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Math & Science

WISDOM: From Philosophy to Neuroscience

WISDOM: From Philosophy to Neuroscience

By: Hall, Stephen S
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We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a penetrating history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. Hall's bracing exploration of the science of wisdom allows us to see this ancient virtue with fresh eyes, yet also makes clear that despite modern science's most powerful efforts, wisdom continues to elude easy understanding.

WITH RESPECT FOR NATURE

WITH RESPECT FOR NATURE

By: Evans, J Claude
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We eat, inevitably, at the expense of other living creatures. How can we take the lives of plants and animals while maintaining a proper respect for both ecosystems and the individuals who live in them--including ourselves? In this book philosopher J. Claude Evans challenges much of the accepted wisdom in environmental ethics and argues that human participation in the natural cycles of life and death can have positive moral value.

With a guide for the nonphilosophical reader, and set against the background of careful and penetrating critiques of Albert Schweitzer's principle of reverence for life and Paul Taylor's philosophy of respect for nature, Evans uses hunting and catch-and-release fishing as test cases in calling for a robust sense of membership in the natural world. The result is an approachable, existential philosophy that emphasizes the positive value of human involvement in natural processes in which life and death, giving and receiving, self and other are intertwined.

WIZARDS, ALIENS, AND STARSHIPS: PHYSICS AND MATH IN FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION

By: Adler, Charles L
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Explaining the science behind science fiction and fantasy--from the probable to the impossible

From space elevators to interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant, innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas--for instance, could Mr. Weasley's flying car in the Harry Potter books really exist? Which concepts might happen, and which ones wouldn't work? From the works of Ursula K. Le Guin to Star Trek and Avatar, this book delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy--such as time warps, shape changing, and rocket launches--and shows readers the physics and math behind the phenomena.

WOLFMAN AND OTHER CASES

WOLFMAN AND OTHER CASES

By: Freud, Sigmund
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When a disturbed young Russian man came to Freud for treatment, the analysis of his childhood neuroses--most notably a dream about wolves outside his bedroom window--eventually revealed a deep-seated trauma. It took more than four years to treat him, and The Wolfman became one of Freud's most famous cases. This volume also contains the case histories of a boy's fear of horses and the Ratman's violent fear of rats, as well as the essay Some Character Types, in which Freud draws on the work of Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Nietzsche to demonstrate different kinds of resistance to therapy. Above all, the case histories show us Freud at work, in his own words.
WOMAN THAT NEVER EVOLVED

WOMAN THAT NEVER EVOLVED

By: Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer
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What does it mean to be female? Sarah Blaffer Hrdy--a sociobiologist and a feminist--believes that evolutionary biology can provide some surprising answers. Surprising to those feminists who mistakenly think that biology can only work against women. And surprising to those biologists who incorrectly believe that natural selection operates only on males.

In The Woman That Never Evolved we are introduced to our nearest female relatives competitive, independent, sexually assertive primates who have every bit as much at stake in the evolutionary game as their male counterparts do. These females compete among themselves for rank and resources, but will bond together for mutual defense. They risk their lives to protect their young, yet consort with the very male who murdered their offspring when successful reproduction depends upon it. They tolerate other breeding females if food is plentiful, but chase them away when monogamy is the optimal strategy. When promiscuity is an advantage, female primates--like their human cousins--exhibit a sexual appetite that ensures a range of breeding partners. From case after case we are led to the conclusion that the sexually passive, noncompetitive, all-nurturing woman of prevailing myth never could have evolved within the primate order.

Yet males are almost universally dominant over females in primate species, and Homo sapiens is no exception. As we see from this book, women are in some ways the most oppressed of all female primates. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy is convinced that to redress sexual inequality in human societies, we must first understand its evolutionary origins. We cannot travel back in time to meet our own remote ancestors, but we can study those surrogates we have--the other living primates. If women --and not biology--are to control their own destiny, they must understand the past and, as this book shows us, the biological legacy they have inherited.

WORLD ON FIRE: A Heretic, An Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen

WORLD ON FIRE: A Heretic, An Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen

By: Jackson, Joe
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Like Charles Seife's Zero and Dava Sobel's Longitude, this passionate intellectual history is the story of the intersection of science and the human, in this case the rivals who discovered oxygen in the late 1700s. That breakthrough changed the world as radically as those of Newton and Darwin but was at first eclipsed by revolution and reaction. In chronicling the triumph and ruin of the English freethinker Joseph Priestley and the French nobleman Antoine Lavoisier--the former exiled, the latter executed on the guillotine--A World on Fire illustrates the perilous place of science in an age of unreason.
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WORLD ON THE EDGE: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

By: Brown, Lester R
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We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distills in World on the Edge. Bringing decades of research and analysis into play, he provides the responses needed to reclaim our future.
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WORLD WITHIN THE WORLD

By: Barrow, John D
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Until recently "popular science" has produced neither rigorously scientific works nor especially popular ones. Only in the last three or four years have scientists begun to realize the field's full potential with books aimed at the intelligent non-scientist presenting more challenging subjects previously reserved for scholars. Still, none of these studies fully addresses the question of whether laws of Nature really exist and are just waiting to be discovered; or how the notion of laws of Nature arose and how they can be so well described by mathematics; or even how our own existence limits what we can learn about the Universe.
John D. Barrow, renowned scientist and philosopher of science, fills the gap by responding to these and myriad other questions in this remarkably wide-ranging interdisciplinary study of the evolving concept of laws of Nature. Tackling the philosophical and theological problems raised by modern physics and mathematics, he goes well beyond the familiar ground of relativity and quantum theory. From the magical notions of primitive cultures to the latest ideas about chaos, black holes, inflation, and superstrings, he traces the gradual development of our understanding of what laws of Nature mean and how we have come to know them. Written in a serious but non-technical style, The World Within the World will fascinate scientists, philosophers, and general readers alike.
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WORLD WITHOUT TIME: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein

By: Yourgrau, Palle
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In 1942, the logician Kurt Godel and Albert Einstein became close friends; they walked to and from their offices every day, exchanging ideas about science, philosophy, politics, and the lost world of German science. By 1949, Godel had produced a remarkable proof: In any universe described by the Theory of Relativity, time cannot exist. Einstein endorsed this result reluctantly but he could find no way to refute it, since then, neither has anyone else. Yet cosmologists and philosophers alike have proceeded as if this discovery was never made. In A World Without Time, Palle Yourgrau sets out to restore Godel to his rightful place in history, telling the story of two magnificent minds put on the shelf by the scientific fashions of their day, and attempts to rescue the brilliant work they did together.
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WRITING ON AIR

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Offering a collage of evocations expressed through prose, poetry, photography and drawings, 'Writing on Air' creates a way of thinking about the role of air in our everyday lives.
WRITINGS AND DRAWINGS

WRITINGS AND DRAWINGS

By: Audubon, John James
$40.00
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The breathtaking art of John James Audubon's Birds of America has been celebrated throughout the world since it first appeared over 150 years ago. Less well known is Audubon's literary legacy: the magnificent volumes of natural history he published during his lifetime, as well as the remarkable journals, memoirs, and letters left behind at his death. In this unprecedented collection from The Library of America, Audubon the great nature writer takes his rightful place alongside Audubon the artist.

Here is the most comprehensive selection of Audubon's writings ever published, along with a spectacular portfolio of his drawings. The "Mississippi River Journal," the foremost record of an American artist's progress, details Audubon's first wilderness bird hunts; it is as fresh in its perceptions of the scenes and characters of the old South as of the forest and its creatures. Selections from his "1826 Journal" follow Audubon to Europe, where after years of relative obscurity and financial distress his abilities were finally recognized. Audubon's masterwork, the five-volume Ornithological Biography, is represented here by forty-five entries. Charming, haunting, and violent by turns, these vivid intimate portraits of the habits and habitats of American birds changed American nature writing forever.

In the "Missouri River Journals," Audubon evokes the vanishing American Indian and the hardships of frontier life. An extensive selection of letters charting twenty years of Audubon's artistic development, along with two essays on artistic technique and a brief memoir, round out the volume. Whenever possible, texts have been painstakingly prepared from original sources, without censorship or modernizing revision, constituting a major contribution to Audubon scholarship. Detailed general and ornithological indexes aid the reader in the field as well as in the study.

Sixty-four full-color plates and several manuscript sketches, some never before published, offer a unique perspective on Audubon's art. Including original watercolors, aquatint engravings and lithographs, they reveal the evolution of his compositions and the effects of his collaborations with his publishers in ways never before seen.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

WRITTEN IN STONE: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

WRITTEN IN STONE: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

By: Switek, Brian
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"Switek seamlessly intertwines two types of evolution: one of life on earth and the other of paleontology itself."--Discover Magazine

""In delightful prose, [Switek] . . . superbly shows that '[i]f we can let go of our conceit, ' we will see the preciousness of life in all its forms."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Highly instructive . . . a warm, intelligent yeoman's guide to the progress of life."--Kirkus Reviews

"Magisterial . . . part historical account, part scientific detective story. Switek's elegant prose and thoughtful scholarship will change the way you see life on our planet. This book marks the debut of an important new voice."--Neil Shubin

"Elegantly and engagingly crafted, Brian Switek's narrative interweaves stories and characters not often encountered in books on paleontology--at once a unique, informative and entertaining read."--Niles Eldredge

"If you want to read one book to get up to speed on evolution, read Written in Stone. Brian Switek's clear and compelling book is full of fascinating stories about how scientists have read the fossil record to trace the evolution of life on Earth."--Ann Gibbons

"[Switek's] accounts of dinosaurs, birds, whales, and our own primate ancestors are not just fascinating for their rich historical detail, but also for their up-to-date reporting on paleontology's latest discoveries."--Carl Zimmer

After reading this book, you will have a totally new context in which to interpret the evolutionary history of amphibians, mammals, whales, elephants, horses, and especially humans."--Donald R. Prothero

Spectacular fossil finds make today's headlines; new technology unlocks secrets of skeletons unearthed a hundred years ago. Still, evolution is often poorly represented by the media and misunderstood by the public. A potent antidote to pseudoscience, Written in Stone is an engrossing history of evolutionary discovery for anyone who has marveled at the variety and richness of life.


YELLOW RIVER ODYSSEY

YELLOW RIVER ODYSSEY

By: Porter, Bill
$17.50
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Bill Porter follows the Yellow River, the world's sixth longest river, from its mouth to its source high in the Tibetan Plateau, a journey of more than three thousand miles through nine Chinese provinces. The trip takes the master translator into what was once the cradle of Chinese civilization and to the hometowns and graves of key historical figures such as Confucius, Mencius, Lao-tzu, and Chuang-tzu. Porter's depth of knowledge of Chinese history and culture is unparalleled. Yellow River Odyssey, already a bestseller in China, reveals a complex, fascinating, contradictory country. Porter masterfully digs beneath China's present-day materialism and the deep wounds of the Cultural Revolution to get at the roots of Chinese culture. And he does so with an ever-present wit and a keen eye for the telling detail. The book also includes more than fifty black-and-white photographs taken by Porter during his travels.

Bill Porter is an award-winning author and translator also known by his pen name, Red Pine. He is considered one of the foremost translators of Chinese texts, especially Buddhist and Taoist poetry and sutras. His translation work includes major Buddhist texts such as The Platform Sutra, The Diamond Sutra, and The Heart Sutra as well as the best-selling poetry collections Taoteching and Collected Songs of Cold Mountain. He is also the author of Zen Baggage and Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits. Porter lives in Port Townsend, Washington.


You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself

By: McRaney, David
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An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name.

Whether you're deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here's the truth: You are not so smart. You're just as deluded as the rest of us--but that's okay, because being deluded is part of being human.

Growing out of David McRaney's popular blog, You Are Not So Smart reveals that every decision we make, every thought we contemplate, and every emotion we feel comes with a story we tell ourselves to explain them. But often these stories aren't true. Each short chapter--covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency--is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.

Bringing together popular science and psychology with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN: The 4-Step Solution for changing Bad Habits, Ending Un healthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life

YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN: The 4-Step Solution for changing Bad Habits, Ending Un healthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life

By: Gladding, Rebecca
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Two neuroscience experts explain how their 4-Step Method can help identify negative thoughts and change bad habits for good.

A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for people suffering from OCD, teaching patients how to achieve long-term relief from their compulsions.

Schwartz works with psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding to refine a program that successfully explains how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, etc.) the key to making life changes that you want--to make your brain work for you--is to consciously choose to "starve" these circuits of focused attention, thereby decreasing their influence and strength.

You Are Not Your Brain carefully outlines their program, showing readers how to identify negative impulses, channel them through the power of focused attention, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.

YOU CAN HELP SOMEONE WHO'S GRIEVING

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ZEN-BRAIN HORIZONS: TOWARD A LIVING ZEN

ZEN-BRAIN HORIZONS: TOWARD A LIVING ZEN

By: Austin, James H
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A neurologist and Zen practitioner clarifies the benefits of meditative training, drawing on classical Buddhist literature and modern brain research.

In Zen-Brain Horizons, James Austin draws on his decades of experience as a neurologist and Zen practitioner to clarify the benefits of meditative training. Austin integrates classical Buddhist literature with modern brain research, exploring the horizons of a living, neural Zen.

When viewed in the light of today, the timeless wisdom of some Zen masters seems almost to have anticipated recent research in the neurosciences. The keen attentiveness and awareness that we cultivate during meditative practices becomes the leading edge of our subsequent mental processing. Austin explains how our covert, involuntary functions can make crucial contributions to the subtle ways we learn, intuit, and engage in creative activities. He demonstrates why living Zen means much more than sitting quietly indoors on a cushion, and provides simplified advice that helps guide readers to the most important points.