Biology
Featured Items
The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
The Violinist's Thumb
And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
Paperback      ISBN: 0316182338
From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In The Violinist's Thumb, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.
Plant Discoveries: A Botanist's Voyage Through Plant Exploration
Plant Discoveries
A Botanist's Voyage Through Plant Exploration
Hardcover      ISBN: 1552978109

The history of plants and flowers.

Botanical paintings and fascinating essays are combined in Plant Discoveries to examine the fascinating history of plants and flowers. Over 20 plant families are profiled including cacti, daffodils, iris, magnolia, poppies, roses, tulips, conifers, hibiscus, palms and waterlilies.

Throughout history, plants have dramatically affected the lives of individuals and society as a whole. Holland's infamous tulip craze is now legend. The 17th century spice trade was so profitable that stevedores who unloaded nutmeg from the boats were obliged to wear coveralls without pockets since only a few nutmegs were worth a fortune.

The natural history of the plants themselves is an engrossing topic. The book suggests that plants take a more active role in their survival than commonly assumed. It discusses how plants have adopted remarkable strategies for survival in a variety of harsh habitats. One such plant is the dead horse arum -- a putrid-smelling plant that adapted to compete with dead birds to attract pollinating carrion flies.

Plants that gardeners now take for granted once could only be found in remote and hostile regions. Plant Discoveries tells the fascinating story of the adventurous botanist explorers who braved disease, slave traders, war, jungles and other dangers to collect plants now commonly grown in our own backyards.

These pages are graced with hundreds of stunning color illustrations selected from the vast collection of botanical paintings archived at the Natural History Museum, London. Plant Discoveries is an exciting voyage of discovery and a must-have volume for lovers of art, botany, and adventure.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Bonk
The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Paperback      ISBN: 0393334791

In ?Bonk, ?the best-selling author of Stiff turns her outrageous curiosity and insight on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Why doesn't Viagra help women-or, for that matter, pandas? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Mary Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm-two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth-can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
The Third Chimpanzee
The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
Paperback      ISBN: 0060845503

"Wonderful....Jared Diamond conducts his fascinating study of our behavior and origins with a naturalist's eye and a philosopher's cunning." --Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses

In this fascinating, provocative, passionate, funny, endlessly entertaining work, renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning author and scientist Jared Diamond, author of Gun, Germs, and Steel, explores how the extraordinary human animal, in a remarkably short time, developed the capacity to rule the world . . . and the means to irrevocably destroy it.

We human beings share 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees. Yet humans are the dominant species on the planet--having founded civilizations and religions, developed intricate and diverse forms of communication, learned science, built cities, and created breathtaking works of art--while chimps remain animals concerned primarily with the basic necessities of survival. What is it about that two percent difference in DNA that has created such a divergence between evolutionary cousins?

The Third Chimpanzee is a tour de force, an iconoclastic, compelling, sometimes alarming look at the unique and marvelous creature that is the human animal.

How We Live and Why We Die: The Secret Lives of Cells
How We Live and Why We Die
The Secret Lives of Cells
Paperback      ISBN: 0393339386

Everything about our existence-movement and memory, imagination and reproduction, birth, and ultimately death-is governed by our cells. They are the basis of all life in the universe, from bacteria to the most complex animals. In the tradition of the classic Lives of a Cell, but with the benefit of the latest research, Lewis Wolpert demonstrates how human life grows from a single cell into a body, an incredibly complex society of billions of cells. Wolpert goes on to examine the science behind topics that are much discussed but rarely understood stem-cell research, cloning, DNA, cancer and explains how all life on earth evolved from just one cell. Lively and passionate, this is an accessible guide to understanding the human body and life itself."

Dancing at the Dead Sea: Tracking the World's Environmental Hotspots
Dancing at the Dead Sea
Tracking the World's Environmental Hotspots
Hardcover      ISBN: 0226532003

One hundred and fifty years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, award-winning environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell set out to retrace the idea of evolution and grapple with the fact that a massive extinction of the planet's species was well under way. So began a three-year odyssey in which Mitchell picked up where Darwin left off, examining not just the origin but also the ultimate fate of our world.

Combining scientific curiosity with travel and adventure, Dancing at the Dead Sea takes the reader on an intimate tour through the world's environmental hotspots. Readers join Mitchell as she tracks the spectacular biodiversity of regions as extraordinary as the island of Madagascar, the rain forests of Suriname, the parched oases of Jordan, the Arctic desert of Banks Island, the volcanic crests of Iceland, and, ultimately, the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin conducted his famous research. Along the way, Mitchell introduces us to the numerous scientists and conservationists who are working to protect these endangered places. She also chronicles the courageous efforts of everyday men and women in these regions as they try to convince governments to turn the world's hotspots into environmentally protected areas.

Ultimately, Mitchell's travels around the world compel her to ponder our shelf life as a species in the grand evolutionary scheme of the planet. She wonders what Darwin would make of the profound ecological destruction she witnesses. Is the human race suicidal? What can help our species avert extinction? Posing tough and cutting questions such as these, Dancing at the Dead Sea is a must-read for aficionados of good science writing and travel literature alike.
The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems
The Web of Life
A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems
Hardcover      ISBN: 0385476752

The author of the best-selling The Tao of Physics presents an innovative view of the interrelationships of psychological, biological, and social phenomena, synthesizing the latest alternative theories of evolution and physics. 50,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Biodiversity
Biodiversity
Paperback      ISBN: 0309037395

This important book for scientists and nonscientists alike calls attention to a most urgent global problem: the rapidly accelerating loss of plant and animal species to increasing human population pressure and the demands of economic development. Based on a major conference sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution, Biodiversity creates a systematic framework for analyzing the problem and searching for possible solutions.

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe
A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
Paperback      ISBN: 0812973402

Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon, one of only two hundred or so women among the alpha males who dominate this high-pressure, high-prestige medical specialty. She is also a superbly gifted writer-witty, insightful, at once deeply humane and refreshingly wry. In Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Dr. Firlik draws on this rare combination to create a neurosurgeon's Kitchen Confidential-a unique insider's memoir of a fascinating profession.

Neurosurgeons are renowned for their big egos and aggressive self-confidence, and Dr. Firlik confirms that timidity is indeed rare in the field. "They're the kids who never lost at musical chairs," she writes. A brain surgeon is not only a highly trained scientist and clinician but also a mechanic who of necessity develops an intimate, hands-on familiarity with the gray matter inside our skulls. It's the balance between cutting-edge medical technology and manual dexterity, between instinct and expertise, that Firlik finds so appealing-and so difficult to master.

Firlik recounts how her background as a surgeon's daughter with a strong stomach and a keen interest in the brain led her to this rarefied specialty, and she describes her challenging, atypical trek from medical student to fully qualified surgeon. Among Firlik's more memorable cases: a young roofer who walked into the hospital with a three-inch-long barbed nail driven into his forehead, the result of an accident with his partner's nail gun, and a sweet little seven-year-old boy whose untreated earache had become a raging, potentially fatal infection of the brain lining.

From OR theatrics to thorny ethical questions, from the surprisingly primitive tools in a neurosurgeon's kit to glimpses of future techniques like the "brain lift," Firlik cracks open medicine's most prestigious and secretive specialty. Candid, smart, clear-eyed, and unfailingly engaging, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe is a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes glimpse into a world of incredible competition and incalculable rewards.
How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts
How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts
Paperback      ISBN: 0486230198

Learn the natural ways of the Chippewa Indians with this great book from Dover. -- Texas Kitchen and Garden and More
The uses of plants -- for food, for medicine, for arts, crafts, and dyeing -- among the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota and Wisconsin show the great extent to which they understood and utilized natural resources. In this book those traditions are captured, providing a wealth of new material for those interested in natural food, natural cures, and native crafts.
In separate sections describing the major areas of use, Miss Densmore, an ethnologist with the Smithsonian Institution, details the uses of nearly 200 plants with emphasis on wild plants and lesser-known uses. For those interested in natural foods she gives extensive coverage to the gathering and preparation of maple sugar and wild rice, as well as preparations for beverages from leaves and twigs of common plants, seasonings including mint and bearberry, the methods of preparing wild rice and corn, cultivated and wild vegetables, and wild fruits and berries. On Indian medicines she tells the basic methods of gathering plants and the basic surgical and medical methods. Then she gives a complete list of the plants with their botanical names, uses, parts used, preparation and administration, and other notes and references. Also covered are plants used as charms, plants used in natural dyes, and plants in the useful and decorative arts including uses for household items, toys, mats, twine, baskets, bows, and tools, with special emphasis on the uses of birch bark and cedar. This section will be especially useful for supplying new and unusual craft ideas. In addition, 36 plates show the many stages of plant gathering and preparation and many of the artistic uses. While a number of the plants discussed are native only to the Great Lakes region, many are found throughout a wide range.
Those studying the Indians of the Great Lakes region, or those trying to get back to nature through understanding and using natural materials, will find much about the use of plants in all areas of community life. Because of Miss Densmore's deep knowledge and clear presentation, her study remains a rich and useful source for learning about or using native foods, native cures, and native crafts.