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Not A Scientist How Politicians Mistake Misrepresent And Utterly Mangle Science

Author : Dave Levitan
ISBN : 9780393353334
Genre : Science
File Size : 74. 37 MB
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An eye-opening tour of the political tricks that subvert scientific progress. The Butter-Up and Undercut. The Certain Uncertainty. The Straight-Up Fabrication. Dave Levitan dismantles all of these deceptive arguments, and many more, in this probing and hilarious examination of the ways our elected officials attack scientific findings that conflict with their political agendas. The next time you hear a politician say, "Well, I’m not a scientist, but…," you’ll be ready.

Not A Scientist

Author : Dave Levitan
ISBN : 039335332X
Genre :
File Size : 52. 38 MB
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In 1980, Ronald Reagan created one of the dumbest talking points of all time: I m not a scientist, but . . . Since then, politicians have repeatedly committed egregious transgressions against scientific knowledge prefaced by this seemingly innocuous phrase. Yet, as science journalist Dave Levitan reveals, that line is just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to rhetorical tools wielded to attack scientific findings that don t cooperate with political agendas. Just listen to Mike Huckabee dismiss climate change as a sunburn, Donald Trump suggest that vaccines cause autism, or Todd Akin s infamous invention of legitimate rape. With a taxonomer s eye, Levitan captures and categorizes these deceptions by chapter, assigning delightful names like The Butter-Up and Undercut, The Literal Nitpick, The Straight-Up Fabrication, and many more. His sharpelbowed humor dismantles our leaders deceptive arguments while illuminating the real science behind the worst soundbites from our elected nonscientists."

Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me

Author : Carol Tavris
ISBN : 9780547416038
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 80. 10 MB
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“Entertaining, illuminating and—when you recognize yourself in the stories it tells—mortifying.” —Wall Street Journal “Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it? When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by years of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. This updated edition features new examples and concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves. “A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians—and all of us—pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and—if we’re honest—ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine

Making Sense Of Science

Author : Cornelia Dean
ISBN : 9780674059696
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 71. 24 MB
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Cornelia Dean draws on her 30 years as a science journalist with the New York Times to expose the flawed reasoning and knowledge gaps that handicap readers when they try to make sense of science. She calls attention to conflicts of interest in research and the price society pays when science journalism declines and funding dries up.

Brilliant Blunders

Author : Mario Livio
ISBN : 9781439192382
Genre : Science
File Size : 60. 69 MB
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Drawing on the lives of five great scientists, this “scholarly, insightful, and beautifully written book” (Martin Rees, author of From Here to Infinity) illuminates the path to scientific discovery. Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein all made groundbreaking contributions to their fields—but each also stumbled badly. Darwin’s theory of natural selection shouldn’t have worked, according to the prevailing beliefs of his time. Lord Kelvin gravely miscalculated the age of the earth. Linus Pauling, the world’s premier chemist, constructed an erroneous model for DNA in his haste to beat the competition to publication. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle dismissed the idea of a “Big Bang” origin to the universe (ironically, the caustic name he gave to this event endured long after his erroneous objections were disproven). And Albert Einstein speculated incorrectly about the forces of the universe—and that speculation opened the door to brilliant conceptual leaps. As Mario Livio luminously explains in this “thoughtful meditation on the course of science itself” (The New York Times Book Review), these five scientists expanded our knowledge of life on earth, the evolution of the earth, and the evolution of the universe, despite and because of their errors. “Thoughtful, well-researched, and beautifully written” (The Washington Post), Brilliant Blunders is a wonderfully insightful examination of the psychology of five fascinating scientists—and the mistakes as well as the achievements that made them famous.

Scienceblind

Author : Andrew Shtulman
ISBN : 9780465094929
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 40. 25 MB
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"A fascinating, empathetic book"-Wall Street Journal Humans are born to create theories about the world--unfortunately, they're usually wrong, and keep us from understanding the world as it really is. Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. In Scienceblind, cognitive and developmental psychologist Andrew Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They're not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life. So how do we get the world right? We must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its foundations. The reward won't just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies-around vaccines, climate change, or evolution-that plague our politics today.

Descartes Error

Author : Antonio Damasio
ISBN : 9781407072067
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 44. 46 MB
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In the centuries since Descartes famously proclaimed, 'I think, therefore I am,' science has often overlooked emotions as the source of a person's true being. Even modern neuroscience has tended until recently to concentrate on the cognitive aspects of brain function, disregarding emotions. This attitude began to change with the publication of Descartes' Error. Antonio Damasio challenged traditional ideas about the connection between emotions and rationality. In this wonderfully engaging book, Damasio takes the reader on a journey of scientific discovery through a series of case studies, demonstrating what many of us have long suspected: emotions are not a luxury, they are essential to rational thinking and to normal social behaviour.

How To Tame A Fox And Build A Dog

Author : Lee Alan Dugatkin
ISBN : 9780226444215
Genre : Science
File Size : 58. 45 MB
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Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs—they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken—imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order to witness the process of domestication. This is the extraordinary, untold story of this remarkable undertaking. Most accounts of the natural evolution of wolves place it over a span of about 15,000 years, but within a decade, Belyaev and Trut’s fox breeding experiments had resulted in puppy-like foxes with floppy ears, piebald spots, and curly tails. Along with these physical changes came genetic and behavioral changes, as well. The foxes were bred using selection criteria for tameness, and with each generation, they became increasingly interested in human companionship. Trut has been there the whole time, and has been the lead scientist on this work since Belyaev’s death in 1985, and with Lee Dugatkin, biologist and science writer, she tells the story of the adventure, science, politics, and love behind it all. In How to Tame a Fox, Dugatkin and Trut take us inside this path-breaking experiment in the midst of the brutal winters of Siberia to reveal how scientific history is made and continues to be made today. To date, fifty-six generations of foxes have been domesticated, and we continue to learn significant lessons from them about the genetic and behavioral evolution of domesticated animals. How to Tame a Fox offers an incredible tale of scientists at work, while also celebrating the deep attachments that have brought humans and animals together throughout time.

The Usefulness Of Useless Knowledge

Author : Abraham Flexner
ISBN : 9781400884629
Genre : Science
File Size : 73. 76 MB
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A forty-year tightening of funding for scientific research has meant that resources are increasingly directed toward applied or practical outcomes, with the intent of creating products of immediate value. In such a scenario, it makes sense to focus on the most identifiable and urgent problems, right? Actually, it doesn't. In his classic essay "The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge," Abraham Flexner, the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the man who helped bring Albert Einstein to the United States, describes a great paradox of scientific research. The search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs. In short, no quantum mechanics, no computer chips. This brief book includes Flexner's timeless 1939 essay alongside a new companion essay by Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Institute's current director, in which he shows that Flexner's defense of the value of "the unobstructed pursuit of useless knowledge" may be even more relevant today than it was in the early twentieth century. Dijkgraaf describes how basic research has led to major transformations in the past century and explains why it is an essential precondition of innovation and the first step in social and cultural change. He makes the case that society can achieve deeper understanding and practical progress today and tomorrow only by truly valuing and substantially funding the curiosity-driven "pursuit of useless knowledge" in both the sciences and the humanities.

The Vaccine Race

Author : Meredith Wadman
ISBN : 9780698177789
Genre : Science
File Size : 46. 82 MB
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“Riveting . . . [The Vaccine Race] invites comparison with Rebecca Skloot's 2007 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”—Nature “This is a story about the war against disease—a war without end—and the development of enormously important vaccines, but in telling that story, in showing how science works, Meredith Wadman reveals much more. I loved this book.” —John M. Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Influenza The epic and controversial story of a major breakthrough in cell biology that led to the conquest of rubella and other devastating diseases. Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those fetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschoolers. The new cells and the method of making them also led to vaccines that have protected billions of people around the world from polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus. Meredith Wadman’s masterful account recovers not only the science of this urgent race, but also the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She describes the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles and recounts testing on infants, prisoners, orphans, and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events take place at the dawn of the battle over using human fetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes take place in the laws and practices governing who “owns” research cells and the profits made from biological inventions. It is also the story of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives. With another frightening virus imperiling pregnant women on the rise today, no medical story could have more human drama, impact, or urgency today than The Vaccine Race.

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