ABBEY'S CHOICE FEBRUARY 2016 -----
A rigorous, sceptical, deeply reported look at the new science behind the mind's extraordinary ability to heal the body.
Have you ever felt a surge of adrenaline after narrowly avoiding an accident? Salivated at the sight (or thought) of a sour lemon? Felt turned on just from hearing your partner's voice? If so, then you've experienced how dramatically the workings of your mind can affect your body.
Yet while we accept that stress or anxiety can damage our health, the idea of 'healing thoughts' was long ago hijacked by New Age gurus and spiritual healers. Recently, however, serious scientists from a range of fields have been uncovering evidence that our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs can ease pain, heal wounds, fend off infection and heart disease, even slow the progression of AIDS and some cancers.
In Cure, award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of medicine. We learn how meditation protects against depression and dementia, how social connections increase life expectancy, and how patients who feel cared for recover from surgery faster. We meet Iraq war veterans who are using a virtual arctic world to treat their burns and children whose ADHD is kept under control with half the normal dose of medication. We watch as a transplant patient uses the smell of lavender to calm his hostile immune system and an Olympic runner shaves vital seconds off his time through mind-power alone.
Drawing on the very latest research, Marchant explores the vast potential of the mind's ability to heal, acknowledges its limitations, and explains how we can make use of the findings in our own lives.
A comprehensive collection of historical readings in the philosophy of mathematics and a selection of influential contemporary work, this much-needed introduction reveals the rich history of the subject. An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader brings together an impressive collection of primary sources from ancient and modern philosophy. Arranged chronologically and featuring introductory overviews explaining technical terms, this accessible reader is easy-to-follow and unrivaled in its historical scope. With selections from key thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and Kant, it connects the major ideas of the ancients with contemporary thinkers. A selection of recent texts from philosophers including Quine, Putnam, Field and Maddy offering insights into the current state of the discipline clearly illustrates the development of the subject. Presenting historical background essential to understanding contemporary trends and a survey of recent work, An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader is required reading for undergraduates and graduate students studying the philosophy of mathematics and an invaluable source book for working researchers.
For astronaut Ron Garan, living on the International Space Station was a powerful, transformative experience - one that he believes holds the key to solving our problems here on Earth.
On space walks and through windows, Garan was struck by the stunning beauty of the Earth from space but sobered by knowing how much needed to be done to help this troubled planet. And yet on the International Space Station, Garan, a former fighter pilot, was working side by side with Russians, who only a few years before were the enemy. If fifteen nationalities could collaborate on one of the most ambitious, technologically complicated undertakings in history, surely we can apply that kind of cooperation and innovation toward creating a better world. That spirit is what Garan calls the orbital perspective.
Garan vividly conveys what it was like learning to work with a diverse group of people in an environment only a handful of human beings have ever known. But more importantly, he describes how he and others are working to apply the orbital perspective here at home, embracing new partnerships and processes to promote peace and combat hunger, thirst, poverty, and environmental destruction.
This book is a call to action for each of us to care for the most important space station of all: planet Earth. You don't need to be an astronaut to have the orbital perspective. Garan's message of elevated empathy is an inspiration to all who seek a better world.
From man's first exploration of natural materials and their transformations to today's materials science, chemistry has always been the central discipline that underpins both the physical and biological sciences, as well as technology. In this Very Short Introduction, William H Brock traces the unique appeal of this fundamental science throughout history. Covering alchemy, early-modern chemistry, pneumatic chemistry and Lavoisier's re-interpretation of chemical change, the rise of organic and physical chemistry, and the transforming power of synthesis, Brock explores the extraordinary and often puzzling transformations of natural and artificial materials, as well as the men and women who experimented, speculated, and explained matter and change.
Written by Dr David Rothery, a volcanologist, geologist, planetary scientist and Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis: A Complete Introduction is designed to give you everything you need to succeed, all in one place. It covers the key areas that students are expected to be confident in, outlining the basics in clear English and providing added-value features like a glossary of essential terms and even examples of questions you might be asked in your seminar or exam. The book uses a structure chosen to cover the essentials of most university courses, with an introduction on how the Earth moves, followed by separate sections on volcanoes (including eruptions, types of volcano, volcanic hazards, volcanoes and climate, monitoring volcanoes, predicting eruptions and living with volcanoes), earthquakes (including faults, measurement, seismic monitoring, prediction, prevention and preparedness) and tsunamis.
From best-selling authors Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins comes the 21st century's definitive book on world hunger. Driven by the question, Why hunger despite an abundance of food? Lappe and Collins refute the myths that prevent us from addressing the root causes of hunger across the globe. World Hunger: Ten Myths draws on extensive new research to offer fresh, often startling, insights about tough questions - from climate change and population growth to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the role of U.S. foreign aid, and more. Brimming with little-known but life-changing examples of solutions to hunger worldwide, this myth-busting book argues that sustainable agriculture can feed the world, that we can end nutritional deprivation affecting one-quarter of the world's people, and that most in the Global North have more in common with hungry people than they thought. For novices and scholars alike, World Hunger: Ten Myths will inspire a whole new generation of hunger-fighters.
Environmental politics has many faces and operates at multiple scales: it preoccupies individuals as well as governments, drives local agreements as well as international treaties, results in minor business changes as well as wholesale business decisions, and fluctuates between a politics of protest and one of accommodation. In this Very Short Introduction Andrew Dobson offers a lively and comprehensive commentary on the many facets of environmental politics today. Looking towards the future, he asks whether environmental politics will be comfortably accommodated by mainstream politics, or whether the advent of the Anthropocene - a whole new geological epoch driven by human impact on the environment - will herald a break with the politics of growth that has dominated social life since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change "represents a clear and present danger to civilization." In June 2015, the Pope declared that action on climate change is a moral issue.
This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions. Alongside detailed but highly accessible descriptions of what is causing climate change, this entry in the What Everyone Needs to Know series answers questions about the practical implications of this growing force on our world:
· How will climate change impact you and your family in the coming decades?
· What are the future implications for owners of coastal property?
· Should you plan on retiring in South Florida or the U.S. Southwest or Southern Europe?
· What occupations and fields of study will be most in demand in a globally warmed world?
· What impact will climate change have on investments and the global economy?
As the world struggles to stem climate change and its effects, everyone will become a part of this story of the century. Here is what you need to know.
Discover the fascinating and cutting-edge science behind the greatest question of all: is there life beyond Earth? For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe. In the last few years, scientists have made huge strides towards answering that question. In The Aliens are Coming!, comedian and bestselling science writer Ben Miller takes us on a fantastic voyage of discovery, from the beginnings of life on earth to the very latest search for alien intelligence. What soon becomes clear is that the hunt for extra-terrestrials is also an exploration of what we actually mean by life. What do you need to kickstart life? How did the teeming energy of the Big Bang end up as frogs, trees and quantity surveyors? How can evolution provide clues about alien life? What might it look like? (Probably not green and sexy, sadly.) As our probes and manned missions venture out into the solar system, and our telescopes image Earth-like planets with ever-increasing accuracy, our search for alien life has never been more exciting - or better funded. The Aliens are Coming! is a comprehensive, accessible and hugely entertaining guide to that search, and our quest to understand the very nature of life itself.
Do men and women experience taste and smell differently? What do apple trees have in common with humans? And what happens when you eat a meal completely in the dark?
Moved by a death in the family to recreate the dishes her mother prepared in her childhood home, former Wall Street Journal reporter Diane Fresquez embarked on a year-long journey to investigate the links between taste, memory and the molecular building blocks of what we eat, seeking out scientists and entrepreneurs who are trying to reveal the secrets of flavour.
In this weird and wonderful jaunt through the world of sensory science, Fresquez meets a brewery owner who's developed a banana-flavored beer meant to appeal to young women, and an entrepreneur who won't rest until he develops the perfect mead, the ancient liquor considered the ancestor of all fermented drinks. She encounters a young mother and PhD student whose research shows that what a mother eats can influence the flavour of her breast milk, and a scientist in The Netherlands who does research on flavour and memory at an Orwellian university lab called 'The Restaurant of the Future'.
Fresquez even includes a series of recipes based on her fascinating adventures.
Britain's most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know. Science is king. Every week, headlines announce new breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe, new technologies that will transform our environment, new medical advances that will extend our lives.
Science is giving us unprecedented insight into some of the big questions that have challenged humanity ever since we've been able to formulate those questions. Where did we come from? What is the ultimate destiny of the universe? What are the building blocks of the physical world? What is consciousness? 'What We Cannot Know' asks us to rein in this unbridled enthusiasm for the power of science. Marcus Du Sautoy explores the limits of human knowledge, to probe whether there is anything we truly cannot know. Are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe? Are some regions of the future beyond the predictive powers of science and mathematics? Is time before the big bang a no go arena? Are there ideas so complex that they are beyond the conception of our finite human brains?
Can brains even investigate themselves or does the analysis enter an infinite loop from which it is impossible to rescue itself? Are there true statements that can never be proved true? Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out what we cannot know.
Mathematics didn't spring spontaneously to life, rules and definitions set in stone for all time. Its progress story has rich connections with measurement and money that have often shaped its development and driven its progress, a process that continues to this day. Quite Right explains how simple mathematical ideas have evolved all the way from prehistoric times so that they pervade almost every aspect of life in the 21st century.
Most histories of mathematics look at the narrow role of professional mathematicians through the ages. Professor Biggs' sweeping tale is far wider. Making use of new discoveries of artefacts and documents, he reveals the part that mathematics has played in the human story and reflects on the nature of mathematics itself. The story reveals the power and beauty of mathematical concepts, which often belie their utilitarian origins. The twin paradigms of logical justification and algorithmic calculation recur throughout the book. Another theme is the relationship between mathematics and measurement of all kinds. No other book covers money and measurement in this way.
Includes sections on:
-- The origins of banking and interest in ancient Mesopotamia
-- Using mathematics to keep secrets in medieval times
-- The impact of tax and trade on the development of mathematics
-- Financial speculation in our information age
-- The role mathematics plays today in keeping you safe
Quite Right is a fascinating story, suitable for anyone interested in the foundations of the mathematical world we live in.
Aldo Leopold: A Fierce Green Fire (OUP; 1999) remains the only biography for the general public on Leopold. It was praised for being concise and readable, and written in the context of the history of American conservation. In a second edition, Marybeth Lorbiecki has added new chapters on Leopold's legacy-the ripple effects of the ecological knowledge, ethics, and leadership he instilled in his wife's family in the Southwest, his children, graduate students, organizations-and on his relevance today. In a new introduction, Lorbiecki explains why Leopold is still so relevant, focusing on the new ecological challenges we face and the myriad of ways his work influences us today, including phenological studies he started at the Shack and their role in proving climate change, and responses to these challenges based on a land ethic. New chapters focus on the Leopold children and their contributions to the land ethic and ecology in their different scientific fields, Leopold's key graduate students and their contributions to various fields, and the recent activities of various organizations that Leopold helped launch.
We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? What role does Neanderthal DNA play in our genetic makeup? How did the theory of eugenics embraced by Nazi Germany first develop? How is trust passed down in Africa, and silence inherited in Tasmania? How are private companies like Ancestry.com uncovering, preserving and potentially editing the past? In The Invisible History of the Human Race, Christine Kenneally reveals that, remarkably, it is not only our biological history that is coded in our DNA, but also our social history. She breaks down myths of determinism and draws on cutting-edge research to explore how both historical artefacts and our DNA tell us where we have come from and where we may be going.
This book examines a little-noted contradiction inherent in the two essential elements of Darwin's theory of biological evolution - natural selection and reproduction. Physiologist Stephen Rothman makes the revolutionary claim that the evolution of life's complex and diverse reproductive mechanisms is not the consequence of natural selection. In so doing, he exposes the deepest question possible about life's nature - its reason for being.
In meticulously detailed but accessible terms he lays out the crux of the paradox and offers an intriguing solution within a naturalistic framework. In an ostensibly purposeless universe, somehow purposeful life has evolved. For all living things there are two overarching purposes: survival and the creation of new life. Natural selection is about the survival of existing life, but has no interest in life's future, about whether it persists or perishes. By contrast, reproduction is only about the future of life, and has no interest in existing life except as a means to that end. Where do these purposes come from? As Rothman demonstrates, at every level life is wired to react to danger. Counterintuitively, without the danger to its existence, life would not have come into being. As for reproduction, nature's destructive forces drive the creation of new life.
Written with great clarity and informed by deep learning, this elegant, thoughtful work tackles some of the most challenging questions raised by the theory of evolution, while calling to mind Darwin's famous words from the conclusion of On the Origin of Species There is a grandeur in this view of life.
An estimated 4.6 billion years ago, the Earth and Moon were formed in a violent impact. On this, many agree, and even more that a long time after that, life began. However, few know that the first life on the Earth may not have emerged on this planet, but could, in fact, have begun on Mars, brought here by meteorites. In this revolutionary book, leading scientists Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink rewrite the principal account of the history of life on Earth. They show not only how the rise of animals was delayed for billions of years, but also what it was that first forced fish out of the sea and onto the land. Together, the two scientists explain how developments in the environment led to multiple Ice Ages before the emergence of dinosaurs and other giant animals, and what the true cause of these great beasts' eventual extinction was. Finally, charting the course of our own evolution, they explore whether this generation will see the end of the human species. A New History of Life proves not only that much of what we think we know should be unlearned, but also that the true history of life on Earth is much more surprising and wonderful than we could ever have imagined.
The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. The media tells us that our genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.
So we've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work?
According to legend, Ernest Hemingway was once given a six-toed cat by an old sea captain, and her distinctive descendants still roam the writer's Florida estate today. Scientists now know that the fault driving this profusion of digits lies in a tiny genetic control switch, miles away (in molecular terms) from the gene that 'makes' toes. And it's the same mistake that gives rise to multi-toed humans too.
There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with myriad control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. And figuring out how it all works - how your genes make you, you - is a major challenge for researchers around the world.
Drawing on stories ranging from six-toed cats and stickleback hips to wobbly worms and zombie genes, geneticist Kat Arney explores the how our genes work, creating a companion reader to the book of life itself.
In Science for Life acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg cuts through the vested interests and confusing contradictory statements that litter the media and the internet, to give a clear picture of what science is telling us right now about changing our lives for the better. Discover the much-advertised antioxidants that aren't good for you, the truth about fat and sugar and why one of the healthiest foods contains carcinogens and 21 E-numbers. Find out what does and what doesn't enhance brainpower - from the failure of playing Mozart to babies to the surprising abilities of caffeine and nicotine. Understand the tools that advertisers use to persuade us and how to turn the psychological pressure back on them. From the shortcomings of the five second rule to the truth about phone masts and nuclear power, kept up-to-date on a partnering website, Science for Life is your guide to surviving and thriving in the modern world.
The variety of the mycological world is far greater than most people imagine. Tens of thousands of fungal species have been described and many more are known only from the abundance of their genes in soil and water. Fungi are hugely important as agents of wood decay in forests, and, as parasites, they have caused the deaths of millions of people by ravaging crops and reshaping natural ecosystems. Fungi perform a variety of essential functions in ecosystems, and are important to both agriculture and biotechnology. Their importance is now becoming better appreciated among scientists, though there is much still to be understood concerning their taxonomy and evolution. This Very Short Introduction highlights the variety and extraordinary natures of fungi, revealing the remarkable facts of fungal biology and the global significance of these enchanting organisms.
Many people think wild tigers are on the road to recovery, but they are in greater danger than ever - from a menace few experts saw coming.
There may be only three thousand wild tigers left in the entire world. More shocking is the fact that twice that many-some six thousand-have been bred on farms, not for traditional medicine but to supply a luxury-goods industry that secretly sells tiger-bone wine, tiger-skin decor, and exotic cuisine enjoyed by China's elite.
Two decades ago, international wildlife investigator J. A. Mills went undercover to expose bear farming in China and discovered the plot to turn tigers into nothing more than livestock. Thus begins the story of a personal crusade in which Mills mobilizes international forces to awaken the world to a conspiracy so pervasive that it threatens every last tiger in the wild.
In this memoir of triumph, heartbreak, and geopolitical intrigue, Mills and a host of heroic comrades try to thwart a Chinese cadre's plan to launch billion-dollar industries banking on the extinction of not just wild tigers but also elephants and rhinos. Her journey takes her across Asia, into the jungles of India and Nepal, to Russia and Africa, traveling by means from elephant back to presidential motorcade, in the company of man-eaters, movie stars, and world leaders. She finds reason for hope in the increasing number of Chinese who do not want the blood of the last wild tigers to stain their beloved culture and motherland.
Set against the backdrop of China's ascendance to world dominance, Blood of the Tigertells of a global fight to rein in the forces of greed on behalf of one of the world's most treasured and endangered animals.
In this inspiring book, best-selling author and dog whisperer Cesar Millan applies decades of experience to reveal the many benefits of the human-canine relationship using 10 essential life lessons gained from a group of very special dogs. From his roster of celebrity clients to his reality television series, Cesar Millan is America's most sought-after dog behavior expert. Now, Cesar reveals the amazing ways that our pets can teach us. In this affecting book, he shares 10 heartwarming stories about the dogs that have inspired him the most and the lessons he's learned from them about trust, love, confidence, and more. Each chapter spotlights the essential traits that allow these animals to make the best of their situations from authenticity to calmness to respectfulness and reveals how we can embrace these values to enrich our own lives. Sharing never-before-told insights, stories from celebrity clients, as well as special tips for dog training and care, Cesar imparts a unique blueprint for seeking happiness and fulfillment through canine companionship.
Taking an ecological approach to our evolution, Clive Finlayson considers the origins of modern humans within the context of a drying climate and changing landscapes.
Finlayson argues that environmental change, particularly availability of water, played a critical role in shaping the direction of human evolution, contributing to our spread and success. He argues that our ancestors carved a niche for themselves by leaving the forest and forcing their way into a long-established community of carnivores in a tropical savannah as climate changes opened up the landscape. They took their chance at high noon, when most other predators were asleep. Adapting to this new lifestyle by shedding their hair and developing an active sweating system to keep cool, being close to fresh water was vital. As the climate dried, our ancestors, already bipedal, became taller and slimmer, more adept at travelling farther in search of water. The challenges of seeking water in a drying landscape moulded the minds and bodies of early humans, and directed their migrations and eventual settlements.
In this fresh and provocative view of a seven-million-year evolutionary journey, Finlayson demonstrates the radical implications for the interpretation of fossils and technologies and shows that understanding humans within an ecological context provides insights into the emergence and spread of Homo sapiens sapiens worldwide.
A fresh take on contemporary brain science research, this book presents neuroscience-the scientific study of brain, mind and behaviour-in easy-to-understand ways with a focus on concepts of interest to all science readers.
Employing intuitive ideas from mathematics, this quirky meta-memoir raises questions about our lives that most of us don't think to ask, but arguably should: What part of memory is reliable fact, what part creative embellishment? Which favorite presuppositions are unfounded, which statistically biased?
By conjoining two opposing mindsets - the suspension of disbelief required in storytelling and the skepticism inherent in the scientific method - bestselling mathematician John Allen Paulos has created an unusual hybrid, a composite of personal memories and mathematical approaches to re-evaluating them. Entertaining vignettes from Paulos's biography abound--ranging from a bullying math teacher and a fabulous collection of baseball cards to romantic crushes, a grandmother s petty larceny, and his quite unintended role in getting George Bush elected president in 2000. These vignettes serve as springboards to many telling perspectives: simple arithmetic puts life-long habits in a dubious new light; higher dimensional geometry helps us see that we're all rather peculiar; nonlinear dynamics explains the narcissism of small differences cascading into very different siblings; logarithms and exponentials yield insight on why we tend to become bored and jaded as we age; and there are tricks and jokes, probability and coincidences, and much more.
For fans of Paulos or newcomers to his work, this witty commentary on his life - and yours - is fascinating reading.
Mosquitoes are annoying (and can be deadly) but they can also be beautiful. This book provides a pictorial guide to almost 100 mosquito species and includes notes on their biology, habitats and association with disease. Australia has a diverse range of mosquitoes and although relatively few pose a serious health risk, public health is an important issue. This book provides information on how to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease through tips on keeping your home free of mosquitoes and reducing their bites when you are out and about in the Australian environment.
This is both a field guide for travellers and a reference book for the home library. It covers more than 590 wildflowers from all parts of the continent. Each species is beautifully illustrated and described in clear, concise language including leaves, flowers, fruit, flowering season and habitat. There is a distribution maps for every species.