729 results 21-40
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.
Published: 26 Mar 2009
Published: 31 Mar 2012
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.
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.
Published: 15 Feb 2011
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 have all human cultures - today and throughout history - made music?
Why does music excite such rich emotion?
How do we make sense of musical sound?
These are questions that have, until recently, remained mysterious. Now The Music Instinct explores how the latest research in music psychology and brain science is piecing together the puzzle of how our minds understand and respond to music. Ranging from Bach fugues to nursery rhymes to heavy rock, Philip Ball interweaves philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology to reveal why music moves us in so many ways.
Without requiring any specialist knowledge, The Music Instinct will both deepen your appreciation of the music you love, and open doors to music that once seemed alien, dull or daunting, offering a passionate plea for the importance of music in education and in everyday life.
Published: 1 Sep 2005
Published: 31 Aug 2013
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
From ash die-back to the Great Storm of 1987 to Dutch elm disease, our much-loved woodlands seem to be under constant threat from a procession of natural challenges. Just when we need trees most, to help combat global warming and to provide places of retreat for us and our wildlife, they seem at greatest peril. But these dangers force us to reconsider the narrative we construct about trees and the roles we press on them.
In this now classic book, Richard Mabey looks at how, for more than a thousand years, we have appropriated and humanised trees, turning them into arboreal pets, status symbols, expressions of fashionable beauty - anything rather than allow them lives of their own. And in the poetic and provocative style he has made his signature, Mabey argues that respecting trees' independence and ancient powers of survival may be the wisest response to their current crises.
Originally published with the title Beechcombings, this updated edition includes a new foreword and afterword by the author.
Published: 31 May 2013
At the foot of a chalk hill a stream rises in a silent copse, and is soon lost under the car parks and streets of the town its waters once gave life to. Captivated by the fate of this forgotten stream Charles Rangeley-Wilson sets out one winter’s day to uncover its story.
Distilled into the timeless passage of the river’s flow, buried under the pavements that cover meadow, marsh and hill he finds dreamers and visionaries, a chronicle of paradises lost or never found, men who shaped the land and its history.
What is a black hole? Could we survive a visit to one? Perhaps even venture inside? What would we find? Have we yet discovered any real black holes?
And what do black holes teach us about what physicist John Archibald Wheeler called “the deep, happy, mysteries of the universe”?
These are just a few of the tantalizing questions examined in this jargon-free review of one of the most fascinating topics in modern science. In search of the answers, we trace a star from its birth to its death throes, take a fabulous hypothetical journey to the border of a black hole and beyond, spend time with some of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and observational astronomers scanning the cosmos for evidence of real black holes, and take a whimsical look at some of the wild ideas black holes have inspired.
Published: 31 Jan 2013
From the tiniest microchip to the information superhighway, the modern world is dominated by and dependent upon science. Yet whether we realize it or not, we live in an age where faith is still an important influence in our lives. The majority of Americans profess a belief in a Christian God and Islam acts as a unifying, energizing force for many of the world's most dispossessed people. In the UK congregations may be shrinking, but popular belief in the supernatural - ghosts and spirits, fortune-telling, faith healing - is stronger than ever.
In The Story of God Robert Winston examines the relationship between science and religion across time, beginning with the primitive worship of early ancestors and concluding with a vivid portrait of faith in the modern world.
Grand in scope, adventurous in tone - and written from the perspective of a respected scientist who is also committed to Judaism - this groundbreaking work traces a line across continents, cultures and eras.
Compared to the famously fecund rabbit, for whom a single act of coitus has a 90% chance of creating a litter of up to 12 rabbits, humans are very infertile animals. Here in the UK, the average chance of conception is about 18% per month. And in 98% of cases, successful conception leads only to the birth of a single infant. It is unsurprising then that huge efforts have been made to increase our fertility.
In vitro fertilisation, first attempted one hundred years ago, has now become big business. Market forces, combined with the desperation of many couples to fulfil their biological imperative, have pushed doctors and scientists closer to the boundaries of what is desirable or ethical. And as we are increasingly able to access and control the embryo, the opportunities of altering human genetics to eradicate disease, but also to change human characteristics, becomes a real, and to some, frightening possibility.
A Child Against All Odds is a ground-breaking book for Robert Winston as it falls squarely in his area of expertise. It combines his work at Hammersmith Hospital as one of the country's leading fertility specialists, with a hard-hitting, sometimes humorous, often controversial look at the scientific, social and ethical background of man's struggle to discover and control the secrets of reproduction. Drawing on personal and professional experience, it is the definitive account of modern reproductive technology from a practitioner who has spent his professional life at the forefront of this most fascinating and emotive area of science.
Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time was a publishing phenomenon. Translated into thirty languages, it has sold over nine million copies worldwide. It continues to captivate and inspire new readers every year. When it was first published in 1988 the ideas discussed in it were at the cutting edge of what was then known about the universe. In the intervening years there have been extraordinary advances in our understanding of the space and time. The technology for observing the micro- and macro-cosmic world has developed in leaps and bounds. During the same period cosmology and the theoretical sciences have entered a new golden age. Professor Stephen Hawking has been at the heart of this new scientific renaissance.
Now, in The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking brings us fully up-to-date with the advances in scientific thinking. We are now nearer than we have ever been to a full understanding of the universe. In a fascinating and accessible discussion that ranges from quantum mechanics, to time travel, black holes to uncertainty theory, to the search for science's Holy Grail - the unified field theory (or in layman's terms the 'theory of absolutely everything') Professor Hawking once more takes us to the cutting edge of modern thinking. Beautifully illustrated throughout, with original artwork commissioned for this project, The Universe in a Nutshell is guaranteed to be the biggest science book of 2001.
Published: 5 Nov 2001