this is your brain on parasites how tiny creatures manipulate our behavior and shape society

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This Is Your Brain On Parasites

Author : Kathleen McAuliffe
ISBN : 9780544193222
Genre : Science
File Size : 75. 42 MB
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A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how other creatures—including humans—think, feel, and act. These tiny organisms can only live inside another animal, and as McAuliffe reveals, they have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their host’s behavior. Far more often than appreciated, these puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to the profound influence of parasites. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness, impulsivity—even suicide. Microbes in our gut affect our emotions and the very wiring of our brains. Germs that cause colds and flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level too. As McAuliffe documents, a subconscious fear of contagion impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from our sexual attractions and social circles to our morals and political views. Drawing on a huge body of research, she argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites—and a double-edged sword. The horror and revulsion we feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. In the tradition of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel and Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.

This Is Your Brain On Parasites

Author : Kathleen McAuliffe
ISBN : 0544947258
Genre : Medical
File Size : 46. 11 MB
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A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how creatures including humans act, feel, and think"

This Is Your Brain On Parasites

Author : Kathleen McAuliffe
ISBN : 0544192222
Genre :
File Size : 69. 10 MB
Format : PDF
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Based on her hugely popular"Atlantic"article, science writer Kathleen McAuliffe reveals the myriad ways parasites control how humans act, feel, and think."

Venomous

Author : Christie Wilcox
ISBN : 9780374712211
Genre : Science
File Size : 90. 72 MB
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A thrilling tale of encounters with nature’s masters of biochemistry From the coasts of Indonesia to the rainforests of Peru, venomous animals are everywhere—and often lurking out of sight. Humans have feared them for centuries, long considering them the assassins and pariahs of the natural world. Now, in Venomous, the biologist Christie Wilcox investigates and illuminates the animals of our nightmares, arguing that they hold the keys to a deeper understanding of evolution, adaptation, and immunity. She reveals just how venoms function and what they do to the human body. With Wilcox as our guide, we encounter a jellyfish with tentacles covered in stinging cells that can kill humans in minutes; a two-inch caterpillar with toxic bristles that trigger hemorrhaging; and a stunning blue-ringed octopus capable of inducing total paralysis. How do these animals go about their deadly work? How did they develop such intricate, potent toxins? Wilcox takes us around the world and down to the cellular level to find out. Throughout her journey, Wilcox meets the intrepid scientists who risk their lives studying these lethal beasts, as well as “self-immunizers” who deliberately expose themselves to snakebites. Along the way, she puts her own life on the line, narrowly avoiding being envenomated herself. Drawing on her own research, Wilcox explains how venom scientists are untangling the mechanisms of some of our most devastating diseases, and reports on pharmacologists who are already exploiting venoms to produce lifesaving drugs. We discover that venomous creatures are in fact keystone species that play crucial roles in their ecosystems and ours—and for this alone, they ought to be protected and appreciated. Thrilling and surprising at every turn, Venomous will change everything you thought you knew about the planet’s most dangerous animals.

The Sting Of The Wild

Author : Justin O. Schmidt
ISBN : 9781421419299
Genre : Science
File Size : 41. 72 MB
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Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt is on a mission. Some say it’s a brave exploration, others shake their heads in disbelief. His goal? To compare the impacts of stinging insects on humans, mainly using himself as the gauge. In The Sting of the Wild, the colorful Dr. Schmidt takes us on a journey inside the lives of stinging insects, seeing the world through their eyes as well as his own. He explains how and why they attack and reveals the powerful punch they can deliver with a small venom gland and a "sting," the name for the apparatus that delivers the venom. We learn which insects are the worst to encounter and why some are barely worth considering. The Sting of the Wild includes the complete Schmidt Sting Pain Index, published here for the first time. In addition to a numerical ranking of the agony of each of the eighty-three stings he’s sampled so far (from below 1 to an excruciatingly painful 4), Schmidt describes them in prose worthy of a professional wine critic: "Looks deceive. Rich and full-bodied in appearance, but flavorless" and "Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel." Schmidt explains that, for some insects, stinging is used for hunting: small wasps, for example, can paralyze huge caterpillars and then lay their eggs inside so that their larvae can feast within. Others are used to kill competing insects, even members of their own species. Humans usually experience stings as defensive maneuvers used by insects to protect their nest mates. With colorful descriptions of each venom’s sensation and a story that leaves you tingling with awe, The Sting of the Wild’s one-of-a-kind style will fire your imagination.

I Contain Multitudes

Author : Ed Yong
ISBN : 9781473520189
Genre : Science
File Size : 58. 20 MB
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Selected as a Non-Fiction Book of the Year New York Times Selected as a Science Book of the Year by The Economist, The Times and Observer NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It’s an entire world, a colony full of life. In other words, you contain multitudes. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour, and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth. In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems. We learn the invisible and wondrous science behind the corals that construct mighty reefs and the squid that create their own light shows. We see how bacteria can alter our response to cancer-fighting drugs, tune our immune system, influence our evolution, and even modify our genetic make-up. And we meet the scientists who are manipulating these microscopic partners to our advantage. In a million tiny ways, I Contain Multitudes will radically change how you think about the natural world, and how you see yourself.

Virus

Author : Marilyn J. Roossinck
ISBN : 9781400883257
Genre : Science
File Size : 89. 78 MB
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This stunningly illustrated book provides a rare window into the amazing, varied, and often beautiful world of viruses. Contrary to popular belief, not all viruses are bad for you. In fact, several are beneficial to their hosts, and many are crucial to the health of our planet. Virus offers an unprecedented look at 101 incredible microbes that infect all branches of life on Earth—from humans and other animals to insects, plants, fungi, and bacteria. Featuring hundreds of breathtaking color images throughout, this guide begins with a lively and informative introduction to virology. Here readers can learn about the history of this unique science, how viruses are named, how their genes work, how they copy and package themselves, how they interact with their hosts, how immune systems counteract viruses, and how viruses travel from host to host. The concise entries that follow highlight important or interesting facts about each virus. Learn about the geographic origins of dengue and why old tires and unused pots help the virus to spread. Read about Ebola, Zika, West Nile, Frog virus 3, the Tulip breaking virus, and many others—how they were discovered, what their hosts are, how they are transmitted, whether or not there is a vaccine, and much more. Each entry is easy to read and includes a graphic of the virus, and nearly every entry features a colorized image of the virus as seen through the microscope. Written by a leading authority, this handsomely illustrated guide reveals the unseen wonders of the microbial world. It will give you an entirely new appreciation for viruses.

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