Aspirin: The Extraordinary Story of a Wonder Drug [EPUB]
22 August 2014, 17:07
2004 | EPUB + MOBI | 0.4/0.6MB
Throughout the world we pop more than 200 billion of these little white pills every year. Aspirin is effective not only against everyday ailments, such as headaches and fever, but also as a preventative treatment for heart attacks, strokes, and even some types of cancers. Add to this its beneficiary role in a host of other conditions from Alzheimer's to gum disease, and you have a medicine of unparalleled importance to humanity, not to mention big business. Yet until 1971 we did not even know how Aspirin worked.
In this fascinating and informative book Diarmuid Jeffreys follows the surprising and dramatic story of the drug from its origins in ancient Egypt, through its industrial development at the end of the nineteenth century and its key role in the great flu pandemic of 1918 to its subsequent exploitation by the pharmaceutical conglomerates.
Robotics: A Very Short Introduction [EPUB]
22 August 2014, 16:49
2012 | EPUB | 5.3MB
Robotics is a key technology in the modern world, a well-established part of manufacturing and warehouse automation, assembling cars or washing machines, or moving goods to and from storage racks for Internet mail order. Robots have taken their first steps into homes and hospitals, and have seen spectacular success in planetary exploration. Yet despite these successes, robots have failed to live up to the predictions of the 1950s and 60s, when it was widely thought--by scientists as well as the public--that we would have, by now, intelligent robots as butlers, companions, or co-workers.
This Very Short Introduction explains how it is that robotics can be both a success story and a disappointment, and how robots can be both ordinary and remarkable. Alan Winfield introduces the subject by looking at the parts that together make a robot. Not surprisingly, these parts each have a biological equivalent: a robot's camera is like an animal's eyes, a robot's microcomputer is equivalent to an animal's brain, and so on. By introducing robots in this way this book builds a conceptual, non-technical picture of what a robot is, how it works, and how "intelligent" it is.
Pandora's Seed [EPUB]
21 August 2014, 15:36
2010 | EPUB | 3.95MB
In The Journey of Man, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells traced human evolution back to our earliest ancestors, creating a remarkable and readable map of our distant past. Now, in his thrilling new book, he examines our cultural inheritance in order to find the turning point that led us to the path we are on today, one he believes we must veer from in order to survive.
Pandora’s Seed takes us on a powerful and provocative globe-trotting tour of human history, back to a seminal event roughly ten thousand years ago, when our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers, setting in motion a momentous chain of events that could not have been foreseen at the time.
Although this decision to control our own food supply is what propelled us into the modern world, Wells demonstrates—using the latest genetic and anthropological data—that such a dramatic shift in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources such as water created hierarchies and inequalities. The desire to control—and no longer cooperate with—nature altered the concept of religion, making deities fewer and more influential, foreshadowing today’s fanaticisms. The proximity of humans and animals bred diseases that metastasized over time. Freedom of movement and choice were replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety and depression millions feel today. Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill suited, recommending that we change our priorities and self-destructive appetites before it’s too late.
A riveting and accessible scientific detective story, Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.