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Books

Evolution


The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life

The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life Lowest new price: $9.62
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Author: Robert Becker
Brand: William Morrow Paperbacks

The Body Electric tells the fascinating story of our bioelectric selves. Robert O. Becker, a pioneer in the filed of regeneration and its relationship to electrical currents in living things, challenges the established mechanistic understanding of the body. He found clues to the healing process in the long-discarded theory that electricity is vital to life. But as exciting as Becker's discoveries are, pointing to the day when human limbs, spinal cords, and organs may be regenerated after they have been damaged, equally fascinating is the story of Becker's struggle to do such original work. The Body Electric explores new pathways in our understanding of evolution, acupuncture, psychic phenomena, and healing.

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  • William Morrow Paperbacks

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Trump and a Post-Truth World

Trump and a Post-Truth World Lowest new price: $9.88
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Author: Ken Wilber

A provocative and balanced examination of our current social and political situation -- by a cutting-edge philosopher of our times.

The world is in turmoil. As populist waves roil the Brexit-bound U.K., along with Europe, Turkey, Russia, Asia—and most visibly, the U.S. with the election of Donald Trump—nationalist and extremist political forces threaten the progress made over many decades. Democracies are reeling in the face of nihilism and narcissism. How did we get here? And how, with so much antagonism, cynicism, and discord, can we mend the ruptures in our societies?
 
In this provocative work, philosopher Ken Wilber applies his Integral approach to explain how we arrived where we are and why there is cause for hope.  He lays much of the blame on a failure at the progressive, leading edge of society. This leading edge is characterized by the desire to be as just and inclusive as possible, and to it we owe the thrust toward women’s rights, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, and the concern for oppression in all its forms. This is all evolutionarily healthy; what is unhealthy is a creeping postmodernism that is elitist, “politically correct,” insistent on an egalitarianism that is itself paradoxically hierarchical, and that looks down on “deplorables.” Combine this with the techno-economic demise of many traditional ways of making a living, and you get an explosive mixture. As Wilber says, for some Trump voters: “Everywhere you are told that you are fully equal and deserve immediate and complete empowerment, yet everywhere are denied the means to actually achieve it. You suffocate, you suffer, and you get very, very mad.”

It is only when members of society’s leading edge can heal themselves that a new, Integral evolutionary force can emerge to move us beyond the social and political turmoil of our current time to offer genuine leadership toward greater wholeness.

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Introduction to Genetic Analysis

Introduction to Genetic Analysis Lowest new price: $90.94
Lowest used price: $84.90
Author: Anthony J.F. Griffiths
Brand: W H Freeman

With each edition, An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (IGA) evolves discovery by discovery with the world of genetic research, taking students from the foundations of Mendelian genetics to the latest findings and applications by focusing on the landmark experiments that define the field.

With its author team of prominent scientists who are also highly accomplished educators, IGA again combines exceptional currency, expansive updating of its acclaimed problem sets, and a variety of new ways to learn genetics. Foremost is this edition's dedicated version of W.H. Freeman's breakthrough online course space, LaunchPad, which offers a number of new and enhanced interactive tools that advance IGA's core mission: to show students how to analyze experimental data and draw their own conclusions based on scientific thinking while teaching students how to think like geneticists.

See what's in the LaunchPad

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  • W H Freeman

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From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds Lowest new price: $18.22
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Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Brand: Dennett Daniel C

One of America’s foremost philosophers offers a major new account of the origins of the conscious mind.

How did we come to have minds?

For centuries, this question has intrigued psychologists, physicists, poets, and philosophers, who have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled ability to create, imagine, and explain. Disciples of Darwin have long aspired to explain how consciousness, language, and culture could have appeared through natural selection, blazing promising trails that tend, however, to end in confusion and controversy. Even though our understanding of the inner workings of proteins, neurons, and DNA is deeper than ever before, the matter of how our minds came to be has largely remained a mystery.

That is now changing, says Daniel C. Dennett. In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, his most comprehensive exploration of evolutionary thinking yet, he builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett’s legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought.

In his inimitable style―laced with wit and arresting thought experiments―Dennett explains that a crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Language, itself composed of memes, turbocharged this interplay. Competition among memes―a form of natural selection―produced thinking tools so well-designed that they gave us the power to design our own memes. The result, a mind that not only perceives and controls but can create and comprehend, was thus largely shaped by the process of cultural evolution.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers, scientists, and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain anyone eager to make sense of how the mind works and how it came about.

4 color, 18 black-and-white illustrations

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  • From Bacteria to Bach and Back The Evolution of Minds

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Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe Lowest new price: $9.12
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Author: Robert Lanza
Brand: BenBella Books

Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world—a US News & World Report cover story called him a “genius” and a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe.

Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western, natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, increasingly being forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory, and at the same time, towards doubt and uncertainty in the physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around.

In this paradigm, life is not an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics. Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe—our own—from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the reader’s ideas of life—time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.

The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age. Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility, and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.

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  • BenBella Books

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Why Dinosaurs Matter (TED Books)

Why Dinosaurs Matter (TED Books) Lowest new price: $10.45
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Author: Kenneth Lacovara

What can long-dead dinosaurs teach us about our future? Plenty, according to paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara, who has discovered some of the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth.

By tapping into the ubiquitous wonder that dinosaurs inspire, Lacovara weaves together the stories of our geological awakening, of humanity’s epic struggle to understand the nature of deep time, the meaning of fossils, and our own place on the vast and bountiful tree of life.

Go on a journey––back to when dinosaurs ruled the Earth––to discover how dinosaurs achieved feats unparalleled by any other group of animals. Learn the secrets of how paleontologists find fossils, and explore quirky, but profound questions, such as: Is a penguin a dinosaur? And, how are the tiny arms of T. rex the key to its power and ferocity?

In this revealing book, Lacovara offers the latest ideas about the shocking and calamitous death of the dinosaurs and ties their vulnerabilities to our own. Why Dinosaurs Matter is compelling and engaging—a great reminder that our place on this planet is both precarious and potentially fleeting. “As we move into an uncertain environmental future, it has never been more important to understand the past.”

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Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body Lowest new price: $4.21
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Author: Neil Shubin
Brand: Neil Shubin

Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. The basis for the PBS series.

By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.


Oliver Sacks on Your Inner Fish
Since the 1970 publication of Migraine, neurologist Oliver Sacks's unusual and fascinating case histories of "differently brained" people and phenomena--a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome, a community of people born totally colorblind, musical hallucinations, to name a few--have been marked by extraordinary compassion and humanity, focusing on the patient as much as the condition. His books include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film), and 2007's Musicophilia. He lives in New York City, where he is Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University.

Your Inner Fish is my favorite sort of book--an intelligent, exhilarating, and compelling scientific adventure story, one which will change forever how you understand what it means to be human.

The field of evolutionary biology is just beginning an exciting new age of discovery, and Neil Shubin's research expeditions around the world have redefined the way we now look at the origins of mammals, frogs, crocodiles, tetrapods, and sarcopterygian fish--and thus the way we look at the descent of humankind. One of Shubin's groundbreaking discoveries, only a year and a half ago, was the unearthing of a fish with elbows and a neck, a long-sought evolutionary "missing link" between creatures of the sea and land-dwellers.

My own mother was a surgeon and a comparative anatomist, and she drummed it into me, and into all of her students, that our own anatomy is unintelligible without a knowledge of its evolutionary origins and precursors. The human body becomes infinitely fascinating with such knowledge, which Shubin provides here with grace and clarity. Your Inner Fish shows us how, like the fish with elbows, we carry the whole history of evolution within our own bodies, and how the human genome links us with the rest of life on earth.

Shubin is not only a distinguished scientist, but a wonderfully lucid and elegant writer; he is an irrepressibly enthusiastic teacher whose humor and intelligence and spellbinding narrative make this book an absolute delight. Your Inner Fish is not only a great read; it marks the debut of a science writer of the first rank.

(Photo © Elena Seibert)

A Note from Author Neil Shubin

This book grew out of an extraordinary circumstance in my life. On account of faculty departures, I ended up directing the human anatomy course at the University of Chicago medical school. Anatomy is the course during which nervous first-year medical students dissect human cadavers while learning the names and organization of most of the organs, holes, nerves, and vessels in the body. This is their grand entrance to the world of medicine, a formative experience on their path to becoming physicians. At first glance, you couldn't have imagined a worse candidate for the job of training the next generation of doctors: I'm a fish paleontologist.

It turns out that being a paleontologist is a huge advantage in teaching human anatomy. Why? The best roadmaps to human bodies lie in the bodies of other animals. The simplest way to teach students the nerves in the human head is to show them the state of affairs in sharks. The easiest roadmap to their limbs lies in fish. Reptiles are a real help with the structure of the brain. The reason is that the bodies of these creatures are simpler versions of ours.

During the summer of my second year leading the course, working in the Arctic, my colleagues and I discovered fossil fish that gave us powerful new insights into the invasion of land by fish over 375 million years ago. That discovery and my foray into teaching human anatomy led me to a profound connection. That connection became this book.

Click on thumbnails for larger images

The crew removing the first Tiktaalik in 2004
Ted Daeschler and Neil Shubin propecting for new sites (Credit: Andrew Gillis)
The valley where Tiktaalik was discovered (credit: Ted Daeschler, Academy of Natural Sciences)

The models of Tiktaalik being constructed for exhibition (Tyler Keillor, University of Chicago)
Me with one of the models (John Weinstein, Field Museum)






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The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code Lowest new price: $8.60
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Author: Sam Kean
Brand: Sam Kean

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In THE VIOLINIST'S THUMB, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2012: Born to parents named Gene and Jean, Sam Kean got enough ribbing in school science classes to develop an early aversion to genetics. Lucky for us, curiosity overcame conditioning as he became increasingly fascinated with the role DNA plays in shaping destiny. As he did in The Disappearing Spoon, a captivating chronicle of human interactions with each periodic element, Kean has created another page-turning scientific history in The Violinist’s Thumb. With fluid gusto, he turns the discovery of DNA into riveting human drama, then unfurls a series of anecdotes that expand our understanding of genetic influence on our lives as (sometimes uniquely gifted) individuals, from presidents to physicists to violin virtuosos with exceptionally dexterous digits. Kean illuminates clues embedded in our genes that help map the meandering trajectory of our species, then leaves readers with the distinct impression that all this has been a fantastic preamble to our species’ most thrilling (and likely chilling) chapter: manipulating our DNA to remake future humans, and all life on Earth. --Mari Malcolm

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The Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world

The Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world Lowest new price: $16.64
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Author: David Eagleman

"Which inventions have had the most impact―and why? What can they teach us about game-changing innovation? And how will science and technology revolutionize our lives next? The rest of The Runaway Species sheds light on these issues … bolstered by delightful visuals." ―Harvard Business Review

The Runaway Species is a deep-dive into the creative mind, a celebration of the human spirit, and a vision of how we can improve our future by understanding and embracing our ability to innovate. Anthony Brandt and David Eagleman seek to answer the question: what lies at the heart of humanity’s ability―and drive―to create?

Our ability to remake our world is unique among all living things. But where does our creativity come from, how does it work, and how can we harness it to improve our lives, schools, businesses, and institutions?

Brandt and Eagleman examine hundreds of examples of human creativity through dramatic storytelling and stunning images in this beautiful, full-color volume. By drawing out what creative acts have in common and viewing them through the lens of cutting-edge neuroscience, they uncover the essential elements of this critical human ability, and encourage a more creative future for all of us.

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Genetics: From Genes to Genomes, 5th edition

Genetics: From Genes to Genomes, 5th edition Lowest new price: $150.06
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Author: Leland H. Hartwell
Brand: imusti

Genetics: From Genes to Genomes is a cutting-edge, introductory genetics text authored by an unparalleled author team, including Nobel Prize winner, Leland Hartwell. The 5th edition continues to build upon the integration of Mendelian and molecular principles, providing students with the links between the early understanding of genetics and the new molecular discoveries that have changed the way the field of genetics is viewed.
Users who purchase Connect Plus receive access to the full online ebook version of the textbook as well as SmartBook.

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