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Developmental Biology

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  1. 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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    Also: CD, MP3 CD, Digital Rental
  2. 6.9 hrs • 6/13/2013 • Unabridged

    What is life? Humans have been asking this question for thousands of years. But as technology has advanced and our understanding of biology has deepened, the answer has evolved. For decades, scientists have been exploring the limits of nature by modifying and manipulating DNA, cells, and whole organisms to create new ones that could never have existed on their own. In Creation, science writer Adam Rutherford explains how we are now radically exceeding the boundaries of evolution and engineering entirely novel creatures—from goats that produce spider silk in their milk to bacteria that excrete diesel to genetic circuits that identify and destroy cancer cells. As strange as some of these creations may sound, this new, synthetic biology is helping scientists develop radical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing crises—from food shortages to pandemic disease to climate change-and is paving the way for inventions once relegated to science fiction. Meanwhile, these advances are shedding new light on the biggest mystery of all—how did life begin? We know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago. And as we come closer and closer to understanding the ancient root that connects all living things, we may finally be able to achieve a second genesis—the creation of new life where none existed before. Creation takes us on a journey four billion years in the making—from the very first cell to the ground-breaking biological inventions—that will shape the future of our planet.

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    Creation

    6.9 hrs • 6/13/13 • Unabridged
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  3. 11.6 hrs • 5/28/2013 • Unabridged

    Child prodigies. Gifted and Talented Programs. Perfect 2400s on the SAT. Sometimes it feels like the world is conspiring to make the rest of us feel inadequate. Those children tapped as possessing special abilities will go on to achieve great things, while the rest of us have little chance of realizing our dreams. Right? In Ungifted, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—who was relegated to special education as a child—sets out to show that the way we interpret traditional metrics of intelligence is misguided. Kaufman explores the latest research in genetics and neuroscience, as well as evolutionary, developmental, social, positive, and cognitive psychology, to challenge the conventional wisdom about the childhood predictors of adult success. He reveals that there are many paths to greatness, and argues for a more holistic approach to achievement that takes into account each young person’s personal goals, individual psychology, and developmental trajectory. In so doing, he increases our appreciation for the intelligence and diverse strengths of prodigies, savants, and late bloomers, as well as those with dyslexia, autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD. Combining original research, anecdotes, and a singular compassion, Ungifted proves that anyone—even those without readily observable gifts at any single moment in timecan become great.

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    Ungifted

    11.6 hrs • 5/28/13 • Unabridged
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  4. 10.9 hrs • 2/26/2013 • Unabridged

    Noted science writer Virginia Morell explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising and moving exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals. Did you know that ants teach, earthworms make decisions, rats love to be tickled, and chimps grieve? Did you know that some dogs have thousand-word vocabularies and that birds practice songs in their sleep? That crows improvise tools, blue jays plan ahead, and moths remember living as caterpillars? Animal Wise takes us on a dazzling odyssey into the inner world of animals, from ants to elephants to wolves, and from sharp-shooting archer fish to pods of dolphins that rumble like rival street gangs. With 30 years of experience covering the sciences, Morell uses her formidable gifts as a story-teller to transport us to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing us to pioneering animal-cognition researchers and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects. She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do. She probes the moral and ethical dilemmas of recognizing that even “lesser animals”  have cognitive abilities such as  memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness—traits that many in the twentieth century felt were unique to human beings. By standing behaviorism on its head, Morell brings the world of nature brilliantly alive in a nuanced, deeply felt appreciation of the bond between humans and animals, and shares her admiration for the men and women who have simultaneously chipped away at what we think makes us distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities come from.

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    Animal Wise

    10.9 hrs • 2/26/13 • Unabridged
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