Light of the Stars Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth

Light of the Stars  Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth
Available:
Author: Adam Frank
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9780393609028
Release: 2018-06-12
Editor: W. W. Norton & Company

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Winner of the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Award for Science "A valuable perspective on the most important problem of our time." —Adam Becker, NPR Light of the Stars tells the story of humanity’s coming of age as we realize we might not be alone in this universe. Astrophysicist Adam Frank traces the question of alien life from the ancient Greeks to modern thinkers, and he demonstrates that recognizing the possibility of its existence might be the key to save us from climate change. With clarity and conviction, Light of the Stars asks the consequential question: What can the likely presence of life on other planets tell us about our own fate?

Light of the Stars

Light of the Stars
Available:
Author: Adam Frank
Pages: 272
ISBN: 0393609014
Release: 2018
Editor: W. W. Norton

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Astrophysicist and NPR commentator on what the latest research on the existence and trajectories of alien civilizations may teach us about our own.

Strange New Worlds

Strange New Worlds
Available:
Author: Ray Jayawardhana
Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781400846542
Release: 2013-04-21
Editor: Princeton University Press

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

In Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets--and alien life--beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, after millennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets around other stars--thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the stories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration. He describes the latest findings--including his own--that are challenging our view of the cosmos and casting new light on the origins and evolution of planets and planetary systems. He reveals how technology is rapidly advancing to support direct observations of Jupiter-like gas giants and super-Earths--rocky planets with several times the mass of our own planet--and how astronomers use biomarkers to seek possible life on other worlds. Strange New Worlds provides an insider's look at the cutting-edge science of today's planet hunters, our prospects for discovering alien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planet research. In a new afterword, Jayawardhana explains some of the most recent developments as we search for the first clues of life on other planets.

Extraterrestrial

Extraterrestrial
Available:
Author: Avi Loeb
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9780358278146
Release: 2021
Editor: Houghton Mifflin

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Harvard's top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star

About Time

About Time
Available:
Author: Adam Frank
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781439169605
Release: 2012-09-11
Editor: Simon and Schuster

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Offers an explanation for the origin of the universe with new theories from cosmology, including time with no beginning, parallel universes, and eternal inflation.

The Smallest Lights in the Universe

The Smallest Lights in the Universe
Available:
Author: Sara Seager
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780385692809
Release: 2020-08-18
Editor: Doubleday Canada

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Canadian MIT astrophysicist Sara Seager interweaves the story of her search for meaning and solace after losing her first husband to cancer, her unflagging search for an Earth-like exoplanet and her unexpected discovery of new love. Sara Seager has made it her life's work to peer into the spaces around stars--looking for exoplanets outside our solar system, hoping to find the one-in-a-billion world enough like ours to sustain life. But with the unexpected death of her husband, her life became an empty, lightless space. Suddenly, she was the single mother of two young boys, a widow at forty, clinging to three crumpled pages of instructions her husband had written for things like grocery shopping--things he had done while she did pioneering work as a planetary scientist at MIT. She became painfully conscious of her Asperger's, which before losing her husband had felt more like background noise. She felt, for the first time, alone in the universe. In this probing, invigoratingly honest memoir, Seager tells the story of how, as she stumblingly navigated the world of grief, she also kept looking for other worlds. She continues to develop groundbreaking projects, such as the Starshade, a sunflower-shaped instrument that, when launched into space, unfurls itself so as to block planet-obscuring starlight, and she takes solace in the alien beauty of exoplanets. At the same time, she discovers what feels every bit as wondrous: other people, reaching out across the space of her grief. Among them are the Widows of Concord, a group of women offering consolation and advice, and her beloved sons, Max and Alex. Most unexpected of all, there is another kind of one-in-a-billion match with an amateur astronomer. Equally attuned to the wonders of deep space and human connection, The Smallest Lights in the Universe is its own light in the dark.

Team Human

Team Human
Available:
Author: Douglas Rushkoff
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780393651706
Release: 2019-01-22
Editor: W. W. Norton & Company

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

“A provocative, exciting, and important rallying cry to reassert our human spirit of community and teamwork.”—Walter Isaacson Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups. Team Human delivers a call to arms. If we are to resist and survive these destructive forces, we must recognize that being human is a team sport. In Rushkoff’s own words: “Being social may be the whole point.” Harnessing wide-ranging research on human evolution, biology, and psychology, Rushkoff shows that when we work together we realize greater happiness, productivity, and peace. If we can find the others who understand this fundamental truth and reassert our humanity—together—we can make the world a better place to be human.

Something Deeply Hidden

Something Deeply Hidden
Available:
Author: Sean Carroll
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781524743024
Release: 2019-09-10
Editor: Penguin

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A Science News favorite science book of 2019 As you read these words, copies of you are being created. Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and one of this world’s most celebrated writers on science, rewrites the history of 20th century physics. Already hailed as a masterpiece, Something Deeply Hidden shows for the first time that facing up to the essential puzzle of quantum mechanics utterly transforms how we think about space and time. His reconciling of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of relativity changes, well, everything. Most physicists haven’t even recognized the uncomfortable truth: physics has been in crisis since 1927. Quantum mechanics has always had obvious gaps—which have come to be simply ignored. Science popularizers keep telling us how weird it is, how impossible it is to understand. Academics discourage students from working on the "dead end" of quantum foundations. Putting his professional reputation on the line with this audacious yet entirely reasonable book, Carroll says that the crisis can now come to an end. We just have to accept that there is more than one of us in the universe. There are many, many Sean Carrolls. Many of every one of us. Copies of you are generated thousands of times per second. The Many Worlds Theory of quantum behavior says that every time there is a quantum event, a world splits off with everything in it the same, except in that other world the quantum event didn't happen. Step-by-step in Carroll's uniquely lucid way, he tackles the major objections to this otherworldly revelation until his case is inescapably established. Rarely does a book so fully reorganize how we think about our place in the universe. We are on the threshold of a new understanding—of where we are in the cosmos, and what we are made of.

Why Buddhism is True

Why Buddhism is True
Available:
Author: Robert Wright
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781439195475
Release: 2017-08-08
Editor: Simon and Schuster

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

From one of America’s most brilliant writers, a New York Times bestselling journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. At the heart of Buddhism is a simple claim: The reason we suffer—and the reason we make other people suffer—is that we don’t see the world clearly. At the heart of Buddhist meditative practice is a radical promise: We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness. In this “sublime” (The New Yorker), pathbreaking book, Robert Wright shows how taking this promise seriously can change your life—how it can loosen the grip of anxiety, regret, and hatred, and how it can deepen your appreciation of beauty and of other people. He also shows why this transformation works, drawing on the latest in neuroscience and psychology, and armed with an acute understanding of human evolution. This book is the culmination of a personal journey that began with Wright’s landmark book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, and deepened as he immersed himself in meditative practice and conversed with some of the world’s most skilled meditators. The result is a story that is “provocative, informative and...deeply rewarding” (The New York Times Book Review), and as entertaining as it is illuminating. Written with the wit, clarity, and grace for which Wright is famous, Why Buddhism Is True lays the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age and shows how, in a time of technological distraction and social division, we can save ourselves from ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.

The Constant Fire

The Constant Fire
Available:
Author: Adam Frank
Pages: 304
ISBN: 0520942035
Release: 2009-01-06
Editor: Univ of California Press

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Eloquent, urgent, and inspiring, The Constant Fire tackles the acrimonious debate between science and religion, taking us beyond its stagnant parameters into the wider domain of human spiritual experience. From a Neolithic archaeological site in Ireland to modern theories of star formation, Adam Frank traverses a wide terrain, broadening our sights and allowing us to imagine an alternative perspective. Drawing from his experience as a practicing astrophysicist and from the writings of the great scholars of religion, philosophy, and mythology, Frank locates the connective tissue linking science and religion—their commonality as sacred pursuits—and finds their shared aspiration in pursuit of "the True and the Real." Taking us from the burning of Giordano Bruno in 1600 to Einstein and on to today's pressing issues of global warming and resource depletion, The Constant Fire shows us how to move beyond this stale debate into a more profound experience of the world as sacred—a world that embraces science without renouncing human spirituality.

Computational Propaganda

Computational Propaganda
Available:
Author: Samuel C. Woolley,Philip N. Howard
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780190931407
Release: 2018-11-12
Editor: Oxford Studies in Digital Poli

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Social media platforms do not just circulate political ideas, they support manipulative disinformation campaigns. While some of these disinformation campaigns are carried out directly by individuals, most are waged by software, commonly known as bots, programmed to perform simple, repetitive, robotic tasks. Some social media bots collect and distribute legitimate information, while others communicate with and harass people, manipulate trending algorithms, and inundate systems with spam. Campaigns made up of bots, fake accounts, and trolls can be coordinated by one person, or a small group of people, to give the illusion of large-scale consensus. Some political regimes use political bots to silence opponents and to push official state messaging, to sway the vote during elections, and to defame critics, human rights defenders, civil society groups, and journalists. This book argues that such automation and platform manipulation, amounts to a new political communications mechanism that Samuel Woolley and Philip N. Noward call "computational propaganda." This differs from older styles of propaganda in that it uses algorithms, automation, and human curation to purposefully distribute misleading information over social media networks while it actively learns from and mimicks real people so as to manipulate public opinion across a diverse range of platforms and device networks. This book includes cases of computational propaganda from nine countries (both democratic and authoritarian) and four continents (North and South America, Europe, and Asia), covering propaganda efforts over a wide array of social media platforms and usage in different types of political processes (elections, referenda, and during political crises).

How Do You Find an Exoplanet

How Do You Find an Exoplanet
Available:
Author: John Asher Johnson
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9780691156811
Release: 2015-12-29
Editor: Princeton University Press

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Alien worlds have long been a staple of science fiction. But today, thanks to modern astronomical instrumentation and the achievements of many enterprising observational astronomers, the existence of planets outside our solar system—also known as exoplanets—has moved into the realm of science fact. With planet hunters finding ever smaller, more Earth-like worlds, our understanding of the cosmos is forever changed, yet the question of how astronomers make these discoveries often goes unanswered. How Do You Find an Exoplanet? is an authoritative primer on the four key techniques that today's planet hunters use to detect the feeble signals of planets orbiting distant stars. John Johnson provides you with an insider’s perspective on this exciting cutting-edge science, showing how astronomers detect the wobble of stars caused by the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet, the slight diminution of light caused by a planet eclipsing its star, and the bending of space-time by stars and their planets, and how astronomers even directly take pictures of planets next to their bright central stars. Accessible to anyone with a basic foundation in college-level physics, How Do You Find an Exoplanet? sheds new light on the prospect of finding life outside our solar system, how surprising new observations suggest that we may not fully understand how planets form, and much more.

The Life of Super Earths

The Life of Super Earths
Available:
Author: Dimitar Sasselov
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9780465023400
Release: 2012-01-24
Editor: Basic Books

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

"In the past year, we have witnessed unprecedented breakthroughs in the seemingly unrelated fields of synthetic biology and exoplanetary astronomy. Just recently, arsenic-based bacteria was discovered in a California lake-both puzzling and electrifying the scientific world. In The Life of Super-Earths, expert astronomer Dimitar Sasselov aims to highlight these groundbreaking findings and explain how what we learn in the laboratory informs our investigation of the universe, and vice versa. The discovery of a New Earth, or other world, may be in our future. But a truly 'alien' life form is more likely to emerge from our planet's natural environment or in a petri dish at a research lab. We may cross a milestone into the era of synthetic biology under the microscope. These breakthroughs will shed new light on our place in the universe and answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? The Life of Super-Earths offers nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of life and its place in the cosmos"--

About Time

About Time
Available:
Author: Paul Davies
Pages: 316
ISBN: 9780684818221
Release: 1996-04-09
Editor: Simon and Schuster

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Examines the ramifications of Einstein's relativity theory, exploring the mysteries of time and considering black holes, time travel, the existence of God, and the nature of the universe

The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds
Available:
Author: H. G. Wells
Pages: 206
ISBN: 9781467776219
Release: 2017-01-01
Editor: First Avenue Editions ™

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

When a meteorite lands in Surrey, the locals don't know what to make of it. But as Martians emerge and begin killing bystanders, it quickly becomes clear—England is under attack. Armed soldiers converge on the scene to ward off the invaders, but meanwhile, more Martian cylinders land on Earth, bringing reinforcements. As war breaks out across England, the locals must fight for their lives, but life on Earth will never be the same. This is an unabridged version of one of the first fictional accounts of extraterrestrial invasion. H. G. Wells's military science fiction novel was first published in book form in 1898, and is considered a classic of English literature.

Out There

Out There
Available:
Author: Michael Wall
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781538729380
Release: 2018-11-13
Editor: Grand Central Publishing

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

In the vein of Randall Munroe's What If? meets Brian Green's Elegant Universe, a senior writer from Space.com leads readers on a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier, investigating what's really "out there." We've all asked ourselves the question. It's impossible to look up at the stars and NOT think about it: Are we alone in the universe? Books, movies and television shows proliferate that attempt to answer this question and explore it. In OUT THERE Space.com senior writer Dr. Michael Wall treats that question as merely the beginning, touching off a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier. He considers, for instance, the myriad of questions that would arise once we do discover life beyond Earth (an eventuality which, top NASA officials told Wall, is only drawing closer). What would the first aliens we meet look like? Would they be little green men or mere microbes? Would they be found on a planet in our own solar system or orbiting a star far, far away? Would they intend to harm us, and if so, how might they do it? And might they already have visited? OUT THERE is arranged in a simple question-and-answer format. The answers are delivered in Dr. Wall's informal but informative style, which mixes in a healthy dose of humor and pop culture to make big ideas easier to swallow. Dr. Wall covers questions far beyond alien life, venturing into astronomy, physics, and the practical realities of what long-term life might be like for we mere humans in outer space, such as the idea of lunar colonies, and even economic implications. Dr. Wall also shares the insights of some of the leading lights in space exploration today, and shows how the next space age might be brighter than ever.

A Marvelous Life

A Marvelous Life
Available:
Author: Danny Fingeroth
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781250133915
Release: 2019-11-05
Editor: St. Martin's Press

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

The definitive biography of the beloved—often controversial—co-creator of many legendary superheroes, A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee presents the origin of “Stan the Man,” who spun a storytelling web of comic book heroic adventures into a pop culture phenomenon: the Marvel Universe. "[Fingeroth's] intimate yet balanced account, highlights Lee’s humanity, humor and even humility. But it doesn’t ignore how his canny self-promotion at times shortchanged his collaborators and constrained his own choices." —Wall Street Journal Stan Lee was the most famous American comic book creator who ever lived. Thanks, especially, to his many cameos in Marvel movies and TV shows, Lee was—and even after his 2018 death, still is—the voice and face of comics and popular culture in general, and Marvel Comics in particular. How he got to that place is a story that has never been fully told—until now. With creative partners including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—with whom he had tempestuous relationships that rivaled any superhero battle—Lee created world-famous characters including Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X–Men, the Avengers, and the Hulk! But Lee’s career was haunted by conflict and controversy. Was he the most innovative creator to ever do comics? Was he a lucky no-talent whose only skill was taking credit for others’ work? Or was he something else altogether? Danny Fingeroth’s A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee attempts to answer some of those questions. It is the first comprehensive biography of this powerhouse of ideas who, with his invention of Marvel Comics, changed the world’s ideas of what a hero is and how a story should be told. With exclusive interviews with Lee himself, as well as with colleagues, relatives, friends—and detractors—Fingeroth makes a doubly remarkable case for Lee’s achievements, while not ignoring the controversies that dogged him his entire life—and even past his death. With unique access to Lee’s personal archives at the University of Wyoming, Fingeroth explores never-before-examined aspects of Lee’s life and career, and digs under the surface of what people thought they knew about him. Fingeroth, himself a longtime writer and editor at Marvel Comics, and now a lauded pop culture critic and historian, knew and worked with Stan Lee for over four decades. With his unique insights as a comics world insider, Fingeroth is able to put Lee’s life and work in a unique context that makes events and actions come to life as no other writer could. Despite F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous warning that “There are no second acts in American lives,” Stan Lee created a second act for himself that changed everything for him, his family, his industry, and ultimately for all of popular culture. How he did it—and what it cost him—is a larger-than-life tale of a man who helped create the modern superhero mythology that has become a part of all our lives.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Available:
Author: Christopher Paolini
Pages: 688
ISBN: 9781250762900
Release: 2020-09-15
Editor: Tor Books

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller! Winner of Best Science Fiction in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards! To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eragon, Christopher Paolini. Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she's awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she's delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn't at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity's greatest and final hope . . . At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

The Zoologist s Guide to the Galaxy

The Zoologist s Guide to the Galaxy
Available:
Author: Arik Kershenbaum
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781984881977
Release: 2021-03-16
Editor: Penguin

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

From a noted Cambridge zoologist, a wildly fun and scientifically sound exploration of what alien life must be like, using universal laws that govern life on Earth and in space. Scientists are confident that life exists elsewhere in the universe. Yet rather than taking a realistic approach to what aliens might be like, we imagine that life on other planets is the stuff of science fiction. The time has come to abandon our fantasies of space invaders and movie monsters and place our expectations on solid scientific footing. But short of aliens landing in New York City, how do we know what they are like? Using his own expert understanding of life on Earth and Darwin's theory of evolution--which applies throughout the universe--Cambridge zoologist Dr. Arik Kershenbaum explains what alien life must be like: how these creatures will move, socialize, and communicate. For example, by observing fish whose electrical pulses indicate social status, we can see that other planets might allow for communication by electricity. As there was evolutionary pressure to wriggle along a sea floor, Earthling animals tend to have left/right symmetry; on planets where creatures evolved in midair or in soupy tar, they might be lacking any symmetry at all. Might there be an alien planet with supersonic animals? A moon where creatures have a language composed of smells? Will aliens scream with fear, act honestly, or have technology? The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy answers these questions using the latest science to tell the story of how life really works, on Earth and in space.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
Available:
Author: Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781616200244
Release: 2010-08-24
Editor: Algonquin Books

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK:

In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common woodland snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world. Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence, while providing an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.