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Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed
Throughout his distinguished and unconventional career, engineer-turned-molecular-biologist Douglas Axe has been asking the questions that much of the scientific community would rather silence. Now, he presents his conclusions in this brave and pioneering book. Axe argues that the key to understanding our origin is the "design intuition" - the innate belief held by all humans that tasks we would need knowledge to accomplish can only be accomplished by someone who has that knowledge. For the ingenious task of inventing life, this knower can only be God.Starting with the hallowed halls of academic science, Axe dismantles the widespread belief that Darwin’s theory of evolution is indisputably true, showing instead that a gaping hole has been at its center from the beginning. He then explains in plain English the science that proves our design intuition scientifically valid. Lastly, he uses everyday experience to empower ordinary people to defend their design intuition, giving them the confidence and courage to explain why it has to be true and the vision to imagine what biology will become when people stand up for this truth.Armed with that confidence, readers will affirm what once seemed obvious to all of us - that living creatures, from single-celled cyanobacteria to orca whales and human beings, are brilliantly conceived, utterly beyond the reach of accident.Our intuition was right all along.
Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony
A collection of provocative essays by the bestselling author of The Lives of the Cell and The Youngest Science.
Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation
“Time” is the most commonly used noun in the English language; it’s always on our minds and it advances through every living moment. But what is time, exactly? Do children experience it the same way adults do? Why does it seem to slow down when we’re bored and speed by as we get older? How and why does time fly?In this witty and meditative exploration, award-winning author and New Yorker staff writer Alan Burdick takes readers on a personal quest to understand how time gets in us and why we perceive it the way we do. In the company of scientists, he visits the most accurate clock in the world (which exists only on paper); discovers that “now” actually happened a split-second ago; finds a twenty-fifth hour in the day; lives in the Arctic to lose all sense of time; and, for one fleeting moment in a neuroscientist’s lab, even makes time go backward. Why Time Flies is an instant classic, a vivid and intimate examination of the clocks that tick inside us all.
Lost Science: Astonishing Tales of Forgotten Genius
Acclaimed popular science writer Kitty Ferguson investigates little-explored byroads in the history of science, from Johannes Kepler’s nearly disastrous venture into the realm of science fiction to a mid-twentieth-century experiment involving EEGs and rocket fuel. She introduces such underappreciated geniuses as Mary the Jewess, the first-century ancestress of modern chemistry; and Lise Meitner, who escaped Nazi Germany only to have her role in the discovery of nuclear fission ignored by the Nobel committee. Ferguson also takes us on astounding adventures with the likes of Jesuit astronomer Ferdinand Verbiest, who invented the first automobile as a clever toy to amuse the Chinese emperor in seventeenth-century Beijing and then saved his own life by winning a bizarre astronomy competition in against his former torturer.
Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
The legendary biologist, provocateur, and bestselling author mounts a timely and passionate defense of science and clear thinking with this career-spanning collection of essays, including twenty pieces published in the United States for the first time.
Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye
Collected essays from bestselling author Michael Shermer's celebrated columns in Scientific AmericanFor fifteen years, bestselling author Michael Shermer has written a column in Scientific American magazine that synthesizes scientific concepts and theory for a general audience. His trademark combination of deep scientific understanding and entertaining writing style has thrilled his huge and devoted audience for years. Now, in Skeptic, seventy-five of these columns are available together for the first time; a welcome addition for his fans and a stimulating introduction for new readers.
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
A brilliant lyrical exploration of how modern science illuminates what it means to be human, from the award-winning author of The Price of AltruismWe no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology?Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind’s struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
Best-selling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Even as they bring ease to our lives, these programs are stealing something essential from us.
Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia
A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael ShermerIn his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extentionists, extropians, transhumanists, cryonicists, and mind-uploaders, along with utopians who have attempted to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, the place where souls go after the death of the physical body. Religious leaders have toiled to make sense of this place that a surprising 74% of Americans believe exists, but from which no one has ever returned to report what it is really like.Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and what we can do in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.
How to Love the Universe: A Scientist's Odes to the Hidden Beauty Behind the Visible World
An eye-opening celebration of the marvels of space, time, the cosmos, and more.How to Love the Universe is a new kind of science writing by an author truly enamored of the world around him. In ten short chapters of lyrical prose—each one an ode to a breathtaking realm of discovery—Stefan Klein uses everyday objects and events as a springboard to meditate on the beauty of the underlying science.Klein sees in a single rose the sublime interdependence of all life; a day of stormy weather points to the world’s unpredictability; a marble conjures the birth of the cosmos. As he contemplates the deepest mysteries—the nature of reality, dark matter, humanity’s place among the galaxies, and more—Klein encourages us to fall in love with the universe the way scientists do: with a grasp of the key ideas and theories of twenty-first-century physics that bring to life the wonders of, really, everything.You won’t look at a rose—or at our world—the same way again.
What the Future Looks Like
Al-Khalili, Jim (Edt)
Every day, scientists conduct pioneering experiments with the potential to transform how we live. Yet it isn’t every day you hear from the scientists themselves! Now, award–winning author Jim Al–Khalili and his team of top-notch experts explain how today’s earthshaking discoveries will shape our world tomorrow - and beyond.Pull back the curtain on:• genomics• robotics• AI• the “Internet of Things”• synthetic biology• transhumanism• interstellar travel• colonization of the solar system• teleportation• and much moreAnd find insight into big–picture questions such as:Will we find a cure to all diseases? The answer to climate change? And will bionics one day turn us into superheroes?The scientists in these pages are interested only in the truth - reality–based and speculation–free. The future they conjure is by turns tantalizing and sobering: There’s plenty to look forward to, but also plenty to dread. And undoubtedly the best way to for us to face tomorrow’s greatest challenges is to learn what the future looks like - today.
An eye-opening exploration of blood, the life giving substance with the power of taboo, the value of diamonds and the promise of breakthrough scienceBlood carries life, yet the sight of it makes people faint. It is a waste product and a commodity pricier than oil. It can save lives and transmit deadly infections. Each one of us has roughly nine pints of it, yet many don’t even know their own blood type. And for all its ubiquitousness, the few tablespoons of blood discharged by 800 million women are still regarded as taboo: menstruation is perhaps the single most demonized biological event.Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, is renowned for her intrepid work on topics that are invisible but vitally important. In Nine Pints, she takes us from ancient practices of bloodletting to the breakthrough of the "liquid biopsy," which promises to diagnose cancer and other diseases with a simple blood test. She introduces Janet Vaughan, who set up the world’s first system of mass blood donation during the Blitz, and Arunachalam Muruganantham, known as “Menstrual Man” for his work on sanitary pads for developing countries. She probes the lucrative business of plasma transfusions, in which the US is known as the “OPEC of plasma.” And she looks to the future, as researchers seek to bring synthetic blood to a hospital near you.Spanning science and politics, stories and global epidemics, Nine Pints reveals our life's blood in an entirely new light.
In the New York Times bestseller Everything All at Once, Bill Nye shows you how thinking like a nerd is the key to changing yourself and the world around you.Everyone has an inner nerd just waiting to be awakened by the right passion. In Everything All at Once, Bill Nye will help you find yours. With his call to arms, he wants you to examine every detail of the most difficult problems that look unsolvable - that is, until you find the solution. Bill shows you how to develop critical thinking skills and create change, using his “everything all at once” approach that leaves no stone unturned.Whether addressing climate change, the future of our society as a whole, or personal success, or stripping away the mystery of fire walking, there are certain strategies that get results: looking at the world with relentless curiosity, being driven by a desire for a better future, and being willing to take the actions needed to make change happen. He shares how he came to create this approach - starting with his Boy Scout training (it turns out that a practical understanding of science and engineering is immensely helpful in a capsizing canoe) and moving through the lessons he learned as a full-time engineer at Boeing, a stand-up comedian, CEO of The Planetary Society, and, of course, as Bill Nye The Science Guy.This is the story of how Bill Nye became Bill Nye and how he became a champion of change and an advocate of science. It’s how he became The Science Guy. Bill teaches us that we have the power to make real change. Join him in . . . dare we say it . . . changing the world.
The Vaccination Picture
Few topics in health policy have generated as much debate - and frustration - among public health experts as the issue of vaccine safety. Misinformation around the science of vaccination continues to spread, and too often the media fails to report bad science for what it is.Using science-informed analysis alongside original art and powerful essays, health science leader Timothy Caulfield debunks the myths and false assumptions about vaccination safety and effectiveness. Accessible, informative, and entertaining, The Vaccination Picture tells the true story of vaccines, their uses, and their positive effects for everyone.
Thinking Machines: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence - and Where It's Taking Us Next
When most of us think about Artificial Intelligence, our minds go straight to cyborgs, robots, and sci-fi thrillers where machines take over the world. But the truth is that AI is already among us. It exists in our smartphones, fitness trackers, and refrigerators that tell us when the milk will expire. In some ways, the future that people dreamed of at the World's Fair in the 1960s is already here. We're teaching our machines how to think like humans, and they're learning at an incredible rate.In Thinking Machines, technology journalist Luke Dormehl takes us through the history of AI and reveals the role it plays in our everyday lives. Furthermore, he offers a glimpse of the incredible future that's much closer than many would imagine. This remarkable book invites you to marvel at what now seems commonplace and to reimagine what it means to be human in the face of accelerating machine intelligence.
The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence
The future is now. Acclaimed technologist and inventor Amir Husain explains how we can live amidst the coming age of sentient machines and artificial intelligence—and not only survive, but thrive.Artificial “machine” intelligence is playing an ever-greater role in our society. We are already using cruise control in our cars, automatic checkout at the drugstore, and are unable to live without our smartphones. The discussion around AI is polarized; people think either machines will solve all problems for everyone, or they will lead us down a dark, dystopian path into total human irrelevance. Regardless of what you believe, the idea that we might bring forth intelligent creation can be intrinsically frightening. But what if our greatest role as humans so far is that of creators?Amir Husain, a brilliant inventor and computer scientist, argues that we are on the cusp of writing our next, and greatest, creation myth. It is the dawn of a new form of intellectual diversity, one that we need to embrace in order to advance the state of the art in many critical fields, including security, resource management, finance, and energy. “In The Sentient Machine, Husain prepares us for a brighter future; not with hyperbole about right and wrong, but with serious arguments about risk and potential” (Dr. Greg Hyslop, Chief Technology Officer, The Boeing Company). He addresses broad existential questions surrounding the coming of AI: Why are we valuable? What can we create in this world? How are we intelligent? What constitutes progress for us? And how might we fail to progress? Husain boils down complex computer science and AI concepts into clear, plainspoken language and draws from a wide variety of cultural and historical references to illustrate his points. Ultimately, Husain challenges many of our societal norms and upends assumptions we hold about “the good life.”
Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance
The present is a contest between the bright and dark sides of discovery. To avoid being torn apart by its stresses, we need to recognize the fact—and gain courage and wisdom from the past. Age of Discovery shows how.Now is the best moment in history to be alive, but we have never felt more anxious or divided. Human health, aggregate wealth and education are flourishing. Scientific discovery is racing forward. But the same global flows of trade, capital, people and ideas that make gains possible for some people deliver big losses to others—and make us all more vulnerable to one another. Business and science are working giant revolutions upon our societies, but our politics and institutions evolve at a much slower pace. That’s why, in a moment when everyone ought to be celebrating giant global gains, many of us are righteously angry at being left out and stressed about where we’re headed.To make sense of present shocks, we need to step back and recognize: we’ve been here before. The first Renaissance, the time of Columbus, Copernicus, Gutenberg and others, likewise redrew all maps of the world, democratized communication and sparked a flourishing of creative achievement. But their world also grappled with the same dark side of rapid change: social division, political extremism, insecurity, pandemics and other unintended consequences of discovery.Now is the second Renaissance. We can still flourish—if we learn from the first.
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology?Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind’s struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will
Miller, Kenneth R.
A radical, optimistic exploration of how humans evolved to develop reason, consciousness, and free will.Lately, the most passionate advocates of the theory of evolution seem to present it as bad news. Scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and Sam Harris tell us that our most intimate actions, thoughts, and values are mere byproducts of thousands of generations of mindless adaptation. We are just one species among multitudes, and therefore no more significant than any other living creature.Now comes Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller to make the case that this view betrays a gross misunderstanding of evolution. Natural selection surely explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, but Miller argues that it’s not a social or cultural theory of everything. In The Human Instinct, he rejects the idea that our biological heritage means that human thought, action, and imagination are pre-determined, describing instead the trajectory that ultimately gave us reason, consciousness and free will. A proper understanding of evolution, he says, reveals humankind in its glorious uniqueness - one foot planted firmly among all of the creatures we’ve evolved alongside, and the other in the special place of self-awareness and understanding that we alone occupy in the universe.Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct is a moving and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.
The Religion of Technology
Noble, David F.
Spanning a thousand years, David F. Noble's fascinating book uncovers the religious roots and spirit of Western technology. By examining the imaginings of monks, explorers, magi, scientists, and engineers, The Religion of Technology brings to light the otherworldly inspiration behind the apparently worldly endeavors by which we habitually define Western civilization. 273 pages.
Science and the City: The Mechanics Behind the Metropolis (Bloomsbury Sigma)
Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives in cities, and that proportion is growing fast. Can engineering provide the answer to a viable megacity future? SCIENCE AND THE CITY starts at your front door and guides you through the technology of everyday city life: how new approaches to building materials help to construct the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, how New Yorkers use light to treat their drinking water, how Tokyo commuters' footsteps power gates in train stations. Uncovering the science and engineering that shapes our cities, Laurie Winkless reveals how technology will help us meet the challenges of a soaring world population--from an ever-increasing demand for power, water, and internet access, to simply how to get about in a megacity of tens of millions of people.
Challenging Nature: The Clash Between Biotechnology and Spirituality
Silver, Lee M.
Stem cell research, genetically modified crops, animals developed with personalized human organs for transplantation, and other previously inconceivable biotech applications could increase the quality of all human lives and maximize the health of the biosphere. But ironically, as the science becomes more precise and transparent, it also becomes more contentious. In Challenging Nature, Silver argues that although they seem to have little in common, Christian fundamentalists opposed to embryo research and New Age organic food devotees are both driven by a deeply rooted fear that biotechnology - in some guise - challenges the sovereignty of a higher or deeper transcendent authority. In the short term, Silver writes, Eastern spiritual traditions will give Asian countries a research advantage. But over the millennia, human nature may have the potential to remake Mother Nature in the image of an idealized world.
The Blackwinged Night
Peat, F. David
What does the creation of matter in the universe have to do with humanity's creative spirit? What is the connection between, art, literature, and music, and mathematical formulae and scientific theories? Taking an overarching scientific view of the universe and our place in it, scientist-philosopher F. David Peat explores the profound similarities and connections between the Universe's "creativity", which reveals itself in the laws of nature, and the creativity of human consciousness. Brilliant and wide-ranging in its scientific and humanistic sweep, The Blackwinged Night explores the very essence of the creative spirit and the way it animates the physical world, giving us the power to experience beauty -- whether gazing into the night sky, listening to Bach's B-minor Mass, or creating ourselves something extraordinary and new.
On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, this fascinating study explores how the real science of her times influenced Mary Shelley’s classic work of science fiction. Mary Shelley grew up surrounded by the era’s prominent scientific thinkers, and conceived Frankenstein in a time of rapid scientific change—including debates on the reanimation of corpses and “the elixir of life.” This engrossing book offers insight into the world of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century science through the prism of Shelley’s seminal novel—the first work of science fiction ever—revealing how the monster was conceived, positing the real-life basis for Victor Frankenstein, and describing in vivid detail the experiments that might have led to the Creature’s birth. It also explores incarnations of the monster since Frankenstein was first published and modern interpretations of the “mad scientist,” while looking ahead to such scientific wonders as permanent bionic limbs and implants.
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