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Get up to speed with the most popular developments in science, with everything from the tiniest atom to the farthest flung findings of the universe, and every scientific discovery in between. Our selection of books in this category will keep you up to date.
We can never truly know what it is like to be another species and experience their lives as they search for food, or kill and be killed – but Charles Foster has gone further than most in trying to capture that elusive experience. Through following Swifts, Red Deer, Otters, Badgers and Foxes, observing, trying to live as they do he manages to rent small tears in the barriers between us. His approach to natural history brings shocks and surprises, an otter's intense driving metabolism, why British and European badgers differ in behaviours, how deer live without their wolf predator, how Swifts, Swallows and House Martin inhabit different levels of the sky in their hunt for insects rising up the eddies and columns of air. Safe to say this unusual, intimate and passionate attempt to connect with nature is unlike anything else you'll read this year. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Corvus: A Life with Birds, Esther Woolfson Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills, Neil Ansell
We can never truly know what it is like to be another species and experience their lives as they search for food, or kill and be killed – but Charles Foster has gone further than most in trying to capture that elusive experience. Through following Swifts, Red Deer, Otters, Badgers and Foxes, observing, trying to live as they do he manages to rent small tears in the barriers between us. His approach to natural history brings shocks and surprises, an otter's intense driving metabolism, why British and European badgers differ in behaviours, how deer live without their wolf predator, how Swifts, Swallows and House Martin inhabit different levels of the sky in their hunt for insects rising up the eddies and columns of air. Safe to say this unusual, intimate and passionate attempt to connect with nature is unlike anything else you'll read this year. ~ Sue Baker February 2016 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Like for Like Reading Corvus: A Life with Birds, Esther Woolfson Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills, Neil Ansell
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. 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.
We have a lifetime's association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: Francis leads the reader on an adventure through what it means to be human. Both a user's guide to the body and a celebration of its elegance, this book will transform the way you think about being alive, whether in sickness or in health. Published in association with the Wellcome Collection.
Everyone wants to be happy and successful and yet the pursuit of both has never been more elusive. We are urged to craft careers that matter, to achieve more and waste no time on the small stuff, to be actively engaged in our communities and, while we are at it, to relish every second. Rather than thriving, all this pressure leads to declining wellbeing, relationships and, paradoxically, productivity. In The Happiness Track Emma Seppala explains that behind our inability to achieve sustainable fulfillment are counterproductive theories of success. Success doesn't have to come at our personal expense. Drawing on the latest research into resilience, willpower, growth mindset, stress, creativity, compassion, mindfulness, gratitude training and optimism, Seppala shows how nurturing ourselves is the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally and personally.
Remarkably clear, simple, occasionally funny explanations and diagrams about 55 complicated things. With fabulous blueprints, some fold out pages, smart little funnies and fascinating information, this is suitable for children and adults, in fact I can see the whole family together, studying and talking about this book for hours. Randall Munroe has only used the thousand most common words to write ’Thing Explainer', the thousand words sit at the back with his explanation as to why he chose them, just before a wonderfully large fold out diagram of a skyscraper. My personal favourites were the car engine and battery pages. I giggled, I was enthralled, and I learnt things without my brain being left in a confused bewildered knot, perfect! In other words, this jargon-busting, no-nonsense book is really rather clever indeed. ~ Liz Robinson December 2015 Book of the Month.
Welcome to Subirdia presents a surprising discovery: the suburbs of many large cities support incredible biological diversity. Populations and communities of a great variety of birds, as well as other creatures, are adapting to the conditions of our increasingly developed world. In this fascinating and optimistic book, John Marzluff reveals how our own actions affect the birds and animals that live in our cities and towns, and he provides ten specific strategies everyone can use to make human environments friendlier for our natural neighbors. Over many years of research and fieldwork, Marzluff and student assistants have closely followed the lives of thousands of tagged birds seeking food, mates, and shelter in cities and surrounding areas. From tiny Pacific wrens to grand pileated woodpeckers, diverse species now compatibly share human surroundings. By practicing careful stewardship with the biological riches in our cities and towns, Marzluff explains, we can foster a new relationship between humans and other living creatures--one that honors and enhances our mutual destiny.
From the life-long relationships of the albatross to the remarkable memory of the nutcracker and other avian mysteries, Noah Strycker illuminates the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans. “In almost any realm of bird behaviour – reproduction, populations, movements, daily rhythms, communication, navigation, intelligence, and so on – there are deep and meaningful parallels with our own.” Noah Strycker has spent the last decade studying bird behaviour in some of the world’s remotest places – from a penguin colony in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, the Australian outback, the Galápagos Islands – and has observed almost 2,500 species of birds. Noah has come to understand that birds are lively, unpredictable individuals loaded with personality and, if you look closely enough, birds have human counterparts. From the homing instinct of pigeons (and the mystery of the pigeon equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle in eastern England) and testing the turkey vulture’s sense of smell with a deer carcass to the reason behind a penguin’s fear of water, we ultimately learn about ourselves by studying birds. Drawing on cutting-edge scientific research, along with his personal experience, and colourful anecdotes The Magic and Mystery of Birds is a thoughtful and engaging look at how the life of birds connects with humanity.
With the driest of humour, Dan Ariely presents some of the questions he's answered via his Wall Street Journal column. He has a genius for coming at problems from unforseen angles, gently challenging readers to change and grow. Dan Ariely is teaching us to think outside the box for a fresh approach to the perils of life and he manages to make us laugh as we gain new light on our troubles – large or small. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading How to be Normal: A Guide for the Perplexed, Guy BrowningThe Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy, Michael Foley
October 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Matt Ridley explores the Theory of Evolution in Everything from Religion to Politics and the Internet. He highlights how Top-Down thinking such as big Government and Central Banks will fail and strangle sense at birth and it is bottom up thinking that is successful. The same patterns can be observed in all human interactions and Matt Ridley ends his book with the Internet, humanities great chance to shoulder aside the Top-Down thinkers and develope a de-centralised world complete with its own businesses and money. I had many assumptions and beliefs challenged in reading this compelling book, it's written and presented with brio, making readers see what is possible and how evolution will, in the end, bulldoze even the most entrenched of institutions who do not heed Darwin's doctrine. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, Adrian Wooldridge & John Micklethwait Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen
A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behaviour later in life? Walter Mischel's now iconic 'marshmallow test,' one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology, proved that the ability to delay gratification is critical to living a successful and fulfilling life: self-control not only predicts higher marks in school, better social and cognitive functioning, and a greater sense of self-worth; it also helps us manage stress, pursue goals more effectively, and cope with painful emotions. But is willpower prewired, or can it be taught? In his groundbreaking new book, Dr. Mischel draws on decades of compelling research and life examples to explore the nature of willpower, identifying the cognitive skills and mental mechanisms that enable it and showing how these can be applied to challenges in everyday life - from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way we think about who we are and what we can be. And since, as Mischel argues, a life with too much self-control can be as unfulfilling as one with too little, this book will also teach you when it's time to ring the bell and enjoy that marshmallow.
'Our relationship with nature has changed ...radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.' In The Human Age award-winning nature writer Diane Ackerman confronts the fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. Humans have 'subdued 75 per cent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness'. We now collect the DNA of vanishing species in a 'frozen ark', equip orang-utans with iPads, create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. Ackerman takes us on an exciting journey to understand this bewildering new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating - perhaps saving - the future. The Human Age is a surprising, optimistic engagement with the dramatic transformations that have shaped, and continue to alter, our world, our relationship with nature and our prospects for the future. Diane Ackerman is one of our most lyrical, insightful and compelling writers on the natural world and The Human Age is a landmark book.
Foreword by Oliver Sacks. What is autism: a devastating developmental disorder, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more - and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. Following on from his groundbreaking article 'The Geek Syndrome', Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years. Going back to the earliest autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences have access to the resources they need to live happier and more meaningful lives. Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger's syndrome, whose 'little professors' were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of 'neurodiversity' activists seeking respect, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.
Science has never been more popular. You don’t have to understand it to love it. We live in a golden age where we know more about the world and its origins than ever before. Here, some of the biggest questions ever asked find answers, as well as some of the smallest. This is a section bursting from its nucleus with protons of knowledge especially compiled for the lay enthusiast and the curious. Accessible science is no longer the domain of the scientist. We can all have a go at broadening our minds … and what’s more, we can do it from the relative comfort of our favourite chair. Relative comfort, because the chair is merely a mass of vibrating particles on a planet, hurtling through space and time, bending both as it goes in a Universe that may itself just be one of an infinite number of possible universes in an undefinable dimension of matter.
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