762 results 1-20

Automate This

Christopher Steiner (Author)

In Automate This, Christopher Steiner looks at how the rise of computerized decision making affects every aspect of business and daily life

These days, high-level tasks-such as diagnosing an illness or interpreting legal documents-are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work with speed and nuance. These "bots" started on Wall Street, but now their reach has spread beyond anything their original creators expected.

In this fascinating book, Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over-and shows why the "bot revolution" is about to spill into every aspect of our lives. We meet bots that are driving cars, penning haikus, and writing music mistaken for Bach's. They listen in on customer service calls and figure out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff.

But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? What happens to businesses when we automate judgment and eliminate human instinct? And what role will be left for doctors, lawyers, writers, truck drivers, and many others?

Blood and Guts

Roy Porter (Author)

Mankind's battle to stay alive is the greatest of all subjects. This brief, witty and unusual book by Britain's greatest medical historian compresses into a tiny span a lifetime spent thinking about millennia of human ingenuity in the quest to cheat death. Each chapter sums up one of these battlefields (surgery, doctors, disease, hospitals, laboratories and the human body) in a way that is both frightening and elating. Startlingly illustrated, A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE is the ideal presentfor anyone who is keenly aware of their own mortality and wants to do something about it. It is also a wonderful memorial to one of Penguin's greatest historians.

Stars Beneath The Sea

Trevor Norton (Author)

This is the remarkably funny true story of some of the brave, brilliant and often barmy men that invented diving. It is a story of explosive tempers and exploding teeth, of how to juggle live hand grenades and steer a giant rubber octopus. A series of vivid portraits reveal the eccentric exploits of these underwater pioneers. They include Guy who held a world altitude record when only sixteen, wrote a film for Humphrey Bogart, invented snorkelling and loved his wife enough to shoot her. Roy wore a backet over his head and stole a coral reef. Bill wearied of fishing with dynamite and wrestling deadly snakes, so he sealed himself in a metal coffin to dangle half a mile beneath the ocean. Cameron, testing the bouncing bomb for dam busters, made a plastic ear for a dog, a false testicle for a stallion and invented a mantrap disguised as a lavatory. He ascended from a depth of 200 feet without breathing equipment to see if his lungs would burst, then studied the effects of underwater explosions by standing closer and closer until shattered by the blast. The book also traces the evolution of underwater exploration, from spear fishermen to conversationalists, from treasure hunters to archaeologists, from photographers to philosophers. The sea is a secretive and seductive place and the author describes, with incredible humour, knowledge and historical accuracy, the magic and mystery of being beneath the waves.

David Attenborough New Life Stories

David Attenborough (Author) , David Attenborough (Read by) , David Attenborough (Read by)

One of the nation’s most popular presenters examines twenty marvels of the natural world from his extraordinary and pioneering experiences. How did Sir David track down a giant Earthworm? Why does he respect Rats? What was the first bribe in nature? Why do well known foods often have two names? And where can you see evidence of the earliest life on Earth? His enthusiasm is as infectious as ever, and conveys a unique fascination on topics as diverse as the Kiwi, Hummingbirds, Monsters, Butterflies, Chimps, Cuckoos, Fireflies and Elsa, the famous lioness. So listen to these stories to find out why Rats should be respected and which insects emerge from the ground only once every 17 years. Includes detailed programme notes inside the booklet.

3 CDs. 3 hrs 15 mins.

David Attenborough Life Stories

David Attenborough (Author) , David Attenborough (Read by) , David Attenborough (Read by)

One of the nation's most popular presenters examines twenty marvels of the natural world from his extraordinary and pioneering experiences.What was Sir David's first pet? Which animal would he most like to be? What creature lays 'the biggest egg in the world'? How do you communicate with an ancient nomadic community in Fiji? And what did Sir David do when confronted by a ten-foot-long reptile? His enthusiasm is as infectious as ever, and conveys a unique fascination on topics as diverse as the Sloth, Monstrous Flowers, the Platypus, Giant Birds, Dragons, the Fire Salamander, Faking Fossils, the Coelacanth, the Dodo, Bird's-nest Soup and the Large Blue Butterfly. So listen to these stories to find out the real reason why animals sing, the story behind a 150-million-year-old feather and what it is about snakes that really unnerves Sir David.

3 CDs. 3 hrs 9 mins.

The Blind Watchmaker

Richard Dawkins (Author)

***30th Anniversary Edition***

Cover note: Each copy of the anniversary edition of The Blind Watchmaker features a unique biomorph. No two covers are exactly alike.

Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, The Blind Watchmaker offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A brilliant and controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?

Soonish

Dr. Kelly Weinersmith (Author) , Zach Weinersmith (Author)

**The New York Times Bestseller**

'Space elevators, gold asteroids, and fusion-powered toasters - who knew science could be so much fun? Soonish is hilarious, provocative, and shamelessly informative' Tim Harford, author of Messy and The Undercover Economist

From a top scientist and the creator of the hugely popular web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, an illustrated investigation into future technologies

What will the world of tomorrow be like? How does progress happen? And why don't we have a lunar colony yet?

In this witty and entertaining book, Zach and Kelly Weinersmith give us a snapshot of the transformative technologies that are coming next - from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters - and explain how they will change our world in astonishing ways. By weaving together their own research, interviews with pioneering scientists and Zach's trademark comics, the Weinersmiths investigate why these innovations are needed, how they would work, and what is standing in their way.

The Filter Bubble

Eli Pariser (Author)

Imagine a world where all the news you see is defined by your salary, where you live, and who your friends are. Imagine a world where you never discover new ideas. And where you can't have secrets.

Welcome to 2011.

Google and Facebook are already feeding you what they think you want to see. Advertisers are following your every click. Your computer monitor is becoming a one-way mirror, reflecting your interests and reinforcing your prejudices.

The internet is no longer a free, independent space. It is commercially controlled and ever more personalised. The Filter Bubble reveals how this hidden web is starting to control our lives - and shows what we can do about it.

The Invention of Air

Stephen T Johnson (Author)

From the bestselling author of Everything Bad is Good for You, Steven Johnson's The Invention of Air tells the incredible story of scientist and radical Joseph Priestley, who invented soda water, discovered oxygen, and incited rioting with his political views.

In 1794, Joseph Priestley - amateur scientist, ordained minister and radical thinker - set sail for America to escape persecution. Steven Johnson tells his incredible story: the discovery of oxygen, the invention of a science, the founding of a church, and, with the great minds of his time, the development of the United States itself. But Priestley's revolutionary ideas put him in terrible danger.

Johnson uses the progress of Priestley and his colleagues not merely to describe the wonder of discovery, but to show us how we have come to understand the world, how far we have travelled with the power of human enquiry - and how one man's curiosity can help build an entire country.

'A shot of the purest oxygen'
  Simon Winchester

'Packed with excellent stuff'
  Russell Davies

'Entertaining ... clear-sighted and intelligent'
  New Yorker

'As full of ingenuity and as delightful as its subject'
  Financial Times

'Brilliant'
  The New York Times

'Johnson paints Priestley not as a man of the past but precisely the sort of figure the world needs more than ever'
  New York Post

Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Ghost Map, Emergence and Interface Culture. His writing appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, Nation and Harper's, as well as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to Wired.

Emergence

Steven Johnson (Author)

Steven Johnson's Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software is a fascinating look at how self-organising systems are changing the world.

  • Why do people cluster together in neighborhoods?
  • How do internet communities spring up from nowhere?
  • Why is a brain conscious even though no single neuron is?
  • What causes a media frenzy?

The answer, as Steven Johnson's groundbreaking book shows, is emergence: change that occurs from the bottom up. When enough individual elements interact and organize themselves, the result is collective intelligence - even though no-one is in charge. It is a phenomenon that exists at every level of experience, and will

revolutionize the way we see the world.

'Exhilarating'
  J.G. Ballard

'A dizzying, dazzling romp through fields as disparate as urban planning, computer-game design, neurology and control theory'
  Economist

'Mind-expanding ... intelligent, witty and tremendously thought-provoking ... Popular science books interesting enough to read twice don't come along all that often'
  Guardian

'Not just a fascinating quirk of science: it's the future'
  The New York Times

Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, Emergence and Interface Culture. His writing appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, Nation and Harper's, as well as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to Wired.

Darwin

Adrian Desmond (Author) , James R Moore (Author)

This biography of Charles Darwin attempts to capture the private unknown life of the real man - the gambling and gluttony at Cambridge, his gruelling trip round the globe, his intimate family life, worries about persecution and thoughts about God. Central to all of this, his pioneering efforts on the theory of evolution now that recent studies have overturned the commonplace views of Darwin that have held for more than a century.

Wonderful Life

Stephen Jay Gould (Author)

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago. Called the Burgess Shale, it holds the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived - a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in incredible detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale might tell us about evolution and the nature of history.

The Darwinian theory of evolution is a well-known, well-explored area. But there is one aspect of human life which this theory of evolution fails to account for: chance. Using the brilliantly preserved fossil fauna of the Burgess Shale as his case study, Gould argues that chance was in fact one of the decisive factors in the evolution of life on this planet, and that, with a flip of coin, everything could have been very different indeed.

Catwatching

Desmond Morris (Author)

The personality of the cat is a fascinating mixture of affection, domesticity and active independence. You may think you know your cat as he purrs in your lap, but come across your pet in the street on a dark night and you might think that Bagpuss suffers from a dual personality.

Every single feline pet carries an inheritance of amazing sensory capacities, vocal utterances, body language and territorial displays. By answering such questions as 'what does a cat signal with its ears? 'why does a cat rub up against your leg?' and 'why does a cat swing its head from side to side when staring at its prey?', Desmond Morris decodes the private world of the cat.

Your cat is full of surprises and our finest zoologist is about to reveal their secrets in this beautifully repackaged edition of a much loved bestseller.

Veterinary Notes For Cat Owners

Jean Turner (Author) , Trevor Turner (Author)

A comprehensive and accessible manual of feline medicine and surgery, it explains the symptoms and treatment of every disease or injury that a cat owner is likely to encounter. Written in a straightforward manner by experts in their fields, the book contains detailed sections on anatomy and physiology; the organ systems (digestive, cardiovascular reproductive, urinary, nervous, endocrine, locomotor, ear/eye/nose, immune, blood and skin); infectious diseases (bacterial, viral, parasitic etc); and poisoning. Including chapters on nursing, first aid medicines, dentistry, nutrition and feeding as well as advice for new owners and sections on showing, breeding, insurance and behaviour. This book will become the standard work on feline health care.

Human Instinct

Lord Robert Winston (Author)

From caveman to modern man ...

Few people doubt that humans are descended from the apes; fewer still consider, let alone accept, the psychological implications. But in truth, man not only looks, moves and breathes like an ape, he also thinks like one.

Sexual drive, survival, competition, aggression - all of our impulses are driven by our human instincts. They explain why a happily married man will fantasize about the pretty, slim, young woman sitting across from him in the tube and why thousands of people spend their week entirely focused on whether their team will win their next crucial match.

But how well do our instincts equip us for the twenty-first century? Do they help or hinder us as we deal with large anonymous cities, stressful careers, relationships and the battle of the sexes? In this fascinating book, Robert Winston takes us on a journey deep into the human mind. Along the way he takes a very personal look at the relationship between science and religion and explores those very instincts that make us human.

The Mind's Sky

Timothy Ferriss (Author)

Timothy Ferris, bestselling author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way, brilliantly synthesizes inner and outer space with a penetrating examination into the nature of the universe and the human brain that perceives it. Through the lenses of two innovative fields of scientific research - neuroscience and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI - Ferris brings into focus a startling new vision of the relationship between mind and universe.

Whether he is contemplating the possibility of otherwordly life-forms or pondering the consequences of virtual reality computer technology, Timothy Ferris captures our sense of wonder with a lucid and imaginative look at one of modern science's greatest challenges; how we can understand, interpret and, ultimately, reconcile the equally mysterious realms of mind and universe. From ancient Stone Age burial mounds to today's state-of-the-art laboratories, solving this eternal riddle has been the goal of philosophers and mystics, occultists and poets, alchemists and scientists. In The Mind's Sky, Ferris examines the 'dance' between mind and cosmos, showing how the universe is partly a construct of the mind itself and asking whether intelligence - far from being a product of our world alone - may have universal currency.

Ferris considers the intriguing complexity of the human brain and what constitutes real intelligence. Laughter, near-death experiences, athletic performance ('Joe Montana's Premotor Cortex'), the neurobiology of mystical experience, and a subtle mental program called 'the interpreter' are all part of his freewheeling quest into the nature of consciousness.

Ferris advances the provocative thesis that SETI, our current search for life on other planets, could reward the human race with the fruit of cosmic knowledge - or prove as cataclysmic as Eve's desire for the apple. And he gives us an inside look at IT - information theory - a new philosophy of knowledge and communication.

Filled with the combination of scientific fact, human anecdote, and provocative insight that has become his trademark, Timothy Ferris's The Mind's Sky offers a rare, life-enhancing perception of our world and our cosmos and underscores the unique choices we face as a species capable of deciding our own fate on the planet - and among the stars.

Mind Sculpture

Ian Robertson (Author)

Listen. Can you hear an aircraft passing overhead? A dog barking? The twittering of birds? In straining to listen, you have just sent a surge of electrical activity through millions of brain cells. In choosing to do this with your mind, you have changed your brain - you have made brain cells fire, at the side of your head, above the right eye. By the time you've read this far, you will have changed your brain permanently. These words will leave a faint trace in the woven electricity of you. For 'you' exists in the trembling web of connected brain cells. This web is in flux, continually remoulded, sculpted by the restless energy of the world. That energy is transformed at your senses into the utterly unique weave of brain connections that is YOU.

New research has demonstrated the way in which the brain is shaped by experience and sculpted by our interactions with the world around us. As one of the world's leading authorities on brain rehabilitation, Ian Robertson is uniquely placed to explore these ground-breaking discoveries, that free us from the currently fashionable genetically determinist view. Mind Sculpture is a singularly accessible and imaginative book which communicates the excitement and challenge of the most recent research, its consequences for how we understand the brain and how we perceive ourselves.

Why Does A Ball Bounce?

Adam Hart-Davis (Author)

Why does a ball bounce? Why does a balloon burst? How can a stone move on its own? Television scientist and historian Adam Hart-Davis brings you the answers to 100 essential questions about life, the universe and everything, fully illustrated with his own superb colour photographs. A passionate scientist, Adam's aim is to make complex ideas as easy to understand as possible, and his photographs are stunning in their simplicity: from spiders' webs to water drops, from sparks from a plug to a match igniting - you can see science in action and close up.

Greek Science After Aristotle

G E R Lloyd (Author)

In his previous volume in this series, Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle, G. E. R. Lloyd pointed out that although there is no exact equivalent to our term ‘science’ in Greek, Western science may still be said to originate with the Greeks. In this second volume, Greek Science after Aristotle, the author continues his discussion of the fundamental Greek contributions to science, drawing on the richer literary and archaeological sources for the period after Aristotle. Particular attention is paid to the Greeks’ conception of the inquiries they were engaged in, and to the interrelations of science and technology. In the first part of the book the author considers the two hundred years after the death of Aristotle, devoting separate chapters to mathematics, astronomy and biology. He goes on to deal with Ptolemy and Galen and concludes with a discussion of later writers and of the problems raised by the question of the decline of ancient science.

Four Fields

Tim Dee (Author)

In his first book since the acclaimed The Running Sky Tim Dee tells the story of four green fields. Four fields spread around the world: their grasses, their hedges, their birds, their skies, and their natural and human histories. Four real fields – walkable, mappable, man-made, mowable and knowable, but also secretive, mysterious, wild, contested and changing. Four fields – the oldest and simplest and truest measure of what a man needs in life – looked at, thought about, worked in, lived with, written.

Dee’s four fields, which he has known for more than twenty years, are the fen field at the bottom of his Cambridgeshire garden, a field in southern Zambia, a prairie field in Little Bighorn, Montana, USA, and a grass meadow in the exclusion zone at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Meditating on these four fields, Dee makes us look anew at where we live and how. He argues that we must attend to what we have made of the wild, to look at and think about the way we have messed things up but also to notice how we have kept going alongside nature, to listen to the conversation we have had with grass and fields.

Four Fields is a profound, lyrical book by one of Britain’s very best writers about nature.

Shortlisted for the 2014 Ondaatje Prize

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