From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds [Audiobook]

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds [Audiobook]
From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds [Audiobook] by Daniel C Dennett, read by Tom Perkins
2017 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 15 hrs 44 mins | 433.08MB

What is human consciousness, and how is it possible? This question fascinates thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers. From Bacteria to Bach and Back is Daniel C. Dennett's brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains, and human culture.

Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett's legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought. In his inimitable style - laced with wit and arresting thought experiments - Dennett shows how culture enables reflection by installing a bounty of thinking tools, or memes, in our brains. Language, itself composed of memes, turbocharged this interplay. The result, a mind that can comprehend the questions it poses, emerges from a process of cultural evolution.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and other researchers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain anyone who hopes to understand human creativity in all its wondrous applications.

The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable [Audiobook]

The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable [Audiobook]
The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable [Audiobook] by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, read by Dina Pearlman
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 8 mins | 196.35MB

Humans are awesome. Our brains are gigantic, seven times larger than they should be for the size of our bodies. The human brain uses 25 percent of all the energy the body requires each day. And it became enormous in a very short amount of time in evolution, allowing us to leave our cousins, the great apes, behind.

So the human brain is special, right? Wrong, according to Suzana Herculano-Houzel. Humans have developed cognitive abilities that outstrip those of all other animals but not because we are evolutionary outliers. The human brain was not singled out to become amazing in its own exclusive way, and it never stopped being a primate brain. If we are not an exception to the rules of evolution, then what is the source of the human advantage?

Herculano-Houzel shows that it is not the size of our brain that matters but the fact that we have more neurons in the cerebral cortex than any other animal, thanks to our ancestors' invention, some 1.5 million years ago, of a more efficient way to obtain calories: cooking. Because we are primates, ingesting more calories in less time made possible the rapid acquisition of a huge number of neurons in the still fairly small cerebral cortex - the part of the brain responsible for finding patterns, reasoning, developing technology, and passing it on through culture. Herculano-Houzel shows us how she came to these conclusions - making "brain soup" to determine the number of neurons in the brain, for example, and bringing animal brains in a suitcase through customs. The Human Advantage is an engaging and original look at how we became remarkable without ever being special.

Martian Summer: My Ninety Days with Interplanetary Pioneers, Tempermental Robots, and NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission [Audiobook]

Martian Summer: My Ninety Days with Interplanetary Pioneers, Tempermental Robots, and NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission [Audiobook]
Martian Summer: My Ninety Days with Interplanetary Pioneers, Tempermental Robots, and NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission [Audiobook] by Andrew Kessler, read by Adam Schneemann
2014 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 11 hrs 23 mins | 310.11MB

A space enthusiast goes inside mission control with a motley crew of rocket scientists in this “fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor” (Publishers Weekly).

The Phoenix Mars mission was the first man-made probe ever sent to the Martian arctic. Its purpose was to find out how climate change could turn a warm, wet planet (read: Earth) into a cold, barren desert (read: Mars). Along the way, Phoenix discovered a giant frozen ocean trapped beneath the north pole of Mars, exotic food for aliens, and liquid water, and laid the foundation for NASA’s current exploration of Mars using the Curiosity rover.

This is not science fiction. It’s fact. And for the luckiest fanboy in fandom, it was the best vacation ever. Andrew Kessler spent the summer of 2008 in NASA’s mission control with one hundred thirty of the world’s best planetary scientists and engineers as they carried out this ambitious operation. He came back with a story of human drama about modern-day pioneers battling NASA politics, temperamental robots, and the bizarre world of daily life in mission control.

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