The Arithmetic of Life
Using nothing more complicated than long division, George Shaffner has found a way to illuminate the power of numbers without resorting to technobabble. Forty witty essays (with accompanying proofs) demonstrate such concepts as why casinos cannot help but make money and the implications of the presence of kazillions of stars in the universe. Designed for "math refugees," The Arithmetic of Life also confirms your deepest suspicions: that tailgaters ARE idiots and unprofessional behavior on the job IS inefficient.
The Mystical Mind
Probing the Biology of Religious Experience
How is a Whirling Dervish like a Jehovah's Witness? The two researchers behind The Mystical Mind take a tour of the brain's structures and functions to determine from whence might arise our universal knack for religions and religious experiences, visions, trances, and other out-of-this-world states. Eugene D'Aquili and Andrew Newberg discuss just what goes on in the brain during these experiences, the common patterns among religions, and their possible evolutionary role.
The Time of Our Lives
The Science of Human Aging
"A witty, accessible book, enlivened by metaphors, exemplary fairy tales, poetry, and imaginary animals."
—The Daily Telegraph
The good news is, we're not programmed to be mortal. The bad news is, we've got 200,000 genes to sort through before we figure out the problem. Tom Kirkwood's years of research and busload of writing talent make the world of genetic and aging studies much less forbidding. From the reasons behind human menopause to the disparity in life expectancies, The Time of Our Lives introduces you to our genomes and their futures — topped off with an entertaining short story about a world in which no one ages.
A Wetlands Year
"Swampwalker's Journal is simply, utterly, wonderfully soggy. On the whole,
it couldn't be drippier."
A wetter, stickier region. Artist and writer David M. Carroll recounts his year among the wild things of his favorite part of the world, the wetlands of the northeastern United States. In Swampwalker's Journal Carroll not only captures lyrically the the beauty and fragility of this endangered environment, but includes 150 drawings of the local turtles, birds, bugs, and other flora and fauna he observed during his sabbatical.
— The San Diego Union
Don't tell the Moral Majority. They might widen their scope to include domestic pets. Bruce Bagemihl presents all the facts about the Animal Kingdom you didn't know and that your teachers probably wouldn't have told you even if they had known. We see huge macho beasties flirting, and more, with other macho beasties, same-sex couples raising little bears and flamingos, and usually solitary animals pairing off with those of a similar gender. Backed by two centuries of research and observation,
Biological Exuberance goes on to delve into the role such behavior plays in animal (and human) communities and gene pools.
and Natural Diversity
You can't really appreciate the comparison of skyscrapers to termite mounds until you see the photo of the structures those bugs throw up in Africa. They're insulated and buttressed, and if rebuilt at human scale would outclass the Empire State Building. In Monumental Impulse, Yale art history professor George Hersey imagines how the function, ornament, and style of human buildings reflect the ways of insects, birds, mammals, shells, flora, wee organisms, and our own naughty bits.
Architecture's Biological Roots
Mystical experience or microseizure? What does reason consist of? Can it be used to describe art? What role does it play in religion? Why is it suspended at times by the same populations that produce such efficient governments and societies? In Within Reason, Donald Calne explores the extent to which our faculty for scientific thinking can illuminate the workings of our minds and everything these minds created.
Rationality and Human Behavior
The Consumer's Guide
The lowdown on living responsibly for a healthier planet. The authors of this book got a lot of publicity when they announced that where you live and how you get to work affect the environment much more dramatically than do your recycling habits. The Union of Concerned Scientists sort out the past twenty years' barrage of ecological advice in The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices.
to Effective Environmental Choices
It must be the lighting. Timed for the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first moon landing, Full Moon is a stunning complement to your memories of those grainy TV broadcasts. Michael Light has magically processed 129 of NASA's 32,000 photos and captured the weirdness the astronauts must have felt in that no-atmosphere place: everything is so clear, and yet, so black. The montage, representing all the legs of the voyage, includes five centerfolds of the lunar landscape and a picture of moonwalker-tourist Alan Bean with a camera on his chest and a to-do list stuck to his spacesuit.
Don't miss Alan Bean's 1998 book, Apollo: An Eyewitness Account and Books.com's RealAudio Interview with him.
A Means to An End
In the immortal words of Gary Larson, "Adios, amoebas." The things we've learned from studying how cells age and die is the focus of William R. Clark's A Means to An End. Just what purpose do aging and death serve, and how avoidable is it? What can slow the aging process? How will an increase in the retired population affect the economy and society? Is it any fun being more-or-less immortal if you can't bite people on the neck every night?