The Meaning of Human Existence - Edward Osborne Wilson

In The Meaning of Human Existence (Liveright, $23.95) Edward O. Wilson starts at the beginning of it all; that is, somewhere between two to three million years ago, when the first homo habilis, our pre-human ancestors, banded together. He then retraces how that early move toward societies led, over the course of the next few million years, to changes in our cerebral cortex. The impact of communal life has been tremendous, Wilson declares, and he discusses individual and group selection within this template of social organization. His thesis, simply put, is that, “selfish members win within groups, but groups of altruists best groups of selfish members.” The two competing dynamics of natural selection—the good of the individual, and the good of the species—fostered the “genetic chimera” that we are today as creatures built of contradictions: endlessly creative, and at once the victims of selfishness and embodiments of ideals of honor and virtue. Wilson, one of our most accomplished and respected scientists, writes in an engaging, conversational tone. He explores the possibilities of the human mind and the importance of the group as well as considering the place of both in current value systems. This passionate little book presents the biological and evolutionary foundations of our genetic past as the key to understanding our beliefs, behavior, and future.

The Meaning of Human Existence By Edward O. Wilson Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9780871401007
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright - October 6th, 2014

The Meaning of Human Existence By Edward O. Wilson Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781631491146
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright - September 7th, 2015

Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission - Marc Kaufman, Elon Musk

Several traits go into making a great science writer, and Marc Kaufman has them. First is knowledge of a subject which can be quite dense and technical. Second is the ability to convey such complex information in a lively and engaging way. And third is sheer delight and enthusiasm in the topic. Kaufman showed these traits in his last book, First Contact, which addressed the hunt for life beyond Earth—a big subject that he managed to write about in a compact, informative, and enjoyable two-hundred pages. In his latest work, Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission (National Geographic, $40), he has again produced a great read. This time he tackles the successful 2012 NASA effort to land a rover on the red planet. The book is filled with fascinating detail and vibrant prose. Kaufman had a big advantage in researching this story—namely, terrific access to NASA’s team; he was virtually embedded with the scientists and engineers involved in the mission. But he also enhances his play-by-play narrative with lots of useful historical and scientific context. And he treats readers to spectacular, never-before-published images of Mars, many with surprising colors and landscapes.
Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission By Marc Kaufman Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9781426212789
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: National Geographic - August 5th, 2014

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions - Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe, the creator of xkcd.com web comic, has been collecting quirky and unusual questions from his readers for years. His answers to a selection of these queries are now available in What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24). Munroe tackles such questions as How much Force power can Yoda output? and Can one build a periodic table out of actual elements? The questions are indeed strange, but the science and math are real (references are included), and Munroe’s conclusions are always humorous yet insightful. The quandaries might be low on practical applications, but they are definitely high in wonder and curiosity.
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions By Randall Munroe Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780544272996
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Dey Street Books - September 2nd, 2014

Pages