyo, and later taking up a fellowship at Trinity College Dublin. Two collections of his long-running column for the paper have been published in Japan, and his work has also appeared in The Economist, Guardian, Wired and the Washington Post. He lives in London with his partner and two daughters. @rowhoop

Tim Harford

Tim Harford is a senior columnist for the Financial Times and the presenter of Radio 4's More or Less. He was the winner of the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism in 2006, and More or Less was commended for excellence in journalism by the Royal Statistical Society in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Harford lives in Oxford with his wife and three children, and is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. His other books include The Undercover Economist, The Logic of Life and Adapt.