To us humans the sex lives of many animals seem weird. In fact, by comparison with all the other animals, we are the ones with the weird sex lives. How did that come to be?Just count our bizarre ways. We are the only social species to insist on carrying out sex privately. Stranger yet, we have sex at any time, even when the female can’t be fertilized (for example, because she is already pregnant, post-menopausal, or between fertile cycles). A human female doesn’t know her precise time of fertility and certainly doesn’t advertise it to human males by the striking color changes, smells, and sounds used by other female mammals.Why do we differ so radically in these and other important aspects of our sexuality from our closest ancestor, the apes? Why does the human female, virtually alone among mammals go through menopause? Why does the human male stand out as one of the few mammals to stay (often or usually) with the female he impregnates, to help raise the children that he sired? Why is the human penis so unnecessarily large?There is no one better qualified than Jared Diamond—renowned expert in the fields of physiology and evolutionary biology and award-winning author—to explain the evolutionary forces that operated on our ancestors to make us sexually different. With wit and a wealth of fascinating examples, he explains how our sexuality has been as crucial as our large brains and upright posture in our rise to human status.
Jared Diamond - Guns, Germs and Steel
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.
Jared Diamond - Miért élvezet a szex?
Jared Diamond, a University of California világhírű élettanprofesszora szerint az ember szexuális viselkedése, mely a leghevesebb gyönyörök, gyakorta pedig a szenvedések és nyomorúságok forrása, kifejezetten bizarr, legalábbis ha a földünkön élő többi 4300 emlősfajéhoz hasonlítjuk. A tudósok feltételezik, hogy még legközelebbi majomszerű őseink is döntően másfajta "szexet" űztek. Mely evolúciós erők hatására lettünk olyannyira másmilyenek? Miért pont így kellett történnie? Mi is olyan meghökkentő bennünk, emberekben? A szerző sziporkázóan szellemes érveléssel és megragadó példák sokaságával fejti ki, miként vált döntő jelentőségűvé az emberré válásunkban - más egyéb tényezők mellett - a szex.
Richard Dawkins - The Greatest Show on Earth
"Darwin's Rottweiler" is at it again. Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion, returns with a comprehensive examination of the current state of evidence for evolution. Unlike the aforementioned book, which described religion as a virus of the mind, The Greatest Show on Earth is not primarily about the absence of a supreme being, but rather about the mechanics of species change and diversification. Dawkins draws on his expertise as an evolutionary biologist to describe how the science of the past two centuries has confirmed and refined Darwinian theory.
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. _A Short History of Nearly Everything_ is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization -- how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, revealing the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene
The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages. This 30th anniversary edition includes a new introduction from the author as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews. As relevant and influential today as when it was first published, _The Selfish Gene_ has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research.
Richard Dawkins - Climbing Mount Improbable
Few scientific theories have been as influential or controversial in the past few centuries as Darwin's thoughts on natural selection; even now, laymen and scientists find fault with Darwin's argument. Richard Dawkins, the chair of the communication of science at Oxford University, has delivered a well-researched book supporting and supplementing Darwin's theories. Although not a work of Darwinian proportions, Climbing Mount Improbable is an advancement of those theories for scientists and general readers alike.
Randall Munroe - Thing Explainer
In Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, things are explained in the style of Up Goer Five, using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or "ten hundred") most common words. Explore computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the things you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you're made of (cells).
Cacilda Jethá - Christopher Ryan - Sex at Dawn
Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science--as well as religious and cultural institutions--has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Fewer and fewer couples are getting married, and divorce rates keep climbing as adultery and flagging libido drag down even seemingly solid marriages. How can reality be reconciled with the accepted narrative? It can't be, according to renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. While debunking almost everything we "know" about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book. Ryan and Jethá's central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity. With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jethá show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality. In the tradition of the best historical and scientific writing, Sex at Dawn unapologetically upends unwarranted assumptions and unfounded conclusions while offering a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.
John Barth - Further Fridays
Every Friday for many years, John Barth has exchanged his weekday fiction muse for a nonfiction one. He first collected the fruits of these labors in the critically acclaimed Friday Book and now, in Further Fridays, treats readers to a brilliant encore. This collection features a variety of reflections and ruminations that range as far as Barth's curiosity takes him. Each is a journey, but never quite the one expected one.
Bill Nye - Undeniable
Sparked by a provocative comment to BigThink.com last fall, and fueled by a highly controversial debate with Creation Museum curator Ken Ham, Bill Nye's campaign to confront the scientific shortcoming of creationism has exploded in just a few months into a national crusade. In this book, he expands the points he has made, and claims that this debate is not so much about religion versus science, as about the nature of science itself. With infectious enthusiasm, he reveals the mechanics of evolutionary theory, explains how it is rooted in the testable and verifiable scientific method, and why it is therefore a sound explanation of our beginning. He argues passionately that to continue to assert otherwise, to continue to insist that creationism has a place in the science classroom is harmful not only to our children, but to the future of the greater world as well.
Richard Dawkins - The Blind Watchmaker
"The best general account of evolution I have read in recent years."―E. O. Wilson. With a new introduction. Twenty years after its original publication, The Blind Watchmaker, framed with a new introduction by the author, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the eighteenth-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin’s brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection―the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered―has no purpose in mind. If it can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker in nature.
Frans de Waal - The Bonobo and The Atheist
In this engaging book, leading primatologist and thinker Frans de Waal offers an illuminating new perspective on human nature. Bringing together his pioneering research on primate behaviour, the latest findings in evolutionary biology and insights from moral philosophy, de Waal explains that we don't need the spectres of God or the law in order to act morally. Instead, our moral nature stems from our biology - specifically, our primate social emotions, which include empathy, reciprocity and fairness. We can glimpse this in the behaviour of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom: chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbours and bonobos will voluntarily open a door to offer a companion access to their own food. Building on a wealth of evidence, de Waal reveals that morality is not dictated to us by religion or social strictures but is the product of our biological nature.
John Barth - Final Fridays
For decades, acclaimed author John Barth has strayed from his Monday-through-Thursday-morning routine of fiction-writing and dedicated Friday mornings to the muse of nonfiction. The result is _Final Fridays_, his third essay collection, following _The Friday Book _(1984) and _Further Fridays_ (1995). Sixteen years and six novels since his last volume of non-fiction, Barth delivers yet another remarkable work comprised of 27 insightful essays. With pieces covering everything from reading, writing, and the state of the art, to tributes to writer-friends and family members, this collection is witty and engaging throughout. Barth’s “unaffected love of learning” ( _San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle_ ) and “joy in thinking that becomes contagious” ( _Washington Post_ ), shine through in this third, and, with an implied question mark, final essay collection.
Jack Horner - James Gorman - How to Build a Dinosaur
A world-renowned paleontologist takes readers all over the globe to reveal a new science that trumps science fiction: how humans can re-create a dinosaur. In movies, in novels, in comic strips, and on television, we’ve all seen dinosaurs—or at least somebody’s educated guess of what they would look like. But what if it were possible to build, or grow, a real dinosaur, without finding ancient DNA? Jack Horner, the scientist who advised Steven Spielberg on Jurassic Park, and a pioneer in bringing paleontology into the twenty-first century, teams up with the editor of The New York Times,/I>’s Science Times section to reveal exactly what’s in store. In the 1980s, Horner began using CAT scans to look inside fossilized dinosaur eggs, and he and his colleagues have been delving deeper ever since. At North Carolina State University, Mary Schweitzer has extracted fossil molecules—proteins that survived 68 million years—from a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil excavated by Horner. These proteins show that T. rex and the modern chicken are kissing cousins. At McGill University, Hans Larsson is manipulating a chicken embryo to awaken the dinosaur within: starting by growing a tail and eventually prompting it to grow the forelimbs of a dinosaur. All of this is happening without changing a single gene. This incredible research is leading to discoveries and applications so profound they’re scary in the power they confer on humanity. How to Build a Dinosaur is a tour of the hot rocky deserts and air-conditioned laboratories at the forefront of this scientific revolution.
Charles Darwin - On Natural Selection
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves—and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives—and destroyed them. Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-drive design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped the world.
Carl Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World
How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions. Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms.
Yuval Noah Harari - Sapiens (angol)
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Professor Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical and sometimes devastating breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics, and incorporating full-color illustrations throughout the text, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behavior from the legacy of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
Richard Dawkins - The Ancestor's Tale
The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the first primordial organism. Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more. The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world.
Kip Thorne - The Science of Interstellar
Interstellar, from acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, takes us on a fantastic voyage far beyond our solar system. Yet in The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne, the physicist who assisted Nolan on the scientific aspects of Interstellar, shows us that the movie s jaw-dropping events and stunning, never-before-attempted visuals are grounded in real science. Thorne shares his experiences working as the science adviser on the film and then moves on to the science itself. In chapters on wormholes, black holes, interstellar travel, and much more, Thorne s scientific insights many of them triggered during the actual scripting and shooting of Interstellar describe the physical laws that govern our universe and the truly astounding phenomena that those laws make possible.