NEW TITLES

Who Rules The World?

space-chronicles

The world’s leading intellectual offers a probing examination of the waning American Century, the nature of U.S. policies post-9/11, and the perils of valuing power above democracy and human rights

In an incisive, thorough analysis of the current international situation, Noam Chomsky argues that the United States, through its military-first policies and its unstinting devotion to maintaining a world-spanning empire, is both risking catastrophe and wrecking the global commons. Drawing on a wide range of examples, from the expanding drone assassination program to the threat of nuclear warfare, as well as the flashpoints of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Israel/Palestine, he offers unexpected and nuanced insights into the workings of imperial power on our increasingly chaotic planet.

In the process, Chomsky provides a brilliant anatomy of just how U.S. elites have grown ever more insulated from any democratic constraints on their power. While the broader population is lulled into apathy—diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable—the corporations and the rich have increasingly been allowed to do as they please.

Fierce, unsparing, and meticulously documented, Who Rules the World? delivers the indispensable understanding of the central conflicts and dangers of our time that we have come to expect from Chomsky.

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Copyright Google books. 

This Book Is Gay

space-chronicles

 

"This egregious gap has now been filled to a fare-thee-well by Dawson's book..." -Booklist(Starred)

Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who's ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU. 

There's a long-running joke that, after "coming out," a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, ortrans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You're welcome. 

Inside you'll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask: from sex to politics, hooking up to stereotypes, coming out and more. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it's like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations. 

You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don't) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.

One of The Guardian's Best Books of the Year

"The book every LGBT person would have killed for as a teenager, told in the voice of a wise best friend. Frank, warm, funny, USEFUL." -Patrick Ness, bestselling author

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Copyright Google Books.

The Soul Of The Marionette: A Short Inquiry Into Human Freedom

space-chronicles

Compared with that of humans, the life of the marionette looks more like an enviable state of freedom


In his brilliantly enjoyable and freewheeling new book, John Gray draws together the religious, philosophic, and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom. We flatter ourselves about the nature of free will and yet the most enormous forces--logical, physical, metaphysical--constrain our every action. Many writers and intellectuals have always understood this, but instead of embracing our condition we battle against it, with everyone from world conquerors to modern scientists dreaming of a "human dominion" almost comically at odds with our true state.

Filled with wonderful examples and drawing on the widest possible reading (from the Gnostics to Philip K. Dick),The Soul of the Marionette is a stimulating and engaging meditation on everything from cybernetics to the fairground marionettes of the title.

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Copyright Google Books.

Origins: The Scientific Story Of Creation

space-chronicles

What is the nature of the material world? How does it work? What is the universe and how was it formed? What is life? Where do we come from and how did we evolve? How and why do we think? What does it mean to be human? How do we know? 
There are many different versions of our creation story. This book tells the version according to modern science. It is a unique account, starting at the Big Bang and travelling right up to the emergence of humans as conscious intelligent beings, 13.8 billion years later. Chapter by chapter, it sets out the current state of scientific knowledge: the origins of space and time; energy, mass, and light; galaxies, stars, and our sun; the habitable earth, and complex life itself. Drawing together the physical and biological sciences, Baggott recounts what we currently know of our history, highlighting the questions science has yet to answer.

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Copyright Google Books.

Life And Death In Captivity: The Abuse of Prisoners During War

space-chronicles

Why are prisoners horribly abused in some wars but humanely cared for in others? In Life and Death in Captivity, Geoffrey P. R. Wallace explores the profound differences in the ways captives are treated during armed conflict. Wallace focuses on the dual role played by regime type and the nature of the conflict in determining whether captor states opt for brutality or mercy. Integrating original data on prisoner treatment during the last century of interstate warfare with in-depth historical cases, Wallace demonstrates how domestic constraints and external incentives shape the fate of captured enemy combatants. Both Russia and Japan, for example, treated prisoners very differently in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5 and in World War II; the behavior of any given country is liable to vary from conflict to conflict and even within the same war.

Democracies may be more likely to treat their captives humanely, yet this benevolence is rooted less in liberal norms of nonviolence than in concerns over public accountability. When such concerns are weak or absent, democracies are equally capable of brutal conduct toward captives. In conflicts that devolve into protracted fighting, belligerents may inflict violence against captives as part of a strategy of exploitation and to coerce the adversary into submission. When territory is at stake, prisoners are further at risk of cruel treatment as their captors seek to permanently remove the most threatening sources of opposition within newly conquered lands. By combining a rigorous strategic approach with a wide-ranging body of evidence, Wallace offers a vital contribution to the study of political violence and wartime conduct.

 Image Copyright Google Images, Description Copyright Barnes and Noble.

Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation In North America

space-chronicles

There is no question that European colonization introduced smallpox, measles, and other infectious diseases to the Americas, causing considerable harm and death to indigenous peoples. But though these diseases were devastating, their impact has been widely exaggerated. Warfare, enslavement, land expropriation, removals, erasure of identity, and other factors undermined Native populations. These factors worked in a deadly cabal with germs to cause epidemics, exacerbate mortality, and curtail population recovery.

Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation in North America challenges the “virgin soil” hypothesis that was used for decades to explain the decimation of the indigenous people of North America. This hypothesis argues that the massive depopulation of the New World was caused primarily by diseases brought by European colonists that infected Native populations lacking immunity to foreign pathogens. In Beyond Germs, contributors expertly argue that blaming germs lets Europeans off the hook for the enormous number of Native American deaths that occurred after 1492.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians come together in this cutting-edge volume to report a wide variety of other factors in the decline in the indigenous population, including genocide, forced labor, and population dislocation. These factors led to what the editors describe in their introduction as “systemic structural violence” on the Native populations of North America.

While we may never know the full extent of Native depopulation during the colonial period because the evidence available for indigenous communities is notoriously slim and problematic, what is certain is that a generation of scholars has significantly overemphasized disease as the cause of depopulation and has downplayed the active role of Europeans in inciting wars, destroying livelihoods, and erasing identities.

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Google Books.

After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover The Essay

space-chronicles

Writers of the modern essay can trace their chosen genre all the way back to Michel de Montaigne (1533-92). But save for the recent notable best seller How to Live: A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, Montaigne is largely ignored. After Montaigne--a collection of twenty-four new personal essays intended as tribute-- aims to correct this collective lapse of memory and introduce modern readers and writers to their stylistic forebear.

Though it's been over four hundred years since he began writing his essays, Montaigne's writing is still fresh, and his use of the form as a means of self-exploration in the world around him reads as innovative--even by modern standards. He is, simply put, the writer to whom all essayists are indebted. Each contributor has chosen one of Montaigne's 107 essays and has written his/her own essay of the same title and on the same theme, using a quote from Montaigne's essay as an epigraph. The overall effect is akin to a covers album, with each writer offering his or her own interpretation and stylistic verve to Montaigne's themes in ways that both reinforce and challenge the French writer's prose, ideas, and forms. Featuring a who's who of contemporary essayists,After Montaigne offers a startling engagement with Montaigne and the essay form while also pointing the way to the genre's potential new directions.

Contributors: Marcia Aldrich, Chris Arthur, Robert Atwan, Barrie Jean Borich, Mary Cappello, Steven Church, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Danielle Cadena Deulen, Brian Doyle, Lina M. Ferreira C. V., Vivian Gornick, Robin Hemley, Wayne Koestenbaum, Shannon Lakanen, David Lazar, E. J. Levy, Phillip Lopate, Bret Lott, Patrick Madden, Desirae Matherly, Maggie Nelson, José Orduña, Elena Passarello, Lia Purpura, Kristen Radtke, Amy Lee Scott, Jerald Walker, Nicole Walker

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Google Books.

Blue-Collar Broadway: The Craft and Industry Of American Theater

space-chronicles

A rich history of American theater, Timothy White's Blue-Collar Broadway tells the story of the people who created costumes, shoes, scenery, lights, and props. From the 1880s to the 1990s, White explores the shifting centers of theatrical craft and their impact on the nation and the iconic New York City district of Times Square.

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Google Books.

Evolution: The Whole Story

space-chronicles

Evolution: The Whole Story provides an in-depth and up-to-the- minute account of evolution, one of the ultimate keystone theories in modern science. Ten esteemed experts thoroughly survey how each of Earth''s major groups of living things diversified and evolved through time and using visual features that make the story comprehensible, the book gives readers, even those with no previous knowledge of the topic, a clear understanding of evolution and how it brought us to the present day.

Each of seven chapters takes one of Earth''s major living groups and describes the evolution of its subgroups and how they diversified and evolved. The stories are fascinating. In some cases, a subgroup fell off the evolutionary chain, like the dinosaurs that were part of the Early Reptiles group, and which became extinct by the second extinction event. In other cases, a living subgroup may contain a life form virtually the same as its evolutionary ancestors, such as the horseshoe crab from the Invertebrates group, which is a "living fossil" closely related to prehistoric sea scorpions.

Along with profiles of the most important scientists that have influenced evolutionary theory, the book reveals how these advances have added to and often changed the story. For example, the now-extinct Pederpes, formerly thought to be a fish, was restudied and reclassified in 2002 and is now known to be the first four-limbed vertebrate to evolve to a life on land.

Evolution: The Whole Story makes the story of evolution comprehensible, straightforward and stimulating. The introduction provides an important overview. It includes:

  • Modern evolutionary theory
  • Terms such as convergent evolution and speciation; time charts and their eras, periods and epochs
  • Explanations of graphic devices such as phylogenies and cladograms that depict evolutionary relationships
  • How we know or surmise about long-gone animals, plants, habitats, and ecosystems
  • Factors and pressures that drove evolution
  • How fossils formed and are studied.

Having laid the base for readers, the story begins. Important features include:

  • Thematic essays that provide a complete account of all the major life groups, explaining in detail their comparative anatomy and evolutionary legacies.
  • Photographic features that investigate the characteristics of individual organisms, including living species, fossils and skeletons, and how they are direct ancestors or relatives to members of modern life groups.
  • 160 Key Focus features that investigate topics of particular interest.
  • Stimulating lifelike reconstructions of past habitats and ecosystems.
  • Historical timelines highlighting key evolutionary events and discoveries.
  • In-depth coverage of 20 eminent scientists that have made major contributions to our understanding of evolution.
  • Coverage of Mass Extinctions in their chronological position on the evolutionary timescale.

The 160 Key Focus features investigate topics that add color while they reveal important developments in evolution and its study. Examples are:

  • Hallucigenia, a wormlike creature so odd that a scientist thought he was hallucinating.
  • Flowers, insects and co-evolution -- how organisms can progress "hand-in-hand"
  • Peripatus, today''s walking worm with stumpy legs, which may show how arthropods evolved
  • Eurypterus, at almost 5 feet long it was a real monster for its time.
  • Arthropleura, a giant millipede-like arthropod the size of a sports car.
  • Othniel Charles Marsh, Edward Drinker Cope and the Bone Wars, as rivals competed to find the biggest, best dinosaur fossils.
  • Hobbits, an amazing discovery in 2003 of 3-feet-tall fossil humans -- are they a distinct species?
  • Reversing evolution and de-extinction -- will we be able to "de-extinct" long-gone species?
  • Gigantopithecus, a 10-feet-tall close cousin of humans living in Asia up to 100,000 years ago.
  • Today''s sea eagle -- what modern eagles tell us about the evolution of their group.
  • Are new species evolving?

Evolutionary theorists, paleontologists, paleoecologists, molecular biologists, geneticists, climatologists, the occasional amateur fossil-hunter, and many more people, have contributed to our understanding of evolution. Their passion and work will continue to unravel the complex and challenging story, but in the meantime, Evolution: The Whole Story reveals the compelling evidence we have today.

This book is ideal for all general readers and anyone working in or interested in fields related to the study of evolution. It is an essential selection.

Image Copyright Google images, Description Google Books.

Einstein's Dice and Schrodinger's Cat

space-chronicles

When the fuzzy indeterminacy of quantum mechanics overthrew the orderly world of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger were at the forefront of the revolution. Neither man was ever satisfied with the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, however, and both rebelled against what they considered the most preposterous aspect of quantum mechanics: its randomness. Einstein famously quipped that God does not play dice with the universe, and Schrödinger constructed his famous fable of a cat that was neither alive nor dead not to explain quantum mechanics but to highlight the apparent absurdity of a theory gone wrong. But these two giants did more than just criticize: they fought back, seeking a Theory of Everything that would make the universe seem sensible again.

In Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat, physicist Paul Halpern tells the little-known story of how Einstein and Schrödinger searched, first as collaborators and then as competitors, for a theory that transcended quantum weirdness. This story of their quest—which ultimately failed—provides readers with new insights into the history of physics and the lives and work of two scientists whose obsessions drove its progress.

Today, much of modern physics remains focused on the search for a Theory of Everything. As Halpern explains, the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson makes the Standard Model—the closest thing we have to a unified theory— nearly complete. And while Einstein and Schrödinger failed in their attempt to explain everything in the cosmos through pure geometry, the development of string theory has, in its own quantum way, brought this idea back into vogue. As in so many things, even when they were wrong, Einstein and Schrödinger couldn’t help but get a great deal right.

Image Copyright Google Images, Description Barnes and Noble.

Newton's Apple and Other Myths About Science

space-chronicles

A falling apple inspired Isaac Newton’s insight into the law of gravity—or so the story goes. Is it true? Perhaps not. But the more intriguing question is why such stories endure as explanations of how science happens. Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science brushes away popular misconceptions to provide a clearer picture of great scientific breakthroughs from ancient times to the present.

Among the myths refuted in this volume is the idea that no science was done in the Dark Ages, that alchemy and astrology were purely superstitious pursuits, that fear of public reaction alone led Darwin to delay publishing his theory of evolution, and that Gregor Mendel was far ahead of his time as a pioneer of genetics. Several twentieth-century myths about particle physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and more are discredited here as well. In addition, a number of broad generalizations about science go under the microscope of history: the notion that religion impeded science, that scientists typically adhere to a codified “scientific method,” and that a bright line can be drawn between legitimate science and pseudoscience.

Edited by Ronald Numbers and Kostas Kampourakis, Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science debunks the widespread belief that science advances when individual geniuses experience “Eureka!” moments and suddenly comprehend what those around them could never imagine. Science has always been a cooperative enterprise of dedicated, fallible human beings, for whom context, collaboration, and sheer good luck are the essential elements of discovery.

Image Google Images, Description Barnes and Noble.

 

Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood

space-chronicles

Living Black breaks the stereotype of poor African American neighborhoods as dysfunctional ghettos of helpless and hopeless people

Despite real and enduring poverty, the community described here—the historic North End of Champaign, Illinois—has a vibrant social life and strong ties among generations. But it operates on its own nonjudgmental terms—teen moms aren’t derided, school dropouts aren’t ridiculed, and parolees and ex-cons aren’t scorned.

Mark S. Fleisher offers a window into daily life in this neighborhood, particularly through the stories of Mo and Memphis Washington, who fight to sustain a stable home for their children, and of Burpee, a local man who has returned to the North End to rebuild his life after years of crime and punishment in Chicago.

 Image and Description Copyright University of Wisconsin Press.

Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds

space-chronicles

Pinpoint tells the story of GPS, a scientific marvel that enables almost all modern technology―but is changing us in profound ways.

Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary shared utility: the Global Positioning System. Even as it guides us across town, GPS helps land planes, route mobile calls, anticipate earthquakes, predict weather, locate oil deposits, measure neutrinos, grow our food, and regulate global finance. It is as ubiquitous and essential as another Cold War technology, the Internet. In Pinpoint, Greg Milner takes us on a fascinating tour of a hidden system that touches almost every aspect of our modern life.

While GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate information about our planetary environment and physical space, it has also created new forms of human behavior. We have let it saturate the world’s systems so completely and so quickly that we are just beginning to confront the possible consequences. A single GPS timing flaw, whether accidental or malicious, could bring down the electrical grid, hijack drones, or halt the world financial system. The use, and potential misuse, of GPS data by government and corporations raise disturbing questions about ethics and privacy. GPS may be altering the nature of human cognition―possibly even rearranging the gray matter in our heads.

Pinpoint tells the sweeping story of GPS from its conceptual origins as a bomb guidance system to its presence in almost everything we do. Milner examines the different ways humans have understood physical space, delves into the neuroscience of cognitive maps, and questions GPS’s double-edged effect on our culture. A fascinating and original story of the scientific urge toward precision, Pinpoint offers startling insight into how humans understand their place in the world.

 

Image and Description Copyright Amazon.com

Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will

space-chronicles

It’s a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries and is at the heart of numerous political, social, and personal concerns: Do we have free will? In this cogent and compelling book, Julian Baggini explores the concept of free will from every angle, blending philosophy, sociology, and cognitive science to find rich new insights on the intractable questions that have plagued us. Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? Are our neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehensive, intentional psychological change always open to us? And what, exactly, are we talking about when we talk about “freedom” anyway?

Freedom Regained brings the issues raised by the possibilities—and denials—of free will to thought-provoking life, drawing on scientific research and fascinating encounters with everyone from artists to prisoners to dissidents. He looks at what it means for us to be material beings in a universe of natural laws. He asks if there is any difference between ourselves and the brains from which we seem never able to escape. He throws down the wildcards and plays them to the fullest: What about art? What about addiction? What about twins? And he asks, of course, what this all means for politics.

Ultimately, Baggini challenges those who think free will is an illusion. Moving from doubt to optimism to a hedged acceptance of free will, he ultimately lands on a satisfying conclusion: it is something we earn. The result is a highly engaging, new, and more positive understanding of our sense of personal freedom, a freedom that is definitely worth having.

 

Image and Description Copyright University of Chicago Press.