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Biology


    A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes

    A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes Lowest new price: $14.99
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    Author: Adam Rutherford

    Nothing less than a tour de force—a heady amalgam of science, history, a little bit of anthropology and plenty of nuanced, captivating storytelling.”—The New York Times Book Review

    In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex.

    But those stories have always been locked away—until now.

    Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present.

    A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. (For example, we now know that at least four human species once roamed the earth.) Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas—one that’s still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced.

    Rutherford closes with “A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind,” filled with provocative questions that we’re on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?

    An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: Our obsession with where we come from has recently leapfrogged past the genealogy efforts of retired relatives to mail-in DNA tests that can provide the broad strokes of our genetic makeup for less than $100. But, as Rutherford points out in his intriguing exploration of humankind, DNA tests offer only a sensationalized peek at our roots, and the tangled, still-evolving truth is far more fascinating. Armed with his disarming British wit, Rutherford delves into the migration, interbreeding and isolation, and extinction of hominid branches that has shaped the modern human. Holes in our fossil record and the lack of DNA in fossils we’ve actually found still make genome research a challenge, yet the more we learn, the more we have to change our perception of who Homo sapiens are and what we’re made of. Challenging the simplistic thinking bolstered by the media, Rutherford adds both nuance and the thrill of excitement to viewing our species through a wider, stronger lens that can now see deep into our past. —Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review

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    Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

    Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Lowest new price: $29.75
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    List price: $35.00
    Author: Robert M. Sapolsky
    Brand: PENGUIN PRESS

    A New York Times Bestseller

    "It has my vote for science book of the year.” Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

    "Hands-down one of the best books I’ve read in years. I loved it." —Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post

    “It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.” —David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal


    From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to the question: Why do we do the things we do?

    Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.
     
    And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. A behavior occurs--whether an example of humans at our best, worst, or somewhere in between. What went on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happened? Then Sapolsky pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell caused the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones acted hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli that triggered the nervous system? By now he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened.

    Sapolsky keeps going: How was that behavior influenced by structural changes in the nervous system over the preceding months, by that person's adolescence, childhood, fetal life, and then back to his or her genetic makeup? Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than one individual. How did culture shape that individual's group, what ecological factors millennia old formed that culture? And on and on, back to evolutionary factors millions of years old. 

    The result is one of the most dazzling tours d'horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

    Named a best book of the year by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal

    Features:

    • PENGUIN PRESS

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    Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat

    Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat Lowest new price: $11.55
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    Author: Jackson Galaxy

    This comprehensive cat care guide from the star of the hit Animal Planet show "My Cat from Hell," Jackson Galaxy, shows us how to eliminate feline behavioral problems by understanding cats' instinctive behavior.

    Cat Mojo is the confidence that cats exhibit when they are at ease in their environment and in touch with their natural instincts—to hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, and sleep. Problems such as litter box avoidance and aggression arise when cats lack this confidence. Jackson Galaxy's number one piece of advice to his clients is to help their cats harness their mojo.
        This book is his most comprehensive guide yet to cat behavior and basic cat care, rooted in understanding cats better. From getting kittens off to the right start socially, to taking care of cats in their senior years, and everything in between, this book addresses the head-to-toe physical and emotional needs of cats—whether related to grooming, nutrition, play, or stress-free trips to the vet.

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    Coyote Peterson’s Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World

    Coyote Peterson’s Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World Lowest new price: $13.84
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    Author: Coyote Peterson
    Brand: Peterson Coyote

    #1 Bookscan in Juvenile Non-fiction! ─ Be Brave… Stay Wild!


    Animal Stories for Kids: Coyote Peterson's Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World chronicles some of the wildest encounters Coyote Peterson has had over the course of his travels. The stories begin with his first snapping turtle catch as a kid and lead down a trail of incredible moments he and his camera crew have had while filming their Brave Wilderness shows. From a giant alligator that nearly caught Coyote in its bone crushing jaws, to an 800 pound Grizzly Bear that helped him teach the audience what to do and NOT do if you ever encounter one of these enormous predators in the wild, every tale is laced with fast paced action and daring adventure. With the presence of danger often looming for Coyote, each story reminds the reader that animals rule the wild places of this planet, and if we respect them from a safe distance, even the most frightening creatures are more likely to be afraid of us than we should ever be of them.


    Exciting animal stories for kids of all ages: This collection of short stories aims to give the reader a first-person perspective into some of Coyote’s most harrowing and heartwarming adventures.

    Features:

    • Coyote Peterson s Brave Adventures Wild Animals in a Wild World

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    The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us

    The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us Lowest new price: $28.50
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    Author: Richard O. Prum
    Brand: DOUBLEDAY

    NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEWSMITHSONIAN, AND WALL STREET JOURNAL

    A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world.


    In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature?
         Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin's own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change.
        Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time.
         The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.

    Features:

    • DOUBLEDAY

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    The Drunken Botanist

    The Drunken Botanist Lowest new price: $14.21
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    Author: Amy Stewart
    Brand: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

    A New York Times Bestseller
    Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet?  In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.

    Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs--but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.

    This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology--with more than fifty drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners--will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.

    (from the catalog)

    An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013: Peppered with fascinating facts and well-chosen anecdotes, Amy Stewart’s brisk tour of the origin of spirits acquaints the curious cocktail fan with every conceivable ingredient. Starting with the classics (from agave to wheat), she touches on obscure sources--including a tree that dates to the dinosaur age--before delving into the herbs, spices, flowers, trees, fruits, and nuts that give the world’s greatest drinks distinctive flavors. Along the way, you’ll enjoy sidebars on bugs in booze and inspired drink recipes with backstories that make lively cocktail party conversation. Like Wicked Plants, this delightfully informative, handsome volume isn’t intended as a complete reference or DIY guide, but it will demystify and heighten your appreciation of every intoxicating plant you imbibe. --Mari Malcolm

    Features:

    • Over 50 cocktail recipes
    • Tips on growing and making drinks with herbs, fruits, and veggies
    • Making cocktails from the ground up

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    Ocean: A Photicular Book

    Ocean: A Photicular Book Lowest new price: $12.15
    Lowest used price: $6.05
    List price: $25.95
    Author: Dan Kainen
    Brand: Workman Publishing

    A New York Times bestseller, Ocean is like being on a dive. Using Photicular technology, each image is like a 3-D movie on the page, delivering a rich, fluid visual experience. Open the book, and the reader is swept into the magic of an underwater world, face-to-face with a floating Yellow-Banded Sweetlips; with a glow-in-the-dark Deep-Sea Anglerfish; with a Sea Horse swaying in balletic motion; with a Sand Tiger Shark gliding along the ocean floor, its gaze haunting, its hook-toothed mouth gulping open and closed.

    The text by Carol Kaufmann enchants with its descriptions of coral reefs; a journey on Alvin, the 17-ton submersible; and a meditation on our oceans. Then, for each creature, she writes a lively and informative essay, along with vital statistics—size, habitat, range, diet, and more.

    The Photicular process uses an innovative lenticular technology, sliding lenses, and original four-color video imagery. The result is like a movie in your hands—the dance of life in a book.


    Features:

    • Ocean-themed book of moving pictures.
    • Encourages reading skills, a passion for learning, an interest in marine biology.
    • Moving pictures mesmerize the eyes while words mesmerize the mind.
    • Features enchanting essay about ocean life.
    • Essays, facts, statistics accompany each moving image.

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    Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline

    Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline Lowest new price: $7.24
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    Author: Steven R. Gundry
    Brand: Steven R Gundry

    "Dr. Gundry has crafted a wise program with a powerful track record.”
    –Mehmet Oz, M.D.

    Does losing weight and staying healthy feel like a battle? Well, it’s really a war. Your enemies are your own genes, backed by millions of years of evolution, and the only way to win is to outsmart them. Renowned surgeon and founder of Gundry MD, Dr. Steven Gundry’s revolutionary book shares the health secrets other doctors won’t tell you:

    • Why plants are “good” for you because they’re “bad” for you, and meat is “bad” because it’s “good” for you
    • Why plateauing on this diet is actually a sign that you’re on the right track
    • Why artificial sweeteners have the same effects as sugar on your health and your waistline
    • Why taking antacids, statins, and drugs for high blood pressure and arthritis masks health issues instead of addressing them

    Along with the meal planner, 70 delicious recipes, and inspirational stories, Dr. Gundry’s easy-to-memorize tips will keep you healthy and on course.

    Features:

    • Dr Gundry s Diet Evolution Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline

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    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Lowest new price: $6.43
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    Author: Rebecca Skloot
    Brand: Rebecca Skloot

    Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

    Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories? --Tom Nissley


    Amazon Exclusive: Jad Abumrad Reviews The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    Jad Abumrad is host and creator of the public radio hit Radiolab, now in its seventh season and reaching over a million people monthly. Radiolab combines cutting-edge production with a philosophical approach to big ideas in science and beyond, and an inventive method of storytelling. Abumrad has won numerous awards, including a National Headliner Award in Radio and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Journalism Award. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:

    Honestly, I can't imagine a better tale.

    A detective story that's at once mythically large and painfully intimate.

    Just the simple facts are hard to believe: that in 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her--taken without her knowledge or consent--live on, first in one lab, then in hundreds, then thousands, then in giant factories churning out polio vaccines, then aboard rocket ships launched into space. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science--leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things). All of which is to say: the science end of this story is enough to blow one's mind right out of one's face.

    But what's truly remarkable about Rebecca Skloot's book is that we also get the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she live? How she did die? Did her family know that she'd become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them? These are crucial questions, because science should never forget the people who gave it life. And so, what unfolds is not only a reporting tour de force but also a very entertaining account of Henrietta, her ancestors, her cells and the scientists who grew them.

    The book ultimately channels its journey of discovery though Henrietta's youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother, and who dreamt of one day being a scientist.

    As Deborah Lacks and Skloot search for answers, we're bounced effortlessly from the tiny tobacco-farming Virginia hamlet of Henrietta's childhood to modern-day Baltimore, where Henrietta's family remains. Along the way, a series of unforgettable juxtapositions: cell culturing bumps into faith healings, cutting edge medicine collides with the dark truth that Henrietta's family can't afford the health insurance to care for diseases their mother's cells have helped to cure.

    Rebecca Skloot tells the story with great sensitivity, urgency and, in the end, damn fine writing. I highly recommend this book. --Jad Abumrad


    Look Inside The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    Click on thumbnails for larger images

    Henrietta and David Lacks, circa 1945.
    Elsie Lacks, Henrietta’s older daughter, about five years before she was committed to Crownsville State Hospital, with a diagnosis of “idiocy.”
    Deborah Lacks at about age four.
    The home-house where Henrietta was raised, a four-room log cabin in Clover, Virginia, that once served as slave quarters. (1999)
    Main Street in downtown Clover, Virginia, where Henrietta was raised, circa 1930s.


    Margaret Gey and Minnie, a lab technician, in the Gey lab at Hopkins, circa 1951.
    Deborah with her children, LaTonya and Alfred, and her second husband, James Pullum, in the mid-1980s.
    In 2001, Deborah developed a severe case of hives after learning upsetting new information about her mother and sister.
    Deborah and her cousin Gary Lacks standing in front of drying tobacco, 2001.
    The Lacks family in 2009.


    Features:

    • Medical Research

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    Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

    Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence Lowest new price: $15.83
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    List price: $28.00
    Author: Max Tegmark

    New York Times Best Seller

    How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology—and there’s nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who’s helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial.

     
    How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today’s kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle?
     
    What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues—from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

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