Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

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Crown #ad - Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain. Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive. Cynthia barnett's rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge.

Rain is also a travelogue, and to india, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History #ad - Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain.

Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2, 203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River.

It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster, " Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water.

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The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

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Vintage #ad - In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. With charts and line drawings throughout. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at harvard university and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.

And finally—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment. Lieberman proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution, ” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated.

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease #ad - The story of the human body brilliantly illuminates as never before the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies.

While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, Lieberman argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, such as type 2 diabetes.

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The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor

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W. W. Norton & Company #ad - Renowned for his inventiveness as well as for his bombast and irascibility, Randel was central to Manhattan’s development but died in financial ruin. 1787–1865 was an eccentric and flamboyant surveyor. The result was a series of maps, astonishing in their detail and precision, which undergird our knowledge about the island today.

Bringing randel’s story into the present, Holloway travels with contemporary surveyors and scientists trying to envision Manhattan as a wild island once again. Illustrated with dozens of historical images and antique maps, the entire country—still seemed new, The Measure of Manhattan is an absorbing story of a fascinating man that captures the era when Manhattan—indeed, the moment before canals and railroads helped draw a grid across the American landscape.

The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor #ad - He was obsessed with accuracy and steeped in the values of the Enlightenment, in which math and science promised dominion over nature. Randel is endlessly fascinating, and Holloway’s biography tells his life with great skill. Steve weinberg, USA TodayJohn Randel Jr. It is about the ways in which surveying and cartography changed the ground beneath our feet.

During his varied career randel created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, and proposed a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal—winning him admirers and enemies. The measure of manhattan is more than just the life of an unrecognized engineer.

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Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age

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W. W. Norton & Company #ad - The pioneering young scientist whose work on the structure of small worlds has triggered an avalanche of interest in networks. In this remarkable book, duncan watts, one of the principal architects of network theory, sets out to explain the innovative research that he and other scientists are spearheading to create a blueprint of our connected planet.

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age #ad - Whether they bind computers, networks are everywhere in the real world, economies, or terrorist organizations, yet only recently have scientists attempted to explain their mysterious workings. From epidemics of disease to outbreaks of market madness, from the structure of personal relationships to the technological and social choices of entire societies, the people who are building it, from people searching for information to firms surviving crisis and change, Watts weaves together a network of discoveries across an array of disciplines to tell the story of an explosive new field of knowledge, and his own peculiar path in forging this new science.

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It All Adds Up: The Story of People and Mathematics

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William Collins #ad - It is a journey into numbers with Launay as a guide. With clarity, passion and wisdom, the author unveils the unexpected and at times serendipitous ways in which big mathematical ideas were created. The story of our best invention yet. From our ability to calculate the passing of time to the algorithms that control computers and much else in our lives, numbers are everywhere.

It all adds up also tells the story of how mapping the trajectory of an eclipse has helped to trace the precise day of one of the oldest battles in history, how the course of the modern-day Greenwich Meridian was established, and why negative numbers were accepted just last century. This book is a vital compendium of the great men and women of mathematics from Aristotle to Ada Lovelace, which demonstrates how mathematics shaped the written word and the world.

It All Adds Up: The Story of People and Mathematics #ad - In museums, monuments or train stations, how babylonian scholars developed one of the first complex written languages, he uses the objects around us to explain what art can reveal about geometry, and how ‘Arabic’ numbers were adopted from India. They are so indispensable that we forget how fundamental they are to our way of life.

In this international bestseller, Mickaël Launay mixes history and anecdotes from around the world to reveal how mathematics became pivotal to the story of humankind. Supporting the belief that – just like music or literature – maths should be accessible to everyone, Launay will inspire a new fondness for the numbers that surround us and the rich stories they contain.

Fascinating … so enlightening that suddenly maths doesn’t seem so fearsome as it once did’ SIMON WINCHESTERFrom Aristotle to Ada Lovelace: a brief history of the mathematical ideas that have forever changed the world and the everyday people and pioneers behind them.

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Jacobson's Organ: And the Remarkable Nature of Smell

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W. W. Norton & Company #ad - Jacobson's organ unlocks the door to the strange world of this mysterious sense. He reveals the curious ways in which trees communicate their distress, the bond we have with our offspring, the olfactory abilities of feral children, the psychosexual effects of perfume, and the link between smell and memory formation.

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. Yet recent research has shown jacobson's Organ to be an incredibly influential pheromonal mechanism that feeds the area of the brain affecting our awareness, emotional states, and sexual behavior. Following the seven classes of smell devised by the pioneering botanist Carl Linnaeus in his Odores Medicamentorum, plants, Watson examines the roles of smell and pheromones in humans, and animals.

Jacobson's Organ: And the Remarkable Nature of Smell #ad - So why do we persist in dismissing the nose as a blunt instrument?Smell is our most seductive and provocative sense, invading every domain of our lives. He brings to light new evidence concerning Jacobson's Organ: an anatomical feature discovered high in the nose in 1811 and dismissed for centuries as a vestigial ghost.

. We can identify our relatives, detect the availability of a potential mate, sniff out danger, and distinguish between good and bad food just with our noses. In this surprising and delightful book, Lyall Watson rescues our most unappreciated sense from obscurity.

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The Constants of Nature: The Numbers That Encode the Deepest Secrets of the Universe

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Vintage #ad - But he also suggests that the basic forces may have been radically different during the universe’s infancy, and suggests that they may continue a deeply hidden evolution. Reality as we know it is bound by a set of constants—numbers and values that dictate the strengths of forces like gravity, the speed of light, and the masses of elementary particles.

The Constants of Nature: The Numbers That Encode the Deepest Secrets of the Universe #ad - In the constants of Nature, Cambridge Professor and bestselling author John D. Barrow takes us on an exploration of these governing principles. Drawing on physicists such as Einstein and Planck, Barrow illustrates with stunning clarity our dependence on the steadfastness of these principles. Perhaps most tantalizingly, Barrow theorizes about the realities that might one day be found in a universe with different parameters than our own.

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Comet

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Ballantine Books #ad - A beautiful, interesting book. United press International"Masterful. What are these graceful visitors to our skies? We now know that they bring both life and death and teach us about our origins. Comet begins with a breathtaking journey through space astride a comet. Pulitzer prize-winning astronomer carl sagan, nature, author of Cosmos and Contact, and future of comets, and writer Ann Druyan explore the origin, and the exotic myths and portents attached to them.

Comet #ad - The authors show how comets have spurred some of the great discoveries in the history of science and raise intriguing questions about these brilliant visitors from the interstellar dark. Were the fates of the dinosaurs and the origins of humans tied to the wanderings of a comet? Are comets the building blocks from which worlds are formed?Lavishly illustrated with photographs and specially commissioned full-color paintings, Comet is an enthralling adventure, indispensable for anyone who has ever gazed up at the heavens and wondered why.

Praise for Comet"Simply the best. The times of London"Fascinating, evocative, inspiring. The washington Post"Comet humanizes science. Science, poetry, and imagination. The atlanta Journal & Constitution.

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Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind

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W. W. Norton & Company #ad - In the poignant and troublesome ferocity of these embattled creatures, we recognize something primeval deep within us, something in danger of vanishing forever. We no longer occupy an intermediate position on the food chain; instead we survey it invulnerably from above—so far above that we are in danger of forgetting that we even belong to an ecosystem.

Casting his expert eye over the rapidly diminishing areas of wilderness where predators still reign, of brown bears in the mountains of Romania, of saltwater crocodiles in northern Australia, the award-winning author of The Song of the Dodo and The Tangled Tree examines the fate of lions in India's Gir forest, and of Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East.

Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind #ad - But by the year 2150 big predators may only exist on the other side of glass barriers and chain-link fences. Their gradual disappearance is changing the very nature of our existence. Rich detail and vivid anecdotes of adventure. A treasure trove of exotic fact and hard thinking. New york times book reviewfor millennia, scary forests dark and scary, and their man-eating kin have kept our dark, tigers, lions, and their predatory majesty has been the stuff of folklore.

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Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World

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Broadway Books #ad - Then, in the 1790s, alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. Here too is alan turing, whose dream of a marvelous thinking machine—what we know as the computer—was met with indifference, and who ended his life in despair after British authorities forced him to undergo experimental treatments to “cure” his homosexuality.

For centuries, electricity was seen as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. The bestselling author of e=mc2 weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through an account of the invisible force that permeates our universe—electricity—and introduces us to the virtuoso scientists who plumbed its secrets.

Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World #ad - In harnessing its power, we have created a world of wonders—complete with roller coasters and radar, computer networks and psychopharmaceuticals. In electric universe, who struggled against the prejudices of the british class system, the great discoverers come to life in all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy, a painter who, including the visionary Michael Faraday, before inventing the telegraph, and Samuel Morse, ran for mayor of New York City on a platform of persecuting Catholics.

From the frigid waters of the atlantic to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm to the interior of the human body, Electric Universe is a mesmerizing journey of discovery.

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Sextant: A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World's Oceans

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William Morrow #ad - He synthesizes centuries of seafaring history and the daring sailors who have become legend, Matthew Flinders, including James Cook, Robert Fitz-Roy, Frank Worsley of the Endurance, and Joshua Slocum, the redoubtable old "lunarian" and first single-handed-round-the-world yachtsman. In the tradition of dava sobel's longitude comes sailing expert David Barrie's compelling and dramatic tale of invention and discovery—an eloquent elegy to one of the most important navigational instruments ever created, and the daring mariners who used it to explore, conquer, and map the world.

Since its invention in 1759, a mariner's most prized possession has been the sextant. He also recounts his own maiden voyage, and insights gleaned from his experiences as a practiced seaman and navigator. Full of heroism, told with an infectious sense of wonder, and excitement, danger, Sextant offers a new look at a masterful achievement that changed the course of history.

Sextant: A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World's Oceans #ad - A navigation tool that measures the angle between a celestial object and the horizon, the sextant allowed sailors to pinpoint their exact location at sea. David barrie chronicles the sextant's development and shows how it not only saved the lives of navigators in wild and dangerous seas, but played a pivotal role in their ability to map the globe.

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