Demons in Eden

The Paradox of Plant Diversity

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1459627385

Category:

Page: 336

View: 4306

Jonathan Silvertown here explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties - and exotic plant life - have earned it the sobriquet ''the Gal pagos of botany.'' Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever - challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans. This paperback edition will include an entirely new chapter on the astonishing diversity of plant life in the Western Cape of South Africa that focuses on fynbos, a vegetation endemic to the Cape. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.

Demons in Eden

The Paradox of Plant Diversity

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226757773

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 9556

At the heart of evolution lies a bewildering paradox. Natural selection favors above all the individual that leaves the most offspring—a superorganism of sorts that Jonathan Silvertown here calls the "Darwinian demon." But if such a demon existed, this highly successful organism would populate the entire world with its own kind, beating out other species and eventually extinguishing biodiversity as we know it. Why then, if evolution favors this demon, is the world filled with so many different life forms? What keeps this Darwinian demon in check? If humankind is now the greatest threat to biodiversity on the planet, have we become the Darwinian demon? Demons in Eden considers these questions using the latest scientific discoveries from the plant world. Readers join Silvertown as he explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties—and exotic plant life—have earned it the sobriquet "the Galapagos of botany." Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever-challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.

Demons in Eden

The Paradox of Plant Diversity

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226757722

Category: Nature

Page: 185

View: 9899

At the heart of evolution lies a bewildering paradox. Natural selection favors above all the individual that leaves the most offspring—a superorganism of sorts that Jonathan Silvertown here calls the "Darwinian demon." But if such a demon existed, this highly successful organism would populate the entire world with its own kind, beating out other species and eventually extinguishing biodiversity as we know it. Why then, if evolution favors this demon, is the world filled with so many different life forms? What keeps this Darwinian demon in check? If humankind is now the greatest threat to biodiversity on the planet, have we become the Darwinian demon? Demons in Eden considers these questions using the latest scientific discoveries from the plant world. Readers join Silvertown as he explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties—and exotic plant life—have earned it the sobriquet "the Galapagos of botany." Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever-challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.

An Orchard Invisible

A Natural History of Seeds

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226757803

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 8202

The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself. Beginning with the evolution of the first seed plant from fernlike ancestors more than 360 million years ago, Silvertown carries his tale through epochs and around the globe. In a clear and engaging style, he delves into the science of seeds: How and why do some lie dormant for years on end? How did seeds evolve? The wide variety of uses that humans have developed for seeds of all sorts also receives a fascinating look, studded with examples, including foods, oils, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. An able guide with an eye for the unusual, Silvertown is happy to take readers on unexpected—but always interesting—tangents, from Lyme disease to human color vision to the Salem witch trials. But he never lets us forget that the driving force behind the story of seeds—its theme, even—is evolution, with its irrepressible habit of stumbling upon new solutions to the challenges of life. "I have great faith in a seed," Thoreau wrote. "Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Written with a scientist’s knowledge and a gardener’s delight, An Orchard Invisible offers those wonders in a package that will be irresistible to science buffs and green thumbs alike.

Dinner with Darwin

Food, Drink, and Evolution

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022624539X

Category: Cooking

Page: 240

View: 4846

What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of crepes of course, but they also each have an evolutionary purpose. Eggs, seeds (from which flour is derived by grinding) and milk are each designed by evolution to nourish offspring. Everything we eat has an evolutionary history. Grocery shelves and restaurant menus are bounteous evidence of evolution at work, though the label on the poultry will not remind us of this with a Jurassic sell-by date, nor will the signs in the produce aisle betray the fact that corn has a 5,000 year history of artificial selection by pre-Colombian Americans. Any shopping list, each recipe, every menu and all ingredients can be used to create culinary and gastronomic magic, but can also each tell a story about natural selection, and its influence on our plates--and palates. Join in for multiple courses, for a tour of evolutionary gastronomy that helps us understand the shape of our diets, and the trajectories of the foods that have been central to them over centuries--from spirits to spices. This literary repast also looks at the science of our interaction with foods and cooking--the sights, the smells, the tastes. The menu has its eclectic components, just as any chef is entitled. But while it is not a comprehensive work which might risk gluttony, this is more than an amuse bouche, and will leave every reader hungry for more.

The Ecology of Plants

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Author: Jessica Gurevitch,Samuel M. Scheiner,Gordon A. Fox

Publisher: Sinauer Associates Incorporated

ISBN: 9780878932948

Category: Science

Page: 574

View: 4912

Population, evolution, water, soil, ecosystem, global change.

Old Fields

Dynamics and Restoration of Abandoned Farmland

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Author: Richard J. Hobbs

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 9781610910989

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 1621

Land abandonment is increasing as human influence on the globe intensifies and various ecological, social, and economic factors conspire to force the cessation of agriculture and other forms of land management. The “old fields” that result from abandonment have been the subject of much study, yet few attempts have been made to examine the larger questions raised by old field dynamics. Old Fields brings together leading experts from around the world to synthesize past and current work on old fields, providing an up-to-date perspective on the ecological dynamics of abandoned land. The book gives readers a broad understanding of why agricultural land is abandoned, the factors that determine the ecological recovery of old fields, and how this understanding contributes to theoretical and applied ecology. Twelve case studies from diverse geographical and climatic areas—including Australian rainforest, Brazilian Amazonia, New Jersey piedmont, and South African renosterveld—offer a global perspective on the causes and results of land abandonment. Concluding chapters consider the similarities and differences among the case studies, examine them in the context of ecological concepts, and discuss their relevance to the growing field of restoration ecology. Old Fields is the first book to draw together studies on old fields from both a theoretical and practical perspective. It represents an important contribution to the development of theory on old field dynamics and the practice of ecological restoration on abandoned farmland, and the broader implications of old field dynamics to ecology and restoration.

Campaigning for Hearts and Minds

How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work

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Author: Ted Brader

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226069883

Category: Political Science

Page: 280

View: 4318

Useful for those wishing to understand how American politics is influenced by advertising, this scientific study examines the effects these emotional appeals in political advertising have on voter decision-making.

The Future of the Wild

Radical Conservation for a Crowded World

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Author: Jonathan S. Adams

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 9780807085103

Category: Nature

Page: 267

View: 8933

Offers a new approach to conservation built upon the latest findings in conservation science, along with the desires of local communities to protect the places where people live and work.

The Uses of Diversity

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Author: Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Publisher: Jazzybee Verlag

ISBN: 3849677621

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 96

View: 7998

f one might hazard an opinion as to the literary form in which this protean writer excels, one might justly predicate the essay, particularly such not long enough to allow him to become tangled in his own complicated cleverness! "The Uses of Diversity" is a kaleidoscope, a crazy-quilt, an olla-podrida, that he has made of his weekly page, "Our Notebook," in the Illustrated London News,where he succeeded his friend and sympathizer, Hilaire Belloc, and where he roamed at will and unrestrained among books, men and questions of the hour. His titles know no restriction—they run the gamut of variety, and to make diversity doubly diverse, they often have little to do with the subject nominally under discussion. Even when he sticks to his caption, it is in startling fashion, for the only thing to expect of Chesterton is the unexpected. On the whole, this collection shows our famous British visitor in his most genial and witty mood.

99% Ape

How Evolution Adds Up

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Author: Jonathan W. Silvertown

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780226757780

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 8063

"Darwin was mocked for suggesting that humans have apes for ancestors, but every scientific advance in the study of life in the last 150 years has confirmed the reality of evolution. In 99% Ape: How Evolution Adds Up leading experts explain this fundamental yet often complex subject and guide the general reader through the latest evidence."-back cover.

All that is Solid Melts Into Air

The Experience of Modernity

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Author: Marshall Berman

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 9780860917854

Category: Civilization, Modern

Page: 383

View: 7971

The experience of modernization -- the dizzying social changes that swept millions of people into the capitalist world -- and modernism in art, literature and architecture are brilliantly integrated in this account.

Leviathan

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Author: Thomas Hobbes

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 048612214X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 416

View: 6129

Written during a moment in English history when the political and social structures were in flux and open to interpretation, Leviathan played an essential role in the development of the modern world.

The Demon-Haunted World

Science as a Candle in the Dark

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Author: Carl Sagan

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN: 0307801047

Category: Science

Page: 480

View: 6175

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace “A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions. Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms. Praise for The Demon-Haunted World “Powerful . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing.”—The Washington Post Book World “Compelling.”—USA Today “A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity.”—The Sciences “Passionate.”—San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

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Author: Yuval Noah Harari

Publisher: Signal

ISBN: 9780771038518

Category:

Page: 464

View: 922

Destined to become a modern classic in the vein of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Sapiens is a lively, groundbreaking history of humankind told from a unique perspective. 100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo Sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical -- and sometimes devastating -- breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology, and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power...and our future.

Mexican Natural Resources Management and Biodiversity Conservation

Recent Case Studies

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Author: Alfredo Ortega-Rubio

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319905848

Category: Science

Page: 588

View: 2315

This book presents valuable and recent lessons learned regarding the links between natural resources management, from a Socio-Ecological perspective, and the biodiversity conservation in Mexico. It address the political and social aspects, as well as the biological and ecological factors, involved in natural resources management and their impacts on biodiversity conservation. It is a useful resource for researchers and professionals around the globe, but especially those in Latin American countries, which are grappling with the same Bio-Cultural heritage conservation issues.

The Paradoxical Brain

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Author: Narinder Kapur

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139495798

Category: Psychology

Page: N.A

View: 3324

The Paradoxical Brain focuses on a range of phenomena in clinical and cognitive neuroscience that are counterintuitive and go against the grain of established thinking. The book covers a wide range of topics by leading researchers, including: • Superior performance after brain lesions or sensory loss • Return to normal function after a second brain lesion in neurological conditions • Paradoxical phenomena associated with human development • Examples where having one disease appears to prevent the occurrence of another disease • Situations where drugs with adverse effects on brain functioning may have beneficial effects in certain situations A better understanding of these interactions will lead to a better understanding of brain function and to the introduction of new therapeutic strategies. The book will be of interest to those working at the interface of brain and behaviour, including neuropsychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists.

In the Beat of a Heart

Life, Energy, and the Unity of Nature

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Author: John Whitfield

Publisher: National Academies Press

ISBN: 9780309164665

Category: Science

Page: 278

View: 7576

For centuries, scientists have dreamt of discovering an underlying unity to nature. Science now offers powerful explanations for both the dazzling diversity and striking similarities seen in the living world. Life is complicated. It is truly the “entangled bank†that Charles Darwin described. But scientists are now discovering that energy is the unifying force that joins all life on Earth. Visionary biologists have advanced a new theory that explains how the natural worldâ€"from the tiniest amoeba to the greatest rain forestâ€"is constructed, providing a fresh perspective on the essential interconnectivity of living systems. This revolutionary theory explains a variety of phenomenaâ€"helping us understand why a shrew eats its bodyweight in food each day, why a mammal’s heart beats about 1 billion times in its lifetime, why there are no trees as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and why more species live at the Earth’s equator than at its poles. By looking at how living things use energy, we can answer these and myriad other intriguing questions. In the Beat of a Heart combines biography, history, science and nature writing to capture the exciting advancesâ€" and the people who are making themâ€"that are triggering a revolution as potentially important to biology as Newton’s insights were to physics.

Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

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Author: Christian C. Voigt,Tigga Kingston

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319252208

Category: Nature

Page: 606

View: 7569

This book focuses on central themes related to the conservation of bats. It details their response to land-use change and management practices, intensified urbanization and roost disturbance and loss. Increasing interactions between humans and bats as a result of hunting, disease relationships, occupation of human dwellings, and conflict over fruit crops are explored in depth. Finally, contributors highlight the roles that taxonomy, conservation networks and conservation psychology have to play in conserving this imperilled but vital taxon. With over 1300 species, bats are the second largest order of mammals, yet as the Anthropocene dawns, bat populations around the world are in decline. Greater understanding of the anthropogenic drivers of this decline and exploration of possible mitigation measures are urgently needed if we are to retain global bat diversity in the coming decades. This book brings together teams of international experts to provide a global review of current understanding and recommend directions for future research and mitigation.

The Everlasting Man

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Author: G. K. Chesterton

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486117383

Category: Religion

Page: 288

View: 2479

Chesterton's view of Christianity — as a blend of philosophy and mythology, satisfying intellect and spirit — applies to his brilliant book, which appeals to readers' heads as well as their hearts.