Search results for: snakes-sunrises-and-shakespeare

Snakes Sunrises and Shakespeare

Author : Gordon H. Orians
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The eminent zoologist “extends his pioneering work in evolutionary biology” to examine “our preferences, predilections, fears, hopes, and aspirations” (Stephen R. Kellert, author of Birthright). Why do we jump in fear at the sight of a snake and marvel at the beauty of a sunrise? These impulsive reactions are no accident; in fact, many of our human responses to nature are steeped in our evolutionary past—we fear snakes because of the danger of venom, and we welcome the assurances of sun as the predatory dangers of night disappear. According to evolutionary biologist Gordon Orians, many of our aesthetic preferences—from the kinds of gardens we build to the foods we enjoy and the entertainment we seek—are the lingering result of natural selection. In Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare, Orians explores the role of evolution in human responses to the environment, applying biological perspectives ranging from Darwin to current neuroscience. Orians reveals how our emotional lives today are shaped by decisions our ancestors made centuries ago on African savannas as they selected places to live, sought food and safety, and socialized in small hunter-gatherer groups. During this time our likes and dislikes became wired in our brains, as the appropriate responses to the environment meant the difference between survival or death. His rich analysis explains why we mimic the tropical savannas of our ancestors in our parks and gardens, why we are simultaneously attracted to and repelled by danger, and how paying close attention to nature’s sounds has made us an unusually musical species.

The Origins of Creativity

Author : Edward O. Wilson
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'An intellectual hero ... A superb celebrator of science in all its manifestations' Ian McEwan 'Darwin's great successor' Jeffrey Sachs The legendary biologist Edward O. Wilson offers his most philosophically probing work to date 'Creativity is the unique and defining trait of our species; and its ultimate goal, self-understanding,' begins Edward Wilson's sweeping examination of the humanities and their relationship to the sciences. By studying fields as diverse as paleontology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience, Wilson demonstrates that human creativity began not 10,000 years ago, as we have long assumed, but over 100,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Age. Chronicling the evolution of creativity from primates to humans, Wilson shows how the humanities, in large part spurred on by the invention of language, have played a previously unexamined role in defining our species. Exploring a surprising range of creative endeavors - the instinct to create gardens; the use of metaphors and irony in speech; or the power of music and song - Wilson proposes a transformational 'Third Enlightenment' in which the blending of science and the humanities will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the human condition, and how it ultimately originated.

Impact

Author : Christen Brandt
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If you've ever felt too overwhelmed to make a difference, or just unsure of how to apply your unique skills to a bigger purpose, this book is ready to unlock your potential. When you feel that pull to be part of social change, where do you start? How can you ensure that your good intentions create a positive impact? How do you focus your scattered efforts? And how do you sustain yourself throughout? Impact brings you the answers. Drawing on their network and experience as founders of She's the First, Christen Brandt and Tammy Tibbetts show you how to create your own impact strategy, one that fits into your life and allows you to match what you have with what the world needs. Their guidance, paired with interactive activities, will lead you to identify your North Star, find the right partners, and plug into movements for long-term, systemic change. Equally important, you'll learn how to address biases, practice allyship, and shift power to become more inclusive and effective in your journey.

Beasts at Bedtime

Author : Liam Heneghan
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Talking lions, philosophical bears, very hungry caterpillars, wise spiders, altruistic trees, companionable moles, urbane elephants: this is the magnificent menagerie that delights our children at bedtime. Within the entertaining pages of many children’s books, however, also lie profound teachings about the natural world that can help children develop an educated and engaged appreciation of the dynamic environment they inhabit. In Beasts at Bedtime, scientist (and father) Liam Heneghan examines the environmental underpinnings of children’s stories. From Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter, Heneghan unearths the universal insights into our inextricable relationship with nature that underlie so many classic children’s stories. Some of the largest environmental challenges in coming years—from climate instability, the extinction crisis, freshwater depletion, and deforestation—are likely to become even more severe as this generation of children grows up. Though today’s young readers will bear the brunt of these environmental calamities, they will also be able to contribute to environmental solutions if prepared properly. And all it takes is an attentive eye: Heneghan shows how the nature curriculum is already embedded in bedtime stories, from the earliest board books like The Rainbow Fish to contemporary young adult classics like The Hunger Games. Beasts at Bedtime is an awakening to the vital environmental education children’s stories can provide—from the misadventures of The Runaway Bunny to more overt tales like The Lorax. Heneghan serves as our guide, drawing richly upon his own adolescent and parental experiences, as well as his travels in landscapes both experienced and imagined. Organized into thematic sections, the work winds its way through literary forests, colorful characters, and global environments. This book enthralls as it engages. Heneghan as a guide is as charming as he is insightful, showing how kids (and adults) can start to experience the natural world in incredible ways from the comfort of their own rooms. Beasts at Bedtime will help parents, teachers, and guardians extend those cozy times curled up together with a good book into a lifetime of caring for our planet.

The Paleo Perspective The Plight of Prehistoric Man In Modern Times

Author : Bob DeCo
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Is there a “caveman” buried deep inside each of us—one that we refuse to recognize? Do we have Paleolithic instincts and urgings? How much of our behavior is a vestige from our hunter-gatherer past? Man does in fact have an ancient, Paleolithic genetic design. Indeed, human nature hasn’t changed in roughly the last 200,000 years—but human society has changed drastically. Humans were designed to live in small communal groupings. The further away from this primitive setting that we find ourselves, the less likely it is that our genetically governed instincts will adequately serve us. Our deep-seated primitive instincts are ever-lurking in the background, obscured and obfuscated by the pervasiveness of modern civilization—but extremely relevant nonetheless. By ignoring our Paleolithic design we fail to comprehend the nature of our modern predicament.

Walking to Australia

Author : David Robbins
File Size : 40.39 MB
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David Robbins published his first short story at 19 and his first book 25 years later. In 1986, for The 29thParallel, he was awarded South Africa’s prestigious CNA Literary Award, after having been shortlisted with Christopher Hope and J M Coetzee. Since then he has published extensively on southern African themes, becoming established as a writer of extraordinary perception in the literary travel and short fiction genres. In 1995 he published the first of two travel books covering 22 countries on the African continent, which enjoyed international success; and in 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award from the South African Ministry of Arts and Culture. A year before receiving this acknowledgement of his contribution to local literature, he had already embarked on the major project currently under discussion. Several visits to Australia had ignited his interest in the ‘Out-of-Africa’ hypothesis of modern humanity’s peopling of the world. Walking to Australia has been the result of extensive travel in the countries occupying the northern shores of the Indian Ocean, and of seven years of intermittent researching and writing. The book describes a 21st century journey following the direction taken by anatomically modern humans who left the African nursery around 80000 years ago and reached Australia 20000 years later. Along the way, they laid the genetic foundations for humanity’s oldest civilizations – and ultimately inhabited every corner of the globe. The result of these travels is not a scientific treatise. Although the science is not ignored, the centre lies elsewhere. The author undertakes this west-to-east endeavor in the imagined company of his autistic grandson, who serves both as confidant and as a human archetype. This allows the book to verge upon a unique blend of factual travel writing and an almost magical internalised interpretation. What the two travellers find together is a tangle of new experiences and responses, from which the linkages between primeval past and complex present gradually emerge. Here is a work of literary travel writing that describes an enchanted journey through some of the ancient places of the world and into the currently deeply troubled heart of the human adventure. The evidence encountered on the journey suggests that a fundamental universality of humanity’s place in the cosmos lies beneath all regional differences and is characterised as much by humility and co-operation as it is by the imperative to survive and/or the will to power. The book does not set out to prove a point, however, but to celebrate the complexity of human responses. It is more a creative work than it is a dissertation with an unambiguous conclusion. Nevertheless, the bibliography gives an indication of some of the sources used, which includes the work of historians, archaeologists, political scientists, biographers and psychologists, as well as authors writing on the various religions of the world.

Nature by Design

Author : Stephen R. Kellert
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A gorgeously illustrated, accessible book that provides a holistic summary of the key elements for good biophilic design

Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture

Author : Joseph Carroll
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This pioneering volume offers an expansive introduction to the relatively new field of evolutionary studies in imaginative culture. Contributors from psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and the humanities probe the evolved human imagination and its artefacts. The book forcefully demonstrates that imagination is part of human nature. Contributors explore imaginative culture in seven main areas: Imagination: Evolution, Mechanisms and Functions Myth and Religion Aesthetic Theory Music Visual and Plastic Arts Video Games and Films Oral Narratives and Literature Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture widens the scope of evolutionary cultural theory to include much of what “culture” means in common usage. The contributors aim to convince scholars in both the humanities and the evolutionary human sciences that biology and imaginative culture are intimately intertwined. The contributors illuminate this broad theoretical argument with comprehensive insights into religion, ideology, personal identity, and many particular works of art, music, literature, film, and digital media. The chapters “Imagination, the Brain’s Default Mode Network, and Imaginative Verbal Artifacts” and “The Role of Aesthetic Style in Alleviating Anxiety About the Future” are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Evolution by Natural Selection

Author : Michaelis Michael
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A persistent argument among evolutionary biologists and philosophers revolves around the nature of natural selection. Evolution by Natural Selection: Confidence, Evidence and the Gap explores this argument by using a theory of persistence as an intentional foil to examine ways in which similar theories can be misunderstood. It discusses Charles Dar

Cognitive Architecture

Author : Ann Sussman
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*Winner of the Environmental Design Research Association 2016 Place Research Award!* In Cognitive Architecture, the authors review new findings in psychology and neuroscience to help architects and planners better understand their clients as the sophisticated mammals they are, arriving in the world with built-in responses to the environment that have evolved over millennia. The book outlines four main principles---Edges Matter, the fact people are a thigmotactic or a 'wall-hugging' species; Patterns Matter, how we are visually-oriented; Shapes Carry Weight, how our preference for bilateral symmetrical forms is biological; and finally, Storytelling is Key, how our narrative proclivities, unique to our species, play a role in successful place-making. The book takes an inside-out approach to design, arguing that the more we understand human behavior, the better we can design for it. The text suggests new ways to analyze current designs before they are built, allowing the designer to anticipate a user's future experience. More than one hundred photographs and drawings illustrate its key concepts. Six exercises and additional case studies suggest particular topics - from the significance of face-processing in the human brain to our fascination with fractals - for further study.