Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and EvolutionMark Blumberg  
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In most respects, Abigail and Brittany Hensel are normal American twins. Born and raised in a small town, they enjoy a close relationship, though each has her own tastes and personality. But the Hensels also share a body. Their two heads sit side-by-side on a single torso, with two arms and two legs. They have not only survived, but have developed into athletic, graceful young women. And that, writes Mark S. Blumberg, opens an extraordinary window onto human development and evolution.

In Freaks of Nature, Blumberg turns a scientist's eye on the oddities of nature, showing how a subject once relegated to the sideshow can help explain some of the deepest complexities of biology. Why, for example, does a two-headed human so resemble a two-headed minnow? What we need to understand, Blumberg argues, is that anomalies are the natural products of development, and it is through developmental mechanisms that evolution works. Freaks of Nature induces a kind of intellectual vertigo as it upends our intuitive understanding of biology. What really is an anomaly? Why is a limbless human a "freak," but a limbless reptile-a snake-a successful variation?

What we see as deformities, Blumberg writes, are merely alternative paths for development, which challenge both the creature itself and our ability to fit it into our familiar categories. Rather than mere dead-ends, many anomalies prove surprisingly survivable-as in the case of the goat without forelimbs that learned to walk upright. Blumberg explains how such variations occur, and points to the success of the Hensel sisters and the goat as examples of the extraordinary flexibility inherent in individual development.

In taking seriously a subject that has often been shunned as discomfiting and embarrassing, Mark Blumberg sheds new light on how individuals-and entire species-develop, survive, and evolve.

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In Search of Total PerfectionHeston Blumenthal  
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Heston Blumenthal has made his name creating such original dishes as Snail Porridge and Nitrogen Scrambled Egg & Bacon Ice Cream at his internationally acclaimed restaurant, The Fat Duck. In this book, Heston focuses his creative talent on reinventing some of our most well-known (and most abused) dishes. He travels around the world in search of definitive versions of sixteen classic dishes: Roast Chicken & Roast Potatoes, Pizza, Hamburger, Bangers & Mash, Fish Pie, Steak, Spaghetti Bolognese, Risotto, Fish & Chips, Chilli Con Carne, Chicken Tikka Masala, Peking duck, Black Forest Gateau, Treacle Tart & Ice Cream, Trifle and Baked Alaska. Among the many adventures on his quest, he travels to Delhi and makes an MRI scan of the marinated chicken in his Tikki Masala; he discovers the secret to the ultimate crispy duck in Peking and experiments at home by inflating a Gressingham on a footpump; he walks the Dickensian streets of Lambeth and learns how to capture the essence of a fish and chip shop in a perfume bottle, and he explores the Willy Wonka-esque Tate&Lyle factory and tastes some seventy-year-old syrup that proves an inspiration for the flavour of his treacle tart. Total Perfection is an original, inspiring and fascinating voyage around the culinary globe.

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Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive ScienceMargaret Boden  
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Cognitive science is the project of understanding the mind by modelling its workings. Its development is one of the most remarkable and fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. Mind as Machine is a masterful history of cognitive science, told by one of its most eminent practitioners.

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Elephants on Acid: and Other Bizarre ExperimentsAlex Boese  
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Have you ever wondered if a severed head retains consciousness long enough to see what happened to it? Or whether your dog would run to fetch help, if you fell down a disused mineshaft? And what would happen if you were to give an elephant the largest ever single dose of LSD? The chances are that someone, somewhere has conducted a scientific experiment to find out...'Excellent accounts of some of the most important and interesting experiments in biology and psychology' - Simon Singh. If left to their own devices, would babies instinctively choose a well-balanced diet? Discover the secret of how to sleep on planes. Which really tastes better in a blind tasting - Coke or Pepsi?

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The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for MeaningDaniel Bor  
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Consciousness is our gateway to experience: it enables us to recognize Van Gogh’s starry skies, be enraptured by Beethoven’s Fifth, and stand in awe of a snowcapped mountain. Yet consciousness is subjective, personal, and famously difficult to examine: philosophers have for centuries declared this mental entity so mysterious as to be impenetrable to science.   In The Ravenous Brain, neuroscientist Daniel Bor departs sharply from this historical view, and builds on the latest research to propose a new model for how consciousness works. Bor argues that this brain-based faculty evolved as an accelerated knowledge gathering tool. Consciousness is effectively an idea factory—that choice mental space dedicated to innovation, a key component of which is the discovery of deep structures within the contents of our awareness.   This model explains our brains’ ravenous appetite for information—and in particular, its constant search for patterns. Why, for instance, after all our physical needs have been met, do we recreationally solve crossword or Sudoku puzzles? Such behavior may appear biologically wasteful, but, according to Bor, this search for structure can yield immense evolutionary benefits—it led our ancestors to discover fire and farming, pushed modern society to forge ahead in science and technology, and guides each one of us to understand and control the world around us. But the sheer innovative power of human consciousness carries with it the heavy cost of mental fragility. Bor discusses the medical implications of his theory of consciousness, and what it means for the origins and treatment of psychiatric ailments, including attention-deficit disorder, schizophrenia, manic depression, and autism. All mental illnesses, he argues, can be reformulated as disorders of consciousness—a perspective that opens up new avenues of treatment for alleviating mental suffering.   A controversial view of consciousness, The Ravenous Brain links cognition to creativity in an ingenious solution to one of science’s biggest mysteries.

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The Elements of Typographic StyleRobert Bringhurst  
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Renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining the practical, theoretical, and historical, this edition is completely updated, with a thorough exploration of the newest innovations in intelligent font technology, and is a must-have for graphic artists, editors, or anyone working with the printed page using digital or traditional methods.

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