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'Funny, wise and absolutely fascinating.' Adam Kay, author of This Is Going to Hurt
Do you want to be happy?
If so – read on.
This book has all the answers*
In The Happy Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett delves deep into the inner workings of our minds to explore some fundamental questions about happiness. What does it actually mean to be happy? Where does it come from? And what, really, is the point of it? Forget searching for the secret of happiness through lifestyle fads or cod philosophy ― Burnett reveals the often surprising truth behind what make us tick. From whether happiness really begins at home (spoiler alert: yes – sort of) to what love, sex, friendship, wealth, laughter and success actually do to our brains, this book offers a uniquely entertaining insight into what it means to be human.
*Not really. Sorry. But it does have some very interesting questions, and at least the occasional answer.
In this spirited and irreverent critique of Darwin's long hold over our imagination, a distinguished philosopher of science makes the case that, in culture as well as nature, not only the fittest survive: the world is full of the "good enough" that persist too. Why is the genome of a salamander forty times larger than that of a human? Why does the avocado tree produce a million flowers and only a hundred fruits? Why, in short, is there so much waste in nature? In this lively and wide-ranging meditation on the curious accidents and unexpected detours on the path of life, Daniel Milo argues that we ask these questions because we've embraced a faulty conception of how evolution-and human society-really works. Good Enough offers a vigorous critique of the quasi-monopoly that Darwin's concept of natural selection has on our idea of the natural world. Darwinism excels in accounting for the evolution of traits, but it does not explain their excess in size and number. Many traits far exceed the optimal configuration to do the job, and yet the maintenance of this extra baggage does not prevent species from thriving for millions of years. Milo aims to give the messy side of nature its due-to stand up for the wasteful and inefficient organisms that nevertheless survive and multiply. But he does not stop at the border between evolutionary theory and its social consequences. He argues provocatively that the theory of evolution through natural selection has acquired the trappings of an ethical system. Optimization, competitiveness, and innovation have become the watchwords of Western societies, yet their role in human lives-as in the rest of nature-is dangerously overrated. Imperfection is not just good enough: it may at times be essential to survival.
Entrepreneurial cognition research is at a crossroads, where static views give way to dynamic approaches. This Handbook draws on a variety of perspectives from experts in the field of entrepreneurial cognition to highlight the key elements in a socially-situated view, where cognition is action-oriented, embodied, socially-situated, and distributed. It provides readers with some of the most up-to-date approaches to entrepreneurial cognition research and is designed to be an invaluable and timesaving companion for entrepreneurial cognition researchers. With insights from leading entrepreneurial cognition researchers the Handbook offers a comprehensive literature review of the field. Readers seeking to better understand and participate in some of the most up-to-date approaches to entrepreneurial cognition research will find this Handbook to be especially helpful in their research. Established scholars who are new to the research area will also be interested in this book. University libraries with research-focused business schools will also benefit from this Handbook.
'A gripping new drama in science ... if you want to understand how the concept of life is changing, read this' Professor Andrew Briggs, University of Oxford When Darwin set out to explain the origin of species, he made no attempt to answer the deeper question: what is life? For generations, scientists have struggled to make sense of this fundamental question. Life really does look like magic: even a humble bacterium accomplishes things so dazzling that no human engineer can match it. And yet, huge advances in molecular biology over the past few decades have served only to deepen the mystery. So can life be explained by known physics and chemistry, or do we need something fundamentally new? In this penetrating and wide-ranging new analysis, world-renowned physicist and science communicator Paul Davies searches for answers in a field so new and fast-moving that it lacks a name, a domain where computing, chemistry, quantum physics and nanotechnology intersect. At the heart of these diverse fields, Davies explains, is the concept of information: a quantity with the power to unify biology with physics, transform technology and medicine, and even to illuminate the age-old question of whether we are alone in the universe. From life's murky origins to the microscopic engines that run the cells of our bodies, The Demon in the Machine is a breath-taking journey across the landscape of physics, biology, logic and computing. Weaving together cancer and consciousness, two-headed worms and bird navigation, Davies reveals how biological organisms garner and process information to conjure order out of chaos, opening a window on the secret of life itself.
How did wolves evolve into dogs? When did this happen, and what role did humans play? Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes used the full array of modern technology to explore the canine genetic journey that likely began when a human child decided to adopt a wolf cub thousands of years ago. In the process, he discovered that only a handful of genes have created the huge range of shapes, sizes, and colors in modern dogs. Providing scientific insight into these adaptive stages, Sykes focuses attention on our own species, and how our own evolution from (perhaps equally aggressive) primates was enhanced by this most unlikely ally. Whether examining our obsession with canine purity, or delving into the prehistoric past to answer the most fundamental question of all, "Why do we love our dog so much?," Once a Wolf is an engaging work no dog lover or ancestry aficionado should be without.
This award-winning science book uses the latest findings from neuroscience research and brain-imaging technology to take you on a journey into the human brain. CGI artworks and brain MRI scans reveal the brain's anatomy in unprecedented detail. Step-by-step sequences unravel and simplify the complex processes of brain function, such as how nerves transmit signals, how memories are laid down and recalled, and how we register emotions. The book answers fundamental and compelling questions about the brain: what does it means to be conscious, what happens when we're asleep,and are the brains of men and women different? Written by award-winning author Rita Carter, this is an accessible and authoritative reference book to a fascinating part of the human body. Thanks to improvements in scanning technology, our understanding of the brain is changing fast. Now in its third edition, the Brain Book provides an up-to-date guide to one of science's most exciting frontiers. With its coverage of over 50 brain-related diseases and disorders - from strokes to brain tumours and schizophrenia - it is also an essential manual for students and healthcare professionals.
Thoroughly updated and incorporating the most important advances in the fast-growing field of cancer biology, The Biology of Cancer, Second Edition, maintains all of its hallmark features admired by students, instructors, researchers, and clinicians around the world. The Biology of Cancer is a textbook for students studying the molecular and cellular bases of cancer at the undergraduate, graduate, and medical school levels. The principles of cancer biology are presented in an organized, cogent, and in-depth manner. The clarity of writing, supported by an extensive full-color art program and numerous pedagogical features, makes the book accessible and engaging. The information unfolds through the presentation of key experiments that give readers a sense of discovery and provide insights into the conceptual foundation underlying modern cancer biology. The new Second Edition has been comprehensively revised and updated to include major advances in cancer biology over the past six years. Updates include current information on: The tumor microenvironment Metastatic dissemination Tumor immunology Cancer stem cells The epithelial-mesenchymal transition Multi-step tumorigenesis Invasion and metastasis Mutation of cancer cell genomes Greatly expanded treatment of traditional therapy Epigenetic contributions MicroRNA involvement The Warburg effect Besides its value as a textbook, The Biology of Cancer is a useful reference for individuals working in biomedical laboratories and for clinical professionals. Every copy of the book comes with an updated "Pathways in Human Cancer" poster and a DVD-ROM containing the book's art program, a greatly expanded selection of movies, audio file mini-lectures, Supplementary Sidebars, and a Media Guide.
The New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and Indie Bound Bestseller
'Those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read Inheritance, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.'-- The Observer
'All my life I had known there was a secret. What I hadn't known: the secret was me.'
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. Everything she had believed about her identity was a lie.
Shapiro's parents had died when she was in her twenties. With only a handful of figures on a webpage, Shapiro sets out to discover the truth about herself and her history.
Inheritance is a genetic detective story; a memoir that reads like a thriller. It is a book about secrets -secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
An illustrated exploration of colors and patterns in the animal kingdom, what they communicate, and how they function in the social life of animals. Are animals able to appreciate what humans refer to as "beauty"? The term scarcely ever appears nowadays in a scientific description of living things, but we humans may nonetheless find the colors, patterns, and songs of animals to be beautiful in apparently the same way that we see beauty in works of art. In Animal Beauty, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Christiane Nusslein-Volhard describes how the colors and patterns displayed by animals arise, what they communicate, and how they function in the social life of animals. Watercolor drawings illustrate these amazing instances of animal beauty. Darwin addressed the topic of ornament in his 1871 book The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, and did not hesitate to engage with criteria of beauty, convinced that animals experienced color and ornament as attractive and agreeable in the same way that we do, and that the role this played in mate choice pointed to a "sexual selection" distinct from natural selection. Nusslein-Volhard examines key examples of ornament and sexual selection in the animal kingdom and lays the groundwork for biological aesthetics. Noting that color patterns have not been a research priority-perhaps because they appeared to be nonessential luxuries rather than functional necessities-Nusslein-Volhard looks at recent scientific developments on the topic. In part because of Nusslein-Volhard's own research on the zebrafish, it is now possible to decipher the molecular genetic mechanisms that lead to production of colors in animal skin and its appendages and control its pattern and distribution.
A magisterial exploration of the natural history of the first four thousand million years of life on and in the earth, by one of Britain's most dazzling science writers. What do any of us know about the history of our planet before the arrival of man? Most of us have a dim impression of a swirling mass of dust solidifying to form a volcanic globe, briefly populated by dinosaurs, then by woolly mammoths and finally by our own hairy ancestors. This book, aimed at the curious and intelligent but perhaps mildly uninformed reader, brilliantly dispels such lingering notions forever. At the end of the book we understand the complexity of the history of life on earth, and the complexity of how it has come to be understood, as, perhaps, from no other single volume. The result is enthralling.
Study and Communication Skills for the Biosciences is tailored specifically to the needs of bioscience students, both at university, and beyond. Written in an engaging and supportive manner, with examples throughout that demonstrate the relevance of topics covered to bioscience degree programmes, the book will assist you with the transition from school to university, with your studies at university, and with your progression to employment after leaving university. New to this edition, the book now includes discussion of how best to use recorded lectures in learning and revision, and how to get the most out of flipped classrooms and interactive lectures.. The chapter on employability has new content on technological change in the workplace, how to perform well in a video interview, and how best to use online networks for career advancement. A new section also explores how to critically review a research paper. A new learning feature, 'Try this for yourself', shows how you can apply the book's principles to your own life and studies. Covering the full range of study and communication skills that you need to study to succeed in your studies, this book is essential reading for any bioscience student who wants to get the most out of their degree.
How the scientific study of magic reveals intriguing-and often unsettling-insights into the mysteries of the human mind. What do we see when we watch a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat or read a person's mind? We are captivated by an illusion; we applaud the fact that we have been fooled. Why do we enjoy experiencing what seems clearly impossible, or at least beyond our powers of explanation? In Experiencing the Impossible, Gustav Kuhn examines the psychological processes that underpin our experience of magic. Kuhn, a psychologist and a magician, reveals the intriguing-and often unsettling-insights into the human mind that the scientific study of magic provides. Magic, Kuhn explains, creates a cognitive conflict between what we believe to be true (for example, a rabbit could not be in that hat) and what we experience (a rabbit has just come out of that hat!). Drawing on the latest psychological, neurological, and philosophical research, he suggests that misdirection is at the heart of all magic tricks, and he offers a scientific theory of misdirection. He explores, among other topics, our propensity for magical thinking, the malleability of our perceptual experiences, forgetting and misremembering, free will and mind control, and how magic is applied outside entertaiment-the use of illusion in human-computer interaction, politics, warfare, and elsewhere. We may be surprised to learn how little of the world we actually perceive, how little we can trust what we see and remember, and how little we are in charge of our thoughts and actions. Exploring magic, Kuhn illuminates the complex-and almost magical-mechanisms underlying our daily activities.
An argument that what makes science distinctive is its emphasis on evidence and scientists' willingness to change theories on the basis of new evidence. Attacks on science have become commonplace. Claims that climate change isn't settled science, that evolution is "only a theory," and that scientists are conspiring to keep the truth about vaccines from the public are staples of some politicians' rhetorical repertoire. Defenders of science often point to its discoveries (penicillin! relativity!) without explaining exactly why scientific claims are superior. In this book, Lee McIntyre argues that what distinguishes science from its rivals is what he calls "the scientific attitude"-caring about evidence and being willing to change theories on the basis of new evidence. The history of science is littered with theories that were scientific but turned out to be wrong; the scientific attitude reveals why even a failed theory can help us to understand what is special about science. McIntyre offers examples that illustrate both scientific success (a reduction in childbed fever in the nineteenth century) and failure (the flawed "discovery" of cold fusion in the twentieth century). He describes the transformation of medicine from a practice based largely on hunches into a science based on evidence; considers scientific fraud; examines the positions of ideology-driven denialists, pseudoscientists, and "skeptics" who reject scientific findings; and argues that social science, no less than natural science, should embrace the scientific attitude. McIntyre argues that the scientific attitude-the grounding of science in evidence-offers a uniquely powerful tool in the defense of science.
This thoroughly revised and expanded edition of the much acclaimed Encyclopedia of Coastal Science edited by M. Schwarz (Springer 2005), presents an interdisciplinary approach that includes biology, ecology, engineering, geology, geomorphology, oceanography, remote sensing, technological advances, and anthropogenic impacts on coasts. Within its covers the Encyclopedia of Coastal Science, 2nd ed. brings together and coordinates many aspects of coastal and related sciences that are widely dispersed in the scientific literature. The broadly interdisciplinary subject matter of this volume features contributions by almost 270 well-known international specialists in their respective fields and provides an abundance of figures in full-color with line drawings and photographs, and other illustrations such as satellite images. Not only does this volume offer a large number of new and revised entries, it also includes an illustrated glossary of coastal geomorphology, extensive bibliographic citations, and cross-references. It provides a comprehensive reference work for students, scientific and technical professionals as well as administrators, managers, and informed lay readers. Reviews from the first edition: Awarded for Excellence in Scholarly and Professional Publishing: "Honorable Mention", in the category Single Volume/Science from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) 2005. "The contents and approach are interdisciplinary and, under a single cover, one finds subjects normally scattered throughout scientific literature." "The topics cover a broad spectrum, so does the geographic range of the contributors. ... besides geomorphologists, biologists, ecologists, engineers, geographers, geologists, oceanographers and technologists will find information related to their respective fields ... . Inclusion of appendices ... is very useful. The illustrated glossary of geomorphology will prove very useful for many of us ... ." Roger H. Charlier, Journal of Coastal Research, Volume 21, Issue 4, Page 866, July 2005. "It is an excellent work that should be included in any carefully selected list of best science reference books of the year "Summing Up: Highly recommended. " M.L. Larsgaard, Choice, Volume 43, Issue 6, Page 989, February 2006. "This volume is a comprehensive collection of articles covering all aspects of the subject: social and economic, engineering, coastal processes, habitats, erosion, geological features, research and observation." ... "As with similar works reviewed, I chose to read articles on familiar topics to see if they covered the expected, and some on unfamiliar topics to see if they could be readily understood. The book passed both tests, but the style is denser and more fact-filled than most of the encyclopedias I have reviewed." John Goodier, Reference Reviews, Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 35-36, 2006
Full of fascinating and bizarre cases of genetic mutation and irregularity, `Mutants' is an amazing exploration of the human form in all its beautiful and unique guises. Why are most of us born with one nose, two legs, ten fingers and twenty-four ribs - and some of us not? Why do most of us stop growing in our teens - while others just keep going? Why do some us have heads of red hair - and others no hair at all? The human genome, we are told, makes us what we are. But how? Armand Marie Leroi takes us to the extremes of human mutation - from the grotesque to the beautiful, and often both at the same time - to explain how we become what we are. Through the tales of long-lived Croatian dwarves, ostrich-footed Wadoma tribesmen, sex-changing French convent girls, and many more wonders of human development, Leroi has written a brilliant narrative account of our genetic grammar and people whose bodies have revealed it.
`Highly accessible. It has the power to do vastly more for gender equality than any number of feminist "manifestos" ... revolutionary to a glorious degree' Rachel Cooke, Observer 'A treasure trove of information and good humour' CORDELIA FINE, author of Testosterone Rex Do you have a female brain or a male brain? Or is that the wrong question? Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries. But what does this constant gendering mean for our thoughts, decisions and behaviour? And what does it mean for our brains? Drawing on her work as a professor of cognitive neuroimaging, Gina Rippon unpacks the stereotypes that bombard us from our earliest moments and shows how these messages mould our ideas of ourselves and even shape our brains. Taking us back through centuries of sexism, The Gendered Brain reveals how science has been misinterpreted or misused to ask the wrong questions. Instead of challenging the status quo, we are still bound by outdated stereotypes and assumptions. However, by exploring new, cutting-edge neuroscience, Rippon urges us to move beyond a binary view of our brains and instead to see these complex organs as highly individualised, profoundly adaptable and full of unbounded potential. Rigorous, timely and liberating, The Gendered Brain has huge repercussions for women and men, for parents and children, and for how we identify ourselves.
If reason is what makes us human, then why do we humans often behave so irrationally? Taking us from desert ants to Aristotle, cognitive psychologists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber explore how our 'flawed superpower' of reason works, how it doesn't, and how it evolved to help us develop as social beings. 'Original and provocative ... likely to have a big impact on our understanding of ourselves' Steven Pinker 'Brilliant, elegant and compelling ... turns reason's weaknesses into strengths, arguing that its supposed flaws are actually design features that work remarkably well ... A timely and necessary book' Julian Baggini, Financial Times 'Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber have solved one of the most important and longstanding puzzles in psychology' Jonathan Haidt 'Reason is more likely to confirm things that we want to be true, or which we already believe. So why does it exist? This book provides the answer' Alex Dean, Prospect
A short biography of a creature that changed science.
There's a buzz in the air, the sound of a billion wings vibrating to the tune of scientific success. For generations, the fruit fly has been defining biology's major landmarks. From genetics to development, behavior to aging, and evolution to the origin of the species, it has been a key and, outside academic circles, an unaccredited player in some of the twentieth century's greatest biological discoveries. In fact, everything from gene therapy to cloning and the Human Genome Project is built on the foundation of fruit fly research.
This witty, irreverent biography of the fruit fly provides a broad introduction to biology as well as a glimpse into how one short life has informed scientific views on such things as fundamentals of heredity, battle of the sexes, and memory.
To imagine - to see that which is not there - is the startling ability that has fuelled human development and innovation through the centuries. As a species we stand alone in our remarkable capacity to refashion the world after the pictures in our minds. Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy and history, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto reveals the thrilling and disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps - from the first Homo sapiens to the present day. Through groundbreaking insights in cognitive science, he explores how and why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalising glimpse into who we are and what we might yet accomplish. Fernandez-Armesto shows that bad ideas are often more influential than good ones; that the oldest recoverable thoughts include some of the best; that ideas of Western origin often issued from exchanges with the wider world; and that the pace of innovative thinking is under threat.
Converging and diverging views on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, perception, meditation, and other topics. Buddhism shares with science the task of examining the mind empirically; it has pursued, for two millennia, direct investigation of the mind through penetrating introspection. Neuroscience, on the other hand, relies on third-person knowledge in the form of scientific observation. In this book, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist-close friends, continuing an ongoing dialogue-offer their perspectives on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, epistemology, meditation, and neuroplasticity. Ricard and Singer's wide-ranging conversation stages an enlightening and engaging encounter between Buddhism's wealth of experiential findings and neuroscience's abundance of experimental results. They discuss, among many other things, the difference between rumination and meditation (rumination is the scourge of meditation, but psychotherapy depends on it); the distinction between pure awareness and its contents; the Buddhist idea (or lack of one) of the unconscious and neuroscience's precise criteria for conscious and unconscious processes; and the commonalities between cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation. Their views diverge (Ricard asserts that the third-person approach will never encounter consciousness as a primary experience) and converge (Singer points out that the neuroscientific understanding of perception as reconstruction is very like the Buddhist all-discriminating wisdom) but both keep their vision trained on understanding fundamental aspects of human life.
Most people are familiar with the dodo and the dinosaur, but extinction has occurred throughout the history of life, with the result that nearly all the species that have ever existed are now extinct. Today, species are disappearing at an ever increasing rate, whilst past losses have occurred during several great crises. Issues such as habitat destruction, conservation, climate change, and, during major crises, volacanism and meteorite impact, can all contribute towards the demise of a group. In this Very Short Introduction, Paul B. Wignall looks at the causes and nature of extinctions, past and present, and the factors that can make a species vulnerable. Summarising what we know about all of the major and minor exctinction events, he examines some of the greatest debates in modern science, such as the relative role of climate and humans in the death of the Pleistocene megafauna, including mammoths and giant ground sloths, and the roles that global warming, ocean acidification, and deforestation are playing in present-day extinctions ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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