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99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design
$30.00
A NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, USA TODAY, AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER

"[A] diverse and enlightening book . . . The 99% Invisible City is altogether fresh and imaginative when it comes to thinking about urban spaces."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Here is a field guide, a boon, a bible, for the urban curious. Your city's secret anatomy laid bare--a hundred things you look at but don't see, see but don't know. Each entry is a compact, surprising story, a thought piece, an invitation to marvel. Together, they are almost transformative. To know why things are as they are adds a satisfying richness to daily existence. This book is terrific, just terrific."
--Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Stiff, Grunt, and Gulp

"The 99% Invisible City brings into view the fascinating but often unnoticed worlds we walk and drive through every day, and to read it is to feel newly alive and aware of your place in the world. This book made me laugh, and it made me cry, and it reminded me to always read the plaque."
--John Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All The Way Down

A beautifully designed guidebook to the unnoticed yet essential elements of our cities, from the creators of the wildly popular 99% Invisible podcast

Have you ever wondered what those bright, squiggly graffiti marks on the sidewalk mean?

Or stopped to consider why you don't see metal fire escapes on new buildings?

Or pondered the story behind those dancing inflatable figures in car dealerships?

99% Invisible is a big-ideas podcast about small-seeming things, revealing stories baked into the buildings we inhabit, the streets we drive, and the sidewalks we traverse. The show celebrates design and architecture in all of its functional glory and accidental absurdity, with intriguing tales of both designers and the people impacted by their designs.

Now, in The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to Hidden World of Everyday Design, host Roman Mars and coauthor Kurt Kohlstedt zoom in on the various elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes to drinking fountains and street signs. With deeply researched entries and beautiful line drawings throughout, The 99% Invisible City will captivate devoted fans of the show and anyone curious about design, urban environments, and the unsung marvels of the world around them.

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9780358126607
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Mars, Roman
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Alignment Problem

Alignment Problem
$20.00

Today's "machine-learning" systems, trained by data, are so effective that we've invited them to see and hear for us--and to make decisions on our behalf. But alarm bells are ringing. Recent years have seen an eruption of concern as the field of machine learning advances. When the systems we attempt to teach will not, in the end, do what we want or what we expect, ethical and potentially existential risks emerge. Researchers call this the alignment problem.

Systems cull résumés until, years later, we discover that they have inherent gender biases. Algorithms decide bail and parole--and appear to assess Black and White defendants differently. We can no longer assume that our mortgage application, or even our medical tests, will be seen by human eyes. And as autonomous vehicles share our streets, we are increasingly putting our lives in their hands.

The mathematical and computational models driving these changes range in complexity from something that can fit on a spreadsheet to a complex system that might credibly be called "artificial intelligence." They are steadily replacing both human judgment and explicitly programmed software.

In best-selling author Brian Christian's riveting account, we meet the alignment problem's "first-responders," and learn their ambitious plan to solve it before our hands are completely off the wheel. In a masterful blend of history and on-the ground reporting, Christian traces the explosive growth in the field of machine learning and surveys its current, sprawling frontier. Readers encounter a discipline finding its legs amid exhilarating and sometimes terrifying progress. Whether they--and we--succeed or fail in solving the alignment problem will be a defining human story.

The Alignment Problem offers an unflinching reckoning with humanity's biases and blind spots, our own unstated assumptions and often contradictory goals. A dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, it takes a hard look not only at our technology but at our culture--and finds a story by turns harrowing and hopeful.

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9780393868333
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Animal Labor: A New Perspective on Human-Animal Relations

Animal Labor: A New Perspective on Human-Animal Relations
$27.50
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Do animals work? Is it possible to work with animals without exploiting them? Might animals even be empowered through work? This provocative collection offers original answers to these questions and allows readers to think about human relationships with domestic animals beyond the well-trodden tropes of domination or animal welfare. To study animal work means to look at animals in new ways and to discover in them unsuspected skills and knowledge that open up new ethical and political horizons.
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9783837643640
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Estebanez, Jean
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As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age

As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age
$35.00

The thrilling and terrifying history of genetic engineering

In 2018, scientists manipulated the DNA of human babies for the first time. As biologist and historian Matthew Cobb shows in As Gods, this achievement was one many scientists have feared from the start of the genetic age. Four times in the last fifty years, geneticists, frightened by their own technology, have called a temporary halt to their experiments. They ought to be frightened: Now we have powers that can target the extinction of pests, change our own genes, or create dangerous new versions of diseases in an attempt to prevent future pandemics. Both awe-inspiring and chilling, As Gods traces the history of genetic engineering, showing that this revolutionary technology is far too important to be left to the scientists. They have the power to change life itself, but should we trust them to keep their ingenuity from producing a hellish reality?

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9781541602854
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Cobb, Matthew
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Bathysphere Book: Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths

Bathysphere Book: Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths
$29.00
"...one of the most fascinating and unusual new books I've read in some time."
--Benjamin Shull, The Wall Street Journal

"Hypnotic . . . Beautifully written and beautifully made."
--W. M. Akers, The New York Times Book Review

"...a weird and often beautiful fusion of science writing, history and poetry that explores our own relationship with the unknown..."
--Edward Posnett, The Guardian

"Mesmerizing . . . Original and often profound, [The Bathysphere Book] is a moving testament to the wonders of exploration."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Imbued with the adventurous spirit of science and exploration . . . [The Bathysphere Book is] an enchanting cabinet of curiosities."
--Kirkus Reviews


A wide ranging, philosophical, and sensual account of early deep sea exploration and its afterlives, The Bathysphere Book begins with the first ever voyage to the deep ocean in 1930 and expands to explore the adventures and entanglements of its all-too-human participants at a time when the world still felt entirely new.


In the summer of 1930, aboard a ship floating near the Atlantic island of Nonsuch, marine biologist Gloria Hollister sat on a crate, writing furiously in a notebook with a telephone receiver pressed to her ear. The phone line was attached to a steel cable that plunged 3,000 feet into the sea. There, suspended by the cable, dangled a four-and-a-half-foot steel ball called the bathysphere. Crumpled inside, gazing through three-inch quartz windows at the undersea world, was Hollister's colleague William Beebe. He called up to her, describing previously unseen creatures, explosions of bioluminescence, and strange effects of light and color.

From this momentous first encounter with the unknown depths, The Bathysphere Book widens its scope to explore a transforming and deeply paradoxical America, as the first great skyscrapers rose above New York City and the Great Plains baked to dust. In prose that is magical, atmospheric, and entirely engrossing, Brad Fox dramatizes new visions of our planetary home, delighting in tales of the colorful characters who surrounded, supported, and participated in the dives--from groundbreaking scientists and gallivanting adventurers to eugenicist billionaires.

The Bathysphere Book is a hypnotic assemblage of brief chapters along with over fifty full-color images, records from the original bathysphere logbooks, and the moving story of surreptitious romance between Beebe and Hollister that anchors their exploration. Brad Fox blurs the line between poetry and research, unearthing and rendering a visionary meeting with the unknown.

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9781662601903
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Fox, Brad
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Beautiful Bacteria: Encounters in the Microuniverse

Beautiful Bacteria: Encounters in the Microuniverse
$50.00
A leading bacteria scientist combines unique scientific and artistic techniques, along with accessible text to reveal the microbial world within and around us.

Beautiful Bacteria merges stunning imagery with a new way of looking at something we interact with every day. Each chapter introduces the different types of bacteria, illustrated with singularly beautiful images of these minute life forms and an approachable text that explains where bacteria is located and what it does. Much as New York Times bestseller I Contain Multitudes did, Beautiful Bacteria brings the invisible world that has shaped our species to life.

While we know microbes in our world are relevant, the focus of this book is what the invisible, microbial world looks like, where it comes from, and where new discoveries and biotechnology are taking us. Looking at the microbial world reveals countless questions about life and connects with the personal realm of bacteria in our daily lives. From the dazzling patterns of Proteus mirabilis to the shimmering fractals of E. coli and more, each chapter touches upon the little-seen microscopic universe and the impact it has on our macroscopic society, and sheds light on how we coexist in an increasingly biotechnological world.

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9780847899869
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Danino, Tal
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Best American Science and Nature Writing 2021

Best American Science and Nature Writing 2021
$16.99
New York Times best-selling author and renowned science journalist Ed Yong compiles the best science and nature writing published in 2020.

"The stories I have chosen reflect where I feel the field of science and nature writing has landed, and where it could go," Ed Yong writes in his introduction. "They are often full of tragedy, sometimes laced with wonder, but always deeply aware that science does not exist in a social vacuum. They are beautiful, whether in their clarity of ideas, the elegance of their prose, or often both." The essays in this year's Best American Science and Nature Writing brought clarity to the complexity and bewilderment of 2020 and delivered us necessary information during a global pandemic. From an in-depth look at the moment of the virus's outbreak, to a harrowing personal account of lingering Covid symptoms, to a thoughtful analysis on how the pandemic will impact the environment, these essays, as Yong says, "synthesize, evaluate, dig, unveil, and challenge," imbuing a pivotal moment in history with lucidity and elegance.

THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE AND NATURE WRITING 2021 INCLUDES - SUSAN ORLEAN - EMILY RABOTEAU - ZEYNEP TUFEKCI - HELEN OUYANG - HEATHER HOGAN BROOKE JARVIS - SARAH ZHANG and others

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9780358400066
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Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants

Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants
$32.50

From the cubit to the kilogram, the humble inch to the speed of light, measurement is a powerful tool that humans invented to make sense of the world. In this revelatory work of science and social history, James Vincent dives into its hidden world, taking readers from ancient Egypt, where measuring the annual depth of the Nile was an essential task, to the intellectual origins of the metric system in the French Revolution, and from the surprisingly animated rivalry between metric and imperial, to our current age of the "quantified self." At every turn, Vincent is keenly attuned to the political consequences of measurement, exploring how it has also been used as a tool for oppression and control.

Beyond Measure reveals how measurement is not only deeply entwined with our experience of the world, but also how its history encompasses and shapes the human quest for knowledge.

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9781324035855
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Vincent, James
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Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion

Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion
$24.00
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"Most appealing... technical accuracy and lightness of tone... Impeccable."--Wall Street Journal
"A porthole into another world."--Scientific American
"Brings science dissemination to a new level."--Science

The most trusted explainer of the most mind-boggling concepts pulls back the veil of mystery that has too long cloaked the most valuable building blocks of modern science. Sean Carroll, with his genius for making complex notions entertaining, presents in his uniquely lucid voice the fundamental ideas informing the modern physics of reality.

Physics offers deep insights into the workings of the universe but those insights come in the form of equations that often look like gobbledygook. Sean Carroll shows that they are really like meaningful poems that can help us fly over sierras to discover a miraculous multidimensional landscape alive with radiant giants, warped space-time, and bewilderingly powerful forces. High school calculus is itself a centuries-old marvel as worthy of our gaze as the Mona Lisa. And it may come as a surprise the extent to which all our most cutting-edge ideas about black holes are built on the math calculus enables.

No one else could so smoothly guide readers toward grasping the very equation Einstein used to describe his theory of general relativity. In the tradition of the legendary Richard Feynman lectures presented sixty years ago, this book is an inspiring, dazzling introduction to a way of seeing that will resonate across cultural and generational boundaries for many years to come.

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9780593186589
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Carroll, Sean
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Blight: Fungi and the Coming Pandemic

Blight: Fungi and the Coming Pandemic
$28.95

Fungi are everywhere. Most are harmless; some are helpful. A few are killers. Collectively, infectious fungi are the most devastating agents of disease on earth, and a fungus that can persist in the environment without its host is here to stay. In Blight, Emily Monosson documents how trade, travel, and a changing climate are making us all more vulnerable to invasion. Populations of bats, frogs, and salamanders face extinction. In the Northwest, America's beloved national parks are covered with the spindly corpses of whitebark pines. Food crops are under siege, threatening our coffee, bananas, and wheat--and, more broadly, our global food security. Candida auris, drug-resistant and resilient, infects hospital patients and those with weakened immune systems. Coccidioides, which lives in drier dusty regions, may cause infection in apparently healthy people. The horrors go on.

Yet prevention is not impossible. Tracing the history of fungal spread and the most recent discoveries in the field, Monosson meets scientists who are working tirelessly to protect species under threat, and whose innovative approaches to fungal invasion have the potential to save human lives. Delving into case studies at once fascinating, sobering, and hopeful, Blight serves as a wake-up call, a reminder of the delicate interconnectedness of the natural world, and a lesson in seeing life on our planet with renewed humility and awe.

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9781324007012
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Monosson, Emily
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BLOOD, POWDER, AND RESIDUE

BLOOD, POWDER, AND RESIDUE
$29.95

A rare behind-the-scenes look at the work of forensic scientists

The findings of forensic science--from DNA profiles and chemical identifications of illegal drugs to comparisons of bullets, fingerprints, and shoeprints--are widely used in police investigations and courtroom proceedings. While we recognize the significance of this evidence for criminal justice, the actual work of forensic scientists is rarely examined and largely misunderstood. Blood, Powder, and Residue goes inside a metropolitan crime laboratory to shed light on the complex social forces that underlie the analysis of forensic evidence.

Drawing on eighteen months of rigorous fieldwork in a crime lab of a major metro area, Beth Bechky tells the stories of the forensic scientists who struggle to deliver unbiased science while under intense pressure from adversarial lawyers, escalating standards of evidence, and critical public scrutiny. Bechky brings to life the daily challenges these scientists face, from the painstaking screening and testing of evidence to making communal decisions about writing up the lab report, all while worrying about attorneys asking them uninformed questions in court. She shows how the work of forensic scientists is fraught with the tensions of serving justice--constantly having to anticipate the expectations of the world of law and the assumptions of the public--while also staying true to their scientific ideals.

Blood, Powder, and Residue offers a vivid and sometimes harrowing picture of the lives of highly trained experts tasked with translating their knowledge for others who depend on it to deliver justice.

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9780691183589
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BECHKY, BETH
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Blue Machine: How the Ocean Works

Blue Machine: How the Ocean Works
$32.50

All of Earth's oceans, from the equator to the poles, are a single engine powered by sunlight, driving huge flows of energy, water, life, and raw materials. In The Blue Machine, physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski illustrates the mechanisms behind this defining feature of our planet, voyaging from the depths of the ocean floor to tropical coral reefs, estuaries that feed into shallow coastal seas, and Arctic ice floes.

Through stories of history, culture, and animals, she explains how water temperature, salinity, gravity, and the movement of Earth's tectonic plates all interact in a complex dance, supporting life at the smallest scale--plankton--and the largest--giant sea turtles, whales, humankind. From the ancient Polynesians who navigated the Pacific by reading the waves, to permanent residents of the deep such as the Greenland shark that can live for hundreds of years, she introduces the messengers, passengers, and voyagers that rely on interlinked systems of vast currents, invisible ocean walls, and underwater waterfalls.

Most important, however, Czerski reveals that while the ocean engine has sustained us for thousands of years, today it is faced with urgent threats. By understanding how the ocean works, and its essential role in our global system, we can learn how to protect our blue machine. Timely, elegant, and passionately argued, The Blue Machine presents a fresh perspective on what it means to be a citizen of an ocean planet.

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9781324006718
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Bonk

Bonk
$16.95
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
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9781324036036
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Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written in Your Brain--And How They Guide You

Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written in Your Brain--And How They Guide You
$28.00
"Enlightening and ambitious... a book that travels into rich terrain, charted by a smart and eager tour guide."--New York Times Book Review

A path-breaking journey into the brain, showing how perception, thought, and action are products of maps etched into your gray matter--and how technology can use them to read your mind.

Your brain is a collection of maps: detailed representations, scrawled across your brain's surfaces, of the sights, sounds, and actions that hold the key to your survival. Although scientists began discovering these maps over a century ago, we are only now beginning to unlock their secrets--and comprehend their profound impact on our lives. Brain maps distort and shape our experience of the world, support complex thought, and make technology-enabled mind reading a modern-day reality. They shine a light on our past and our possible futures. In the process, they invite us to view ourselves from a startling new perspective.

In Brainscapes, Rebecca Schwarzlose combines unforgettable real-life stories, cutting-edge research, and vivid illustrations to reveal brain maps' surprising lessons about our place in the world--and about the world's place within us.

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9781328949967
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Schwarzlose, Rebecca
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Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus
$29.99
National Book Award Finalist

The story of the worldwide scientific quest to decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, trace its source, and make possible the vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Breathless is the story of SARS-CoV-2 and its fierce journey through the human population, as seen by the scientists who study its origin, its ever-changing nature, and its capacity to kill us. David Quammen expertly shows how strange new viruses emerge from animals into humans as we disrupt wild ecosystems, and how those viruses adapt to their human hosts, sometimes causing global catastrophe. He explains why this coronavirus will probably be a "forever virus," destined to circulate among humans and bedevil us endlessly, in one variant form or another. As scientists labor to catch it, comprehend it, and control it, with their high-tech tools and methods, the virus finds ways of escape.

Based on interviews with nearly one hundred scientists, including leading virologists in China and around the world, Quammen explains that:
-Infectious disease experts saw this pandemic coming
-Some scientists, for more than two decades, warned that "the next big one" would be caused by a changeable new virus--very possibly a coronavirus--but such warnings were ignored for political or economic reasons
-The precise origins of this virus may not be known for years, but some clues are compelling, and some suppositions can be dismissed
-And much more.

Breathless takes you inside the frantic international effort to understand and control SARS-CoV-2 as if we were peering over the shoulders of the brilliant scientists who led the chase.

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9781982164362
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Quammen, David
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Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, Ai, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains

Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, Ai, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains
$35.00

Equal parts Sapiens, Behave, and Superintelligence, but wholly original in scope, A Brief History of Intelligence offers a paradigm shift for how we understand neuroscience and AI. Artificial intelligence entrepreneur Max Bennett chronicles the five "breakthroughs" in the evolution of human intelligence and reveals what brains of the past can tell us about the AI of tomorrow.

In the last decade, capabilities of artificial intelligence that had long been the realm of science fiction have, for the first time, become our reality. AI is now able to produce original art, identify tumors in pictures, and even steer our cars. And yet, large gaps remain in what modern AI systems can achieve--indeed, human brains still easily perform intellectual feats that we can't replicate in AI systems. How is it possible that AI can beat a grandmaster at chess but can't effectively load a dishwasher? As AI entrepreneur Max Bennett compellingly argues, finding the answer requires diving into the billion-year history of how the human brain evolved; a history filled with countless half-starts, calamities, and clever innovations. Not only do our brains have a story to tell--the future of AI may depend on it.

Now, in A Brief History of Intelligence, Bennett bridges the gap between neuroscience and AI to tell the brain's evolutionary story, revealing how understanding that story can help shape the next generation of AI breakthroughs. Deploying a fresh perspective and working with the support of many top minds in neuroscience, Bennett consolidates this immense history into an approachable new framework, identifying the "Five Breakthroughs" that mark the brain's most important evolutionary leaps forward. Each breakthrough brings new insight into the biggest mysteries of human intelligence. Containing fascinating corollaries to developments in AI, A Brief History of Intelligence shows where current AI systems have matched or surpassed our brains, as well as where AI systems still fall short. Simply put, until AI systems successfully replicate each part of our brain's long journey, AI systems will fail to exhibit human-like intelligence.

Endorsed and lauded by many of the top neuroscientists in the field today, Bennett's work synthesizes the most relevant scientific knowledge and cutting-edge research into an easy-to-understand and riveting evolutionary story. With sweeping scope and stunning insights, A Brief History of Intelligence proves that understanding the arc of our brain's history can unlock the tools for successfully navigating our technological future.

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9780063286344
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Bennett, Max
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Case Against Reality

Case Against Reality
$18.95
Challenging leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. From examining why fashion designers create clothes that give the illusion of a more "attractive" body shape to studying how companies use color to elicit specific emotions in consumers, and even dismantling the very notion that spacetime is objective reality, The Case Against Reality dares us to question everything we thought we knew about the world we see.
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9780393541489
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City on Mars

City on Mars
$32.00
* THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Scientific American's #1 Book for 2023 * A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * A Times Best Science and Environment Book of 2023 * A Tor.com Best Book of 2023 *

"Exceptional. . . Forceful, engaging and funny . . . This book will make you happy to live on this planet -- a good thing, because you're not leaving anytime soon." --New York Times Book Review

From the bestselling authors of Soonish, a brilliant and hilarious off-world investigation into space settlement

Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away--no climate change, no war, no Twitter--beckons, and settling the stars finally seems within our grasp. Or is it? Critically acclaimed, bestselling authors Kelly and Zach Weinersmith set out to write the essential guide to a glorious future of space settlements, but after years of research, they aren't so sure it's a good idea. Space technologies and space business are progressing fast, but we lack the knowledge needed to have space kids, build space farms, and create space nations in a way that doesn't spark conflict back home. In a world hurtling toward human expansion into space, A City on Mars investigates whether the dream of new worlds won't create nightmares, both for settlers and the people they leave behind. In the process, the Weinersmiths answer every question about space you've ever wondered about, and many you've never considered:

Can you make babies in space? Should corporations govern space settlements? What about space war? Are we headed for a housing crisis on the Moon's Peaks of Eternal Light--and what happens if you're left in the Craters of Eternal Darkness? Why do astronauts love taco sauce? Speaking of meals, what's the legal status of space cannibalism?

With deep expertise, a winning sense of humor, and art from the beloved creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, the Weinersmiths investigate perhaps the biggest questions humanity will ever ask itself--whether and how to become multiplanetary.

Get in, we're going to Mars.

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9781984881724
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Weinersmith, Kelly
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Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions

Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions
$30.00
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

We still have time to change the world. From climate activist Greta Thunberg, comes the essential handbook for making it happen.

You might think it's an impossible task: secure a safe future for life on Earth, at a scale and speed never seen, against all the odds. There is hope--but only if we listen to the science before it's too late.

In The Climate Book, Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts--geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and Indigenous leaders--to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Throughout, illuminating and often shocking grayscale charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations underscore their research and their arguments. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark. This is one of our biggest challenges, she shows, but also our greatest source of hope. Once we are given the full picture, how can we not act? And if a schoolchild's strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried?

We are alive at the most decisive time in the history of humanity. Together, we can do the seemingly impossible. But it has to be us, and it has to be now.

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9780593492307
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Thunberg, Greta
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Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-First Century's Greatest Dilemma

Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-First Century's Greatest Dilemma
$32.50
An urgent warning of the unprecedented risks that AI and other fast-developing technologies pose to global order, and how we might contain them while we have the chance--from a co-founder of the pioneering artificial intelligence company DeepMind

"A fascinating, well-written, and important book."--Yuval Noah Harari


"Essential reading."--Daniel Kahneman
"An excellent guide for navigating unprecedented times."--Bill Gates

Longlisted for the Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year Award - One of Kirkus Reviews' Most Anticipated Books of the Fall

We are approaching a critical threshold in the history of our species. Everything is about to change.

Soon you will live surrounded by AIs. They will organise your life, operate your business, and run core government services. You will live in a world of DNA printers and quantum computers, engineered pathogens and autonomous weapons, robot assistants and abundant energy.

None of us are prepared.

As co-founder of the pioneering AI company DeepMind, part of Google, Mustafa Suleyman has been at the centre of this revolution. The coming decade, he argues, will be defined by this wave of powerful, fast-proliferating new technologies.

In The Coming Wave, Suleyman shows how these forces will create immense prosperity but also threaten the nation-state, the foundation of global order. As our fragile governments sleepwalk into disaster, we face an existential dilemma: unprecedented harms on one side, the threat of overbearing surveillance on the other.

Can we forge a narrow path between catastrophe and dystopia?

This groundbreaking book from the ultimate AI insider establishes "the containment problem"--the task of maintaining control over powerful technologies--as the essential challenge of our age.

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9780593593950
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Suleyman, Mustafa

Control

Control
$30.00

Control is a book about eugenics, what geneticist Adam Rutherford calls "a defining idea of the twentieth century." Inspired by Darwin's ideas about evolution, eugenics arose in Victorian England as a theory for improving the British population, and quickly spread to America, where it was embraced by presidents, funded by Gilded Age monopolists, and enshrined into racist American laws that became the ideological cornerstone of the Third Reich. Despite this horrific legacy, eugenics looms large today as the advances in genetics in the last thirty years--from the sequencing of the human genome to modern gene editing techniques--have brought the idea of population purification back into the mainstream.

Eugenics has "a short history, but a long past," Rutherford writes. The first half of Control is the history of an idea, from its roots in key philosophical texts of the classical world all the way into their genocidal enactment in the twentieth century. The second part of the book explores how eugenics operates today, as part of our language and culture, as part of current political and racial discussions, and as an eternal temptation to powerful people who wish to improve society through reproductive control.

With disarming wit and scientific precision, Rutherford explains why eugenics still figures prominently in the twenty-first century, despite its genocidal past. And he confronts insidious recurring questions--did eugenics work in Nazi Germany? And could it work today?--revealing the intellectual bankruptcy of the idea, and the scientific impossibility of its realization.

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9781324035602
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Rutherford, Adam
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Cosmic Queries: Startalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going

Cosmic Queries: Startalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going
$30.00
In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world's most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science.
For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast.
In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia--How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?--and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories.
Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos.
For all who loved National Geographic's StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and Space Atlas, this new book will take them on more journeys into the wonders of the universe and beyond
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9781426221774
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Tyson, Neil DeGrasse
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Democracy in a Hotter Time: Climate Change and Democratic Transformation

Democracy in a Hotter Time: Climate Change and Democratic Transformation
$24.95
The first major book to deal with the dual crises of democracy and climate change as one interrelated threat to the human future and to identify a path forward.

Democracy in a Hotter Time calls for reforming democratic institutions as a prerequisite for avoiding climate chaos and adapting governance to how Earth works as a physical system. To survive in the "long emergency" ahead, we must reform and strengthen democratic institutions, making them assets rather than liabilities. Edited by David W. Orr, this vital collection of essays proposes a new political order that will not only help humanity survive but also enable us to thrive in the transition to a post-fossil fuel world.

Orr gathers leading scholars, public intellectuals, and political leaders to address the many problems confronting our current political systems. Few other books have taken a systems view of the effects of a rapidly destabilizing climate on our laws and governance or offered such a diversity of solutions. These thoughtful and incisive essays cover subjects from Constitutional reform to participatory urban design to education; together, they aim to invigorate the conversation about the human future in practical ways that will improve the effectiveness of democratic institutions and lay the foundation for a more durable and just democracy.

Contributors
William J. Barber III, JD, William S. Becker, Holly Jean Buck, Stan Cox, Michael M. Crow, William B. Dabars, Ann Florini, David H. Guston, Katrina Kuh, Gordon LaForge, Hélène Landemore, Frances Moore Lappé, Daniel Lindvall, Richard Louv, James R. May, Frederick W. Mayer, Bill McKibben, Michael Oppenheimer, David W. Orr, Wellington Reiter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Anne-Marie Slaughter

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9780262048590
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Orr, David W
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Determined

Determined
$35.00
The instant New York Times bestseller

"Excellent...Outstanding for its breadth of research, the liveliness of the writing, and the depth of humanity it conveys." - Wall Street Journal

One of our great behavioral scientists, the bestselling author of Behave, plumbs the depths of the science and philosophy of decision-making to mount a devastating case against free will, an argument with profound consequences

Robert Sapolsky's Behave, his now classic account of why humans do good and why they do bad, pointed toward an unsettling conclusion: We may not grasp the precise marriage of nature and nurture that creates the physics and chemistry at the base of human behavior, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Now, in Determined, Sapolsky takes his argument all the way, mounting a brilliant (and in his inimitable way, delightful) full-frontal assault on the pleasant fantasy that there is some separate self telling our biology what to do.

Determined offers a marvelous synthesis of what we know about how consciousness works--the tight weave between reason and emotion and between stimulus and response in the moment and over a life. One by one, Sapolsky tackles all the major arguments for free will and takes them out, cutting a path through the thickets of chaos and complexity science and quantum physics, as well as touching ground on some of the wilder shores of philosophy. He shows us that the history of medicine is in no small part the history of learning that fewer and fewer things are somebody's "fault"; for example, for centuries we thought seizures were a sign of demonic possession.

Yet, as he acknowledges, it's very hard, and at times impossible, to uncouple from our zeal to judge others and to judge ourselves. Sapolsky applies the new understanding of life beyond free will to some of our most essential questions around punishment, morality, and living well together. By the end, Sapolsky argues that while living our daily lives recognizing that we have no free will is going to be monumentally difficult, doing so is not going to result in anarchy, pointlessness, and existential malaise. Instead, it will make for a much more humane world.

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9780525560975
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Sapolsky, Robert M.
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Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist

Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist
$30.00

In Different, world-renowned primatologist Frans de Waal draws on decades of observation and studies of both human and animal behavior to argue that despite the linkage between gender and biological sex, biology does not automatically support the traditional gender roles in human societies. While humans and other primates do share some behavioral differences, biology offers no justification for existing gender inequalities.

Using chimpanzees and bonobos to illustrate this point--two ape relatives that are genetically equally close to humans--de Waal challenges widely held beliefs about masculinity and femininity, and common assumptions about authority, leadership, cooperation, competition, filial bonds, and sexual behavior. Chimpanzees are male-dominated and violent, while bonobos are female-dominated and peaceful. In both species, political power needs to be distinguished from physical dominance. Power is not limited to the males, and both sexes show true leadership capacities.

Different is a fresh and thought-provoking approach to the long-running debate about the balance between nature and nurture, and where sex and gender roles fit in. De Waal peppers his discussion with details from his own life--a Dutch childhood in a family of six boys, his marriage to a French woman with a different orientation toward gender, and decades of academic turf wars over outdated scientific theories that have proven hard to dislodge from public discourse. He discusses sexual orientation, gender identity, and the limitations of the gender binary, exceptions to which are also found in other primates.

With humor, clarity, and compassion, Different seeks to broaden the conversation about human gender dynamics by promoting an inclusive model that embraces differences, rather than negating them.

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9781324007104
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de Waal, Frans
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Disordered Cosmos

Disordered Cosmos
$17.99

From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos--and a call for a more liberatory practice of science.

Winner of the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology
Winner of the 2022 Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in Science
Winner of the 2022 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award
A Finalist for the 2022 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
A Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of 2021
A Symmetry Magazine Top 10 Physics Book of 2021
An Entropy Magazine Best Nonfiction Book of 2020-2021
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
A Booklist Top 10 Sci-Tech Book of the Year

In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter--along with a perspective informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.

One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly nontraditional, and grounded in Black and queer feminist lineages.

Dr. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, misogyny, and other forms of oppression. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society, beginning with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe.

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9781541724686
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Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda
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Eat, Poop, Die: How Animals Make Our World

Eat, Poop, Die: How Animals Make Our World
$30.00

NAMED A TOP-TEN BEST BOOK OF 2023 BY SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

A "fascinating" exploration (Elizabeth Kolbert) of how ecosystems are sculpted and sustained by animals eating, pooping, and dying--and how these fundamental functions could help save us from climate catastrophe.


If forests are the lungs of the planet, then animals migrating across oceans, streams, and mountains--eating, pooping, and dying along the way--are its heart and arteries, pumping nitrogen and phosphorus from deep-sea gorges up to mountain peaks, from the Arctic to the Caribbean. Without this conveyor belt of crucial, life-sustaining nutrients, the world would look very different.

The dynamics that shape our physical world--atmospheric chemistry, geothermal forces, plate tectonics, and erosion through wind and rain--have been explored for decades. But the effects on local ecosystems of less glamorous forces--rotting carcasses and deposited feces--as well as their impact on the global climate cycle, have been largely overlooked. The simple truth is that pooping and peeing are daily rituals for almost all animals, the ellipses of ecology that flow through life. We eat, we poop, and we die.

From the volcanoes of Iceland to the tropical waters of Hawaii, the great plains of the American heartland, and beyond, Eat, Poop, Die, "compulsively readable" (Shelby Van Pelt), takes readers on an exhilarating and enlightening global adventure, revealing the remarkable ways in which the most basic biological activities of animals make and remake the world--and how a deeper understanding of these cycles provides us with opportunities to undo the environmental damage humanity has wrought on the planet we call home.

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9780316372923
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Roman, Joe
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