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  • The Evolution of Imagination
    Stephen T. Asma

    Book ,

    A philosopher places creativity in evolutionary context

    The Evolution of Imagination, by philosopher Stephen Asma, is an ambitious and exciting book about creativity, rich with eclectic disciplinary references and enlivened with personal anecdotes. Charting new territory, Asma emphasizes the biological bases of imagination—sensory perception, emotions and affective systems, neurology, biochemistry, brain size and differentiation, and capabilities for… Read More
  • Natural Defense: Enlisting Bugs and Germs to Protect Our Food and Health
    Emily Monosson

    Book

    An environmental toxicologist advocates embracing microbes as partners in human and agricultural health

    For a generation raised on the vision of a synthetically safeguarded future—“Better Things for Better Living… Through Chemistry”—the inheritance of a volatile, ecologically distorted present has been a promise unfulfilled. The 20th century’s aggressive approach to disease control has delivered a collection of unwelcome surprises, from agrochemical toxicity to antimicrobial resistance.… Read More
  • Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating
    Charles Spence

    Book , ,

    A psychologist probes the invisible influences that shape the dining experience

    How often have you returned, in thought, to a sumptuous dinner eaten some time ago? It’s unlikely that you recall the specifics of the dishes you savored with such delight, but you undoubtedly remember how the meal made you feel, and you can probably recall the atmosphere in which it was consumed. This is, in… Read More
  • Collection

    Science reads for the summer of ’17

    From the far-off surface of Mars to the much closer—but no less mysterious—human brain (the frontier between your ears), this year’s picks invite readers to jump into the scientific process feet first. Try your hand at home brewing with an archaeologist’s guide to recreating ancient alcohols. Ride the CRISPR wave with an insider’s overview of… Read More
  • The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us
    Richard O. Prum

    Book ,

    An ornithologist argues for the evolution of beauty for beauty’s sake

    Imagine a world created by the quest for beauty, filled with colorful dancing and governed by the principle of autonomous sexual freedom. To access this world, according to Richard Prum, you need only take a stroll outside and watch the avian rites of spring. The Evolution of Beauty represents the culmination of decades of Prum’s… Read More
  • The Book of Circles: Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge
    Manuel Lima

    Book , ,

    A richly illustrated compendium probes the colorful history of the circle

    One of the most arresting images in Manuel Lima’s new study of visual culture, The Book of Circles, is also one of the simplest: a red and green serpent, looped on a bed of black script, swallowing its own tail. This is no drawn-from-life depiction of animal behavior but a figure in an alchemical manuscript… Read More
  • Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death
    Brenna Hassett

    Podcast ,

    PODCAST: Q&A with archaeologist Brenna Hassett, author of Built on Bones

      From new diseases and physical dangers to subtle changes to our stature, humanity’s shift from hunter-gatherers to city dwellers has brought with it a host of bodily consequences. This week on the Science podcast, archaeologist Brenna Hassett describes what ancient remains and artifacts can reveal about how metropolitan life has wreaked havoc on our… Read More
  • Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
    Paul Hawken, Ed.

    Book ,

    An ambitious plan to leverage existing solutions to global warming is short on analytic rigor

    In Drawdown, entrepreneur Paul Hawken and colleagues introduce an ambitious project to build a social movement around a science-based plan to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The new volume is a handsome collection of short essays identifying what Hawken and his collaborators believe to be the 80 most effective actions that… Read More
  • Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind
    Kevin N. Laland

    Book , ,

    What began as a small increase in the fidelity of social learning may have made all the difference in human evolution

    Despite ardently defending his theory of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace felt that evolution alone could not account for our species’ unique features, including our big brains, mental abilities and moral sentiments. To explain humanity, he challenged, demands, “some power, distinct from that which has guided the development of the lower animals” (1). In the… Read More
  • Evolution’s Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins
    Peter S. Ungar

    Book , ,

    A paleoecological exploration probes the evolution of human diets

    Most popular books on human evolution leverage the discovery of a new fossil to reassess how paleoanthropologists have pieced together our evolutionary history. In Evolution’s Bite, Peter Ungar takes a very different approach, focusing on the structure and function of teeth to chart the dietary adaptations of living primates and fossil and archaeological hominin populations. Read More
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