The mind behind the infamous Ig Nobel Prizes presents an addictive collection of improbable research all about us – and you Marc Abrahams collects the odd, the imaginative and the brilliantly improbable. Here he turns to research on the ins and outs of the very improbable evolutionary innovation that is the human body (brain included): • What’s the best way to get a monkey to floss regularly? • How much dandruff do Pakistani soldiers have? • If you add an extra henchman to your bank-robbing gang, how much more money will you 'earn'? • How many dimples will be found on the cheeks of 28,282 Greek children? • Who is the Einstein of pork carcasses?
Laugh out loud and then think seriously about these outlandish scientific studies Marc Abrahams, the mind behind the internationally renowned Ig Nobel Prizes, is on a mission: to gather the bizarre, the questionable, the brilliant, the downright funny, the profound – everything improbable – from the annals of science research. What’s the best way to slice a ham sandwich, mathematically? What makes Bobs look especially Bob-like? Is the right or left ear better at discerning lies? Could mice be outfitted with parachutes to kill tree snakes?
Sir Trevor McDonald is an extraordinary man - and he has led an improbable life. Now in his 80th year, he is known and loved by people the world over for his humility, charm and natural ease. As a natural storyteller and communicator, he has few equals. In An Improbable Life, Sir Trevor recounts his personal experience of world events and interviews with globally famous - or notorious - figures. He has witnessed war and death and risked his own life to meet and talk with despots and liberators. We read about his first trip to South Africa, and obtaining the first British television interview with Nelson Mandela; his reflections on the Windrush generation; and experiencing Barack Obama's momentous inauguration as President of the USA. We are also present at his dramatic meetings with Saddam Hussein (the first and only one by a British television correspondent) and Muammar Gaddafi. Engaging, intimate and moving, this is the life story of an exceptional journalist and broadcaster who over decades has expertly revealed to us history in the making.
The Latest Scientific Discoveries Point to an Intentional Creator Most of us remember the basics from science classes about how Earth came to be the only known planet that sustains complex life. But what most people don't know is that the more thoroughly researchers investigate the history of our planet, the more astonishing the story of our existence becomes. The number and complexity of the astronomical, geological, chemical, and biological features recognized as essential to human existence have expanded explosively within the past decade. An understanding of what is required to make possible a large human population and advanced civilizations has raised profound questions about life, our purpose, and our destiny. Are we really just the result of innumerable coincidences? Or is there a more reasonable explanation? This fascinating book helps nonscientists understand the countless miracles that undergird the exquisitely fine-tuned planet we call home--as if Someone had us in mind all along.
Complex Webs synthesises modern mathematical developments with a broad range of complex network applications of interest to the engineer and system scientist, presenting the common principles, algorithms, and tools governing network behaviour, dynamics, and complexity. The authors investigate multiple mathematical approaches to inverse power laws and expose the myth of normal statistics to describe natural and man-made networks. Richly illustrated throughout with real-world examples including cell phone use, accessing the Internet, failure of power grids, measures of health and disease, distribution of wealth, and many other familiar phenomena from physiology, bioengineering, biophysics, and informational and social networks, this book makes thought-provoking reading. With explanations of phenomena, diagrams, end-of-chapter problems, and worked examples, it is ideal for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in engineering and the life, social, and physical sciences. It is also a perfect introduction for researchers who are interested in this exciting new way of viewing dynamic networks.
A tribute to a range of tongue-in-cheek contributions to the scientific community honors a professor who theorized that toast always falls butter-side down, a southern Baptist church that identified the number of Alabama residents going to hell, and the Australian who successfully patented the wheel. 40,000 first printing.
How could such an intricate object as the human eye - so complex and so precise - have come about by chance? In this masterful piece of popular science, Richard Dawkins builds a powerful and carefully reasoned argument for evolutionary adapatation as the force behind all life on earth. The metaphor of 'Mount Improbable' represents the combination of perfection and improbability that we find in the seemingly 'designed' complexity of living things. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins' eloquent descriptions of astonishing adaptations in the living world.
Perhaps it was fitting justice: a dentist who enjoyed inflicting pain was murdered in his own chair. The question is not who wanted Dr. Frederick Nielsen dead, but rather who of the many finally reached the breaking point. The sordid details of this case, with its shocking revelations of violence, cruelty, and horrific sexual abuse, would be tough for any investigator to stomach. But for Seattle Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont, the most damning piece of the murderous puzzle will shake him to his very core -- because what will be revealed to him is nothing less than the true meaning of unrepentant evil.
I challenge you to find a field as interesting and exciting as Deep Learning. This book is a spin-off from my previous book "The Deep Learning AI Playbook." The Playbook was meant for a professional audience. This is targeted to a much wider audience. There are two kinds of audiences, those looking to explore and those looking to optimize. There are two ways to learn, learning by exploration and learning by exploitation. This book is about exploration into the emerging field of Deep Learning. It's more like a popular science book and less of a business book. It's not going to provide any practical advice of how to use or deploy Deep Learning. However, it's a book that will explore this new field in many more perspectives. So at the very least, you'll walk away with the ability to hold a very informative and impressive conversation about this unique subject. It's my hope that having less constraints on what I can express can lead to a more insightful and novel book. There are plenty of ideas that are either too general or too speculative to fit within a business oriented book. With a business book, you always want to manage expectations. Artificial Intelligence is one of those topics that you want to keep speaking in a conservative manner. That's one reason I felt the need for this book. Perhaps the freedom to be more liberal can give readers more ideas as where this field is heading. Also, it's not just business that needs to understand Deep Learning. We are all going to be profoundly impacted by this new kind of Artificial Intelligence and it is critical we all develop at least a good intuition of how it will change the world.The images in the front cover are all generated using Deep Learning technology.
The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we don’t know, now with a new section called “On Robustness and Fragility.” A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.” For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb will change the way you look at the world, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.
How do you use your local library? Does it arrive at your door on the back of an elephant? Can it float down the river to you? Or does it occupy a phone booth by the side of the road? Public libraries are a cornerstone of modern civilization, yet like the books in them, libraries face an uncertain future in an increasingly digital world. Undaunted, librarians around the globe are thinking up astonishing ways of reaching those in reading need, whether by bike in Chicago, boat in Laos, or donkey in Colombia. Improbable Libraries showcases a wide range of unforgettable, never-before-seen images and interviews with librarians who are overcoming geographic, economic, and political difficulties to bring the written word to an eager audience. Alex Johnson charts the changing face of library architecture, as temporary pop-ups rub shoulders with monumental brick-and-mortar structures, and many libraries expand their mission to function as true community centers. To take just one example: the open-air Garden Library in Tel Aviv, located in a park near the city's main bus station, supports asylum seekers and migrant workers with a stock of 3,500 volumes in sixteen different languages. Beautifully illustrated with nearly two hundred and fifty color photographs, Improbable Libraries offers a breathtaking tour of the places that bring us together and provide education, entertainment, culture, and so much more. From the rise of the egalitarian Little Free Library movement to the growth in luxury hotel libraries, the communal book revolution means you'll never be far from the perfect next read.
Inspiring urban explorers and armchair travellers alike to consider a new way of understanding the world we live in, this unique atlas shows you the modern world from surprising new vantage points. Hidden lairs beneath layers of rock, forgotten cities rising out of deserted lands and even mankind's own feats of engineering eccentricity lie in the most unusual of destinations. Go in search of the obscure and bizarre, the beautiful and estranged, taking in the defiant relics of ancient cities such as Ani, a once thriving metropolis lost to conquered lands, and the church tower of San Juan Parangaricuto, that miraculously stands as the sole survivor of a town sunk by lava. Through the labyrinths of Berlin and Beijing — underground realms dug for refuge, espionage and even, as Canada's Moose Jaw, used as the playground for gangsters trading liquor and money over cards — never forgetting the freaks and wonders of nature's own unusual masterpieces: the magical underground river shaped like a dragon's mouth in the Philippines and the floating world of Palmerston. With beautiful maps and stunning photography illustrating each destination, Atlas of Improbable Places is a fascinating voyage to the world's most incredible destinations. As the Island of Dolls and the hauntingly titled Door to Hell — an inextinguishable fire pit - attest, mystery is never far away. The truths and myths behind their creation are as varied as the destinations themselves. Standing as symbols of worship, testaments to kingships or even the strange and wonderful traditions of old and new, these curious places are not just extraordinary sights but reflections on man's own relationship with the world around us. Also in the Unexpected Atlas series: Atlas of Untamed Places,Atlas of the Unexpected, Atlas of Vanishing Places.
"Does God exist?" - This question has plagued humanity since its beginning. From the primitive to the sophisticated, human kind has worshipped gods of every shape, gender, size, and creed. One god, however, reigns supreme: The God of Abraham. Giving birth to the three most prevalent monotheistic religions existing today, Yahweh has dominated the theological landscape. A recent intellectual movement has taken place, however, challenging the religious status quo. This movement has given many the right to approach the God hypothesis with skepticism. Improbable: Issues with the God Hypothesis critically examines the claims made by the religious, determining whether a belief in Yahweh is actually as reasonable as long believed.
The Improbable War explains why conflict between the USA and China cannot be ruled out. In 1914 war between the Great Powers was considered unlikely, yet it happened. We learn only from history, and popular though the First World War analogy is, the lessons we draw from its outbreak are usually mistaken. Among these errors is the tendency to over-estimate human rationality. All major conflicts of the past 300 years have been about the norms and rules of the international system. In China and the US the world confronts two 'exceptional' powers whose values differ markedly, with China bidding to challenge the current order. The 'Thucydidean Trap' - when a conservative status quo power confronts a rising new one - may also play its part in precipitating hostilities. To avoid stumbling into an avoidable war both Beijing and Washington need a coherent strategy, which neither of them has. History also reveals that war evolves continually. The next global conflict is likely to be played out in cyberspace and outer space and like all previous wars it will have devastating consequences. Such a war between the United States and China may seem improbable, but it is all too possible, which is why we need to discuss it now.
This book considers the various ways in which the last major King of Judah has been presented in biblical texts and the subsequent cultures that have made use of the biblical narratives. It is posited that there is no reliable material that can be dated to the time of Josiah and that the literary constructions of Josiah's reign in Kings, Chronicles, and First Esdras already provided the inventive memory of a no longer recoverable monarch's life. Aspects of these narratives are considered as well as the history of Josiah in historiographical renditions of world history and in presenting his story in narrative artistic productions.