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Biology

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  1. 10.6 hrs • 9/15/2016 • Unabridged

    What makes a penguin a bird? Is a camel more closely related to a horse than to a giraffe? Why is a whale not a fish? Similar puzzles preoccupied Charles Darwin throughout his life. Whimsy, in the playfulness of stories for children, is a way to appreciate Darwinian histories. In Do Elephants Have Knees? Charles R. Ault Jr. uses the fanciful imagery of story to explain Darwinian thought. At the same time, he launches careful consideration of Darwin’s humanity, the origins of his curiosity, and the reach of his ideas. Ault’s approach illustrates the value of story form in learning science and provides a wealth of resources for enriching courses that focus on Darwin’s ideas. “Good storytelling mines curiosity,” Ault writes, “and exuberant playfulness enriches a disciplined study of science.”

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    Do Elephants Have Knees? and Other Stories of Darwinian Origins by Charles R. Ault Jr.
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  2. 6.6 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    A thrilling tale of encounters with nature’s masters of biochemistry In Venomous, the molecular biologist Christie Wilcox investigates venoms and the animals that use them, revealing how they work, what they do to the human body, and how they can revolutionize biochemistry and medicine today. Wilcox takes us from the coast of Indonesia to the rainforests of Peru in search of the secrets of these mysterious animals. We encounter jellyfish that release microscopic venom-packed darts known to kill humans in just two minutes, a two-inch caterpillar with toxic bristles that trigger hemorrhaging throughout the body, and a stunning blue-ringed octopus with saliva capable of inducing total paralysis. How could an animal as simple as a jellyfish evolve such an intricate, deadly poison? And how can a snake possess enzymes that tear through tissue yet leave its own body unscathed? Wilcox meets the fearless scientists who often risk their lives studying these lethal beasts to find out, and puts her own life on the line to examine these species up close. Drawing on her own research on venom chemistry and evolution, she also shows how venom is helping us untangle the complex mechanisms of some of our most devastating diseases. Venomous reveals that the animals we fear the most actually hold the keys to a deeper understanding of evolution, adaptation, and immunity. Thrilling and surprising at every turn, Venomous will change the way you think about our natural world.

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    Venomous

    6.6 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 5.8 hrs • 5/17/2016 • Unabridged

    The acclaimed scientist’s encounters with individual wild birds, yielding “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insights and discoveries In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. Heinrich’s observations lead to fascinating questions—and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher bringing food to the young acts surreptitiously and is attacked by the mate. Why? A pair of Northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich’s cabin delivers the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings and to make a related discovery about nest cleaning. One of a clutch of redstart warbler babies fledges out of the nest from twenty feet above the ground and lands on the grass below. It can’t fly. What will happen next?

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    One Wild Bird at a Time

    5.8 hrs • 5/17/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 4.3 4 out of 5 stars 4.3/5
    11.6 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime collaboration, in work and in life; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see and think about the natural world Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book might have been a revelatory treatise on plant life. Lab Girl is that, but it is also so much more. Because in it, Jahren also shares with us her inspiring life story, in prose that takes your breath away. Lab Girl is a book about work, about love, and about the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about the things she’s discovered in her lab, as well as how she got there; about her childhood—hours of unfettered play in her father’s laboratory; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands”; about a brilliant and wounded man named Bill, who became her loyal colleague and best friend; about their adventurous, sometimes rogue research trips, which take them from the Midwest all across the United States and over the Atlantic, from the ever-light skies of the North Pole to tropical Hawaii; and about her constant striving to do and be the best she could, never allowing personal or professional obstacles to cloud her dedication to her work.

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    Lab Girl

    11.6 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4.3 4 out of 5 stars 4.3/5
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  5. 11.0 hrs • 12/8/2015 • Unabridged

    Dean of Columbia University’s medical school explains why our bodies are out of sync with today’s environment and how we can correct this to save our health.Over the past 200 years, human life-expectancy has approximately doubled. Yet we face soaring worldwide rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, mental illness, heart disease, and stroke. In his fascinating new book, Dr. Lee Goldman presents a radical explanation: the key protective traits that once ensured our species’ survival are now the leading global causes of illness and death. Our capacity to store food, for example, lures us into overeating, and a clotting system designed to protect us from bleeding to death now directly contributes to heart attacks and strokes. A deeply compelling narrative that puts a new spin on evolutionary biology, Too Much of a Good Thing also provides a roadmap for getting back in sync with the modern world.

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    Too Much of a Good Thing

    11.0 hrs • 12/8/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 10.7 hrs • 12/7/2015 • Unabridged

    How did life begin? It is perhaps the most important question science has ever asked. Over the centuries, the search for an answer has been entwined with some of science’s most revolutionary advances, including van Leeuwenhoek’s microscope, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Crick and Watson’s unveiling of DNA. Now, in an age of genetic engineering and space exploration, some scientists believe they are on the verge of creating life from nonliving elements and that our knowledge of the potential for life on other planets is ever-expanding. In the midst of these exciting developments, A Brief History of Creation provides an essential and illuminating history of Western science, tracing the trials and triumphs of the iconoclastic scientists who have sought to uncover the mystery of how life first came to be. Authors Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II examine historical discoveries in the context of philosophical debates, political change, and our evolving understanding of the complexity of biology. The story they tell is rooted in metaphysical arguments, in a changing understanding of the age of the earth, and even in the politics of the Cold War. It has involved exploration into the inner recesses of our cells and scientific journeys to the farthest reaches of outer space. This elegantly written narrative culminates in an analysis of modern models for life’s genesis, such as the possibility that some of the earliest life was composed of little more than RNA, and that life arose around deep-sea hydrothermal vents or even on other planets, only to be carried to the earth on meteorites. Can we ever conclusively prove how life began? A Brief History of Creation is a fascinating exploration not only of the origin-of-life question but of the very nature of scientific objectivity and the process of scientific discovery.

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    A Brief History of Creation by Bill Mesler, H. James Cleaves II

    A Brief History of Creation

    10.7 hrs • 12/7/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 5.6 hrs • 10/6/2015 • Unabridged

    Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human? In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality. Strap in for a whistle-stop tour into the inner cosmos. In the infinitely dense tangle of billions of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see in there: you. This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life.

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    The Brain

    5.6 hrs • 10/6/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 8.4 hrs • 4/21/2015 • Unabridged

    A groundbreaking guide to the surprising source of good health Genetics and lifestyle are thought to be the two most important determinants of good health. But that is not the whole story. We have a second genome, our gut bacteria, that sets the dial on our bodies. Unlike our DNA, we can influence the gut bacteria, or microbiota, to optimize all aspects of our health. In The Good Gut, noted Stanford researchers Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, who are doing cutting-edge research on the microbiota, investigate how the trillions of microbes that reside in our gastrointestinal tract help define us, affecting everything from our immune response to our weight, allergic reactions, aging and emotions; how they are under threat from the Western diet, our antibiotics, and our sterilized environment; and how we can nurture our individual microbiota. This is urgent news. The recent change in our gut microbiota is linked to the alarming increase in obesity and autoimmune diseases. Our intestinal microbiota play an important role in the prevalence of predominantly Western afflictions, such as cancer, diabetes, allergies, asthma, autism, and inflammatory bowel diseases. These gut bacteria are facing a mass extinction, and the health consequences are dire. The average American has twelve hundred different types of bacteria residing in his or her gut. That may seem like a lot until you consider that the average Amerindian living in the Amazon has sixteen hundred species and is much less likely to develop Western maladies. How can we keep our microbiota off the endangered species list? How can we strengthen the community that inhabits our gut and thereby improve our own health? Your prescription for gut health is unique to you, and it changes as you age. The Good Gut offers a new plan for health that focuses on how to nourish your microbiota, including recipes and a menu plan. Drs. Sonnenburg look at safe alternatives to antibiotics; dietary and lifestyle choices to encourage microbial health; the management of the aging microbiota; and the nourishment of your own individual microbiome. The proper understanding and care of our gut may be the most important health choice we can make.Includes a Bonus PDF with recipes.

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    The Good Gut

    8.4 hrs • 4/21/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 1.9 hrs • 3/17/2015 • Unabridged

    Why do we get hung over? What would happen if you stopped sleeping? Is binge-watching TV actually bad for you? Why should I take a power nap? In their first book, Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown, the geniuses behind YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, explain the true science of how things work in their trademark, hilarious and fascinating fashion. Applying the fun, illustrated format of their addictive videos to topics ranging from brain freeze to hiccups to the science of the snooze button, AsapSCIENCE takes the underpinnings of biology, chemistry, physics, and other hard sciences and applies them to everyday life through quirky and relatable examples, appealing to both science nerds and those who didn’t ace chemistry. This is the science that people actually want to learn, shared in a friendly, engaging style. And in the spirit of science, no subject is taboo. Amid the humor is great information and cocktail conversation fodder, all thoughtfully presented. Whether you’re a total newbie or the next Albert Einstein, this guide is sure to educate and entertain.

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    AsapSCIENCE

    1.9 hrs • 3/17/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    12.7 hrs • 10/9/2014 • Unabridged

    We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? In The Invisible History of the Human Race, Christine Kenneally draws on cutting-edge research to reveal how both historical artifacts and DNA tell us where we come from and where we may be going. While some books explore our genetic inheritance and popular television shows celebrate ancestry, this is the first book to explore how everything from DNA to emotions to names and the stories that form our lives are all part of our human legacy. Kenneally shows how trust is inherited in Africa, silence is passed down in Tasmania, and how the history of nations is written in our DNA. From fateful, ancient encounters to modern mass migrations and medical diagnoses, Kenneally explains how the forces that shaped the history of the world ultimately shape each human who inhabits it. The Invisible History of the Human Race is a deeply researched, carefully crafted, and provocative perspective on how our stories, psychology, and genetics affect our past and our future.

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    The Invisible History of the Human Race

    12.7 hrs • 10/9/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 7.1 hrs • 7/31/2014 • Unabridged

    Not too long ago, there was no coming back from death. But now, with revolutionary medical advances, death has become just another serious complication. As a young medical student, Dr. David Casarett was inspired by the story of a two-year-old girl named Michelle Funk. Michelle fell into a creek and was underwater for over an hour. When she was found she wasn’t breathing, and her pupils were fixed and dilated. That drowning should have been fatal. But after three hours of persistent work, a team of doctors and nurses was able to bring her back. It was a miracle. If Michelle could come back after three hours of being dead, what about twelve hours? Or twenty-four? What would it take to revive someone who had been frozen for one thousand years? And what does blurring the line between life and death mean for society? In Shocked, Casarett chronicles his exploration of the cutting edge of resuscitation and reveals just how far science has come. He begins in the eighteenth century, when early attempts at resuscitation involved public displays of barrel rolling, horseback riding (sort of), and blowing smoke up the patient’s various orifices. He then takes us inside a sophisticated cryonics facility in the Arizona desert, a dark room full of hibernating lemurs in North Carolina, and a laboratory that puts mice into a state of suspended animation. The result is a spectacular tour of the bizarre world of doctors, engineers, animal biologists, and cryogenics enthusiasts trying to bring the recently dead back to life. Fascinating, thought-provoking, and (believe it or not) funny, Shocked is perfect for those looking for a prequel—and a sequel—to Mary Roach’s Stiff or for anyone who likes to ponder the ultimate questions of life and death.

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    Shocked by David Casarett

    Shocked

    7.1 hrs • 7/31/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.8 hrs • 6/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The story of evolution as you’ve never heard it before What is the easiest way to tell species apart? Check their genitals. Researching private parts was long considered taboo, but scientists are now beginning to understand that the wild diversity of sex organs across species can tell us a lot about evolution. Menno Schilthuizen invites listeners to join him as he uncovers the ways the shapes and functions of genitalia have been molded by complex Darwinian struggles: penises that have lost their spines but evolved appendages to displace sperm; female orgasms that select or reject semen from males, in turn subtly modifying the females’ genital shape. We learn why spiders masturbate into miniature webs, discover she-dungflies that store sperm from attractive males in their bellies, and see how, when it comes to outlandish appendages and bizarre behaviors, humans are downright boring. Nature’s Nether Regions joyfully demonstrates that the more we learn about the multiform private parts of animals, the more we understand our own unique place in the great diversity of life.

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    Nature’s Nether Regions

    7.8 hrs • 6/1/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    12.6 hrs • 5/6/2014 • Unabridged

    The author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon reveals the secret inner workings of the brain through strange but true stories. Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike—strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents—and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims’ personalities. Parents suddenly couldn’t recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn’t speak but could still sing. In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients’ memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story of discovery that reaches back to the 1500s and the high-profile jousting accident that inspired this book’s title. With the lucid, masterful explanations and razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain’s secret passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible.

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    The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

    Read by Henry Leyva
    12.6 hrs • 5/6/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  14. 12.6 hrs • 5/6/2014 • Unabridged

    From the author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon comes this tale of the brain and the history of neuroscience. Early studies of the functions of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike—strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, lobotomies, horrendous accidents—and see how the victim coped. In many cases survival was miraculous, and observers could only marvel at the transformations that took place afterward, altering victims’ personalities. An injury to one section can leave a person unable to recognize loved ones; some brain trauma can even make you a pathological gambler, pedophile, or liar. But a few scientists realized that these injuries were an opportunity for studying brain function at its extremes. With lucid explanations and incisive wit, Sam Kean explains the brain’s secret passageways while recounting forgotten stories of common people whose struggles, resiliency, and deep humanity made modern neuroscience possible.

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    The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

    Read by Henry Leyva
    12.6 hrs • 5/6/14 • Unabridged
    CD
  15. 0 reviews 0 5 1 1 out of 5 stars 1/5
    7.4 hrs • 4/29/2014 • Unabridged

    Like the revolutionary bestsellers Predictably Irrational and Emotional Intelligence, Sensation is an exciting, completely new view of human behavior—a new psychology of physical intelligence (or embodied cognition)—that explains how the body unconsciously affects our everyday decisions and choices, written by one of the world’s leading psychologists.  From colors and temperatures to heavy objects and tall people, a whole symphony of external stimuli exerts a constant influence on the way your mind works. Yet these effects have been hidden from you—until now. Drawing on her own work as well as from research across the globe, Dr. Thalma Lobel reveals how shockingly susceptible we are to sensory input from the world around us.  An aggressive negotiator can be completely disarmed by holding a warm cup of tea or sitting in a soft chair. Clean smells promote moral behavior, but people are more likely to cheat on a test right after having taken a shower. Red-colored type causes us to fail exams, but red dresses make women sexier and teams wearing red jerseys win more games. We take questionnaires attached to heavy clipboards more seriously and believe people who like sweets to be nicer. Ultimately, the book’s message is startling: Though we claim ownership of our decisions, judgments, and values, they derive as much from our outside environment as from inside our minds. Now, Sensation empowers you to evaluate those outside forces in order to make better decisions in every facet of your personal and professional lives.

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    Sensation

    7.4 hrs • 4/29/14 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 1 1 out of 5 stars 1/5
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  16. 5.9 hrs • 3/31/2014 • Unabridged

    Mother Nature may be awe-inspiring and beautiful, but she's also incredibly dangerous and, as Dan Riskin explains, out to get you.

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    Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You

    5.9 hrs • 3/31/14 • Unabridged
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