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181. Essential Genetics
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182. Sequence - Evolution - Function:
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183. The Mycota VII: Systems and Evolution
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184. Measuring Biological Diversity
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185. Essentials of Medical Genomics
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186. The Immortal Cell: One Scientist's
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187. Physiological Basis of Aging and
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188. The Mating Mind : How Sexual Choice
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189. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific
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190. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected
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191. BLAST
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192. Sync: The Emerging Science of
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193. Nonzero : The Logic of Human Destiny
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194. Why We Get Sick : The New Science
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195. Information Theory, Evolution
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196. A Pharmacology Primer : Theory,
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197. The Psychobiology of Gene Expression
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198. The Proteus Effect: Stem Cells
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199. Basic Medical Endocrinology, Third
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200. Dynamic Optimization

181. Essential Genetics
by Daniel L. Hartl, Elizabeth W. Jones
list price: $97.95
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Asin: 0763718521
Catlog: Book (2002-01-15)
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Sales Rank: 395069
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This timely book is designed to meet the needs of those who offer amodern introductory course in genetics. As research in the field of geneticsbecomes increasingly complex, it is more challenging to teach introductorystudents its foundations. The goal of this text is to help students understandthe core concepts of gene transmission, mutation, expression and regulation.Additionally, the presentation encourages students to formulate genetichypotheses, research the consequences and test the results against observeddata. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Unclear Explanations, Many Errors in the Problems
As an another student at Harvard, i found this book very unclear at explaning many important concepts in genetics, such as Holliday structure. The authors of this book fail to present approropriate and clear explanations for the conclusions that they make. Also, materials in chapters tend to be seemed unrelated...

Prof Hartl is an entertaining in his lectures but not clear in his book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
As a undergrad at Harvard who took Prof Hartl's intro genetics class (in which we used this textbook), I can tell you that this encompasses all the information we covered in a semester-legnth class. What you miss out on, however, is Prof Hartl's funny, engaging teaching style and graphically complex computer demos. That said I learned (both from class and this book) why female cats' fur can be calico and other interesting applications of genetics. In the age of the Human Genome Project, basic genetics knowledge is crucial, and this book is a great intro to the topic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Genetically Fun
This was a book that I dreaded to read for a college class. I opened it and stared at the cover with dread. However, I was very surprised to find that it was easy to understand and even.....interesting? Yes, I admit, I fell in love with the subject of genetics by reading this book. It had real world applications and provided many sample questions. The pictures were great and a perfect addition to the entire book. I really enjoyed this book. ... Read more


182. Sequence - Evolution - Function: Computational Approaches in Comparative Genomics
by Eugene V. Koonin, Michael Y. Galperin
list price: $123.00
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Asin: 1402072740
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Sales Rank: 301214
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183. The Mycota VII: Systems and Evolution Part B
list price: $247.00
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Asin: 3540664939
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Springer
Sales Rank: 749023
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Book Description

This is an exciting time to produce an overview of the systematics and evolution of the fungi. Molecular and subcellular characters have given us our first view of the true phylogeny of the fungi. The systematic chapters present detailed illustrated treatments of specific fungal groups with the authors' interpretation of the systematics of that group as well as a survey of specific economic, ecological, morphological, ultrastructural, molecular and cultural data. Other chapters, in addition to treating techniques useful in modern mycology, provide the reader with views of the place of the fungi among the Eukaryotes and relationships within the Mycota. Volume VII, Part A, includes an overview of the fungal hierarchy, Pseudomycota, Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota, Ascomycota and their yeasts, and anamorphic states. Volume VII, Part B, includes the Basidiomycota and their yeasts, and chapters on speciation, molecular evolution, preservation, computer techniques, and nomenclature. ... Read more


184. Measuring Biological Diversity
by Anne Magurran
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Asin: 0632056339
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Sales Rank: 207323
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185. Essentials of Medical Genomics
by Stuart M.Brown
list price: $55.50
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Asin: 047121003X
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Wiley-Liss
Sales Rank: 556955
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This introductory reference provides a practical, concise summary of everything a physician needs to know about genomics and emerging technologies. Through extensive illustrative examples, this book offers a clear and concise starting point to understanding how medicine has been, and will be, transformed by genomics and bioinformatics. Beginning with a clear overview on the Human Genome Project and its revolutionary impact, the book further investigates new technologies in detail, including: high-throughput DNA sequencing, genome sequence databases, microarrays, proteomics, pharmacogenomics, genetic testing, and gene therapy. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
"...this book was exactly what I was looking for: a high-level overview of genomic technologies and their application...Brown's book is highly recommended..." (Pharmaceutical Research, Vol. 20, No. 6, June 2003)

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended Book
"readable account of the underpinnings of genomics and its medical applications...a clearly written book that makes a complex discipline understandable..." (New England Journal of Medicine, July 24, 2003)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
"...a good purchase for...academic or medical libraries as well as large public ones." (E-Streams, Vol. 6, No. 5, May 2003)

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful Book
"It will be quite useful to anyone from other fields who is interested in a taste of what emerging technologies in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics can bring to bear on questions of potential importance in biomedical research." --American Journal of Human Genetics

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful Book
"...useful to both medical students and physicians alike..." (Genomics and Proteomics, March 1, 2003) ... Read more


186. The Immortal Cell: One Scientist's Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging
by Michael D. West
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0385509286
Catlog: Book (2003-09-16)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 36316
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Human beings have always hungered for immortality. But even in myths, those who find the secrets of eternal life often have to pay a high price. Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, has spent most of his career as a biotechnologist seeking ways to make mammalian cells live forever. His successes put him at the center of political, moral, and religious firestorms. In The Immortal Cell, West offers not only a chronology of the emerging science of immortality, but a personal journal of his own path from strict creationist to ardent scientist seeking to shape human evolution. It was West and his cohorts who announced in 2001 that by inserting a person's own DNA into an unfertilized egg cell from a woman of reproductive age, they could create embryonic stem cells--cells that might be able to repair any number of problems for the DNA donor, including burns, cancer, degenerative disorders, and even normal aging. Accused of "playing God," West became one of the central figures in the debates on human cloning and was compared to Osama bin Laden by one histrionic news agent. In The Immortal Cell, West describes both the research and the furor that followed. Though the biology is a little tough for general readers, West does a fine job of using diagrams and step-by-step descriptions to explain his processes of cell culture and manipulation. The debate over therapeutic cloning of human cells is far from over, and readers seeking to better understand the debate will find West's book an unapologetic, one-sided argument in favor of human stem cell research. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Passionate
Excellent reicital of one scientist's search for the means to prolong human life. I found it to be a very good introduction to concepts such as stem cells and telomerase - areas I had only vague knowledge. But the best part of the book is its description of Dr. West's passion for ending human death and mortality. Dr. West echoes many thoughts I have had myself - man does not want to die! Despite the narrow minded opposition of obsolete religious teachings, science will find the way to overcome and we will reach one of mankind most long soughts yearnings. Perhaps we will lose part of our humanity in doing so, but in my opinion it will be a transformational change that takes us to the next level of life. This book describes one possible approach on this journey.

5-0 out of 5 stars WELL WRITTEN!
This book is an excellent foray into the world of longevity research and cellular study. I, as a layman, never lost the focus of the author's intent. I hope we do not have to wait to long for his next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book.....hope he writes another!
I wasn't sure if I would get "into" this book or not, but I found it hard to put down at the end of the lunch break or at night. Very interesting and the good doc describes even the most complex science in terms that are easy to understand-without making the reader feel like a dummy! I wish President Bush and other lawmakers would take the time to read this book to get the facts behind the science before making any more legislation regarding stem cell research.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tinkering with the atom - now tinkering with human DNA...
Dr. Michael West is a brilliant man in search of high tech ways to cure catastrophic diseases & pathologies - such as type I Diabetes, Quadriplegia, cancer and heart damage from heart attacks. All noble quests to benefit mankind. The only problem with this is that along with the potential to help mankind with regenerative medicine concepts, therein lies another darker potential. The corruptability of such an endeaver, and yes, there are always those equally brilliant scientists out there who are willing to tweak the bad that generates from the good.
West goes into vague detail explaining what stem cells are, and what the science can acheive in medicine, and cloning. I wish he went into further depth giving examples and photos of what he witnessed under the microscope. If he would have included some slides, I would have given the book a 5 star rating instead of the 4. It is a good book that gives readers a taste of this controversial topic. He further explains how Dolly the sheep came to be in this world, and yes, the sheep was named after Dolly Parton, the country singer, because the sheep was cloned out of a cell from the breast tissue of another sheep.
All this research into the mortal cell costs millions, perhaps billions of dollars, $$$, but in the end, the goal is not to prolong life forever. It's really to maintain the quality of life for all, especially the aged. Dr. West is very compassionate towards the elderly in our world, and it's good to see that somebody is passionate about curing the ails that often accompany old age.
One question that I have for Dr. West is what should the average life expectancy be for people? 100? 110?
Curing hearing and sight loss, kidney failure, liver failure are all good things that could come from recombinant DNA therapy.
But the dark side could promote supernatural human beings; turning engineered cells into engineered people. These 'superpeople' can potentially outthink, outperform and ultimately - wipe out the current natural human race that we have spent millions of years evolving into. If these cloned people reproduced with regular human beings, something called germ-line genetic modification, something terribly wrong could happen. This is one of the kind Doctor's admitted fears.
Our standard of living would become too high to sustain or even achieve. It would create many insurmountable problems the world has never known.
Tinkering with the atom in the Manhatten Project ultimately brought us terrorism as we know it today. Could those brilliant scientists not see the disaster behind the discovery?
Now our modern scientists are tinkering with the human genome project. It is mapped out and published. Scientists such as Dr. West wish to exploit this important and exciting discovery to help mankind, but we must be wary of the ever present dark side of all good creations.
Are we ready to make this scientific leap?
Read the book and ponder the answer...I have no answers at this point---the book contains arguments both ways, but leans towards the pro and dismisses the con pretty blantantly.
Nonetheless, it is a very interesting read, and contains somewhat technical ideas in it, which only encourages me to further research the topic of theraputic cloning and stem cell research.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A brilliant, autobiographical account of discoveries concerning telomerase, stem cells, and cloning. West is a genius. ... Read more


187. Physiological Basis of Aging and Geriatrics, Third Edition
list price: $149.95
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Asin: 0849309484
Catlog: Book (2002-09-25)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 503394
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Book Description

Extensively revised and updated to reflect the current state of knowledge in the study of aging, the third edition of the bestselling Physiological Basis of Aging and Geriatrics provides an even more complete profile of the aging of individuals and populations. It includes aspects of demographic, comparative, and differential aging together with a discussion of the several theories of aging. It shows how body functions change with aging, describes how both genetic and environmental factors influence aging-related changes, and addresses some of the clinical consequences of these changes for health and longevity.Divided into three main sections, the book first provides a broad and solid background in basic processes of biogerontology. Then it presents a survey of the aging of body systems, focusing on maintenance of optimal function and ability to adapt to environmental demands. Finally, it provides a synopsis of pharmacologic, nutritional, and physical exercise guidelines for preserving physical and mental health into old age.This book collects up-to-date information from internationally renowned experts in various biologic fields using physiology as the unifying concept. Illustrated with numerous tables and graphs, Physiological Basis of Aging and Geriatrics, Third Edition focuses on the established facts of physiological aging to provide an essential reference book for a wide spectrum of readers with different levels of biological and educational backgrounds. ... Read more


188. The Mating Mind : How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature
by GEOFFREY MILLER
list price: $15.00
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Asin: 038549517X
Catlog: Book (2001-04-17)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 33254
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At once a pioneering study of evolution and an accessible and lively reading experience, The Mating Mind marks the arrival of a prescient and provocative new science writer. Psychologist Geoffrey Miller offers the most convincing–and radical–explanation for how and why the human mind evolved.

Consciousness, morality, creativity, language, and art: these are the traits that make us human. Scientists have traditionally explained these qualities as merely a side effect of surplus brain size, but Miller argues that they were sexual attractors, not side effects. He bases his argument on Darwin’s theory of sexual selection, which until now has played second fiddle to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and draws on ideas and research from a wide range of fields, including psychology, economics, history, and pop culture. Witty, powerfully argued, and continually thought-provoking, The Mating Mind is a landmark in our understanding of our own species.
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Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Literary Masterpiece
Geoffrey Miller is a wonderful writer, fully in command of the theory and evidence in evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and animal behavior. He is also widely read in the arts and popular culture. He has a fertile imagination and a creative bent that makes reading his ideas a real pleasure. This book is, as they say, "a good read."

But is it correct? Miller tries to explain the mystery of human intellect and creativity. Why would a creature (us) who evolved under the most primitive of material conditions, who lacked even sedentary agriculture until 10,000 years ago, have evolved the mental capacity for beauty, wit, rhythm, and truth? His answer is: sexual (as opposed to survival) selection. In short we are smart and talented because women preferred to mate with smart and talented men.

There is a problem, however. There are two theories of sexual selection: runaway selection (associated with Darwin and Ronald Fisher), and the handicap principle (Zahavi). Most of Miller's arguments require the former (although he formally disavows this early in the book), while the latter is probably the only plausible model of sexual selection.

For instance, the idea that we have large brains because women prefer intelligent men, even if intelligence imposes a fitness cost on men, is plausible only if intelligence is a signal of a superior fitness in some other hidden area (e.g., a lower parasite load). But I cannot think of one such area, nor does Miller supply one. Intelligence may have direct fitness benefits for humans, but that is NOT sexual selection, but straightforward selection for survivability.

In short, I think Miller is wrong, and I know there is no quantitative evidence for his 'just-so story,' but I loved the book anyway.

5-0 out of 5 stars If virtual reality gets cheaper than dating......
When virtual reality gets cheaper than dating, society is doomed......the title is Dogbert's succinct perspective of evolutionarty psychology focusing on human sexual choice and male courtship effort.

As a neophyte I was impressed with the intriguing ideas evenly sprinkled throught the book. Principal among these was the runaway brain, fitness indicators and the handicap principle that Miller uses as a basis to explain human mind's intricate evolution. Miller tries to argue that any form of sexual selection for fitness indicators should even out genetic variation in fitness - which means if females favor tall males then all males should be tall. Yet we dont see that and the differences remain in the species - so why does evolution allows such differences. Another interesting idea, originally proposed by Zahavi, is the handicap principle - which is advertising fitness and "sexual ornamentation" by handicapping an individual with a survival cost. It basically means fit peacocks showing off extravagant plumage to attract mates even if it means making themselves more prone to predators or simply carrying the extra load around risking their survial. Highly evolved fitness indicators means using costly signals to attract a mate. In human terms it might transform to - you buying an expensive diamond ring from Cartier for your lady-love fully aware that its gonna make a dent in your pocket, will add no survival benefit whatsoever to you or her but yet show her that you make so much money that not only you can buy that ring but you are willing to devote tremendous personal resources to win her.

Evolution of human morality - which itself is a costly indicator, may also have been selected through sexual choice. Morally uninspiring traits have evolved to be sexual turn-offs in human male-female dynamics. One entire book on this is Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley. Moreover generosity to blood relatives could be genetic selfishness. It was rather surprising to read that even art could have been evolved through sexual choice. Hand-axes could have been the first Objects 'de Art - some were too cumbersome and costly to have been practically used - might suggest at mental and physical fitness value. Art is afterall an application of skill beyond the necessary and some of them might have been crafted just for asthetic value. All fitness indicators are hence costly and used to enchance sexual status and find out for yourself whether the converse is true.

The book has so many compelling ideas that any one review cannot do justice to it. If you are still undecided about buying a book on evolutionary psychology, this one is highly recommended. By the way, it would not be a bad idea to read this book with one of Leil Lowndes. Although they deal with varied disciplines, you'll find that they complement each other.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution...
I started following Geoffrey Miller's work 6 years ago when all that was available was his PHd thesis and some journal articles which I found original and entralling. The Mating Mind, Miller's first book, lives up to the ideas first discussed in his thesis but now presented in a more focussed yet relaxed fashion.

Miller makes clear an argument the humans evolved according to sexual selection, an suggestion that Darwin first proposed in Descent of Man. Males and females picking each other for specific attributes drove, through sexual selection, an evolution of human features including brain size increases, sexual organ characteristics and human behaviors.

It is an evocative story, and one that may even be supported by recent studies in neurological disorders characterized by maturational delay. If the engine behind Miller's runaway sexual selection is a slowing down in maturation rates (neoteny) revealed in the fossil record by a decrease in sexual dimorphism, then the neurological, physiological and behavioral tendencies of humans with disorders characterized by maturational delay should reveal the kind of human the Miller describes as transitional to modern times.

It is not often that an evolutionary theory uncovers an opportunity to reveal clues about our origin in the present day. Miller's theory does this. Kudos to an original and well thought out exposition.

4-0 out of 5 stars The sexiest nonfiction book I have read yet!
I could not put this book down. Any student in psychology or biology should read this book. Any man who would like to understand the underlying reasons of what works on the flirtation market should read this book. This book was down right sexy. Do not start reading it with modern societies' moralities in mind. What it means to be human and human sexuality is a lot older than modern views on sex. This book explores the reasons behind all the things we do in order to "get some". A wonderfully informative read. The only reason I did not give 5 stars was that I was looking for more specific information gleaned from specific studies. Some readers may not need that but I was looking for it. I love it that my favorite book "Clan of the Cave Bear" was cited. (Not in a supporive way but I was still glad to see it mentioned anyway.)

5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly collection of ideas
This book has a Glossary in which Holocene is defined as "The geological era from 10.000 years ago to the present." (p. 441). As far as civilized society goes, that is a period which did for human beings what a far more ancient period did for bees and ants. There is no guide to pronunciation, but we might assume that it is not quite pronounced the same as hollow scene, an empty stage on which an audience expects something to happen, more or less civilized, depending on how popular a particular production has been. In very intellectual circles, it might be suspected that THE MATING MIND by Geoffrey F. Miller is the most highly scientific book on "How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature," as the subtitle puts it. To find harem in the index, you can check "harem system of single-male polygyny, 76, 183" but you will find more if you also look under polygyny, where there is an entry for "runaway sexual selection and, 74, 98, 195." Harems don't always happen, but "To describe our ancestors as following mating patterns like `moderate polygamy' and `serial monogamy' is just a useful shorthand for identifying these sexual selection pressures." (p. 195).

Chapter 3, The Runaway Brain (pp. 68-98), compares the speed at which the human brain grew from the size common in apes with the speed at which the tails of a flock of birds would grow if the most fertile females prefer the male bird with the longest tail. Long before the Holocene era, people who were fertile might have been more prone to rapid genetic change than we have observed lately because "One possible problem is that runaway sexual selection demands polygyny--a mating pattern in which some males mate with two or more females. For runaway to work, some males must prove so attractive that they can copulate with several females to produce several sets of offspring." (p. 74). Miller imagines this is likely to be driven by the sexual attractiveness of the male, but by the time we get to harems, I think my high school Latin teacher might have been closer to the mark when she told her class, "When the wolf is at the door, love goes out the window." As long as sex has been subject to a society's ideas about proper social standing or morality, women have been pawns who tend to end up with whichever male has the means to support a family. Modern governmental efforts to collect child support from fathers who fled the family nest reflect how strongly the upper levels of a social structure believe in saddling its male pawns with financial obligations that conform to rigid economic patterns that would be a natural result of monogamous pairing. History includes examples of the opposite. "The first emperor of China reputedly had a harem of five thousand. King Moulay Ismail of Morocco reputedly produced over six hundred sons by his harem." (p. 76). "For millions of years, there was enough variation in male reproductive success to potentially drive runaway sexual selection during human evolution." (p. 76).

Even European societies experienced times when many women died in childbirth, and prosperous men might be expected to have a succession of wives who would be useful for raising the children as well as having more. Some crazy book about Hitler's family even suggested that he came from an area of Europe where only a minority of peasants married. When society puts a financial hurdle in the way of men who might otherwise choose a mate, a child born out of wedlock can easily produce suppositions about a small group of people who have known each other for a long time like the idea, for example, that Hitler's father (or maybe only his uncle) was also Hitler's grandfather. Assuming that Hitler's mother was a young woman who had worked as a servant in the family of the man she subsequently married, is it still possible that Hitler's father was the illegitimate son of a woman who worked for a Jewish family until she became pregnant? Then Hilter's other grandfather could have been Jewish, and laws against Germans working as servants for Jews were the proper German defense against such biological repetition of the Amalakite linkage of Eliphaz son of Esau and his concubine Timna in Genesis 36:12. This is not quite the same as thinking that servants were harems, as Jacob's turned out to be in Genesis 35:22. Nietzsche did not have any biological children, but there is a section called "Sexual Selection and Nietzsche." (pp. 337-339). It might be easier to understand the six index entries for "Machiavellian intelligence theory" or to imagine that Nietzsche was the first philosopher who would totally agree with the point, "Plato and Hegel derogated art for failing to deliver the same sort of truth that they thought philosophy could produce. They misunderstood the point of art." (pp. 282-283).

People who would criticize THE MATING MIND from the point of view of some morality might be misunderstanding something about the humor of history regarding sex. I'm giving this book a high rating because it is willing to consider a multiplicity of factors in a scientific context in which theory is only meaningful if it relates to some form of behavior. Comic societies will end up being most knowledgeable about sex because sex is more comic than any convention that society has ever been able to impose, and the Holocene is as good an example of diversity as any that I am aware of. ... Read more


189. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History
by Howard K. Bloom, Howard Bloom
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0871136643
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Sales Rank: 26578
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (95)

2-0 out of 5 stars Careful Thinkers Beware! Frustration Ahead.
Bloom's claim that his book is a "Scientific Expedition" is what caught my interest in the bookstore, and turned out to be the basis of the betrayal I felt at reading it. While there may be some interesting (and perhaps even true!) ideas presented in the book, the fact is that the presentation undermines them so badly that it is hard to give credibility to any of them. Obviously, Bloom is well equipped with an arsenal of historical fact. However, his use of historical anecdote to "prove" points should rankle anyone familiar with careful scientific thought. Examples can be found in history to prove virtually any point, and Bloom lacks compelling evidence to support his thoughts. Most offensive to my sensibilities were his lumping of all Islamic and Native American cultures as inheretly violent. His evidence that this is the nature of Native Americans? Well, the "bloodthirsty savage" passage was written by someone who many Native Americans considered a friend! (I can just see this historian; "No, really, some of my best friends are Indians!") What bothered me more than anything, however, was Bloom's relentless abuse of the ideas of Richard Dawkins. He rides Dawkin's thinking on "memes as replicators" to an absurd horizon. At the same time, he promotes his "superorganism" concept, which has none of the properties of replication. He bases this "superorganism" idea on a group selectionist argument that has been debunked so thorougly that I find it hard to believe that he didn't deliberately omit the counterarguments. Personally, I was familiar enough with Dawkin's Selfish Gene theory to see the gaping holes in Bloom's thinking. In other areas where I have no such knowledge, I have to face the likelihood that the same careless thinking probably went in to his conclusions. Hence my mistrust of ANY points Bloom is trying to make. If you need further evidence of Bloom's readiness to dismiss inconvenient facts in order to make his point, I suggest you reread the concluding chapter. I find it telling that Bloom, in the space of a paragraph, casually dismisses a law of thermodynamics as "wrong". Such a thorough lack of understanding of his subject matter is a very un-scientific approach. The cover says the book is a work of "intellectual courage". This may be. (I certainly find it courageous to be so willing to be potentially so wrong on so many points, and to present ideas with such weak evidence.) As intellecual as it may be, it does not stand up scientifically. Bloom may need to narrow his field in order to be up-to-date on all of the relevant information, or drop his pretense at scientific accuracy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lucifer Principle
I wrote this review for my Grandchild who will be entering college this September. I recommended this book to her because I felt it had an excellent perspective on world history and world cultures. Here is what I told her:

Howard Bloom's thesis is: As a planet, we must learn to live together with respect for each of the cultures. If we don't organize a planetary world order the result may be that we blow ourselves up. Very plausible!

In formatting world order a conflict arises between competing tribes. The evolution of our DNA and our brain, especially, begins billions of years ago and our genetic material contains remnants of the first reptilian brain which was programmed with basic motor skills and survival techniques. Mr. Bloom describes the evolutionary process of the brain as first forming into a unit the size of a peach seed and increasing in size with each level of evolution--evolving from basic survival to an organism capable of calculating equations and having sensitivity to our fellow man and the historical stages throughout time.

Unfortunately, it is the peach pit remnant in our brain that houses our innate survival genes and which we revert to in tense situations and which causes us to ultimately reach low-level tribal feelings of conflicts. However, during the billion-year course of evolution, we developed filters in the brain which we have learned to apply when we find ourselves in a warlike relationship. Easy to say, but difficult to practice as history will teach us. One of the final developments of the DNA and brain gave us the ability to dream and stratagize plans to build a peaceful world. Again, easy to say: We live in a disparate world where third world countries are struggling to find a piece of bread and it's very reasonable for them to think that, "We have all the bread". Hence, we experience events such as the World Towers Destruction. Note: This book was copyrighted in l995 before the Towers fell and as such the Towers are not a part of this book. We all understand the icon of the Towers and we learn from Mr. Bloom's historical descriptions that these events have taken place for thousands, or millions, or... of years all over the world.

In the first world countries we find we no longer are in a survival mode but are on a higher plane of evolution and technology with time to create ideas which lead to ideologies and Mr. Bloom terms these ideas as "memes". Individual organisms do not exist alone by the very nature of man because we either die out of lonliness which creates illness or we self-destruct. Instead the individual organisms segregate themselves by "memes" and form superorganisms who debate and fight for their individual ideas of religion or political systems.

We learn how we arrived at the threshhold of blowing ourselves up and by studying we can see the process and the steps to be taken to achieve world order. We are not promised early results, even after milleniums of history, but we have the hope and no choice but to take that path to peace. Since l946 we have statistics that show that the preferred way to achieve this world order is to form democratic communities and nations. These stats show that democracies make fewer attacks on their neighboring tribes or countries.

One of the important reasons to read this book is to gain a comprehension of the historical process of the evolution of the socialization of our planet. By gaining this understanding, we find a sense of control in our individual being and the very accomplishment of being in control protects our health and quality of life simply because we lessen the stress and anxiety such as posed by wars.

Read this book to learn how man developed through the ages and how this development staged us for our predicaments today. Understand why this is and you will eliminate a lot of worry and stress from your life.

1-0 out of 5 stars Best avoid
The Lucifer principle is a particulary dishonest and odious effort to discredit entire peoples and cultures as intrinsically evil. The arguments employed are artificial and pseudo-scientific, but what can one expect from a writer who lists among achievements management of Kiss rockstar Gene Simmons. In targetting certain cultures, especially the Arab-islamic one, the author reveals his own ethnic bias. Bloom adresses himself to the average American, the best and most innocent of people of course, but therefore also gullible and easily misled, so they are warned that they must have no mercy in dealing with these evil peoples. In Abu Ghraib prison we see that this advice did not fall on deaf ears. There we have Blooms proof of the innocence of the Americans and their determination eradicate evil people. In sum, avoid this piece of hate literature.

1-0 out of 5 stars A triumph of shoddy scholarship over critical thinking
A superficial rehash of the ideas of others supported by overgeneralization from haphazardly selected studies. If you have an interest in evolutionary psychology, memes, or the relationship of the individual to the "superorganism" there are so many other (and much better) books that are well-researched and thought out. The extensive reference list provides the appearance of scholarship and comprehensiveness, but the reader should be aware that this is illusory at best. If you are a nascent social Darwinist looking for rhetoric with which to back up your arguments, this may be the book for you. But if you want to learn something about evolution and the modern mind, seek out the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at UC Santa Barbara, and read Richard Dawkins, David Buss, Steven Pinker, and Robert Wright.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evil Explained
Bloom takes on the old religious and philosophical question of evil and gives an answer from evolutionary science. He shows that war, genocide, class antagonism-- what is often dubbed "evil"-- can be explained from basic results of survival of the fittest.

The author seems sure he's right, and so the anecdotes he rolls out are there for illustration, not to prove his point. There are some errors in his history, and some of the examples are just silly. At one point, Bloom tries to show womens' aggressive nature by referring to uncertain history (Augustus's wife Livia), a legendary figure (Helen of Troy), and a mallard duck.

The "meme" buzzword gets thrown around a lot, which makes for sloppy thinking: it can denote a single word, a technology, or even a whole culture. The self-destruction of bacteria and human kamikazes are too-readily compared. Group selection is invoked to explain self-destruction. This makes the book exciting, controversial, and less certain than if it were based on orthodox science. Bloom says what he thinks; a lot of people won't like it.

The conclusion is that struggle for dominance among organisms and groups leads to ever higher levels of organization. I found it compelling, disturbing, and ultimately hopeful. If you agree with the thesis, you will love the book. If you disagree, you'll be angry that it's not proven science. But as it says in the Preface: "Don't it read and believe, read it and think." ... Read more


190. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology
by Gregory Bateson
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
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Asin: 0226039056
Catlog: Book (2000-03-10)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 77657
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers.

"This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of the mind, seeing it not as a nebulous something, somehow lodged somewhere in the body of each man, but as a network of interactions relating the individual with his society and his species and with the universe at large."--D. W. Harding, New York Review of Books

"[Bateson's] view of the world, of science, of culture, and of man is vast and challenging. His efforts at synthesis are tantalizingly and cryptically suggestive. . . .This is a book we should all read and ponder."--Roger Keesing, American Anthropologist

Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) was the author of Naven and Mind and Nature.



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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
It's unfortunate that Bateson died before postmodern thought really made it over the Atlantic since it appears he was quite concerned about many of the old views held by North American philosophers. The chapters concerning contextualization and language use echo what Foucalt, Lyotard and Derrida have been trying to get across except Bateson really managed to put these ideas into somewhat more accessible form.

Bateson was around for the beginnings of information theory and cybernetics and again, he was probably very disappointed in their state when he died. However, if one now looks at what people like Perlovsky and Chaitin have worked on one may begin to see that science is finding more and more problems with maintaining even the idea of objectivity.

In particular, if one looks at the work of Wilson ("Spikes, Decisions, and Actions") and Prigogine then the theory of objectivity within the physical world comes falling down. The only book close to giving a complete overview like Bateson managed is Jantsch's "Self-Organizing Universe", now out of print.

This is well worth reading and pondering. One can only hope more people begin to realize that we have a great opportunity for advancing ourselves (instead of rushing towards anhilation)if we can just change some of present system of thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Back in print at last!
It is unbelievable that this masterpiece has been out of print for so long. I have been looking fruitlessly for a copy for some years, having eventually had to return a loan copy. I am delighted that it is available again.

Organised as a collection of relatively short essays, this has a legitimate claim to be the outstanding book of the 20th century for anyone interested in mind, change, evolution, systems thinking, ecology, epistemology, organisations, therapy and more. Be warned - it can be very dense in places, but the effort is worth it. On the right day it's really stimulating - on a bad day, I'd read something easier!

'Form, Substance and Difference', 'Conscious Purpose versus Nature' and 'The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication' are absolutely central texts for anyone considering how we need to respond to the current world crisis. Other key papers include 'The cybernetics of "Self": A theory of alchoholism' and 'Social Planning and the Concept of Deutero Learning'. If you work in the field of Organisational Development you will probably be familiar with some of the content through the many writers who have built on Bateson's work. Fritjof Capra writes about him a great deal. The original is best though.

The fact that it is back in print is tremendous. How can something this good have been out of print for so long?

David Ballard

5-0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece!
Bateson's writings are profoundly layered with meaning that a brief glance will overlook. His prolific influence can be found in sundry fields of study, including psychiatry, communication theory, and marriage and family therapy to name a few.

This is the type of book (among few) that can be read over and over again while discovering new facets of understanding every time.

I highly recommend the metalogues.

1-0 out of 5 stars Buzzwords mixed toghether in a pile of dross
Take all the buzzwords in fashion in psychology and philosophy: classification, genotype, flexibility, somatic, discrete, threshold, characteristics, analytic... mix everything together and you get this book.
In other words there's not an ounce of meaning in those 700 pages, it's all worthless. No case studies, no examples, long phrases full of self importance written by someone who thinks he's an authority in everything from zen to medecine to evolution theory to archeology. Not only does he prove he doesn't understand anything, you'll laugh yourself silly reading any paragraph of the book at random.

If you have to read this for an assignment, you'd better change major and give it to your worst enemy for toilet paper. That's how low I think of this. And to think that a tree was felled for this. Ha !

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good intro. to Bateson
Reading "Steps" helped save me from the unremitting horrors of divorce court; I'd probably be on a death row somewheres if not for this & some peripherally associated material. I am very pleased to see that it's in print again.

From those meticulous metalogues to those essays on the Theory of Logical Types, Bateson can mesmerize, if you're prepared for it. "Steps" is to science & reason what Frost's "West Running Brook" is to poetry: an intense meditation, soliloquy & dialogue. It's worth your while. ... Read more


191. BLAST
by Ian Korf, Mark Yandell, Joseph Bedell
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0596002998
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Sales Rank: 118423
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sequence similarity is a powerful tool for discovering biological function. Just as the ancient Greeks used comparative anatomy to understand the human body and linguists used the Rosetta stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, today we can use comparative sequence analysis to understand genomes. BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), is a sophisticated software package for rapid searching of nucleotide and protein databases. It is one of the most important software packages used in sequence analysis and bioinformatics. Most users of BLAST, however, seldom move beyond the program's default parameters, and never take advantage of its full power.BLAST is the only book completely devoted to this popular suite of tools. It offers biologists, computational biology students, and bioinformatics professionals a clear understanding of BLAST as well as the science it supports.This book shows you how to move beyond the default parameters, get specific answers using BLAST, and how to interpret your results. The book also contains tutorial and reference sections covering NCBI-BLAST and WU-BLAST, background material to help you understand the statistics behind BLAST, Perl scripts to help you prepare your data and analyze your results, and a wealth of tips and tricks for configuring BLAST to meet your own research needs. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars useful for comparative sequence alignment tasks
BLAST is a well-known tool for bioinformatics (biological sciences+computer sciences). In this book contains a concepts of central dogma of molecular biology, sequence aligment, sequece similarity, practical BLAST programs (divide into 5 programs), and how to install and use BLAST tool. Moreover, it also offers enough tips to improve my BLAST searches usage. I think this book's content is well-writing and well-organizing for comparative sequeces alignment tasks. I use this book to begin in bioinformatics and it can help me to learn about this. But this book does not contain all of things that I want to known on bioinformatics or computational biology.

5-0 out of 5 stars How does sequence alignment actually work?
If you want to understand the nuts and bolts of how sequence alignment works, then this is the book for you. It will be especially useful for BLAST users who want to understand how it actually works and also for developers who don't know much biology, struggle with the math, but have no problem reading a perl script.

The book is basically divided into:
0. A Foreword by Stephen Altschul (the co-creator of BLAST)
1. A quick web intro to a BLAST search
2. Sequence alignment and how the algorithms work
3. Blast and how the Blast statistics are calculated
4. The different types of Blast e.g. WU-Blast
5. Approaches to Performance speedup
6. Reference sections on BLAST parameters

The real key is that this book neatly splits the difference between academic texts and papers which are quite often too difficult to read without sufficient background (and they are not precise about the implementation anyway) and the user-manual type texts which don't discuss the theory at all.

One of the best chapters (in my view) is chapter three, where they explain and illustrate the workings of the Needleman-Wunsch and Smith-Waterman algorithms for global and local alignment. If you read the text, then study and run the included perl code, you WILL understand how they work, but be prepared to spend several hours trying different examples. The real advantage of this approach is that you get a deep, practical understanding of how alignment actually works, that you just can't get from reading a mathematical treatment of the subject. Once you understand this chapter, you are actually sufficiently expert to get inside alignment code and modify it for your own purposes.

Ian Korf does continually emphasize that the algorithms may look clever, but they are, in the end, robotic in that they will quite happily align complete rubbish if you are not careful about controlling the algorithm and thinking carefully about the results you get.

There are a couple of mistakes in the diagrams (chap 3), that are addressed in the errata, but the perl code is correct.

Finally, because this book is about BLAST, it doesn't mention other methods of sequence alignment such as Hidden-Markov Models or methods of multiple sequence alignment. Perhaps they'll do a book on those as well one day..

5-0 out of 5 stars Author comments
As the first reviewer mentioned, the book is not a fast read. In order
to run BLAST properly one must understand how and why it works. BLAST
exists at the intersection of molecular biology, computer science, and
statistics. This might sound intimidating, but once you read about these
topics in chapters 2-4, you'll see that it isn't so complicated and it
all fits together nicely. We know that BLAST users come from a variety
of backgrounds and we have therefore written the book for a general
audience. As a result, the book is more than just a BLAST manual, it's
also a friendly introduction to computational molecular biology.

Writing this book took a lot of time and effort. It went through some
painful transformations. The authors waged many battles against
themselves and each other to bring to you the kind of book we wished we
could have bought several years ago. We'll feel our work was justified
if you approach your next BLAST search as a scientific experiment and
not a Google search. And if we've helped some of you to embark on a new
career/hobby in bioinformatics, drop us a line, it's sure to make our
day.

5-0 out of 5 stars This IS a book about BLAST!
Useful book for biologists to understand computer algorithm. This book is very helpful if you are going through endless BLAST search. It is not a fast read but it is packed with useful information. I have started using the suggested examples and tricks in this book and feel more comfortable at doing the search. Important book for Bioinformatics researchers! ... Read more


192. Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order
by Steven Strogatz
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786887214
Catlog: Book (2004-04-14)
Publisher: Theia
Sales Rank: 26720
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The tendency to synchronize may be the most mysterious and pervasive drive in all of nature. It has intrigued some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Norbert Wiener, Brian Josephson, and Arthur Winfree.

At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" book!
Review of Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order, by Steven Strogatz

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, IEEE Senior Member and author of over 3500 articles.

Two thumbs up! This entertaining and informative book is one of the few I would read twice. You know those lists of books you'd want to have if you were stranded on a desert island? Sync made my list.

While Sync is fact-filled, it's far from dry. Throughout the text, Strogatz made me laugh out loud-reminding me very much of the engaging, "can't put it down" writing style used by Bill Bryson (author of Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail and The Lost Continent).

Strogatz takes a complex topic, and explains it in a way that even folks with no innate interest in the topic will find enjoyable. I learned quite a bit about how and why everything from atoms to planets will suddenly act in unison-or not do so. My newly-gained understanding of the relationship between sleep cycles and body temperature cycles has already helped me make some positive changes. Then there's the explanation of traffic....
Not once did Strogatz use an intimidating equation-or any equation at all. Instead, he treats the reader to rich metaphors, analogies, and examples. And instead of dry history on how sync got where it is today, Strogatz shares the frustrations, peculiarities, and human drama of the people behind the developments. Strogatz keeps a pace that is more in line with a Tom Clancy novel than a book focused on a science topic.

The ending made me go back to the beginning-to the dedication, actually. I never cared about dedications, before. However this one really meant something to me after I read Sync. Strogatz dedicated Sync to his departed friend Art Winfree, without whom Strogatz would never have taken his fabulous journey and without whom such a marvelous book would not have been possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars SYNC a "group mind"
Have you ever wondered how a flock of seagulls can synchronize as though it had a "group mind"? Or even stranger, how various pieces of machinery can appear to conspire together?
Prof. Steven Strogatz shows lucidly, and without written math, that there is a solid mathematical basis leading toward a natural tendency for everything from atoms and galaxies to living organisms to synchronize their behavior and spontaneously form ordered structures. Beginning with the uncanny spectacle of thousands of fireflies flashing in unison, and demonstrating the same principles, heart cells, and civilizations, Sync is filled with fascinating accounts of seemingly - mysterious self-organizing behavior. And computer studies have shown that this appears to be built into nature itself. A unifying theme is "coupled oscillators", as basic a concept as vibrating guitar strings, and how different notes can vibrate parts of the room walls. Such resonance effects exist in all the Universe, and weak though they may be they can produce profound effects in a large group.
After reading Sync, you may initially feel that synchronous "group mind-like" behavior in everything from fireflies to economic cycles is less mysterious, knowing that there's a mathematical foundation. But upon reflection, the mystery even deepens: mathematics is the study of possible relationships among pure numbers, yet when applied to simple vibrating objects, the results pertain to both "dumb" particles and intelligent humans. And while Prof. Strogatz sticks to known science, I'm left speculating on exactly what's so "dumb" about nature!

4-0 out of 5 stars Find out the origin of sync!!!
The craving of nature for synchronization is fundamental. To understand the origin of this basic trait of nature you should also read Eugene Savov's book Theory of Interaction the Simplest Explanation of Everything. It appears that oscillations are intrinsic property of every bit of reality from atoms to galaxies and the universe as whole. Everything vibrates at frequencies of its own as shown in the theory of interaction. This qualitatively new theory reveals why the vibrations become faster deeper into the structure of every body. For example, your heart beats faster than you breathe.

4-0 out of 5 stars My review...
Good book on the subject, the physics part in the middle with super-fluid was difficult when stoned. This is one of the first books which is leading to the convergence of science and religion ( science being the religion of cause and effect ). I especially liked how the book ends with brain-sync to create thoughts and emotions. I've just finished the book "Mind wide Open" because I wanted to know more about how the brain worked because of it. I'm now starting "Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences)", all because of this book. So I liked this book as you can tell. But good books written by Math professors are rare.

5-0 out of 5 stars Considering how cycles are coordinated and humans affected
'Sync' is the emerging science of spontaneous order, studying the elements of synchrony and chaos and complexity theory and considering how cycles are coordinated and humans affected. This is a relatively new science and in Sync: The Emerging Science Of Spontaneous Order, author and mathematician Steven Strogatz (one of its early pioneers), provides invaluable and informative insights into how enormous systems can synchronize themselves and draw upon underlying connections. ... Read more


193. Nonzero : The Logic of Human Destiny (Vintage)
by ROBERT WRIGHT
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679758941
Catlog: Book (2001-01-09)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 13780
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his bestselling The Moral Animal, Robert Wright applied the principles of evolutionary biology to the study of the human mind. Now Wright attempts something even more ambitious: explaining the direction of evolution and human history–and discerning where history will lead us next.

In Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Wright asserts that, ever since the primordial ooze, life has followed a basic pattern. Organisms and human societies alike have grown more complex by mastering the challenges of internal cooperation. Wright's narrative ranges from fossilized bacteria to vampire bats, from stone-age villages to the World Trade Organization, uncovering such surprises as the benefits of barbarian hordes and the useful stability of feudalism. Here is history endowed with moral significance–a way of looking at our biological and cultural evolution that suggests, refreshingly, that human morality has improved over time, and that our instinct to discover meaning may itself serve a higher purpose. Insightful, witty, profound, Nonzero offers breathtaking implications for what we believe and how we adapt to technology's ongoing transformation of the world.
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Reviews (76)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Logic of Human History
When Watson & Crick discovered the structure of DNA they claimed to have found the secret of life. In Nonzero, Wright nominates a new candidate for that distinction: what he refers to as "nonzero sumness." This ugly duckling of a term captures what Wright believes to be the principle that has driven life on earth from pre-organic molecules floating in the primordial soup through the marvelous complexity of the human brain. Along the way, this same mechanism has churned out the Code of Hamurabi, the United Nations, and the internet. Impressive. What's more, Wright argues that nonzero sumness, properly understood, is a giant neon arrow pointing toward the ultimate destiny of mankind.

The title of this book comes from game theory. If Wright accomplishes nothing else, he at least succeeds in presenting this formerly arcane subject in terms immediately graspable by any bright high school student. In a nutshell, game theory is the systematic study of decision making given a set of rules and opponents whose interests are more or less adverse. In a zero sum game the winner takes all; thus it pays to be competitive. In a nonzero sum game, the players end up better off, on average and over the long run, if they adopt a cooperative strategy.

Wright takes game theory and imbeds it in a Darwinian framework. He proposes a kind of meta-game wherein competing strategies vie for players in the real world. Because nonzero sum games yield a higher average payoff over the long run, they attract more players. They are more fit in Darwinian terms. Go-it-alone, win-at-all-costs strategies might yield a high immediate payoff, but they are disadvantaged in the long run.

Economists and political scientists have been using game theory for decades. When biologists discuss evolutionarily stable strategies they're using game theory. When evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain altruism (as Wright does in his book The Moral Animal), they invoke game theory. In Nonzero, Wright takes the next logical step and uses game theory to explain the whole of human history.

In arguing that cooperative strategies are destined to prevail in the long run, Wright's tone is necessarily optimistic. But Nonzero explores the darker side of human history as well. A key point of the book is that a game that is nonzero sum overall may nevertheless contain zero sum components. Imagine a market for widgets. If Al can produce widgets in his factory at a cost of $30, and Bob can make widgets from scratch at home for $60, then both Al and Bob will benefit if Bob buys widgets from Al at any price, P, where $30Wright's Darwinian conception of game theory, and its application to history, invites speculation about the meaning of "progress." New technologies and new methods of social, political and industrial organization allow people to interact in new ways, and to realize previously unattainable cultural and economic dividends. But as the preceding paragraph shows, "History, even if its basic direction is good, can proceed at massive, wrenching human cost." In other words, newer, better, more nonzero sum strategies might carry unanticipated and unwanted zero sum baggage. Viewed in this light, "progress" translates into increased diversity, complexity and interdependence, but not necessarily improvement.

Now we come to the D-word in the book's subtitle. Wright wisely resists the temptation of detailed prophecy, but he is sure that the future will build on the past with respect to the trend towards greater diversity, complexity and interdependence. Here, in contrast to preceding chapters, Wright's originality fails him. He summarizes this admittedly non-so-new vision of the future in a catalog of seven "not-so-new features": 1) the declining relevance of distance; 2) the economy of ideas; 3) increasingly frictionless transactions; 4) liberation by microchip; 5) narrowcasting; 6) Jihad vs. McWorld; and 7) the twilight of sovereignty. Anyone who has not lived in a cave for the last thirty years will immediately recognize that these trends are already underway. Countless books and magazine articles have documented them, and indeed, Wright wastes little time substantiating them, devoting no more than a few paragraphs to each. Inevitably, Wright sees the culmination of these trends in some form of world government and a technology-based global brain.

While the not-so-new features are considered axiomatic in some circles, one nevertheless wishes that an author of Wright's intellect and perceptiveness had spent more time considering them. After all, as axiomatic as these trends are, they contain latent and patent tensions that beg resolution before the "next step" is taken. Furthermore, Wright's conclusions regarding world government and a global brain are presented rather uncritically. Writing at the cusp of the twenty-first century, Wright couldn't resist peering into the future. But as a work of prophecy, Nonzero is less than satisfactory. As an historical inquiry, however, Wright presents a promising new framework for the study of human interactions, and he does so in a convincing and entertaining way. One wishes he had subtitled his book The Logic of Human History and left it at that. With Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Robert Wright achieves a qualified success, but a success nonetheless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweeping, informative and entertaining
Thankfully, an increasing number of authors (Landes, Diamond, et al) have been tackling social evolution - a crucial topic that's been shied away from for too long. Wright's effort is inspired, intelligent, engaging, erudite, not the least bit pretentious, and exceedingly well-written. Wright's basic message is that living organizations - both organisms and the groups they form - have been getting increasingly complex and well-integrated since life began, so it's a good bet that this trend will continue into the future. He presents a general hypothesis, and then provides a mountain of fascinating evidence to back it up. It's not experimental science, it's theory-driven science, but it's definitely not "bad science" as a few reviewers (usually non-scientists, interestingly) have said. Reading this book will definitely increase your knowledge and understanding of the history of life on earth, and as the goal of science is to increase knowledge and understanding, I'd say the scientific value of this book is high - much higher than most history you will read (historians usually don't even try to make their interpretations consistent with biological knowledge). Though not the last word in social evolution, this book is an excellent leap forward, and anyone interested in history, biology, or social evolution should read it, and have a great time doing it. Highly recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars Selectionism and directionality
Reprinted from reviewer's private reviews, Jan 2000

... Kauffman's At Home in the Universe is careful thus to distinguish his different processes. The fanstastic use of the theory of games is not evidence, but hypothetical speculation. We have no evidence whatever that genes for altruism arose through natural selection.(David Stowe, Darwinian Fairytales),and the theory of games, as a mathematical toy, however interesting, will not resolve the issue and is too lightweight to be a candidate for the 'logic of destiny'! This book is the second this year on evolutionary directionality to cite Kant's seldom cited essay Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose. It is not clear if he is responding to this other book (by John Landon, World History and the Eonic Effect)which answers Kant's challenge to find 'nature's hidden plan' directly through periodization and shows the only simple way to infer directionality as this can be taken in world history, data that springs from observations beginning in the nineteenth century. Evolution in history shows a clear global character with long range sequential and parallel evolution, a far cry from anything in Darwinism. And we see that the 'evolution of ethics' is presented to us directly in history if we can see it. No theory of history can omit this data. Wright's misleading treatment of the theme of 'asocial sociability' might seem plausible to some in Kant's at first puzzling essay, but fails to consider the background of his famous Critiques and also that this is not given as a solution but a problem to be solved. Kant cannot be made a Darwinian and was wise to the fallacy of mechanical explanations of ethical will long before the onset of sociobiology (although he would seem to have supported 'evolution').Along with this we find the obligatory citation of Isaiah Berlin and Karl Popper on historicism. Wright actually claims he will bypass their objections and find a novel escape from their strictures, but it is hard to see his answer. The total confusion of directionality and teleology is evident everywhere. The problem of historical laws is connected to the famous Kantian antinomies, the third of freedom and causality being the ultimate source of Berlin and Popper's views. To attempt a hybrid between natural selection and teleology via the theory of games is notably confusing and won't stand. The point is that there is no 'theory' that is causal unless you renounce 'freedom', this and a host of variants that were prominent in the golden age of Universal History. Evolutionists make fun of this and promptly fall into all the traps. In Kant's wake dealing with the evolution of freedom in explicit terms we find such as Hegel, lately Fukuyama. Sociobiologists are noted for their blundering in this area with conservative renditions of liberalism and fail to consider that one of the proper themes of historical evolution is just this 'evolution of freedom', which cannot be made scientific (and prone no doubt to whiggish confusion). The philosophers of history were at least clear about their subject. Wright's argument summons all the old phantoms of historicism and hardly passes muster beside Popper's critique of the original leftist versions.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read in history and human destiny
Does humanity have a purpose? A difficult question that the author doesn't attempt to answer in this book. However, he undertakes another question that, if answered, could make answering the first question a little less difficult. Robert Wright, author of "The Moral Animal", asserts that civilization is inevitable and that cultural and biological evolutions are driven toward complexity. In other words, cultural evolution is moving forward by a force and not here only as a result of a long string of serendipitous shots of good fortune, although luck does help. A lot.

Mr. Wright identifies this force as what he calls Nonzero-sumness. Nonzero-sum is the name given in Game Theory to the interaction that leaves every party involved in a more favorable state than (or, at least, similar to) its state prior to the interaction, or what is informally known as a win-win situation. That is in contrast to zero-sum interactions where parties gain through the loss of others. A soccer match is a typical zero-sum interaction for the playing teams since the triumph of one means the loss of the other. However, the same game is a nonzero-sum interaction for the players of a team since a goal scored by a player is a goal for all players in the team.

The author says that nonzero-sumness is embedded in nature and that all forms of life and social structures are rewarded if they tap into its nonzero-sumness potential. Just as well, structures or forms that do not make use of this potential are taken over by other structures or forms that do. In addition, if nonzero-sumness is tapped into in one way, possibilities for further nonzero-sumness multiply exponentially. Complex civilization, in other words, is inevitable. Even intelligence is inevitable, albeit not necessarily in a human form.

This is a strong claim, but it doesn't go unsubstantiated. Mr. Wright spends the first and bigger part of the book analyzing history from the first appearance of hunter-gatherer societies to our day and age. He takes head-on many mysteries such as the reason why the industrial revolution appeared in Europe and nowhere else any earlier, or why did the Chinese civilization regress from complexity and expansion to isolation and decay in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.

The first common notion that he refutes is the claim that agriculture was invented as a result of a dry up of abundant natural resources available to hunter-gatherer societies. He refutes this by proving that agriculture was invented several times throughout history, and was not necessarily an invention to elude fresh hardships. He looks thoroughly into several civilizations that started independently from scratch and found its way to complexity driven by the force of exploiting nonzero-sumness.

He also explains how some major zero-sum activities, such as wars and commercial competition, seem to drive civilization further when in fact they are either mere failed attempts or serve a wider nonzero-sum purpose.

Sounds boring? It's probably my review that is boring because the book is extremely entertaining and the arguments will leave you with a lot of thoughts to say the least. The depth of Mr. Wrights' knowledge in history is manifest throughout the book and serves his arguments extremely well.

In the second part the author attempts to prove that not only cultural evolution is driven by nonzero-sumness, but biological evolution as well. And although science doesn't seem to extend solid confirmation of Mr. Wright's arguments, it doesn't prove it erroneous either. He will extend many examples that are explained perfectly by his theory.

Things, however, begin to get a bit too controversial for my taste in the third part. Here the author pushes the notion of nonzero-sumness a bit too far. Too far to the extent of actually saying that god is nonzero-sumness, although equivocally. He also theorizes that the process of evolution (biological and cultural that is) is in fact conscious. Based on one philosophical definition of consciousness as the ability of some kind of information processing, he argues that by processing the feedback of genetic mutation and social development; evolution is self-conscious. Finally, I did not find myself agreeing with his attempt to conform the force of life to the second law of thermodynamics of entropy.

Nevertheless, this does not subtract value from the book overall but indeed adds to it. Even those claims that I did not find myself in agreement with left me with a lot to think about and helped me reshape many of my ideas and notions. And in the end, the author contemplates lightly the question that started this review, although he doesn't claim to have the answer. But as I said, the question seems a little more accessible in the light of the information provided by this book.

Another thing that I liked about this book is its accessibility. The layman reader will not have to worry about unfamiliar terms because everything is explained rather simply and difficult concepts are properly introduced into the discussion.

In conclusion, I think that this is a very good book to read if you're interested in humanity or history as it will offer the reader a lot to learn in both fields.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing book
This book dicusses an intriguing thesis - that win/win scenarios (nonzero-sum cooperation) are primarily behind societal and cultural development, as opposed to win/lose (zero-sum competitive) scenarios.

While the book is very thought-provoking, I feel that Wright glossed over significant information (he gives short shrift to the influence of religion, and ignores the development of constitutional democracy). He also makes a lot of generalizations and has a short and simplistic consideration of the nature of a supreme being. However, the book advances ideas that would be good for the author or others to fully develop in further, more detailed works. ... Read more


194. Why We Get Sick : The New Science of Darwinian Medicine
by Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Williams
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Asin: 0679746749
Catlog: Book (1996-01-30)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 39837
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Is our tendency to "fix" our bodies with medicine keeping them from working exactly as they're supposed to?Two pioneers of the emerging science of Darwinian medicine argue that illness is part and parcelof the evolutionary system andas such, may be helping us to evolvetowards better adaptation to our environment. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective
This book offers a stimulating challenge to medicine and a thoughtful discussion of how (Darwin) evolution theory applies to us. Mr. Nesse and Mr. Williams provide a careful survey about how evolutionary factors can shape and affect human health - the causes and effects are being discussed in a plain-language manner. Have you ever thought about how the sneezing, the fever, and the coughing are all front-line responses of our immune system? Why do you think the once-eradicated TB come back with a more potent strand? The book provides a refreshing yet convincing view that bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an everlasting arm race.

4-0 out of 5 stars Readable introduction to the ideas of evolutionary medicine
This is a very readable book and an excellent introduction to a subject that has hitherto been sorely neglected. The main argument presented by Nesse and Williams is that disease must be understood from the perspective of evolutionary biology.

The authors begin by asking, "Why, in a body of such exquisite design, are there a thousand flaws and frailties that make us vulnerable to disease?" Through evidence and insights from evolutionary biology, the authors carefully give a detailed answer to this question, which might be summed up thus: The mechanism of evolution fits our bodies for reproduction, not for optimum health. Furthermore the mechanism is imperfect and subject to mutation. Additionally we are in competition with other organisms, e.g, viruses, bacteria, etc., that work toward their fitness, sometimes at our expensive (the parasite-prey "arms race"). Noteworthy is the idea that natural selection cares little for the maintenance of the organism after the age of reproduction, and that sexual reproduction actually fosters mechanisms that increase the fitness of youth while neglecting the aged, leading to the phenomena of senescence and death.

Seeing disease from the viewpoint of evolution, the authors argue, helps us to understand disease and the mechanisms involved, which in turn can help us to fight disease. Allergy, for example, is a disease characterized by an over active immune system. Copious amounts of histamine are produced to fight off a few molecules of pollen. Why? The authors make the point that our immune systems operate on the principle that better an overreaction to something harmless than an under reaction to a real threat. It's like jumping at the sight of a piece of rope lying on the ground. It's not a snake, but better this little harmless error than being too slow to get back from the real thing.

Some other interesting ideas: Fever has a purpose. It raises body temperature enough to interfere with the chemistry of some pathogens, thereby killing them. If we take medicines that reduce fever, are we prolonging our illness? In some cases, the authors answer, yes. If we take medicines that suppress coughs and sneezing can that also prolong our illness? Again the answer is in some cases, yes. The point is that in treating the symptoms of disease we need to make a distinction between which are defensive mechanism of our bodies and which are not. Some pathogens, for example, make us sneeze or cause diarrhea in order to better spread themselves to the next victim. The rabies virus makes a dog bite other animals in order to spread itself. But our bodies cause us to cough and sneeze primarily to expel pathogens.

The authors see some of our health problems as the result of genetic "quirks," or evolutionary hangovers. Dyslexia as an example. In the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation back in the Stone Age, dyslexia was no problem because there were no books to read. Indeed, it might be that the dyslexic approach to some perception problems, is better than the "normal" one, allowing a quicker, better understanding of the objects being viewed. Other genetic quirks include our predisposition to eat too much fat when available because in the EEA there was precious little fat to be had so it made sense to eat as much as possible when it was available. Something similar can be said of alcohol. Before agriculture, and especially before the process of distillation, a predisposition to alcoholism was no danger because there was very little alcohol to be had. These "quirks" are examples of disease caused by "novel environments," much of the modern world being a novel environment to our Stone Age bodies.

Nesse and Williams show that the modern environment, which requires a lot of close work from all of us, especially the reading of books, is the cause of the epidemic of myopia that modern humans experience. I would like to add that it is possible that myopia under some conditions could be adaptive. In the rainforest it would probably be better to see well close at hand than far away (the opposite of what would be valuable on the savannah). Also those people who concentrated on things small and up close might well identify and process food sources overlooked by others.

While this is an excellent book, gracefully written and full of valuable information and insight, it is now a little dated (copyright 1994), and some of the ideas need reworking in light of recent discoveries. For example, while the authors discuss the ill effects of too much fat and sugar in our diets, they say nothing about the carbohydrate intolerance that leads to obesity. This too can be seen as an evolutionary quirk since there were no cultivated fields of amber grain in the prehistory, and the grains that were available were small and required a lot of hand processing so that it was very difficult to overindulge. Consequently there was no need for natural selection to evolve a protection against eating too much. Also their discussion of heart disease and how it is the result of genetic factors and faulty diet fails to mention the idea that heart disease might be caused by a bacteria. (See for example, Plague Time: How Stealth Infections Cause Cancers, Heart Disease, and other Deadly Ailments (2000) by Paul W. Ewald.)

All things considered, though, this is a classic of evolutionary literature, nicely presented to a nonspecialist, but educated public. Now if we can only get the doctors to read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Stimulating, important, clear.
From an evolutionary standpoint, it is reasonable to ask why we are plagued with disease, both physical and "mental", and why we age. It is not so hard to understand if the disease is due to viruses or bacteria, which evolve along with us in an evolutionary arms race. For this reason, some scientists have postulated that many illnesses ranging from heart disease to schizophrenia are also due to living organisms, and certainly there is increasing evidence for the importance of this viewpoint. Nesse and Williams provide other answers. Some of these answers - changes in environment and habits, rare mutations - are straight forward, others are more subtle and interesting. More than anything, there are inevitably tradeoffs. The gene which causes sickle cell anemia helps protect against malaria. In a few instances, an evolutionary perspective provides immediate suggestions for changes in medical practice, in the care of newborns and in the treatment of fever. More significantly, it has a role to play in the guidance of future research aimed at specific diseases. The book falls somewhere between a popular explication, and an original contribution, the contribution primarily being that it organizes many separate findings, and sets them out in a more general framework, while posing a host of possible PhD research questions. Much of the background information in Why We Get Sick is of great interest, and I only wish there was more background on the immune system. The writing is competent, and almost always clear.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evolutionary thinking is critical to managing disease
There is a growing realization that many diseases are related to or caused by pathogens. Lack of understanding of evolution of microorganisms makes us ineffective at treating disease.

The evolution of antibiotic resistance is a good case in point. Working with advanced electromagnetic technologies to eliminate pathogens quickly demonstrates that evolution of microorganisms can occur quickly enough to affect treatment during the course of treating a single episode of a disease in a single patient. There needs to be a new field of the science of internal ecology of the body that builds understanding of the ecosystems of the microbiological agents that outnumber our cells.

That said, Nesse and Williams give an easily readable primer on some of the fundamental evolutionary thinking essential for successful understanding and treatment of disease. It is unfortunate that more physicians are not deeply familiar with these issues. The improper handling of disease with current antibiotics makes the organisms that cause them more deadly. This could easily be minimized by correctly approaching treatment from a base of understanding of evolutionary biology.

While this book is a good step into the deep waters of internal ecology, its easy reading makes it somewhat superficial. To start getting the real scoop, you need to read Ewald's work. A good starting point is Plague Time: How Stealth Infections Cause Cancer, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments.

As one simple example, Plague Time points out that the Borna virus is usually associated with Bipolar disease. After working with a few individuals with Bipolar disease, I've found they invariably have the Borna virus. This is untreatable by conventional medicine. Using electromagnetic techniques, the virus can be eliminated or reduced in number. This results in immediate cessation of a manic/depressive episode in some people. There are numerous other examples of these issues in heart disease, cancer, auto-immune diseases, and so forth.

The fact that microorganisms are becoming more resistant to treatment and getting deadlier from improper management, combined with the fact that many diseases are caused by unrecognized pathogens, means that every individual needs to come to grips with evolutionary biology or risk becoming a victim of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Practically reads itself
This book is extremely readable, and hard to put down. The authors make a very compelling case for the usefulness of a evolutionary perspective in medicine. I have a couple minor complaints (but don't let this discourage you). The authors seem to move freely between fact and speculation, without making clear distinctions. Not a problem if you're paying attention, but they may sometimes give the impression that their is more data to support a contention than there actually is. Anyway, I highly recommend this book - it's easy to read, stimulating, and bound to make you look at illness and health in a new way. ... Read more


195. Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life
by Hubert P. Yockey
list price: $60.00
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Asin: 0521802938
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 692026
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life presents a timely introduction to the use of information theory and coding theory in molecular biology. The genetical information system, because it is linear and digital, resembles the algorithmic language of computers. George Gamow pointed out that the application of Shannon's information theory breaks genetics and molecular biology out of the descriptive mode into the quantitative mode and Dr Yockey develops this theme, discussing how information theory and coding theory can be applied to molecular biology. He discusses how these tools for measuring the information in the sequences of the genome and the proteome are essential for our complete understanding of the nature and origin of life. The author writes for the computer competent reader who is interested in evolution and the origins of life. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Clears confusions with different concepts of entropy.
Biological literature is full of confusions stemming from using different concepts of entropy as if they are the same or related.
Thermodynamic entropy and logical (information) entropy don't correlate, and as an interesting recent example of one way that they don't, Rolf Landauer has shown that "there is no umavoidable minimal energy requirement per transmitted bit."

Yockey gives an insightful treatment of this subject, forcefully pointing out how different types of entropy are unrelated. For instance, he explains that Shannon entropy and Maxwell-Boltzmann-Gibbs entropy have nothing to do with each other, and shows how Shannon's information form of entropy makes no distinction between meaningful DNA sequences that encode life and random DNA sequences of equal length. Concluding, that evolution does not create any paradox for Shannon entropy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Quantitative analysis of the human genome, version 2.0
I found this book to be an important and valuable resource while researching a possible Ph.D. thesis topic on interactions of DNA with enzyme pathways. Having previously studied about 95% of the math and spent a month as a Visiting Scholar in the most mathematical of the genetics labs at Harvard Medical School, I feel pretty confident that I can recommend the first half of the book to those seeking to build or broaden their professional knowledge of applied mathematics in the biological and biomedical sciences or in bioengineering. Despite its obvious importance to calculating the information content of proteins, protein folding, and cell-to-cell signalling, information theory is rarely covered in the standard biomathematics texts at all. § I think Cambridge University Press ought to ask Yockey to add text material on traditional subjects like Lottka-Volterra population studies, Turing diffusion models, Hopfield networks, and the like. Also, the book needs more exercises, so it would be easier to use for teaching. And wouldn't it be great if it were packaged in Mathematica or MatLab form! § I wish I could say something intelligent about the applications to molecular biology in the second half of the book, but I don't think I've gotten enough biochemistry and molecular genetics yet. One thing's for sure, though, it's written clearly enough that any molecular biologist familiar with the state of the art ought to be able to gauge its worth pretty quickly. Yockey's math is so good it's pretty hard to imagine he flopped on the science. § Maybe some of my own work will arrive in the 2nd edition. I can hope, can't I?

4-0 out of 5 stars A very scientific book by a very clear-thinking scientist.
Dr. Yockey is an extremely clear thinker, and has apparently been thinking about the connections between genetics and the mathematics of information theory for some time (1956 at least). This book, probably a difficult read for the layman, is nevertheless written in an entertaining and unbiased style. Although he slyly sneaks in references to the Bible ("...through a glass darkly...", "...stones that must be rejected by the builder...", etc.), he illuminates with equanimity both creationist and evolutionist theories with the cold light of mathematics. Ultimately, he concludes that life did not happen by chance, although he admits that he has no scenario to explain its origin. He speaks as a pure scientist and should be greatly respected for this. ... Read more


196. A Pharmacology Primer : Theory, Application and Methods
by Terry, Ph.D. Kenakin, Terrence P. Kenakin
list price: $89.99
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Asin: 0124041612
Catlog: Book (2003-12-19)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 429971
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Pharmaceutical companies continue to face a growing need for scientists trained in the basics of pharmacology. At GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceuticals world-leader, Terry Kenakin regularly teaches this course and has drawn on his valuable experience to write A Pharmacology Primer. This guide has been designed especially for scientists trained in molecular biology and related fields who now need to know the basic theories, principles and practical applications of pharmacology.

Important chapters cover: Drug Receptor Theory; Drug Antagonism; The Drug Discovery Process; Pharmacological Assay Formats; Statistics & Experimental Design; and many more!

A Pharmacology Primer is stocked with helpful resources -- derivations of all formulae in every chapter, a glossary and appendices, scores of full-color illustrations -- that further enhance the value and utility of this book.

*185 illustrations and figures, four-color throughout
*Bulleted lists at the end of each section sum up main topics
*Glossary of Pharmacological Terms included for quick reference
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very well written pharmacology primer.
Dr. Kenakin's book is a well written primer for scientists who already have some familiarity with the topic at hand. It reviews the essentials of pharmacology starting with the basics such as potency, affinity and efficacy and continues with discussions of partial agonists, receptor theory and expression of recombinant receptors in heterologous systems. Each chapter has a short summary and has the derivations of the key equations for those so interested. Excellent resource! ... Read more


197. The Psychobiology of Gene Expression
by Ernest L. Rossi
list price: $45.00
our price: $38.70
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Asin: 0393703436
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 178756
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Outlines the relationship between genes and human experience. The understandings of gene expression emerging from the Human Genome Project are setting the stage for a profound expansion of our understanding of life. We are just now beginning to learn how the brain, body, and genes interact in everyday life. Here, Ernest Rossi introduces the new science of psychosocial genomics and explores how it will profoundly change our understanding of the pathways of communication among mind, body, and spirit. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sourcebook for Therapy in the 21st Century
Dr. Rossi has again written a "trail blazing" book. Those familiar with his previous publications know the breadth of his work - a work spanning Ericksonian Hypnosis, Jungian Psychology, Mind-Body Healing, Biological rhythms, and the psychology of Dreaming. He has not written a book on mathematical models of healing but it is clear that he has also studied this area in considerable depth. All the subjects listed above are revisited and taken to new levels in this book.

In addition to these sections Dr. Rossi also shares some very clear and vivid descriptions of actual therapuetic work. In one section he gives an entire transcription of a therapy he did with a woman during a workshop. In another section he lists a series of therapeutic exercises that can be used to access each person's deeper capacities for self healing.

This latest book also places Dr. Rossi in the ranks of the great detectives. He has been systematically tracking down all of the current research relating experience to gene expression. He regularly scans the internet for all sources that may have new findings related to this subject. He asks us to remember that this is "work in progress." Investigators all over the world are unlocking how specific genes are "turned on" by different experiences. Dr. Rossi is the only person I know who is making an attempt to synthesize this information within in a larger psychological context.

Currently both our medical culture and our larger culture continues to propagate extremely primitive models of human development. According to one of the most popular we inherit certain "tendencies" or diseases that are expressed in a nervous system that is essentially fixed after birth. Thus, our best therapeutic efforts will be directed towards modifying the brains that have genetically predestined defects. With these assumptions pharmacology will be the main (often only) ingredient of help.

At the beginning of the book Dr Rossi points out that recent findings have overturned many of our old theories about how the nervous system is linked to experience. We now know that novelty, life-enriching experiences and physical exercise can activate neurogenesis. Such experiences can turn on gene expression within minutes throughout the body and brain. As a result, "every memory is a reframe." We can actually reconstruct ourselves from a genetic level on up when we are experiencing a healing environment.

Taken as a whole Dr. Rossi has written one of the great sourcebooks for healing to guide us into the 21st Century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Peak of a brilliant career?
I mean this review to be brief so I'll state my conclusion at the start: this is an excellent book covering biochemistry up to psychotherapy. It is a must for any Rossi fan, if only because it has that 'culmination-of-a-brilliant-career' feel to it.

I discovered Rossi in the early 1980's and took one of his "64 questions in search of a graduate student" as my master's thesis. Since then I have digested his work and watched, sometimes in amazement, as clients changed and as I changed. Rossi's view of the mind-body in therapy works and is workable.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in Texas this summer (2003) and was mesmerized (pardon the pun) by the obvious skill of a master therapist. Between his demo to our group and reading this book with a view to integrate it into my work, I have found a revitalizing of my therapy practice that has pulled me out of a 2-year slump... enough said.

Thanks Dr. Rossi.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent integration of biology and mind
As a clinical psychologist with a background in biochemistry, I am very thrilled to see the author to integrate the gene expression, environment and mind into a coherent and scientifically-based picture. The book offers a solid foundation for the biological bases for psychotherapy and provides a holistic viewpoint upon human activities. It is highly recommended ! ... Read more


198. The Proteus Effect: Stem Cells and Their Promise for Medicine
by Ann Parson, Ann B. Parson
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0309089883
Catlog: Book (2004-09-21)
Publisher: Joseph Henry Press
Sales Rank: 18646
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Book Description

"Stem cells hold particular promise for unlocking life-saving secrets of the cell..." -- National Academy of Sciences

Cutting edge stem cell research could pave the way to a bold new era in medicine, providing cell-based treatments -- perhaps even cures -- for scores of diseases and illnesses.But what exactly are these biological wonders -- these things called stem cells?And what promise do they really hold for medicine?As acclaimed author Ann Parson suggests, one way to measure the future is to first search back through the past to take stock of how humans have gradually awakened to these distinctive, often camouflaged, cells in our midst and slowly come to recognize their worth.

The story of stem cell technologies is at once compelling, controversial, and remarkable.Part detective story, part medical history, The Proteus Effect describes early scientific discoveries that date back as far as 1740 before proceeding into the present to recount the incredible events leading to the discovery of stem cells in animal tumors, in the blood of mice, in the brains of canaries, in human embryos, and then in the skin, liver, and other organs of grown humans. It looks at the explosive potential of these special cells for the future of medicine.

Stem cells are the clay of life waiting for the cellular signal that will coax them into taking on the shape of the beating muscle cells of the heart, insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, or message-carrying cells of the central nervous system.Manipulate them the right way, turn them into the right type of cell, and it’s possible that stem cells could be used to counter (or cure) diseases such as Parkinson's, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders -- even infertility or baldness!

But should scientists be allowed to pick apart five-day-old embryos in order to retrieve stem cells?And when stem cells whisper to us of immortality -- they can divide and perpetuate new cells indefinitely -- how do we respond?Stem cells are forcing us not only to reexamine how we define the beginning of life but how we come to terms with the end of life as well.But these cells are such stunning creations that anyone stopping to peer at them cannot help but admire them for the qualities that go far beyond their uses as simple tools for human medicine.In the end, stem cells open our eyes to the presence of forces in Nature that are far greater than anything humans could imagine or invent.

Meticulously researched, artfully balanced, and engagingly told, Ann B. Parson chronicles a scientific discovery in progress, exploring the ethical debates, describing the current research, and hinting of a spectacular new era in medicine.The Proteus Effect is as timely as it is riveting. ... Read more


199. Basic Medical Endocrinology, Third Edition
by H. Maurice Goodman
list price: $69.95
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Asin: 0122904214
Catlog: Book (2003-02)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 828954
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Book Description

Basic Medical Endocrinology, Third Edition provides up-to-date coverage of rapidly unfolding advances in the understanding of hormones involved in regulating most aspects of bodily functions. The discussion focuses on molecular and cellular aspects of hormone production and action firmly rooted in the context of integrative physiology. Topics are approached from the perspective of a physiologist with four decades of teaching experience.

This book is richly illustrated with both descriptive schematic diagrams and laboratory findings obtained in clinical studies.Each of the thirteen in-depth chapters starts with an 'Overview' of the topic and ends with a 'Suggested Reading' list.

* Single authorship provides continuity and consistency between chapters
* Richly illustrated with over 200 illustrations
* IThirteen in-depth chapters incorporating the latest insights gleaned from rapidly expanding genetic studies of humans and rodents
* Author has taught subject for over 40 years
... Read more


200. Dynamic Optimization
by Morton I. Kamien, Nancy L. Schwartz
list price: $114.95
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Asin: 0444016090
Catlog: Book (1991-10-01)
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Sales Rank: 411206
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Hardbound. The long awaited second edition of Dynamic Optimization is now available. Clear exposition and numerous worked examples made the first edition the premier text on this subject. Now, the new edition is expanded and updated to include essential coverage of current developments on differential games, especially as they apply to important economic questions; new developments in comparative dynamics; and new material on optimal control with integral state equations.

The second edition of Dynamic Optimization provides expert coverage on:- methods of calculus of variations - optimal control - continuous dynamic programming - stochastic optimal control -differential games. The authors also include appendices on static optimization and on differential games.

Now in its new updated and expanded edition, Dynamic Optimization is, more than ever, the optimum choice for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in economics, mathem ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Chiang's book is best.
This book is decent, but I think that Chiang book is better that this book, I recommend "Elements of Dynamic Optimization" from Alpha Chiang (ISBN: 157766096X), it's better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must book for every serious economics student
There is no doubt that to master in advanced economics one should have a firm grasp on mathematical tools. Kamien and Schwartz's Dynamiz Optimization is the perfect book to this end. Actually it deserves a rating more than five stars. ... Read more


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