The Evolved Apprentice: How Evolution Made Humans Unique [Audiobook]
15 May 2018, 11:20
2018 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 10 hours and 17 minutes | 283.48MB
A new theory of the evolution of human cognition and human social life that emphasizes the role of information sharing across generations.
Over the last three million years or so, our lineage has diverged sharply from those of our great ape relatives. Change has been rapid (in evolutionary terms) and pervasive. Morphology, life history, social life, sexual behavior, and foraging patterns have all shifted sharply away from those of the other great apes. In The Evolved Apprentice, Kim Sterelny argues that the divergence stems from the fact humans gradually came to enrich the learning environment of the next generation. Humans came to cooperate in sharing information, and to cooperate ecologically and reproductively as well, and these changes initiated positive feedback loops that drove us further from other great apes.
Sterelny develops a new theory of the evolution of human cognition and human social life that emphasizes the gradual evolution of information-sharing practices across generations and how these practices transformed human minds and social lives. Sterelny proposes that humans developed a new form of ecological interaction with their environment, cooperative foraging. The ability to cope with the immense variety of human ancestral environments and social forms, he argues, depended not just on adapted minds but also on adapted developmental environments.
Synesthesia (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series) [Audiobook]
14 May 2018, 08:51
2018 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 5 hours and 18 minutes | 146.53MB
One in 23 people carry the genes for the synesthesia. Not a disorder but a neurological trait - like perfect pitch - synesthesia creates vividly felt cross-sensory couplings. A synesthete might hear a voice and at the same time see it as a color or shape, taste its distinctive flavor, or feel it as a physical touch.
Cytowic explains that synesthesia's most frequent manifestation is seeing days of the week as colored, followed by sensing letters, numerals, and punctuation marks in different hues even when printed in black. Other manifestations include tasting food in shapes, seeing music in moving colors, and mapping numbers and other sequences spatially. One synesthete declares, "Chocolate smells pink and sparkly"; another invents a dish (chicken, vanilla ice cream, and orange juice concentrate) that tastes intensely blue.
Cytowic, who in the 1980s revived scientific interest in synesthesia, sees it now understood as a spectrum, an umbrella term that covers five clusters of outwardly felt couplings that can occur via several pathways. Yet synesthetic or not, each brain uniquely filters what it perceives. Cytowic reminds us that each individual's perspective on the world is thoroughly subjective.
Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go [Audiobook]
14 May 2018, 08:50
2018 | MP3@64 kbps | 10 hours and 59 minutes | 303.1MB
Does life exist on Mars? The question has captivated humans for centuries, but today it has taken on new urgency. NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars orbit by the 2030s. SpaceX wants to go by 2024, while Mars One wants to land a permanent settlement there in 2032. As we gear up for missions like these, we have a responsibility to think deeply about what kinds of life may already inhabit the planet - and whether we have the right to invite ourselves in.
David Weintraub tells why, of all the celestial bodies in our solar system, Mars has beckoned to us the most. He traces how our ideas about life on Mars have been refined by landers and rovers, terrestrial and Mars-orbiting telescopes, spectroscopy, and even a Martian meteorite. He explores how finding DNA-based life on the Red Planet could offer clues about our distant evolutionary past, and grapples with the profound moral and ethical questions confronting us as we prepare to introduce an unpredictable new life form - ourselves - into the Martian biosphere.