complexity the evolution of earths biodiversity and the future of humanity

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Complexity

Author : William C. Burger
ISBN : 9781633881945
Genre : Science
File Size : 51. 94 MB
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This very readable overview of natural history explores the dynamics that have made our planet so rich in biodiversity over time and supported the rise and dominance of our own species. Tracing the arc of evolutionary history, biologist William C. Burger shows that cooperation and symbiosis have played a critical role in the ever increasing complexity of life on earth. Life may have started from the evolution of cooperating organic molecules, which outpaced their noncooperating neighbors. A prime example of symbiosis was the early incorporation of mitochondria into the eukaryotic cell (through a process called “endosymbiosis”). This event gave these cells a powerful new source of energy. Later, cooperation was again key when millions to trillions of individual eukaryotic cells eventually came together to build the unitary structures of large plants and animals. And cooperation between individuals of the same species resulted in complex animal societies, such as ant colonies and bee hives. Turning to our own species, the author argues that our ability to cooperate, along with incessant inter-group conflict, has driven the advancement of cultures, the elaboration of our technologies, and made us the most “invasive” species on the planet. But our very success has now become a huge problem, as our world dominion threatens the future of the biosphere and confronts us with a very uncertain future. Thought-provoking and full of fascinating detail, this eloquently told story of life on earth and our place within it presents a grand perspective and raises many important questions.

Flowers

Author : William C. Burger
ISBN : STANFORD:36105122862324
Genre : Nature
File Size : 64. 53 MB
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The author describes the essential role that flowers play in the environment and their importance to the survival of both animals and humans.

Sparing Nature

Author : Jeffrey K. McKee
ISBN : 0813535581
Genre : Nature
File Size : 85. 28 MB
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Are humans too good at adapting to the earth's natural environment? Every day, there is a net gain of more than 200,000 people on the planet--that's 146 a minute. Has our explosive population growth led to the mass extinction of countless species in the earth's plant and animal communities? Jeffrey K. McKee contends yes. The more people there are, the more we push aside wild plants and animals. In Sparing Nature, he explores the cause-and-effect relationship between these two trends, demonstrating that nature is too sparing to accommodate both a richly diverse living world and a rapidly expanding number of people. The author probes the past to find that humans and their ancestors have had negative impacts on species biodiversity for nearly two million years, and that extinction rates have accelerated since the origins of agriculture. Today entire ecosystems are in peril due to the relentless growth of the human population. McKee gives a guided tour of the interconnections within the living world to reveal the meaning and value of biodiversity, making the maze of technical research and scientific debates accessible to the general reader. Because it is clear that conservation cannot be left to the whims of changing human priorities, McKee takes the unabashedly neo-Malthusian position that the most effective measure to save earth's biodiversity is to slow the growth of human populations. By conscientiously becoming more responsible about our reproductive habits and our impact on other living beings, we can ensure that nature's services will make our lives not only supportable, but also sustainable for this century and beyond.

Can Neuroscience Change Our Minds

Author : Hilary Rose
ISBN : 9780745689357
Genre : Science
File Size : 36. 36 MB
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Neuroscience, with its astounding new technologies, is uncovering the workings of the brain and with this perhaps the mind. The 'neuro' prefix spills out into every area of life, from neuroaesthetics to neuroeconomics, neurogastronomy and neuroeducation. With its promise to cure physical and social ills, government sees neuroscience as a tool to increase the 'mental capital' of the children of the deprived and workless. It sets aside intensifying poverty and inequality, instead claiming that basing children's rearing and education on brain science will transform both the child's and the nation's health and wealth. Leading critic of such neuropretensions, neuroscientist Steven Rose and sociologist of science Hilary Rose take a sceptical look at these claims and the science underlying them, sifting out the sensible from the snake oil. Examining the ways in which science is shaped by and shapes the political economy of neoliberalism, they argue that neuroscience on its own is not able to bear the weight of these hopes.

The Value Of Species

Author : Edward L. McCord
ISBN : 9780300183481
Genre : Nature
File Size : 61. 8 MB
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In the face of accelerating extinctions across the globe, what ought we to do? Amid this sea of losses, what is our responsibility? How do we assess the value of nonhuman species? In this clear-spoken, passionate book, naturalist and philosopher Edward L. McCord explores urgent questions about the destruction of species and provides a new framework for appreciating and defending every form of life. The book draws insights from philosophy, ethics, law, and biology to arrive at a new way of thinking about the value of each species on earth. With meticulous reasoning, McCord demonstrates that the inherent value of species to humanity is intellectual: individual species are phenomena of such intellectual moment—so interesting in their own right—that they rise above other values and merit enduring human embrace. The author discusses the threats other species confront and delineates the challenges involved in creating any kind of public instrument to protect species. No other scholar has advocated on behalf of biodiversity with such eloquence and passion, and none provides greater inspiration to defend nonhuman forms of life.

The Human Superorganism

Author : Rodney Dietert
ISBN : 9781101983904
Genre :
File Size : 26. 66 MB
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"Eyeopening... Fascinating... may presage a paradigm shift in medicine. "Kirkus Reviews"(starred review) "Teeming with information and big ideas...Outstanding. "Booklist"(starred review) The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presents a new paradigm in human biology that has emerged in the midst of the ongoing global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. "The Human Superorganism"makes a sweeping, paradigm-shifting argument. It demolishes two fundamental beliefs that have blinkered all medical thinking until very recently: 1) Humans are better off as pure organisms free of foreign microbes; and 2) the human genome is the key to future medical advances. The microorganisms that we have sought to eliminate have been there for centuries supporting our ancestors. They comprise as much as 90 percent of the cells in and on our bodies a staggering percentage! More than a thousand species of them live inside us, on our skin, and on our very eyelashes. Yet we have now significantly reduced their power and in doing so have sparked an epidemic of noncommunicable diseases which now account for 63 percent of all human deaths. Ultimately, this book is not just about microbes; it is about a different way to view humans. The story that Dietert tells of where the new biology comes from, how it works, and the ways in which it affects your life is fascinating, authoritative, and revolutionary. Dietert identifies foods that best serve you, the superorganism; not new fad foods but ancient foods that have made sense for millennia. He explains protective measures against unsafe chemicals and drugs. He offers an empowering self-care guide and the blueprint for a revolution in public health. We are not what we have been taught. Each of us is a superorganism. The best path to a healthy life is through recognizing that profound truth."

Dodging Extinction

Author : Anthony D. Barnosky
ISBN : 9780520959095
Genre : Nature
File Size : 37. 18 MB
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Paleobiologist Anthony D. Barnosky weaves together evidence from the deep past and the present to alert us to the looming Sixth Mass Extinction and to offer a practical, hopeful plan for avoiding it. Writing from the front lines of extinction research, Barnosky tells the overarching story of geologic and evolutionary history and how it informs the way humans inhabit, exploit, and impact Earth today. He presents compelling evidence that unless we rethink how we generate the power we use to run our global ecosystem, where we get our food, and how we make our money, we will trigger what would be the sixth great extinction on Earth, with dire consequences. Optimistic that we can change this ominous forecast if we act now, Barnosky provides clear-cut strategies to guide the planet away from global catastrophe. In many instances the necessary technology and know-how already exist and are being applied to crucial issues around human-caused climate change, feeding the world’s growing population, and exploiting natural resources. Deeply informed yet accessibly written, Dodging Extinction is nothing short of a guidebook for saving the planet.

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