Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Future [PDF]

Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Future [PDF]
Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Future by Geoffrey M Hodgson
2015 | PDF | 2.58MB

A few centuries ago, capitalism set in motion an explosion of economic productivity. Markets and private property had existed for millennia, but what other key institutions fostered capitalism’s relatively recent emergence? Until now, the conceptual toolkit available to answer this question has been inadequate, and economists and other social scientists have been diverted from identifying these key institutions.

With Conceptualizing Capitalism, Geoffrey M. Hodgson offers readers a more precise conceptual framework. Drawing on a new theoretical approach called legal institutionalism, Hodgson establishes that the most important factor in the emergence of capitalism—but also among the most often overlooked—is the constitutive role of law and the state. While private property and markets are central to capitalism, they depend upon the development of an effective legal framework. Applying this legally grounded approach to the emergence of capitalism in eighteenth-century Europe, Hodgson identifies the key institutional developments that coincided with its rise. That analysis enables him to counter the widespread view that capitalism is a natural and inevitable outcome of human societies, showing instead that it is a relatively recent phenomenon, contingent upon a special form of state that protects private property and enforces contracts. After establishing the nature of capitalism, the book considers what this more precise conceptual framework can tell us about the possible future of capitalism in the twenty-first century, where some of the most important concerns are the effects of globalization, the continuing growth of inequality, and the challenges to America’s hegemony by China and others.

The Economics of Inequality [EPUB]

The Economics of Inequality [EPUB]
The Economics of Inequality by Thomas Piketty
2015 | EPUB | 0.5MB

Thomas Piketty―whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century pushed inequality to the forefront of public debate―wrote The Economics of Inequality as an introduction to the conceptual and factual background necessary for interpreting changes in economic inequality over time. This concise text has established itself as an indispensable guide for students and general readers in France, where it has been regularly updated and revised. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer, The Economics of Inequality now appears in English for the first time.

Piketty begins by explaining how inequality evolves and how economists measure it. In subsequent chapters, he explores variances in income and ownership of capital and the variety of policies used to reduce these gaps. Along the way, with characteristic clarity and precision, he introduces key ideas about the relationship between labor and capital, the effects of different systems of taxation, the distinction between “historical” and “political” time, the impact of education and technological change, the nature of capital markets, the role of unions, and apparent tensions between the pursuit of efficiency and the pursuit of fairness.

Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, this is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one of the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics.

Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris [EPUB]

Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris [EPUB]
Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Asti Hustvedt
2011 | EPUB | 10.69MB

A fascinating study of three young female hysterics who shaped our early notions of psychology.

Blanche, Augustine, and Genevieve found themselves in the hysteria ward of the Salpetriere Hospital in 1870s Paris, where their care was directed by the prominent neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. They became medical celebrities: every week, eager crowds arrived at the hospital to observe their symptoms; they were photographed, sculpted, painted, and transformed into characters in novels. The remarkable story of their lives as patients in the clinic is a strange amalgam of intimate details and public exposure, science and religion, medicine and the occult, hypnotism, love, and theater.

But who were Blanche, Augustine, and Genevieve? What role did they play in their own peculiar form of stardom? And what exactly were they suffering from? Hysteria―with its dramatic seizures, hallucinations, and reenactments of past traumas―may be an illness of the past, but the notions of femininity that lie behind it offer insights into disorders of the present.

Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped [EPUB]

Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped [EPUB]
Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped by Gioia Diliberto
2015 | EPUB | 3.48MB

A sweeping biography of one of the most influential and controversial legends of late twentieth-century fashion, an iconic designer whose colorful creations, including the “wrap dress,” captured the modern feminist spirit.

The daughter of a Holocaust survivor and wife of an Austrian nobleman, Diane von Furstenberg burst onto New York’s fashion scene in 1969, and within a few years became an international sensation with her colorful wrap dress in printed jersey. Embraced by millions of American women of all ages, sizes, and shapes, the dress became a cult object and symbol of women’s liberation, tied inexorably to the image of youth, independence, and sex Diane herself projected.

In this masterful biography, Gioia Diliberto brings Diane’s extraordinary life into focus, from her post-World-War-II childhood in Belgium, through her rise to the top of the fashion world during the decadent seventies and glamorous go-go eighties, to her humiliating failures both professional and personal, and her remarkable comeback in the nineties. Like Coco Chanel, Diane has always been her own best advertisement. Morphing from a frizzy brunette outsider in a sea of sleek blondes to a stunning pop cultural icon, she embodied the brand she created—“the DVF woman,” a model of self-sufficiency, sensuality, and confidence.

Diliberto’s captivating, balanced portrait, based on scores of interviews with Diane’s family, friends, lovers, employees, and the designer herself, explores von Furstenberg’s relationships with her husbands and lovers, and illuminates fashion’s evolution from rare luxury to marketing monster and the development of a uniquely American style. Lively and insightful, the book also explores the larger world of the nation’s elite, where fashion, culture, society, politics, and Hollywood collide. Diane von Furstenberg is a modern fable of self-invention, fame, wealth, failure, and success that mirrors late-twentieth century America itself.

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age [PDF]

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age [PDF]
Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W Bernard Carlson
2013 | PDF | 13.8MB

Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the twentieth century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America's first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius. Even at the end of his life when he was living in poverty, Tesla still attracted reporters to his annual birthday interview, regaling them with claims that he had invented a particle-beam weapon capable of bringing down enemy aircraft.

Plenty of biographies glamorize Tesla and his eccentricities, but until now none has carefully examined what, how, and why he invented. In this groundbreaking book, W. Bernard Carlson demystifies the legendary inventor, placing him within the cultural and technological context of his time, and focusing on his inventions themselves as well as the creation and maintenance of his celebrity. Drawing on original documents from Tesla's private and public life, Carlson shows how he was an "idealist" inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle, and who skillfully sold his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion.

This major biography sheds new light on Tesla's visionary approach to invention and the business strategies behind his most important technological breakthroughs.

Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven: 1781-1802 [EPUB]

Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven: 1781-1802 [EPUB]
Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven: 1781-1802 by Daniel Heartz
2009 | EPUB | 23.19MB

A vivid portrait of Mozart and Haydn's greatest achievements and young Beethoven's works under their influence.

Completing the trilogy begun with Haydn, Mozart and the Viennese School, 1740-1780 and continued in Music in European Capitals: The Galant Style, 1720-1780, Daniel Heartz concludes his extensive chronicle of the Classical Era with this much-anticipated third volume. By the early years of the nineteenth century, "Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven" had become a catchphrase―a commonplace expression signifying musical excellence. Indeed, even in his early career, Beethoven was hailed as the only musician worthy to stand beside Haydn and Mozart. In this volume, Heartz winds up the careers of Haydn and Mozart (who during the 1780s produced their most famous and greatest works) and describes Beethoven's first decade in Vienna, during which he began composing by patterning his works on the two masters. The tumult and instability of the French Revolution serves as a vivid historical backdrop for the tale.

Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness [EPUB]

Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness [EPUB]
Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness by Daniel Maier-Katkin
2010 | EPUB | 0.4MB

Two titans of twentieth-century thought: their lives, loves, ideas, and politics.

Shaking up the content and method by which generations of students had studied Western philosophy, Martin Heidegger sought to ennoble man’s existence in relation to death. Yet in a time of crisis, he sought personal advancement, becoming the most prominent German intellectual to join the Nazis.

Hannah Arendt, his brilliant, beautiful student and young lover, sought to enable a decent society of human beings in relation to one other. She was courageous in the time of crisis. Years later, she was even able to meet Heidegger once again on common ground and to find in his past behavior an insight into Nazism that would influence her reflections on “the banality of evil”―a concept that remains bitterly controversial and profoundly influential to this day.

But how could Arendt have renewed her friendship with Heidegger? And how has this relationship affected her reputation as a cultural critic? In Stranger from Abroad, Daniel Maier-Katkin offers a compassionate portrait that provides much-needed insight into this relationship.

Maier-Katkin creates a detailed and riveting portrait of Arendt’s rich intellectual and emotional life, shedding light on the unique bond she shared with her second husband, Heinrich Blücher, and on her friendships with Mary McCarthy, W. H. Auden, Karl Jaspers, and Randall Jarrell―all fascinating figures in their own right. An elegant, accessible introduction to Arendt’s life and work, Stranger from Abroad makes a powerful and hopeful case for the lasting relevance of Arendt’s thought.

Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko [PDF]

Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko [PDF]
Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army by Phyllis Birnbaum
2015 | PDF | 73.88MB

Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907-1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.

Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with many daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China.

While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932--one reason she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan: some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the richest and most accurate portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.

The Fall of Language in the Age of English [EPUB]

The Fall of Language in the Age of English [EPUB]
The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura
2015 | EPUB + PDF | 4.73/1.17MB

Winner of the Kobayashi Hideo Award, The Fall of Language in the Age of English lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one's own language in this period of English-language dominance. Born in Tokyo but also raised and educated in the United States, Minae Mizumura acknowledges the value of a universal language in the pursuit of knowledge, yet also embraces the different ways of understanding offered by multiple tongues. She warns against losing this precious diversity.

Universal languages have always played a pivotal role in advancing human societies, Mizumura shows, but in the globalized world of the Internet, English is fast becoming the sole common language of humanity. The process is unstoppable, and striving for total language equality is delusional--and yet, particular kinds of knowledge can be gained only through writings in specific languages.

Mizumura calls these writings "texts" and their ultimate form "literature." Only through literature, and more fundamentally through the diverse languages that give birth to a variety of literatures, can we nurture and enrich humanity. Incorporating her own experiences as a writer and a lover of language, and embedding a parallel history of Japanese, Mizumura offers an intimate look at the phenomena of individual and national expression.

A Brief History of Ancient Greek [EPUB]

A Brief History of Ancient Greek [EPUB]
A Brief History of Ancient Greek by Stephen Colvin
2014 | EPUB | 2.91MB

A Brief History of Ancient Greek accessibly depicts the social history of this ancient language from its Indo-European roots to the present day.

  • Explains key relationships between the language and literature of the Classical period (500 - 300 BC)
  • Provides a social history of the language which transliterates and translates all Greek as appropriate, and is therefore accessible to readers who know little or no Greek
  • Written in the framework of modern sociolinguistic theory, relating the development of Ancient Greek to its social and political context
  • Reflects the latest thinking on subjects such as Koiné Greek and the relationship between literary and vernacular Greek

A Companion to the Latin Language [EPUB]

A Companion to the Latin Language [EPUB]
A Companion to the Latin Language edited by James Clackson
2011 | EPUB | 3.75MB

A Companion to the Latin Language presents a collection of original essays from international scholars that track the development and use of the Latin language from its origins to its modern day usage.

  • Brings together contributions from internationally renowned classicists, linguists and Latin language specialists
  • Offers, in a single volume, a detailed account of different literary registers of the Latin language
  • Explores the social and political contexts of Latin
  • Includes new accounts of the Latin language in light of modern linguistic theory
  • Supplemented with illustrations covering the development of the Latin alphabet

A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought [EPUB]

A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought [EPUB]
A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought edited by Ryan K Balot
2012 | EPUB | 1.42MB

Comprises 34 essays from leading scholars in history, classics, philosophy, and political science to illuminate Greek and Roman political thought in all its diversity and depth.

  • Offers a broad survey of ancient political thought from Archaic Greece through Late Antiquity
  • Approaches ancient political philosophy from both a normative and historical focus
  • Examines Greek and Roman political thought within historical context and contemporary debate
  • Explores the role of ancient political thought in a range of philosophies, such as the individual and community, human rights, religion, and cosmopolitanism

A Companion to Archaic Greece [EPUB]

A Companion to Archaic Greece [EPUB]
A Companion to Archaic Greece edited by Kurt A Raaflaub, Hans van Wees
2010 | EPUB | 13.47MB

A systematic survey of archaic Greek society and culture which introduces the reader to a wide range of new approaches to the period.

  • The first comprehensive and accessible survey of developments in the study of archaic Greece
  • Places Greek society of c.750-480 BCE in its chronological and geographical context
  • Gives equal emphasis to established topics such as tyranny and political reform and newer subjects like gender and ethnicity
  • Combines accounts of historical developments with regional surveys of archaeological evidence and in-depth treatments of selected themes
  • Explores the impact of Eastern and other non-Greek cultures in the development of Greece
  • Uses archaeological and literary evidence to reconstruct broad patterns of social and cultural development

The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings [Audiobook]

The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings [Audiobook]
The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings [Audiobook] by Lars Brownworth, read by Joe Barrett
2015 | MP3@32 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 16 mins | 102.93MB

In AD 793 Norse warriors struck the English isle of Lindisfarne and laid waste to it. Wave after wave of Norse "sea wolves" followed in search of plunder, land, or a glorious death in battle. Much of the British Isles fell before their swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, they swept down the uncharted rivers of central Europe, captured Kiev, and clashed with mighty Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

But there is more to the Viking story than brute force. They were makers of law - the term itself comes from an Old Norse word - and they introduced a novel form of trial by jury to England. They were also sophisticated merchants and explorers who settled Iceland, founded Dublin, and established a trading network that stretched from Baghdad to the coast of North America.

In The Sea Wolves, Lars Brownworth brings to life this extraordinary Norse world of epic poets, heroes, and travelers through the stories of the great Viking figures, including Leif the Lucky, Eric Bloodaxe, and Harald Hardrada. This riveting history illuminates the saga of the Viking age - a time that "has passed away, and grown dark under the cover of night."

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings [Audiobook]

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings [Audiobook]
The Normans: From Raiders to Kings [Audiobook] by Lars Brownworth, read by James C Lewis
2014 | MP3@32 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 4 mins | 100.37MB

There is much more to the Norman story than the Battle of Hastings. These descendants of the Vikings who settled in France, England, and Italy - but were not strictly French, English, or Italian - played a large role in creating the modern world. They were the success story of the Middle Ages: a footloose band of individual adventurers who transformed the face of medieval Europe. During the course of two centuries, they launched a series of extraordinary conquests, carving out kingdoms from the North Sea to the North African coast.

In The Normans, Lars Brownworth follows their story, from the first shock of a Viking raid on an Irish monastery to the exile of the last Norman Prince of Antioch. In the process, he brings to vivid life the Norman tapestry's rich cast of characters: figures like Rollo the Walker, William Iron-Arm, Tancred the Monkey King, and Robert Guiscard. The Normans presents a fascinating glimpse of a time when a group of restless adventurers had the world at their fingertips.

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction [Audiobook]

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction [Audiobook]
The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction [Audiobook] by Matthew B Crawford, read by Robert Fass
2015 | MP3 VBR V4 + EPUB | 9 hrs 27 mins | 314.13MB

In his best-selling book Shop Class as Soulcraft, Matthew B. Crawford explored the ethical and practical importance of manual competence, as expressed through mastery of our physical environment. In his brilliant follow-up, The World Beyond Your Head, Crawford investigates the challenge of mastering one's own mind.

We often complain about our fractured mental lives and feel beset by outside forces that destroy our focus and disrupt our peace of mind. Any defense against this, Crawford argues, requires that we reckon with the way attention sculpts the self. Crawford investigates the intense focus of ice hockey players and short-order chefs, the quasi-autistic behavior of gambling addicts, the familiar hassles of daily life, and the deep, slow craft of building pipe organs. He shows that our current crisis of attention is only superficially the result of digital technology, and becomes more comprehensible when understood as the coming to fruition of certain assumptions at the root of Western culture that are profoundly at odds with human nature.

The World Beyond Your Head makes sense of an astonishing array of common experience, from the frustrations of airport security to the rise of the hipster. With implications for the way we raise our children, the design of public spaces, and democracy itself, this is an audiobook of urgent relevance to contemporary life.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work [EPUB]

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work [EPUB]
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B Crawford
2009 | EPUB | 0.73MB

A philosopher / mechanic destroys the pretensions of the high- prestige workplace and makes an irresistible case for working with one's hands

Shop Class as Soulcraft brings alive an experience that was once quite common, but now seems to be receding from society-the experience of making and fixing things with our hands. Those of us who sit in an office often feel a lack of connection to the material world, a sense of loss, and find it difficult to say exactly what we do all day. For anyone who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, Shop Class as Soulcraft seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing.

On both economic and psychological grounds, Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing, the work of the hand from that of the mind. Crawford shows us how such a partition, which began a century ago with the assembly line, degrades work for those on both sides of the divide.

But Crawford offers good news as well: the manual trades are very different from the assembly line, and from dumbed-down white collar work as well. They require careful thinking and are punctuated by moments of genuine pleasure. Based on his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford makes a case for the intrinsic satisfactions and cognitive challenges of manual work. The work of builders and mechanics is secure; it cannot be outsourced, and it cannot be made obsolete. Such work ties us to the local communities in which we live, and instills the pride that comes from doing work that is genuinely useful. A wholly original debut, Shop Class as Soulcraft offers a passionate call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.

The Iroquois and Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier [Audiobook]

The Iroquois and Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier [Audiobook]
The Iroquois and Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier [Audiobook] by Timothy J Shannon, read by George K Wilson
2008 | MP3 VBR V4 | 9 hrs 18 mins | 315.62MB

Occupying territory between Canada and New York, the Six Nations of the Iroquois League held a strategic position near French, Dutch, and English interests. Although they were formidable adversaries, the Iroquois learned they could strengthen themselves more effectively by forging alliances than by waging war. Skillfully remaining neutral during North America's Anglo-French wars, they maintained an unrivaled influence in colonial America--at a time when other Indian nations were being destroyed or dispersed.

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 [Audiobook]

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 [Audiobook]
Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 [Audiobook] by Hunter S Thompson, read by Scott Sowers
2012 | MP3 VBR V4 + EPUB | 17 hrs 3 mins | 568.8MB

An iconic and controversial figure in American literature, Hunter S. Thompson displayed a brilliance that forever changed journalism. Thompson's follow-up to The Proud Highway, this second volume of private, never-before-published letters spans the years 1968 through 1976. Addressed to such luminaries as Tom Wolfe, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jimmy Carter, this incisive collection showcases Thompson's raw and starkly honest thoughts on a pivotal era in U.S. history.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania [Audiobook]

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania [Audiobook]
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania [Audiobook] by Erik Larson, read by Scott Brick
2015 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 13 hrs 4 mins | 370.25MB

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana [Audiobook]

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana [Audiobook]
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe [Audiobook] by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, read by Sarah Zimmerman
2011 | MP3 VBR V4 + EPUB | 6 hrs 16 mins | 235.28MB

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war - a rare achievement for any Afghan woman - Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC Newsreporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey [Audiobook]

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey [Audiobook]
Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey [Audiobook] by The Countess Of Carnarvon, read by Sandra Duncan, Jenny Ogilvie, Andrew Wincott
2013 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 10 hrs 47 mins | 293.29MB

Sometimes the facts are even more extraordinary than the fiction...

This book tells the story of Lady Catherine, a beautiful American girl who became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes' award-winning drama Downton Abbey.

Charming and charismatic, Catherine caught the eye of Lord Porchester (or 'Porchey', as he was known) when she was just 20 years old, and wearing a pale yellow dress at a ball. She had already turned down 14 proposals before she eventually married Porchey in 1922. But less than a year later Porchey's father died suddenly, and he became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, inheriting a title and a Castle that changed both their lives forever.

Catherine found herself suddenly in charge of a small army of household staff, and hosting lavish banquets and weekend house parties. Although the couple were very much in love, considerable challenges lay ahead for Catherine. They were immediately faced with the task of saving Highclere when debts threatened to destroy the estate. As the 1920s moved to a close, Catherine's adored brother died and she began to lose her husband to the distractions London had to offer. When the Second World War broke out, life at the Castle would never be the same again.

Drawing on rich material from the private archives at Highclere, including beautiful period photographs, the current Countess of Carnarvon transports us back to the thrilling and alluring world of the 'real Downton Abbey' and its inhabitants.

Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure [EPUB]

Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure [EPUB]
Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure by Cédric Villani
2015 | EPUB | 4.03MB

In 2010, French mathematician Cédric Villani received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he devised with his close collaborator Clément Mouhot to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics. Birth of a Theorem is Villani's own account of the years leading up to the award. It invites readers inside the mind of a great mathematician as he wrestles with the most important work of his career.

But you don't have to understand nonlinear Landau damping to love Birth of a Theorem. It doesn't simplify or overexplain; rather, it invites readers into collaboration. Villani's diaries, emails, and musings enmesh you in the process of discovery. You join him in unproductive lulls and late-night breakthroughs. You're privy to the dining-hall conversations at the world's greatest research institutions. Villani shares his favorite songs, his love of manga, and the imaginative stories he tells his children. In mathematics, as in any creative work, it is the thinker's whole life that propels discovery--and with Birth of a Theorem, Cédric Villani welcomes you into his.

The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution, A Quest for Sustainable Power [EPUB]

The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution, A Quest for Sustainable Power [EPUB]
The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution, A Quest for Sustainable Power by Keith Barnham
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.

Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces [PDF]

Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces [PDF]
Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces: Practices, Institutions and Networks by Jeremy Morris, Abel Polese
2015 | PDF | 3.08MB

Informed by in-depth case studies focusing on a wide spectrum of micro and macro post-socialist realities from Lithuania to Kosovo, from Ukraine to China, this volume demonstrates the multi-faceted nature of informality and suggests that it is a widely diffused phenomenon, used at all levels of a society and by both winners and losers of post-socialist transition. In particular, by critically engaging with concepts such as bribery, nepotism and illegal transactions in general, the collection suggests that informality has a systemic reality not only at the micro but also, and more importantly, at the macro level. In an attempt to move beyond functionalist or structuralist perspectives, the authors propose that informality at the macro scale is an alternative way of responding to policy-making and that its reality must inform policy decisions.

The Globalization Paradox [EPUB]

The Globalization Paradox [EPUB]
The Globalization Paradox: Why Global Markets, States, and Democracy Can't Coexist by Dani Rodrik
2011 | EPUB | 0.59MB

For a century, economists have driven forward the cause of globalization in financial institutions, labour markets, and trade. Yet there have been consistent warning signs that a global economy and free trade might not always be advantageous. Where are the pressure points? What could be done about them?

Dani Rodrik examines the back-story from its seventeenth-century origins through the milestones of the gold standard, the Bretton Woods Agreement, and the Washington Consensus, to the present day. Although economic globalization has enabled unprecedented levels of prosperity in advanced countries and has been a boon to hundreds of millions of poor workers in China and elsewhere in Asia, it is a concept that rests on shaky pillars, he contends. Its long-term sustainability is not a given.

The heart of Rodrik's argument is a fundamental 'trilemma': that we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national self-determination, and economic globalization. Give too much power to governments, and you have protectionism. Give markets too much freedom, and you have an unstable world economy with little social and political support from those it is supposed to help. Rodrik argues for smart globalization, not maximum globalization.

Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist's Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World [EPUB]

Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist's Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World [EPUB]
Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist's Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World by Mark Haskell Smith
2015 | EPUB | 0.48MB

People have been getting naked in public for reasons other than sex for centuries. But as novelist and narrative journalist Mark Haskell Smith shows in Naked at Lunch, being a nudist is more complicated than simply dropping trou. “Nonsexual social nudism,” as it’s called, rose to prominence in the late nineteenth century. Intellectuals, outcasts, and health nuts from Victorian England and colonial India to Belle Époque France and Gilded Age Manhattan disrobed and wrote manifestos about the joys of going clothing-free. From stories of ancient Greek athletes slathered in olive oil to the millions of Germans who fled the cities for a naked frolic during the Weimar Republic to American soldiers given “naturist” magazines by the Pentagon in the interest of preventing sexually transmitted diseases, Haskell Smith uncovers nudism’s amusing and provocative past.

Naked at Lunch is equal parts cultural history and gonzo participatory journalism. Coated in multiple layers of high SPF sunblock, Haskell Smith dives into the nudist world today. He publicly disrobes for the first time in Palm Springs, observes the culture of family nudism in a clothing-free Spanish town, and travels to the largest nudist resort in the world, a hedonist’s paradise in the south of France. He reports on San Francisco’s controversial ban on public nudity, participates in a week of naked hiking in the Austrian Alps, and caps off his adventures with a week on the Big Nude Boat, a Caribbean cruise full of nudists.

Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the US Military Shapes the Way You Eat [EPUB]

Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the US Military Shapes the Way You Eat [EPUB]
Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the US Military Shapes the Way You Eat by Anastacia Marx de Salcedo
2015 | EPUB | 0.7MB

Americans eat more processed foods than anyone else in the world. We also spend more on military research. These two seemingly unrelated facts are inextricably linked. If you ever wondered how ready-to-eat foods infiltrated your kitchen, you’ll love this entertaining romp through the secret military history of practically everything you buy at the supermarket.

In a nondescript Boston suburb, in a handful of low buildings buffered by trees and a lake, a group of men and women spend their days researching, testing, tasting, and producing the foods that form the bedrock of the American diet. If you stumbled into the facility, you might think the technicians dressed in lab coats and the shiny kitchen equipment belonged to one of the giant food conglomerates responsible for your favorite brand of frozen pizza or microwavable breakfast burritos. So you’d be surprised to learn that you’ve just entered the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, ground zero for the processed food industry.

Ever since Napoleon, armies have sought better ways to preserve, store, and transport food for battle. As part of this quest, although most people don’t realize it, the U.S. military spearheaded the invention of energy bars, restructured meat, extended-life bread, instant coffee, and much more. But there’s been an insidious mission creep: because the military enlisted industry—huge corporations such as ADM, ConAgra, General Mills, Hershey, Hormel, Mars, Nabisco, Reynolds, Smithfield, Swift, Tyson, and Unilever—to help develop and manufacture food for soldiers on the front line, over the years combat rations, or the key technologies used in engineering them, have ended up dominating grocery store shelves and refrigerator cases. TV dinners, the cheese powder in snack foods, cling wrap . . . The list is almost endless.

Now food writer Anastacia Marx de Salcedo scrutinizes the world of processed food and its long relationship with the military—unveiling the twists, turns, successes, failures, and products that have found their way from the armed forces’ and contractors’ laboratories into our kitchens. In developing these rations, the army was looking for some of the very same qualities as we do in our hectic, fast-paced twenty-first-century lives: portability, ease of preparation, extended shelf life at room temperature, affordability, and appeal to even the least adventurous eaters. In other words, the military has us chowing down like special ops.

What is the effect of such a diet, eaten—as it is by soldiers and most consumers—day in and day out, year after year? We don’t really know. We’re the guinea pigs in a giant public health experiment, one in which science and technology, at the beck and call of the military, have taken over our kitchens.

Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science [TTC Video]

Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science [TTC Video]
Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science [TTC Video] by Professor Steven Gimbel
Course No 4140 | MP4, x264, 1500 kbps, 720x480 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 13.31GB

No subject is bigger than reality itself, and nothing is more challenging to understand, since what counts as reality is undergoing continual revision and has been for centuries. For example, the matter that comprises all stars, planets, and living things turns out to be just a fraction of what actually exists. Moreover, we think that we control our actions, but data gathering systems can predict, with astonishing accuracy, when we will get up in the morning, what items we will buy, and even whom we will marry.

The quest to pin down what's real and what's illusory is both philosophical and scientific. At its core, it is nothing less than the metaphysical search for ultimate reality that goes back to the ancient Greeks. And for the last 400 years, this search has been increasingly guided by scientists, who create theories and test them in order to define reality and then redefine it as new theories replace old.

In physics, biology, psychology, economics, and many other fields, defining reality is a task that needs frequent updates. Consider these once solid facts that were later thrown into doubt:

  • Space and time: Nothing is more real to us than our experience of space and time, which is why one of the greatest revolutions in human thought is Einstein's discovery that these two seemingly stable features of the universe are surprisingly fluid in ways that defy common sense.
  • Matter: It seems obvious that matter down to the smallest scale should have measurable properties: it's either here or there, it's spinning this way or that. But quantum mechanics shows that subatomic particles are in many places and states at the same time - until you measure them.
  • Mathematics: What could be more ironclad than the truths of mathematics? Yet in the 1930s, Kurt Godel showed that the field was built on shifting sands - that no set of axioms designed to serve as the foundation of mathematics could be both self-consistent and complete.
  • Life-giving sun: Plants need sunlight; animals eat plants or other animals; therefore all life on Earth ultimately depends on the sun. This seemed indisputable, until scientists discovered colonies of life in the dark ocean depths, feeding on mineral-rich hot fluids from volcanic vents.

When faced with reversals such as these, it's tempting to give up and conclude that nothing will ever be certain. But there's a more rewarding way to look at it, which is that every successful new theory is an improvement on its predecessor, drawing the net ever more tightly around reality, whose form is gradually coming into focus.

Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science gives you the thrill of this exciting quest in 36 wide-ranging lectures that touch on many aspects of the ceaseless search for reality, both scientific and philosophical. From the birth of the universe to brain science, award-winning Professor of Philosophy Steven Gimbel of Gettysburg College shows that separating the real from the illusory is an exhilarating intellectual adventure.

And since dealing with reality is an experience we all share, this course is designed for people of all backgrounds. No prior training in science or philosophy is assumed. Furthermore, the richness of Professor Gimbel's presentation assures that even those who have studied this problem in depth will find new connections and unexpected insights. Dr. Gimbel's thoroughness makes Redefining Reality an unrivaled introduction to key themes in the history of science and philosophy.

The How and Why of Reality

You begin with the contrasting views of two of the most influential philosophers who ever lived: Plato and Aristotle. According to Plato, reality resides in an abstract world of forms that can only be perceived by the mind; while for Aristotle, reality is right here in this world. It was this elevation of the material realm by Aristotle that launched what we think of as science.

Science was part of philosophy until the 16th and 17th centuries. The turning point came with Isaac Newton's laws of motion and principle of universal gravitation, which showed that the world is governed by natural laws. Newton's supremely successful mathematical theory established science as a separate mode of inquiry and provided a model for the ambitions of all future scientists. Henceforth, science was devoted to explaining how the world works. Speculation about why it works the way it does remained the province of philosophy.

A striking case of when a philosophical subject suddenly became scientific occurred in 1965, with the discovery of the fossil radio signal from the big bang, the moment when the universe can be said to have begun. Before this discovery, the notion of a beginning to time was largely theological. After, it was a scientific problem that could be quantified and explored in detail. In Redefining Reality, you examine scores of similar examples of reality in transition, including these:

  • Ghost in a machine: Traditionally, doctors saw the human body as a closed system inhabited by a soul - a "ghost in a machine." The discovery of disease-causing microbes led to a new paradigm: the body as a fortress under attack. Today there's a revised view: microbes are considered crucial to human life.
  • Economics: Newton's success in physics inspired the field of economics. But attempts to predict the complexities of production, consumption, and trade defied exact mathematical analysis. Recent theories have revised our view of economic reality by factoring in the human tendency for irrational economic choices.
  • Artificial intelligence: Can machines think? One current view is that a machine capable of human-like responses to questions would indeed have a mind. But philosopher John Searle's famous "Chinese Room" thought experiment suggests that the imitation of outward behavior is not enough to constitute a mind.
  • Free will: One outcome of today's revolution in big data is that computers can now predict what individuals will do in many situations, including who is likely to commit a crime. These techniques challenge the age-old belief that we have free will - that our actions are the result of deliberate personal choices.

The Art of Reality

Scientists and philosophers are not alone in grappling at an intellectual level with reality. Some of the most accessible interpretations are by painters, novelists, filmmakers, and other artists, whose works not only draw on the latest discoveries but also sometimes inspire them. Professor Gimbel includes examples in practically every lecture, such as the following:

  • Alice in Wonderland: Written by mathematician Charles Dodgson (whose pen name was Lewis Carroll), Alice's adventures can be read as an investigation of the paradoxical worlds that are possible when logic is set loose. Wonderland represents the death of the rationalist project.
  • Pointillism, cubism, and surrealism: These new modes of representation in the visual arts arose concurrently with the triumph of the atomic theory of matter and the radical new picture of reality offered by relativity and quantum mechanics.
  • Reality TV: The legacy of Darwin and his successors pervades one of modern media's most popular genres: reality television. From Survivor to Top Chef, these unscripted shows illustrate such Darwinian ideas as survival of the fittest and creative adaptation.
  • Hybrids and chimeras: Ancient myths spanning many cultures depict winged horses, minotaurs, mermaids, griffins, and other impossible crosses between different creatures. These stories prefigure today's real hybrids produced by genetic engineering.

A distinguished teacher, scholar, and author, Professor Gimbel has a gift for giving clear and concise explanations of concepts that can be notoriously difficult, such as special and general relativity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, Godel's incompleteness theorem, chaos theory, and string theory. He also has a detective's instincts for connecting the dots, marshaling evidence to spotlight historical trends. One trend that you will learn about in Redefining Reality is the gradual redefinition of humans, for we have developed the power to alter our own reality in major ways - to defeat diseases, compensate for disabilities, enhance our mental well-being, and augment our intellect with computers. Where is that trend going? Take this fascinating course to find out.

Lectures:

  1. Metaphysics and the Nature of Science
  2. Defining Reality
  3. Mathematics in Crisis
  4. Special Relativity
  5. General Relativity
  6. Big Bang Cosmology
  7. The Reality of Atoms
  8. Quantum Mechanics
  9. Quantum Field Theory
  10. Chaos Theory
  11. Dark Matter and Dark Energy
  12. Grand Unified Theories
  13. Quantum Consciousness
  14. Defining Reality in the Life Sciences
  15. Genes and Identity
  16. The Birth of Psychology
  17. Jung and the Behaviorists
  18. The Rediscovery of the Mind
  19. The Caring Brain
  20. Brain and Self
  21. Evolutionary Psychology
  22. The Birth of Sociology
  23. Competition and Cooperation
  24. Race and Reality
  25. Social Progress
  26. The Reality of Money
  27. The Origin of Life
  28. Exoplanets and Extraterrestrial Life
  29. Technology and Death
  30. Cloning and Identity
  31. Genetic Engineering
  32. Medically Enhanced Humans
  33. Transhumans: Making Living Gods
  34. Artificial Intelligence
  35. The Internet and Virtual Reality
  36. Data Analytics