The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable [Audiobook]
14 February 2017, 21:31
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]
14 February 2017, 21:19
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.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes [Audiobook]
14 February 2017, 09:30
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 11 hrs 26 mins | 311.45MB
This is a story about you. It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique to you, as it is for every one of the 100 billion modern humans who has ever drawn breath. But it is also our collective story, because in each of our genomes we carry the history of the whole of our species.
Since scientists first read the human genome in 2001, it has been subject to all sorts of claims, counterclaims and myths. Drawing together the latest discoveries in this rapidly changing area of science, Adam Rutherford shows that in fact our genomes should be read not like instruction manuals but more like epic poems. Genes determine less than we have been led to believe about us as individuals but vastly more about us as a species.
In this captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, written with great clarity and wit, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about human history and what history tells us about our genes. From Neanderthal discoveries to microbiology, from redheads to dead royals, criminology to race relations, evolution to epigenetics, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be.