Darwin's Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere [EPUB]
12 August 2015, 02:42
2011 | EPUB | 2.64MB
Are humans unwitting partners in evolution with psychedelic plants?
Darwin's Pharmacy shows they are by weaving the evolutionary theory of sexual selection and the study of rhetoric together with the science and literature of psychedelic drugs. Long suppressed as components of the human tool kit, psychedelic plants can be usefully modeled as "eloquence adjuncts" that intensify a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse.
Psychedelic plants seduce us to interact with them, building an ongoing interdependence: rhetoric as evolutionary mechanism. In doing so, they engage our awareness of the noosphere, or thinking stratum of the earth. The realization that the human organism is part of an interconnected ecosystem is an apprehension of immanence that could ultimately benefit the planet and its inhabitants.
To explore the rhetoric of the psychedelic experience and its significance to evolution, Doyle takes his readers on an epic journey through the writings of William Burroughs and Kary Mullis, the work of ethnobotanists and anthropologists, and anonymous trip reports. The results offer surprising insights into evolutionary theory, the war on drugs, the internet, and the nature of human consciousness itself.
Vision and Brain: How We Perceive the World [PDF]
11 August 2015, 16:24
2012 | PDF | 25.63MB
In this accessible and engaging introduction to modern vision science, James Stone uses visual illusions to explore how the brain sees the world. Understanding vision, Stone argues, is not simply a question of knowing which neurons respond to particular visual features, but also requires a computational theory of vision. Stone draws together results from David Marr's computational framework, Barlow's efficient coding hypothesis, Bayesian inference, Shannon's information theory, and signal processing to construct a coherent account of vision that explains not only how the brain is fooled by particular visual illusions, but also why any biological or computer vision system should also be fooled by these illusions.
This short text includes chapters on the eye and its evolution, how and why visual neurons from different species encode the retinal image in the same way, how information theory explains color aftereffects, how different visual cues provide depth information, how the imperfect visual information received by the eye and brain can be rescued by Bayesian inference, how different brain regions process visual information, and the bizarre perceptual consequences that result from damage to these brain regions. The tutorial style emphasizes key conceptual insights, rather than mathematical details, making the book accessible to the nonscientist and suitable for undergraduate or postgraduate study.
The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution, A Quest for Sustainable Power [EPUB]
10 August 2015, 03:31
2015 | EPUB | 0.85MB
Using the little-known equation E=hf as the foundation for a compelling new vision, The Burning Answer reveals the importance of embracing solar energy as the only solution to the global energy crisis.Our society faces a choice. We could be enjoying a sustainable lifestyle but we have chosen not to. In three generations we have consumed half the oil produced by photosynthesis over eight million generations. In two generations we have used half our uranium resources. With threats from global warming, oil depletion and nuclear disaster, we are running out of options. Solar power, as Keith Barnham explains, is our necessary solution.
In The Burning Answer he uncovers the connections between physics and politics that have resulted in our dependence on a high-carbon lifestyle, which only a solar revolution can now overcome. Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 led to the atomic bomb and the widespread use of nuclear energy; it has delayed a solar revolution in many countries. In a fascinating tour of recent scientific history, Keith Barnham reveals Einstein's other, less famous equation, the equation the world could have relied on.
Barnham explains that the roots of solar energy lie in a little known equation E=hf, an equation which was coincidentally celebrated (and explained to the world) by Einstein in the same year he discovered E=mc2. He alleges that the former equation has been overlooked in favor of the latter, much to our detriment, and Barnham is here to offer us a solution: We can still turn things around and solar energy is the key. While everyone is aware of solar energy, people are still not paying enough attention, and so as well as explaining the science behind it, Barnham takes his subject forward to advise on what we should be doing to utilize this amazing energy source.
In this provocative, inspiring, passionately argued book, Keith Barnham outlines actions that any one and all of us can take to make an impact now and on future generations. The Burning Answer is a solar manifesto for the new climate-aware generation and a must-read for climate-change skeptics.