Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher: University Press of New England
Release Date: 2016-06-07
Marcelo Gleiser has had a passion for science and fishing since he was a boy growing up on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Now a world-famous theoretical physicist with hundreds of scientific articles and several books of popular science to his credit, he felt it was time to connect with nature in less theoretical ways. After seeing a fly-fishing class on the Dartmouth College green, he decided to learn to fly-fish, a hobby, he says, that teaches humility. In The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected, Gleiser travels the world to scientific conferences, fishing wherever he goes. At each stop, he ponders how in the myriad ways physics informs the act of fishing; how, in its turn, fishing serves as a lens into nature's inner workings; and how science engages with questions of meaning and spirituality, inspiring a sense of mystery and awe of the not yet known. Personal and engaging, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected is a scientist's tribute to nature, an affirmation of humanity's deep connection with and debt to Earth, and an exploration of the meaning of existence, from atom to trout to cosmos.
A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.
Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2010-04-06
For millennia, shamans and philosophers, believers and nonbelievers, artists and scientists have tried to make sense of our existence by suggesting that everything is connected, that a mysterious Oneness binds us to everything else. People go to temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues to pray to their divine incarnation of Oneness. Following a surprisingly similar notion, scientists have long asserted that under Nature’s apparent complexity there is a simpler underlying reality. In its modern incarnation, this Theory of Everything would unite the physical laws governing very large bodies (Einstein’s theory of relativity) and those governing tiny ones (quantum mechanics) into a single framework. But despite the brave efforts of many powerful minds, the Theory of Everything remains elusive. It turns out that the universe is not elegant. It is gloriously messy. Overturning more than twenty-five centuries of scientific thought, award-winning physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues that this quest for a Theory of Everything is fundamentally misguided, and he explains the volcanic implications this ideological shift has for humankind. All the evidence points to a scenario in which everything emerges from fundamental imperfections, primordial asymmetries in matter and time, cataclysmic accidents in Earth’s early life, and duplication errors in the genetic code. Imbalance spurs creation. Without asymmetries and imperfections, the universe would be filled with nothing but smooth radiation. A Tear at the Edge of Creation calls for nothing less than a new "humancentrism" to reflect our position in the universal order. All life, but intelligent life in particular, is a rare and precious accident. Our presence here has no meaning outside of itself, but it does have meaning. The unplanned complexity of humankind is all the more beautiful for its improbability. It’s time for science to let go of the old aesthetic that labels perfection beautiful and holds that "beauty is truth." It’s time to look at the evidence without centuries of monotheistic baggage. In this lucid, down-to-earth narrative, Gleiser walks us through the basic and cutting-edge science that fueled his own transformation from unifier to doubter—a fascinating scientific quest that led him to a new understanding of what it is to be human.
Author: Geraint F. Lewis
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2016-10-06
Over the last forty years, scientists have uncovered evidence that if the Universe had been forged with even slightly different properties, life as we know it - and life as we can imagine it - would be impossible. Join us on a journey through how we understand the Universe, from its most basic particles and forces, to planets, stars and galaxies, and back through cosmic history to the birth of the cosmos. Conflicting notions about our place in the Universe are defined, defended and critiqued from scientific, philosophical and religious viewpoints. The authors' engaging and witty style addresses what fine-tuning might mean for the future of physics and the search for the ultimate laws of nature. Tackling difficult questions and providing thought-provoking answers, this volumes challenges us to consider our place in the cosmos, regardless of our initial convictions.
Available again, with a new preface, a physicist's "exceptionally clear summary of 2,500 years of science and a fascinating account of the ways in which it often does intersect with spiritual beliefs" --Kirkus Reviews
Author: Suzanne Mustacich
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 2015-11-10
Genre: Business & Economics
An inside view of China's quest to become a global wine power and Bordeaux's attempt to master the thirsty dragon it helped create The wine merchants of Bordeaux and the rising entrepreneurs of China would seem to have little in common—old world versus new, tradition versus disruption, loyalty versus efficiency. And yet these two communities have found their destinies intertwined in the conquest of new markets, as Suzanne Mustacich shows in this provocative account of how China is reshaping the French wine business and how Bordeaux is making its mark on China. Thirsty Dragon lays bare the untold story of how an influx of Chinese money rescued France's most venerable wine region from economic collapse, and how the result was a series of misunderstandings and crises that threatened the delicate infrastructure of Bordeaux's insular wine trade. The Bordelais and the Chinese do business according to different and often incompatible sets of rules, and Mustacich uncovers the competing agendas and little-known actors who are transforming the economics and culture of Bordeaux, even as its wines are finding new markets—and ever higher prices—in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, with Hong Kong and London traders playing a pivotal role. At once a tale of business skullduggery and fierce cultural clashes, adventure, and ambition, Thirsty Dragon offers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges facing the world's most famous and prestigious wines.
Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: 2008-12-24
"HYSTERICAL!" --The Philadelphia Inquirer The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads--so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the white killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation. They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler, who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vicepresident of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the Universe; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox. How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert "universal" Armageddon and save life as we know it--and don't know it! "ADAMS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE TREASURES: an author who, one senses, has as much fun writing as one has reading." --The Arizona Daily Star From the Paperback edition.
Author: Paul Kléber Monod
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2001-08
In the sixteenth century, the kings of Europe were like gods to their subjects. Within 150 years, however, this view of monarchs had altered dramatically; a king was the human, visible sign of the rational state. How did such a momentous shift in political understanding come about? This book explores the changing cultural significance of the power of European kings from the assassination of France’s Henry III to the death of Louis XIV.
Author: Roger Wagner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-02-25
When young children first begin to ask 'why?' they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientific interest in the physical world, which could therefore be described as penultimate curiosity. These two manifestations of curiosity have a history of connection that goes back deep into the human past. Tracing that history all the way from cave painting to quantum physics, this book (a collaboration between a painter and a physical scientist that uses illustrations throughout the narrative) sets out to explain the nature of the long entanglement between religion and science: the ultimate and the penultimate curiosity.
Author: Lily Raff McCaulou
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: 2012-06-12
When Lily Raff McCaulou traded in an indie film production career in New York for a reporting job in central Oregon, she never imagined that she'd find herself picking up a gun and learning to hunt. She'd been raised as a gun-fearing environmentalist and an animal lover, and though a meat-eater, she'd always abided by the principle that harming animals is wrong. But Raff McCaulou's perspective shifted when she began spending weekends fly-fishing and weekdays interviewing hunters for her articles, realizing that many of them were more thoughtful about animals and the environment than she was. So she embarked upon the project of learning to hunt from square one. From attending a Hunter Safety course designed for children to field dressing an elk and serving it for dinner, she explores the sport of hunting and all it entails, and tackles the big questions surrounding one of the most misunderstood American practices and pastimes. Not just a personal memoir, this book also explores the role of the hunter in the twenty-first century, the tension (at times artificial) between hunters and environmentalists, and new models of sustainable and ethical food procurement.
Author: Emily Monosson
Publisher: Island Press
Release Date: 2017-06-20
Genre: Political Science
We rely on chemical cures to keep our bodies free from disease and our farm fields free from bugs and weeds. While human and agricultural health are rarely considered together, both are based on the same ecology, and both are being threatened by organisms that have evolved to resist our antibiotics and pesticides. Fortunately scientists are finding new solutions that work with, rather than against, nature. There are viruses that bust apart bacteria; insect pheromones that throw crop destroying moths into a misguided sexual frenzy; plant genes edited to protect against disease; and a resurgence of the ancient practice of fecal transplants. In this hopeful book, Monosson offers a fascinating look into the future of natural defenses.
Author: William C. Wimsatt
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2007
Analytic philosophers once pantomimed physics, trying to understand the world by breaking it down. Thinkers from the Darwinian sciences now pose alternatives to this simplistic reductionism. In a tour of essays spanning thirty years, Wimsatt argues that scientists seek to atomize phenomena only when necessary to understand how entities, events, and processes articulate at different levels. This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to understand messy systems in the real world.
Author: Bill Hayes
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: 2017-02-14
Genre: Literary Collections
Amazon's Best Biographies and Memoirs of 2017 List A moving celebration of what Bill Hayes calls "the evanescent, the eavesdropped, the unexpected" of life in New York City, and an intimate glimpse of his relationship with the late Oliver Sacks. "A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation."--Anne Lamott Bill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city's incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance--"I don't so much fear death as I do wasting life," he tells Hayes early on--is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes's distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.