When we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, mass migration and decisive wars. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?
As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; and today voting behaviour in the United States follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is the story of these forces, from plate tectonics and climate change, to atmospheric circulation and ocean currents.
How are the Himalayas linked to the orbit of the Earth, and to the formation of the British Isles? By taking us billions of years into our planet?s past, Professor Lewis Dartnell tells us the ultimate origin story. When we reach the point where history becomes science we see a vast web of connections that underwrites our modern world and helps us face the challenges of the future.
From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the Earth?s awesome impact on the shape of human civilizations.
Birds of prey spend most of their time in flight and, when viewed from the ground, they are notoriously hard to identify. Australian Birds of Prey in Flight is a photographic guide to the eagles, hawks, kites and falcons flying high above you. Individual species profiles describe distinguishing features and the text is supported by detailed images showing the birds at six different angles and poses, using photographs from many of Australia's leading bird photographers. Annotated multi-species comparison plates highlight key features that can help differentiate birds of prey in flight.
This book will be of value to anyone who wants to learn more about Australia's birds of prey, and will provide a useful reference for identifying soaring birds in the field, and also while trying to identify images from your own camera.
The ground-breaking scientific photographs of Australian Museum curator Gerard Krefft and taxidermist Henry Barnes are revealed for the first time.
In the mid-nineteenth century, some of the earliest adopters of the revolutionary new art form of photography were scientists. Museums around the world were quick to see the huge potential for capturing fleeting moments of life, death and discovery. At the Australian Museum, curator Gerard Krefft and taxidermist Henry Barnes began to experiment with photography in the 1860s, preparing and staging their specimens - from whales and giant sunfish to lifelike lyre bird scenes and fossils - and capturing them in thousands of beautiful and arresting images. Capturing Nature reveals this fascinating visual archive for the first time, profiling the remarkable partnership of Krefft and Barnes, their innovative work and the Australian Museum's urgent quest to become more scientific in its practices.
How does life create order from chaos? And just what is life, anyway? Leading physicist Paul Davies argues that to find the answers, we must first answer a deeper question- 'What is information?' To understand the origins and nature of life, Davies proposes a radical vision of biology which sees the underpinnings of life as similar to circuits and electronics, arguing that life as we know it should really be considered a phenomenon of information storage. In an extraordinary deep dive into the real mechanics of what we take for granted, Davies reveals how biological processes, from photosynthesis to birds' navigation abilities, rely on quantum mechanics, and explores whether quantum physics could prove to be the secret key of all life on Earth.
Lively and accessible, The Demon in the Machineboils down intricate interdisciplinary developments to take readers on an eye-opening journey towards the ultimate goal of science- unifying all theories of the living and the non-living, so that humanity can at last understand its place in the universe.
A radical, provocative argument that the global population will soon begin to decline, dramatically reshaping the social, political and economic landscape.
For half a century, statisticians, pundits and politicians have warned that a burgeoning planetary population will soon overwhelm the earth's resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different kind of alarm. Rather than growing exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline.
Throughout history, depopulation was the product of catastrophe: ice ages, plagues, the collapse of civilizations. This time, however, we're thinning ourselves deliberately, by choosing to have fewer babies than we need to replace ourselves. In much of the developed and developing world, that decline is already underway, as urbanisation, women's empowerment, and waning religiosity lead to smaller and smaller families. In EMPTY PLANET, Ibbitson and Bricker travel from South Florida to Sao Paulo, Seoul to Nairobi, Brussels to Delhi to Beijing, drawing on a wealth of research and firsthand reporting to illustrate the dramatic consequences of this population decline - and to show us why the rest of the developing world will soon join in.
They find that a smaller global population will bring with it a number of benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; good jobs will prompt innovation; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women. But enormous disruption lies ahead, too. We can already see the effects in Europe and parts of Asia, as aging populations and worker shortages weaken the economy and impose crippling demands on healthcare and vital social services. There may be earth-shaking implications on a geopolitical scale as well.
EMPTY PLANET is a hugely important book for our times. Captivating and persuasive, it is a story about urbanisation, access to education and the empowerment of women to choose their own destinies. It is about the secularisation of societies and the vital role that immigration has to play in our futures.
Rigorously researched and deeply compelling, Empty Planet offers a vision of a future that we can no longer prevent - but one that we can shape, if we choose to.
The last of the five naked-eye planets discovered in ancient times, Mercury has long been an elusive, enigmatic world. As seen from the Earth, it never emerges far from the Sun, and astronomers in the telescopic era found it challenging to work out such basic data as its rotation period, the inclination of its axis, and whether or not it possessed an atmosphere.
In this up-to-date and beautifully illustrated volume, William Sheehan brings our understanding of the planet into clear focus. He deftly traces the history from the earliest observations right up to the most recent explorations using radar and spacecraft. The planet has been surveyed in great detail, revealing vast volcanic plains, water-ice deposits in craters near the poles, and a remarkable core having the highest iron content of any body of the Solar System. A fascinating world in its own right, Mercury also holds important clues for scientists attempting to better understand the origin and evolution of the Earth.
'A great guide to the many things you can do to reduce your plastic footprint.' - Craig Reucassel, ABC TV's War on Waste Where do you start if you want to reduce the plastic in your life? Especially when most of us are wearing it, eating and drinking from it, sitting on it, walking on it, and probably even ingesting it. Anywhere you go, plastic is within easy reach - even in Antarctica and the North Pole.
We didn't quit plastic overnight. In fact, it's still a work in progress. But along the way, we have learnt a lot by researching the issue from the grass roots up, speaking to people, and finding out what works and what doesn't. We answer the tricky questions, like 'How will I wash my hair?', 'Do I have to give up crackers?', 'What about my bin liner?' and 'Is this going to be expensive?' As we continue to remove throw-away plastics from our daily lives, we've discovered we're friendlier with our local communities, we're eating healthier food, and de-cluttering happens by itself. It feels great!
'The simple, practical tips in this inspiring guide will help you reduce plastic in your daily life and help the planet too - every little bit counts!' - Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, Plastic Free July Foundation
Cutting global carbon emissions is a daunting challenge, but the technologies and strategies to meet it exist today. A small set of energy policies, designed and implemented well, can put us on the right path. Energy systems are large and complex, so energy policy must be focused and cost-effective. One-size-fits-all approaches simply won't get the job done.
Written by Hal Harvey, CEO of environmental policy firm Energy Innovation, with Robbie Orvis and Jeffrey Rissman of Energy Innovation, Designing Climate Solutions is a comprehensive guide to energy policies that will have the largest impact on carbon emissions, and how to design these policies well. In this unique resource, Harvey identifies the largest sources of global emissions, the best policies to target these sectors, and key design principles for each approach. Designing Climate Solutions gives professionals the tools they need to select, design, and implement a portfolio of policies that can put us on the path to a livable climate future.
The definitive guide to tropical Australian and central Indo- Pacific marine life, covering over 2,400 species of animals and plants, including many never before photographed or covered in field guides.
Country in Flight Australian birds are unique. In Birds of Australia, stunning photographs showcase the birds in intimate and breathtaking environments—from sea and shore birds to night birds, honeyeaters and finches. Nature photographer Don Hadden has captured over 100 birds in their native habitats.
The beauty of these birds, such as the tiny delicate Emuwren that lives exclusively among Spinifex clumps, the unmistakable majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle and the elusive Chestnut-breasted Whiteface of the gibber plains of South Australia, are all captured in their natural environments by peripatetic nature photographer Don Hadden.
Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Gravity is an accessible and authoritative introduction to a force as familiar to us as breathing.
Written by celebrated physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili, Gravity proves to be so much more than the adage- 'what goes up must come down'. Stuck to the surface of our planet we experience gravity merely as a force pulling us down to the ground, but we will discover that it is far richer than that.
Inside, you'll learn that gravity is not really a 'force' at all, but something altogether more profound. In fact, gravity controls the very shape of space and the passage of time themselves and, as such, the history and destiny of the entire Universe.
Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.
For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.
Many people know that Albert Einstein was a brilliant theoretical physicist who revolutionised modern science. What they may not know is that he only learnt to speak at four years old; that he was asked to become the President of Israel in 1952, but refused; or that he was under FBI surveillance for 22 years. This book presents an instant impression of his life with 50 irresistible facts converted into infographics to reveal the scientist behind the science.
Isaac Newton was accorded a semi-divine status in the 18th and 19th centuries, whereby his image linked together religion and science. The real human being behind the demi-god image has tended to be lost. He was a person who took credit from others, and crushed the reputations of those to whom he owed most. This most brilliant of mathematicians could alas be devious, deceptive and duplicitous. This work doesn't go looking at unpublished alchemical musings as is nowadays fashionable, rather it sticks to the historical record. At the time when the new science was born, we scrutinise the way he failed to discover the law of gravity or invent calculus. What exactly did Leibniz mean by describing him as 'a mind neither fair nor honest'? Why did Robert Hooke describe him as 'the veriest knave in all the house' and why was the astronomer Flamsteed calling him SIN (Sir Isaac Newton)?
We are here concerned to give him credit for what he did discover, which may not be quite what you had been told. This book redefines the genius of Isaac Newton, but without the heavily mythologised baggage of a bygone era. He believed in one God, one law and one bank.
We are marching towards a future in which three-quarters of humans live in cities, more than half of the landmass of the planet is urbanized, and the rest is covered by farms,pasture, and plantations. Increasingly, as we become ever more city-centric, species and ecosystems crafted by millions of years of evolution teeter on the brink of extinction - or have already disappeared.
A growing band of 'urban ecologists' is beginning to realize that natural selection is not so easily stopped. They are finding that more and more plants and animals are adopting new ways of living in the seemingly hostile environments of asphalt and steel that we humans have created. Carrion crows in the Japanese city of Sendai, for example, have learned to use passing traffic to crack nuts for them; otters and bobcats, no longer persecuted by humans, are waiting at the New York City gates; superb fairy-wrens in Australia have evolved different mating structures for nesting in strips of vegetation along roads; while distinct populations of London underground mosquitoes have been fashioned by the varied tube line environments.
Menno Schilthuizen shows us that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin had dared dream.
The Horse: A Natural History looks not only at the horse in the human context, but also at its own story, and at the way horses live and have lived both alongside people and independently. An initial chapter on Evolution & Development takes the reader from the tiny prehistoric Eohippus to modern-day Equus. Subsequent chapters on Anatomy & Biology and Society & Behaviour offer a succinct explanation of equine anatomy, and outline the current thinking on horse behaviour, incorporating information taken from the most recent research. Chapter 4, Horses & People, studies the part the horse has played in human history. Finally, a visually stunning gallery of breeds offers wonderful photographs alongside individual breed profiles. This is an essential addition to every horse enthusiasts library.
One of the most recognisable groups of birds in the world, Penguins offer a host of surprises. Normally associated with the frigid and inhospitable continent of Antarctica, just two species are found only here. Penguins are found throughout sub-Antarctic and even cool-temperate climates, spanning the southern hemisphere from southern South America, southwestern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and in multiple remote islands in the southern oceans.
The iconic and beautiful Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
With contributions from international experts, this timely and fully updated second edition of The Great Barrier Reef describes the animals, plants and other organisms of the reef, as well as the biological, chemical and physical processes that influence them. It contains new chapters on shelf slopes and fisheries and addresses pressing issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching and disease, and invasive species.
The Great Barrier Reef is a must-read for the interested reef tourist, student, researcher and environmental manager. While it has an Australian focus, it can equally be used as a reference text for most Indo-Pacific coral reefs.
The genesis of the digital idea and why it transformed civilization A few short decades ago, we were informed by the smooth signals of analog television and radio; we communicated using our analog telephones; and we even computed with analog computers. Today our world is digital, built with zeros and ones. Why did this revolution occur? The Discrete Charm of the Machine explains, in an engaging and accessible manner, the varied physical and logical reasons behind this radical transformation.
The spark of individual genius shines through this story of innovation: the stored program of Jacquard's loom; Charles Babbage's logical branching; Alan Turing's brilliant abstraction of the discrete machine; Harry Nyquist's foundation for digital signal processing; Claude Shannon's breakthrough insights into the meaning of information and bandwidth; and Richard Feynman's prescient proposals for nanotechnology and quantum computing. Ken Steiglitz follows the progression of these ideas in the building of our digital world, from the internet and artificial intelligence to the edge of the unknown. Are questions like the famous traveling salesman problem truly beyond the reach of ordinary digital computers? Can quantum computers transcend these barriers? Does a mysterious magical power reside in the analog mechanisms of the brain? Steiglitz concludes by confronting the moral and aesthetic questions raised by the development of artificial intelligence and autonomous robots.
The Discrete Charm of the Machine examines why our information technology, the lifeblood of our civilization, became digital, and challenges us to think about where its future trajectory may lead.
An exploration of mathematical style through 99 different proofs of the same theorem.
This book offers a multifaceted perspective on mathematics by demonstrating 99 different proofs of the same theorem. Each chapter solves an otherwise unremarkable equation in distinct historical, formal, and imaginative styles that range from Medieval, Topological, and Doggerel to Chromatic, Electrostatic, and Psychedelic. With a rare blend of humor and scholarly aplomb, Philip Ording weaves these variations into an accessible and wide-ranging narrative on the nature and practice of mathematics.
Inspired by the experiments of the Paris-based writing group known as the Oulipo - whose members included Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and Marcel Duchamp - Ording explores new ways to examine the aesthetic possibilities of mathematical activity. 99 Variations on a Proof is a mathematical take on Queneau's Exercises in Style, a collection of 99 retellings of the same story, and it draws unexpected connections to everything from mysticism and technology to architecture and sign language. Through diagrams, found material, and other imagery, Ording illustrates the flexibility and creative potential of mathematics despite its reputation for precision and rigor.
Readers will gain not only a bird's-eye view of the discipline and its major branches but also new insights into its historical, philosophical, and cultural nuances. Readers, no matter their level of expertise, will discover in these proofs and accompanying commentary surprising new aspects of the mathematical landscape.
Ever since Jurassic Park we thought we knew how dinosaurs lived their lives. In this remarkable new book, Brian J. Ford reveals that dinosaurs were, in fact, profoundly different from what we believe, and their environment was unlike anything we have previously thought.
In this meticulous and absorbing account, Ford reviews the latest scientific evidence to show that the popular accounts of dinosaurs' lives contain ideas that are no more than convenient inventions: how dinosaurs mated, how they hunted and communicated, how they nursed their young, even how they moved. He uncovers many surprising details which challenge our most deeply-held beliefs - such as the revelation that an asteroid impact did not end the dinosaurs' existence.
Professor Ford's illuminating examination changes everything. As he unravels the history of the world, we discover that evolution was not Charles Darwin's idea; there were many philosophers who published the theory before him. The concept of continental drift and plate tectonics did not begin with Alfred Wegener a century ago, but dates back to learned pioneers hundreds of years before his time. Ever since scientists first began to study dinosaurs, they have travelled with each other down the wrong path, and Ford now shows how this entire branch of science has to be rewritten.
A new dinosaur species is announced every ten days, and more and more information is currently being discovered about how they may have lived: locomotion, hunting, nesting behaviour, distribution, extinction. Ford brings together these amazing discoveries in this controversial new book which undoubtedly will ruffle a few feathers, or scales if you are an old-school dinosaur lover.