Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It's not about carbon - it's about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.
In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, exposes the myths that are clouding climate debate.
You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day.
You have been told it's impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it - it just requires breaking every rule in the 'free-market' playbook.
You have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge.
In fact, all around the world, the fight back is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring. It's about changing the world, before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe.
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical - and sometimes devastating - breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions.
Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ...and our future.
Sprinter and Sprummer challenges the traditional four seasons, and encourages us to think about how we view changes in our natural world. Since 1788, Australia has carried the yoke of four European seasons that make no sense in most parts of the country. We may like them for historical or cultural reasons, or because they are the same throughout the world, but they tell us nothing of our natural environment. It's time to reject those seasons and to adopt a system that brings us more in tune with our plants and animals - a system that helps us to notice and respond to climate change. Using examples from his 25 years working in botanic gardens, author Timothy Entwisle illustrates how our natural world really responds to seasonal changes in temperature, rainfall and daylight, and why it would be better to divide up the year based on what Australian plants do rather than ancient rites of the Northern Hemisphere. Sprinter and Sprummer opens with the origins and theory of the traditional seasonal system, and goes on to review the Aboriginal seasonal classifications used across Australia. Entwisle then proposes a new five-season approach, explaining the characteristics of each season, along with the biological changes that define them. The book uses seasons to describe the fascinating triggers in the life of a plant (and plant-like creatures), using charismatic flora such as carnivorous plants, the Wollemi Pine and orchids, as well as often overlooked organisms such as fungi. The final chapter considers climate change and how the seasons are shifting whether we like it or not.
You may have watched hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons (and its sister show Futurama) without ever realising that they contain enough maths to form an entire university course.
In The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Simon Singh explains how the brilliant writers, some of the mathematicians, have smuggled in mathematical jokes throughout the cartoon's twenty-five year history, exploring everything from to Mersenne primes, from Euler's equation to the unsolved riddle of P vs. NP, from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, and much more.
With wit, clarity and a true fan's zeal, Singh analyses such memorable episodes as 'Bart the Genius' and 'Homer ' to offer an entirely new insight into the most successful show in television history.
From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd.com, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.
How can calculus help you survive the zombie apocalypse? Colin Adams, humor columnist for the Mathematical Intelligencer and one of today's most outlandish and entertaining popular math writers, demonstrates how in this zombie adventure novel. Zombies and Calculus is the account of Craig Williams, a math professor at a small liberal arts college in New England, who, in the middle of a calculus class, finds himself suddenly confronted by a late-arriving student whose hunger is not for knowledge. As the zombie virus spreads and civilization crumbles, Williams uses calculus to help his small band of survivors defeat the hordes of the undead. Along the way, readers learn how to avoid being eaten by taking advantage of the fact that zombies always point their tangent vector toward their target, and how to use exponential growth to determine the rate at which the virus is spreading. Williams also covers topics such as logistic growth, gravitational acceleration, predator-prey models, pursuit problems, the physics of combat, and more. With the aid of his story, you too can survive the zombie onslaught. Featuring easy-to-use appendixes that explain the mathematics necessary to enjoy the book, Zombies and Calculus is suitable for recent converts to calculus as well as more advanced readers familiar with multivariable calculus.
What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? In this groundbreaking and engaging look at one of the most important issues facing us today, George Marshall, known for his work on the psychology of climate change denial, shows that even when we accept that climate change is a dire problem, our human brains are wired to ignore it-and argues that we can overcome this. With engaging stories and drawing on years of his own research, Marshall confirms that humans are wired to respond strongest to threats that are visible, immediate, have historical precedent, have direct personal impact, and are caused by an enemy. Climate change is none of these-it's invisible, unprecedented, drawn out, impacts us indirectly, and is caused by us. Taking the reader deep into our evolutionary origins, Marshall argues that once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink and reimagine climate change. In the end, his book is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human: our limitations, our strengths, and how we can grow as we deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.
In Mind Change, Susan Greenfield discusses the all-pervading technologies that now surround us, and from which we derive instant information, connected identity, diminished privacy and exceptionally vivid here-and-now experiences. In her view they are creating a new environment, with vast implications, because our minds are physically adapting: being rewired. What could this mean, and how can we harness, rather than be harnessed by, our new technological milieu to create better alternatives and more meaningful lives? Using the very latest research, Mind Change is intended to incite debate as well as yield the way forward. There is no better person to explain the situation in a way we can understand, and to offer new insights on how to improve our mental capacities and well being.
Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know - like that physical activity boosts your brain power. How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget - and so important to repeat new information? Is it true that men and women have different brains? In Brain Rules, Dr John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule - what scientists know for sure about how our brains work - and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.
We all worry occasionally that our brains - particularly our memories - just don't work as well as they used to. In this groundbreaking book, Andre Aleman shows that though the decline in our mental capacities begins earlier than we think, this is not such a bad thing. In fact, older people are more resistant to the effects of stress, cope better with their emotions and with complex situations, and are - generally speaking - happier than their younger counterparts. Our Ageing Brain is a refreshing, informative, and ultimately positive book about what happens to our brains as we grow older. Drawing on the latest research, it tells you what takes place in the brain and why, how to recognise the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and how to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to ways to slow down the ageing process. It concludes with the seven most important things you can do to keep your brain healthy.
Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options - both to rise in the military and to explore other careers - she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life. In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and science - secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they'd known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there's only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions - you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!
In a world full of science, the balance of power between sciences is changing. Advances in physics, chemistry, and other natural sciences have given us extraordinary control over our world. Now the younger sciences of brain and mind are applying the scientific method not only to our environments, but to us. In recent years funding and effort poured into brain research. We are entering the era of the brain supremacy. What will the new science mean for us, as individuals, consumers, parents and citizens? Should we be excited, or alarmed, by the remarkable promises we read about in the media - promises of drugs that can boost our brain power, ever more subtle marketing techniques, even machines that can read minds? What is the neuroscience behind these claims, and how do scientists look inside living human brains to get their astonishing results? The Brain Supremacy is a lucid and rational guide to this exciting new world. Using recent examples from the scientific literature and the media, it explores the science behind the hype, revealing how techniques like fMRI actually work and what claims about using them for mindreading really mean. The implications of this amazingly powerful new research are clearly and entertainingly presented. Looking to the future, the book sets current neuroscience in its social and ethical context, as an increasingly important influence on how all of us live our lives.
Cognitive neuroscience explores the relationship between our minds and our brains, most recently by drawing on brain imaging techniques to align neural mechanisms with psychological processes. In Mind and Brain, William Uttal offers a critical review of cognitive neuroscience, examining both its history and modern developments in the field. He pays particular attention to the role of brain imaging--especially functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)--in studying the mind-brain relationship. He argues that, despite the explosive growth of this new mode of research, there has been more hyperbole than critical analysis of what experimental outcomes really mean. With Mind and Brain, Uttal attempts a synoptic synthesis of this substantial body of scientific literature. Uttal considers psychological and behavioral concerns that can help guide the neuroscientific discussion; work done before the advent of imaging systems; and what brain imaging has brought to recent research. Cognitive neuroscience, Uttal argues, is truly both cognitive and neuroscientific. Both approaches are necessary and neither is sufficient to make sense of the greatest scientific issue of all: how the brain makes the mind.
The atom. The Big Bang. DNA. Natural selection. All ideas that have revolutionised science - and that were dismissed out of hand when they first appeared. The surprises haven't stopped: here, Michael Brooks, bestselling author of 13 Things that Don't Make Sense, investigates the new wave of unexpected insights that are shaping the future of scientific discovery. Through eleven radical new insights, Brooks takes us to the extreme frontiers of what we understand about the world. He journeys from the observations that might rewrite our history of the universe, through the novel biology behind our will to live, and on to the physiological root of consciousness. Along the way, he examines how the underrepresentation of women in clinical trials means that many of the drugs we use are less effective on women than men and more likely to have adverse effects, explores how merging humans with other species might provide a solution to the shortage of organ donors, and finds out if there is such a thing as the will to live. When we think about science, we often think of iron-clad facts. But today more than ever, our unshakeable truths have been shaken apart. As Michael Brooks reveals, the best science is about open-mindedness, imagination and a love of mind-boggling adventures at the edge of uncertainty.
In the Eastern Aegean lies an island of forested hills and olive groves, with streams, marshes and a lagoon that nearly cuts the land in two. It was here, over two thousand years ago, that Aristotle came to work. Aristotle was the greatest philosopher of all time. Author of the Poetics, Politics and Metaphysics, his work looms over the history of Western thought. But he was also a biologist - the first. Aristotle explored the mysteries of the natural world. With the help of fishermen, hunters and farmers, he catalogued the animals in his world, dissected them, observed their behaviours and recorded how they lived, fed, and bred. In his great zoological treatise, Historia animalium, he described the mating habits of herons, the sexual incontinence of girls, the stomachs of snails, the sensitivity of sponges, the flippers of seals, the sounds of cicadas, the destructiveness of starfish, the dumbness of the deaf, the flatulence of elephants and the structure of the human heart. And then, in another dozen books, he explained it all. In The Lagoon, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle's science. He goes to Lesbos to see the creatures that Aristotle saw, where he saw them, and explores the Philosopher's deep ideas and inspired guesses - as well as the things that he got wildly wrong. Leroi shows how Aristotle's science is deeply intertwined with his philosophical system and how modern science even now bears the imprint of its inventor.
Why did support for the space program decrease so sharply after (or, really, even before) the first moon landing? Clearly this decline had much to do with the waning of the original Cold War impetus that had sparked the moon program to begin with. As Cold War tensions with the Soviets eased by the late 1960s, and the United States won the space race with the successful moon landing, there was little incentive to continue to expand or even maintain steady funding for a program that, for all its real contributions to technological advancement, entertainment, and national esteem, had largely come to be seen as a Cold War goal rather than a continuing, sustained program of space exploration. In this context, which a good number of Americans accepted, the moon was not a starting point for a glorious era of exploration, but an endpoint in a Cold War race with the Soviets. Unusual works on space history, this fluidly written debut book looks at the Apollo moon landings in the late 1960s and early 1970s from a cultural perspective. Rather than examining them in their familiar Cold War context, Matt Tribbe uses them to explore larger trends in American culture and society during this period, specifically the turn away from the rationalism that dominated social thought through the 1950s and early 1960s and found its fullest expression in the urge to go to the moon. Rather than studying the space program itself, he focuses more on the peculiarities of an American society and culture that sent men to the moon semiannually over the 1968-72 period, and then stopped. Hippies used the event to comment on the lameness of straights, straights to lambast hippies. Intellectuals on the Left discussed it in their critiques of American society and culture; intellectuals on the Right discussed it in their critiques of intellectuals on the Left. Those who placed their faith in technocratic rationalism praised it as a triumph of rational planning, while growing numbers of skeptics pointed out the spiritual emptiness of such a rationalist endeavor. The man in the street, of course, had something to say as well, and he or she expressed a wide variety of views in countless newspapers and television interviews. Meanwhile, armchair philosophers of all stripes, from newspaper editorialists to politicians to NASA technocrats, waxed poetically about what it revealed of the nature of man and mankind's destiny. While not a traditional space history, this book will appeal to those fascinated by postwar culture and society and will particularly add to the growing area of the history of the 1970s.
Earth has been witness to mammoths and dinosaurs, global ice ages, continents colliding or splitting apart, comets and asteroids crashing catastrophically to the surface, as well as the birth of humans who are curious understand it all. But how was it discovered? How was the evidence for it collected and interpreted? And what kinds of people have sought to reconstruct this past that no human witnessed or recorded? In this sweeping and magisterial book, Martin J. S. Rudwick, the premier historian of the earth sciences, tells the gripping human story of the gradual realization that the Earth's history has not only been unimaginably long but also astonishingly eventful. Rudwick begins in the seventeenth century with Archbishop James Ussher, who famously dated the creation of the cosmos to 4004 BC. His narrative then turns to the crucial period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when inquisitive intellectuals, who came to call themselves geologists, began to interpret rocks and fossils, mountains and volcanoes, as natural archives of Earth's history. He then shows how this geological evidence was used - and is still being used - to reconstruct a history of the earth that is as varied and unpredictable as human history itself. Along the way, Rudwick defies the popular view of this story as a conflict between science and religion and reveals that the modern scientific account of the Earth's deep history retains strong roots in Judaeo-Christian ideas. Extensively illustrated, Earth's Deep History is an engaging and impressive capstone to Rudwick's distinguished career. Though the story of the Earth is inconceivable in length, Rudwick moves with grace from the earliest imaginings of our planet's deep past to today's scientific discoveries, proving that this is a tale at once timeless and timely.
On this blue planet, long before pterodactyls took to the skies and tyrannosaurs prowled the continents, tiny green organisms populated the ancient oceans. Fossil and phylogenetic evidence suggests that chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for coloring these organisms, has been in existence for some 85 per cent of Earth's long history - that is, for roughly 3.8 billion years. In How the Earth Turned Green, Joseph E. Armstrong traces the history of these verdant organisms, which many would call plants, from their ancient beginnings to the diversity of green life that inhabits the Earth today. Using an evolutionary framework, How the Earth Turned Green addresses questions such as: Should all green organisms be considered plants? Why do these organisms look the way they do? How are they related to one another and to other chlorophyll-free organisms? How do they reproduce? How have they changed and diversified over time? And how has the presence of green organisms changed the Earth's ecosystems? More engaging than a traditional textbook and displaying an astonishing breadth, How the Earth Turned Green will both delight and enlighten embryonic botanists and any student interested in the evolutionary history of plants.
Wild Kingdom meets Sex and the City in this scientific perspective on dating and relationships. A specialist in animal behavior compares the courtship rituals and mating behaviors of animals to their human equivalents, revealing the many and often surprising ways we are both similar to and different from other species. What makes an individual attractive to the opposite sex? Does size matter? Why do we tend to keep score in our relationships? From perfume and cosmetics to online dating and therapy, our ultimate goal is to successfully connect with someone. So why is romance such an effort for humans, while animals have little trouble getting it right? Wild Connection is full of fascinating and suggestive observations about animal behavior. For example, in most species smell is an important component of determining compatibility. So are we humans doing the right thing by masking our natural scents with soaps and colognes? Royal albatrosses have a lengthy courtship period lasting several years. These birds instinctively know that casual hook-ups are not the way to find a reliable mate. And older female chimpanzees often mate with younger males. Is this the evolutionary basis of the human cougar phenomenon? Fun to read as well as educational, this unique take on the perennial human quest to find the ideal mate shows that we have much to learn from our cousins in the wild.
September 1st, 2014 marked the centenary of one of the best-documented extinctions in history - the demise of the Passenger Pigeon. From being the commonest bird on the planet 50 years earlier, the species became extinct on that fateful day, with the death in Cincinnati Zoo of Martha - the last of her kind. This book tells the tale of the Passenger Pigeon, and of Martha, and of author Mark Avery's journey in search of them. It looks at how the species was a cornerstone of the now much-diminished ecology of the eastern United States, and how the species went from a population that numbered in the billions to nil in a terrifyingly brief period of time. It also explores the largely untold story of the ecological annihilation of this part of America in the latter half of the 19th century, a time that saw an unprecedented loss of natural beauty and richness as forests were felled and the prairies were ploughed, with wildlife slaughtered more or less indiscriminately. Despite the underlying theme of loss, this book is more than another depressing tale of human greed and ecological stupidity. It contains an underlying message - that we need to re-forge our relationship with the natural world on which we depend, and plan a more sustainable future. Otherwise more species will go the way of the Passenger Pigeon. We should listen to the message from Martha.
A beautifully illustrated guide to every aspect of bird life and a complete survey of the world's orders and families of birds. It explore the wonders of the avian world with this ultimate reference book. The World of Birds is a spectacular guide to every aspect of bird life and a concise survey of the world's orders and families. Highly respected ornithologist and wildlife expert, Jonathan Elphick, begins by defining the distinguishing features of birds before going on to describe their evolution since the age of the dinosaurs. This beautiful volume has been published in a limited print-run partnership with the Natural History Museum, London and CSIRO Publishing. It will be a timeless reference and perfect gift for bird watchers.
A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia is the first comprehensive photographic guide to the birds of mainland Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo. It covers important bird species found in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as southern China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines. Of an estimated 10,000 living bird species in the world, Southeast Asia is home to over 3,000 of them--making this one of the most diverse avifaunal regions on the planet and a bird-watcher's paradise. This comprehensive guide covers over 660 species and has more than 700 color photographs. It is an invaluable guide to anyone planning a visit to Asia who is interested in birds. It gives a distribution map for each species and a checklist at the back. Many of the photographs in this book appear for the first time and have been carefully selected to illustrate the most important species and their key features. The text provides vital information to ensure accurate identifications. A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia is indispensable reading for bird lovers everywhere.
Birds are one of the most popular and visible forms of all wildlife and are inextricably linked with the development of human cultures all around the world. Over the years some of the most eye-catching species of bird have been officially or unofficially adopted by countries as symbols of their national identity; there are now almost 100 national birds spanning every imaginable group from condors to parrots, trogons to frigatebirds. Both a comprehensive listing and guide book, National BIrds provides a range of information from species data to how these birds have been used and abused through the ages. It recounts tales of how they came to be adopted and presents a wide range of official and cultural contexts where they appear from feathers in tribal costumes to stamps and currency.
More than one fifth of all known life forms on this planet are beetles. They are extraordinarily visually diverse: renowned British geneticist JBS Haldane, when asked what could be inferred about God from a study of His works, replied, An inordinate fondness for beetles. The Book of Beetles uncovers 600 significant examples, selected as part of a genome program. They are shown in glorious photographs, life size and in detail, alongside an engraving offering a side or open-winged view. Each profile includes a population distribution map, a table of essential information, and a commentary revealing notable characteristics, related species, and a diagnosis of the specimens importance in terms of taxonomy, rarity, behaviour, and scientific significance. Arranged taxonomically, this essential reference reveals the variety and importance of beetles for the first time.
There are more than 1,300 species of bats - or almost a quarter of the world's mammal species. But before you shrink in fear from these furry creatures of the night, consider the bat's fundamental role in our ecosystem. A single brown bat can eat several thousand insects in a night. Bats also pollinate and disperse the seeds for many of the plants we love, from bananas to mangoes and figs. Bats: A World of Science and Mystery presents these fascinating nocturnal creatures in a new light. Lush, full-color photographs portray bats in flight, feeding, and mating in views that show them in exceptional detail. The photos also take the reader into the roosts of bats, from caves and mines to the tents some bats build out of leaves. A comprehensive guide to what scientists know about the world of bats, the book begins with a look at bats' origins and evolution. The book goes on to address a host of questions related to flight, diet, habitat, reproduction, and social structure: Why do some bats live alone and others in large colonies? When do bats reproduce and care for their young? How has the ability to fly - unique among mammals - influenced bats' mating behavior? A chapter on biosonar, or echolocation, takes readers through the system of high-pitched calls bats emit to navigate and catch prey. More than half of the world's bat species are either in decline or already considered endangered, and the book concludes with suggestions for what we can do to protect these species for future generations to benefit from and enjoy. From the tiny bumblebee bat - the world's smallest mammal - to the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox, whose wingspan exceeds five feet, A Battery of Bats presents a panoramic view of one of the world's most fascinating yet least-understood species.