Book picks similar to
Humanology: A Scientist's Guide to Our Amazing Existence by Luke O'Neill
Gail Gibbons - 1989
Follow the transformation from a tiny white egg laid on a leaf to a brilliantly colored butterfly in this kid-friendly introduction to metamorphosis. With detailed, bright watercolors, Gail Gibbons illustrates the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, stage by stage, as it grows, changes, and takes flight.With clear, labeled diagrams and simple text that defines and reinforces important vocabulary, Monarch Butterfly introduces key concepts of insect anatomy and behavior. And of course, the unique migration of the monarch-- which can range up to four thousand miles-- is covered, with descriptions of how the insects travel, and how people in their path celebrate the occasion.This classic look at butterflies also includes directions on raising your own monarch at home, and a page of fun facts about these colorful butterflies.
Close Encounters with Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species
Sang-Hee Lee - 2018
Through a series of entertaining, bite-sized chapters that combine anthropological insight with cutting-edge science, we gain fresh perspectives into our first hominin ancestors and ways to challenge perceptions about the traditional progression of evolution. With Lee as our guide, we discover that we indeed have always been a species of continuous change.
Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature
David Philip Barash - 2012
Barash, there are even more things that we don't know, genuine evolutionary mysteries that perplex the best minds in biology. Paradoxically, many of these mysteries are very close to home, involving some of the most personal aspects of being human.Homo Mysterious examines a number of these evolutionary mysteries, exploring things that we don't yet know about ourselves, laying out the best current hypotheses, and pointing toward insights that scientists are just beginning to glimpse. Why do women experience orgasm? Why do men have a shorter lifespan than women? Why does homosexuality exist? Why does religion exist in virtually every culture? Why do we have a fondness for the arts? Why do we have such large brains? And why does consciousness exist? Readers are plunged into an ocean of unknowns--the blank spots on the human evolutionary map, the terra incognita of our own species--and are introduced to the major hypotheses that currently occupy scientists who are attempting to unravel each puzzle (including some solutions proposed here for the first time). Throughout the book, readers are invited to share the thrill of science at its cutting edge, a place where we know what we don't know, and, moreover, where we know enough to come up with some compelling and seductive explanations.Homo Mysterious is a guide to creative thought and future explorations, based on the best, most current thinking by evolutionary scientists. It captures the allure of the "not-yet-known" for those interested in stretching their scientific imaginations.
The Making of You: A Journey from Cell to Human
Katharina Vestre - 2019
From your first cell to your first breath, this is your story as you have never heard it before.Did you know that it took three attempts to make your kidneys? Or that tiny twirling hairs on your back showed your other organs where to go? Or that hiccups are probably a legacy from our ancient, underwater ancestors?With the help of some cutting-edge science and a wry sense of humour, Vestre reveals all this and more. Like: how sperm know which way to swim. Why sex and gender are more complicated than one might think. What you have in common with every living being, and why you are unique.Set off on a true voyage of discovery through an inner universe whose secrets we are still unravelling. A miniature drama of cosmic significance, this is the amazing story of how you became you.
The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization
Roland Ennos - 2020
But how did the descendants of small primates manage to walk upright, become top predators, and populate the world? How were humans able to develop civilizations and produce a globalized economy? Now, in The Age of Wood, Roland Ennos shows for the first time that the key to our success has been our relationship with wood. Brilliantly synthesizing recent research with existing knowledge in fields as wide-ranging as primatology, anthropology, archaeology, history, architecture, engineering, and carpentry, Ennos reinterprets human history and shows how our ability to exploit wood’s unique properties has profoundly shaped our bodies and minds, societies, and lives. He takes us on a sweeping ten-million-year journey from Southeast Asia and West Africa where great apes swing among the trees, build nests, and fashion tools; to East Africa where hunter gatherers collected their food; to the structural design of wooden temples in China and Japan; and to Northern England, where archaeologists trace how coal enabled humans to build an industrial world. Addressing the effects of industrialization—including the use of fossil fuels and other energy-intensive materials to replace timber—The Age of Wood not only shows the essential role that trees play in the history and evolution of human existence, but also argues that for the benefit of our planet we must return to more traditional ways of growing, using, and understanding trees. A winning blend of history and science, this is a fascinating and authoritative work for anyone interested in nature, the environment, and the making of the world as we know it.
The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One
Satoshi Kanazawa - 2012
Miller) was hailed by the "Los Angeles Times" as "a rollicking bit of pop science that turns the lens of evolutionary psychology on issues of the day." That book answered such burning questions as why women tend to lust after males who already have mates and why newborns look more like Dad than Mom. Now Kanazawa tackles the nature of intelligence: what it is, what it does, what it is good for (if anything). Highly entertaining, smart (dare we say intelligent?), and daringly contrarian, "The Intelligence Paradox" will provide a deeper understanding of what intelligence is, and what it means for us in our lives.Asks why more intelligent individuals are not better (and are, in fact, often worse) than less intelligent individuals in solving some of the most important problems in life--such as finding a mate, raising children, and making friends Discusses why liberals are more intelligent than conservatives, why atheists are more intelligent than the religious, why more intelligent men value monogamy, why night owls are more intelligent than morning larks, and why homosexuals are more intelligent than heterosexuals Explores how the purpose for which general intelligence evolved--solving evolutionarily novel problems--allows us to explain why intelligent people have the particular values and preferences they haveChallenging common misconceptions about the nature of intelligence, this book offers surprising insights into the cutting-edge of science at the intersection of evolutionary psychology and intelligence research.
The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection
Tamim Ansary - 2019
Ultimately these became the basis for empires, civilizations, and cultures. And when various narratives began to collide and overlap, the encounters produced everything from confusion, chaos, and war to cultural efflorescence, religious awakenings, and intellectual breakthroughs.Through vivid stories studded with insights, Tamim Ansary illuminates the world-historical consequences of the unique human capacity to invent and communicate abstract ideas. In doing so, he also explains our ever-more-intertwined present: the narratives now shaping us, the reasons we still battle one another, and the future we may yet create.
Peacemaking Among Primates
Frans de Waal - 1988
Without denying our heritage of aggressive behavior, Frans de Waal describes powerful checks and balances in the makeup of our closest animal relatives, and in so doing he shows that to humans making peace is as natural as making war.In this meticulously researched and absorbing account, we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression, and how they make peace after fights. Chimpanzees, for instance, reconcile with a hug and a kiss, whereas rhesus monkeys groom the fur of former adversaries. By objectively examining the dynamics of primate social interactions, de Waal makes a convincing case that confrontation should not be viewed as a barrier to sociality but rather as an unavoidable element upon which social relationships can be built and strengthened through reconciliation.The author examines five different species--chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, stump-tailed monkeys, bonobos, and humans--and relates anecdotes, culled from exhaustive observations, that convey the intricacies and refinements of simian behavior. Each species utilizes its own unique peacemaking strategies. The bonobo, for example, is little known to science, and even less to the general public, but this rare ape maintains peace by means of sexual behavior divorced from reproductive functions; sex occurs in all possible combinations and positions whenever social tensions need to be resolved. "Make love, not war" could be the bonobo slogan.De Waal's demonstration of reconciliation in both monkeys and apes strongly supports his thesis that forgiveness and peacemaking are widespread among nonhuman primates--an aspect of primate societies that should stimulate much needed work on human conflict resolution.
Blood Will Tell: A Shocking True Story of Marriage, Murder, and Fatal Family Secrets (St. Martin's True Crime Library)
Carlton Smith - 1996
. .For twenty years, Ken and Kristine Fitzhugh and their two sons had lived lives of comfortable middle-class normality in the university town of Palo Alto, California. Then came the shocking news that Kristine Fitzhugh was dead, the victim of a terrible accident.... By the time the Palo Alto Police Department looked closer at the death of Kristine Fitzhugh, there could be only one conclusion. Someone had murdered Kristine in her own home, inflicting a series of horrific blows to the back of her head, and then cleaned up the mess to make it look like an accident. Who would do such a thing? Protesting his innocence, Kenneth Fitzhugh was arrested and tried for the murder of his wife. And as the case progressed, one by one, the hidden secrets of the Fitzhugh family came spilling out. . .
The Most Important Thing: Discovering Truth at the Heart of Life
Adyashanti - 2019
Whether we see ourselves as heroes or victims, good people or bad, everyone lives according to interwoven strands of narrative. “And yet,” teaches Adyashanti, “the truth is bigger than any concept or story.” Drawn from intimate, deep-dive talks, The Most Important Thing presents writings devoted to the search for the ultimate reality of a self that exists beyond the bounds of storytelling. Here you will find vivid anecdotes and teaching stories that illuminate the felt experience of Adyashanti’s teachings—those moments of grace in which every stone, tree, ray of light, and fraught silence reveal that none of us is alone and no one is ever truly isolated from the whole of existence. These selections consider: Exploration of the true meaning of birth, life, and death Why grace can arrive both through struggle and as an unexpected gift Meditation as the art of “listening with one’s entire being” Why a good question can be far more powerful than a concrete answer How the things you choose to serve shape your life Discovering the wisdom found in surprise, sadness, and uncertainty Embodying your innate and inextricable connection with the total environment The nature of ego and the ways it manifests The moments of grace upon which all great religions pivot What is the story of your life? Is it happy or adventurous? Sad or lonely? In The Most Important Thing, Adyashanti shows you how to look past your personal narratives, delve inward, and connect with the truths that fundamentally animate all of us.
IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea
Stephen Murdoch - 2007
The better news is that IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea is compelling from its first pages, and by its conclusion, Murdoch has deftly demonstrated that in our zeal to quantify intelligence, we have needlessly scarred—if not destroyed—the lives of millions of people who did not need an IQ score to prove their worth in the world. IQ is first-rate narrative journalism, a book that I hope leads to necessary change."—Russell Martin, author of Beethoven's Hair, Picasso's War, and Out of Silence"With fast-paced storytelling, freelance journalist Murdoch traces now ubiquitous but still controversial attempts to measure intelligence to its origins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . Murdoch concludes that IQ testing provides neither a reliable nor a helpful tool in understanding people's behavior, nor can it predict their future success or failure. . . . A thoughtful overview and a welcome reminder of the dangers of relying on such standardized tests."—Publishers Weekly"Stephen Murdoch delivers a lucid and engaging chronicle of the ubiquitous and sometimes insidious use of IQ tests. This is a fresh look at a century-old and still controversial idea—that our human potential can be distilled down to a single test score. Murdoch's compelling account demands a reexamination of our mania for mental measurement."—Paul A. Lombardo, author of Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court & Buck v. Bell
How to Think Like a Fish: And Other Lessons from a Lifetime in Angling
Jeremy Wade - 2019
Now the greatest angling explorer of his generation (Independent on Sunday) returns to delight readers with a book of an entirely different sort, the book he was always destined to write--the distillation of a life spent fishing. Thoughtful and funny, brimming with wisdom and above all, adventure, these are pitch-perfect reflections that anyone who has ever fished will identify with, for ultimately it touches on what fishing teaches us all about life.
How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?
Steve Jenkins - 2008
But rainbow trout, slender lorises, and assassin bugs can catch them. Chimney swifts can, too. How do such diverse creatures manage to capture the same prey? Similar in structure to What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?, this eye-popping picture book introduces readers to a menagerie of animals that approach the same challenges in very different ways.
Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed
Christopher C. Horner - 2008
The global warming lobby, relentless in its push for bigger government, more spending, and more regulation, will use any means necessary to scare you out of your wits--as well as your tax dollars and your liberties--with threats of rising oceans, deadly droughts, and unspeakable future consequences of "climate change." In pursuing their anti-energy, anti-capitalist, and pro-government agenda, the global warming alarmists--and unscrupulous scientists who see this scare as their gravy train to federal grants and foundation money--resort to dirty tricks, smear campaigns, and outright lies, abandoning scientific standards, journalistic integrity, and the old-fashioned notions of free speech and open debate. In Red Hot Lies, bestselling author Christopher Horner--himself the target of Greenpeace dirty tricks and alarmist smears--exposes the dark underbelly of the environmental movement. Power-hungry politicians blacklist scientists who reject global warming alarmism. U.S. senators threaten companies that fund climate change dissenters. Mainstream media outlets openly reject the notion of "balance." The occasional unguarded scientist candidly admits the need to twist the facts to paint an uglier picture in order to keep the faucet of government money flowing. In the name of "saving the planet," anything goes. But why the nasty tactics? Why the cover ups, lies, and intimidation? Because Al Gore and his ilk want to use big government at the local, state, federal, and global level to run your life, and they can brook no opposition. But the actual facts, as Red Hot Lies makes clear, aren't nearly as scary as their fiction.
Bones: Inside and Out
Roy A. Meals - 2020
In Bones, orthopedic surgeon Roy A. Meals explores and extols this amazing material that both supports and records vertebrate life.Inside the body, bone proves itself the world’s best building material. Meals examines the biological makeup of bones; demystifies how they grow, break, and heal; and compares the particulars of human bone to variations throughout the animal kingdom. In engaging and clear prose, he debunks familiar myths—humans don’t have exactly 206 bones—and illustrates common bone diseases, like osteoporosis and arthritis, and their treatments. Along the way, he highlights the medical innovations—from the first X-rays to advanced operative techniques—that enhance our lives and introduces the giants of orthopedic surgery who developed them.After it has supported vertebrate life, bone reveals itself in surprising ways—sometimes hundreds of millions of years later. With enthusiasm and humor, Meals investigates the diverse roles bone has played in human culture throughout history. He highlights allusions to bone in religion and literature, from Adam’s rib to Hamlet’s skull, and uncovers its enduring presence as fossils, technological tools, and musical instruments ranging from the Tibetan thighbone kangling horn to everyday drumsticks. From the dawn of civilization through to the present day, humankind has repurposed bone to serve and protect, and even to teach, amuse, and inspire.Approachable and entertaining, Bones richly illuminates our bodies’ essential framework.