In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension [EPUB]
20 January 2017, 06:56
2009 | EPUB | 3.6MB
An enjoyable and compelling ride through one of life’s most fascinating enigmas
“What, then, is time? If no one ask of me, I know,” St. Augustine of Hippo lamented. “But if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not.”
Who wouldn’t sympathize with Augustine’s dilemma? Time is at once intimately familiar and yet deeply mysterious. It is thoroughly intangible: We say it flows like a river — yet when we try to examine that flow, the river seems reduced to a mirage. No wonder philosophers, poets, and scientists have grappled with the idea of time for centuries.
The enigma of time has also captivated science journalist Dan Falk, who sets off on an intellectual journey In Search of Time. The quest takes him from the ancient observatories of stone-age Ireland and England to the atomic clocks of the U.S. Naval Observatory; from the layers of geological “deep time” in an Arizona canyon to Albert Einstein’s apartment in Switzerland. Along the way he talks to scientists and scholars from California to New York, from Toronto to Oxford. He speaks with anthropologists and historians about our deep desire to track time’s cycles; he talks to psychologists and neuroscientists about the mysteries of memory; he quizzes astronomers about the beginning and end of time. Not to mention our latest theories about time travel — and the paradoxes it seems to entail. We meet great minds from Aristotle to Kant, from Newton to Einstein — and we hear from today’s most profound thinkers: Roger Penrose, Paul Davies, Julian Barbour, David Deutsch, Lee Smolin, and many more.
As usual, Dan Falk’s style combines exhaustive research with a lively, accessible, and often humorous style, making In Search of Time a delightful tour through a most curious dimension.
The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey [EPUB]
19 January 2017, 05:21
2016 | EPUB | 1.43MB
Thousands of ravenous tiny shorebirds race along the water’s edge of Delaware Bay, feasting on pin-sized horseshoe-crab eggs. Fueled by millions of eggs, the migrating red knots fly on. When they arrive at last in their arctic breeding grounds, they will have completed a near-miraculous 9,000-mile journey that began in Tierra del Fuego.
Deborah Cramer followed these knots, whose numbers have declined by 75 percent, on their extraordinary odyssey from one end of the earth to the other—from an isolated beach at the tip of South America all the way to the icy tundra. In her firsthand account, she explores how diminishing a single stopover can compromise the birds' entire journey, and how the loss of horseshoe crabs—ancient animals that come ashore but once a year—threatens not only the survival of red knots but also human well-being: the unparalleled ability of horseshoe-crab blood to detect harmful bacteria in vaccines, medical devices, and intravenous drugs safeguards human health. Cramer offers unique insight into how, on an increasingly fragile and congested shore, the lives of red knots, horseshoe crabs, and humans are intertwined. She eloquently portrays the tenacity of small birds and the courage of many people who, bird by bird and beach by beach, keep red knots flying.
Ancient Botany (Sciences of Antiquity Series) [AZW3]
19 January 2017, 04:28
2015 | AZW3 | 3.07MB
Gavin Hardy and Laurence Totelin have brought together their botanical and historical knowledge to produce this unique overview of ancient botany. It examines all the founding texts of botanical science, such as Theophrastus' Enquiry into Plants, Dioscorides' Materia Medica, Pliny the Elder's Natural History, Nicolaus of Damascus' On Plants, and Galen' On Simple Remedies, but also includes lesser known texts ranging from the sixth century BCE to the seventh century CE, as well as some material evidence.
The authors adopt a thematic approach rather than a chronological one, considering important issues such as the definition of a plant, nomenclature, classifications, physiology, the link between plants and their environment, and the numerous usages of plants in the ancient world. The book also takes care to place ancient botany in its historical, social and economic context. The authors have explained all technical botanical terms and ancient history notions, and as a result, this work will appeal to historians of ancient science, medicine and technology; classicists; and botanists interested in the history of their discipline.