Life PDF º Paperback

  • Paperback
  • 384 pages
  • Life
  • John Brockman
  • English
  • 10 May 2014
  • 9780062296054

10 thoughts on “Life

  1. Jim Jim says:

    A lot of this was over my head unsurprisingly These are the top people in their fields arguing the leading edges of their fields after all Still I found a lot of interest wound up getting the ebook so I could look at some points closely I found something of interest in almost every chapter One thing I kept waiting for was a definition of life When it finally came at the end of the book it was from only one POV I didn't find it very satisfying Interesting thoughOf particular interest was the debate over Dawkins' gene the Darwinian species theories of evolution which seemed to be split evenly through the book I think they're arguing about it incorrectly not listening to each other Within a species Dawkins is certainly correct His contention that the fox doesn't compete directly with the rabbit directly is misleading since both the fox coyote are competing for the rabbit The rabbit competes with both vice versa It's a matter of contextSapolsky's discussion toxoplasmosis was great I've been fascinated with it for years finding out the mechanics of how this parasite can hijack the brain so precisely was great It made me wonder if anyone has ever studied the mechanisms in goldfish that keeps them from growing too large numerous in an enclosed environment? I gave up on my fish pond where several small but fully adult goldfish had gone from 2 long to a population of 8 that averaged about 7 long Each time they hit a ceiling for number size in a year or two It's fascinating Here's the Table of Contents1 Evolvability Richard Dawkins 2 Genomic Imprinting David Haig 3 A Full Force Storm with Gale Winds Blowing Robert Trivers 4 What Evolution Is Ernst Mayr with an introduction by Jared Diamond 5 Genetics Plus Time Steve Jones in conversation with Edge 6 A United Biology E O Wilson with an introduction by Steven Pinker 7 Is Life Analog or Digital? Freeman Dyson 8 Life What a Concept Freeman DysonJ Craig Venter George Church Dimitar Sasselov Seth Lloyd Robert Shapiro in conversation with Edge 9 The Gene Centric View A Conversation Richard DawkinsJ Craig Venter with an introduction by John Brockman10 The Nature of Normal Human Variety Armand Marie Leroi11 Brains Plus Brawn Daniel Lieberman12 Mapping the Neanderthal Genome Svante Pääbo13 On Biocomputation J Craig Venter Ray Kurzweil Rodney Brooks14 Engineering Biology Drew Endy15 Eat Me Before I Eat You A New Foe for Bad Bugs Kary Mullis16 Duck Sex and Aesthetic Evolution Richard Prum17 Toxo Robert Sapolsky18 The Adjacent Possible Stuart Kauffman

  2. Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C says:

    It Takes A Village To Boycott A Pop Science BookIf scientists wish to boycott a book religious scriptures could be their priority The holy books are the foundation of the anti evolution movement worldwide; the anti climate change rhetoric over the belief that a Protector will shield his disciples from human induced global pollution; the source of pray healing and its conjoined meme that vaccines are heinous; the primeval justification to bigotry homophobia and misogyny; the validation of both intolerance to any action that is perceived as offensive above all freedom of speech and the crusade to secure society's protection of the intolerant himherself In such broad anti science and anti intellectualism contexts John Brockman has edited yet another volume about science and technology for popular consumption Life The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology Genetics Anthropology and Environmental Science 2016 I have read this multi author compilation with special attention since upon its release biologists active in the social media became disappointed with Brockman and by default with the co writers for not featuring women authors And this was legitimate criticism If Brockman and associates wanted to educate the public about current trends in the biological sciences they must stop ignoring the diversities of peoples contributing to this global enterprise But of course I did not agree with the subseuent call to boycott Life without even reading it and the deploy of bee workers and drones to sabotage the purchasing of the work Boycotting books can be dangerous It always reminds me of the burnings of knowledge by the Nazis prior to and during World War II and comparable atrocities led by the Latin American dictators in Argentina and Chile in the 1970s 80s I learned of the former by precisely reading about it in my father's book collection on international affairs which included Churchill's The Second World War and even Hitler's sickening My Struggle and of the latter while in high school by following the news of La Guerra Sucia The Dirty War term coined a posteriori in the United States that targeted the creativity of university professors novelists musicians and poets Their books and records flamed their voices and bodies vanished Researchers ought to be aware of the popular science pseudo science and anti science books that distress or seem insulting to the public And for modern biologists the list includes the deceptive writings of the intelligent design ID movement and its Undeniable How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed 2016 Evolution Still a Theory in Crisis 2016 Debating Darwin’s Doubt A Scientific Controversy That Can No Longer Be Denied 2015 Darwin's Doubt The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design 2013 Science and Human Origins 2012 The Nature of Nature Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science 2011 God and Evolution 2010 Intelligent Design Uncensored An Easy to Understand Guide to the Controversy 2010 Signature in the Cell 2009 Intelligent Design 101 2008 Dissent Over Descent Intelligent Design Challenge to Darwinism 2008 Understanding Intelligent Design 2008 The Cell's Design 2008 The Design of Life 2008 Explore Evolution The Arguments for and Against Neo Darwinism 2007 The Edge of Evolution 2007 Intelligent Design The Bridge between Science and Theology 1999 Darwin's Black Box The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution 1996 and the villainous Of Pandas And People 1989 the foremost impostor exposed and debunked at the Kitzmiller versus Dover Area School District trial of 2005 Yes I have these narratives of pseudo truths and uasi creeds acuired over the years via used books sellers precisely to minimize supporting publishers of noxious fables a micro sabotage of my own one that does not discourage anyone to learn about ID But I also possess the Holy Bible the ur'an the Tanakh and The History of Western Philosophy of Religion an academic series by Oxford UP 2009 which I consider my duty to read as a secular scientist and become aware of the idealistic beauty historicity obvious rooting in unreality and evil injurious teachings of religion Next to the ID bestsellers stand the pro religion in science counterparts Also sponsored by writers with doctoral degrees and in positions of power committed to force marriage evolution with the belief in supernatural causation to see the fingerprints of God in DNA and molecular processes to satisfy the populous' hope to find the Maker Designer or Creator in the gaps of knowledge Francis Collins' The Language of God 2006 Belief Readings on the Reason for Faith 2010 and The Language of Science and Faith 2011 coauthored with fellow evangelical Christian Karl Giberson are iconic examples Yet none of these books deserves boycott despite their collective effect on disrupting distorting delaying or stopping the proper understanding and acceptance of evidence But they do justify vigorous disapproval by scholars who should uncover the capricious science emptiness of evolutionary creation John Brockman's edition of Life despite its disgraceful exclusion of gender and cultural varieties among co writers is scientifically above and by far the ID's pamphlets or the language seuels by theistic evolutionists Life could be listed among the 100 reuired reads for graduate students in biology and perhaps recommended to science majors in college of course with the warning that the contributors busy reflecting about themselves discounted Homo diversity as a crucial input in the leading edge of evolutionary biology genetics anthropology and environmental scienceLife is the fifth volume in The Best of Edge series edgeorg following Mind Culture Thinking and The Universe As a collection of essays interviews transcripts of panel discussions and biographical sketches of scientists and pop science celebrities the book is exciting rich in brainy remarks and first hand information Eighteen pieces from 2000 to 2015 summarize the major trends in science debates applied DNA technologies and bioengineering of the twentieth and twenty first centuries the latter superficiallyRichard Dawkins opens with Evolvability 2015 in part a recount of gene centric evolution in the scenario in which The Selfish Gene 1976 was crafted and the resulting discussions over replicators genes as units of selection versus vehicles the carriers of genes our bodies His classical analysis expands to universal Darwinism and the high probability that Darwinian selection of replicator like molecules shall be a ubiuitous cosmic phenomenon if life exists beyond Earth The Dawkinsian argument in elegant text is followed by David Haig's Genomic Imprinting 2002 Robert Trivers' A Full Force Storm with Gale Winds Blowing 2004 Ernst Mayr's What Evolution Is 2001 Steve Jones' Genetics Plus Time 2000 Edward O Wilson's A United Biology 2003 and Freeman Dyson's Is Life Analog or Digital? 2001 Thus Life relies on attractive topics as well as familiar names in the pop science arena to lure readers Pages and reading hours elapse uickly and Brockman succeeds at grabbing one's attention Soon I find myself immersed in the book joyful at times for learning material that I have missed over the years; disturbed occasionally when sensing plain egomania in the XY only writers who turn their texts into self grooming bouts and testosterone excretion an exception not the only one is Trivers' auto deprecating recollections which are humorous and brilliant; furious by the redundant broadcasting of long ago dismissed science concepts; but overall satisfied to have liked a book which I approached with so much skepticism Chapter 8 Life What a Concept is the longest with one hundred pages and most captivating It transcribes a panel discussion 2007 among Dyson J Craig Venter George Church Dimitar Sasselov Seth Lloyd Robert Shapiro Ting Wu not included in the list of authors and moderator BrockmanAs introduction to the dialogue Dyson a theoretical physicist discusses the garbage bag model of life The origin of life he explains probably started with metabolism only We know modern life has both metabolism and replication but they're carried out by separate groups of molecules Metabolism by proteins and all kinds of small molecules and replication by DNA and RNA That may be a clue to the fact that these processes started out separate rather than together The early cells were just little bags of some kind of cell membrane which might have been oily or a metal oxide And inside you had a or less random collection of organic molecules with the characteristic that small molecules could diffuse in through the membrane but big molecules could not diffuse out By converting small molecules into big molecules you could concentrate the organic contents on the inside thus the cells would become concentrated and the chemistry would gradually become efficient So these things could evolve without any kind of replication It's a simple statistical inheritance When a cell became so big that it got cut in half or shaken in half by some rainstorm or environmental disturbance it would then produce two cells which would be its daughters and would inherit or less but only statistically the chemical machinery inside Evolution could work under those conditionsIf these statements provoke in you as bookworm any of the emotions described earlier ie joy disturbed furious satisfied your reactions are comparable to those of the panel Dyson's garbage bag hypothesis may be garbageous ie the divide metabolism versus replication is artificial and relying on heavy statistical randomness diminishes how natural selection operates or did in the past in primordial soups but despite its teleological nature it is intellectually intriguing Irrespective of the transcript's dryness it happens that the sharp cuts irony disagreements and rescuing of the discussion by the panelists themselves grow evident while reading the fascinating exchange And Brockman moderates it with minimal input except for the sporadic injection of extra fuel to ignite healthy controversy The second half of the book proceeds with a one on one chat between Dawkins and Venter refereed by Brockman in The Gene Centric View A Conversation 2008 followed by Armand Marie Leroi's The Nature of Normal Human Variety 2005 Daniel Lieberman's Brains Plus Brawn 2012 Svante Pääbo's Mapping the Neanderthal Genome 2009 and a transcript of On Biocomputation 2005 a TED event Technology Entertainment Design featuring Venter Ray Kurzweil and Rodney Brooks Life closes with pieces by Drew Endy on Engineering Biology 2008 Kary Mullis' Eat Me Before I Eat You A New Foe for Bad Bugs 2010 Richard Prum's Duck Sex and Aesthetic Evolution 2014 Robert Sapolsky's Toxo 2009 and Stuart Kauffman's The Adjacent Possible 2003 All mix personal experiences with the authors' making and living the developments of their own fieldsTitles like Life sell fine The scientist reader can locate in the book historical relevance and depth if heshe looks for and wants to see them The lay reader might simply take pleasure in the journalistic ride and claim proficiency in pop science culture at the end of the journey The spot the error copy editor will never forget nor forgive that the cover of Life lists Matt Ridley as contributor a science personality nowhere else to be found at least in the copy I have a regrettable carelessness in book production Plus there is no leading edge in the compilation of articles the average publication date 2006 is ten years too old It may take a village to boycott a pop science book but Life is not the right target or perhaps is just an easy one It demands much courage and by the entire scientific community to individually and collectively go after the unuestionable adversaries of reason Those who see facts and fiction indistinguishable the ideologues and financiers of both the religion in science and the anti science movements

  3. Peter Gelfan Peter Gelfan says:

    Like many of the books Brockman edits this one is a collection of interviews essays and discussions from Edgeorg which in its own words assembles the thinkers—scientists artists philosophers technologists and entrepreneurs—at the center of today’s intellectual scientific and technological landscape The ideas discussed in these books are emerging concepts at the forefront of their fields They may not pan out and if they do like anything that evolves perhaps in not in the same form Why waste time reading half baked theories and research? Because they stretch your brain Hey why didn’t I think of that? Good uestion why didn’t you? Life is an accurate title Discussions in this book relate to life—how to define it how evolution really works what is “normal” brain vs brawn non organic life how parasites affect decision making even in humans a new approach to antibiotics the arms race in duck sex and the wonderfully evocative idea of the adjacent possible As far as I know you can’t get this stuff anywhere else unless you comb through research papers and academic journalsThe book is very readable for anyone who paid a little attention in high school science courses It’s written sometimes transcribed from discussions in lively conversational language Its stand alone pieces make it easy to dip in and out It’s exciting and may change the way you look at the world

  4. Eve Eve says:

    Not only are all 23 writers males they're all white males It's hard for me to believe there hasn't been a single person of color or woman who wrote a meaningful article about evolutionary biology Probably the editor wasn't even aware that he had a bias but just picked those authors that came most readily to mind as prominent writers in the field But I think that prominence is probably because these white male authors inadvertently benefited from cultural bias in the first place A better editor would have noticed this and balanced the book What's worse is that since this book is comprised of articles from edgeorg this is a pretty damning indictment of the inclusiveness of edgeorg as an online science salon

  5. Kristina Kristina says:

    This book was overall very interesting and I'm glad that I finally took the time to read it However I find it hard to believe that John Brockman was unable to find any women doing worthwhile research in any of the fields that were covered in this book

  6. Marc Faoite Marc Faoite says:

    John Brockmann is a colourful character known to share photos of himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of Andy Warhol Bob Dylan or John Cage That popular culture should include intelligent conversations about science is a given for himEdgeorg sometimes dubbed ‘the world's smartest website’ was born out of an idea from Brockmann’s late friend performance artist James Lee Byars who suggested that rather than trying to assimilate the information contained in the six million books housed in the Harvard library it might be productive and instructive to assemble the hundred most brilliant minds and have them ask each other uestions in order to achieve what Brockmann has referred to as “a synthesis of all thought”Life is the fifth volume in The Best of Edge series and as with previous books most of the featured content has already appeared on the Edgeorg website There are eighteen essays in the book It is perhaps worth noting that not a single one of them is written by a woman underlining the demographic generally represented and unrepresented on Edgeorg Some leeway may be given to the fact that science is still a male dominated field and obviously a scientist’s gender is separate from the science but whether Edgeorg’s male centric editorial policy is just a symptom or part of the problem is something that bears examinationThe book starts off with an essay by Richard Dawkins a man coherent when expounding on his specialized subject of genetics than in his freuent rants and diatribes about his personal bug bear religion He revisits the basic theme of his 1990’s bestseller The Selfish Gene again ie that genes try to maximize themselves by any means available stopping short or accurately being stopped short of undermining the viability of the organism it inhabits Genes seek maximum replication whereas the organism seeks survival for at least long enough to release copies of the genes into the world There is a large overlap in the agendas of the gene and the organism but occasionally they conflict This idea is taken up by Harvard professor of organismic yes that’s a word – I know because I had to look it upand evolutionary biology David Haig He discusses the conflict between the genes of both parents as they seek expression in an embryo but also the battle fought between the embryo and the mother It’s a tricky game of give and take where the mother’s interests are not necessarily those of the foetus For example the foetus secretes massive amounts of hormones that raise the mother’s blood pressure thereby increasing the flow of nutrients to the foetus but also placing additional stress on the mother’s body Rober Trivers runs with this theme and explores how the mother’s genes have in turn evolved to minimize the impact of these occasionally inappropriate hormonal messages Compromises are made by both foetus and mother so that neither’s viability is compromised The speed at which knowledge is expanding and the access to that knowledge is dizzying in pace In the fields of genetics neuroscience and neurobiology new discoveries are being made almost every day Just a few weeks ago it was announced that the brain has its own nervous system This rewrites the books on what to date has been the received understanding and is just one example of the many many new additions to how we understand life in all its fantastic forms and myriad manifestations With this is mind it is surprising that some of the content in this book is close to twenty years old Of course time doesn’t necessarily invalidate science The work of ancients such as Pythagoras or Copernicus or Newton’s observations on gravity still hold valid after centuries But since much of this book’s focus is on genetics at times the content could have benefitted by being up to dateThe book also occasionally suffers from an overly casual tone this due to the content being mainly transcriptions of talks As a result some of the arguments theories and discussions are a little less coherently structured than a reader might expect in book dealing with science no matter how vulgarized A little light editing might also have eliminated unnecessary repetition and fluffiness But despite these few shortcomings there is an advantage to reading the essays featured in Life as opposed to gleaning information from random articles on the internet On the net knowledge is dispersed whereas this book has a structured sense of narrative showing how research from different disciplines and their disciples can bolster and inform each other Ultimately the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts perhaps an apt and fitting off the cuff metaphor for the subject matter life

  7. Elentarri Elentarri says:

    John Brockman has collected 18 interviews commissioned essays and transcribed talks from the online science salon Edgeorg that deal with biology genetics anthropology and environmental science The majority of the articles were well written self contained covered interesting topics and will provide food for thought and extra research Some of the articles were a bit vague but the rest were interesting enough to make up for this defectThe book includes articlesinterviewsdiscussions by01 Richard Dawkins discusses evolution and the selfish gene hypothesis 2015;02 David Haig discusses genomic imprinting and selective gene expression 2002;03 Robert Trivers discusses deceit self deception and genomics 2004;04 Ernst Mayr discusses what evolution is 2001;05 Steve Jones general discussion interview on genetics over time 2000;06 Edward O Wilson discusses ants cells and the building of super organisms 2003;07 Freeman Dyson discusses the analog or digital format of biological processes 2001;08 Freeman Dyson J Craig Venter George Church Dimitar Sasselov Seth Lloyd Robert Shapiro and John Brockmann discuss the concept of life in an Edge Special event 2007;09 Richard Dawkins and Craig Venter sketch the frontiers of genomic research discuss genes and digital information 2008;10 Armand Marie Leroi discusses mutants defects gene expression and genetic differences 2005;11 Daniel Lieberman discusses running and human evolution 2012;12 Svante Paabo discusses mapping the neanderthal genome 2009;13 J Craig Venter Ray Kurzweil and Rodney Brooks conversation on biocomputation cancer drug functioning and new biotechnology 2005;14 Drew Endy discusses engineering living organisms and the ethics of this 2008;15 Kary Mullis discusses new immune treatments for various viruses 2010;16 Richard Plum describes bird mating rituals and discusses the evolution of aesthetic beauty 2014;17 Robert Sapolsky discusses behaviour manipulating parasites such as Toxoplasma 2009; and18 Stuart Kauffman discusses autonomous agents and thermodynamics 2003I found this book to be an enjoyable and interesting reading experience and not too complicated for my 90 year old grandmother who will be borrowing this book Note Minus one star for misleading subtitle The majority of these articles are not recent and thus no longer the leading edge It would have been useful for the editor or authors to insert a few paragraphs at the end of each older article to explain how things have changed or not since the articles were written This is especially relevant for the chapter on the Neanderthal genome mapping

  8. Zi Ying Zi Ying says:

    Overall it's a great book that compiles what and how biologists knew about living organisms on this planet I feel excited thinking that people could gain pleasure in contemplating life by exploring scientific data and definitive arguments However I feel a bit disappointed as most of the chapters are written at least 5 years back Technology in molecular genome synthetic biology field has advanced way too fast that this book may not be that updated in the year of publication Still it's a great read to discuss debate and challenge the future of biology from the human perspective

  9. Gy Gy says:

    This is an EDGE book and Mr Brockman brought some old and some new as well Repeating old and already obvious matter is not that bad There are always some new aspects we can discover But let alone those old things What I appreciate in Life is the story about TOXO My first ecounter with this very dangerous parazite was in Evoulutionary psychology political background Believe me you want to know about itWe can slam the author for any of reasons I saw in reviews but EDGE books always carry that serendipitous value I like in them Enjoy it

  10. Ross Ross says:

    A large collection of thoughts and essays from scientists and engineers on the nature of life it's origins evolution and genetic basis Much of the material is from Richard Dawkins and Craig Venter which is the best of the collection Some of the other is not very good however and I had to skim itRecommended for those very interested in the science of life and how we got here

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Life➿ [Download] ➽ Life By John Brockman ➵ – The newest addition to John Brockman's Edgeorg series explores life itself bringing together the world's leading biologists geneticists and evolutionary theorists including Richard Dawkins Edward O Wi The newest addition to John Brockman's Edgeorg series explores Life itself bringing together the world's leading biologists geneticists and evolutionary theorists including Richard Dawkins Edward O Wilson J Craig Venter and Freeman DysonScientists' understanding of Life is progressing rapidly than at any point in human history from the extraordinary decoding of DNA to the controversial emergence of biotechnology Featuring pioneering biologists geneticists physicists and science writers Life explains just how far we've come and takes a brilliantly educated guess at where we're headingFreeman Dyson borrows from science fiction to contemplate real uestions about what constitutes the stuff of Life Richard Dawkins and J Craig Venter discuss the revelatory similarity of genes to digital information Matt Ridley argues that nature and nurture are intricately intertwinedSteven Strogatz celebrates the spectacular mathematical synchronicity of fireflies Edward O Wilson reveals what ants can teach us about building a superorganism and in turn about how cells build an organism Elsewhere David Haig reports new findings on how mothers and fathers individually influence the human genome while Robert Trivers explores the opposing functions of the conscious and unconscious minds And there's much in this fascinating volumeWe may never have all the answers But the thinkers collected in Life are asking uestions that will keep us dreaming for generations.

About the Author: John Brockman

With a broad career spanning the fields of art science books software and the Internet In he established the bases for intermedia kinetic environments in art theatre and commerce while consulting for clients such as General Electric Columbia Pictures The Pentagon The White House In he formed his own literary and software agency He is founder of the Edge Foundation and edit.