Reflections Of Our Past: How Human History Is Revealed In Our Genes [EPUB]
21 June 2017, 20:45
2008 | EPUB | 3.52MB
The sudden rise of the multi-billion dollar ancestry testing industry points to one immutable truth about us as human beings: we want to know where we come from and who our ancestors were. John H. Relethford and Deborah A. Bolnick explore this topic and many more in this second edition of Reflections of Our Past.
Where did modern humans come from and how important are the biological differences among us? Are we descended from Neandertals? How many races of people are there? Were Native Americans the first settlers of the New World? How can we tell if Thomas Jefferson had a child with Sally Hemings? Can we see even in the Irish of today evidence of Viking rampages of a millennium ago? Through engaging examination of issues such as these, and using non-technical language, Reflections of Our Past shows how anthropologists use genetic information of many kinds to test theories and define possible answers to fundamental questions in human history. By looking at genetic variation in the world today, we can reconstruct the recent and remote events and processes that have created the variation we see, providing a fascinating reflection of our genetic past.
The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future [EPUB]
19 June 2017, 23:43
2017 | EPUB | 1.16MB
A computer beats the reigning human champion of Go, a game harder than chess. Another is composing classical music. Labs are creating life-forms from synthetic DNA. A doctor designs an artificial trachea, uses a 3D printer to produce it, and implants it and saves a child's life.
Astonishing technological advances like these are arriving in increasing numbers. Scholar and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa uses this book to alert us to dozens of them and raise important questions about what they may mean for us.
Breakthroughs such as personalized genomics, self-driving vehicles, drones, and artificial intelligence could make our lives healthier, safer, and easier. But the same technologies raise the specter of a frightening, alienating future: eugenics, a jobless economy, complete loss of privacy, and ever-worsening economic inequality. As Wadhwa puts it, our choices will determine if our future is Star Trek or Mad Max.
Wadhwa offers us three questions to ask about every emerging technology: Does it have the potential to benefit everyone equally? What are its risks and rewards? And does it promote autonomy or dependence? Looking at a broad array of advances in this light, he emphasizes that the future is up to us to create—that even if our hands are not on the wheel, we will decide the driverless car's destination.
Spare Parts: In Praise of Your Appendix and Other Unappreciated Organs [EPUB]
17 June 2017, 16:30
2017 | EPUB | 1.3MB
Charles Darwin considered them extraneous, but this witty book sheds moderns scientific light on the Darwin Six --appendix, tailbone, "third eyelid," wisdom teeth, external ear muscles, body hair -- once considered useless, now known to be both valuable and interesting, plus a chapter on the true "dispensables," parts with which we can indeed dispense. Along the way, best-selling author Rinzler weaves in Darwin's brilliant and ground-breaking theories of evolution and shares insights into what the human body may look like millennia from now.