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Books

Evolution


The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World Lowest new price: $4.95
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Author: Michael Pollan
Brand: PBS

The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Change Your MindCooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?

Working in his garden one day, Michael Pollan hit pay dirt in the form of an idea: do plants, he wondered, use humans as much as we use them? While the question is not entirely original, the way Pollan examines this complex coevolution by looking at the natural world from the perspective of plants is unique. The result is a fascinating and engaging look at the true nature of domestication.

In making his point, Pollan focuses on the relationship between humans and four specific plants: apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. He uses the history of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) to illustrate how both the apple's sweetness and its role in the production of alcoholic cider made it appealing to settlers moving west, thus greatly expanding the plant's range. He also explains how human manipulation of the plant has weakened it, so that "modern apples require more pesticide than any other food crop." The tulipomania of 17th-century Holland is a backdrop for his examination of the role the tulip's beauty played in wildly influencing human behavior to both the benefit and detriment of the plant (the markings that made the tulip so attractive to the Dutch were actually caused by a virus). His excellent discussion of the potato combines a history of the plant with a prime example of how biotechnology is changing our relationship to nature. As part of his research, Pollan visited the Monsanto company headquarters and planted some of their NewLeaf brand potatoes in his garden--seeds that had been genetically engineered to produce their own insecticide. Though they worked as advertised, he made some startling discoveries, primarily that the NewLeaf plants themselves are registered as a pesticide by the EPA and that federal law prohibits anyone from reaping more than one crop per seed packet. And in a interesting aside, he explains how a global desire for consistently perfect French fries contributes to both damaging monoculture and the genetic engineering necessary to support it.

Pollan has read widely on the subject and elegantly combines literary, historical, philosophical, and scientific references with engaging anecdotes, giving readers much to ponder while weeding their gardens. --Shawn Carkonen

Features:

  • Random House Trade

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Molecular Biology of the Cell (Sixth Edition)

Molecular Biology of the Cell (Sixth Edition) Lowest new price: $129.98
Lowest used price: $101.72
Author: Bruce Alberts
Brand: imusti

The definitive text in cell biology

As the amount of information in biology expands dramatically, it becomes increasingly important for textbooks to distill this vast amount of scientific knowledge into concise principles and enduring concepts. Molecular Biology of the Cell, Sixth Edition accomplishes this goal with clear writing and beautiful illustrations. The Sixth Edition has been extensively revised and updated with the latest research in cell biology, and it provides an exceptional framework for teaching and learning.

Features:

  • Garland Publishing

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The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity Lowest new price: $14.84
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Author: Byron Reese

The Fourth Age not only discusses what the rise of A.I. will mean for us, it also forces readers to challenge their preconceptions. And it manages to do all this in a way that is both entertaining and engaging.” —The New York Times

As we approach a great turning point in history when technology is poised to redefine what it means to be human, The Fourth Age offers fascinating insight into AI, robotics, and their extraordinary implications for our species.

In The Fourth Age, Byron Reese makes the case that technology has reshaped humanity just three times in history:

- 100,000 years ago, we harnessed fire, which led to language.

- 10,000 years ago, we developed agriculture, which led to cities and warfare.

- 5,000 years ago, we invented the wheel and writing, which lead to the nation state.

We are now on the doorstep of a fourth change brought about by two technologies: AI and robotics. The Fourth Age provides extraordinary background information on how we got to this point, and how—rather than what—we should think about the topics we’ll soon all be facing: machine consciousness, automation, employment, creative computers, radical life extension, artificial life, AI ethics, the future of warfare, superintelligence, and the implications of extreme prosperity.

By asking questions like “Are you a machine?” and “Could a computer feel anything?”, Reese leads you through a discussion along the cutting edge in robotics and AI, and, provides a framework by which we can all understand, discuss, and act on the issues of the Fourth Age, and how they’ll transform humanity.

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Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution Lowest new price: $12.95
Lowest used price: $9.95
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Author: Terence McKenna
Brand: Bantam

An exploration of humans' symbiotic relationships with plants and chemicals presents information on prehistoric partnership societies, the roles of spices and spirits in the rise of dominator societies; and the politics of tobacco, tea, coffee, opium, and alcohol.

Why, as a species, are humans so fascinated by altered states of consciousness? Can altered states reveal something to us about our origins and our place in nature? In Food of the Gods, ethnobotanist Terence McKenna’s research on man’s ancient relationship with chemicals opens a doorway to the divine, and perhaps a solution for saving our troubled world. McKenna provides a revisionist look at the historical role of drugs in the East and the West, from ancient spice, sugar, and rum trades to marijuana, cocaine, synthetics, and even television—illustrating the human desire for the “food of the gods” and the powerful potential to replace abuse of illegal drugs with a shamanic understanding, insistence on community, reverence for nature, and increased self-awareness.
 
Praise for Food of the Gods

“Deserves to be the modern classic on mind-altering drugs and hallucinogens.”The Washington Post
 
“Terence McKenna is the most important—and most entertaining—visionary scholar in America.”—Tom Robbins
 
“The culture’s foremost spokesperson for the psychedelic experience . . . Those who know and enjoy Joseph Campbell’s work will almost certainly appreciate McKenna.”L.A. Weekly
 
“An eloquent proposal for recovering something vital—a sense of the sacred, the transcendent, the Absolute—before it’s too late.”—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Meaning & Medicine, Recovering the Soul, and Space, Time & Machine

Features:

  • Bantam

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Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition Lowest new price: $5.99
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Author: Jared Diamond
Brand: Penguin Books

In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization

Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is the glass-half-empty follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns, Germs, and Steel explained the geographic and environmental reasons why some human populations have flourished, Collapse uses the same factors to examine why ancient societies, including the Anasazi of the American Southwest and the Viking colonies of Greenland, as well as modern ones such as Rwanda, have fallen apart. Not every collapse has an environmental origin, but an eco-meltdown is often the main catalyst, he argues, particularly when combined with society's response to (or disregard for) the coming disaster. Still, right from the outset of Collapse, the author makes clear that this is not a mere environmentalist's diatribe. He begins by setting the book's main question in the small communities of present-day Montana as they face a decline in living standards and a depletion of natural resources. Once-vital mines now leak toxins into the soil, while prion diseases infect some deer and elk and older hydroelectric dams have become decrepit. On all these issues, and particularly with the hot-button topic of logging and wildfires, Diamond writes with equanimity.

Because he's addressing such significant issues within a vast span of time, Diamond can occasionally speak too briefly and assume too much, and at times his shorthand remarks may cause careful readers to raise an eyebrow. But in general, Diamond provides fine and well-reasoned historical examples, making the case that many times, economic and environmental concerns are one and the same. With Collapse, Diamond hopes to jog our collective memory to keep us from falling for false analogies or forgetting prior experiences, and thereby save us from potential devastations to come. While it might seem a stretch to use medieval Greenland and the Maya to convince a skeptic about the seriousness of global warming, it's exactly this type of cross-referencing that makes Collapse so compelling. --Jennifer Buckendorff

Features:

  • Penguin Books

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Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 19/E (Vol.1 & Vol.2)

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 19/E (Vol.1 & Vol.2) Lowest new price: $153.00
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List price: $212.00
Author: Dennis L. Kasper
Brand: imusti

The landmark guide to internal medicine―
updated and streamlined for today’s students and clinicians

A Doody's Core Title for 2017!

All eChapters in the Nineteenth Edition are accessible online as well as on the DVD packaged within the print volumes,  so you have the flexibility of using the method of access most convenient to you.  

 

Through six decades, no resource has matched the authority, esteemed scholarship, and scientific rigor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. Capturing the countless advances and developments across the full span of medicine, the new 19th edition of Harrison’s provides a complete update of essential content related to disease pathogenesis, clinical trials, current diagnostic methods and imaging approaches, evidence-based practice guidelines, and established and newly approved treatment methods.

Here are just a few of the outstanding features of the new Nineteenth Edition:

  • Presented in two volumes: Volume 1 is devoted to foundational principles, cardinal manifestations of disease and approach to differential diagnosis; Volume 2 covers disease pathogenesis and treatment
  • NEW chapters on important topics such as Men’s Health, The Impact of Global Warming on Infectious Diseases, Fatigue, and many more
  • Critical updates in management and therapeutics in Hepatitis, Coronary Artery Disease, Ebola Virus Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Hypertension, Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism, Acute and Chronic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Lipoprotein Disorders, HIV and AIDS, and more.
  • Increased number of the popular Harrison’s clinical algorithms; clinically relevant radiographic examples spanning hundreds of diseases; clinical-pathological images in full color; crystal clear, full color drawings and illustrations and helpful tables and summary lists that make clinical application of the content faster than ever
  • Access to outstanding multi-media resources including practical videos demonstrating essential bedside procedures, physical examination techniques, endoscopic findings, cardiovascular findings, and more

Supporting the renowned coverage are supplemental resources that reflect and assist modern medical practice: more than 1,000 full-color photographs to aid visual recognition skills, hundreds of state-of-the-art radiographs, from plain film to 3D CT to PET Scans; beautiful illustrations that bring applied anatomy and processes to life; the renowned Harrison’s patient-care algorithms, essential summary tables, and practical demonstrative videos. In addition, the book’s several digital atlases highlight noninvasive imaging, percutaneous revascularization, gastrointestinal endoscopy, diagnosis and management of vasculitis, and numerous other issues commonly encountered in clinical practice.

Acclaim for Harrison’s:
“Covering nearly every possible topic in the field of medicine, the book begins with a phenomenal overview of clinical medicine, discussing important topics such as global medicine, decision-making in clinical practice, the concepts of disease screening and prevention, as well as the importance of medical disorders in specific groups (e.g. women, surgical patients, end of life). The extensive chapters that follow focus on a symptom-based presentation of disease and then illness organized by organ system. Numerous tables, graphs, and figures add further clarity to the text. The accompanying DVD includes extensive video and image collections of pathology, histology, procedures, additional lectures, and radiology…
…Written by experts in the field, this book is updated with the latest advances in pathophysiology and treatment. It is organized in a way that makes reading from beginning to end a logical journey, yet each chapter can stand alone as a quick reference on a particular topic. “

Features:

  • McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing

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Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America

Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America Lowest new price: $17.80
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Author: Craig Childs

From the author of Apocalyptic Planet comes a vivid travelogue through prehistory, that traces the arrival of the first people in North America at least twenty thousand years ago and the artifacts that tell of their lives and fates.

In Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs upends our notions of where these people came from and who they were. How they got here, persevered, and ultimately thrived is a story that resonates from the Pleistocene to our modern era. The lower sea levels of the Ice Age exposed a vast land bridge between Asia and North America, but the land bridge was not the only way across. Different people arrived from different directions, and not all at the same time.

The first explorers of the New World were few, their encampments fleeting. The continent they reached had no people but was inhabited by megafauna—mastodons, giant bears, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, five-hundred-pound panthers, enormous bison, and sloths that stood one story tall. The first people were hunters—Paleolithic spear points are still encrusted with the proteins of their prey—but they were wildly outnumbered and many would themselves have been prey to the much larger animals.

Atlas of a Lost World
chronicles the last millennia of the Ice Age, the violent oscillations and retreat of glaciers, the clues and traces that document the first encounters of early humans, and the animals whose presence governed the humans’ chances for survival. A blend of science and personal narrative reveals how much has changed since the time of mammoth hunters, and how little. Across unexplored landscapes yet to be peopled, readers will see the Ice Age, and their own age, in a whole new light.

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The Other Einstein: A Novel

The Other Einstein: A Novel Lowest new price: $8.95
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Author: Marie Benedict

One of PopSugar's "25 Books You're Going to Curl Up with this Fall."

"The Other Einstein takes you into Mileva's heart, mind, and study as she tries to forge a place for herself in a scientific world dominated by men."-Bustle

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

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This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession Lowest new price: $4.97
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Author: Daniel J. Levitin
Brand: Daniel J Levitin

In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain.

Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:

• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head

A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.

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  • This Is Your Brain on Music The Science of a Human Obsession

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Dinosaurs! Coloring Book

Dinosaurs! Coloring Book Lowest new price: $2.89
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Author: Jan Sovak
Brand: Dover Publications

Based on the most up-to-date information available, this awe-inspiring collection features all the popular dinosaurs — plus recent discoveries! Thirty highly detailed drawings spotlight the Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Iguanodon, Diplodocus, Carnotaurus, Oviraptor, Gastonia, Troodon, and others — all set in their natural habitats. A great choice for dinosaur fans of all ages!

Features:

  • Dover Publications

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