The Vital Question

Why Is Life the Way It Is?

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781781250372

Category: Evolution

Page: 352

View: 5546

Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth-and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different?In The Vital Question, Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades. The answer, he argues, lies in energy: how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a bolt of lightning. In unravelling these scientific enigmas, making sense of life's quirks, Lane's explanation provides a solution to life's vital questions: why are we as we are, and why are we here at all?This is ground-breaking science in an accessible form, in the tradition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

The Vital Question

Why Is Life the Way It Is?

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781781250365

Category:

Page: 352

View: 6591

Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth - and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different?In The Vital Question, Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades. The answer, he argues, lies in energy: how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a bolt of lightning. In unravelling these scientific enigmas, making sense of life's quirks, Lane's explanation provides a solution to life's vital questions: why are we as we are, and why are we here at all? This is ground-breaking science in an accessible form, in the tradition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

The Vital Question

Why is life the way it is?

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1847658806

Category: Science

Page: 569

View: 6156

Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth-and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different? In The Vital Question, Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades. The answer, he argues, lies in energy: how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a bolt of lightning. In unravelling these scientific enigmas, making sense of life's quirks, Lane's explanation provides a solution to life's vital questions: why are we as we are, and why are we here at all? This is ground-breaking science in an accessible form, in the tradition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

Power, Sex, Suicide

Mitochondria and the meaning of life

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191622591

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 4943

Mitochondria are tiny structures located inside our cells that carry out the essential task of producing energy for the cell. They are found in all complex living things, and in that sense, they are fundamental for driving complex life on the planet. But there is much more to them than that. Mitochondria have their own DNA, with their own small collection of genes, separate from those in the cell nucleus. It is thought that they were once bacteria living independent lives. Their enslavement within the larger cell was a turning point in the evolution of life, enabling the development of complex organisms and, closely related, the origin of two sexes. Unlike the DNA in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is passed down exclusively (or almost exclusively) via the female line. That's why it has been used by some researchers to trace human ancestry daughter-to-mother, to 'Mitochondrial Eve'. Mitochondria give us important information about our evolutionary history. And that's not all. Mitochondrial genes mutate much faster than those in the nucleus because of the free radicals produced in their energy-generating role. This high mutation rate lies behind our ageing and certain congenital diseases. The latest research suggests that mitochondria play a key role in degenerative diseases such as cancer, through their involvement in precipitating cell suicide. Mitochondria, then, are pivotal in power, sex, and suicide. In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Nick Lane brings together the latest research findings in this exciting field to show how our growing understanding of mitochondria is shedding light on how complex life evolved, why sex arose (why don't we just bud?), and why we age and die. This understanding is of fundamental importance, both in understanding how we and all other complex life came to be, but also in order to be able to control our own illnesses, and delay our degeneration and death. 'An extraordinary account of groundbreaking modern science... The book abounds with interesting and important ideas.' Mark Ridley, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Life Ascending

The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1847652220

Category: Science

Page: 469

View: 7049

Winner of the 2010 Royal Society Prize for science books Powerful new research methods are providing fresh and vivid insights into the makeup of life. Comparing gene sequences, examining the atomic structure of proteins and looking into the geochemistry of rocks have all helped to explain creation and evolution in more detail than ever before. Nick Lane uses the full extent of this new knowledge to describe the ten greatest inventions of life, based on their historical impact, role in living organisms today and relevance to current controversies. DNA, sex, sight and consciousnesses are just four examples. Lane also explains how these findings have come about, and the extent to which they can be relied upon. The result is a gripping and lucid account of the ingenuity of nature, and a book which is essential reading for anyone who has ever questioned the science behind the glories of everyday life.

Oxygen

The Molecule that Made the World

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198607830

Category: Science

Page: 374

View: 6023

Oxygen takes the reader on an enthralling journey, as gripping as a thriller, as it unravels the unexpected ways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death. The book explains far more than the size of ancient insects: it shows how oxygen underpins the origin of biological complexity, the birth of photosynthesis, the sudden evolution of animals, the need for two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dolly the sheep, and the surprisingly long lives of bats and birds. Drawing on this grand evolutionary canvas, Oxygen offers fresh perspectives on our own lives and deaths, explaining modern killer diseases, why we age, and what we can do about it.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life

Author: Paul Thagard

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691142726

Category: Philosophy

Page: 274

View: 6653

Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living. Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it. The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

The Power to Compete

An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy

Author: Hiroshi Mikitani,Ryoichi Mikitani

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1119000602

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 240

View: 9403

"If you're as interested in Japan as I am, I think you'll find that The Power to Compete is a smart and thought-provoking look at the future of a fascinating country." - Bill Gates, "5 Books to Read This Summer" Father and son – entrepreneur and economist – search for Japan's economic cure The Power to Compete tackles the issues central to the prosperity of Japan – and the world – in search of a cure for the "Japan Disease." As founder and CEO of Rakuten, one of the world's largest Internet companies, author Hiroshi Mikitani brings an entrepreneur's perspective to bear on the country's economic stagnation. Through a freewheeling and candid conversation with his economist father, Ryoichi Mikitani, the two examine the issues facing Japan, and explore possible roadmaps to revitalization. How can Japan overhaul its economy, education system, immigration, public infrastructure, and hold its own with China? Their ideas include applying business techniques like Key Performance Indicators to fix the economy, using information technology to cut government bureaucracy, and increasing the number of foreign firms with a head office in Japan. Readers gain rare insight into Japan's future, from both academic and practical perspectives on the inside. Mikitani argues that Japan's tendency to shun international frameworks and hide from global realities is the root of the problem, while Mikitani Sr.'s background as an international economist puts the issue in perspective for a well-rounded look at today's Japan. Examine the causes of Japan's endless economic stagnation Discover the current efforts underway to enhance Japan's competitiveness Learn how free market "Abenomics" affected Japan's economy long-term See Japan's issues from the perspective of an entrepreneur and an economist Japan's malaise is seated in a number of economic, business, political, and cultural issues, and this book doesn't shy away from hot topics. More than a discussion of economics, this book is a conversation between father and son as they work through opposing perspectives to help their country find The Power to Compete.

How to Find a Habitable Planet

Author: James Kasting

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691138052

Category: Science

Page: 326

View: 2966

Ever since Carl Sagan first predicted that extraterrestrial civilizations must number in the millions, the search for life on other planets has gripped our imagination. Is Earth so rare that advanced life forms like us--or even the simplest biological organisms--are unique to the universe? How to Find a Habitable Planet describes how scientists are testing Sagan's prediction, and demonstrates why Earth may not be so rare after all. James Kasting has worked closely with NASA in its mission to detect habitable worlds outside our solar system, and in this book he introduces readers to the advanced methodologies being used in this extraordinary quest. He addresses the compelling questions that planetary scientists grapple with today: What exactly makes a planet habitable? What are the signatures of life astronomers should look for when they scan the heavens for habitable worlds? In providing answers, Kasting explains why Earth has remained habitable despite a substantial rise in solar luminosity over time, and why our neighbors, Venus and Mars, haven't. If other Earth-sized planets endowed with enough water and carbon are out there, he argues, chances are good that some of those planets sustain life. Kasting describes the efforts under way to find them, and predicts that future discoveries will profoundly alter our view of the universe and our place in it. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of finding other planets like ours--and perhaps even life like ours--in the cosmos.

Life's Ratchet

How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos

Author: Peter M. Hoffmann

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465022537

Category: Science

Page: 278

View: 3428

A physicist describes how life emerges from the random motion of atoms through sophisticated cellular machinery and describes the long quest to determine the true nature of life from ancient Greece to the study of modern nanotechnology. 20,000 first printing.

Molecular Biology of the Cell

Author: Bruce Alberts

Publisher: Garland Science

ISBN: 1317563743

Category: Science

Page: 1464

View: 6854

As the amount of information in biology expands dramatically, it becomes increasingly important for textbooks to distill the vast amount of scientific knowledge into concise principles and enduring concepts.As with previous editions, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Sixth Edition accomplishes this goal with clear writing and beautiful illustrations. The Sixth Edition has been extensively revised and updated with the latest research in the field of cell biology, and it provides an exceptional framework for teaching and learning. The entire illustration program has been greatly enhanced.Protein structures better illustrate structure–function relationships, icons are simpler and more consistent within and between chapters, and micrographs have been refreshed and updated with newer, clearer, or better images. As a new feature, each chapter now contains intriguing openended questions highlighting “What We Don’t Know,” introducing students to challenging areas of future research. Updated end-of-chapter problems reflect new research discussed in the text, and these problems have been expanded to all chapters by adding questions on developmental biology, tissues and stem cells, pathogens, and the immune system.

The Big Picture

Author: Sean Carroll

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1780746075

Category: Science

Page: 464

View: 6990

Where are we? Who are we? Do our beliefs, hopes and dreams mean anything out there in the void? Can human purpose and meaning ever fit into a scientific worldview? Acclaimed award-winning author Sean Carroll brings his extraordinary intellect to bear on the realms of knowledge, the laws of nature and the most profound questions about life, death and our place in it all. In a dazzlingly unique presentation, Carroll takes us through the scientific revolution’s avalanche of discoveries, from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness and the universe itself. Delving into the way the world works at the quantum, cosmic and human levels, he reveals how human values relate to scientific reality. An extraordinary synthesis of cosmos-sprawling science and profound thought, The Big Picture is Carroll’s quest to explain our world. Destined to sit alongside the works of our greatest thinkers, from Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan to Daniel Dennett and E. O. Wilson, this book shows that while our lives may be forever dwarfed by the immensity of the universe, they can be redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

A More Beautiful Question

The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

Author: Warren Berger

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1620401460

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 272

View: 1186

To get the best answer-in business, in life-you have to ask the best possible question. Innovation expert Warren Berger shows that ability is both an art and a science. It may be the most underappreciated tool at our disposal, one we learn to use well in infancy-and then abandon as we grow older. Critical to learning, innovation, success, even to happiness-yet often discouraged in our schools and workplaces-it can unlock new business opportunities and reinvent industries, spark creative insights at many levels, and provide a transformative new outlook on life. It is the ability to question-and to do so deeply, imaginatively, and “beautifully.” In this fascinating exploration of the surprising power of questioning, innovation expert Warren Berger reveals that powerhouse businesses like Google, Nike, and Netflix, as well as hot Silicon Valley startups like Pandora and Airbnb, are fueled by the ability to ask fundamental, game-changing questions. But Berger also shares human stories of people using questioning to solve everyday problems-from “How can I adapt my career in a time of constant change?” to “How can I step back from the daily rush and figure out what really makes me happy?” By showing how to approach questioning with an open, curious mind and a willingness to work through a series of “Why,” “What if,” and “How” queries, Berger offers an inspiring framework of how we can all arrive at better solutions, fresh possibilities, and greater success in business and life.

Why We Sleep

Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Author: Matthew Walker

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1501144316

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 368

View: 2693

"Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity ... An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now ... neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming"--Amazon.com.

Bullshit Jobs

A Theory

Author: David Graeber

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1501143344

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 368

View: 8892

From bestselling writer David Graeber, a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs, and their consequences. Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” It went viral. After a million online views in seventeen different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. There are millions of people—HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers—whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.

The Tangled Tree

A Radical New History of Life

Author: David Quammen

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476776644

Category: Science

Page: 480

View: 3779

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature. In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT. In The Tangled Tree David Quammen, “one of that rare breed of science journalists who blends exploration with a talent for synthesis and storytelling” (Nature), chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them—such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health. “Quammen is no ordinary writer. He is simply astonishing, one of that rare class of writer gifted with verve, ingenuity, humor, guts, and great heart” (Elle). Now, in The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life—including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies such as CRISPR, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition—through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant guide to our transformed understanding of evolution, of life’s history, and of our own human nature.

Reputation

What It Is and Why It Matters

Author: Gloria Origgi

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 140088859X

Category: Psychology

Page: 296

View: 5721

A compelling exploration of how reputation affects every aspect of contemporary life Reputation touches almost everything, guiding our behavior and choices in countless ways. But it is also shrouded in mystery. Why is it so powerful when the criteria by which people and things are defined as good or bad often appear to be arbitrary? Why do we care so much about how others see us that we may even do irrational and harmful things to try to influence their opinion? In this engaging book, Gloria Origgi draws on philosophy, social psychology, sociology, economics, literature, and history to offer an illuminating account of an important yet oddly neglected subject. Origgi examines the influence of the Internet and social media, as well as the countless ranking systems that characterize modern society and contribute to the creation of formal and informal reputations in our social relations, in business, in politics, in academia, and even in wine. She highlights the importance of reputation to the effective functioning of the economy and e-commerce. Origgi also discusses the existential significance of our obsession with reputation, concluding that an awareness of the relationship between our reputation and our actions empowers us to better understand who we are and why we do what we do. Compellingly written and filled with surprising insights, Reputation pins down an elusive subject that affects everyone.

The Sleep Solution

Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It

Author: W. Chris Winter, M.D.

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399583629

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 272

View: 4277

With cutting-edge sleep science and time-tested techniques, The Sleep Solution will help anyone achieve healthy sleep and eliminate pills, pain, and fatigue. If you want to fix your sleep problems, Internet tips and tricks aren’t going to do it for you. You need to really understand what’s going on with your sleep—both what your problems are and how to solve them. The Sleep Solution is an exciting journey of sleep self-discovery and understanding that will help you custom design specific interventions to fit your lifestyle. Drawing on his twenty-four years of experience within the field, neurologist and sleep expert W. Chris Winter will help you… • Understand how sleep works and the ways in which food, light, and other activities act to help or hurt the process • Learn why sleeping pills are so often misunderstood and used incorrectly—and how you can achieve your best sleep without them • Incorporate sleep and napping into your life—whether you are a shift worker, student, or overcommitted parent • Think outside the box to better understand ways to treat a multitude of conditions—from insomnia to sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome and circadian sleep disorders • Wade through the ever-changing sea of sleep technology and understand its value as it relates to your own sleep struggles Dubbed the “Sleep Whisperer” by Arianna Huffington, Dr. Winter is an international expert on sleep and has helped more than 10,000 patients rest better at night, including countless professional athletes. Now, he’s bringing his experiences out from under the covers—redefining what it means to have optimal sleep and get the ZZZs you really need... INCLUDES TIPS, TRICKS, EXERCISES, AND ILLUSTRATIONS

Life on the Edge

The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology

Author: Johnjoe McFadden,Jim Al-Khalili

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 0307986829

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 6359

Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how does it work? It is remarkable that in this age of cloning and even synthetic biology, nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we missing a vital ingredient in its creation? Like Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on evolution by shifting the focus of natural selection from organisms to genes, Life On The Edge alters our understanding of life from cells or biomolecules to the fundamental particles that drive life's dynamics. From this new perspective, life makes more sense as its missing ingredient is revealed to be quantum mechanics and the strange phenomena that lie at the heart of this most mysterious of sciences. -- Provided by publisher.