improbable destinies

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Improbable Destinies

Author : Jonathan B. Losos
ISBN : 9780399184932
Genre : Science
File Size : 65. 4 MB
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A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works Earth’s natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change—a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze—caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets? Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be. Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.

Improbable Destinies

Author : Jonathan Losos
ISBN : 0141981199
Genre :
File Size : 64. 62 MB
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Climbing Mount Improbable

Author : Richard Dawkins
ISBN : 9780393070521
Genre : Science
File Size : 21. 93 MB
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A brilliant book celebrating improbability as the engine that drives life, by the acclaimed author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. The human eye is so complex and works so precisely that surely, one might believe, its current shape and function must be the product of design. How could such an intricate object have come about by chance? Tackling this subject—in writing that the New York Times called "a masterpiece"—Richard Dawkins builds a carefully reasoned and lovingly illustrated argument for evolutionary adaptation as the mechanism for life on earth. The metaphor of Mount Improbable represents the combination of perfection and improbability that is epitomized in the seemingly "designed" complexity of living things. Dawkins skillfully guides the reader on a breathtaking journey through the mountain's passes and up its many peaks to demonstrate that following the improbable path to perfection takes time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins's eloquent descriptions of extraordinary adaptations such as the teeming populations of figs, the intricate silken world of spiders, and the evolution of wings on the bodies of flightless animals. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Climbing Mount Improbable is a book of great impact and skill, written by the most prominent Darwinian of our age.

Improbable Planet

Author : Hugh Ross
ISBN : 9781493405398
Genre : Religion
File Size : 84. 51 MB
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The Latest Scientific Discoveries Point to an Intentional Creator Most of us remember the basics from science classes about how Earth came to be the only known planet that sustains complex life. But what most people don't know is that the more thoroughly researchers investigate the history of our planet, the more astonishing the story of our existence becomes. The number and complexity of the astronomical, geological, chemical, and biological features recognized as essential to human existence have expanded explosively within the past decade. An understanding of what is required to make possible a large human population and advanced civilizations has raised profound questions about life, our purpose, and our destiny. Are we really just the result of innumerable coincidences? Or is there a more reasonable explanation? This fascinating book helps nonscientists understand the countless miracles that undergird the exquisitely fine-tuned planet we call home--as if Someone had us in mind all along.

Indonesian Destinies

Author : Theodore Friend
ISBN : 0674037359
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 55. 4 MB
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How can such a gentle people as we are be so murderous? a prominent Indonesian asks. That question--and the mysteries of the archipelago's vast contradictions--haunt Theodore Friend's remarkable work, a narrative of Indonesia during the last half century, from the postwar revolution against Dutch imperialism to the unrest of today. Part history, part meditation on a place and a past observed firsthand, Indonesian Destinies penetrates events that gave birth to the world's fourth largest nation and assesses the continuing dangers that threaten to tear it apart. Friend reveals Sukarno's character through wartime collaboration with Japan, and Suharto's through the mass murder of communists that brought him to power for thirty-two years. He guides our understanding of the tolerant forms of Islam prevailing among the largest Muslim population in the world, and shows growing tensions generated by international terrorism. Drawing on a deep knowledge of the country's cultures, its leaders, and its ordinary people, Friend gives a human face and a sense of immediacy to the self-inflicted failures and immeasurable tragedies that cast a shadow over Indonesia's past and future. A clear and compelling passion shines through this richly illustrated work. Rarely have narrative history and personal historical witness been so seamlessly joined.

A Reason To Believe

Author : Governor Deval Patrick
ISBN : 9780307720764
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 42. 19 MB
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“I’ve simply seen too much goodness in this country—and have come so far in my own journey—not to believe in those ideals, and my faith in the future is sometimes restored under the darkest clouds.” —Governor Deval Patrick In January 2007, Deval Patrick became the first black governor of the state of Massachusetts, one of only two black governors elected in American history. But that was just one triumphant step in a long, improbable journey that began in a poor tenement on the South Side of Chicago. From a chaotic childhood to an elite boarding school in New England, from a sojourn doing relief work in Africa to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and then to a career in politics, Patrick has led an extraordinary life. In this heartfelt and inspirational book, he pays tribute to the family, friends, and strangers who, through words and deeds, have instilled in him transcendent lessons of faith, perseverance, and friendship. In doing so, he reminds us of the power of community and the imperative of idealism. With humility, humor, and grace, he offers a road map for attaining happiness, empowerment, and success while also making an appeal for readers to cultivate those achievements in others, to feel a greater stake in this world, and to shape a life worth living. Warm, nostalgic, and inspirational, A Reason to Believe is destined to become a timeless tribute to a uniquely American odyssey and a testament to what is possible in our lives and our communities if we are hopeful, generous, and resilient. GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK is donating a portion of the proceeds from A REASON TO BELIEVE to A Better Chance, a national organization dedicated to opening the doors to greater educational opportunities for young people of color. To learn more, visit www.abetterchance.org. From the Hardcover edition.

The Princeton Guide To Evolution

Author : David A. Baum
ISBN : 9781400848065
Genre : Science
File Size : 44. 3 MB
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The Princeton Guide to Evolution is a comprehensive, concise, and authoritative reference to the major subjects and key concepts in evolutionary biology, from genes to mass extinctions. Edited by a distinguished team of evolutionary biologists, with contributions from leading researchers, the guide contains some 100 clear, accurate, and up-to-date articles on the most important topics in seven major areas: phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society. Complete with more than 100 illustrations (including eight pages in color), glossaries of key terms, suggestions for further reading on each topic, and an index, this is an essential volume for undergraduate and graduate students, scientists in related fields, and anyone else with a serious interest in evolution. Explains key topics in some 100 concise and authoritative articles written by a team of leading evolutionary biologists Contains more than 100 illustrations, including eight pages in color Each article includes an outline, glossary, bibliography, and cross-references Covers phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society

Life Through Time And Space

Author : Wallace Arthur
ISBN : 9780674975866
Genre : Science
File Size : 84. 44 MB
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All humans share three origins: the beginning of our individual lives, the appearance of life on Earth, and the formation of our planetary home. Wallace Arthur combines embryological, evolutionary, and cosmological perspectives to tell the story of life on Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere in the universe.

Convergent Evolution

Author : George R. McGhee
ISBN : 9780262016421
Genre : Science
File Size : 26. 64 MB
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Charles Darwin famously concluded On the Origin of Species with a vision of "endless forms most beautiful" continually evolving. More than 150 years later many evolutionary biologists see not endless forms but the same, or very similar, forms evolving repeatedly in many independent species lineages. A porpoise's fishlike fins, for example, are not inherited from fish ancestors but are independently derived convergent traits. In this book, George McGhee describes the ubiquity of the phenomenon of convergent evolution and connects it directly to the concept of evolutionary constraint--the idea that the number of evolutionary pathways available to life are not endless, but quite limited. Convergent evolution occurs on all levels, from tiny organic molecules to entire ecosystems of species. McGhee demonstrates its ubiquity in animals, both herbivore and carnivore; in plants; in ecosystems; in molecules, including DNA, proteins, and enzymes; and even in minds, describing problem-solving behavior and group behavior as the products of convergence. For each species example, he provides an abbreviated list of the major nodes in its phylogenetic classification, allowing the reader to see the evolutionary relationship of a group of species that have independently evolved a similar trait by convergent evolution. McGhee analyzes the role of functional and developmental constraints in producing convergent evolution, and considers the scientific and philosophical implications of convergent evolution for the predictability of the evolutionary process.

The Improbable Wonders Of Moojie Littleman

Author : Robin Gregory
ISBN : 9781942545019
Genre : Young Adult Fiction
File Size : 21. 9 MB
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Having won 21 awards, The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is being lauded as a classic. A haunting, visionary tale spun in the magical realist tradition of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the profoundly unique voice and heart-stirring narrative recall great works of fiction that explore the universal desire to belong. Early 1900s, Western America. A lonely, disabled boy with a nasty temper and miraculous healing powers, Moojie is taken by his father to live at his grandfather's wilderness farm. There, Moojie meets otherworldly outcasts and wants to join them. Following a series of trials—magical and mystical—he is summoned by the call to a great destiny ... if only he can survive one last terrifying trial.

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